Archive | Travel

AMERICAN’S FAVORITE CITY THIS YEAR? – San Francisco

Conde Nast Traveler 20th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards ranks San Francisco as the “Best-of-the-Best”. San Francisco has earned the number one spot among US Cities for the 18th consecutive year.

tidal-power-good-newsom-4.jpg

Mayor Newsom announced today that San Francisco has again taken top honors asthe country’s number one city.

Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, considered as one of the world’s top travel and destination guides, has ranked the city of San Francisco as the top travel destination among US Cities for the 18th consecutive year.

San Francisco has garnered the number one spot 18 out of the 19 years the magazine has conducted its reader’s poll. In its 20th annual Readers’ Choice Awards to be featured in next month’s edition, approximately 28,000 readers choose San Francisco as their top travel destination.

“This is an exceptional honor that speaks volumes to the genuine hospitality visitors experience while visiting our City,” noted the Mayor.

“San Francisco is proud of its diversity that keeps visitors comingback year after year.”

San Francisco was followed by New York City and Charleston, SC in the Top Cities – United StateS category.

Each city was judged according to specific criteria such as ambiance, friendliness, culture/sites, and restaurants, lodging and shopping.

Full details will be published in the November issue of Conde Nast Traveler available on newsstands on October 25th.

Conde Nast Traveler Magazine is known for its insider travel tips, well-respected writers, and beautiful pictorials featuring some of the most scenic and inviting places in the world to visit.

The magazine does not accept free travel and accommodations, and its correspondents, as far as possible, travel anonymously.

The annual Reader’s Choice Awards are voted on by readers who rank what they consider to be the best-of-the-best in the world of travel including islands, cities, resorts, hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and rental car companies.

See Related: NEWSOM CAMPAIGN

See Related: TRAVEL

See Related: LOCAL POLITICS

sentinel-new-logo-504-pixels.jpg
THE INSIDER JOURNAL REACHING THOSE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN STAGE, FILM, FINE ARTS, POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE
CREATE YOUR ADVERTISEMENT NOW

See Related: SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL TEAM MEMBERS ACKNOWLEDGED AS EXPERT IN THEIR FIELD

Continue Reading

FAMED ORIGINAL JOE’S RESTAURANT not operational following morning fire

original-joes.jpg

Customers enjoying lunch at Original Joe’s in San Francisco today were rushed from the restaurant mid-meal when a fire broke out, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.

The Italian restaurant famous for its leather booths closed after a fire in the building burned for more than an hour today and caused significant damage, Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

The flames were reported at 11:42 a.m. at Original Joe’s, located
at 144 Taylor St., according to Talmadge.

The blaze appeared to have ignited in a flue at the restaurant and forced firefighters to attack the structure, including the hotel above, to access the burning areas, said Talmadge.

Approximately 100 firefighters battled the blaze.

They tore open the walls and roof to access the flames, according to Talmadge.

The fire was controlled by 12:50 p.m., Talmadge said.

About 10 of the 30 units in the hotel above the restaurant are uninhabitable, Talmadge said.

“The building definitely needs to be repaired and boarded up,” she added.

Talmadge said the Red Cross is assisting with at least two residents who were displaced.

No injuries were reported in the fire, Talmadge said.

ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL
pat-murphy-social-diary-175

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

DO NOT FLY SWISS AIR – SENTINEL OPINION

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND NEWS MEDIA ARE AFRAID TO CONFRONT ISLAM – SENTINEL OPINION

STRAIGHT PEOPLE NEED FALL SILENT WHEN WE SPEAK – SENTINEL OPINION

we-support-israel-4.jpg buycott-israel-house1

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon
Sign up for our Email Newsletter




Continue Reading

SIR RICHARD BRANSON black robed as Father Richard for zany party inaugurating Virgin American flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas

richard-branson.jpg
Sir Richard Branson
File Photo

BY ARI BURACK

Upstart airline Virgin America eased back the throttle on its inaugural flight today between San Francisco and Las Vegas with a lavish, zany bash featuring billionaire Sir Richard Branson, a bevy of minor celebrities, showgirls, champagne, a wedding couple and a lounge singer.

The San Francisco-based airline announced three daily flights between San Francisco International Airport and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, offering $44 one-way regular fares and $149 first-class fares.

virgin-airlines-2-1.jpg
Photo by Bill Wilson

The elaborate and often comical event, befitting the two offbeat cities, played out this morning in SFO’s International Terminal as a beaming Branson descended from an escalator dressed in blue jeans and a black priest’s cassock, a large bejeweled silver cross dangling from his neck.

“Father” Richard, as airline CEO Fred Reid introduced him, was ordained as a Universal Life Church minister in order to perform a mid-air wedding ceremony for one of the airline’s employees on today’s first flight.

The 57-year-old founder of Virgin Group, and a minority investor in Virgin America, smiled and greeted onlookers warmly as San Francisco lounge singer Mr. Lucky crooned, “It’s Branson’s way!” to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” and Las Vegas showgirls in red posed in the background.

Other attendees included Carmen Electra and Kyla Ebbert, a young woman recently removed from a Southwest Airlines flight for an outfit the airline reportedly found too revealing.
“We promise you can come dressed like that anytime,” Branson told Ebbert. “By the way,” he added, resuming his priestly duties, “you are forgiven for it.”

“We do a lot of airline events, but none of them are like this,” SFO marketing manager Jane Sullivan laughed.

Still only about two months in the air, “Virgin is still a very young baby,” Branson said, “but I think it’s done fantastically well.”

The airline plans to add two more daily roundtrip flights beginning Nov. 4.

Of his visionary Virgin Galactic program to offer suborbital spacecraft flights to the public for $200,000 per person, Branson said today the project remains on track.

The program suffered a setback during a testing accident at its Mojave facility in July in which three employees died.

“It’s still just about 18 months from launch,” Branson said.

He added that the first flight will likely take off from the Mojave desert, carried up into the atmosphere from a mother ship he plans on naming “The Spirit of Steve Fossett,” after the explorer who went missing a month ago during a flight in Nevada.

“I’ll be going up on the first flight with my parents and my children,” an exuberant Branson said. “For some reason, my wife doesn’t want to go,” he grinned.

See Related: TRAVEL

bill-wilson-cropped-160-pixels-mug.jpg
BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photographer
Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and East Bay media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past three years.

sentinel-new-logo-504-pixels.jpg
THE INSIDER JOURNAL REACHING THOSE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN STAGE, FILM, FINE ARTS, POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE
CREATE YOUR ADVERTISEMENT NOW

See Related: SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL TEAM MEMBERS ACKNOWLEDGED AS EXPERT IN THEIR FIELD

Continue Reading

SAN FRANCISCO ITALIAN NEIGHBORHOOD RUNS THE SHOW, Angels fly, and the Castro struts its stuff

pat-murphy-2-mug-candle-cigarette.jpg
BY PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Phil Stefani, a well manicured rock hard Chicago Italian American, knows neighborhood when he sees it.

Living, defending, celebrating neighborhood as only Italian descendants can exult, Stefani left Chicago behind again this year.

It is in San Francisco, Stefani told the Sentinel, where true neighborhood celebration of Italian Heritage Day is found.

Stefani joined his bloodline San Francisco neighborhood, spread half-way out onto Stockton Street, emanating from patriarch North Beach Restauraunt, tables set with best linens, full silverware complement, with white shirt and black tie waiters attending proper, towel neatly folded over shoulder, as restauraunt owner son Marco Pedroni stood parade duty making sure each passing float participant received white wine with napkin.

north-beach-restaurant.jpg

And Poppa Lorenzo Pedroni, oh Poppa, graced commentary for the exultant, the senior Pedroni frocked in white religious alb, portable michrophone used timely, properly in Poppa Pedroni’s broad hand.

