Monthly Archives: March 2013

Low brow eats trumps high brow treats

There are times when only an elegant Pierre Hermé  Chocolate Easter Bunny will suffice.   Then, there are the times when you are not in Paris and post-dinner sugar cravings hit.   You will be compelled to mix together the most insulting combination of nutritionally-void ingredients in a salute to Easter kitsch. And you will love every minute of it.

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Recipe can be found here at Folk Magazine.

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Daily Euphoria: Joy the Baker, on butter

I have a black thumb.  I can look at a plant and basically watch it wilt before my eyes.  I’m not good with greenery.

Conversely, I can look at a stick of butter and basically watch it turn into biscuits.  I’m good with butter.  Butter is my spirit animal.

Joy Wilson (is my hero) , of Joy the Baker fame

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Daily Euphoria: In the Make

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Image from interview with Hadley Nunes, originally published on In the Make.

In the Make is one of my favourite reads.  An online journal that features studio visits with west coast artists, it not only fuels my undying love for northern California but satisfies a fervent curiosity over how and where creative people work.  This is the down-to-earth, self-assured sister to The Selby, for art lovers.

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Nikki Grattan with artist Bob Branaman, originally published on In the Make

Since 2011, friends Nikki Grattan and Klea McKenna have been posting weekly interviews and photographs from studio visits with artists working primarily in the San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles areas.

” We document these visits with the hope of revealing both the richness and the daily realities of creative work. Our aim is to raise interest in art practice, while simultaneously debunking the romantic myth of the artist. We recognize that creative work is real work, done by real, passionate people in all sorts of different spaces. We are not art critics, but rather deeply curious observers; looking for the ways that each artist’s aesthetic pervades their environment and reveals their perspective.”

Art by Jason Jagel, images originally published on In the Make

Art by Jason Jagel, images originally published on In the Make

Art by Wendy Macnaughton, photos originally published on In the Make

Art by Wendy MacNaughton, photos originally published on In the Make

I truly admire and appreciate the efforts of Nikki and Klea.  When I’m finished reading, I am always left energized and bolstered in my resolve to maintain some sort of creative practice in daily life.  I can’t wait to see what comes of their new project, Western Edge, which will see them road tripping from Tijuana, Mexico to Vancouver, Canada for more artists visits.  In the meantime,  here are some of my favourite interviews:
Wendy MacNaughton ‘s candor and humour are infectious.   I want to be her friend.
Alexandra Grant‘s over the top layers and line work mesmerize.  Great thoughts on the informative nature of  “day-jobs” and the best advice she ever got.
Leigh Wells ‘s divine and mysterious collage work.  It seems we both like to use the term “sweet spot”, so I love her even more.
I really dug this one with co-founder,  Nikki Grattan, on what it’s like to interview artists.  Not easy.
image of Lnda Geary originally published on In the Make

Image of Linda Geary originally published on In the Make

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Brooklyn love for Pies ‘n Thighs

I’m not embarrassed to say that we hit up Pies ‘n Thighs three times in four days.  You’ve got to pace yourself with this one.  There is no tasting menu or small plates or palate-cleansing sorbets between courses. This is deep fried chicken, mac and cheese, giant donuts and homemade pies. The best.

First off, you need to come prepared…to wait.  They were featured recently on (sigh) Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (damn you Guy Fieri!) and even got the Martha-bump, so traffic is up, and tables are scarce.  Try and keep your desperate “hungry-eyes”off the food coming out of the kitchen, by people-watching and staring at the wall kitsch. Yes, you will see the crafting-gone-wild mobile of crocheted chicken thighs streaming out of a gold glittered paper bucket.  Yes, even though it is a million degrees beside that deep fryer, the staff are still working the toques and trucker hats (and hairnets), because if you can’t accessorize while you’re making food magic, GET OUT of the kitchen!


To their credit, the food is worth the wait and they get it to you fast, once you’re seated.  The chicken and waffles was the supreme champion – the super light and crispy waffle and spiced butter being a tasty surprise.   We popped in on night #2  for some samples of their sour cherry and peanut butter pies to take to the apartment.   These people know their pie connoisseurs and had whipped cream in containers on the side, so as to not sully the integrity of the pie in transit.  Total pros. I was in heaven, eating dessert in my pajamas and I won’t lie, there was plate licking.

Our last kick at the P ‘n T can was breakfast.  How can you turn down a sandwich called the Banjo?  Feather light biscuits, eggs and pig parts – no complaints!  Hobo G showed restraint and went veggie with the Hippie Banjo.  The dark, molasses-y Anadama bread, which we have since learned is a traditional Massachussets specialty, was a great foil to the avocado, egg, mayo, cheese combo.

Alan Thicke AND the Biebs? Good times.

Alan Thicke AND the Biebs? Good times. Photoshop at its finest.

Get some doughnuts to go, on your way out.   Treat. Yo. Self.  There is no judgment here, just high fives.

Giant delicious doughnut.

Giant delicious doughnut.

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Wearing my heart upon my sleeve for Saltie


“The good old days are now.  It is not ruined.  Ignore travel snobbery.  Bali, Thailand and other supposedly overrun paradises are still great places to visit, even though it may have been more real 15 years ago.   Your first time is your first time, virgin turf simply is.  The moment you commit to a trip there begins the search for adventure. “

– Bruce Northam, canon #3 , Globetrotter Dogma -Rules of the Road

Recently, I found this transcribed in the back of a notebook from many years ago (in my pre-computer days, gasp) and it struck a chord.  Or maybe several.  I have had it open on my desk for a couple of weeks now, percolating.  Over the past year, I took a travel sabbatical that led me from the streets of Paris, to the national parks of Oregon with some Colorado mountains and Sunshine Coast sunsets sprinkled in for good measure.  Those weeks truly embodied the spirit that Northam alludes to, and then some.   Now that I’m home, the great challenge has been learning how to maintain that sense of ingenuousness without having to hop on a plane.   I feel like those Globetrotter Rules of the Road will serve me well in my creative pursuits and daily life.

In the arenas of blogging and Brooklyn, I have come to the party kind of late.  Let’s get over the “been there, done that” travel snobbery and get on with waxing poetic about one noteworthy sandwich shop:  Saltie.

Saltie is the brainchild of Rebecca Collerton, Caroline Fidanza and Elizabeth Schula.  All fixtures of the Brooklyn food scene, Fidanza, most notably, used to be head chef at Diner and Marlow & Sons before opening the sandwich shop in 2009.  As the sign in the window states, they run a tight a ship – a short and sweet menu executed in a spare and minimalist space with a nod to the nautical life.

With playful names such as The Captain’s Daughter, Romaine Dinghy and Spanish Armada, it’s hard not to get carried away and order one of everything.   The Scuttlebutt stole my heart, not only because I so badly wanted to say the word out loud with a straight face, but because it looked over-the-top tasty.  It’s all in the details – homemade mayo, sauces, pickles and crispy/chewy/salty foccacia are what make this salad-within-a-sandwich unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before .  When you are done licking the last crumbs and dribbles of lunch off your fingers, get back in line and buy some “adult” chocolate chip cookies (a twist on fruit and nut chocolate ) to enjoy with a cup of tea when you get back to your apartment.   Also, contemplate how you can work a ‘do rag or jauntily twisted bandana into your daily attire.  They really know how to accessorize the hell out of the standard white apron look.


You can find out more about Caroline Fidanza in this great Food52 interview, and if you are a fan of The Selby, you can get a glimpse of the big action that happens in such a tiny space, here.

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