Dining Outside at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley’s AprÃ¨s Village Pop-Up
With festive string lights overhead, holiday trees everywhere, a sleek fire pit blazing away, and even a seemingly light dusting of snow falling, one of my best friends and I recently spent a relaxing winter getaway — without actually really trekking anywhere beyond Silicon Valley.
That’s because the second annual winter pop-up at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley in East Palo Alto is so incredibly transportive that you will feel like you’re on holiday, fresh off the slopes at Whistler or Banff in British Columbia.
The AprÃ¨s Village is set up on the terrace of Quattro, the hotel’s signature restaurant. It’s open from now through Feb. 26, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Mondays through Thursdays, it’s available for private bookings.
The spot is truly a sight to behold, as I found when I was invited in as a guest last week.
The AprÃ¨s Village is fashioned into its own separate space, complete with a Sweet Shoppe at one end that’s modeled after a European Christmas market stall, where you can purchase Pastry Chef Guillermo Soto’s truffles, macarons, signature chocolate bars, and freshly made doughnuts.
The secluded spot is done up with faux-fur adorned chairs, its own bar, and plenty of heaters if you get a chill. It also sports its own menu inspired by winter-time dishes from other Four Seasons properties that actually do get real snowstorms.
There’s are cozy, open-air wooden chalets with sofas for larger parties to rent that even sport a big screen that plays a loop of a roaring fire. We were seated at a table nearby, where at one point, seeing fluffy particles floating through the air, I mused to my dining companion, “Is that snow??!” Sure enough, there are snow machines that can indeed send out a delicate flurry.
If you need more to put you in the winter wonderland mood, the AprÃ¨s Hot Cocoa ($26) will surely do the trick. The cocoa is spiked with Tullamore Dew whisky and Green Chartreuse for added warmth going down, and gets a big fluff of cherry whipped cream for extra indulgence.
The Chilled to the Bones ($22) is smooth and invigorating with amaro, Buffalo Trace, Oloroso sherry, Benedictine, and green tea. It gets a fancy garnish of a big cube of ice etched with a “Q” for Quattro.
The food is hearty, mountain-inspired fare made for sharing. You just better like cheese, too, because it’s in almost every dish.
That includes the raclette ($38), of course. A pan of torched raclette cheese rests above votive candles to keep it melty. Should your candles go out, which ours did at one point, a server will be on the spot before you know it, relighting them for you. On the board is an assortment of creamy potatoes, fresh apple slices, paper-thin slices of Finocchio salumi, cornichons, and pickled pearl onions. Spread some of the gooey cheese on any of them like you’re refueling after a long day of skiing in the Alps.
The smoked salmon rosti ($21) are individual crisp, golden truffled potato nuggets draped with smoked salmon and finished with creme fraiche.
The Wagyu brisket sliders ($35) come three to an order, with the juicy patty piled high with pancetta, grilled onions, roasted tomato jam, and black garlic aioli. They are small and dangerously good.
More fries shine in the smoked chicken poutine ($29), a mound of them with Beecher’s cheddar cheese curds and shards of very tasty smoked chicken strewn overtop. Underneath is an intensely savory Cognac gravy, the likes of which you only wish would adorn your next meatloaf at home.
From the regular Quattro menu, the chef also sent out treat for us to try, the summer truffle tagliolini ($46). The restaurant makes all its own pasta by hand. The black truffle was shaved at tableside over the thin, supple ribbon pasta, adding a big dash of warm earthiness to the creamy, rich dish.
For dessert, you can’t pass up the homemade S’mores for two ($32) that comes with its own little Sterno grill so you can torch your own vanilla bean marshmallow before sliding it onto graham crackers with pearl-adorned chocolate bark. These graham crackers are thick, crunchy, and so buttery, much more like scrumptious shortbread.
If you’re feeling sporty, there’s a new feature this year — a synthetic ice rink, open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. Reservations for 45-minute sessions, which include special skates needed for the special surface of this rink, are $30 for adults and $20 for kids, ages 6 to 12.
Additionally, on Sundays, from Nov. 28 through Jan. 16, AprÃ¨s Village will also show outdoor films at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., as long as no rain is in the forecast. For reservations, call: (650) 566-1200 or go to OpenTable.
It all makes for the semblance of a splendid getaway — without having to actually go away. What could be more convenient than that?