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$1,000 dinner in a $100,000 gown: San Francisco's super-rich

Dolly Lenz, for CNBC.com
Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 | 1:13 PM ET

San Francisco is the country's hottest real estate right now. The city has experienced double-digit appreciation in the past year, and properties selling above—sometimes far above—asking price are the norm.

The San Francisco Bay Area is the No. 2 super-rich metropolis, after New York, with more than 60 billionaires.

The super-rich of San Francisco are a rare breed, and here are a few reasons why.

2820 Scott St., one of the most expensive houses listed in San Francisco
Source: Jason Wells
2820 Scott St., one of the most expensive houses listed in San Francisco

Food-obsessed

Though San Franciscans enjoy dining out, one of the favorite indulgences of the super-rich is to spend an evening with a top chef who prepares a private feast for them and their guests.

Legendary chef Gary Danko, for example, will prepare a meal at his glamorous Russian Hill home: A private Champagne reception and dinner for 10 starts at $10,000, with part of the proceeds going to the SF Marin Food Bank.

A mansion fit for a queen at $24.8M
CNBC's Robert Frank takes a look at one of the most expensive mansions for sale in San Francisco with a super-rich history.

Also popular is Quince's Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams tasting party for $4,500.

Where the arts meets haute couture

Whether it's the opening night of the opera or a gala fundraiser, a custom gown is de rigueur for the super-rich women of San Francisco, who enlist renowned designers to create exclusive fashions for a big event.

Dresses by big names such as Ralph Rucci, Rodarte, Rubin Singer (known for his designs for Beyoncé), Zang Toi, Karen Caldwell, Giambattista Valli and Andrew Gn can easily cost between $40,000 and $100,000, depending on materials and detailing. But those who can will gladly pay to wear a dress that no one else in the world can have.

(Read more: In luxe real estate, it's now views, views, views!)

The Nirvana House, in Tiburon, Calif.
Source: Joel Goodrich Luxury Real Estate
The Nirvana House, in Tiburon, Calif.

Superfit

And why not? The mild climate (temperatures average 65 degrees to 70 degrees Farenheit year-round) supports an active lifestyle, so this select, super-rich crowd has no need for summer homes or winter retreats.

Though, of course, they might have them anyway.

(Read more:10 ways to make people who walk in your house scream: "Holy $#! " )

Wine and coffee lovers

Napa and Sonoma counties are just a 45-minute drive from downtown San Francisco and comprise over 1,000 of the world's finest vineyards. No megahome worthy of the name lacks a top-shelf, temperature-controlled wine cellar.

The super-rich of this city also appreciate great java, with coffee shops representing the "third space" where current and future tech entrepreneurs can spend hours developing their ventures.

The headquarters of former tech start-ups—Twitter, Zynga, Yelp—proliferate here, providing ample incentive for those chasing their super-rich dreams.

—By Dolly Lenz, for CNBC.com.

The writer is the founder of Dolly Lenz Real Estate LLC, an ultraluxury real estate sales and marketing firm. With over 25 years of sales, marketing and branding experience, Lenz has become an industry leader, having sold over $8.5 billion worth of properties, a record that has earned her the ultimate Stratosphere Award, of which she is the sole recipient.

Take in the luxury views and meet those who enjoy them. CNBC's "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" returns at 9 p.m. Wednesdays from Jan. 22 to Feb. 5. You can't afford to miss it! Follow "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" on Twitter and Instagram @CNBCSuperRich.

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  • A reporter and editor, Robert Frank is a leading authority on the American wealthy for CNBC.