Thursday, December 24, 2009

Xmas Eve

Christmas Eve brunch in the Garden Court of the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. Enrico Caruso was staying here at the time of the 1906 Earthquake, and is said to have rushed out into Montgomery Street in his pajamas and waxed indignant about the inconvenience to himself. One of my brunch companions observed that in fact the hotel had to be rebuilt after the earthquake, so we were not literally stepping into the same building Caruso had rushed out of. But close enough.

Above, a spinning ornamental cake-like structure in one of the ornate corridors, apparently intended to invoke a holiday spirit among hotel guests.

Several of us had the seafood soup as a first course, but one brave individual ordered the crab cake and it exceeded all expectations.

My entree was black cod in tangerine sauce with baby carrots and roasted finger potatoes. Others got elaborate salads, but I am channeling protein at every meal these days, thanks to relentless pressure from my trainer.

The Christmas cookie platter received a general ovation, mostly due to the fact that each cookie had the flavor of home made and there were no two from the same recipe.

This Palace Hotel cream jug has almost no spout. There was some discussion about the fact that it poured well without leaking or dripping, and speculation about why any spout should ever be larger, if such a small one could (as proven) do the job.

I chose the person-cookie for myself and ate it all, plus later sharing bites of the very excellent macaroon.

My daughter and her husband composed the life of the party and patiently posed for a picture before moving on to the next happy event on their incredibly jam-packed holiday calendar.

The hotel has its own garage in a contiguous alley, and the cars disappear and reappear via an automotive elevator. My daughter and I disputed about where the cars went in the elevator. In her mental picture the elevator took the cars down. In my mental picture the elevator took the cars up. She assumed the parking spaces were underground. I assumed they were somewhere high above. Neither one of us cared enough to ask anybody.