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Fighting Nuns 

Oh, brother -- sisters invade the W Hotel

Wednesday, May 30 2001
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Jail Bait Harry apologizes for his recent absence from this space: He was doing his civic duty by serving on a jury -- oh, and scoping out noontime nosh spots in the 850 Bryant area (think Cafe Mars or the Flower Market Cafe). Not far from there, at the W Hotel, two groups from what would appear to be opposite ends of life's courtroom -- the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) and a passel of Catholic nuns -- checked in. As the story goes, long before the hotel opened its doors the sisters booked a chunk of rooms, unaware that the hotel would be extra-swanky or that their visit would coincide with the WSWA Convention. Upon their arrival in late April the nuns felt woefully out of habit and tried to move to another hotel, but the city's beds were full. So they stayed at the W -- after a little upgrading. The nuns asked the hotel's management to make moderate changes to accommodate them (such as replacing the blue lights in the elevators with brighter bulbs so that they'd feel safer when riding). Luckily there wasn't much of a conflict between the pious pals and the booze reps, though the latter might have found those bright lights a bit jarring after a night at the upstairs bar.

Cocktail Majestic Speaking of booze, Harry was mightily impressed by a recent visit to the newly spiffed Avalon bar in the Hotel Majestic. Long famous for its unusual collection of Asian and African butterflies (supposedly one of the largest such collections in the country), the lounge may soon become known for its alluring snack menu, supplied by adjoining restaurant Perlot. An added boon: Veteran San Francisco jazz pianist Don Asher tickles the ivories every Thursday through Sunday, playing standards for the sated audience.

Pop Palates It may be sunny by day, but at night the fog still rolls in and the stars come out -- to eat. Bono escorted Winona Ryder to celeb-favorite Tosca Cafe in North Beach; on another night Laurence Fishburne played pool in the back room. Sigourney Weaver and her husband Jim Simpson dined at the French Laundry in Yountville. (Yes, even Yountville has cool evenings.) Former President Jimmy Carter pulled up a chair at Yabbies Coastal Kitchen on Polk Street. And Harry expects Don Johnson to take more of an active role in his Ghirardelli Square restaurant, Ana Mandara, now that Nash Bridges has been canceled. After all, the eatery boasts lots of pretty young tourists, and wife Kelley Phleger is far too refined to hang out near Fisherman's Wharf. Meanwhile, Keanu Reeves slunk into a massage room at Kabuki Hot Springs, unseen by any of said pretty young things.

In the Food for Love Wedding bells were ringing last month in the land of food and beverage. Pastry chefs Galen Werner of Rose Pistola and David Chesarek of Le Colonial tied the knot near Healdsburg, then ran off to Hawaii on their honeymoon. Bar owner Jon Gasparini (Rosewood and 15 Romolo) and gal-pal Michelle Jaeger were married in Florence, Italy, in the Palazzo Vecchio. Never one to do things like an everyday Joe, Gasparini recited his vows in the 13th-century bedroom of Cosimo de' Medici, then headed home to a reception in an Italian courtyard re- created behind Rosewood. That's amore!

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Harry Coverte

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