Buffet Brunch at the Garden Court in the Palace Hotel for moms 75th bd was a success last weekend. She was surprised to see some old friends and her so-cal family 15 in all. The ambience in the enormous atrium dining room was good for this type of event. The staff was very friendly, didnt rush us and service was very good. Soothing sounds of the harpist playing in the center of the dining room wafted throughout. The food choices were quite extensive typical buffet style, no epicurean fare. I just stayed with the raw oysters being shucked while you watched and colossal shrimp. An ala carte menu was also available, but most opted for the fun of selecting one or many platefuls of buffet chow. I learned the older crowd in our group had fond memories of being in this room in their romancing years; the teenagers at the table went on a short tour of the hotel and took in some history of the property and San Francisco. I would have liked to have joined in, but was busy smoozing.
From reading a lot of great posts on many great restaurants we were able to sample a couple on our short weekend visit. Had narrowed Sat. lunch choices down to 3 from about a dozen choices on my list from your posts. Hubby picked the one near the old neighborhood he grew up in - PPQ#2 (Vietnamese) at 25th & Clement. We had the special for 2, which included chicken & cabbage salad, spring rolls, baked Dungeness crab (most excellent), Garlic noodles (terrific)and fried banana w/mango ice cream. Service was excellent. Then, the 1st pick-me-up coffee stop in north beach at Columbus at Caffe Roma w/pear torte. Dinner still full from the big lunch. Wanted to try Pacha Mama, a brazilian place in north beach. No parking, sat. night. Opted for Elite Café on Fillmore. Walked in at 8:30 and asked for a booth, and given a 20 minute wait. Walked up street, still trying to work up a larger appetite. Had martinis, crab cakes w/ cucumber-frissee salad & remoulade, a nice zippy shrimp etouffee, & 2 over-the-top deserts ~ Bananas foster a huge portion of caramelized bananas served w/ a sweet cream ice cream in a puff pastry; & a bread pudding. Service and ambiance were excellent. I kept apologizing for not having a bigger appetite, but our friendly waitperson, did not seem to mind. I will leave the mouth-watering chowlogues to the more experienced others on this board. Thanx for the recs. Would certainly go back to both spots and hope to sample more next time.