Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

60 Hours – On Location in San Francisco

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

 

2 1/2 days in a city that has no boundaries and to fully enjoy all that the 7×7 has to offer and much better than just 48 hours!  My most recent edition of ’60 Hours’ took me to the city by the Bay, San Francisco, for a true series of adventures and discoveries.

 

After arriving into SFO, I headed straight to North Beach (the Italian neighborhood) for my caffeine fix at

Hole in the Wall, a 27 Square Foot (yes, really) coffee bar that brews pour overs right in front of you with one of four different Signature roasts.  This street-side spot at 524 Union Street is great for coffee and conversation!

 

Feeling the need to fuel the furnace, next stop was Original Joe’s right across from Washington Park on Union Street.  This is a true San Francisco classic, Italian American & Classic American Cuisine in style – so I enjoyed their Wedge Salad with Bacon, Shaved Egg, Blue Cheese Dressing and Poached Baby Bay Shrimp.  Tasty, historical and a good first dish to enjoy.

 

Walking down Columbus Avenue, enjoying some early Spring weather and sunshine, I traveled from Italian Culture to the edge of Chinatown for a visit to China Live, pretty much a Chinese Eataly with their shops, various restaurants, tea counter and more.  Still feeling a touch hungry, I was able to enjoy their Gluten-Free (yes indeed!) Chicken Lettuce Wraps, served with mushrooms and Chinese sausage – filling, fresh and very delicious.

 

Next on the agenda was a visit to a longstanding favorite of mine, The Hidden Vine, a cool little wine bar on Merchant Street on the edge of the Financial District (the FiDi) which just so happens to have a Bocce Court!  They carry quite the selection of wines by the glass from all around the world, enabling guests to enjoy a taste of many different wine regions.  Feeling hungry again at this point, I was joined by a few locals to the city who wanted me to experience a legendary restaurant in the city but also California, the Tadich Grill.  The Tadich has been in constant operation since 1849, making it the oldest operating restaurant in San Francisco which is an accomplishment unto itself!

 

Dinner there was a classic experience with Dungeness Crab Cakes, Hamburger Steak, Local Sole and other delights which made the evening feel like a true throwback to a prior time.  If you’d like to step back and have your ‘Back to the Future’ moment in San Francisco, this is a must visit!

 

For the final stop of the evening, I was escorted to The Occidental Cigar Club where I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying before.  ‘The Ox’ is a cigar bar in California.  Yes, it is legal and yes, it is ALWAYS busy!  Here I partook in a Connecticut Shade Davidoff paired with a glass of local Sonoma Red Wine, which was a great way to finish the evening.

 

 

Starting Day Two off slightly foggy, but damn happy I decided to venture from Fisherman’s Wharf, where I was staying with a leisurely walk to the Marina District for one of my favorite hamburger’s in the entire world, located at Balboa Café.  Balboa is owned by the Plumpjack Group, a local San Francisco Company that owns wineries, restaurants, wine shops, bars, and much more.  It is a throwback for sure, with a classic long bar, dark wood finishes and a menu with touches of the past and flavors of today.  I knew I needed a filling plate of deliciousness, so I had to get their burger.  The Balboa Café burger is a long patty, traditionally served on an open face baguette cooked to your desired temperature, along with pickled red onions and pickle chips, hot & salty thin cut fries and any toppings you’d like to add on for extra.  I went with the burger cooked rare (yes, a great call knowing their meat is quality in style) topped with Jack Cheese, Sautéed Mushrooms and Sautéed Onions, Fresh Mixed Greens Salad rather than the fries, accompanied by a chilled glass of Italian Pinot Grigio, perfect for a San Francisco afternoon.

 

That right there was a slice of heaven!  And, the bartender recognized me (which was damn cool) so he poured me a second glass of wine, on him – a true San Francisco Treat!

