Saturday, January 31, 2009

les acidules

These are snaps I took while working on a promo piece.more to come......
This week I had a gig at Farina, an Italian restaurant in San Francisco, in one heart of foodie heaven: A few steps away from Farina was Tartine ( no tartines in sight, actually no bread for sale, but on Tuesday evening....) it was crowded, casual and rustic.The food looked unappetizing and messy, people were drinking cafe out of bowls, soaking up the sun at tables set on the sidewalk)( don't they know bowls are just for breakfast?)
then it is Delfina pizzeria, followed by Delfina proper ( the menu looked amazing), and then the mother of all groceries Bi-Rite.The produce looked absolutely amazing, the best I have seen, the selection truly stellar,packed in one giant refrigerated section, and the cheeses, the chocolates, the prepared foods: I wish I could shop there weekly !On my way out, I grabbed a sample of organic navel:That was the dot on the i,sweet as candy, juicy as a waterfall.
Back to farina, an absolutely stunning  space, very designed in the current mode of modern/urban/Milan meets rustic/farmhouse/Stockholm.Everything was thought of down to the last detail of bolts ( the architect's wife told me).Loved the ample  white room with wood banquettes and  metal tables topped with the  old signs of the former owner of the site( a cookie company ?). For a crew lunch, we had a platter of pasta ( they make their own at a big marble counter where you can watch them display their skills) and that pasta was the best I have had in a million and a half years.served with a creamy mushroom sauce, the wide flat sheets were melting in your mouth with each bite. The owner and chef are form Genoa, and they are both dedicated to truly authentic, truly simple, truly divine.
Now, I need to go back for dinner.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

a visit with Dot

A beautiful morning at Dot's new digs.The  blue sky was getting some blossoms out and the chickens were squawking softly before us. She is finally settled in her refuge like studio far from the madness of her other ghetto shares. The owners, a retired Japanese -American couple,  are tending to gardens and animals. The place feels so safe and serene that we kept the door open,while the sun streamed in and the Nigerian beat that I brought back from Paris, was playing softly in the background.

Monday, January 26, 2009

to be brave

Each day,the stomach seems to sink a little further.In talking to friends, reading the Sunday paper or worse watching the news, we all hope that the predicted disaster, the rightful outcome to times of greed and irresponsibility will not hit US. We have to be creative, thrifty and not wanting.Happy with little.How appropriate to see " early summer " by Ozu, a film of tenderness ,poetry and sorrow , a lesson of letting go and accepting what is,rejoicing in the minuteness of short sweet moments of life.
Speaking of brave, the word makes me crave "the bravas, the potatoes bravas".If you know my inclination for the tapas restaurant Cesar in Berkeley,you will  know that they make a killer pile of those, and since I have their cookbook, I am able to cook it at home.
This is a shot of the tasty  bravas, after their initial boiling, smeared with salt, olive oil, and smoked paprika before their final golding, crispy moment of release from the oven.

Friday, January 23, 2009

misty weather

nature is a place of solace in time of need or distress. The "nature" theme seems to prevail these days in design, or art.  Guilty myself, I love to get inspired by the colors, patterns and emotions that  the beauty of the wild can evoke.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

But it is spring here !

temperatures in the 70's ( 20's centigrades). a soft air with jasmine scents.Is the earth confused with mixed signals ? We all are:wool anklets or cropped pants ?
My rose bush had a flower, and I can bicycle without a scarf knotted up to my mouth. A kind of relief, a muscle relaxes,the eyes close against the delicious warm sun.
In my fridge, butternut squash, parsnips,potatoes and my mind: tabbouleh salad with humus and marinated olives.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

winter mood

It had snowed the whole day before I landed and the landscape was pure whiteness.It was so cold. the snow turned to white ice that stayed for the whole week I was there.The sky was blue, hazy and everyone was wrapped in down or fur.

this is the boulevard where my mother lives. I have to go check her more often now, and the visits are stressful and sad. I decided to go buy her a microwave oven to make her life simpler. But, being in Paris you have to have a handsome clerk with a sense of style ( check out the tie, now isn't that too cool ?).

When I got there, it was during the time that all bakeries carry the 'Kings cake": a very rich affair of puff pastry with an almond paste filling,Back home, the galette is cut and a child hides under the table and annonce who will get each slice.inside, a ceramic miniature will make the lucky eater either a king or queen, proudly wearing a gold paper crown that is always sold with each cake.
This is the window display of La Maison du Chocolat, where they sell the galettes with a chocolate filling !

One distressing day, I rushed to a simple corner cafe to drink a hot toddy.It was delicious,and served so stylishly.

a side street in the latin Quarter,a nod to my student days:

I did a quick stop at Shakespeare and Co bookstore, a sacred space for book lovers, writers,poetry enthusiasts.The blue chair is probably the one where I saw Annais Nin read, a long time ago.People from all around the world leave love notes to George ,the owner, who lets writers live and work with him while they create.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

good times

I am on my way to Paris for a week, but before I go I will leave you with a few more photos from my life.
Stopped by J to pick her up, but she had to harvest a few greens from her bountiful California winter garden to give me before we left for our walk. They were so tender and sweet, nothing but steam was necessary to savor them. it had broccoli leaves, parsley, chard and kale, a green symphony.

I brought these "to be baked" apples for dessert one night, and I thought the colors a little bit psychedelic.Granny smith apples filled with almonds ,ginger, honey, brown sugar and cream...with a cranberry/apple cider. The cream mixture was supposed to stand for 30 minutes to thicken.I had never done that before, but they turned out very tasty.

Dot had mentioned that she would knit me a scarf for a present. I don't know if you can see very well how clever and stylish her design was: a floppy alpaca rectangular knit with 3 buttons to turn it into a warm neck scarf.Handy for my upcoming trip into the Siberian cold of 25 o in Paris tomorrow!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

deux mille neuf

Deux mille neuf means 2009 in French. Neuf is nine of course, but it also can signify new as in " c'est tout neuf"( it's all new) like this year is.It is still all dewy and innocent, bright and shiny with big rosy cheeks and wide open eyes, ready to take it all in. As in the beauty that makes me swoon and the dark that makes my cry. I started this blog in january 2007, and I still feel like I am figuring things out, trying to make sense of life,refining a focus to my wandering mind.
After showing you some shots taken by Dot that I like a lot, I was emboldened to try some night photos.I tend to prefer the painterly quality of daylight ( and food looks so much better with soft even light), but by the time I was finished with my appetizers, it was dark outside. I was inspired by Bea of la tartine gourmande, and her potato nests with crab filling were a hit a the New Year's eve party.

My dear friend JM served a great dish of fish baked in salt,

and then we saw the ball drop.