Thursday, November 19, 2009


San Francisco's historic Palace Hotel is 100 years old this year. Actually, it is more than 100 years old but it was destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake and Fire and the rebuilt Palace is what is 100 years old. December 15, 1909, is the date the rebuilt Palace opened its doors.

In celebration of the the 100 years, the Palace has been featuring a two-course lunch on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays in the beautiful Garden Court dining room. The special lunch is in conjunction with San Francisco City Guides' regularly-scheduled tours of the Palace. While the City Guides tours will continue indefinitely (they are free; just show up), the $19.09 lunch will end at the end of December.

Harriet, who is a City Guides tour guide, and I did the lunch today. Since I've been on the hotel tour, I did not do it again, but highly recommend it for its history and for the behind-the-scenes looks at the hotel that only those on the tour get to see.

No matter how often I enjoy a meal or afternoon tea in the Garden Court, I am always awed by the elegance of this large dining room with its stained glass dome and Austrian crystal chandeliers.

The first course choices were San Francisco Cioppino, Chicken Croissant Sandwich, or a Green Salad with Truffled Tremor Goat Cheese.

I ordered the Cioppino a sort of Italian version of Bouillabaisse. My generous serving included lots of Dungeness Crab, Scallops, Salmon, and Halibut, all in a warm Fennel Tomato Broth.

Harriet's Chicken Salad Sandwich was garnished with sliced fresh fruit.

Dessert was a Chocolate Mousse made with Ghirardelli chocolate and garnished with whipped cream, berry purée, and a single fresh raspberry.

It was so rich that we both took home half our dessert.

The Palace's 100 Year Anniversary lunch is so popular that Harriet and I had reserve several months in advance.

With the Holidays and vacations coming up as we approach the end of the year, I advise reserving as soon as possible. You can telephone the hotel or make your reservation on the Palace's web site. I promise an excellent meal, attentive service, and a feel for the elegance of times past.

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