This is the city
Photo by Frederic Larson ~ fredericlarson.com
Slip into Silks
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Asian-inspired California cuisine
Exquisite service | Beautiful setting
222 Sansome Street
415 276 9888
MO Coffee Bar | Made to order sushi | Bar bites | Afternoon tea
Innovative cocktails and fine, sustainable wines
Live music on Monday-Saturday evenings
222 Sansome Street
415 276 9888
800.622.2206 l 3522 SILVERADO TRAIL, ST. HELENA, CALIFORNIA l WWW.ROMBAUER.COM
The Wine Life, Aussie Style
BY andrea stuart
A New York Saloon in Fog City
BY kristin smith
A Pioneer Soul
BY Lisa Gunther
Everything is Going to be
BY kristin smith
Visions of the Bay: Hotel Vitale
BY Charleen earley
Tre Bicchieri 2011 World Tour
Fans of Jimmy Century
Teaser Concert – San Francisco
Pets Unlimited: A Home for All
BY andrea stuart
Photographer: Kevin Thomas
This is the city
Chefs Richard, Pépin, Passot,
and Keller preservice at the
Jacques Pépin Tribute Dinner,
Beach & Tennis Club,
Pebble Beach, CA
TICKETS, CALL 866.907.FOOD (3663) OR
April 28 - May 1, 2011
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hand, a glass of sparkling Shiraz in the other, and calamari on the barbie, Mr. Kosta
is the quintessential Aussie father—hosting barbeques, from quaint gatherings, to
grand affairs that include nearby cousins and neighbors. “We grill for pretty much any
occasion, year-round,” admits Kosta. “Dad would even grill under the veranda if it
rained.” Kosta’s parents, though not connoisseurs, have always had an appreciation
for wine. Where Kosta’s dad enjoys Shiraz-cabernet blends, her mother enjoys dry
Riesling or chardonnay, and has “an affinity for bubbles” (sparkling wine). Kosta,
herself revels in Semillon from Hunter Valley or Adelaide Hills.
Having developed an infatuation with America while travelling for dance competitions,
Kosta utilized her career as an avenue to come back after college, accepting a job
as a research scientist. However, Kosta found the sterility of the lab environment
countered her earlier, more fruitful experiences so much that she made an about
face in her career, becoming a restaurant manager for a restaurant in Nebraska. She
later moved to Cleveland, Ohio to become the manager at P.F. Chang’s—known for
their extensive wine program, offering more than 50 wines by the glass—and from
there, began developing her wine palate. She went on to work in Detroit, Michigan
under Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon, and never looked back.
The Wine Life, Aussie-Style
by Andrea Stuart / photography by Michelle Magdalena Maddox
Having grown up in Adelaide, Australia, a region where vineyards tendril through the
land, Nicole Kosta, Sommelier and Director of Food and Beverage at the Mandarin
Oriental in San Francisco, has become metaphorically intoxicated by the tannic
elixirs derived from the spherical little fruit known as the grape. Surrounded by fertile
knolls, sporting venues, and the opportunity for coastal and oceanic adventures,
Adelaide begets a lifestyle abundant in outdoor activity. Kosta, a former worldchampion
dancer and scientist, took fair advantage of her stomping grounds.
Daylong fishing trips were a prominent part of Kosta’s life. She and her father would
often come home with a variety of finned dinner options. “Between my two sisters,
myself, my mother, and even the parakeet and the dog (I think), my poor father was
surrounded by females,” the spry South Australian snickers. “I think I was inclined
to be a bit of a tomboy because of that.” During one summer outing, Kosta and a
friend embarked on a fishing trip that resulted in catching 60 fish. “We ate every one!
Mom cleaned them and Dad grilled them. It was the best summer,” recalls Kosta.
In Adelaide, the festivities often never leave the backyard. With a spatula in one
Kosta is now excited about Mandarin Oriental’s wine program. From their offering of
biodynamic (holistically organic) wines that complement the Mandarin’s eco-centric
attitude, to their international selection of 700 wines, pairing options for the Asianinfluenced
fare at Silks are endless. Due to Kosta’s penchant for libations from our
northern Sonoma coast, it’s no surprise that when Mandarin Oriental began making
its own wine label, they employed Hirsch Vineyards for the task. “They made our ’09
Pinot Noir, Ngima’s Cuvee,” says Kosta, liberating a higher octave from her throat.
