There is no better city in the world to visit on a warm summer day than San Francisco when the fog has cleared, and the ocean breezes are calm. Driving up Highway 280 through beautiful mountain landscapes, Pearl Lee and I celebrated old college friend Muriel Kao’s birthday with a spa visit to the busy Tru Salon in the Financial District Hilton Hotel. Following the relaxing “Pure Massage” and refreshing facial treatments, we walked down to Montgomery Street to Bocadillo’s Tapas and Wine Bar which has been named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the “Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants”. Opened in 2004 by Restauranteur Gerald Hingoyen, Bocadillos is a tiny restaurant continually bustling with fans favoring its small-plate concept with signature focus on Spanish inspired tapas from popular morning breakfast fare to late night offerings. Located in the heart of the lively Jackson Square neighborhood, Bocadillos is at 710 Montgomery Street. www.BocaSF.com.
We let young North Dakotan James LaLonde, the restaurant’s newly named chef, choose for us and we were delighted to cap off our celebration with his specialties. Our wonderful small plates included fried chicken salad complemented with peaches, walnuts and moscatel vinagarette, Tapas of the Day special clams with chorizo, red chiles and beer, lamb burger with aioli and shallots, pea medley of english peas, snap peas and pea tendrils with horseradish root, and a bravado finis of warm chocolate cake with banana ice cream and caramel flan with maldon salt. Yes, we waddled back to the convenient Hilton parking garage full of stomach, sprite of walk with loosened muscles, and in an uplifted mood from our celebratory day in San Francisco.
HEARING SILICON VALLEY IMMIGRANT STORIES
Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation hosted 130 Silicon Valley leaders to a specially prepared luncheon at Palo’s Alto’s new hidden gem, The Sea by Alexanders Steakhouse on El Camino Real across from the Cabana Hotel. Manager Tim Halsted and President Chanile Chang presented a special menu in the restaurant’s Banquet Room of Miso glazed Halibut with black garlic and scallions, which guests proclaimed was perfectly done as is the signature of the restaurant’s seafood fare. President Buck Gee opened the program with an Immigrant Voices video of Tyrus Wong, followed by a panel of Larry Chang, Victor Chinn and Catherine Eusebio conversing with Director Michael McKechnie about their own family’s immigration experiences coming to America, through Angel Island or in later years. George Leung from the audience applauded the speakers and the organization for bringing to the public’s eye the hardships so many of our forefathers faced when coming to America and raising families in a period of strong discrimination against Chinese Americans.
Many of the patrons came because of the desire to share their own past histories with fellow diners while others admitted these disclosures were completely new to them and wanted to learn more. Many were enthusiastic about the work Angel Island Foundation continues to do in commemorating the Immigration Site on the island as a museum of history in the old Barracks building where thousands were detained up to years sometimes in their quest to enter the United States.
Asking for funding support to continue and expand the work of collecting immigrant stories to share on the AIISF website and ultimately in the historic hospital to be turned into a community library and place to learn more about immigrant histories, I, as co chairman of the newly formed Pacific Passages Circle, invited the Silicon Valley lunch attendees to join me as founding members. Those rising to the cause to pledging towards the minimum $1000 initiation fee were Dr. Tae Yun Kim, Helen &George Leong, Eric Lee, Gene & Mary K. Lim; Dr. Vincent & Zeny Seid, Vicky Wong, Eva Lai-Kit Jones, Bassie Lee, Robert & Gwendolyn Gin, Arthur Tom, Ronald Lau & Evon Tse, and Josephine Wong. As a token of appreciation, Special Projects Director awarded each new Pacific Passages Circle member a copy of the newly published book Angel Island. For information on the Pacific Passages Circle, or sharing your family story with the Foundation, check www.aiisf.org.