Visiting Stefani succinted his hometown.

“We’re from Chicago,” Stefani deep baritoned it and stared back.

“We come to this parade every year for the past six years,” reflected Stefani.

“San Francisco does a great Heritage Parade — it’s a community parade.

“I mean, we have a big parade in Chicago which is televised, and it’s a big deal, but this is about bringing the people to the parade instead of the parade to the people.”

More than any year previous, this year’s celebration had the feel of genuine neighborhood, came the most common observation, with tables also spread onto Columbus Avenue.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, now master of not just Italian phrases but Italian accent too, sat near Poppa Pedroni’s wing, accompanied by Jennifer Siebel, in the company of Matriarch Pedroni, Newsom hopping tables to sing Happy Birthday with Poppa Pedroni to gigling October Seventhers.

And — for hours — all passing stopped to salute neighborhood heartland, as tables were abandoned for spontaneous in-the-street Mambo Italiano, children swarmed to latest float the young mayor climbed atop to toss Hersey kisses and beaded Italian Colors which don’t run, either.

Overhead, above a magical City, the Blue Angels flew angelically.

fleet-week-biplan-jet-tom-7.JPG
Photo by Tom De Stefani

fleet-week-2-3-2007.jpg
Photo by Tom De Stefani

fleet-week-tom-8.JPG
Secretary of State George Bush and United States Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) welcome the military.
Photo by Tom De Stefani

fleet-week-tom-4.JPG
California and San Francisco Chief of Protocol Charlotte Schultz and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom bid the Navy stay awhile.
Photo by Tom De Stefani

fleet-week-tom-5.JPG
Photo by Tom De Stefani

fleet-week-tom-1.JPG
Photo by David Toerge

Poppa Pedroni took the microphone on his own behalf only once.

“We live in the greatest country in the world,” intoned Lorenzo Pedtroni.

“We want to keep it this way, and please we have to work all together to keep it this way.

“This is the greatest country in the world — believe me — I’m 70-years-old and I know a little bit about it!

Newsom dismissed as irrelevant those who suggested San Francisco is anti-military.

“And that somehow this City didn’t care about the men and women in uniform — again that couldn’t be further from the truth, represented by someone like that supervisor.

“The majority of the Board of Supervisors and the majority of San Franciscans rejected that.

“I think what makes this City a great city is that we allow that speech, we allow people to have a different point of view, and that’s the ultimate expression of libery, that’s the ultimate promise of the Constitution that we can celebrate that diversity.

“But still maintain a majority position that says, ‘We value the men and women in uniform. We value Fleet Week and what it does for this City and our Naval hisjtory and heritage. We honor those who sacrificed so much, our veterans, for all of us.’

“You know, words matter and I’ve heard from the Navy and the Marines that it’s affected them — some of the rhetoric coming out of San Francisco this year.

“We’re doing our best to try to establish some foundation of support that’s been here for decades, and let them know that just because some politcal people say some things doesn’t mean that the majority of us feel that way.”

That message, too, got out to visiting sailors interspersed in the crowd.

“It’s awesome,” Ray Williams told the Sentinel.

Williams is stationed on the USS Vandergriff, rank E5-IC2.

“Everybody here has been super friendly.

“Everybody has been really receptive of the Navy.

“It’s been a great impression of your City so far — everybody’s been super friendly.”

Shipmate Arthur Neumann, rank E4-ET3, echoed Williams.

“It’s been wonderful, as he said, everybody’s been really receptive,” Neumann stated.

“Everybody’s been really friendly — it’s always nice to come to a new port, see all the people.”

Across town, the Castro Street Fair showed the world nice.

castro-fair-bill-1.JPG
Castro Street Fair showcased art and artists.
Photo by Bill Wilson

castro-fair-bill-2.JPG
Stained glass and art work part of booth at Castro Street Fair.
Photo by Bill Wilson

castro-fair-bill-3.jpg
Chris Honeysett, photographer, named Best of Show.
Photo by Bill Wilson

castro-fair-bill-4.JPG
Betty’s List founder, Dr. Betty Sullivan enjoys sitting a spell with friends during the Castro Street Fair.
Photo by Bill Wilson

castro-fair-bill-5.jpg
During the afternoon, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence sainted three police officers, Officer Jane “Saint Patroller of Privates” Warner, Sergeant Mark “Saint SWAT their Asses” Solomon, and Officer Lisa “Saint Guardian of the Hood” Frazier.
Photo by Bill Wilson

With San Francisco Police Officers right proper sainted, the San Francisco holiday weekend closed, routine in grandeur.

david-toerge-mug-september-13-2007.JPG
DAVID TOERGE
Sentinel Photographer
When David Toerge left a career in photojournalism that had spanned over twelve years and started in a new direction of commercial photography he blended the editorial style with a more corporate look. David led the way in that new style garnering many awards for his work. Communications Arts has honored him over six times. Based in San Francisco, David shoots projects on location all over the US for various corporations and a multitude of magazines and always brings back great images. He has a keen sense of light, color, and composition and delivers to his clients assignments done with passion. He has climbed bridges hundreds of feet in the air, shot in caves hundreds of feet below, dived with sharks and driven the track with Indy drivers. He has shot earthquakes and firestorms but loves walking the streets with his camera just photographing the everyday life of his city.

bill-wilson-cropped-160-pixels-mug.jpg
BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photographer
Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and East Bay media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past three years.

PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

Continue Reading

GAY FRIENDLY FLIGHTS TO SAN FRANCISCO sponsored by Southwest Airlines and San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau

gay-golden-gate-bridge.jpg

A new ad campaign launched by the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau in coordination with Southwest Airlines will attempt to increase the number of gay and lesbian travelers visiting the city, officials announced Wednesday.

The $180,000 tourism campaign will focus on advertising and marketing tactics, including ticket giveaways and informational mailers, officials said.

The Visitors Bureau will partner with Southwest, termed “the airline of gay and lesbian San Francisco,” for at least one year.

The bureau previously launched a tourism campaign for gay and lesbian couples in May, when a part of its website was dedicated to gay travel.

The website features a Gay Travel section that delineates gay-friendly neighborhoods and events for couples to explore while visiting the Bay Area. Southwest also launched a gay-friendly travel website.

“We are thrilled to partner with Southwest Airlines to welcome more gay and lesbian visitors to San Francisco,” San Francisco Visitors Bureau President Joe D-Alessandro said in a prepared statement.

See Related: TRAVEL, DINING, and STAGE

sentinel-new-logo-504-pixels.jpg
THE INSIDER JOURNAL REACHING THOSE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN STAGE, FILM, FINE ARTS, POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE
CREATE YOUR ADVERTISEMENT NOW

See Related: SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL TEAM MEMBERS ACKNOWLEDGED AS EXPERT IN THEIR FIELD

Continue Reading

TRAVELING TO MOSCOW – A boomtown at the beginning of the 21st century

moscow-2-1.jpg

Moscow night from the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski along the Moscow River. 1:30 AM. Photo: JH.

Moscow is a boomtown at the beginning of the 21st century. A boomtown amidst the ancient fortresses and centuries old buildings. There are tall cranes and construction all over this far-flung city. The lobby of the Baltschug Kempinski where we are staying is pulsating with the entreprenurial feeling. And the feeling, not so incidentally to this Westerner is easily identifiable. We call it freedom.