“It was inspired after meeting a Sherpa from Tibet named Ngmia. He had an affinity
for Mt. Everest and a passion for wine.” This year, they are working with multiple
Mandarin sommeliers and the wine will be in their hotels countrywide.
“What makes it so fun is that every Mandarin hotel is independently operated. We
have fun with our programs and express our local bounties!” Kosta’s accent yields
to the sharp edges of California colloquialism as she weaves a few Australian curves
through her inflections. “For St. Patrick’s Day, the Mandarin hosted a ‘green’ tasting
where we served organic, sustainable wines. In April, we are hosting an organic
Appropriated by friends as “Principle Wine Provider,” Kosta’s personal wine
collection is vast—her abode is overrun by a libational anthology: bottles perched
atop kitchen counters and cabinets, and having made Tetris-like homes in the
overflowing wine fridges.
“Life is about learning and mentoring,” says Kosta. “It’s also to be celebrated.” It’s
no wonder she is doing all of the above as a leading wine expert at the Mandarin
Oriental in San Francisco. We’ll drink to that!
With 200 appointed guest rooms and suites to choose from
on eight floors, some of them with patios ranging from 825
to 1,150 square feet, Hotel Vitale is the only luxury hotel
located on the revitalized Embarcadero’s waterfront. Each
room features modern décor and comforts, designed with
the very busy traveler in mind. Down to the complimentary
white slippers with the words “slow” on one and “down”
on the other, Hotel Vitale (French for vitality) beckons their
busy, techno-driven guests, who are mostly in their 30s to
early 40s, the opportunity to stop for a moment and just
The view alone is enough to calm the senses, since many
guests, depending on room selection, have a 180-degree
view of the Bay Bridge, the Ferry Building, and Treasure
Island. Watching the sunrise from one of their circular
suites is priceless. Besides the view and locale, guest room
amenities include beds with pillow-top mattresses, white
440-thread count sheets, gorgeous custom-designed
Belgium duvets, limestone-covered bathrooms, beyond
comfortable bathrobes, 32” LCD flat screen televisions,
iPod/MP3 player docking stations and CD players, and
honor bars with healthy and decadent options.
Visions of the Bay: Hotel Vitale by Charleen Earley
If he were only given five words to describe the hotel he helped open six years called the Embarcadero Freeway. However, after the Loma Prieta earthquake in
ago, Dan Burgess would say “urban, fresh, revitalizing, modern, and nurturing.” 1989, nature and citizens alike told San Francisco how much it didn’t need that
So would the countless guests who have made their stays at Hotel Vitale in San massive, unsightly structure. “Back then, this whole area was not utilized by San
Francisco across from the historic Ferry Building.
Franciscans because there was nothing to do here,” says Burgess.
“For the traveler who is seeking a revitalizing, relaxing, and modern hotel Owned by a private entity and managed by Joie de Vivre (French for joy of life),
experience that is uniquely San Franciscan, Hotel Vitale is right for you,” says Hotel Vitale was built in 2005 and was part of a lengthy 10-year process; the
Burgess, Director of Rooms. “I love the vibe of the hotel; it’s very serene and redevelopment of the Embarcadero area. Burgess feels the end result was well
beautiful. People come here because of the neighborhood and to relax.”
worth it, since just outside hotel doors, along the Embarcadero, people are
active and full of life. “It’s a healthy environment here,” says Burgess. “People are
The neighborhood Burgess is referring to wasn’t always quite the place to be. running, walking, biking, and there’s the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building
Twenty years prior, it had the look and feel of cold, hard concrete and was Plaza. People don’t have this in their neighborhoods at home.”
