Monday, November 30, 2009

cecile's gallery

a wonderful opening at Cecile's over a week ago (pix by Dot).Thanks to all who came.I stopped by yesterday , the sun was pouring in through the open French doors,making the art stand out like jewels.

Monday, November 23, 2009


was very much looking forward to our meal at Aziza , the Moroccan restaurant with the Michelin star, with the trendy twists on a cuisine known for its exotic spicing . I have made my own version of couscous for years( brothy, saffrany,with thyme and cumin) and was curious to see the chef's spin on it.
The restaurant is down on Geary blvd, close to the Legion of Honor museum,which is quite a trek.In other words, it would have to be a stellar performance to induce a come back visit. The glass door at the front makes you believe that the space is modern, but upon entering , you are face to face with an ali baba harem room gone Hollywood by way of the medina, all pinks and blues with moorish arches over tables.I liked the red chandeliers and the black and whites print of horses in front of Moroccan buildings, otherwise, despite its attempts at warmth ,it was tacky and left me cold.
I have to say that the food was very, very good.We started with an apetizer of"spreads".my photos are horrible, and I have to confess that I had about 1/2 second for each, as my friends were declaring loudly a state of starvation and that I had the time for one shot each, but still it gives you a sense of the presentation if nothing else.The spreads were creamy to the point of richness, but delicious against the grilled pitas.My friends shared a couple of other appetizers that they declared superb( the meatballs with raisins, the squid) and I moved on to the couscous.Presentation wise,I rate it a :2, taste, a :10. I was disappointed with the lack of invention and home style plating( booooring)but it definitively made up in taste:it was a vegetarian version and true to form, included carrots, turnips, garbanzos, the plumpest raisins,almonds and also rutabagas which I have not seen before in the traditional couscous, which will have zucchini instead( I guess that switch was a nod to the seasonality of root vegetables).It was not brothy at all and I was afraid of it being dry.But it was moist,hearty,spiced just right, and so rich that I think that the vegetables had been stewed with butter.
We shared 2 deserts, and the waitress neglected to advise us that both were similar in case we wanted to consider something else.The service, in fact was lazy.I never felt taken care of.too bad.Now, how did they get that star with that service? On the other hand, I didn't have the exact change for the valet ( he did not either, moment of awkwardness there), and as I was seated, I asked for change and got it promptly,It was the least they could do.We left the place without a glance from the bar staff or anyone, but the valet told us to wait inside since it was cold and that he would come get us.He was really nice.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


If you glance at the sidebar, you will find a new link: my online magazine where you are welcome to play with me.... Let's cover the world in its myriad of wonders and delectables , let's laugh and cry , and may be ponder on what is to come.First issue : all things Spanish.There will be a reportage from Juan Cristian on the Barcelona markets, a story about a couple who came up with innovative and artful ways of resurrecting antique tiles, also from Barcelona, reviews of local Bay area haunts and restaurants and much more to come.So please collaborate and send me anything you have on Spain !

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

about colors and fruits

photo by Dot
Stopping by Dot's place to borrow some equipment, she pointed out this strange and beautiful installation put up by one of her neighbors. It is part art, part bird food may be, a mid century orange mobile of peeled persimons dangling from a coat hanger.... against a california fall sky of not so quite Klein blue but almost.

The other day at the grocery store, in the fruit aisles, It felt that the world had turned orange: persimons, oranges, tangerines were piled high and brought a cheeriness to the place.Of course,that would be unfair to make a ode to the color orange only, when my fruit platter at home makes me adore the warm pastel palette of the other seasonal fruits.

Monday, November 16, 2009

morning light

the golden glow,the shapes it makes,the promises it brings, the mood it carries in its heart.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

lunch story

I love a casual lunch with friends, no stress, all pleasure, specially if it is sort of a potluck affair with a friend bringing salad and the other one a box of gourmet cookies....One of the friends is a photographer that I work with and upon entering my house, she started looking around and with her photographer's eye, wanted to capture the moment in pictures. I handed her my point and shoot, and here are the results.

I think pizza is my favorite food ( not too original there..) and since significant decided that he was gluten sensitive, gone are the days of home made pizzas dripping with seasonal toppings... until friends are coming over and I can serve a mushroom one on a whole wheat crust.To give it a more woodsy aroma, I mixed grated fontina with smoked mozarella, and sauteed my medley of wild mushrooms with shallots, garlic and rosemary and thyme in a bath of butter and olive oil.I like to have an aromatic garlic oil with herbs on the side that I slather on the steaming pizza as it comes out of the oven.It adds another layer of juiciness and kick.C had brought a box of baby spinach into which she added sunny cubes of persimmons, and she finished it off with a scattering of fresh goat cheese, topped by a balsamic vinaigrette.An inch of red wine, then coffee and a sampling of decadent cookies ( from Katrina Rozelle): chewy double chocolate,shortbread with delicate lemony icing were among the favorites. The old cat , always hoping for a savory morsel, was hanging out, looking up at he action in the kitchen, that November day in the middle of this delicious, heartwarming occasion.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

up and down

When watching a movie where the actors are lying down, I have to stretch my neck sideways to look at them straight on, always have, otherwise the connection to the face is lost.So, after drawing my "sartrian heads" ( something about the eyes and a sense of existentialism,divided between the choice of ups or downs ),I kept hitting the rotate button to check on the face up, but I had drawn it lying down, so it had to be that way after all.or not.

Monday, November 2, 2009

dinner with Dot

As we reached her gate, I looked up and saw the moon, a silverish disk, in a california sky on the last day of October. The day had been very warm, the sun had just fallen off the watery edge, casting a faint glow over the line of trees. We were headed to bowls of udon noodle soups in the cosy nook of the Japanese restaurant next door to her place.


The other day, I had to work on a cocktail shot with chartreuse liqueur.Its color gave the name to the pale green hue, it is green because it is made from mountain plants, according to a secret recipe kept conveniently by silent monks somewhere in the French alps.With hints of rosemary and thyme, I thought it would be fitting to garnish it with sugared branches of the aforementioned rosemary.a deliciously winterish after dinner drink, soothing, digestive, promoting introspection and peace of mind