With 16 food stations, 60 vendors, two venues and what felt like a zillion guests, The Social Book's annual launch event transformed Minute Maid Park from baseball stadium into party central.
And that was just the point. Since its inception 17 years ago, The Social Book team, which today includes Scott Evans, Jeff Henry and Sami Shbeeb, has been entertaining Houstonians with the annual party that invariably stretches the imagination. Always front and center is Social Book founder Warner Roberts.
Contributing to this year's baseball fantasy (and every entity that participates is a "contributor") were everything from Bud Light Platinum and Evan Thayer Studios to Finger Furniture and Flowers by Nino. Richard Brown Music provided the cocktail hour entertainment in Union Station before guests moved over to the Club Level of Minute Maid for a cornucopia of food and drink offerings. Ben Jackson entertained with his amazing magic.
How important was this night? Consider the fact that Michele Mazza, executive chef Il Mulino New York flew in specifically for the Social Book party and was back to New York the next day.
While rambling through Union Station, guests were astonished by the "champagne chandelier," the woman pouring bubbly while suspended upside down from an imported chandelier. Thank you J&D Entertainment.
Houston Area Lexus Dealers provided the automotive eye candy that lined the concourse. And even the Houston Astros and Aramark received kudos for their generous participation. The mammoth undertaking was organized by PDV Special Events, headed by Paul-David Van Atta and Nathan Kasselder.
No charity is involved in this invitation-only evening that serves to spotlight some of the city's leading restaurateurs, decorators, caterers, photographers, party rental firms and entertainment entities. It's all about exposure and fun. Consider the go-go girls dancing on the bar, lighting hijinks by Bright Star Productions and, on pedestals, Neal Hamil talent modeling styles from More Than You Can Imagine and Saks Fifth Avenue.
How important was this night? Consider the fact that Michele Mazza, executive chef Il Mulino New York and Trattoria Il Mulino in CityCentre flew in specifically for the Social Book party and was back to New York the next day. He oversaw the yummy mini-meatballs, bruschetta and Napoleon polenta.
Among those sampling the killer fried oysters from Branch Water Tavern, the mini-bananas foster from Eddie V's and numerous other taste sensations were Ernie Manouse, Roseann Rogers and Dr. Aashish Shah, Judy and Bill Maynard, Philippe Schmit, Kristina Hornberger and Paul Somerville, Lara Bell, Nino Shbeeb, Barbara and Ulyesse LeGrange, Melissa King, Vicki Rizzo, Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein and Martin Fein, Phyllis Williams, Todd Ramos, Sandy Parkerson, Cristina Girard, Neal Hamil, Gordon Quan and on and on.