 

Continuing the city adventure, I stopped over to Union Square to people watch the locals and tourists mingle together and the beautiful weather before having a quick stop by Bun Mee, a modern Vietnamese Sandwich & Snack Shop.  The smells coming out the door were too delicious not to stop!  Deciding to walk up Market Street, I passed by the Bill Graham Auditorium and the San Francisco Capital Building on my way to see a buddy at Jardinière, Traci Desjardins iconic restaurant.  This is a true Michelin starred restaurant, with French accents mixed with San Francisco flavor, a perfect pairing.  Enjoying watching the pre-theatre crowd and sipping on a tasty glass of chilled Italian wine, I realized I was in the right place at the right time.

 

Next on the Tour de SF was a quick stop into Popson’s on Market Street for a side by side burger tasting with some business contacts who were doing menu research.  It’s an upscale, quick-serve burger concept – far from my favorite, but they’re basically doing a take on an In-N-Out style.  Popping next door, we enjoyed a glass of wine and some great hospitality at Waystone, a cool Wine & Beer Café with a citified environment perfect for a date or small group gathering.

 

Feeling the need for an actual dinner, we headed over to the Mission for a taste of New Orleans at Alba Ray’s which was vibrant, fun, plenty festive and damn delicious!  From the Char-Grilled Oysters to the Mixed Jambalaya to the Black-Eyed Peas with Kale to the Red Beans and Rice, we let the Good Times Roll!

 

Day Three – Waking up on my final day in San Francisco, I knew that I was in store for another one filled with plenty of stops and deliciousness, so I started with another stop to Hole in the Wall Coffee for a freshly brewed North Beach Roast.  With coffee in hand, our entourage started walking down the hill, down Broadway on our way to the Embarcadero enjoying the city’s surroundings, prior to arriving at the Ferry Building; a working ferry terminal filled with food stalls, restaurants and shops which has truly become the hub of San Francisco.  We were lucky enough that it was a CUESA Farmer’s Market day, so there were various farms displaying their bounty and the Roli Roti truck for the most amazing Porchetta with Roasted Brussels Sprouts.  This combination of flavors is something I can taste as I’m writing this post; salty, sweet, savory and damn tasty!

 

Walking into the Ferry, we ventured to the Mariposa Baking Co. stall, a tremendous Gluten-Free Bakery that started in Oakland and has found a very loyal following here in San Francisco.  I wanted to eat just about everything but limited it to having their Black Forest Ham & Gruyere Cheese Pocket, which was decadent and savory at the same time.  Wow, so good!

 

The final cherry on top for the Ferry Building visit was over to Hog Island Oyster Company to a table overlooking the bay, enjoying two different Pacific Ocean Oysters and a crisp glass of Picpoul from France.  In that moment, I was tremendously happy; enjoying the day in the place I was supposed to be at the exact moment.  Perfect.

 

We turned to head up Market Street on yet another stunningly beautiful Spring day, walking amongst the hustle and bustle of workers, tourists and others, and made our way to Credo Restaurant for a beverage during the lunchtime rush.  I had the pleasure of dining there a few years ago and was pleased to see they were still going strong.  We only stopped by for a quick glass of wine but were fortunate to receive great hospitality and a friendly welcome.

 

What lay ahead was the Tre Bicchieri North American Tour & Tasting, held by the Gambero Rosso at Fort Mason.  Tre Bicchieri is the highest rating that Italian Wines can receive, and the Gambero Rosso Guide has events around the world to showcase these wines and bring them to market, for distributors, wine professionals and restaurateurs.  There were hundreds and hundreds of producers there, sharing their top wines which made for an outstanding afternoon of tasting and learning.

 

Turning the corner on my final hours in the city, we headed to Park Tavern back in North Beach to enjoy the friendly confines of this delightful restaurant.  Park Tavern has only been in business since 2012, however it has become a San Francisco fixture with it’s high-end bistro fare.  With its open kitchen, spacious bar and sweeping dining room, it was the perfect destination for a glass of rose and some snacks.