In the hotel lobby at four o’clock in the afternoon (high tea), it is mainly men in suits, although there are many more casually dressed in jeans and pullover sweaters that reveal their rich diets. Jeans are everywhere, on all ages, types and sizes. Jeans, as some may have forgotten, are an American invention, invented for other boomtowns in other boom times.

The men in the hotel lobby sit around in groups of two or four or six, someone occasionally smoking a cigar, and discussing. In Russian. Discussing what I cannot say. I can’t understand one word of the language. But it appears to be serious. The intent is serious. With the occasional laughter interspersed.

Cars pull up to the hotel door, just ten yards from the lobby — Mercedes, BMWs, Japanese models (no American so far), dropping off, picking up more businessmen. Occasionally there is a woman present (besides the women on the hotel staff). She often has shopping bags with her. Luxury shopping bags, that is. And she is wearing jeans too, and maybe a form fitting sweater and some jewelry, and always high heels. Her hair is often blonde or deeply hennaed or both. Women’s hair color is a big thing in Moscow, and often a combination with pink or mauvish highlights — all of it a bid for keeping up with the fashion.

The fashion for the men is more traditional. The Russians’ suits are usually boxier. And their shoes are usually black and longer in the toe, and frequently unshined and scruffy looking (although there is a bootblack often languishing just around the corner from the lobby). The very prosperous also have beautiful shoes which are shined. The cut of the Westerners’ suits are often more shaped to the form of the body, although not necessarily bespoke. The exceptionally well-dressed have no nationality, just a need to express their prosperity in style. They are the cut above.

In one corner of the lobby is a maquette of the Kempinski that is a-building in Dubai. It is fabulous and makes you daydream about living your life in luxury hotels without a care in the world. Wherever that world is. Not far from the maquette display is a grand piano where a blonde woman with an upswept hairdo plays cocktail piano and I find myself singing the words under my breath:

You must remember this,
A kiss is still a kiss;
A sigh is still a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As Time Goes By.

Yesterday was a busy one for us visitors. At eleven o’clock we were transported by van to the Kremlin for a tour. I would call it the “demystifying tour” for the Kremlin of my lifelong imagination was transformed by this tour. First of all, it is a huge tourist attraction as are our national monuments and buildings. There are also lots and lots of small children in groups. We were part of a group organized by a public relations executive Marilyn White, brought here ostensibly to report on the 3rd annual Moscow World Art Fair. The tour of the Kremlin was a perk.

A guide met us outside. A Russian woman with highly accented but excellent English; full-figured with short blond hair with mauve-ish/pinkish highlights, dressed in a trencchcoat (it has been raining a lot off and on), white blouse and small square ceramic earrings, she had a shopping bag with her also, and looked as if she might be going shopping (for some luxury items) after she finished with us.

moscow-2-2.jpg

We begin our tour walking towards the Troitskaya (Trinity) Tower, the Kremlin’s tallest tower.

moscow-2-3.jpg

Built in 1495 by Antonio Bono and Pietro Antonio Solari, the Trinity Tower was crowned with a spire similar to that of the Spasskaya Tower at the end of the 17th century and serves as the main entrance into the Kremlin complex. Chimes were added to the tower in 1686, but were destroyed in 1812 in the fires that raged around Moscow during Napoleon’s occupation of the city.

moscow-2-4.jpg

Looking towards the buildings which face the walls of the Kremlin, while walking across the stone bridge into the Kremlin.

moscow-2-5.jpg

A street inside the Kremlin; The Arsenal, just inside the Troitskaya Tower, was commissioned by Peter the Great in 1701 to store weapons and military equipment. Several canons that were captured during the Napoleonic Wars are arranged in front of the building.

moscow-6.jpg

moscow-7.jpg

moscow-8.jpg

The Senate building, opposite the Arsenal, built between 1776 and 1788 by architect Matvei Kazakov, commissioned by Empress Catherine the Great to house meetings of the Moscow branch of the Senate. The cupola sits above the building’s grand hall, which was formerly used for meetings of the USSR Council of Ministers and the awarding of Lenin Prizes.

The building also used to contain the former quarters of Lenin and Stalin’s study, under which a secret passage was discovered that may have enabled the Director of the Secret Police, Beria, to overhear the dictator’s conversations. In 1991 it became the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation, although Putin does not actually live there.

moscow-9.jpg

The Tsar Cannon cast in 1586 was originally created with the purpose of defending the Kremlin’s Savior Gate, which leads to Red Square, but the canon was never actually fired.

moscow-10.jpg

The State Kremlin Palace was built between 1959 and 1961 to host Party congresses. Its 6,000-seat auditorium now plays hosts to the Kremlin Ballet Company and various Russian pop and rock artists.

moscow-11.jpg

Patriarch’s Palace and Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles. In 1589 the estate was turned into the Patriarch’s Court when Patriarch Iov, the first Patriarch of Moscow and the newly formed Russian state, took up residence there. Subsequent residents included Patriarch Filaret, the father of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov.

moscow-12.jpg

A group of schoolchildren on the steps of The Cathedral of the Assumption.

moscow-13.jpg

The Cathedral of the Assumption was the place of the coronation of the first Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible, in 1547, and all the Emperors from 1721 onwards. Napoleon’s cavalry stabled their horses there. Legend has it that in the winter of 1941, when Nazi troops had already reached the outskirts of Moscow, Stalin gave the secret order for a service to be held in the Cathedral of the Assumption to pray for the country’s salvation; The spacious and light interior covered entirely with glowing frescoes.

moscow-14.jpg

moscow-15.jpg

Looking around Cathedral Square with the imposing turrets behind Church of the Deposition of the Robe.

moscow-16.jpg

After going through the brief security check we walked over a bridge that once spanned the Moscow River, through one of the main towers (the oldest of the fortress) onto the Kremlin grounds. The grounds are enormous and parklike, similar to a college campus with lawns, groves of trees, flowerbeds, double-laned roadways, and what the Russians call “squares” but what most Americans would regard as would-be parking lots.

Most buildings are from the 18th century or older with the exception of a very large concrete and glass building which reminded me of Lincoln Center in New York. Not surprisingly it was built around the same time as Lincoln Center. It was originally built for all the Soviet Congresses with an auditorium with a capacity for 6000 people. Today is serves many purposes and most especially as a concert hall. The concerts for children often run as often as three times a day.

Across the way is an enormous yellow building which houses government offices and a great armory originally constructed for Peter the Great. Napoleon came along and lived in the Kremlin for about a month and during that time, or soon thereafter, had the armory blown up in 1812. It was reconstructed a century later. Interestingly, at the Moscow World Art Fair, there is one dealer who sells almost exclusively Napoleonic memorabilia and works of art including busts of the French emperor.

moscow-17.jpg

Two views of Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Napoleon took a great interest in it when he captured Moscow during the campaign of 1812. On hearing that the cross on the central dome of the Cathedral of the Annunciation was made of solid gold, he immediately gave the order for it to be taken down. Unfortunately, the French leader confused the cathedral with the Bell Tower and its gilded iron cross. All attempts by Napoleon to remove the cross failed, and it was only when a Russian peasant volunteered to climb the tower that they were finally able to lower the cross on ropes to the ground. When the peasant approached Napoleon looking for a reward, Napoleon had him shot as a traitor to his own country.

moscow-18.jpg

moscow-20.jpg

Tsar Bell, the largest bell in the world, weighing in at 200 tons. Cast in 1655, but not hoisted for another 19 years, it fell to the ground and immediately shattered in the fire of 1701.

moscow-21.jpg

The Cathedral of the Annunciation, Patriarch’s Palace and Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles, and Ivan the Great Bell Tower.

moscow-22.jpg

The choristers at The Cathedral of St. Michael.

moscow-23.jpg

The Great Kremlin Palace was commissioned in 1837 by Emperor Nicholas I. The western wing of the palace features the Imperial family’s private apartments and five grandiose state reception rooms, each dedicated to one of the chivalric orders of the Empire. The ground floor of the Grand Kremlin Palace features the Imperial family’s private apartments, which have been carefully preserved as a museum to the Russian Tsarist dynasty.

