I recently went to an event billed as a “scintillating evening of fun and information, focused on the Bay Area Indian wedding market.” Well, it was all that and more. Afterwards, I wanted throw my own Indian bash. I wanted to be Indian.
The festivities were held at the New Delhi Restaurant in San Francisco, but you might have thought you were in an Indian palace. Owner Ranjan Dey had transformed the place: tables were dressed in vibrantly colored, satiny linens in pink and purple and each one had a gorgeous floral centerpiece. Candles were everywhere, and the tall columns throughout glowed with color thanks to special uplighting. He even had bright orange and hot pink designs projected on the ceiling.
The riot of color was intoxicating, as were the signature Mango and Lychee Martinis. I fell in love with Indian food, enjoying every dish from the Chicken Tikka Masala to the Gulab Jamun (a dessert of milk dumplings in a warm cardamom syrup). I could have eaten a whole pile of naan bread!
Ranjan was the perfect host: he not only filled us up with great food, but filled us in on some Indian wedding facts and traditions. Who knew there were 28 states in India, each with its own language, cuisine and art? That means every Indian wedding must be customized according to the religious and culinary requirements of the families being joined.
I was so into the spirit of things, I simply had to have my hand painted by Renda, an artist from the Henna Garden. When I asked her why women did this before their wedding, she said that when a woman’s hands (and feet) are decorated with henna, she can’t use them for a while and has to be taken care of and pampered—perhaps for the last time before starting her new married life.
If you’re planning an Indian wedding, rehearsal dinner or other event, Ranjan is the man to call. He has a deep knowledge of everything Indian, as well as connections to all the services you’ll need—including an elephant for that spectacular entrance. It’ll run you $5,000–8,000, but who cares?
Here are the other vendors who made this stunning event possible:
Music: Sonny Gallardo of Exquisite DJs
Invitations: Rhonda Steward of Cedar and Rose
Décor: Iffat Khamisha of Palms Party Planner
Photography: Ben Janken of Ben Janken Fine Photography
Florist: Orna Maymon of Ornamento
Linens: Lily Yeung of Wildflower Linens
Catering: Ranjan Dey of New Delhi Restaurant and Stacie Hallinan of Four Seasons
I’ve never been to an Indian wedding, but I’ve seen pictures of them and they are a feast for the eyes. I’m fascinated by the rituals and all the color: lots of bejeweled women draped in gorgeous saris, vibrant flowers in abundance … That’s why when I heard about this upcoming event—a “scintillating evening of fun and information, focused on the Bay Area Indian wedding market” —I signed up right away.
Hosted by Ranjan Dey, owner of the New Delhi Restaurant in San Francisco, this event will feature brief presentations on Indian wedding customs and culture, preceded by passed samosa appetizers and the restaurant’s signature Mango and Lychee Martinis. We’ll also get a sneak preview of Episode One of the upcoming PBS series “My India” With Ranjan Dey—The Great Mango Escape. (Wow, Ranjan, in addition to being a restaurateur, you’re also a TV star!)
This event is open to the public, so slip on your sari and join the festivities!
When: July 15th, 5–7pm
Where: New Delhi Restaurant
160 Ellis St.
To reserve a seat, register here.
More on our delicious day at Carneros…
Yeah, it was delicious all right. Food is a top priority at this resort, and we took advantage of as many culinary options as possible, from the frosty frozen grapes served by the pool to the entire dessert menu at Farm, their signature restaurant. Speaking of desserts, do you mind if I start there? We sampled at least 5 different confections, but the Apple and Cranberry Gallette with Crème Fraîche Sorbet was, in my estimation, a tastebud-altering experience. Simply divine.
Dessert was just the icing on the cake, so to speak. The Carneros Inn restaurants use as much organic, sustainably raised regional food as possible and complement it with local wines. Dinner at Farm was a treat for all of us, since collectively we could try almost everything on the menu. Being a soup addict, I couldn’t get enough of the super-rich Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, and the entrées offered something for everyone. Chef Christophe even whipped up a special dish for the vegetarian in our group.
Earlier in the day, while several of my bathing-beauty co-workers were soaking up the sun at the pool, I plunked myself down at the Boon Fly Café for lunch. While I was waiting for my roasted veggie sandwich to arrive, I couldn’t help noticing what showed up on the table next to me: a pile of crispy, golden onion rings elegantly stacked in a paper cone nested in a metal stand. They were so tempting I could hardly keep from walking over to grab a few.
Three of my colleagues lunched at Hilltop, where phenomenal vineyard views took a back seat to eyeing the cute guys serving drinks poolside—one of which was definitely flirting with our own cutie-pie, Julia! A perfectly cooked Kobe beef burger and primo fries got raves, and underscored Carneros’ ability to satisfy foodies whether they’re catching a casual bite or indulging in a swanky multi-course meal.