 

Last stop on the adventure was The Salzburg, only open since October 2017, which was created by the founders of Union Larder and Little Vine.  It is North Beach’s answer to the Alps for Austrian inspired cuisine and a large selection of wine by the glass.  We enjoyed a collection of house-made sausages (Rabbit, Pork and Lamb) along with a signature Rosti, topped with Smoked Arctic Char.  I immediately felt transported to the Alps, quite the fete knowing we were in San Francisco and the Italian neighborhood.

 

Hoping into an Uber to the Airport and my flight home I quickly realized that I had a tremendously full 60 hours in San Francisco and realized I couldn’t wait to return!

 

 

Five Minutes of Hospitality Wisdom – ‘What are you really in business for…?’

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

This is the initial post of a new series that we will be sharing with you – Five Minutes of Hospitality Wisdom, focusing on various topics throughout the hospitality industry in a quick read format.  Knowing that time is truly of the essence in our daily lives and that everything is moving faster and faster in business, how do we best choose to balance that with the needs of ourselves, our families, our co-workers, our guests and our businesses?  We will be exploring that throughout the upcoming posts – looking at striking a balance in our actions, decisions, learning and experiences.

 

In the business world, there are successes and failures all of the time – just like in life.  Many times in business these are usually related to financial means and matters for companies, clients, operations and such.  And, sometimes, even when businesses are making money and seeming like a success, they are failing at delivering on the promise of hospitality to their staff and guests.

 

Profit hides a lot of ‘sins’ for operations, and only when you delve deeper into the business do you discover that all isn’t just as rosy a picture as it seems.  Are most businesses designed to make money for their stakeholders and owners?  You bet.  Do most businesses truly care about their staff along the way while trying to make money?  Hmm, that’s the question.

 

As an owner, operator or someone tasked with running a business, are you taking into account your ‘internal’ customer as much as your ‘external’ customers?  Are you taking the time to truly value what is important to the members of your team?

 

Next time you are working together with your staff, think about what they need to do their jobs better and thus more productive, be more engaged with each other and your guests, and genuinely enjoy the work that they are doing at your organization.

 

 

 

The Nyman Group discuss Downtown Las Vegas on the No Vacancy Podcast

Monday, January 15th, 2018

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New year, new start. We’re just over two weeks into 2018 and already experiencing exciting times in Las Vegas and around the globe. While we are still all moving and grooving and getting into high gear, Las Vegas is already there as the city welcomes in the biggest and best attended conventions in January and as such The Nyman Group received a pleasant visit to the city by Glenn Haussman of Rouse Media and the No Vacancy Podcast. Corey T. Nyman and Craig Asher Nyman along with Justin Kingsley Hall of Atomic Kitchen joined Glenn for a Downtown roundtable chat to talk the latest and greatest happening in Las Vegas and what to look forward to with the year ahead.

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE NO VACANCY PODCAST

 

Download the podcast HERE.

And if your travels, business or pleasure, bring you to Las Vegas, give us a call.

Cheers to a great year ahead!

 

No Vacancy Podcast – Denver, Colorado

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

While attending the 2017 NEWH Leadership Conference in Denver, Colorado a few weeks back, our Director of Operations, Corey T. Nyman had the chance to sit down with Glenn Haussman of the No Vacancy Podcast and President of Rouse Media.

 

Glenn and Corey chatted about a range of topics from the Hospitality Industry, from Restaurant Design to Labor Challenges, Food & Beverage trends to Service Standards and so much more.  It was a very lively and interactive conversation, with Corey already being asked back to participate in another podcast.

 

Check out the show by clicking play below – well worth a listen!

 

NEWH Conference

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Recently, our Director of Operations, Corey T. Nyman was invited to participate in a panel on Culinary Trends: Food and restaurant trends to watch in 2017 and beyond at the biennial NEWH Leadership Conference which was just held in Denver, Colorado – February 9th through 11th. NEWH is the premier networking resource for the hospitality industry, providing scholarships, education, leadership development, recognition of excellence, and business development opportunities.

