Inside Aubrey Brewster’s Kaiseki Bloom Birthday Party

Aubrey Brewster at his birthday party

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Every year The Salonniere, a website dedicated to the art of entertaining, names the top 100 party hosts in America. Only five people from San Francisco made the 2019 list, and one of those people is man-about-town Aubrey Brewster. Known for his lavish and over the top celebrations, Brewster was in fine form last weekend at his annual birthday luncheon.

The table

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Brewster transformed Neiman Marcus’ fifth-floor event space into an enchanting Japanese-inspired orchard. To get to the party, guests walked along a long pink carpet, stopped to snap a photo or two at the step and repeat, and passed under a bamboo Japanese pergola. Everywhere you looked there were cherry blossoms. A wooden bridge and black rock brook guided guests into the opulent dining room where a 50’ table was set with a golden tablecloth for forty of Brewster’s most fantastic friends.

A specialty cocktail

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

While some hosts prefer a minimalist approach to party planning, Brewster is the opposite—he’s a more is more man, and his opulent style was reflected everywhere you looked. There was a generous caviar bar with classic accouterments (minced chives, sieved egg, creme fraiche, etc.). A specialty cocktail, a tasty mixture of sake, peach vodka, and cherry blossom syrup, was served in hand-blown glasses that resembled adorable birds. Guests, clad in sophisticated Japanese flair, sipped the pink liquid from the bird! 

The caviar station

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

The ridiculous fabulousness continued at the table where the group dined on bowls of comforting miso soup before being treated to a bento box filled with delights. Each red and black bento box, which was monogrammed to include guest’s names, had three different tiers of food. The top layer was delicious filet mignon teriyaki with black sesame rice and watercress. The second tier held lobster and vegetable tempura with a savory dipping sauce. The bottom level was filled with an assortment of sashimi—toro, salmon, hamachi, and my personal favorite, ikura with quail yolk. Brewster worked with The Rotunda’s executive chef Ruby Oliveros to realize the excellent menu.

Willie Brown and Aubrey Brewster

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

As the Moet & Chandon flowed, the guests stood up to toast their dear friend. “Aubrey, as usual, it’s incredible!” former mayor Willie Brown said. “Thank you very much for inviting me to celebrate your birthday. What you do on this occasion, you literally have all of us feel like we are in Osaka or Kyoto. It’s always wonderful to be on the guest list for your birthday. You take a whole year to plan and program it. So Aubrey, happy birthday to you, and am I on the list for next year?” Brown joked about running for president saying that he would be the only candidate with his “own Russian connection.” Brown was, of course, referring to his beautiful girlfriend Sonya Molotdetskaya who was seated to the left of Brewster at the table.

The cake

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Before cutting the cake, Brewster addressed his adoring crowd, saying “in the state of the world today, I think it’s important for us to indulge in a magical afternoon—a moment to escape and spread the love around, thank you for joining me.” BethAnn Goldberg of Studio Cake in Menlo Park created the fantastic cake with an emperor doll on top. It was cherry blossom and vanilla sponge with pickled cherry blossom paste and sakura jam buttercream. The cake was wonderful, light, and rich. I could have devoured multiple pieces!

Mary Beth Shimmon

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

As the afternoon faded into the evening, the group didn’t want to end the party. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and Neiman Marcus closes at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Local luminaries, who joined in on the fun? Brewster’s dashing partner Dr. Edward Winger, jazz icon Paula West, ABC’s Carolyn Tyler, real estate tycoons Joel Goodrich and Victor Makras, philanthropist Sophie Azouou, and socialites Mary Beth Shimmon, Sobia Shaikh, and Farah Makras.

Victor Makras and Edward Winger

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Chip Zecher and Chris Meza

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Farah Makras

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Vasily Vein and Rada Katz

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Atmosphere

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Atmosphere

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Atmosphere

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Sonya Molodetskaya and Sobia Shaikh

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Paula West, Karen Clopton and Carolyn Tyler

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Todd Hoyles, Navid Armstrong and Joel Goodrich

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

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