Our good friend Boris called me late last night asking if we wanted to join them for brunch at the Palace of Legion of Honor (too much “of”) in the city. I was thinking of a wonderful surprise for Scott (for the massage and all) and thought the brunch would be a good idea. I’ve been to the Palace quite a few times (during the Monet exhibition way back last year), mostly with guests while showing them around.
We met Boris and his partner Chin at the front gate and they kindly showed us around. It is absolutely beautiful! On the right hand side is a scenic view of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. The mid part is luscious woodland, pine trees and redwood everywhere with this huge parisian fountain that works as the rotonda. The Palace itself was a structure of beauty, felt like Queen Victoria for a while (Hahaha). Brunch was served on time, it was a four course menu (paired with jazz music by a four member band). I didn’t care much for the first course, but the entree’ was delicious — Crab Cake Benedict and the Veggie Frittata was also good (was picking from Scott’s plate, Hahaha). Then there’s the Cheese course and dessert, the Lemon Custard definitely gave a kick! (too citrusy for me though)
After brunch, we walked around the gallery. On exhibition are Masterpieces of French Jewelry. I was intrigued by the collection — daring and exotic creations by Van Cleef & Arpels, House of Cartier, Renee Lalique, George Fouquet and JAR. There are also some pieces from the private collection of Elizabeth Taylor and Irish Cantor, both elite socialites and filthy rich in their own right. During our walk, the tour guide even mentioned Imelda Marcos; some relation to jewelry pieces in the gallery. I could not beleive how much history there is in this pieces of body ornaments.
There were also art deco paintings, french-modernist piece (I beleive). But Scott was much more interested in old-world European paintings (I don’t know much about paintings, so I was not that much intrigued like I was at the jewelry pieces). He just kept on saying these names like El Greco, Rembrandt, Matisse, Watteau (have a better idea now though). At first, I was like — who? But I got my art lesson 101 from the three gurus I was with. When I heard the name Picasso and Monet, I was able to understand more of what the conversation was all about (was I a dummy or what?). There were some very nice sculptures that I really like, August Rodin was the name of the artist. And I was fascinated by the decorated ceiling as well (laid in gold and enamel), it was truly a showpiece. Whoever did that work on the ceiling must have neck stiffness for years! (just kidding)
The building itself is a work of wonder! It was like a short strip to France, with the glass pyramid outside (a miniature Pyramide du Louvre), an Arch du Triumph look-a-like and this statue in the middle they called “The Thinker” which was also a Rodin piece. The palace is surrounded by plenty of sculptures (El Cid, Holocaust and Lion statues) and the garden was lovely. No wonder local people and visitors are captivated by the palace charm.
It was just unfortunate that we had to leave by 4 pm. We had some more errands to do and there’s also traffic getting out of the city to the suburbs. It was a stunning experience! I couldn’t conceal my happiness, it was a splendid day indeed. Scott had this huge smile on his face (even while we were driving), he didn’t even realize the traffic on Highway 101 (Usually, he would get mad). “Spectacular!” as Scott said it and I couldn’t agree more…
Tip: The whole brunch and admission was reasonably priced at $40 (plus tax and gratuity). Not bad, right?
Next Destination: De Young Museum, no date yet.