With a booking window two to three weeks out, upgraded
rooms in this four-star, four diamond hotel feature soothing
sound machines, rainforest showerheads, and luxurious
bath amenities. Each of the seven panoramic corner suites
has a 180-degree circular design with dramatic views
from a king-sized bed, and also features a beautiful white
soaking tub for two. One almost feels as though they’re
sleeping at the Hearst Castle in one of the bell towers,
only designed by Frank Lloyd Wright instead. “Our guests
love the simply done rooms. It’s elegant and clean,” says
Burgess. “We have large hallways with soothing colors and
pictures that are organic and simple.”
For the traveler who can’t leave work at the office, the hotel
features a 24-hour business center, complimentary highspeed
internet access throughout the hotel, personalized
concierge services, complimentary daily newspaper delivery, shoeshine, and
close proximity to public transportation, including cable cars, subway, BART,
Golden Gate Ferry, and Amtrak Station.
Upon first greetings at the customer service desk, guests are immediately given a
warm, lilac-scented towel for washing their hands, a soothing gesture you won’t
find at other hotels. “This allows you to breathe and start to relax,” says Burgess.
“Our guests’ expressions change the minute they see the hand towels and they
change their whole manner.”
Hotel Vitale’s staff and service is known for friendliness over pretentiousness. “Our
service is professional and friendly, but we don’t come across as stuffy or formal.
We want to pamper you. It’s why we hire people with great personalities; because
that’s something you can’t teach.”
Something else you can’t teach is a talent for being a great chef, which is
exactly what they found in Chef Kory Stewart for their in-house restaurant,
Americano. Chef Stewart and Americano Restaurant embrace the slow food
movement by serving modern Italian cuisine made with fresh ingredients from
the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. Chef Stewart began his culinary career at age
12 as a dishwasher in a small Italian restaurant in the town where he grew up.
Burgess says Chef Stewart continued to work in kitchens throughout his teen
years, where he developed a passion for cooking. He moved to San Francisco
in 2002 to attend California Culinary Academy, while simultaneously working in
the acclaimed Postrio Restaurant. Later, Chef Stewart traveled for nine months
throughout Southeast Asia to garner first-hand experience in Asian cooking. He
returned to San Francisco and worked at Michael Mina and Scott Howard before
finding his new home at Americano as executive sous chef.
“Kory’s hard work, dedication and perseverance paid off, and he was promoted
to Chef at Americano,” says Burgess. Some of the tasteful entrées Chef Stewart
creates are ricotta ravioli with roasted delicata squash, almonds and amaretti,
chesnut rigatoncini with braised lamb, Cara Cara oranges and mustard greens,
and roasted monkfish with fregola, Dungeness crab, salsa verde and orange crab
brodetto. Chef Stewart’s interview with Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association
may be viewed on YouTube by typing “Chef Kory Stewart” into the search bar.
Mark your calendars for some fun and money-saving April events in the Americano
Restaurant, including a Wild Foods Dinner and a Tax-Relief package running
through April 15, where guests will receive half-off bottles and no corkage fee for
dinner, Monday through Saturday in the dining room only. Look for their special
Easter Brunch in April and Mother’s Day Brunch in May.
For Jill Plemons, Director of Sales & Marketing, working at Hotel Vitale for the last
year and a half, has been an experience like none other. “The location, staff, and
product are a salesperson’s dream!” she says. “Guests will enjoy luxury touches
balanced with soothing natural elements, service from a staff that truly cares, and
stunning water or city vistas at our urban retreat.”
For more information or to book a room, please visit:
8 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
A New York Saloon in Fog City
by Kristin Smith / photography by Hemali Acharya
But when Butler arrived, he found that the Golden Gate’s advertising world lacked
the excitement of the Big Apple’s. “New York was the pulse of the business,”
he says. “I wanted to live in San Francisco, but I felt uninspired by my job here.”
Butler considered other options, and decided to pursue another dream: opening a
To imagine Perry Butler’s early career, look no further than Mad Men, the Showtime
series about New York City’s advertising world in the 1960s. Butler, a recent
graduate from Dartmouth College, worked for one of those high-powered firms; as
did his father. And while he loved the fast pace and creativity of the job, in the back
of his head was a looming dream: to move to San Francisco.
