I did a feature for Sip Northwest’s Spring 2016 issue on white wine varieties of the Northwest a month or so ago, which beaks down 6 different kinds of white wines, and all sorts of varieties you can get right here in the Northwest in preparation for the upcoming warmer weather. Hope you enjoy! Thanks of course to the lovely ladies over at Sip Northwest who helped make it look so pretty.
Last weekend I went to Venice Beach with my sister for our annual Sisser vacation. We were there for 3 days, which was fantastic, but perhaps need one more day just to lay by the pool or beach. We went and ate dinner at Plant Food & Wine on Abbot Kinney in Venice, this is the main drag other than the beach front. My sister has been vegan since January so we did eat at a few vegan restaurants, of which, Plant Food & Wine was one. We had the most amazing sandwiches there, and the setting was wonderful. We ate in their little magical outdoor patio. We also walked along the beach and then took a Pedicab (which I have never ridden in) up to the Santa Monica Pier, ate some delicious fries at a burger joint and rode the roller coaster up there.
In the morning we ate at one of my favorites (and everyone’s) Gjelina for brunch. We were given the scoop that if we went before 10:45 we wouldn’t have to wait. We ate at their outdoor patio as well. I was told for dinner there is a 1-2 month wait, so this was perfect. Last time we were there we had pizza so breakfast would be something new to try and if we got in early enough we wouldn’t have to wait. We had breakfast about 9:30 am and no wait, and an amazing smoked trout scramble with a side of candied bacon. We then headed straight to Fryman Canyon, which we felt was like LA’s version of Greenlake. A 3.4 mile hike in the Hollywood hills. It was a really beautiful hike, and perfect for the weather. We felt immersed in LA culture, everyone was beautiful of course. Then we headed over to Gracias Madre for some vegan Mexican, where we again ate on a beautiful patio. The menu was crazy! I don’t drink, but their cocktail varieties were out of control, try some fungi anyone in your cocktail? I had the black bean burger, which was to die for.
After getting back we vegged out by the pool and went and grabbed some libations from Moon Juice, where you can get any number of crazy health concoction. I am not quite as juice obsessed as I used to be, but I do LOVE juice. I really love going to a juice bar. The next day I was feeling like I had the start of a cold, so of course I had to go get another! Actually that was the start of a week long cold, which is finally over now! We ended the night walking along the beach, watching the skateboarders at the skate park there, and just grabbing some dinner at Whole Foods. How LA of us. 🙂
Our final day we headed over to the boardwalk and had breakfast at the Sidewalk Cafe, which has a a giant open air dining area right next to the beach. It has a really standard breakfast which I also love, think greasy diner Denny’s breakfast. And we got to watch people walk by getting their stands setup. And that was it, we were off. It was a quick but really fun trip and of course you can see I am a little bit food and restaurant obsessed, but hopefully this can give you some tips & places to visit if you are there.
I went on a trip to Boise, ID a few weekends ago with my dear friend Erin and her family. We were going for Treefort which is Boise’s big music festival but so much more. There were also yoga/film/food/comedy/and beer festivals going on too. If you are from Seattle think Bumbershoot or the Capitol Hill Block Party with snippets from SIFF and Bite of Seattle mixed in. I saw at least 12 bands over the course of 3 days. My favorites of course were Built to Spill which I see so often it seems like these days, Charles Bradley (I’m in love!), Yacht, Magic Sword, and Coco Rosie (damn!). There was music going on each day, at at least 7 venues from noon to 2 AM, over the course of 5 days, so I could see how you could watch so many more bands then that even. The only drawback was that it was 37 degrees out when the headliners were playing the first night outside. BRRRRRR. The next day it was much better though, 50 felt like a dream in comparison.
I was also able to take a few food classes at the Food Fort of which the talk on Local and what that means was super fascinating. It’s true, there are so many different perspectives on how local is defined, is it geographical, or does it mean purchasing by smaller organizations, and then within that, how do you even know the companies you are supporting are practicing ethical treatment of their employees and their livestock. It was a really interesting topic. I also got to take a food photography class which was the most succinct and useful 15 minute lecture on food photography I have ever seen. I did think it would be more like Feast in Portland, but it was much smaller, still the classes were interesting and worth it.
At Yogafort I got to attend the best most hippie yoga class I have ever been to at, where we all had our chakras cleansed for spring! It was pretty amazing. I love my yoga super hippie so I was in total heaven. It was awesome that they had matts available for those of us that were out of town and that the classes were included with our Treefort passes, as long as there was room.