Our guide led us to the square of churches just beyond this modern building, where the czars were consecrated, crowned and buried. Fifty-six Russian rulers, including Ivan the Terrible are buried there. The czars’ Moscow palace is also on this Square, great yellow and white edifice of five stories. It is there that the Russian presidents now entertain foreign dignitaries and hold receptions, but the palace is no longer permanently occupied. President Putin, for example, does not live in the Kremlin. He has several residences as president but lives mainly in a house outside of Moscow that was once occupied by Vladimir Ulanov Lenin, from which he commutes daily.

On the tour we were taken inside two of the churches — the one where the czars were crowned (and which Napoleon used for a stable and later tried to destroy) and the other where the czars were buried up to Alexander II. The last czar, as we know, was buried very unceremoniously, his body thrown, along with his family and entourage down an abandoned mineshaft in Ekaterinburg. The leadership succeeding Nicholas II, however, preserved the relics and symbols of the previous forms of leadership and religious traditions, despite the finality of its closure in the public consciousness, so that the history remains intact for all to consider.

The tragedy of Nicholas and Alexandra, like the tragedy of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, is personal but not national in the scheme of political changes. However, Mr. Gorbachev’s Perestroika reflects another course in political transformation less violent, and is a tribute to the ability of man to find other solutions for old problems. Reviewing the lives of the czars, one can see easily what a long road it’s been and how much better off the Russian people are today than their forebears were. Touring the grounds of the once foreboding Kremlin, able to see its beauty, its architecture, its religious history, one can also feel a very strong sense of the transformation that has come about just since the ending of the Soviet rule but even moreso since the fall of the autocratic system.

moscow-25.jpg

The grounds of the Kremlin.

moscow-26.jpg

moscow-27.jpg

moscow-28.jpg

Our tour was concluded after about two hours. We were told that there were several exhibitions in the Kremlin which we were free to view although it was time for us to visit the building just outside the Kremlin wall where the Art Fair was setting up for its Vernissage opening last night. The building is called The Menage. It is very old but completely restored for purposes such as last night.

It was a hub of last minute activity, putting things in place, putting down the final carpeting, adjusting the lighting. Everywhere you turned people were on cellphones or chatting with colleagues, in a rush for the big night.

We toured the place and JH photographed many of the booths. We’ve seen a number of art fairs at this stage of the game and so are able to quickly assess the differences and the styles. There were approximately 70 dealers participating in this Moscow World Fine Art Fair from Paris and Geneva and Moscow, along with jewelers from all over the world. There was a difference, however, in that this one was designed most specifically for the Russian clientele many of whom are possessors of new (and often large) fortunes. Americans are familiar with their forebears who settled the American West and California in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Their tastes run the gamut between the classic and the contemporary and there is a strong inclination for mixing both as freely as entrepreneurs mix their business interests. The whole fair reflects that freshness and newness.

After our tour and photo op, it was time to return to the hotel and deal with the lingering jet lag, which brings me to the matter of transportation around the great city of Moscow.

moscow-29.jpg

Construction abounds outside the Manege, the location of the Moscow World Fine Art Fair.

One of the problems confronting a tourist in a new city anywhere is how to get around. In Moscow, the solution for some might be a van (if you’re in a group) or a hired limousine (if you can afford it). For us it has been a taxi. Now taxis are not so plentiful in this boomtown, compared to New York where yellow cabs are everywhere all the time. Furthermore addresses in this foreign language can be almost as difficult to master as the language itself. The Kremlin, the Kempinski, the Cafe Pushkin are easy for both parties to understand. After that it’s the world of the unknown for the tourist.

The taxi is obtained in one of two ways: you can order one at the restaurant or hotel you are visiting. Or you can go out on the street and hail one down. However, unlike New York, or many American cities, there are very few cars that are marked as taxis. So you stand on the roadside and just raise your hand to hail, hoping that one of the unmarked cars passing by is an available taxi and will stop. Fortunately there are lots of them once you begin this proceess. They see you and pull over.

Then you must negotiate a price — 200 rubles, 300 rubles. The driver might say 800 rubles and you say, 500 rubles, and he may motion you to get in or turn you down. The cars we’ve ridden in are personal cars, often not in very good shape but comfortable enough for the purpose.

moscow-31.jpg

Stuck in traffic, looking through the rain-splattered window at St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square.

moscow-34.jpg

Shots of the opening night crowd at the Moscow World Fine Art Fair

moscow-35.jpg

moscow-37.jpg

moscow-38.jpg

moscow-39.jpg

Benjamin Steinitz and brother Steinitz

moscow-40.jpg

Jenie Dellos

moscow-41.jpg

Stanislas de Quercize

moscow-42.jpg

moscow-43.jpg

moscow-44.jpg

moscow-45.jpg

moscow-47.jpg

moscow-48.jpg

moscow-50.jpg

moscow-51.jpg

moscow-52.jpg

Moscow models take a break below Salvador Dali.

moscow-53.jpg

The Chanel pearls.

moscow-46.jpg

moscow-59.jpg

Exiting the Moscow World Fine Art Fair.

Last night after leaving the fair, we hailed a cab to go to an Italian restaurant called Mario’s which had a very good rating from Zagat’s. (Yes, Zagat is in Moscow too!) The first taxi that stopped didn’t know what we were talking about (“we want to go to Mario’s restaurant”). JH had written down an address but when he repeated it the taxi driver still didn’t know what he was talking about. When JH showed him the address, written in English, he couldn’t read it. So he turned us down. The second driver also couldn’t help. There was a moment (and it has occurred several times on this trip) when you realize that you are completely at the mercy of an individual who does not understand one word of your language and you do not understand one word of his. He could take you anywhere and too bad for you if he does. This did not happen, of course. Taxi drivers are interested in the same thing they are interested in in New York: get the customer to the destination, get the money and move on.

Finally a taxi came along with a driver who did not understand what we were talking about, had never heard of Mario’s restaurant or where it was located. However, he pulled out a map and a magnifying glass and started to look. Finally he said in his Russian: “ahh, Mah-ee-oo.” Yes Yes. “Ressa-awnt.” Yes yes. “Ahh,” he nodded. Then JH said: 400 rubles. He nodded again, and we were off.

It was a bit of a ride to Mario’s, moving quickly through main thoroughfares, down neighborhood streets, around corners, down some more neighborhood streets until the driver began to slow down, as if looking for it. Finally, there it was: a one-story white building with a yellow sign: Mario’s. Now, we were also told that the taxi drivers will accept rubles, or euros or dollars, and that they especially like dollars. The current exchange rate is approximately 27 rubles to a dollar. So I pulled out fifteen bucks American and asked if that would do. He was very pleased.