Butler had fallen in love with the City on a trip during college. Like so many
East Coasters, he was entranced with San Francisco’s landscape, its gorgeous
coastline, and the gentle climate. “I knew right away that San Francisco was a very
special place,” he says. “California just captured my imagination.” So Butler left the
familiarity of New York, his home for most of his life, and ventured west.
Butler’s fascination with food began early. He can remember watching his father
grill steaks in their backyard in Westchester County, just outside of New York City.
But it was in Manhattan, at warm, wood-paneled Upper East Side saloons like
Martell’s, where his dream of owning a restaurant came into being. Butler loved the
home-like feel of those places—the good American food, the comfortable bars,
the thoughtfully chosen memorabilia lining the walls. “That style of restaurant was
successful in New York, but nothing like it existed here,” says Butler.
To most people, the idea of starting a restaurant in a new city when you’re only
26 years old might seem like a crazy idea. Maybe the New York saloons wouldn’t
translate here, people told him. After all, even tried and true San Francisco-style
restaurants were failing. But Butler says he had the “courage of his convictions,”
adding that “sometimes being too naïve to be terrified is a great thing.” With some
borrowed money, his youthful enthusiasm, and one giant dream, Butler and his wife
at the time, opened Perry’s. “We just went for it. We took a shot,” he says.
Perry’s opened in 1969 to huge success, thanks in part to a rave review by the
San Francisco Chronicle. “The bar was crazy. It was really a scene,” says Butler
of the restaurant’s early years. The New York saloon style had translated to San
Francisco. Just as Butler and his co-workers had flooded Martell’s for happy hour,
San Francisco workers poured into the wood-paneled joint on Union Street. And
they continue to. Last year, Perry’s celebrated its 40th anniversary. Today, Perry
Butler is the owner of four different Perry’s restaurants, scattered across the city and
including one at San Francisco Airport.
While his industry success is certainly something to be proud of, what the 65-yearold
restaurateur says he’s most excited about now is that his kids are working
with him. Today, four of his five kids work in the Perry’s business, managing the
restaurants and overseeing the operations, and following their father’s business
model of “If you have good people, you can do anything.”
Just as a young Perry stood by his father as he grilled steaks in the backyard,
Perry’s own kids are standing beside him at the restaurants, and reinforcing his
dream of creating restaurants with the feel of home. Butler says, “I have the most
wonderful kids. We’re a really close family. If I sound like a proud Dad, it’s because
Tre Bicchieri 2011 World Tour - San Francisco
Brandy Falconer, Marchese Piero Antinori, Kari Menconi Moore and Glenn Salva
Pets Unlimited: A Home for All by Andrea Stuart
As the saying goes, it’s a small world. But for many of the four-legged animals The 24-hour veterinary hospital, no-kill shelter, and adoption center is now a
roaming our streets, it’s a giant world with little refuge for their weary paws. Alice bustling community of 200-plus volunteers and nearly 100 employees. Since its
L. Coldwell and Carter H. Downing, co-Founders of the non-profit animal rescue inception, Pets Unlimited has saved the lives of over 250,000 animals, presently
and veterinary center Pets Unlimited in San Francisco, knew this well and set out re-homing approximately 350 rescued shelter animals per year.
to rectify the situation.
“Pets Unlimited has a unique business model that evolved organically,” says Kate
In 1947, armed with nothing more than good consciences and humility, Ms. Shilvock, Director of Development and Administration of Pets Unlimited. “What
Coldwell and Ms. Downing brought strays to Animal Care and Control (ACC) in started as a rescue became a comprehensive facility complete with a veterinary
an attempt to rescue them only to learn that the animals would be euthanized.
hospital and several specialty quarters.”
The overwhelming number of animals made it impossible for the shelter to house
every animal that came through its doors. Dismayed by the realities of shelter The three-story facility that sits on Fillmore Street today consists of a holistic
life, the ladies took the animals back home—along with more than a dozen other center, a veterinary hospital, and a shelter. The holistic center offers a variety
dogs—and Pets Unlimited was born.
of alternative medicines for pets such as acupuncture and herbal treatments.