 

Corey was able to share his perspective from an operational side, along with the panel moderator David Corsun, Ph.D., Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at the University of Denver, Tom Ricca of Ricca Design Studios who spoke on the Kitchen Design perspective and Brooke Taylor of Arcsine who shared from an Interior Design aspect.

 

The panel was the wrap up for the 3-day conference, sharing fresh perspectives from industry members tailored for designers, operators and those looking to be on the cutting edge of Hospitality in 2017 and beyond.

 

Life is Beautiful Wins 2016 Music Festival of the Year

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

A fun start to 2017 for Craig Asher Nyman who spearheads efforts for CAN Media & Entertainment (a subsidiary of The Nyman Group) as the Life is Beautiful Festival was awarded Music Festival of the Year at the 2017 Pollstar Awards in Downtown Los Angeles on February 2. A truly incredible honor for all the hard work the team has put in to building the festival to be recognized by the music industry as a leader in the new wave of festivals. The 2016 festival featured acclaimed artists including Mumford & Sons, J. Cole, Major Lazer, The Lumineers, Jane’s Addiction, Flume, Empire The Son and more. Other artists to perform at the festival in years past include Stevie Wonder, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie, Kanye West, OutKast, Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, Duran Duran and hundreds more.

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Craig and CAN Media & Entertainment have worked with the festival since it’s inception where he has served at Head of Music & Live Performances. The music, art, culinary and learning festival returns to Downtown Las Vegas in September for its fifth installment where Craig is busy at work with the team to make the 2017 festival the best yet.

 

 

 

 

HOTELS Magazine: F&B Meetings get the trendy local touch, too

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Here’s some perspective on the continued trend of LOCAL in all aspects of Food & Beverage, including the impact upon Meetings and Banquets.  Courtesy of our friends at HOTELS Magazine and written by Brittany Farb Gruber, they showcase a few hotels that are embracing this direction.

Posted yesterday, F&B: Meetings get the trendy local touch, too article is a great, quick piece.

As a part of the research for the piece, our Director of Operations, Corey T. Nyman was interviewed providing great information and is quoted directly at the end of the article.

Make sure you read HOTELS Magazine regularly for the latest news in the industry, as they embody their tagline ‘Passion for Hospitality’ – extremely true!

 

Raising a glass to 40yrs of Iron Horse Vineyards and 4th of July Weekend in Sonoma

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

July 4th, easily one of our favorite holidays to celebrate and as such this year we had a whole lot of celebrating to do.   Our dear friend and longtime business collaborate with The Nyman Group, Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyards filled us in on plans to celebrate 40 years of Iron Horse we knew exactly where Independence Day would take us.  Joy has shaped the vision of Iron Horse within the Hospitality Industry and her wines are regularly served at the White House and great restaurants around the country.

Iron Horse Vineyards

Sonoma is truly one of those perfect places in America and currently there is so much good happening from incredible juice being bottled and ready to drink to fantastic, fun restaurants to a housing and economic boom, the whole county is firing on all cylinders.  If you have the ability to travel to the region, go now!

Our visit started out on July 2 with us heading to Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley to visit Bill Smart, VP and GM of Lambert Bridge Winery.  First off, Bill is the consummate host and what a lovely experience in our first visit to the winery.  The tasting room at Lambert Bridge is gorgeous and you feel right at home the minute you step foot inside (if you haven’t fallen in love with the winery upon driving up).  We tasted the range of wines and marveled at the delicious juice winemaker Jennifer Higgins has cared for.

Next, it was heading south to Santa Rosa for an afternoon in the sunshine with Rose and Bubbles over at Inman Family Wines. We’ve been big fans of the winery for some time and it was a pleasure having Jon as our host for the day and making sure our glasses were always full as we relaxed next to the vineyard.  If you make the trek this summer make sure to ask for Jon and pick up a bottle or three of their Endless Crush Rose.

