On my Bucket list this year was a Girls Getaway to explore hidden treasures of California, and I found it at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, a historic property in the wine country of Northern California. What attracted us ladies was that the venue is blessed by natural mineral hot springs, has a championship Sonoma Golf Course, signature Michelin award winning Sante Restaurant and its idyllic Willow Stream Spa. As soon as we arrived after a traffic-filled two hour drive from San Francisco, getaway friends Muriel Kao, Carolyn Jow and Dali Jones made way to their ahhhhhh moments, in the relaxing mineral hot spring pools, which the resort boasts as one of the only luxury spa resorts in the country with its own source of thermal mineral water. I left all cares behind with Willow Stream’s signature Executive “meltdown” treatment, letting go of stress with brisk back exfoliation and warm stones and hot herbal towels under my back, while enjoying a tension-melting body massage. Another day I tried the spa’s unique heated flotation table where one relaxes seemingly weightless in a waterproof hammock lowered into the warm water enveloped in decadent vanilla and shea-butter wrap. Aptly called the “Vanilla Wrap” when one emerges you’re treated to a delicious vanilla float from the spa café – ah nirvana!
LPGA member and Golf Club Manager Stefanie Thompson and Michelle Heston, Director of Northern California Fairmont Public Relations, joined us following a golf game at the pristine well-manicured women-friendly grounds of the Sonoma Golf Course, showing off the restaurant’s stack of freshly fried onion rings, a local favorite. Michelle smiled knowingly as we raved about the resort’s famed Sante Restaurant dinner we had enjoyed the night before, recalling our drooling over its Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Lobster Corn Bread “Financiere” and my overwhelming Niman Ranch Beef Tasting which featured petite filet mignon, Black Truffles Braised Pave a la Bourguignonne and a skirt steak embellished with an Acorn squash Puree. Most intriguing chef’s special gift to diners was a cauliflower custard topped with caviar served in a hollowed-out egg shell. As we reminisce about our special get away adventure, we certainly will have fond memories of Sonoma Mission Inn’s extraordinary cuisine, the state-of-the-art Spa –all surrounded by restful surroundings and beautiful rooms in the heart of California’s Wine Country!
BACK IN SAN FRANCISCO….
Chinese Culture Foundation celebrated its 48th Anniversary with its annual “Harmony & Bliss” fundraising dinner at the Empress of China. Director Mabel Teng proudly announced that in this anniversary year, CCC has participated in art and cultural events that have attracted over 60,000 people, furthering its mission to spark intercultural discovery through art, education and engagement. Honored that evening for their special contributions to promote Chinese culture, as announced by Co-Chairs Susan Tom and Esther Li, were the following: Lifetime Achievement in Bridge Building Award – California Governor Jerry Brown, Lifetime Achievement in Community Building Award - Laura Lai, and Distinguished Artistic Achievement Award – Mr. Zheng Chongbin. A special milestone this year is the establishment of C-Cubed, Friends of Chinese Culture Foundation, dedicated to sustaining the organization’s leadership and legacy by pledging at least $1000 annually. Keep up the good work, CCC – I like your stats showing you had 300 artists, 2,500 visits per months, and 13,738 unique visits and 6.8 million page views (visit it yourself at gallery c-c-c-.org).
When the Bay Area Arthritis Auxiliary and Foundation, Northern California Office, put on a gala fashion show, they do it up proud. The recent 2013 Benefit Luncheon/fashion show featured the clothes of Donald Deal and was held in the Grand Ballroom of the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel. I think the auxiliary knew if they got very active Chinese women leading the event, it would be a successful event, and Fashion Show Chairman Sharon Seto proved them right there. Calling everyone at the luncheon Arthritis Ambassadors to fight and win the cause against the dread disease, she revved up the women in the audience to support the Key to the Cure live auction and funding appeal, and a very handsome sum was raised that day. Also leaders for this event were Luncheon and Marketplace Chair Jennie Chiu and Haute Couture Sponsor Elizabeth Pang Fullerton. Fashion designer Colleen Quen donated one of her latest paintings for the open auction, which was well fought over with winning high bidder paying $3600. . Others seen enjoying the show were Magdalene Chan, Margaret Liu Collins, Celeste Woo, Father David Pace, Genelle Relfe, Lorna Ho, Hilda Chen, Chandra Friese, Ruth Ma, Kathleen Dunbar Anderson and Jan Yanehiro.
