Thursday, January 8, 2009

San Francisco Social Diary

Panoramic views from Amber Marie and Chris Bently's Nob Hill Penthouse.
by Jeanne Lawrence

New kids on the block, Amber Marie and Chris Bently, threw an old fashioned pajama party for their eclectic friends, who all flipped over the 360 degree views of the city and the bay from their two-story Nob Hill Penthouse.

Already married for 10 years (she’s barely 30 while he’s only 38) the enthusiastic duo participate in a myriad of civic, social, charitable, and business ventures around town.

In the last few years, this real estate family has restored the former Federal Reserve Bank, now named the Bently Reserve, and converted it to office, retail, conference and event spaces. They’ve also opened Kamalaspa in downtown Union Square.
Lounging in our PJs
Three years ago the Bentlys went to their first Burning Man, a week long art event at Black Rock City in the Nevada desert. Perhaps the ultimate in performance art, more than 50,000 set up camp; all with the idea to express themselves through art, dress, actions, whatever. Having just watch the Burning man CD I realized this is a real happening!

The Bentlys wanted to throw a party to blend their Burning Man art friends with their society friends. They decided that PJ party was just the ticket to relax so many who were strangers.

Everyone seemed to get into the act. I must admit, it was fun and a lot less risqué than I imagined, thank goodness. And this artsy crowd lived up to expectations, no two dressed alike. PJs covered the gamut from Brooks Brothers and flannels to oriental robes and black negligees.
Snapped their wedding photo
Specialty Drink Partido Tequila
Partito Tequila was a featured favorite, shots or margaritas, accompanied by mounds of caviar, an oyster bar, soup shooters and cheese trays to keep everyone happy, while the DJ played into the night.

One young guest said about the Burning Man scene, “I really like this ... I missed the 70s, it’s like another era, a walk on wild side, with a mix of people from every strata and the common denominator is pajamas.”

On the way home, I thought it was hilarious seeing guests trotting around Nob Hill in their jammies. I wonder what the neighbors were thinking - welcome to the neighborhood.
Amber Marie Bently, Gary Nichols, and Christopher Bently
Jorge Ross with daughter Claudia Ross
Lisa Fanthorpe-White, Eric Bettencourt, and Amy Berger
Kimberly Givsan, Dominique Rojas, and Susan Ferrington
Liz Cattermole and Justin Fichelson
Watching videos in the Media Room, Shakti Kennedy and Diane Amato
Nancy Gamble and Mary Lee Bickford
Uggs Boots too
Teagan Squires, Kimberly Givsan, and Mark Calvano
Heidi Quante and Bergen Moore
Jeff Schlomberg
Julio Benevides, Gina Milano, and Joel Goodrich
DJ all night long
Cassidy Wollenburg and Christina Cruz
Kimberly Bakker and friend
Eric Fogelberg and Monica Maduro
Eddie Ravaglioli, Francesco Benvenuti, Jonah Koreen, and friend
Marina Franco and Craig Solomon
Amber Hawking, Nathan Hawking, and Cassandra Hawking
Mireille Schwartz and Cameron Noble
Frederick Norgaard and Gary Nichols

Critter Lovers at Work (CLAW), a volunteer fundraising arm of San Francisco’s SPCA, hosted the annual Bark & Whine Ball. Billed as the “friskiest event of the year,” the dogs even received a red-carpet arrival.

Zoe (belongs to Karen Charles) and Chloe (belongs to Marla Caplan)
Human guests indulged in the scotch and martini bars, while toys and treat delighted their four-legged furry friends. McCalls catered the fun-filled evening of dining, dancing and frolicking to the music of Dick Bright’s Orchestra.

The money raised goes to the Cinderella Fund, which provides special treatment and medical care for the neediest animals in the community.

Amidst a roomful of every breed were Jan McHugy-Smith, President of the SF SPCA, Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, co-chairs John Mounier and Susan Christman, Nancy Trogman (President of CLAW), and board member Jeanette Roach.