The main level consists of a veterinary hospital with 13 full-time veterinarians and
two holistic veterinarians. The top level is the shelter, complete with cat and dog
condos, and a community room.
The birth of the veterinary hospital developed from the shelter’s growing need
for medical care; many of the rescued animals suffered ailments and injuries that
required expensive treatments (the average cost to save each animal is $3,500).
A coalition was formed with veterinarians and other groups in order to expand
available services while generating funds for the programs.
“In addition to offering 24-hour emergency care and helping fund our own
programs, the Veterinary Center provides support to people who have trouble
caring for their own pets,” says Shilvock.
Pets Unlimited has a positive relationship with many community groups including
Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS), a volunteer-based organization that provides
for the comprehensive needs of companion animals for low-income persons with
disabling HIV/AIDS, and other debilitating illnesses, as well as senior citizens.
Relationships like this help bolster the shelter’s programs, including The Saffron
House, Pets Unlimited’s adoption house for FIV-positive felines.
“The Saffron House was born to demonstrate to the public that FIV-positive cats
are one hundred percent adoptable and can live long and healthy lives,” continues
Although there is still much work to do (animal welfare and environmental groups
receive less than two percent of total funds raised by charitable endeavors,
globally), Pets Unlimited and similar organizations are making a dent in today’s
homeless animal population (the euthanasia rate in San Francisco has been
reduced to five percent). Perhaps if we pay it forward a little each day, our unlimited
supply of homeless animals can become an unlimited supply of solutions.
For more information about Pets Unlimited or to make a donation, visit
A Pioneer Soul
by Lisa Gunther / photography by Hemali Acharya
With a thoughtful look in her eyes and her fingers wrapped around a steaming hot
cup of coffee, hospitality maven Ingrid Summerfield tells the story of her life. It’s
the quintessential American story; the struggle for independence, the search for
opportunity, a lot of hard work, and dreams that come true.
Ingrid was born in Stuttgart, one of Germany’s largest cities, well-known for being
the home of Porsche and Mercedes. The oldest of four children, Ingrid would
describe her childhood as traditional, albeit nomadic. After finishing the second
grade, her family began an epic trek to new and exciting foreign lands, starting
with the south of France, where she finished the third and fourth grade, and then
Northern California, where her father—an agriculturist—bought a small farm near
Red Bluff. Between sixth and eighth grade, she continued to move back and forth
between California, France, and Germany before finally enrolling in the Lausanne
Hospitality School in Switzerland.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the frequent changes in her life, Ingrid found
them exhilarating, and subsequently developed a life-long love of travel that would
lead to a career in the field of hospitality. “You just learn to be independent, how to
adapt, how to make new friends quickly and how to enjoy different environments.
I went to 18 schools in my entire career. And I learned three languages.”
It was this sense of independence that led Ingrid back to San Francisco after
finishing school in Switzerland. For Ingrid, the City by the Bay offered the freedom
to spread her wings, while in Europe she had struggled against societal dictations
about what she, as a woman, could do with her life. She didn’t want to settle for
a job in middle management or housekeeping. She longed for a more dynamic
“Coming here, there was something that, for me, equated freedom and opportunity.
That was definitely a vision I had. And I think the vision stemmed back from a
childhood memory of standing on the Marin Headlands, when I was 12 or 13 years
old, and just looking at the bridge, and thinking, this is the land of opportunity. Just
seeing that spectacular beauty, of the bridge, the bay, and the city, there was
always this dream or this image in my mind’s eye of where there was a future.”
Arriving in San Francisco with only two suitcases and $900, Ingrid was ready to
face that future. She found employment at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, working in the
accounting office, before deciding to go back to school. After receiving a degree
in photojournalism at San Francisco State, she initially began looking for work as a
journalist in the city, though the need for more money would soon lead her to work
as a sales coordinator for a group of hotels in the South of Market area. After a few
years working in sales, she joined Joie de Vivre as a General Manager.
