Category Archives: Enticing Events

Gilda’s Salon in San Francisco: Where Art and Food Converge

Spicy pork two ways, a dish at Gilda's Salon that was inspired by a Southeast Asian painted tapestry at the Asian Art Museum
Spicy pork two ways, a dish at Gilda’s Salon that was inspired by a Southeast Asian painted tapestry at the Asian Art Museum

At Gilda’s Salon in San Francisco’s Proper Hotel, artistry on the plates has taken on a whole new meaning.

That’s because the special dinner series held in this swank room every other Friday night was inspired by actual artwork on display at the nearby Asian Art Museum.

Executive Chef Jason Fox and his team created this provocative 10-course menu after a fun fact-finding trip to the museum to study its exhibits.

This particular menu will be available at least through the end of July, at which time it is expected to change. It is $150 per person with an optional $60 pairing with Napa’s Ashes & Diamonds wines.

I had a chance to experience it last week, when I was invited in as a guest.

The lobby of the Proper Hotel in San Francisco.
The lobby of the Proper Hotel in San Francisco.
Gilda's Salon -- the setting for these special dinners.
Gilda’s Salon — the setting for these special dinners.

Designer to the stars Kelly Wearstler is responsible for the maximalist style of the hotel, where a bevy of colors, artwork, and eye-popping patterns somehow come together in harmony.

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Dandelion Chocolates’ 12 Nights of Chocolate

Chocolate braised lamb pierogies by Sarah Rich at "12 Nights of Chocolate.''
Chocolate braised lamb pierogies by Sarah Rich at “12 Nights of Chocolate.”

Could there be a more wonderful way to spend an evening than indulging in chocolate, chocolate, and more artisan chocolate?

That’s just what Dandelion Chocolates’ annual “12 Nights of Chocolate” is all about. The San Francisco bean-to-bar chocolate factory celebrates everything chocolate in its 9th year of this festive event that benefits the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.

I had the opportunity to experience night #3 when Dandelion’s pastry chef, Stephen Durfee, kindly invited me as his guest.

From the moment you open the door of the 16th Street factory, you are enveloped in the hedonistic aroma of chocolate everywhere. If only my house could smell this way all the time.

The setting for the evening.
The setting for the evening.

The factory’s loading dock was transformed into a wonderland for the event with chandeliers hanging over three long tables set with a line of illuminated candles. A piano player provided welcoming cheer next to decorated holiday trees.

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A Food Gal Contest: Your Chance To Win A Pair of Calistoga’s “Winter in the Wineries Passports”

Bennet Lane Winery is one of the participants in Calistoga's "Winter in the Wineries'' Passport program. (photo courtesy of Visit Calistoga)
Bennet Lane Winery is one of the participants in Calistoga’s “Winter in the Wineries” Passport program. (Photo courtesy of Visit Calistoga)

Psst, in case you didn’t know it, winter is an ideal time to visit Wine Country.

After all, it’s less crowded, and all those twinkling holiday lights adorning streets and winery entrances sure make everything extra festive.

What’s more, you can take advantage of the 14th annual “Winter in the Wineries Passport” program by Visit Calistoga.

The $75-per-person passport lets you receive complimentary wine tastings at 19 participating wineries in Calistoga, Lake County, Pope Valley, and St. Helena, from Dec. 2 to Feb. 4, 2024. That’s more than $750 worth of tastings alone.

Among the wineries involved are: Clif Family Winery and Farm, Clos Pegase, Merryvale Vineyards, and Raymond Vineyards.

Additionally, the passport gives you access to special discounts from participating hotels, spas, and boutiques. It makes for an ideal time for a getaway or to do some holiday shopping for gifts.

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Sunday Brunching At Be.Steak.A

Toad-in-a-hole -- one of the many, many offerings at Sunday brunch at Be.Steak.A.
Toad-in-a-hole — one of the many, many offerings at Sunday brunch at Be.Steak.A.

Our strategy?

To divide and conquer — and not end up looking and feeling like a beached whale and her mate at the end of it.

Our mission?

To spend last Sunday morning indulging in the upscale buffet brunch at Campbell’s Be.Steak.A.

Yes, it was an assignment that my husband and I accepted eagerly after Chef-Owner Jeffrey Stout invited us in as his guests.

The brunch, which the restaurant started offering about a year ago, is available Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at $115 per person. Seatings are available both in the dining room and outside on the patio.

The dining room just before opening on Sunday morning.
The dining room just before opening on Sunday morning.
The buffet's cold dishes.
The buffet’s cold dishes.
Four types of roe to top blini.
Four types of roe to top blini.

When it comes to buffets, everyone has a game plan. Some people like to try a little bit of every single thing. Some key in on the most expensive dishes first and foremost. Many keep piling their plates over and over until deep remorse sets in as the waistband digs in mercilessly.

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“Grill Takeover” Time At Eataly’s Terra

Lamb tongue with horseradish potato foam at Terra's first "Grill Takeover'' dinner collaboration.
Lamb tongue with horseradish potato foam at Terra’s first “Grill Takeover” dinner collaboration.

Terra restaurant at Silicon Valley’s Eataly is getting taken over — in a fun and delicious way.

The rooftop restaurant inside Eataly at Westfield Valley Fair shopping Center in San Jose just launched a “Grill Takeover” series in which it partners with a local restaurant for a one-night collaborative dinner.

I was fortunate to be invited as a guest to the inaugural one last week with San Mateo’s Pausa restaurant.

The event featured Eataly Silicon Valley’s Chef Antonio Giordano and Pausa’s Chef Andrea Giuliani teamed on a four-course meal that was $125 per person.

Eataly Silicon Valley's Chef Antonio Giordano and Pausa's Chef Andrea Giuliani with Terra's general manager.
Eataly Silicon Valley’s Chef Antonio Giordano and Pausa’s Chef Andrea Giuliani with Terra’s general manager.

The dining room was full for this sold-out event. For those still cautious about dining indoors, you’ll be glad to know that Terra’s dining room is practically outdoors. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading to the outside dining terrace are left open. Moreover, the ceiling itself is slatted to allow for plenty of air flow.

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