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2011 Holiday at the St. Francis

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The historic St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco was the venue for Hillsborough’s holiday event on December 2, 2011. Built in 1904 by the Crocker family and reconstructed after the 1906 Earthquake, the St. Francis has become a “landmark blend of history, ambiance and setting”. It is the only downtown hotel on Union Square among many well-known establishments.

Upon entering the Reception area, photographs were taken and later processed and framed to be given out at the end of the event. This unique idea was that of Vice Gastronomique Eugene Daly who organized the holiday event this year. 

Tables with potted Christmas tree centerpieces were set for the 64 members and guests in an elegant dining room on the 12th floor overlooking the skating rink in Union Square. Bailli Lois Gogol welcomed everyone and guests were introduced. Special guests were Bailli Provencial PNW Michael Martello and his wife Gayle. 

Catering Director Bill Hedgepeth arranged this fabulous event with the aid of Executive Chef Bernd Liebergesell. The excellent banquet was prepared by Chef de Cuisine Thomas Rimpel and his crew.

Dinner started with a delicious butternut squash soup with cinnamon cream cauliflower flan. This was pared with White Oak Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2009.

Next was a creative Dungeness crab salad with English cucumbers, Kara-Kara orange, lemon oil with champagne dressing decorated with endives. The cucumbers and orange added an interesting tastiness to the crab salad. White Oak Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2009 was pared excellently with this course.

Roasted veal tenderloin “farci” was the main course, served with fingerling potatoes, delicate squash and carrot puree – Glace de Viande. The puree was in a potato cup. This course was complimented by BV Georges de Latour Cabernet 2005.

Dessert was a “die for” creamy szechuan pepper chocolate fondant with pistachio financier and white chocolate yogurt mousse. Far Niente Dolce was served, a gift of Ethel and Eugene Daly. 

Throughout the dinner, a 3-piece string orchestra played soft music.  In between courses, people danced.  It was a very enjoyable evening in a place that has the grandeur of the past. As one left the hotel, people were still enjoying the special holiday decorations in the hotel lobby and trolley cars were still going up and down the hills.