The intoxicating Baja Seafood Boil, with clams, mussels, shrimp, spiney lobster, and Baja Stone Crab claws. With ancho lime butter and  sourdough bread, thank you.

The intoxicating Baja Seafood Boil, with clams, mussels, shrimp, spiney lobster, and Baja Stone Crab claws. With ancho lime butter and sourdough bread, thank you.

I want to Talk about all the above on a wonderful weekend trip just a few hours away from home. It was a double header, and not at Petco Park! But we did celebrate Lily Tomlin and her humane goodness at the Petco Foundation’s 5th Annual Hope Gala in the fabulous Hilton Bayfront Hotel.

The weather was perfect; David and I took Skye to this very dog-friendly destination; we walked him along their famous Promenade (truly great sniffing).

This hotel was beyond expectations and with views of the sparkling bay and bountiful boats that kept us glued to the wall sized windows (Skye was fascinated).

Superb comfort came from a perfect King sized bed, a chaise lounge (adopted by Skye), two bathrooms, and a living room (you heard me), with a convertible couch and a dining room set! I’ve spent years living in apartments smaller than this. Yep, big screen TV’s, AC, desks (with ergonomic chairs), nifty toiletries – and to start things off with a sweet bang, a tray of sparkling waters and a chocolate selection designed like sea shells, with a welcoming note tucked in a bottle. After we unrolled it, we ate it (candy!), but not before seeing the sweet message from Marketing Manager Rachael Giannecchini and Executive Administrator Shelly Montoya. Thanks to them for making this weekend so deliciously special. And speaking of delicious, they have all kinds of casual and fine dining. First, casual….

The new Pool Club with its spectacular waterfront location is an oasis by the Hilton’s sparkling pool. Enhanced by towering palms and lush gardens, the space subtly manages to slip in a children’s pool and waterslide. For older kids, there is a lively bar & lounge and a big waterfront event plaza. One can enjoy the view, and indulge in the local coastal-inspired cuisine and tempting selection of hand-crafted cocktails, stellar California wines, or local micro-brews. Now to casually elegant dining….


People make the difference – Hilton’s staff, from front desk to concierge, security to housekeeping, are so invested in the hotel. At our dinner at Vela, we really felt like we made friends with Adrianne, our server at this first-rate restaurant. She not only helped with advice (we requested) from the menu, but we learned (I ask a lot of questions) that she met her husband at the hotel and they now have the most adorable 10 month old girl who is now walking. Ricardo Sanabria, the handsome Food and Beverages Supervisor, surprised us with an excellent Cotes du Rhone, Domaine of Solitude. He also gave us tips about traveling in Costa Rica and the best beaches. So thanks to Ricardo for the food and the beverage. And hats off to Vela’s new Chef, Paul Gonzales, and to the hotel’s Executive Chef Patrick Dahms for finding him! David and I reveled (over indulged), with the daunting Fries (garlic, parmesan, chipotle aioli), perfect steak, masterful beet salad (you gotta be there), a Baja Seafood Boil was worth the trip, and those were just the starters. We shared dessert, a crunched almond basket filled with perfect berries and vanilla ice cream. So, the point is, Vela is a dining destination … even if you are not staying at the hotel, it’s a chance to be dazzled by the Bayfront view and the dining.

THE PETCO GALA: Actors and Others for Animals, showing our respect to Lily and to Petco and its generous Foundation, was well represented by Mary and Fred Willard (Fred being very busy in the new HBO series Family Tree and reoccurring role in Modern Family), Joanne Worley (our President), the steadfast Paige and Dr. Miller, and our special Executive Director, Susan Taylor. We all were quite thrilled when honoree, Lily Tomlin, announced that she is a new member of Actors and Others Board of Directors. Can’t wait for the next meeting!

LILY: Acknowledging that people are animals, Lily was celebrated and awarded for her life-long efforts on behalf of animals. She took stage to an arousing ovation and accepted her award with a hysterical and historically funny speech. Never in Petco’s history … Between the laughs, Lily spoke for the freedom of Elephants, her cat Murphy, and for all the animals in need of rescue.

There was an empty chair at the Gala, that of Paul Jolly, who although ill with ALS, still works daily for his passion, animals. He is the creator and spirit of the Petco Foundation. The tag on Paul Jolly’s email is, “Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened.” —- Dr. Seuss

We’ll Talk….

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