ON STAGE IN SILICON VALLEY
Just saw the new version of WIZARD OF OZ by SHN which opened October 16 at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco. The show is colorful, fun and wonderful with familiar old songs mixed in with new and a leading lady whom you swear is a Judy Garland look-alike.
In an era where fun-loving musicals are few and far between, here is one you will love. I did, and obviously I’m not a spring chicken, but a forever romantic sentimentalist at heart. Great for a family outing.
Warrior Class, which received acclaim in its Off Broadway debut last year, opened to enthusiastic audiences at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, and will play until November 3. Bun Bandhu, who stars as“Julius Weishan Lee” said of his return to a TheatreWorks production, “ I love that TheatreWorks has a tradition of actors meeting patrons after the show so their subscribers are always engaged. Warrior Class is about cultural identity that resonates with me. I love that Asian American writers have moved beyond the immigrant story and are telling stories about how Americans of Asian descent are shaping the fabric of the nation and how, even as far as we have come, stereotypes remain attached to us”, added Bun. He continues, “Warrior Class is about the challenges that face Asian politicians, but these stereotypes affect all of us. It is important to me that there are Asians in the audience, for they will relate to this topical play on a completely different level.” So let’s all come and let Bun see you supporting him in this important role. Ticket info: www.TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.
Tony-nominated for Best Play and 2010 Outer Critics Circle Aware Winner for Best New American Play, NEXT FALL will open October 23 in downtown San Jose’s blue building housing San Jose Rep’s stage. In this poignant and intelligent love story, Luke and Adam are the contemporary “Odd Couple”, one a responsible but neurotic atheist and the other an impulsive, underemployed actor and devout Christian. Artistic Director Rick Lombardo says, “This is a beautiful story infused with humor that will challenge all audiences, celebrate our diversity and have us all thinking about our own journeys of tolerance and unconditional love.”
New this year is “30 and under Pricing” which means individuals 30 years or younger only pay 50% of the regular ticket price, as do full time students. Great idea to encourage younger people to learn to love live theater as do the older theater patrons. www.SJRep.com; (408) 367-7255.
GUYS AND DOLLS, the popular fable of Broadway, will come to the historic Fox Theatre in Redwood City November 8 through 17. Popular actress Molly Bell will be leading this production and will no doubt breathe new creative life into this classic fun-loving audience favorite as director/choreographer. Broadway By the Bay, the presenter of Guys and Dolls, was established as San Mateo Community Theatre in 1965. Now the resident musical theatre company of the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Redwood City, it is the only major company between San Francisco and Palo Alto producing large-scale musical productions using local talents. Ticket ranges are $35-$55 and can be purchased through broadwaybythebay.org or (650) 579-5565.
Another Tony Award three-time winner, GOD OF CARNAGE opens November 2 at Palo Alto’s Lucie Stern Theater for 11 performances by 83 year old Palo Alto Players. The play has been a huge hit since it premiered in London’s West End in 2008, winning the Olivier Award for Best New Play. Moving on toBroadway, it became the third-longest running play of the 2000s. It ‘s the story of two highly civilized married couples who desire to amicably resolve an altercation in the park between their 11 year old sons in which one suddenly whacked the playmate with a stick, breaking two of his incisors. Reviewers have called the play wickedly funny and smart, leaving everyone laughing and groaning in recognition of the frailties of civilized society. Tickets $35-$45 can be bought online at www.paplayers.org or (650) 329-0891 with discounts for seniors and students.