We were very late for our reservation (9:15 — we arrived at 10) but the staff at Mario’s was very accommodating. The place looks not unlike an Italian restaurant in Greenwich or Westchester. The menu is in Russian and Italian. I’m proficient in neither also pomodoro and tagliatelle may as well be English at this point. The waitstaff (mainly younger men) looked very American to these eyes. It was busy but not crowded. At a big round table next to us, three couples were celebrating one man’s birthday.

We both ordered a tomato, mozzarella and basil starter followed by a dish of pasta and two glasses of Vodka in chilled glasses along with some Pellegrino. At first the waiter didn’t understand when I ordered vodka. Vahd-ka. Hmmm? Finally, Woid-ka, and he smiled acknowledgement and was off.

The dinner was excellent. About fifteen minutes before finishing we asked the hostess if she could get us a taxi. Fifteen minutes later, a young man named Sergei who manages the restaurant, informed us that the taxi had arrived.

This taxi was marked: yellow with a light on top. One of the few. But when we got in, there was no meter working. So it was “the Kempinski” and “400 rubles.” Okay. Returning to the hotel, I kept looking for milestones that were familiar but it wasn’t until we passed through Red Square and the GUM that I began to feel at home once again. It had been raining briefly while we were eating dinner. On arrival at the hotel, we strolled over by the riverside where JH got that great shot of the Moscow night.

moscow-62.jpg

Mario’s manager, Sergei, in front of the restaurant.

moscow-64.jpg

Serving the birthday cake and mixing the pasta at Mario’s.

moscow-60.jpg

THE MOSCOW METRO

New York Social Diary

See Related: TRAVEL

See Related: OPEN NIGHT RED CARPET PROMENADE for the San Francisco Opera 85th Season

sentinel-new-logo-504-pixels.jpg
THE INSIDER JOURNAL REACHING THOSE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN STAGE, FILM, FINE ARTS, POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE
CREATE YOUR ADVERTISEMENT NOW

See Related: SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL TEAM MEMBERS ACKNOWLEDGED AS EXPERT IN THEIR FIELD

Continue Reading

ISRAEL RESTAURANTS among world’s best eateries

bits-and-morsels-2-1.jpg

BY JORDANA Z

Come fly with me. For the past two weeks I’ve been traveling around Israel seeing the sights and exploring its flavors. For the next two Bits and Morsels I will focus on my Israeli adventure.

I spent four days in Tel Aviv and got a small but very intense taste of the local restaurant scene. One of the things that makes Tel Aviv unique is that there are very old neighborhoods, such as Jaffo, neighboring modern cosmopolitan areas.

bits-and-morsels2-2.jpg

Top to bottom: The outdoor lobby lounge overlooking the Mediterranean, the perfect place for breakfast; My comfy room at the Hilton; Old Jaffa at night.

bits-and-morsels-2-3.jpg

bits-and-morsels-2-4.jpg

I stayed at the Tel Aviv Hilton. The Hilton is on the beach and walking distance to almost everything. One of the highlights of my day was having breakfast in the outdoor lobby lounge overlooking the Mediterranean.

For dinner, I discovered two restaurants in Tel Aviv which quickly became my favorites, Café Noir and Kai.

If you are craving chicken schnitzel then definitely head to Café Noir. The atmosphere there is as relaxed and cozy as the food is good. The best way to start a meal is with a fig martini and the chicken liver pate. Then move onto the chicken schnitzel which is served with a chilled Israeli salad. For dessert, have the crème brulee, which is meant for sharing and served in an elongated olive dish.

Kai Sushi turned out to be one of the more unique sushi experiences I’ve had. The sushi is served on a conveyor belt, so no waiters to contend with, plus you have the added bonus of seeing what your food looks like before you decide what to order. The bar at Kai is a tight fit so you can see the sushi chefs preparing everything as it goes onto the belt. Each plate is a different color representing a different price point. At the end of your dinner you simply count each colored plate and that’s the sum of your meal.

bits-and-morsels-2-5.jpg

bits-and-morsels-2-6.jpg

Above: Kai and its conveyer belt

bits-and-morsels-2-7.jpg

My favorite roll was the tuna mango roll. Simple but delicious!

bits-and-morsels-2-8.jpg

From Top: Café Noir; Fig martini with fresh figs; Chicken schnitzel; Café Noir’s crème brulee, served in an elongated olive dish; The bar scene.

bits-and-morsels-2-9.jpg

bits-and-morsels-2-10.jpg

bits-and-morsels-2-11.jpg

bits-and-morsels-2-12.jpg

bits-and-morsels-2-13.jpg

New York Social Diary – “Bits and Morsels” by Jordana Z, is an ongoing collection of information from the world of the foodies and foodblogs.

sentinel-new-logo-504-pixels.jpg
THE INSIDER JOURNAL REACHING THOSE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN STAGE, FILM, FINE ARTS, POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE
CREATE YOUR ADVERTISEMENT NOW

See Related: SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL TEAM MEMBERS ACKNOWLEDGED AS EXPERT IN THEIR FIELD

Continue Reading

TOUR DE FORKS – What could be better than dining in Italy

tour-de-forks-2-1.jpg

BY DAVID PATRICK COLUMBIA

What could be better than traveling to Italy with three in-the-know food hounds? Lisa Goldman, Melissa Joachim, and Giuseppe Ricotta don’t think anything beats that! … Which is why, for 5 years now, they’ve been leading culinary tours through Puglia, Sicily, and soon Emilia Romano. The team focuses on uncovering hard-to-find restaurants and specialty ingredients.

One such hidden treasure is a certain squid ink pasta found in Palermo. I’ve been sworn to starchy secrecy about the exact where-abouts of the primo pasta, but it’s tid-bits like that that makes Tour de Forks the number one way to travel to Italy.

tour-de-forks-2-2.jpg
Tour de Forks favorite hotel, Grand Hotel Villea Igiea, Palermo.

The tours usually last about a week and are between $5000 and $8000: a price that includes fantastic food, wine, cooking classes, accommodations, special events, and transportation within the country.

This is the ideal trip for those who want to eat well but don’t want to worry about doing the research to get the inside scoop. The best Italian restaurants are family-run, off-the-beaten path spots that often have no sign, no phone, and no way of getting in unless you know the mama.

Lisa, Melissa, and Giuseppe know many mamas and love to share the big Italian love. Besides surreptitious squid ink, they’ll feed you other Italian delicacies in the sumptuous home of a Baron and Baroness. You’ll dine at a table with a centerpiece that hails directly from Versailles. Goldman says that a successful food tour is about, “finding a balance,” so in addition to gracing the homes of royalty, you’ll head to down-home markets where farmers will wow you with fresh produce, cheese, and the likes.

tour-de-forks-2-3.jpg
Blood oranges, Capo Market, Palermo.

tour-de-forks-2-4.jpg
Fish stall, Capo Market, Palermo.

tour-de-forks-2-5.jpg
Greek Temple, Segesta.

tour-de-forks-2-6.jpg
Cloisters, Monreale.

Tour de Forks caps their tours at twelve people so whether you are at a dinner party or getting a private tour of the markets, it will always be an intimate ordeal. It’s easy to “keep people enthusiastic” with activities like visiting salt marshes, tasting artisanal salame makers, and checking out an olive oil museum. The tours are organized in such a way that no one will get too full to enjoy a single bite, by mixing adventure with relaxation, and light bites with decadent dinners.

