SF Queen Anne Dec 10, 1999

My stepson, Michael, works at a San Francisco Hotel Reservation group and we use him to find the most interesting and different hotels available, also those with reasonable rates. Again, Michael found a once in a life time grand re-opening reduced rates for one week event at the Queen Anne at Sutter and Octavia which would prove to be one of favorite places to stay.

We left town after my son passed his driver's test, which must have been enough of a relief to have entered it in the journal. We arrived at the Queen Anne and moved into our room, #416. A delightful place is an understatement. Suffice it to say I have rolls and rolls and rolls of film of that building, inside and out. Four stories of victorian architectural delights and decorating masterpieces. Add a ghost ot two and you have my idea of heaven. And it's exterior is painted pink. How much better can life get? Their website is at http://www.queenanne.com/.

This has to be one of my favorite, most memorable trips to San Francisco. This trip was our first year anniversary (we met November 9, 1998), and David made sure each step of the way was a delight by taking me to the L'Entrecote de Paris (Cafe de Paris) on Union Street between Webster and Buchanan for dinner. Can you spell spoiled? My notes read "Salad, napkin, piano, singing, maitre'd, service, pictures, steak, salmon." This was also before we started actively rating restaurants with numbers and this experience might have been the very start of it.

First of all, it's an old style place, old manners, old style, and just proper as all get out. When you are seated, the maitre'd places the napkin in your lap for you. That took me by surprise as it has been years since I had visited a restaurant of that class. The salad was unspeakable. A small complete head of butter lettuce is placed on a plate, the stem healthily cut off, covered with the most delightful light and sweet vinegarette dressing I have ever tasted.

I believe the main course was next. David ordered steak, but this was not an ordinary steak. It is served on a platter that is placed on a heating candle (another word for this?) smothered in a herb sauce. The waiter then proceeds to not only place a serving of steak on David's plate, he cuts it up for David and adds a touch of sauce. You can cut the steak with a fork and David's face at his first bite made me grovel and beg for a piece. Fresh hot and perfectly cooked French Fries are served continuously. If we had been at home, I honestly believe David would have licked the platter clean. I would have.

My salmon was, well, hmmm...oh dear.....phenominal. Each and every single bite was savored for as long as possible. Marinated in a sweet Saki, the section had sesame seeds crushed on it, was adorned by peeled Saki soaked ginger, and served on a bed of angel gair pasta with a sweet dark sauce poured delicately over the whole thing. Pure heaven.

Service was most attentive as all you had to do was to look up from the table and someone was at your side. The owner, Alexander, sang delightfully accompanied by a piano player. We understand this is a popular spot where students from the San Francisco Academy of Performing Arts perform a variety of musicals and Broadway scores.

If there is a four star restaurant in our past, this is it. Food, service, atmosphere counts as three, unless I give two points for the food but David says I have to stay within the limits of the original rules, one point per factor. While it is a bit pricey (bring a hundred dollar bill or more) you get what you pay for, which does not merit a point. We left feeling gastronomically content, pampered and laughing.

The following day was filled with Starbucks, a French guy and a conversation about money (Lord, how we forget what these notes meant), Chinatown for soy, incense and chili sauce then off to the Wharf to feed the seagulls, sealions and a seafood lunch. A stop at Cost Plus for three sari's and some Christmas shopping for the kids and the weekend sadly ended.

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