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