I was recently flattered with an invitation to attend the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group luncheon on June 29th, an honor I willingly accepted. The event was held at their newly refurbished Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, located in the heart of the city's financial district. I was excited to attend the luncheon because I'd never actually been to Mandarin Oriental hotel but had always heard about how wonderful it was. And wonderful it is indeed...
Ok, I have to admit that I was nervous going into this. It was my first solo gig. I have been fortunate enough to accompany my husband (Ward Kadel of Vinopanion & Winelog) to many wine and food events in the past, but this time, much to his dismay, he was unable to get out of his day job to make an appearance. I was determined to go it alone, get myself out there, get chatting and perhaps make a few new connections through the good folks of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel group. I'm so glad I took that leap because the experience was well worth the nerves, through and through. I was immediately embraced as part of the media covering the invite only luncheon in the customary Mandarin Oriental fashion- warm handshakes, friendly greetings and genuine interest abounded that day as I made my way through a very large sea of MO general managers, clients and executives.
About the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco... "Celebrating it's 25th anniversary, 158 room Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco is located in the heart of the city and offers unparalleled panoramic views of the bay and beyond from the top 11 floors of San Francisco's third tallest building, 345 California Center. Having recently completed an extensive refurbishment with the addition of Brasserie S&P restaurant and bar, the hotel is consistently ranked among the world's top hotels by leading authorities. Features include Travel + Leisure World's Best Hotels award 2011, the CondeNast Traveler Gold List 2011, U.S News & World Report's Best Hotels in the USA, Institutional Investor's World's Best Hotels 2011, and is one of Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report's 2011 top 20 City Hotels in the World."
The hotel itself is rather unassuming from the outside, but once you are inside you notice the sleekness of the beautiful, tasteful design. A luxurious stone lobby opens up to the hotel's new restaurant, Brasserie S&P- a light-filled, subtle and intimate dining room.
"At Brasserie S&P, new Executive Chef Adam Mali will offer reinvigorated menus of brasserie-style, San Francisco cuisine and refined cocktails complemented by a diverse wine program. Named in part for the hotel's location at Sansome and Pine Streets in the heart of the financial area, the 90-seat restaurant blends seamlessly with the bar to offer a lively, sophisticated yet informal dining experience. Sure to become a favorite with discriminating San Franciscans and savvy travelers alike, the stylish restaurant features floor-to-ceiling windows, affording bustling street views and olive burl wood mill work with cozy leather banquettes and velvet lounge chairs, sitting atop boldly designed carpeting."
The hubbs and I will be dining at Brasserie S&P this weekend with many thanks to the unfailing courtesy of Edwina Kluender, Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco's Director of Communications. Edwina was a delightful host and was very enthusiastic about the restaurant itself and my sampling of the Brasserie S&P menu. I very much look forward to dining with them and will most certainly publish my experience at the brasserie soon after. As Edwina expressed during my visit, Brasserie S&P is already receiving high marks from the locals, I can't wait to try it out.
The start of the luncheon began with a smile, thanks to Mandarin Oriental SF Communications Manager Joseph Viray's friendly welcome. We had been playing tag over email for quite a while so it was very nice to finally meet him in person- an exuberant, warm individual. After a short chat with Joseph, I moved onward into the conference area and was greeted with a glass of chardonnay- served cool and in beautiful stemware. The room was filled with well appointed people, all conversing in a meet-and-greet style, seemingly aware of who's who amongst themselves. Right away I was awestruck by the massive floral arrangement that served as the room's centerpiece. A gigantic bundle of gorgeous roses and orchids, taller than myself, crowned a classic elegant table. Red, yellow, orange, magenta and bright fervent green, all pouring out of a refined ceramic vase the size of a small car. Gorgeous.
As I maneuvered my way through the crowd, I was approached by two women, excited to make and introduction. Linda Beltran, Director of Communications for Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. and Emilie Pichon, Public Relations Manager for Mandarin Oriental, Paris. I was relieved and refreshed by their greeting and enjoyed their company and conversation for the majority of the day. Overwhelmed by their kindness, it's easy to see why Mandarin Oriental hotels are known for their customer relations. The people, attitude and diverse personalities of MOHG management have solidified my belief in their company-wide aim, "... to be recognized widely as the best global luxury hotel group, providing 21st century luxury with oriental charm in each of its hotels." It is no wonder that "the Group regularly receives international recognition and awards for quality management and legendary service hospitality" as well.