All in all, it was a great trip and I would do it again for sure. We bought the early-bird passes so the festival itself was dirt cheap. So if I were able to get those again that would be amazing, since everything is all inclusive with your pass (minus you know food & beer), but all the shows and even the yoga classes and food talks are already included. Hope you enjoyed the pictures!
It has been a while since I posted but it is because I have been pretty busy and will have a lot of content to post now. 🙂 A few weekends ago I got to spend the day working with my wonderful colleague and friend Liz Herrera who is currently a stylist at Amazon. She is so much fun to work with and helps to create beautiful images. She definitely adds little unique touches to her styling which make the photos really stand out. Hope you enjoyed the images!
When my sister and I went to Venice Beach about a year ago, I really wanted to go eat at Gjelina. It is a restaurant in Venice Beach on Abbot Kinney that I had read about as a must visit. The food is simply amazing. When we went, we dined early to avoid a huge line and crowd, and ordered the best pizza I have ever had. Luckily it wasn’t quite as popular even as it is now, because it looks like it books 4 weeks out, and reservations are required for dinner. My only regret was that we didn’t also have dessert. I am hoping to go back for a weekend in April and I will be for sure back there, as long as they have an opening. And it looks like they even have a new restaurant on Sunset, Gjusta, that will be a must for trying!
For Christmas this year I asked my brother for the Gjelina cookbook written by the chef Travis Lett. The photographs are by a few of my favorite photographers Nikole Herriott & Michael Graydon. The book is super beautiful. I made the roasted beet greens & herbed yogurt recipe from the book, and it turned out wonderfully. I couldn’t stop eating the herb yogurt too. I would only say, that perhaps my oven is not hot enough, since the beets needed a lot longer to roast until they were not crunchy. I have been trying to do more shoots on my own, and doing the cooking and styling to help learn more about the process. I am trained as a photographer, and simply have never been that brave or consistent as a cook. This exercise helps to get me out of my comfort zone, which I think is important in order to improve.
In other news, I am going to be heading to Boise next month, which should be really fun, for the music festival Treefort, and see one of my favorite bands Built to Spill (again). I am looking forward to seeing a lot of bands, as well as finding cool restaurants to eat at and photograph. I also got word that my images will appear in a cookbook for the first time! I am very excited about that! Also as mentioned, I am planning a trip to LA hopefully in April and possibly the South in May. I am also working on a few other projects I am excited about. More on that later.
ote: this recipe is from the cookbook Gjelina.
Herbed Yogurt Ingredients
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lb baby beets with greens still attached, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
1/4 cup beef stock
2 tsp sherry vinegar
One 1-inch piece fresh horseradish
Flaky sea salt
Best-quality olive oil for drizzling
To make the herbed yogurt: In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the parsley, mint, dill, tarragon, chives, lime zest, lime juice, and olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400.
In a large bowl, toss the beets with the olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Transfer the beets to a baking sheet, add the water, and roast until the beets feel tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 25 minutes. Add more water if the greens dry out or begin to burn. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Leave oven at the same temperature.
With a kitchen towel, gently pull the skins off the beets. Don’t worry if some still clings to the beets since a little skin left on is fine. There is often a bit of tough plant matter near the stem, which should slide off easily.
Return the beets to the oven and roast about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and immediately add the stock (if using) and vinegar.
Transfer to a serving platter along with the pan juices. Drizzle the herbed yogurt on top. With a Microplane, grate the horseradish over all. Season with sea salt and drizzle with best-quality olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.
For the Winter 2016 issue of Cidercraft I was lucky to work on a lot of different stories in the magazine. I worked on the food & cider pairing which is a collaboration of the editor Erin James, chef Jason Scherer, written by Jill Lightner, and a regular feature now. This was shot on location at Capitol Cider. The grilled cheese sandwiches were to die for in the food pairing story. So good!
I also worked on the cover shot for the story of how to brew cider at home and several of the images for that story. I worked on the image for the 19 bottles story which has also been a regular now for Cidercraft. As always, I love working with these women. Kristin Ackerman, the publisher, who always runs sister magazine Sip Northwest, has a great team, and designer Randi Karabin puts the stories together to look so beautiful.
I am always excited about the New Year. I sit down and write up New Year’s resolutions before New Year’s Eve and look at them the night of. These are typically about where I want to go, what I want to do for the coming year. This year I want to expand my photography, and travel more either for work or for pleasure. Of course I have these written down more specifically for myself but I would love to photograph a cookbook this year and more magazines and do a road trip in the Deep South, I also may go to India, we will see. I also want to challenge myself to work on new projects this year, even if I am scared of doing it.