“Reconnecting with the hotel industry in the sales and public relations arena, and
more in the people aspect, the creative side of things—that really was more my
calling than the finance and accounting side. And one thing led to another, and I
am still in the hotel industry.”
Today, as president of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Ingrid oversees multiple aspects of
the company, including the hotel, restaurant and spa operations, human resources,
the technology and revenue departments, and finally, sales and marketing. In her
personal life, she enjoys street photography, visiting museums, and of course,
traveling. She lives in what she describes as the cultural center of the city, Hayes
Valley, with her husband, Ron, and their two cats—Casper and Cinder. Fortunately,
Ron’s career as a realtor offers him plenty of time to travel with her, and the two
take delight in visiting the great cities of the world together.
Her favorite city? San Francisco, of course.
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Fans of Jimmy Century Teaser Concert - San Francisco
Everything is Going
to be Just Fine
by Kristin Smith / photography by Hemali Acharya
Billy Clift grew up with celebrities. As a student at Hollywood High, everyone he
knew came from star stock. His own family tree hangs heavy with famous kin—
Frederick Clift, of the eponymous Clift hotel in San Francisco, is a great uncle, and
the actor Montgomery Clift, a distant cousin. But no star captured his infatuation like
Elizabeth Montgomery. As a child, Clift would watch Bewitched, his face pressed
up to the screen, dreaming about having Samantha as his mother.
that nurturing being I’d looked at her as a kid.” Call it kismet, call it manifestation,
call it the universe giving him what he asked for so many years ago, but don’t call it
chance; Clift doesn’t. “It’s like I manifested her. But it can’t just be me. The universe
is bigger than that. It had to be something she needed too.”
The two met when Clift was a hairdresser and stylist in Los Angeles. Elizabeth
Montgomery was his first celebrity client. She had seen some of his work and asked
to have a session with him. Clift says that when they met, it was like they knew each
other already. “We were just friends [snaps his fingers] like that.”
For Clift, Montgomery’s death was a major turning point in his life. He says that
when she died, he had a vision of her death—and it was exactly as Montgomery’s
husband said it was. The psychic moment led Clift to start writing, and he eventually
penned the book, Everything is Going to be Just Fine about Montgomery’s death.
“When I was a little kid, I thought she was the most important person in the world.
And I learned later on that I’m not the only gay man who thought of Elizabeth
Montgomery as a maternal figure,” jokes Clift.
But he is likely the only one who grew up to be Montgomery’s best friend. And by
Clift’s own account, Montgomery became a mother figure to him. “She became
Writing the book moved Clift into other creative endeavors. He tried to turn the book
into a film, and had secured independent stars like Christina Applegate, but it fell
short of funding at the last minute. The investors weren’t sure a first-time filmmaker
could pull off such a big endeavor, so Clift decided to show them what he could do
with less money. He came up with the idea of Baby Jane?, a drag queen version of
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? “I laugh because I was getting ready to make
this very poignant movie about someone’s death and how it affected me and finding
my own being, and I end up doing this instead,” Clift says of the full-length feature.
But that’s just how Clift operates. His motto is to go with the flow (“If you’re banging
your head against the wall, don’t do it”), and so he moved fluidly into Baby Jane?
The film was a huge hit at Frameline last summer and it’s making its way through
the gay film festival circuit.
Clift has the next five years meticulously mapped out. While Baby Jane? is touring
the country, he’s busy wrapping up his next film — I Want to Get Married, a
romantic comedy about a man who is looking to find a husband in six days. Next, a
John Waters-esque version of Betty Davis’ Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (he’s even
secured Mink Stole), and then a drag queen-free story about Montgomery Clift’s
struggle with his sexuality and his relationship with Elizabeth Taylor. After that, says
Clift, “probably something with zombies.”
And it’s in these seemingly unending artistic endeavors that Billy Clift is carving his
own initials on the famous family tree. “If I wasn’t destined to do this, why would I
have been given such a passion for it?” asks the stylist-cum-writer-cum-director. “I
have an amazing amount of energy moving to want to create. I feel like I’m being
pushed down this hallway and I can’t stop.”
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