It was more than coincidental that after a long weekend of stormy weather, the skies parted on Monday night to make way for a mass of elegantly attired Elites, primped for Yelp's Bubbles & Baubles @ Toast Wine Lounge. Nearly 100 East Bay Elites threw on their cocktail party best and cleaned out their closets for Dress for Success, a nonprofit organization that assists disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and accessories to help them thrive in work and life. While the skies were clear, the only thing dry about this evening was the pavement outside, with over 16 wines of the effervescent and still variety flowing throughout the night.
"The array of wines served from the Anderson Valley Wine Growers Association were some of the best whites I've ever tried," raved Akvile H. "I am more of a red wine aficionado, however after tonight, I have a feeling I may be drinking more whites!" The bottle line-up read like a who's who of Alsatian varietals producers, with Breggo, Navarro, Londer, Handley, Lawson's, Roaring Meg, Spy Valley, Envoy, Astrolabe, and Scharfenberger all pouring zesty sips of Reisling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer, and Troy M confirmed "the servers and sponsors held down the flow of food and wine so well that it seemed you couldn't stay without either for more than a minute!"
Toast owners Kristen and Heather kept the flutes filled with a special selection of bubbles from Torley Winery in Hungary and a Catalonian Cava from Vega Barcelona. Jeffrey S praised the Torley, remarking "this sparking wine was smooth and fruity; like drinking liquid sugar, a delight for this sweet tooth. I know I'll be looking forward to searching for this vintage soon!"
The plethora of vino was a mere interlude for the parade of small bites from Toast's head chef, Peter Jackson. Diana V admits the taste of parmesan nuggets with truffle honey "is still dancing on my tongue," while the aroma from the Coca toasts with wild mushrooms, arugula, and mezzo secco was "a bit of smokey heaven" for Sandyann G. And the crispy boucherie bacon with meyer lemon confit on toasted La Farine bread? "Had me at first bite," she swoons. Peruvian scallop ceviche with key lime, serrano chile and cilantro was a pescetarian delight for Anne K who's now "convinced to come back and try Toast" on her own.
In between bites, Elites huddled around the rustic wood tables where Blue Orange had set up a slew of locally-designed and manufactured board games like Fast Track, Gobblet and Analyze Me. Jenn N is vying for her own Fast Trak board, exclaiming "all the games were fun, but this one captured my heart. If you heard random cheering and victory shouts around the room, this was the instigator."
Just when Elites thought the indulgence was waning, out came the trays of Boca Negra flourless chocolate cake on thin almond crisps and persimmon pudding with cloudy crowns of whipped cream. Lara W put her adoration simply, saying "I have yet to meet a flourless cake I like more," while the spicy persimmon pudding was Amy J's "favourite dessert" of the night.
No Elite event would be complete without some delicious prizes, and tuxedo-clad Bill B walked away with an Oakland Restaurant Week gift certificate for The Paragon Restaurant & Bar, for his exemplary costumed status, while Akvile H showed off her Twitter savvy in AV Wine's "Tasting Note Tweets" contest, and scored a pair of tickets to the Alsace Varietals Festival. Another excuse to drain…er, raise her glass!
The evening concluded with a car full of Dress for Success donations, Elites all abuzz from the endless indulgences, and a warm, fuzzy glow from the fresh friendships made over bubbles, bites and board games. "What a warm and toasty respite from the cold outside," Joanna M cooed. "I hope we all huddle again soon. Til then I'll be hunkering down at Toast with a glass or two!"
Read all the raves here, peep the pics from photographer David Butow here, and tag yourselves here!
Bubbling with delight,
East Bay Community Manager