Looking back, last year was a great year. I photographed a few more magazine covers and articles for Sip & Cidercraft. I went to Spain, which was perhaps the most exciting thing I did. I expanded to photograph for new clients and traveled to LA to shoot for an existing one. I went to Chicago for a wedding and traveled to Palm Springs with my sister. I visited my brother & sister-in-law several times in Phoenix and met my nephew. I made new friends and spent time with old ones. It was a great year but there was also some loss. My Grandmother passed away last year, but I will keep her near to my heart with the coming year. She always encouraged my photography and always told me how proud of me she was. As an artist herself, I was always so inspired by her. She had such a strong and lively spirit, definitely she was ahead of her time. I was very blessed to have her in my life.
I hope everyone had a great 2015, and if you didn’t, then 2016 is ahead of us as a clean slate. Which is why I love the closing of a year. You can start fresh. Most of us don’t realize though that we can always start over. Each day if we want to. But the end of a year is a nice symbol of that, so Happy New Year! (The pictures shown are from a hike I did with friends up to Rattlesnake Ledge right after Thanksgiving)
I have been thinking of a fun winter shoot to do, as I haven’t shot by myself without a stylist for a while, and a simmer kept popping up while looking for ideas. In the past years I have done a lot of winter cookies and I wanted to do something a little different. It is an easy and beautiful way to make your house smell all Christmassy. There are plenty of varieties you can make too. All you need to do is fill a pot 3/4 full, add in the ingredients you want and bring it to a boil for a few minutes. Once this is done turn the temperature down to low and you can simmer all day long. You can even reuse it the next day if you would like. Add more water as needed so the ingredients do not burn. The ingredients I used are listed below and of course of the ingredients are optional, and you can vary to your liking. It smells amazing!
- Spruce (can add pine, fir, evergreen or rosemary)
- 1 tablespoon cloves
- several lemon slices (I used preserved lemons)
- 4 halved mandarin oranges
- 1 1/2 cups cranberries
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 piece sliced ginger
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- (optional juice, cranberry, pomegranate, apple cider)
In other news, I am heading down to Phoenix next week to meet the newest addition to my family. My nephew!! Eek. I am so excited. I also am excited as it is going to be my first time in Phoenix during winter. I am looking forward to doing some winter/Christmas activities with my brother & his wife and kids for the first time. I have mentioned before, but I love Christmas! My second favorite holiday after Halloween. The older I get the more I enjoy it. I love going to look at lights, which I will do tonight. I love to spend time with family over the holidays. I love watching Christmas movies of which I have seen Gremlins and Die Hard already. I used to really hate Christmas, but now I have learned to celebrate it in my own way. 😉 Maybe tonight I will watch the new Very Murray Christmas special. Haha
I had the pleasure of working with my coworker Liz last weekend and having her style a fun winter themed photo shoot. The ideas that she came up with were so fun and whimsical! I really thought the end results were so beautiful. I love winter & Christmas, so this was a great way to start the holiday season. I look forward to it every year, winter walks, Christmas movies, looking at lights, the smell of fir and pine.
On a completely different note, my car was stolen this weekend. In the time they had it, less than 12 hours, they cracked the bumper, side swiped something, took property, ripped out my Bluetooth system. And yes, while I am glad that they found my car, and thankful that the damage wasn’t worse, I can’t help but feel frustrated that someone took my property, which was in perfect condition, and destroyed it so thoughtlessly. While I do have insurance, I will be $$ in deductibles and towing charges. Not to mention time dealing with insurance claims, police reports, getting it out of impound, and trying to get my car back to the condition it was 12 hours earlier. I just can’t understand theft and vandalism, however I do believe in karma, and hopefully the thieves will realize one day how their actions affected someone else. I am sure within a month or so, this will all be behind me. And for that I am glad, for now I will just so the next thing I need to do. End rant. 🙂
I went to my dear friend David’s wedding at the end of September in Chicago. So happy for him & Aysha, she is a fantastic person. I had never been to a traditional Jewish wedding before but it was very cool. All of the rituals showed so much love and support for the couple from friends, family and community. It really was a very beautiful ceremony. This wedding I wasn’t the official wedding photographer (and I let them do their job) but these are just a few I took during the evening. I really couldn’t be happier for the couple, they are wonderful, caring people, with such big hearts. Here are some of the photos. Hope you enjoyed them!