 

Being a bit famished after two fantastic tastings it was off to Zazu for dinner.  This was also our first time at the new location inside The Barlow.  The true definition of Farm-to-Table is exemplified by what Duskie Estes and her husband, John Stewart continue to do at Zazu.  On this evening we started with a smorgasbord of salumi, antipasti and some black pig bacon wrapped dates. All tasty and delicious as was the homemade pasta used in the stroganoff followed by a perfect char and crust on the 30-day dry aged rib-eye. The wine list at Zazu is also filled with gems for you to select from and if you want to know what real Caesar salad should taste like, look no further!

 

The following day was what the whole trip was planned around, celebrating 40 years of Iron Horse Vineyards. As a family that has been there from the beginning it is with profound joy and admiration we celebrate the amazing accomplishments of Iron Horse and the sensational job Audrey, Barry and of course, Joy, have worked tirelessly on to make the winery an icon in the business and in the world.  On this day we were all enjoying Spirit of ’76 Cuvee and wow what a firework!  Just an absolutely delicious and perfect sparkling wine while enjoying it in the Iron Horse garden.  In typical Joy fashion there was always a ‘next stop’ and on this celebration day it included following “Uncle Sam” and a 20-person brass band called The Hub Bub Club to a 1920’s corral where the bubbles were flowing and everything from New England lobster rolls to bison sliders were being served.  The highlight of the celebration however came inside the corral where Joy had assembled a collection of impressive and unforgettable memories over the past 40 years of Iron Horse. A perfect soiree for the holiday weekend.

 

 

Following Iron Horse and with a couple hours until dinner it was off to UNTI for a quick tasting. Having been a fan of the wines for some time because of the European styles and techniques we were all very excited about this tasting. We had a lovely host in Kelsey who took us through the whole range and even sampled us on some additional varietals, which weren’t featured on the daily tasting selection. While we sincerely advise you to go, buy, drink immediately we’d be doing a disservice if we didn’t advise you to purchase some of the UNTI Grenache Blanc, a home run!

For dinner we met up with good friend and journalist, Matt Villano, at Underwood Bar and Bistro in Graton. Matt and all our friends in the area all suggested Underwood as a must visit and as such we obliged and were not disappointed.  We could and nearly did eat through the entire menu; a few highlights include the pan roasted chicken (oh my harissa!) and Liberty Farms duck breast and confit.  Pair those entrees with Fathers & Daughters Ella’s Reserve Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 and the Kokomo Claret 2011 from Dry Creek Valley and we were happy campers indeed.

The following day was the 4th and to celebrate our nation’s independence we went to visit good friend, Sean Tevik at Thomas George Estates.  This is another must visit when you are in the area. The winery is relatively young after purchasing the land and facility from David Bynum in 2008 and with such a storied history prior to taking over it’s no wonder TGS specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay! Now look, not only is the wine delicious and one you should stock up on but they have also relocated the tasting room to the Cave making for an even better experience than one could ask for.  Sean and his team are gracious hosts and just give them a heads up you are coming and have a great time!

 

Like all good things, our trip had to come to an end but not before cruising down to San Francisco for a few hours to visit our good friend Nick Floulis at Hole In The Wall coffee. It’s amazing what he’s doing with 27 sq-ft of space (yes, that’s correct, 27). The pour over coffee is strong and tasty, four blends to choose from, and his personality may just keep you there for hours! Don’t believe us?  Go experience for yourself!

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A weekend in wine country flies by too quickly but we’re blessed to have the opportunity to see friends doing great things and we can’t want to be back and enjoy even more memorable experiences.

