It was a crisp evening in early September. About 40 North Oaks Golf Club members made their way to the middle of the fairway, where they enjoyed an elegant meal and libations under starlight.
Each year, the club hosts a one-of-a-kind dining experience known as Farm to Fairway, and it's quickly become a favorite among members.
"It couldn't have been a nicer night," says Ted Risdall, a North Oaks Golf Club member.
"It's one of those perfect package evenings," says Toni Rhan, another North Oaks member, and Farm to Fairway attendee. "It's a date night with my husband, away from our two small children."
“A First-Class Event”
For Ted, North Oaks Country Club is a family tradition. He grew up near the 17th green and still lives along the course with his family. Even his grandparents were members of the club. Growing up, he remembers most of the club’s events were primarily meant for its male members.
So, Ted was excited when North Oaks started hosting more events, particularly for couples, like Farm to Fairway. “Creating those magical experiences, I think, is what they’re in the business to do,” he says. Overall, he was very pleased with his Farm to Fairway experience, saying, “It’s a first-class event, no question about it.”
Toni and her family attend many of North Oaks social events throughout the year, from Brunch with Santa to Nerf nights and Dining with Your Doll. Farm to Fairway, however, ranks among her favorites. "I am always so impressed with how the staff pulls it together," says Toni. "They make it look effortless."
A Great Time to Socialize
The Farm to Fairway festivities kicked off with a brief social hour. Guests chatted with one another as they enjoyed sipping on sparkling wine from Spell Estate. Toni and Ted say it’s always great to meet other members. While they both knew many of the attendees, there were a few unfamiliar faces. “It was really neat to meet a couple new people who I didn’t know before,” Ted says.
A Menu Off the Beaten Path
After a little socializing, guests were treated to a six-course meal on the green, an intimate affair under the stars. Aside from local ingredients, Farm to Fairway also challenged guests to be a little adventurous. That means not only fresh, locally-sourced food, but dishes that are off the beaten path and perhaps something they'd never tried before. For Ted, it was the elk featured in the evening’s main course. "I didn't know what to expect, but the elk was great!" he says. "I think Chef had a lot of fun putting the whole menu together."
For Toni, North Oak's culinary talents were the driving force behind originally joining the club as social members and something her family partakes in on a regular basis today. As avid travelers, Toni and her husband have dined in fine restaurants all over the world, but Toni says that Farm to Fairway was "unlike any other meal."
The entirety of Chef David's well-crafted menu included:
- Amuse: Pork belly, stone fruit, pickled mustard seed, black garlic shoyu "The braised pork belly was so succulent and delicious," says Toni. "I still remember biting into it and swooning a little bit."
- Bison Carpaccio: Rye, horseradish sunchoke puree, beech mushroom paired with Sonoma County Rosé
- Lake Trout: Fava nasturtium fondant, sweet corn, radish, pea shoot, summer truffle paired with Russian River Valley Chardonnay
- Elk Entrecote: Potato pave, chard, blueberry bordelaise, foie gras paired with Nichole’s Blend Sonoma County Pinot Noir
- Deer Creek Cheeses: Honeycomb, dried fruit paired with Napa Valley Cabernet
- Roasted Strawberry and Gooseberry Verrine: Shortbread, lavender crème fraiche paired with Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir
Risdall says it was quite obvious Chef David put a lot of thought into creating the menu for the evening. “It’s always fun to have the chef create something and have some fun with it,” he says. “Chef David’s just done a great job.”
Wine Pairings from Spell Estate
The owners of Spell Estate were in attendance introduced their wine selection for the evening. “They put on a nice show,” Risdall says. “It’s so much fun to find out where your food and drink comes from.”
Wine pairings for the evening included Sonoma County Rosé with the bison carpaccio, Russian River Valley Chardonnay with the lake trout, Sonoma County Pinot Noir with the elk entrecote, Napa Valley Cabernet with the deer creek cheeses, and Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir with the roasted strawberry and gooseberry verrine.
A Warmly Lit End to the Evening
Once dinner was finished, members took golf carts back up to North Oak’s newly renovated clubhouse. After following a path magically lit by Chinese lanterns, attendees relaxed around the fire pits behind the club. Ted said it was great to have a nightcap before heading home. “It was a really nice ending to a great evening,” he says. “It was just a fantastic night.”