St Regis San Francisco

Photography by Yuri Krasov

San Francisco is sometimes called an Asian-American city, and judging from the sheer amount and popularity of Asian restaurants in and beyond the oldest and largest Chinatown in the United States, that rings true.

In the currently ascending Year of the Rooster, new happenings in hospitality, art, and culinary scene beacon winter travelers from all over the world to the eternally warm and snowless City by the Bay.

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Americano, Hotel Vitale

Americano Restaurant & Bar at Hotel Vitale just implemented a new menu item – Chinese-inspired steamed buns, called baozi (包子) or bao.

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Puffy baos, made of light yeasty dough and formed in circular cakes, are usually folded in half, and filled with meats, pickles, and greens to look like a half-opened sandwich.

With Executive Chef Josua Perez at the helm, Americano creates two kinds of bao – one with crispy duck confit, another with beef tongue – to bring good luck to the Year of the Rooster.

The meats are accompanied by hoisin sauce, cilantro, and cucumber slices lightly pickled in rice vinegar, chili flakes, salt and sugar.

Even though the baos will be available only through this Saturday, February 4, the restaurant has plenty of wonderful small plates paired with wine, artisanal beer, or handcrafted cocktails.

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Powell and Hyde cocktail is great take on the traditional Manhattan with Bulleit bourbon, Carpano Antica vermouth, Cynar amaro, and Ancho Reyes ancho chili liqueur.

Notable dishes include deviled eggs with crispy pork belly and pickled chili; tater tots with bacon aioli, and hand-made pasta torchio with oxtail ragu, baby carrots, and horseradish crème fraiche.

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On a dessert menu, mango gelato is a lucky flavor when available – gelato and sorbet flavors change daily.

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Dining at Americano includes sweeping views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco’s busy waterfront. Americano at Hotel Vitale is located at: 8 Mission St., San Francisco. 415-278-3700. www.hotelvitale.com.

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Grill, St. Regis San Francisco

One of the new exciting culinary events at the Grill this year, offered by Executive Chef Franck Desplechin, is called Sunday Table and presents a family-style dinner, fashioned after Chef’s own family tradition.

“My mom was always cooking, and always had great ideas,” says Chef Desplechin. “As a kid, instead of watching TV I was watching her cooking. Now, I cook dinner for my parents every time I go home [to France].”

For the first Sunday Table last week, the Chef picked his mother’s recipes for a three-course meal.

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Winter Salad of Fennel, Orange & Hazelnut, that the mom admittedly made on Sunday nights contained fresh fennel – shaved, braised in orange juice, and cooled in ice water. Peeled orange segments, Parmesan cheese, Italian parsley, and honey-sherry vinaigrette made this refreshing concoction juicy and spring-like, with an added crunch of toasted halved hazelnuts.

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Creative cocktails from the famed St. Regis bar paired perfectly with the elaborate salad – AZ-85 – admittedly Al Capone’s favorite (Barrel-aged Manhattan, Templeton rye, Carpano Antica bitters) and Thyme Out (Distillery No 209 gin, Lillet Blanc, Amaro, lemon, and thyme syrup).

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Cornish Game Hen main course was made for two, but could’ve fed four or more. Two crisp-roasted hens were cooked with rosemary, garlic, and seasonal wild mushrooms – king trumpets, beech, and hen-of-the-woods. Bloomin’ Onion was served on a side with French onion dip.

“Mom was basting chicken for hours,” says the Chef. “Roasted chicken with mushrooms was her traditional winter Sunday dish. For the Sunday Table, my goal is to highlight the everyday foods that people know and love.”

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The dinner ended up with a lavish dessert – White Chocolate Bread Pudding made of croissants and brioche, and embellished with dulce de leche and Jivara chocolate, with chocolate crème Anglaise on a side.

Sunday Table is offered on the last Sunday a month, with the following Sundays already in the planning stages: February 26 and March 26.

The Grill, located in the St. Regis San Francisco, began last year as a pop-up and grew to a permanent fixture at the city’s premier address for relaxed luxury and timeless elegance: 125 3rd St., San Francisco, California 94103 United States. Phone: (1)(415) 284-4000. www.starwoodhotels.com.

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Artist-In-Residence, Fairmont San Francisco

Gold and silver leaf, pastel colors applied in a variety of spontaneous brushstrokes, and an abundance of light are the most striking characteristics of the Michelle Sakhai’s oil paintings currently on view at the Fairmont San Francisco. Born in New York, the artist is a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with minor in Fine Arts from Hofstra University and a Master of Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She divides her time between San Francisco and New York, painting and exhibiting, and uses references to the teachings of Transformative Art and its focus on light and energy in her work.

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Sakhai is the newest participant of the hotel’s Artist-in-Residence program launched in 2013 with the local artist John Waguespack.

“Fairmont San Francisco has supported and inspired artistic talent within our community and from around the world for more than a century,” said Paul Tormey, Regional Vice President and General Manager of Fairmont San Francisco. “We are honored to partner with Michelle Sakhai, whose stunning work complements the hotel’s spirit of classic-meets-contemporary style.”

Fairmont San Francisco’s Artist-in-Residence program with Sakhai offers experiential package options and promotions for art and luxury aficionados.

