Monday, April 30, 2012

Pique Your Palate.

Welcome to the next chapter of my blogging...

I'm going to begin with the Bluxome Street Winery event called "The Meet Market".  Hubby and I have attended this event twice, and seeing as there has only been two, that's a pretty good record for us.  We loved it so much the first time around, we had to go a second.  Bluxome Street is a tucked away, almost alley-like thoroughfare in the ballpark area of San Francisco that is home to many lofts, a firehouse and the lovely Bluxome Street Winery.  They are a small production winery who's focus is on palate-friendly, ageworthy Pinot Noir and what they call the "distinct Bluxome Sauvignon Blanc."  Very tasty wines indeed.  You can snag a swallow of their libations at their tasting room, located at 53 Bluxome Street, which is open from 12-7 Tuesday through Sunday.  In addition to being a fabulous little vino heaven, Bluxome Street Winery also hosts a variety of events, such as The Meet Market.  This, my foodie friends, is an awesome idea. 

The following description from their website explains it perfectly, "Think of it as the world’s most selective farmer’s market with a little wine thrown in for good measure."  Indeed.  Here you will find local foodie artisans tempting your taste buds in every direction, practically drooling as you walk through the cellar doors.  The space is awesome... half wine cellar (the barrels rest cooly in stacks that you can see through panels of giant glass) and half former fermenting tank room that is now used for events, both public and private.  Adorned with hand blown glass chandeliers, beautiful barrel wood paneling details and touches of almost steampunk style family heirlooms hanging on the walls, this is the perfect locale for a sophisticated farmer's market.

Big plus in my book, you can buy a glass of wine (one of the several Bluxome Street blends) while you shop (and who doesn't love that?) 

The hubby and I have failed to make it home without armloads of goodies-- from fresh cheeses to handmade chocolates, locally grown gorgeous flowers, sauces, olive oils, honey, beef jerky and even soaps.  It is, without a doubt, a sensory explosion.  The event hours are from 12-4, with the crowds arriving later in the afternoon.  We show up early because the vendors tend to sell through stock pretty quickly and besides, what could be more pleasant than grabbing a glass of wine and introducing yourself to the food merchants and craftspeople involved? Smiling faces and hearty handshakes abound amongst these folks  Again, check out the link for "The Meet Market" to see who was in attendance. 

We managed to stockpile the following fabulous foodie booty:

* Delicious handmade and decorated chocolates from Cocotutti (  I picked the Liquid Vanilla Caramel, dunked in dark chocolate, painted with a swath of milk chocolate swirl.  So good, with a salty sweet buttery center.  The hubbs picked the Hot Chocolate Truffle, dark chocolate with a touch of red chile pepper and mole.  A nice perk of the Cocotutti booth, they'll let you sample literally any of their chocolate pieces of art.

* All natural raw honey from the Bay Area Bee Company ( This trip we chose the Napa Harvest batch, an almost molasses style dark honey with a bite.  The bees live in Napa and are harvested directly at the source.  On our first visit to The Meet Market we purchased the Civic Center blend, a lighter, sweeter everyday honey.  And yep, you guessed it, the bees live right in the Civic Center neighborhood.  The honey is handled and harvested by Beekeeper Rokas Armonas and his queen bee Kelli. Other neighborhoods are available, ranging from SF to Vallejo to Napa.  We're trying to convince him to put in some bee boxes in our yard so we can have a East Bay blend sometime soon.

* The most delicious fresh, handmade cheese from locally farmed and raised cows at Orland Farmstead. (  The ladies that run this booth are darling and conversation is always a cheer.  We picked up the Queso Fresco, a whole milk soft, crumbly cheese with jalapenos.  We also grabbed the Fromage Blanc, a rich, creamy, almost cream cheese-like style cheese for spreading.  Again, it was round two for us and this company- we adore it.

