Tower Bridge Dinner 2016

By Stephanie Russo   |   September 26, 2016

The highly anticipated Tower Bridge Dinner had a whole new look this year! We worked with Farm-to-Fork to rebrand the event, design a new logo, custom aprons, printed collateral and more (we even had a blast collaborating with Andis on the commemorative wine bottle labels).

What a night. We’re not even sure where to begin. Oysters. Let’s start with oysters.

What makes a good oyster? Is it taste? Texture? Presentation? We think all of the above. But what makes a great oyster? When Senior Designer Ashley Rodseth attempts her first one (ever) and has to be pulled away shortly thereafter. They were that good – no acquired taste required. After throwing back several of the briny mollusks and a couple glasses of bubbly, we caught up with Chef Rick Moonen who gave us some laughs while signing his cookbook “Fish: Without A Doubt” for us (thanks, Rick!).

Next up: enter bridge. We’d love to tell you the breeze swept in at this point, but we’d be lying. Thinking only of food, we pressed onward. Lining the bridge were some of the most talented chefs in our nation, personally presenting small bites and shaking hands of guests. Boiled potatoes topped with caviar from Passmore Ranch, cubed bites of carbonated melon, thinly sliced beef tongue and a refreshing tomato soup were just a few of the appetizers that lined the bridge. While none of us managed to try every single one (it’s harder than it sounds!), we have to think we were fairly close before being told to find our seats and prepare for our five-course, family style meal.

Executive Chef Allyson Harvie knocked it out of the park with course 1: chilled and smoked summertime green beans layered with charred tomatoes, pickled Corno di Toro peppers, fried onions, pickled shiitake mushrooms, basil and watercress plated with generous heaps of smoked burrata. Both the presentation and fresh-meets-smoky flavors were a hit amongst our table…and we’re seriously considering topping every meal with mounds of smoked burrata from here on out.

We were already blown away by the caviar appetizers from Passmore Ranch and thought there would be no topping the tiny delights. But then came the catfish; lightly smoked and served with German style potato style salad and horseradish caviar cream, we were stunned by the flavors in this dish.

Next up, Oyakodon (Oya-what?). Oyakodon: a traditional Japanese dish consisting of sautéed chicken and rice. Executive Chef Bill Ngo chose chicken from Riverdog Farm and combined it with Forsman Ranch rice, slow poached eggs, crispy skin and pickles making one spectacular dish. Rest assured we will forever be ordering “Oyakodon” anytime we see it on a menu.

Like the three before it, the fourth course was nothing short of incredible; Van Vleck Ranch steak with charred Jimmy Nardello peppers, cherry tomatoes, alliums and sour gherkins. Served rare, the flavor of the meat was unbelievable. Executive chefs and owners Michael Fagnoni and Molly Hawks of Hawks Restaurant could not have done a better job choosing flavors that lent way to the meat and we’re not sure we’ll ever be able to find a steak comparable to this beautifully marbled prime Wagyu again.

Last but certainly not least: the roasted braised Emigh Farms lamb. We love lamb around here, but we’re sure we’ve never loved lamb this much. Paired with summer tomato jam, field legumes, merguez spice and candied garlic, this dish had us all sitting in awe-stricken silence with every bite. Chef Kelly McCown of The Kitchen left us stunned with this one.

After a few “I couldn’t eat another bite” statements, we moseyed over to heaven (also known as the dessert area). In addition to coffee from Chocolate Fish, Old Soul and Insight, dessert tables stretched on for what felt like miles. We ate more than our fair share of floral macarons, melt-in-your-mouth mochi, decadent cakes, innovative snow cones and more. (Cue sugar-induced bliss.)

As magical as the evening was, few things bring us more joy than seeing our designs come to life and at the end of the night, we were able to see just that. The gold-foiled wine labels we designed specifically for the event were even more beautiful in person and we were overjoyed seeing them in our awesome swag bags!

A huge thank you to Visit Sacramento and Farm-to-Fork for putting on such an incredible event (and also to our amazing client Passmore Ranch for wow-ing us again with their unparalleled fish!)

The commemorative label we designed in collaboration with Andis wines.

The commemorative label we designed in collaboration with Andis wines.

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Chef Rick Moonen with Grady, Art Director and Ashley, Senior Graphic Designer

Chef Rick Moonen with Grady, Art Director and Ashley, Senior Graphic Designer

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Chef Patrick Mulvaney serving up a fresh take on Bloody Marys

Chef Patrick Mulvaney serving up a fresh take on Bloody Marys

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Honey Agency Founder Meghan Phillips and husband, Chris

Honey Agency Founder Meghan Phillips and husband, Chris

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Passmore Ranch hats, Tower Bridge aprons - we love seeing our designs come to life!

Passmore Ranch hats, Tower Bridge aprons – we love seeing our designs come to life!

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