Tour de Forks has been featured in New York Magazine, Bon Appétit, and Oggi Magazine. And famed New York City chef, Anita Lo, is a huge fan. She makes a good point about visiting a country as diverse and delicious as Italy: “You could do it on your own, but chances are, even if you have several good guide books, you’re going to be disappointed with more than just a couple of meals, and you won’t get the personalized VIP treatment you get by having a few famous, local food professionals showing you around as you do on Tour de Forks.” It’s true. Who else could show you “elite experiences customarily reserved for restaurant royalty, including jet setting to the island of Pantelleria for a Passito wine tasting or nibbling on sea urchin and bottarga – tuna caviar- while listening to the secrets of Sicily’s star chefs are all standard fare?” I’m sold!

To find out how you can sign up for the quickly filling fall 2007 trips, visit tourdeforks.com.

New York Social Diary

See Related: TRAVELING TO VENICE – A City in its Glory

See Related: DINING

sentinel-new-logo-504-pixels.jpg
THE INSIDER JOURNAL REACHING THOSE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN STAGE, FILM, FINE ARTS, POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE
CREATE YOUR ADVERTISEMENT NOW

See Related: SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL TEAM MEMBERS ACKNOWLEDGED AS EXPERT IN THEIR FIELD

Continue Reading

TRAVELING TO VENICE – A City in its Glory

Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia

venice-2-1.jpg
Disembarking at dock of the Giardini for the Venice Biennale. 6.7.07. Photo: JH.

BY DAVID PATRICK COLUMBIA

We were in Venice a couple of weeks ago, as regular NYSD readers know; ostensibly to cover the Venetian Heritage’s biennale. In its eight years of activity, Venetian Heritage has funded a number of restoration projects both in Venice and in Croatia — which was once part of the Serenissima as Venice was known when it was The Most Serene Republic of Venice (Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia).

The biennale is an opportunity for VH supporters to see, to consider and to appreciate the organization’s work. It is also another opportunity to experience the pleasure of being present in Venice. It is an extraordinary trip and we were very fortunate to be invited along to see and to learn and to enjoy (a tiny word for such an enormous experience).

venice-2-2.jpg
Hotel Europa

That week was also the time of the 52nd Venice Biennale, considered by some to be the most venerable of all the international art shows. This event drew thousands of people from from all over the globe – dealers, collectors, art historians, artists, fans, art lovers, people in the art business and art groupies. And so there was an ongoing excitement in the air. For a moment there it seemed as if all of Venice was enveloped in the Biennale We were staying in the Europa, just across the Grand Canal from the Peggy Guggenheim Museum where there were mobs of visitors attending dinners and cocktail receptions every night.

Farther down the Canal, at the Palazzo Grassi, the last great palace built at the end of the 18th century before Napoleon invaded, there was featuring an exhibition of works from the collection of French business tycoon Francois Pinault and it was a hub of social activity every night also.

The Grassi family sold the palazzo in 1840 after financial reversals. Today it is a cultural center, art gallery and museum. The interior courtyard has a 600 seat theater. Two years ago M. Pinault acquired controlling interest in the palazzo from FIAT, and now displays numerous works from his extensive art collection. On the landing on the canal was Subodh Gupta’s gigantic sulpture Very Hungry God (2006), reminding this traveler of the now famous Damien Hirst $100 million head.

The art world is not dissimilar to the world of Hollywood (in the universal sense), from my vantage point; or the business world, in that it traffics in Ego which often substitutes for a lot of other attributes that may not be readily available. It is a world about money, maybe now more than ever, and all kinds of notions of stardom — from the collector, to the curator, to the museum head, to the critic and to, last, but not least of course, the artist. It is a world of swiftly changing tastes coming together with venality and occasionally genius. You can sometimes get the impression that the artist is only there to provide fodder (and methods of exchange) for the aforementioned players whose own self-importance is never far from view.

venice-2-3.jpg
Thomas Krens arrives at the Guggenheim.

venice-2-5.jpg

Anyway, all of that energy was present in Venice on this particular week and it made for a lot of excitement, not unlike, ironically, the kind of excitement people get from the energy of New York. One night we were at the Peggy Guggenheim when Thomas Krens, the director of the Guggenheim in New York arrived, solo, by boat. The deck was briefly cleared for His Directorship and just off the dock, on the steps, the crowd was watching. Mr. Krens is one of a cadre of Ivy League educated art historians who have risen to top directorships of museums in America. Importance disembarking. These boys (mainly boys, not girls) have had a very influential hand in making museums (and contemporary art) the hot ticket that it is today.

One late morning we went over to the Giardini, a part of the island where the Biennale was set up. The director of the Biennale is Robert Storr, an American curator, critic, teacher and current dean of the Yale School of Art. The Giardini is a neighborhood in Venice that has some parkland to it. The exhibitions were divided between the Giardini (park/garden) and the Arsenale which once upon a time was the facility of the Venetian navy.

We went first to the Arsenale which is a quarter mile long brick warehouse-like structure with ceilings more than 20 feet high. The exhibitions included sculpture, videos, paintings, drawings and scenes. There was a video of a little boy in a desolate bombed-out looking neighborhood playing kickball with a human skull. The exhibition space of the Arsenale allowed a great many pieces to be displayed with very little limitation. The boy kicking the skull around stayed with me for the entire visit (and thereafter). It seemed to articulate much of what I saw and felt.

I am not an art historian or curator. My knowledge of art and art history is: lacking. So my approach is entirely based on my reaction, often emotional, to what I am seeing. Being there at this most beautifully strange planet called Venice, on the dancing greenish-turquoise Adriatic waters, amidst the trove ancient riches and luxuries, art and architecture, amidst its 21st century inhabitants and armies of tourists, and seeing a grainy video (in color) of a little boy kicking a dirtied skull around as if it were a soccer ball, was very provocative. As well as portentous. I liked being at the Biennale and in Venice. Now, and Then; it was all there for the seeing.

Afterwards in the Giardini, in the British pavilion there was an exhibition of works by a highly popular artist named Tracey Emin. Ms. Emin’s pictures are almost entirely of bodies, limbs, positioned in such a way as to focus on genitalia. “It’s all about private parts,” I said to JH. “Yes,” he replied, “and they’re not private anymore.”

Yes. They are not.

At the waterfront entrance to the Biennale, there was a sign: ‘the biennale has no position on conflict and no part in it’

venice-2-4.jpg
The walk through town to the Arsenale.

venice-2-6.jpg
Approaching the Arsenale…

venice-2-7.jpg
…and entering.

venice-2-8.jpg
Above: Mother Nature’s creations.

venice-2-10.jpg
Performance art, outdoors.

venice-2-11.jpg
Tracey Emin at the British pavilion.

venice-2-13.jpg
DPC interacts with Felix Gonzalez-Torres at the U.S. pavilion

venice-2-14.jpg
Passing by the U.S. pavilion.

venice-2-15.jpg

venice-2-16.jpg
Mary Hilliard

Leaving the exhibition we caught a waterbus back to St. Mark’s Square where the day had begun. Footsteps, laughter, voices, cathedral bells clanging out at every half hour. The musicians on the piazza beginning to warm up. And the pigeons, very aggressive, unconcerned about our presence which is often in their way.

venice-2-17.jpg
St. Mark’s Square.

venice-2-18.jpg
A true Venetian.

venice-2-19.jpg
A water taxi driver in the rear view mirror.

venice-2-20.jpg
An evening ride.

venice-2-21.jpg
The new Church of San Zaccaria, facade restored by Venetian Heritage and Stichting Nederlands Venetië Comite; the square across from the church.

venice-2-22.jpg

Later we took a ride on the gondola. I had no real desire except someone said “you must!” And so we did. Down along the narrow canals. We learned from our cell-toting gondolier that the real estate prices had been driven up so high that most Venice natives can afford to live there anymore. A floor of a house can cost a million euros and of course are occupied for only a small part of the year by their owners.