CANADIAN GAMING SUMMIT – June 2016

Friday, June 17th, 2016

What an experience!  It was great having a chance to be back for the 2nd year in a row at the Canadian Gaming Summit, Food & Beverage Experience and share with our Canadian friends some of my knowledge and experience from the industry.  Delivering the Keynote to attendees was a pleasure and I made sure it was more of an interactive experience, rather than just ‘talking at’ those who were joining us.  We were able to have a very lively discussion on all aspects of Food & Beverage, while looking at where our industry had come from, where it was currently at and where it is going.

 

I really enjoyed the chance to share my perspectives from working in the United States and around the world with the Canadians in attendance; so many parallels in our business with the overall awareness that it is all about Hospitality.  In an ever-changing world that is truly driven by technology, we took time to stop and discuss that it really is the importance of human interaction that is the differentiating factor in our Food & Beverage operations.

 

The greatest thing was that our discussions continued through the entire conference, well after the keynote was finished.  All of the attendees and speakers were able to interact and speak further toward many aspects of our industry and the future ahead.  I was even more honored and flattered when the Director of the show, in his closing commentary to the group, invited me back to be a part of next year’s conference!  Very special and I look forward to returning and participating!

 

If you’d like to learn more about the Canadian Gaming Summit and my experiences, please feel free to reach out and we can happily connect.

 

 

Adventures to San Francisco & the Bay

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

 

Recently, three members of The Nyman Group had the opportunity to head to the San Francisco and Bay Area for meetings, events and tastings, experiencing quite a few elements that the area had to offer.

 

Desiring to embrace a classic San Francisco restaurant landmark, we ventured over to Swan Oyster Bar at 1517 Polk St. (no website and they don’t answer their phone, fyi). – a seafood haven founded in 1912 that is cash only, you wait on line for the 16 bar stools and sit elbow-to-elbow with locals and tourists alike.  Every fish and bivalve served are extremely fresh and completely delicious.  We sampled an oyster platter and then the mixed seafood salad, mounded with Bay Shrimp, Dungeness crab and Prawns, which was then served with an olive oil and vinegar dressing, mixed with some of the back fat of the Dungeness, in the shell.  WOW!

 

Needing some caffeine to charge us for the afternoon, we stopped over to see our good friend, Nick Floulis, at his 27-square foot coffee bar (yes, really), Hole in the Wall, located in North Beach at 524 Union Street.  Hole in the Wall only serves pour-over coffee (very cool and impressive), in three distinct roasts – Blonde, Brunette (lovingly known as North Beach) & Redhead, right on Union Street.  They’re fully embraced by the local community and a great spot for a damn good cup of joe.

 

We then moved along to one of our main reasons for the visit, heading to the ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) Experience Trade Tasting, being held at the stunningly beautiful venue, Bently Reserve.  Zinfandel is commonly referred to as ‘America’s Grape’, even though it is not native to our country, it has been fully embraced as American in flavor and palate appeal.  Tasting through the over 75 wineries, our favorites were definitely Turley, Klinker Brick, Gamba and Brown Estate.

 

Needing sustenance and wanting another San Francisco classic food and beverage venue, we made our way to NOPA in the NoPa (North of Panhandle) neighborhood.  Established in 2006, NOPA is more than a restaurant, but a gathering point for the local community for good eats, a lively bar scene and late night dining.  We were able to swap standing room only into seats, ponying up to the bar and holding down that area with the buzzing activity around us.  The Half Roasted Chicken was tremendous in flavor, having been brined and basted in an herb butter, and the Country Pork Chop with Brussels Sprouts, Cara Cara Oranges, Mustard and Sesame was divine.