HITTING THE BALL FOR SCHOLARSHIPS
According to President Steve Cho, the major fundraiser for the South Bay Chinese Service Club’s Scholarship Program is the annual SBCSC Golf Tournament Benefit. To celebrate the club’s 48th year of existence, of which scholarships were granted in 43 of those years, the 26th Annual Golf tourney was presented. Under the chairmanships of Frank Louie and Victor Gin, over 50 golfers butted heads and clubs to win the bowl of $$$ prizes. In the Men’s A Flight, Ken Louie, Ralph Heath and Bob Gin were winners. Men’s B Flight champs were Victor Gin, John Ow and Willy Yichoy. Ladie’s honors went to Fran Gin, Judith Handa and Gwen Gin. Low Net prize went to Elliott Lee, while copping low gross title was Joe Prestano. Lorrie Wong, Mary K Lim and Maelene Wong collected over 40 raffle gifts for the giving golfers. Congratulations to all the winners for a cause that makes high school graduates the ultimate winners!
SWEET CHARITY – SWEET SHOW!
Sweet Charity, an age-old Bob Fosse musical of the 1970s has come to life in Walnut Creek at the Lesher Theatre and was given whistles and foot stomping applause on opening night. Center REPertory Company is the producer and old friend Timothy Neary directed a fine production, which is fun for all ages. The old favorites “Hey Big Spender” and “If My Friends Could see Me Now” had the audience tapping their feet and humming the old favorites while on stage there was so much going on, one didn’t dare blink an eye. The busy cast was sharp and quick, the voices loud and mellow This great lighthearted production will stay up to June 21 so make an outing of going to see this lighthearted musical. CenterREP.org.
BALLET AT ITS BEST
Smuin Ballet’s SPRING BOUQUET performance was well received by Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts audience. The dancers were precise in formation, and in solo performances. The second act called JAZZIN’ was lighthearted, fun and showed not only dance talent, but acting and bravado in their interpretations at this premier season offering. The 17 member troupe should be very proud of this spring series which they brought to various cities and a wide audience.
Colorful Hawaiian shirts and beautiful floral dresses were the comfortable dress of the night for the 500 patrons who joined together at the Self –Help for the Elderly’s Longevity Gala 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Burlingame. Carrying the Aloha Spirit theme further, committee members were adorned with orchid leis and the patrons were entertained by lively Tahitan dancing by the HoneeBee Production dancers/Nicole Bay Area Hula team and Self-help for the Elderly Senior Hula Dancers, the latter students of active SHE Board member Eva Jones. Honorees of the evening were longtime South Bay volunteer Virgina Bakken, The Cooking Buddies (Tim Gin, Sergio Chung, David Lee and Stan Chew) who have prepared and served food at countless SHE events through the years, and Russell Leong whose graphic art designs have been featured on many SHE periodicals and programs through the years. Liveliest part of the evening was when MC Janelle Wang and State Assemblyman Jerry Hill roused the crowd to bid on fantastic live auction items.
Happy winners were Helen Hubbs of a dream vacation at Old Greenwood, Bassie Lee of a Vineyard tour, Bruce Green of a New York package and Joanna Lin of a Hidden Wine Country Paradise at Mazzocco Winery in Healdburg, to name a few. Over 300 silent auction items tempted others to support the cause, but it was those generous souls who participated in the Fund-A-Cause rally by raising their hands heartily to pledge over $90,000 in 10 minutes time, ended the evening’s activities on a very high note of gratification for the two hard working chairs Diane Lee and Joan Wilson who led the gala to raise up to $500,000 for this well-run, much needed senior service agency. Seen in the bidding skirmishes for the many great prizes or volunteering as bidder spotters with brightly glowing wands were Andrew and Flora Zee, Solomon and Karen Tsai, Bert Why, Tom Tanabe, Bill Lock, and Richard Wong, . Enjoying the evening in support of the worthy cause for senior centers were Dorothy Yeung, Mandy Au, Gladys Hu, Norman and Antonia Tu family, Paul Zen, Lillian Howell and Mina Li of KTSF/TV, and associates of AT&T and Wells Fargo, the event’s major sponsors. As usual, a wonderful evening of fundraising of the highest most successful level, as manned by over 50 volunteers. Congratulations!