We didn't have any plans for before my uncle's surprise birthday luncheon at 1pm, so we just lazed around. Went to the Starbucks down the street and had some breakfast.
At about 12:40pm, we walked the 5-6 blocks down to Ana Mandara, the location of the party. We were to arrive early so that we could surprise my uncle Solomon. Boy was he surprised when he arrived. They had told him it was a Chinese New Year luncheon for the Asia Chef Association. He saw many family and friends travel there from afar. My other two uncles and their wives traveled from Taiwan and Phoenix. Some came from Hawaii.
The restaurant was so beautifully decorated.
The menu for the celebration, with my uncle's baby picture at the top.
The table of honor.
My cousins Eric and Erica had a lot of the hosting duties, telling stories of my uncle Sol.
Finally the man of the hour gave a short speech.
The luncheon was buffet style and the food was absolutely spectacular.
Uncle Sol's wife Aunt Rose with Executive Chef Khai Duong.
I didn't know until the chef spoke that this restaurant is in the Zagat Top 25 of San Francisco. (For being the capital of good eats, this is pretty darn awesome.) Chef Khai was trained in Cordon Bleu in Paris, and his partners in the restaurant are Don Johnson (yes, that Don Johnson of Miami Vice fame) and Cheech Marin.
The birthday cake.
Todd loved it so much he had two pieces at the restaurant, then a third piece at night at Uncle Sol's place.
Todd, me, and my cousin Bertha.
Bertha is a writer, producer, and director of movies. Her first indie movie Face went to Sundance Film Festival. Her next movie Fighting Fish, should be coming out this year. She's now in post-production on a romantic comedy called "Almost Perfect".
A bunch of the family.
After lunch (which by that time was 4pm!), we walked around Ghirardelli Square, where the restaurant is located. Yes, almost this whole block of buildings is about the chocolate. Todd was super excited!
From there, we could see Alcatraz.
We rested for about an hour back at the hotel. Then we walked 35 minutes to my Uncle Sol's place to meet up with everyone again. Their condo had views of the Embarcadero, the Bay Bridge, and The Ferry Building. It was incredible. We then walked the five blocks to China Town and had dinner at Bund Shanhainese Restaurant.
It was all delicious. I tried some eels and it tasted fine, but the thought of them grossed me out.
After dinner, we walked back to Uncle Sol's condo and hung out until 10:30pm. Everyone was super-tired after a long day then, so we went back to the hotel. Thank goodness my cousin Eric gave us a ride back. I really didn't feel like walking another 35 minutes to get back!