Later in the afternoon we were invited to visit the hotel's sky terrace, located in the clouds on the 40th floor, to sample cocktails and appetizers specially put together for the event. It was exciting to exit the elevator to one of the most breathtaking views of San Francisco I'd ever seen. The sky terrace is only used for distinguished, intimate occasions- I was fortunate enough to get to experience literally being in the clouds. Out on the terrace was a slick bar, being overseen by Beverage Manager and Mixologist, Priscilla Young. Priscilla and her team were a joy to meet, full of knowledge on the latest trends and bar standards.
"The team has designed a comprehensive Gin and Tonic menu to showcase the spirit's versatility and robust personality, setting the standard for gin-centric bars in the city. The ranges of gins offered are chosen based upon flavor and aroma to highlight the refined quality of the gin when combined with other ingredients. To complement this new offering, the team created Sensei, the name given to the house-made infusions and tonics, an essential component in building Brasserie S&P's high-quality signature gin & tonic cocktails."
Priscilla was kind enough to share her divine recipe for the day that guests enjoyed thoroughly, the Georgia Peach Gin &Tonic:
1 1/2 Junipero gin
3 oz. Q tonic
1/4 rose water syrup
1/4 lime juice
4 dashes of Fees Brother peach bitters
Over ice in a highball
Garnished with two small rose petals and two thin slices of peach.
"Equally impressive will be Brasserie S&P's wine selection. Reflecting California's vast Sonoma Coast, Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco and Hirsch Vineyards third Pinot Noir vintage, Prelation 2010, adds another fine palate to the Group's selection of preexisting vintages. Honoring the Group's inspired sommeliers, chefs and mixologists, the name "Prelation" means to "set one above the other."
Along with a fantastic array of libations, the hotel provided some delectable tapas style dishes for guests to nosh on. Finding a long enough break between conversations to snap up one of these tasty tidbits wasn't easy, but I was certainly on mission to try as many as possible when a quiet moment arose. Making the rotations:
Mini Beef Slider with Caramelized Onions
Mini Steamed Pork Bun
Eggplant Caponata on Crostini
House Made Chips with Truffled Creme Fraiche
Grilled Chicken with Miso Soy Glaze on Skewers
Dungeness Crab Louis on Endive Leaf
Drake's Bay Oysters
Assorted Petit Fours
I believe the beef sliders were probably the biggest winners- every time I saw a platter of them, I noticed it would be empty 5 minutes later, so I never got to try the tiny sandwich but they looked yummy. That's ok, I managed to snag one of the coveted Dungeness Crab Louis on Endive Leaf which was divine, such a delicate, savory bite. The Steamed Pork Bun was the most unusual treat, with it's almost marshmallow-like texture and BBQ flavored insides. The Grilled Chicken Skewers were delicious and easily manageable to eat while walking around. The Drake's Bay Oysters were unbelievably large, succulent and fresh.
It sounds funny to say, but I really wish I would have photographed the food more at the event. I found myself too busy making new friends that I rarely had the time to set down my belongings and snap some photos of the individual appetizers as they passed through the party.
Upon my return to Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco for dinner this weekend, I plan on taking plenty of foodie photographs for my review of Brasserie S&P. I will also cover more of the restaurant details, like the background on new Executive Chef Adam Mali and his experiences throughout the culinary world. I am assured it will be "one of the most enjoyable and lively dining experiences" for us- the anticipation is building up!
A huge thank you goes out to the staff of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. San Francisco Communications Manager Joseph Viray, San Francisco Director of Communications, Edwina Kluender and Beverage Manager Priscilla Young... Your kindness and hospitality is greatly reflected in your work. I thank you for letting me be a part of your wonderful Mandarin Hotel, San Francisco experience.
Happy Friday to all,
Here's some basic Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco info:
222 Sansome Street
San Francisco, CA 94104-2792, USA
· Telephone: +1 (415) 276 9888
· Toll-free Reservations: + 1 800 622 0404
· Facsimile: +1 (415) 276 9304
· Online Reservations - With Immediate Confirmation
· Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Telephone: +1 (415) 276 9888
· Facsimile: +1 (415) 433 0289
· Email: email@example.com
Sales & Catering
· Telephone: +1 (415) 276 9606
· Facsimile: +1 (415) 986 5667
· Email: firstname.lastname@example.org