Tower Bridge Dinner: gorgeous food, pretty people, bird poop

Last night, more than 700 people lined Sacramento’s golden Tower Bridge for Farm-to-Fork’s grand finale. They wore sport jackets and fine jewelry, nibbled on caviar and smoked sturgeon, and commented on how cool it was to eat dinner on a bridge. Tickets cost $175 and sold out in less than five minutes.

The set-up alone was an incredible feat. Hundreds of staff meticulously shined every fork and placed eggplants, peppers and pomegranates next to floral arrangements.

Meanwhile, folks walking across the bridge took photos, gawked and sighed wistfully.

“That silverware looks brand new, like it’s never been used,” one said.

“The tables are beautiful, but they could have at least cleaned the bridge,” another observed, pointing to bird excrement in various places. “I think my appetite would be spoiled if I had to look at this.”

A group of young men took to protesting, walking back and forth with a large banner: “Visiting mayors: please teach ours about arenas and CBAs.”

Eventually the guests started arriving. Naturally they were greeted by a harpist.

More than 40 chefs, led by Brian Mizner of Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. and Jason Poole of Dawson’s at the Hyatt Regency, plated beautiful bites showcasing local, seasonal wealth. Beers from Track 7, Sudwerks and New Helvetia were poured. The furthest wine came from Lodi.

The Frank Fat’s team assembles a bite-sized spin on tomato beef.

After appetizer hour, diners were seated for five presumably brilliant courses: salumi, pate and cheese; heirloom bean salad; mesquite grilled quail with grapes and pork belly; smoked trout over fingerlings and fennel; braised lamb shank with Track 7 Hoppy Palm ale, indigo rose and eggplant; and plenty of dessert.

The Cultured & The Cured, Hawks and Block Butcher Bar tag-teamed to assemble these beautiful boards.

I was kicked off the bridge before the salad course, but here’s a photo of a photo of what the quail was supposedly supposed to look like.

I have no comments, so let’s go back to the appetizers.

Kru’s sturgeon poke threaded with wakame was incredible, served in those signature, playful tins. Grange presented a light and elegant parfait of smoked trout, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, pickled beets and creme fraiche. Also memorable were Piatti’s crayfish brushchetta with lemon verbena-scented tomatoes; caviar-filled buckwheat cornets from Ella; The Waterboy’s simple but excellent steak tartare; and bites of medium-rare flank steak sandwiched between taro chips and tomato jam from Frank Fat’s.

Smoked sturgeon courtesy of Kru.

Grange Restaurant’s exquisite layered appetizer, starring trout and beets.

Some particularly lame-by-comparison bites included dry pulled pork atop sweet potato chips–really?–from River City Brewing; watermelon topped with mozzarella and an olive from Hock Farm; and mushy eggplant surrounding goat cheese from Paesano’s. Alas, Farm-to-Fork must be inclusive.

So inclusive that McDonald’s was an esteemed sponsor.

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