 

Next stop on the tour was to The Independent, one of San Francisco’s premier live music venues, to take in a performance by Kamasi Washington.  The jazz saxophonist was in town as part of the 2016 Noise Pop Festival and came under critical acclaim in 2015 for his album, The Epic.  The show proved to be just that as Kamasi and his band (which at times included his father!) laid down a 90-minute set filled with jazz, funk and a room full of mesmerized fans.  To witness this is a room that holds just 500 people was truly special. Following the show we headed just up a touch of Divisadero St. to swing into Bar 821 for an amaro to finish the evening.  Upon arriving, we looked at the wall of the bar where to amari and digestivos were listed and, we were all immediately and completely in awe of the variety they had available.  There were at least 30 amaros and another 20+ digestives, with tasting flights and bottles from Italy, the U.S.A., Switzerland and France.  We were able to sample a great variety, including Brovo #4, an American amaro from Seattle, Washington, which we never knew existed!

 

Wrapping up the evening, we had decided to rest our heads at the recently renovated The Buchanan Hotel, in Japantown, right on Buchanan.  This Kimpton property had clean and spacious rooms, friendly staff and a perfect location for our trip.  We would gladly recommend the hotel to any travelers, business or leisure for your next visit to the Bay.

 

Friday morning we hosted a breakfast meeting at Sweet Maple, located right now the street from our hotel where they are focused on fresh ingredients, gigantic portions and fun combinations of flavors.  We were able to sample one of their signature items, the Millionaire’s Bacon (which was featured on the Discovery Network) – thick, free range bacon baked with brown sugar, cayenne, red and black pepper.  Damn good!

 

After some meetings and exploration, we headed over to Union Larder, a neighborhood joint at the corner of Union & Hyde that refers to itself as a Cheese, Wine & Charcuterie Bar.  Our afternoon stop was perfect timing, as it wasn’t too busy and allowed us to sample the menu, most specifically their House-made Charcuterie and Uni Pate with Fruit Mostarda, a really cool concept of pate.

 

Venturing further down into the city, toward the Financial District (FiDi), we went to see our friends at The Hidden Vine, a wonderful wine bar in the shadow of the TransAmerica Building, complimented by their regulation size Bocce court.  They are great supporters of our Director of Operations’, Labor Wines wine project, featuring the Pinot Noir by the glass.

 

Next on the Bay adventure was a quick BART trip to Oakland for the Vance Joy/Elle King concert at the Fox Theatre.  On this warm February night, it was a breath of fresh air to see Oakland so alive and bustling with activity as patrons entered and exited bars and restaurants. Glancing into the windows of hustling hot-spots and seeing folks eating and drinking, smiling and conversing reassured us that Oakland is continuing to rise again, city-wide.  Just a couple years ago people would have called you crazy to paint a picture of the scene on this night.  The Fox was one of the venues that really led a change for the neighborhood and with shows like Vance Joy, a diverse, happy and fun-loving crowd invaded Oakland in a great way.

 

Saturday morning, we stopped over to the Fillmore Farmer’s Market, which is small but has a nice collection of vendors, purchasing some heirloom carrots, salmon jerky and fresh pastries.  A really fun treat to enjoy a piece of the area’s local flavors.

 

Escaping the city, we were taken to a classic restaurant for lunch, Max’s in Palo Alto at the Stanford Shopping Center, which has been open for over 25 years and is run by our good friend Dennis Berkowitz.  His restaurants are truly run for their customer’s pleasure and enjoyment, and happily boasting, ‘everything you’ve always wanted to eat.’  Max’s menu is vast and full of deliciousness, and we sampled too many dishes!  Having the chance to taste their Corned Beef (Nitrate-free!) and Pastrami, was a heavenly experience.

 

Capping off the trip, we had the pleasure to get a full tour of Max’s Commissary, located in the shadow of San Francisco International Airport.  Being shown around this massive facility was quite the perspective, seeing all that they produce for their various operations, located around the bay.  We were given a Chocolate Covered Macaroon that was the size of our fist, truly unbelievable!

 

All told, our 2 very full days in the Bay Area, were tremendous.  Mixing our meetings in with pleasure, we came, we saw, ate, drank, listened to music and caught up with some great people.  Can’t wait to be back there!