Opera Dinner 2000


Opera Dinner 2000

The 10th Annual

The San Francisco Ritz-Carlton Dining Room

Kris & Howard Case    Diane Daniels & Leonard Heil    Leslie and Michael Schroeder

The sommelier wisely urged us to have this Barolo before the Rochioli Pinot Noir, which we saved for the cheese course.   This 32 year old was absolutely perfect.  It was as smooth as silk, the nose was amazingly like truffles and as we drank it the fruit intensified becoming like jam.

The ritual of the Opera Dinner has been in force now for 10 years.  Kind of a cap on the opera season and an entrée to the Christmas Holidays.  Always a dress-up affair to set a festive tone, for the first number of years they were a tradition at our house, with Kris and Howard serving elegant food and wine, and decorating in high style.  Mike and Leslie kicked in a few times when we all motored to Cupertino.  Last year we decided to give ourselves a break and headed out to Charles of Nob Hill.  It was splendid.  We decided to try The Dining Room this year, just for the variety.  Splendid again. The room is beautiful, with oversized tables spread wide apart.  We had a great round table next to the harp (playing muted at the request of the captain who overheard Leslie muttering as we entered something about disliking harps!), making conversation easy.  The service was above reproach: very attentive, but never intrusive.  Never haughty, always friendly, but not familiar.  Nice touches like escorts for the ladies to the restroom, striking cart service for carving roasts and serving wonderful cheeses.  Oh, yes. The food.  Delicious.  Leonard handed me the wine list, and since we had all just returned from Italy, I went straight for the Italian red page to find a central wine to build around.  Only a small selection – a very extensive list, but shy on Italians.  An ’85 Barbaresco stood out, but with consultation it turned out to sold out, so the sommelier steered us to this ’68 Riserva Barolo from Conterno.  It knocked our socks off.  We had it between a starter of a Bruno Giacosa Arneis, another Piedmonte wine, and we finished with a lovely California Richioli Pinot Noir that the sommelier gave us a break on because it had been mistakenly open for another table.  We lucked out.

 Leslie’s Christmas gift to Mike was an evening in a suite at the hotel, so we all gathered there for pre-dinner Champaign and gift exchange.  Great fun!  Jim Mehan and Chris Adams were scheduled to join us, but sadly Jim’s dad passed away and he was off to New Orleans, and Chris was out with a bad cold.  They were missed, and our condolences and prayers go out to Jim.  He gave us a call from the Detroit airport – he was on his way back to San Francisco, and it was good to hear from him so he could be a little part of the evening.  Bob and Missy Vanderlaan have been regulars at these dinners, but dropped from the opera season this year.  They sent along some nice gifts to the hotel.  It was nice to remember them. They were missed.  Maybe they will be back next year.


Picture Gallery:
Dinner was Great.jpg (74345 bytes) Gifts.jpg (64884 bytes) Grappa.jpg (76267 bytes)
Diane Models Leslies Towle.jpg (80555 bytes) Mike.jpg (44667 bytes) Leonard.jpg (40985 bytes)
Pretty Lady - Leslie.jpg (49433 bytes) Pretty Lady - Diane.jpg (70636 bytes) Pretty Lady - Kris.jpg (50127 bytes)
Diane and Lenny.jpg (40490 bytes)

All text and photos © Copyright Howard Case 2000-2001