The gondolier also told us that the speedboats own the canals now and are shown special privilege by the carbinieri who tend to be overly strict with the gondoliers.

venice-2-23.jpg
Street performers and our gondolier at work.

venice-2-24.jpg

venice-2-26.jpg

venice-2-27.jpg

venice-2-29.jpg

venice-2-30.jpg

venice-2-31.jpg
A rare look up.

New York Social Diary

See Related: TOUR DE FORKS – What could be better than dining in Italy

See Related: DINING

sentinel-new-logo-504-pixels.jpg
THE INSIDER JOURNAL REACHING THOSE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN STAGE, FILM, FINE ARTS, POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE
CREATE YOUR ADVERTISEMENT NOW

See Related: SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL TEAM MEMBERS ACKNOWLEDGED AS EXPERT IN THEIR FIELD

Continue Reading

SAN FRANCISCO HAS ITS DAINTY NEIMAN MARCUS BUT WHY NOT SLIP OFF TO SAG HARBOR

dainty-2-1.jpg

BY JAMEE GREGORY

Why is the end of August always dull and rainy? Everyone waits to take vacations at the beach, but it’s better for shopping than sunning. Monday dawned, grey and damp but drizzle free, perfect for a trip to Sag Harbor.

No traffic on Noyac Road, as my friend Lisa drives us past some popular summer restaurants off the beaten track, like The Coast Grill, Thyme and Again and Armand’s. We arrive, ready to explore the wonders of Sag Harbor, the Un-Hampton, as it likes to be known.

THE ALL AMERICAN WORKING TOWN

Main Street is a charming mix of old-fashioned emporiums like the hardware store and grocery shop, now threatened by the arrival of a large CVS. Sag Harbor, with its beloved, if dingy, movie theater, which always shows wonderful foreign films, resists change. The engaging American Hotel with its flower-filled porch and Sen will always draw serious food fans.

dainty-2-2.jpg
Straw-covered console with woven baskets at Beach Bungalow.

Main Street still looks like a stage set for the early American whaling village that is still Sag Harbor. Gingerbread house still line the streets and boats dock all along the wharf. A day spent here is truly a pleasure!

THE RED AND GOLD

EVA CASSIDY

We begin at the aptly named Beach Bungalow, filled with tasteful furnishings all appropriate for seaside living. Sea horses, shells and sand dollars are the motifs of choice. Next we look for slim-fitting rash guards, worn by surfers under their suits as well as by ladies who aerobic walk and want sun protection. Multi-colored surf boards, wraparound sunglasses and wildly printed surfer shorts capture our attention. We stroll past antique shops and admire windows filled with memorabilia. A small courtyard holds a book store, The Black Cat, Privet Cove, frustratingly filled with treasure but closed, and a tea shop.

dainty-2-3.jpg
Clockwise from top left: Beach Bungalow’s umbrellas with thatch: Just the thing for your turning your pool into a Polynesian paradise; Terrific prints, beautifully framed sand dollars, just thing for your beach house; Need a knick-knack? Everything from hands, heads and sailboats can be found at Our Gig Two; Emporium Hardware for all your home needs; Flying Point famous for surfers needs. Everything from boards to rash guards.

Our next stop is Australian Femininity; we’re not sure what that means but adore the mix of costume jewelry and hats, leaving with some of each. I’m seduced by a coral heart ring for twelve dollars that goes straight on my finger. Who could resist? Next we visit In.Home, a stylish shop offering French guest soaps in Green Tea, perfect for male houseguests and miniature white colanders, just right for rinsing breakfast berries.

In Fishers Lisa finds a pink and white striped rug for her daughters’ room and a turquoise cotton throw for an afternoon nap at the pool. We’re captivated by the street side display at Annyx, matched by the treasures inside. We stock up on clear boxes of pastel chocolates and sunflower seeds, meant for hostess gifts but too pretty to give away.

dainty-2-4.jpg
Clockwise from top left: Stop at Black Cat Books to browse or Privet Cove for great gifts, but not on Monday when it’s closed!; Try Australian Femininity for bracelets that look like Dior and multicolored heart and flower rings. I found a pink cowboy hat!; Striped rugs, cotton, in all sizes can be found at Fishers Home Furnishings along with unusual sheets; Annyx, filled to the brim with great gifts. Stop and admire the charming outside display (Inset); .Inside you’ll be torn by heart-shaped porcelain dishes, big enough for rings, to pastel candies and raffia-wrapped candle holders; In.Home a great stop for sleek, modern gifts and French soaps, fluffy white mats.

Starving, we head for Bay Street, unable to resist a visit to Sag harbor Florist, known for its extraordinary orchids. Stopping next door, at Bella Casa, for a quick peek at its ceramic planters then parking ourselves at an outside table at Tutto IL Giorno, this summer’s new hotspot. The bread, pea soup, pasta and grilled shrimp sustain us.

dainty-2-5.jpg

Calypso Home’s brightly patterned Indian table cloths, cushions and square wax candle holders inlaid with gold coins will keep you shopping.

Heading back to Main Street we pop in Candy and Flowers and the ever-chic emporium, Sylvester & Company before hitting Blooming Shells and admiring twisted corals and rows of shimmering shells.

Calypso Home hits a home run with metallic pillows, Indian print table cloths, and silk cushions, not to mention a pink leather pouf.

Bloom, a sophisticated and well-edited store is filled with everything in navy and cream from espadrilles to jackets.

six-2.jpg
Clockwise from top left: Sag Harbor Florist sits in a charming gingerbread house covered with unusual planting (Inset). Inside you’ll find hundreds of orchids of all varieties and a grand selection of cut flowers from pink Snapdragons to rare yellow Hydrangeas, ready to be arranged; Satisfy your sweet tooth at Candy and Flowers, try Hampton’s Popcorn; Sylvester & Co. has gifts galore along with boxers in blue and white. This general store is very sophisticated; Blooming shells, tucked on Washington Street, stuffed with nature’s bounty from butterflies to starfish and in between.

Heading home, I suggest we try Scuttlehole Road and we miss the turn, taking us to Bridgehampton by mistake. But what a detour! We fall in love with multicolored bowls and French polka-dotted cutlery at Loaves and Fishes cook store and adore A Mano, the chicest new store in town. Trays, hand painted with coral motifs, hand bags with your choice of grosgrain ribbon and monogram, napkins in rainbow-hued linen and straw placemats embroidered with bright red lobsters capture our fancy. I leave with pink and yellow patterned placemats and napkins to match. I can’t wait to set the table for breakfast with my new finds!

seven-2.jpg
Clockwise from top left: Check out the display in front of Sag Harbor Antiques: flags, antlers, quilts, jockeys: an all-American mix; Try Bloom for austerely elegant selections in navy and cream, from espadrilles to shirts and jackets; Lisa and I stop to admire A Mano’s garden, filled with glazed pots; Lisa and I stop to admire A Mano’s garden, filled with glazed pots; A Mano’s was dynamite! Great placemats with lobsters and crabs, shell-encrusted candles, linen napkins in all colors; The shop’s windows filled with hand painted platters.