Others escorting their pets: special event planner Robert Fountains, Priscilla Schlesinger, haberdasher Wilkes Bashford, Jeanne Taylor, Board member Jeanette Roach, Neiman Marcus’s GM John Capizzi, Gia and Goetz Boje (Harris’ Steakhouse), Sandra Farris, and Opera Guild president Cheryl Baxter.

Hooman Khalili, radio personality from 97.3 Alice and host of “Who’s Hooman,” was celebrating his recent YouTube venture as its been a great success. “I gained more national and international exposure in 6 ½ weeks than in my 8 years on the morning show,” exclaimed Hooman.

Hey, Silicon Valley, you’re missing out on the dog market, K-9 Space, anyone? Perhaps the next New New Thing.
Dr. Ricki Pollycove with Petunia and Dick Behrendt with Ella
Robert Fountain's Daisy held by Chris Dunn
Dancing with the Dogs - Elsie Fletcher with Jessica
Max and Moritz with Gia and Goetz Boje (of Harris Steakhouse)
Priscilla Schlesinger and Nancy Trogman (President of CLAW)
Ball co-chairs John Mounier and Susan Christman with Lucy
Sandra Farris with Baby and Dr. Mat Kiisk
Wilkes Bashford and Jeanne Taylor's dog Duchess
Caroline Read with Chica (granddaughter's dog)
Jan McHugh-Smith, Catherine Brown (SFSPCA Board Chair), and John Mounier
Tongues and Tails are wagging, owners Clarence and Humphrey Brill

Super chef Charlie Palmer headlined the third annual “Pigs & Pinot” event in Healdsburg, the charming town, seventy miles north of San Francisco, nestled in the heart of the Sonoma County wine country.

Of course, the venue was his Dry Creek Kitchen in the chic Healdsburg Hotel that overlooks the historic plaza. Palmer loves this northern California coast so much he chose this as his family base.

New Yorkers know Palmer as in 1988 he opened his first restaurant, Aureole, in the Upper East Side, when he was only 28 years old. Charlie, please tell us it’s not true that your leaving this site and moving down to the Bryant Park area next spring.

Today Palmer heads a vast hospitality empire, including restaurants in the Big Apple, DC, Dallas, Reno, Las Vegas as well as two in Healdsburg

Perhaps inspired by the glorious California wine country, Charlie pioneered the innovative, described as “the world’s first personal wireless wine list.”
Healdsburg Hotel in Northern Sonoma Wine Country
The evening benefited Share Our Strength, the global fight against hunger, and Healdsburg’s St. John School where Palmer’s sons attend.

The tasty five-course wine pairing dinner fused the talents of mega-chefs like chefs like Michael Ellis, David Burke of NY’s davidburke & donatella, and San Francisco’s chefs Luke Mangan of South Food + Wine, Nancy Oakes of Boulevard, and Philippe Rispoli, along with ‘sausage king’ and cookbook author, Bruce Aidelle ... a little something for everyone, I guess.
Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant.
Wine lovers savored a tasting of Pinot Noirs from California Rochioli, Kosta Brown, Dutton Estate, Australia’s Diamond Valley, and Burgundy’s Domanine de la Vougeraie and Jean-Claude Boisset. All were paired, of course with pork dishes – hence, the name ‘Pigs and Pinot.’

What’s wonderful about these weekend ‘foodie’ events is that, after dinner and a night of drinking the best wine, you need only to walk upstairs to your hotel room and crash. The next morning, you can head to the pool or spa or ramble around the lovely town to work off your excesses. They think of everything!
Chef Phillipe Rispolli and Charlie Palmer, dinner host
Jonathan Deason,Chef Nancy Oakes and David Michaels
Sarah Picard, Molly Watson, and Jessica Battilana
Keith Goldston
Brian Cronin
Francois Jaubert, Kathleen Burns, and Jose Urbano
Sandy Miller and Lori Bitter
Gayle Keck and Paul Herman
Australian Chef Luke Mangan
Wine maker Mat Gustafson of Dutton Estate
Sharon Krause
Chefs Charlie Palmer, Michael Ellis, and Amar Santana


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