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THE ART COLLECTOR’S PENTHOUSE SUITE EXPERIENCE

To celebrate its 2017 Artist-in-Residence program, Fairmont San Francisco offers art enthusiasts the unique opportunity to pair an once-in-a-lifetime stay in Penthouse Suite whose guests have included President John F. Kennedy, Prince Charles of Wales, Mick Jagger and Tony Bennett; with the purchase of an original painting by Michelle Sakhai.

The 6000-square-foot Penthouse Suite features three large bedrooms, a living room with grand piano, a formal dining room, a kitchen, a two-story circular library crowned by a rotunda where a celestial map is rendered in gold leaf against a sapphire sky, a billiard room covered in Persian tile from floor to vaulted ceiling, and a terrace with sweeping views of San Francisco. The collector will especially appreciate The Penthouse Suite’s impressive art collection featuring original works by contemporary artists, including David Hockney.

“Art Collector’s Penthouse Suite Experience” includes a one-night-stay in the famed Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse Suite; an original commissioned painting by Michelle Sakhai; breakfast for up to six guests served in the Penthouse Suite; Artist-in-Residence meet and greet (based on availability); a commemorative book showcasing Michelle Sakhai’s latest works. The rate for this special package is $28,000 plus tax per night through Feburary 28, based on availability. To reserve this exceptional package, please call (415) 772-5489.

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THE ART ENTHUSIAST PACKAGE

Fairmont San Francisco highlights its Artist-in-Residence program with Michelle Sakhai by extending a limited-time offer for art appreciators to experience the best of San Francisco’s world-famous art museums while staying at the city’s Grand Dame hotel. Celebrating San Francisco’s diverse selection of art attractions, the “Art Enthusiast” package includes a one-night stay in luxurious accommodations; a pair of VIP tickets to the de Young Museum; Artist-in-Residence meet and greet (based on availability), including two complimentary cocktails/wine; a commemorative book showcasing Michelle Sakhai’s latest works. Starting at $489 plus tax per night Fairmont San Francisco’s “Art Enthusiast Package” is valid through February 28, 2017, based on availability. Please note de Young Museum is closed on Mondays.  For more information or to book package, please call (415)772-5489.

Since 1907, The Fairmont has served as the San Francisco residence for U.S. presidents, world leaders and entertainment stars. The landmark hotel offers 592 newly-renovated guest rooms and suites, three distinctive restaurants, a health club and easy access to the city’s most popular attractions. Fairmont San Francisco is located at 950 Mason St., San Francisco. For reservations, please call 1-800-441-1414 or visit www.fairmont.com/san-francisco.

The symbol of upscale hospitality, and the epitome of elegance and good taste, St. Regis San Francisco recently added a new attraction to its already well-loved and popular with out-of-town guests and city dwellers alike St. Regis Lobby Lounge. This new attraction is called, The Art of Tea, and presents the famed skyscraper hotel’s modern take on the sophisticated tradition of English tea time.

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Historians insist that while the custom of drinking tea in China started millennia ago, and in England – in the 1660s (by King Charles II and his wife the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza), the afternoon tea as we know it was introduced to the society by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840.

The fascinating backstory goes as follows, “The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter (some time earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread) and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.

This pause for tea became a fashionable social event. During the 1880’s upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing room.”

Later on, the afternoon tea tradition was adopted by the gatekeeper of the old New York establishment, and the major patron of St. Regis New York, Caroline Astor, who entertained her close friends there.

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Very fittingly, The Art of Tea is served in the lavishly furnished and decorated with wall-size murals St. Regis Lobby Lounge that would rival the best-appointed drawing rooms, indeed. While the traditional afternoon tea consists of freshly-brewed teas grown in India or Ceylon, and an array of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and miniature cakes and pastries, the St. Regis version offers so much more! The innovative interpretation by the Executive Chef Franck Desplechin and the Executive Pastry Chef Mie Uchida includes locally sourced seasonal products and teas from around the world.

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The guests might start their St. Regis tea experience with a glass of Schramsberg sparkling wine from Napa Valley, graciously poured by the Restaurant and Bar Manager, Daniel Spingler.

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The tea selection includes black, herbal, green, white, and fruit teas, with the most notable examples of custom-blended Flowery Earl Grey – light-body, uplifting, with floral notes, and Organic Emperor’s Jasmine – delicate golden with bright palate.

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The accompanying food is divided into Savory and Sweet sections. The former includes heirloom tomato waffle cone; porcini mushroom macaron; Santa Barbara Spot prawn slider; and Vande Rose ham croque madame with quail egg and truffle béchamel.

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The latter – huckleberry & blueberry pie shooter; red berry gateau opera with Valrhona Jivara chocolate and hazelnut biscuit; Meyer lemon tower with citrus marshmallow and smoked sea salt; and deconstructed crispy fig scones with dark chocolate glaze.

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For years, St. Regis Lobby Lounge has been a sought-after place to lunch, dine, lounge around with a signature cocktail, or indulge in a late night bite. Now, with the addition of the tea service, its charm becomes complete, and irresistible.

The Art of Tea is served every day from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. by reservation only. Reservations must be made 24 hours prior and for parties up to 4 people by contacting the Grill Restaurant at 415.284.4188.

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Lobby Lounge Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 12:00pm – Midnight; Friday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 1:00am. Food served daily 12:00pm – Midnight. The Art of Tea served daily from 2:00pm – 4:00pm. Reservations required.

St. Regis San Francisco is located at 125 Third Street, San Francisco, California, 94103. More information at: www.stregis.com.