New York Social Diary

THE INSIDER JOURNAL REACHING THOSE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN STAGE, FILM, FINE ARTS, POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE
CREATE YOUR ADVERTISEMENT NOW
sentinel-new-logo-504-pixels.jpg

See Related: SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL TEAM MEMBERS ACKNOWLEDGED AS EXPERT IN THEIR FIELD

Continue Reading

THE ORIGINS OF COFFEE BEAN SALES IN SAN FRANCISCO

TASTE TEST FLASH

newsom-dreams-of-peets-coffee-2.jpg
Man on a mission for nearest Peet’s
PHOTO BY BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2008

BY PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Founder
The San Francisco Sentinel © 2007-2010

Starbucks has lost this town’s best known fan.

Our nice Gavin Newsom basks only in par excellence aroma of Peet’s Coffee at his home and hearth, the Sentinel reveals.

Freshest Peet’s beans, full throttle grinder, superior French Press purchased at Peet’s on Polk, 2139 C Polk Street at Broadway, deliver the very best.

“Third shelf on the left,” Newsom nods location.

“Grind them, and then use a French Press,” mayoral lips moisten.

“I’m telling you there’s no other way to do it when you get coffee at home.”

Starbucks, one is told, remains a grunt work substitute.

Work-a-day morning coffee is Starbucks, Newsom does confide.

“My weekday morning coffee is Starbucks, I admit.

“Everyone can criticize me for that. I’m ready.”

However, in a special realm with uniquely exquisite neighborhoods, local brews are the afternoon great seducer.

“My afternoon coffee is any coffee shop besides Starbucks, so it’s neighborhood coffee,” the chin rises.

“That’s my one o’clock, two o’clock coffee.”

newsom-neighborhood-coffee-2.jpg

Even so, during weekdays, it’s half-decaf for this people’s mayor.

On weekends it’s chuck the decaf, full-bodied Peet’s on Russian Hill lair.

Habitate visitors approve, it’s told, including habitue Jen Siebel, who “always drinks nothing but Peet’s.”

jen-siebel.JPG
Jen Siebel

Indeed, in the annals of San Francisco savoir faire, Al Peet rode into town wearing the white hat while it was Starbucks which chose the dark side.

First to tap Shining City thirst for the very best was Capricorn Coffees.

Capricorn was founded in his struggling youth by 1950s gay rights bedrocker Herb Donaldson, busted by San Francisco Police at a 1960s Saturday afternoon charity drag show fundraiser (then an illegal gathering of homosexuals), and later appointed Judge Herbert M. Donaldson by California Governor Jerry Brown…

herb-donaldson-judge-2.jpg
California State Judge Herbert M. Donaldson. Donaldson initially resisted appointment
to the State bench by Governor Jerry Brown. Herb insisted Municipal Court would keep
him closer to street youth providing them a possible model. Brown prevailed,
convincing Donaldson State Court would deliver fuller statewide impact
.

herb-donaldson-paddy-wagon-2.jpg
Young Herb Donaldson in SFPD paddywagon (apologies to all Paddies, Padraig – Irish language for Patrick)
PHOTO COURTESY LOUISE SWIG

Fresh Capricorn roasting swirled to success, and success brought imitation.

Al Peet called Donaldson to say Peet was jumping into the business, too. Noting Peet’s new company would not compete with Capricorn.

Peet always honored that pledge, Donaldson tells the Sentinel.

Next came Starbucks with obligatory call to Donaldson purporting the same pledge.

A pledge as hollow as cardbord cup holders.

See Related: ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON ARCHIVE

bill-wilson-1-175
BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past six years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.


ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL

pat-murphy-social-diary-175
SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

DO NOT FLY SWISS AIR – SENTINEL OPINION

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND NEWS MEDIA ARE AFRAID TO CONFRONT ISLAM – SENTINEL OPINION

STRAIGHT PEOPLE NEED FALL SILENT WHEN WE SPEAK – SENTINEL OPINION

HOW CHRISTIAN WERE THE FOUNDERS?

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon
Sign up for our Email Newsletter



Continue Reading

Sensual San Francisco intertwines exotic Tuscany in local novel like upgraded Sex and The City

italian-connection-jill-mother-book.JPG
THE ITALIAN CONNECTION — Author Jill St. Anne, left, surrendered to the seduction of Italian food, fashion, and handsome men twenty years ago and brings the throb to heart in release of spy thriller The Italian Connection, set in San Francisco and Tuscany. St. Anne seen last night with San Francisco book signing fans. Judy Fairchild, right, celebrated her own birthday at the event, recalling daughter St. Anne’s early years when St. Anne devoured Nancy Drew mysteries and promptly rewrote them… for improvement, at eight years of age

italian-connection-siging-line.JPG

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

The bold, the beautiful, and the deadliest of bad guys, wage a modern day spy thriller between exotic Tuscany and sensual San Francisco now luxuriating off the pages of Jill St. Anne’s second novel — The Italian Connection.

Italians, more beautiful than they have any right to be, and San Franciscans more sensuous than the world dare utter, come to world-saving life from St. Anne’s memory of her first trip to Italy with friend Susan Jarolim who blends into leading character Christina. “Everybody thinks Christina is me, she’s not, she’s my friend Susan,” St. Anne confided to the Sentinel.

Jill St. Anne is the pen name for Jill Zajicek Wickersham, who received award for investigative journalism while in college.

San Francisco misty intrique combines with lush beaches of Tuscany to read like today’s version of Sex and The City, with Christina the modern day Nancy Drew.

“The thriller part is that the main character comes into possession with this microchip that is used to activate an arsenal of anti-ballistic missles,” continued St. Anne.

“So it’s very timely actually because this is what’s going on in North Korea, this is what’s going on in China.

“What happens is that the bad guys chase down Christina, because they know she has the microchip, knowing that if they were able to get ahold of the microchip they would be able to disarm our military.”

The seduction of both cities, and their people, intertwine with the caper.

“It is a romance but it’s very serious as well. With the cars, the food, the fashion, and the handsome men.”

St. Anne, of course, arrived in lastest model Italian Ferrari.

italian-connection-jill-arriving-in-ferrari.JPG

italian-connection-5-clauida-sophie-judy.JPG
Event host Claudia Ross, left, emceed the gathering with fashion connoisseur Sophie Azouaou also welcoming St. Anne’s mother Judy Fairchild, right.

Leading San Francisco Italiana were represented by Alioto clan frontliner Joe Alioto Veronese and wife Laura Veronese.

italian-connection-joe-veronese-laura-veronese.jpg
San Francisco Police Commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese and wife Laura ushered a path by Claudia Ross, at left

Exacting bon vivants attended nodding approval.

italian-connection-claude-hubert-chip-zechermichael-mulcahy-holly.JPG
From left, Claude Hubert, Chip Zecher, Michael Mulcahy, and Holly Baxter

italian-connection-unknown-sophie-joel-mark.JPG
Mark Calvano, right, makes the party in between launching men’s fashion wear for gentlemen born to center stage

italian-connection-4-judy-book-cover.JPG
The Italian Connection is available online, cover designed by discerning mother Judy Fairchild

In the end, Christina takes a gamble that puts her own life on the line. She discovers her inner strength and learns that in love, a woman’s intuition is seldom wrong.

Last night, St. Anne captured intuition of locals who sense winners.

italian-connection-2-sophie-jill.JPG

italian-connection-3-pat-sophie-judy.JPG
Pat Murphy and Sophie Azouaou with Judy Fairchild

ADVERTISING RATES
EMAIL

SANFRANCISCOSENTINEL@YAHOO.COM

facebook.jpg

Continue Reading