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Puttin’ on the Ritz



I’ve only stayed at The Ritz-Carlton once in my life, but it only takes one visit to appreciate how truly decadent a stay—or a meal or even a drink—here is. After all, if it’s good enough for Danielle Steel….  (I heard on NPR on Tuesday morning that it was her 60th birthday and then saw her step out of a shiny black SUV as I was leaving the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco last night. Perhaps a b-day dinner celebration at The Dining Room?)

So, when I received the invite to attend a media reception in the terrace courtyard, I cleared my calendar. They wanted to bring us up to date on the extensive renovations and special programs that were taking place at some of their West Coast properties. The most newsworthy for me was probably the $125 million renovation at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, because even after going to Hawaii nine times in the past three years, I can’t get enough of the Aloha State. Anyway, part of this extensive transformation, which should be completed in January 2008, includes building with an eye towards green standards—always good to hear.

Food programs are also huge (and don’t I always get back to food?). A new Spago coming to Bachelor Gulch (Colorado), a prestigious wine bar at Laguna Niguel (Dana Point, CA) and Half Moon Bay’s new season of “Inside the Kitchen” are among the other upcoming highlights.


Chilled avocado soup with lemon oil.

In a tent by a bubbling fountain with a piano and bass duo, we mingled and nibbled on truffle macaroni and cheese, quail eggs and caviar (that was like breakfast in a bite), chilled avocado citrus soup with cucumber salsa and an assortment of desserts, including a made-to-order chocolate soufflé!


Dessert!

It’s nice to get the VIP treatment every so often. In fact, it’s addictive. One of these days I’m going to do brunch at the Dining Room. I hear it’s one of the best in the city.