* Another favorite of ours is Chef and Proprietor Sarah Burchard's S&S Brand Sauce.  (  This girl knows her sauce really, really well.  Last month we picked up the Tennessee style sauce, a mustard bomb of tangy deliciousness.  This time we chose the St. Louis style sauce, sweet and full of heat.  My husband also decided to grab two of their rubs:  The Peppercorn rub for when we cook a pork loin and the BBQ for just about any type of meat or poultry you wanna roll around in it.  Check out Sarah's cooking blog at for food-junkie articles, tips and recipes.

* We fell in love with the Kale spread from Sumana's Soul Spreads. (  Hubby picked out the Kale Rotu Pachaddi spread, a delightful mixture of kale, peanuts, coconut, onion, jalapeno, lime, grape seed oil and salt.  Sounds unusual, but it is delicious spread on their Sparkle Rotu Pacchadi baked treats, similar to savory baked muffins.  Owner and Chef Sumana Pathi has dedicated her heart and soul to spreading the use of wholesome, organic and natural foods to restore and maintain the quality of life.

* Me being a soap junkie, I absolutely had to purchase a soap bar from The Fairie Goatmother.  (  These soaps are made the old fashion way, with no additives or detergents, and goat's milk is their main ingredient.  They offer a variety of scents that tickle your nostrils in the very best way.  I fell for the Morning Mint Bar- a pure combo of goat's milk and refreshing spearmint.  I can't wait for bath time!

* Last, but certainly not least, the talented and lovely Christina from Farmgirl Flowers ( so graciously gifted us an electric bouquet of freshly picked and locally grown blooms.  Farmgirl flowers are gorgeous and start at only $25 a bundle, all wrapped in recycled coffee burlap (thanks to Ritual Coffee Roasters).  "By staying domestic and keeping it simple, Farmgirl reduces waste, minimizes environmental impact, and passes the savings on to you. You’ll also feel great when you tell everyone about buying from the greenest flower company around!"  Not to mention Christina's uncanny natural talent for floral arrangement, she creates copious bundles of pure joy, bursting with exotic colors and textures.  Also available are her living plant arrangements or "mini garden's", one of which we took home last month.  It sits happily as the centerpiece to our dining room table and has brightened our home continuously.

The Bluxome Street Winery "Meet Market" runs every last Saturday of the month, so plan ahead, grab a reusable tote, put on your biggest smile and go shopping!  You'll have a blast and meet a ton of new people, all while sampling the best of the best locally grown and produced goods.  And believe me, your tummy will thank you...

Be well,

A tasty change of pace..

Hello friends! It's been a while since I've posted, but I'm back and doing better than ever. Let's see, where to begin... I haven't come up with any new paintings for the last few weeks, but I *have* been working on a new project. I'm writing and illustrating a cookbook for young people!! I came up with the idea because I just recently realized that I cook. A lot. Every single day. Along with one of my drawings or paintings for each recipe, I figure hey, why not? The recipes are very simple and easy to follow but the food is delicious. With the freedom of not working, I've become obsessed with finding things to do that I never had time to do before (you all know that), so I've been cooking every day and loving it. My parents just recently bought me a gorgeous cherry red cruiser bike for my birthday, complete with basket and bell, so I've been trucking down to the farmer's market each Tuesday to pick up the freshest foods possible. In fact, I've dubbed May "Fresh Food Only Month" in my house. The hubby and I will be skipping all processed foods for the entire month of May, relying on my epicurean skills to survive and remain nourished. Fun stuff! I look forward to the challenge of food shopping, prep, cooking and saving only farm fresh foods this month. I love farmer's markets, and the reality is, it is SO much cheaper to buy your produce and meats at these types of events. Plus, the people selling their goods are lovely to chat with if you get the chance, which is a nice change of pace from the sickly lit, mostly overpriced, overcrowded and understaffed grocery stores.  And, some of you may argue, the food is just BETTER.  I firmly believe that.  Maybe I should call it "Homemade May"? Only fresh fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, breads, locally farmed flowers, honey and hand made treats.  Sounds like plan to me.

Let's eat!!

My next entry will list all sorts of yummy, locally grown and produced goods so check it out!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let the sun shine in.

So I came up with this painting the other day during a torrential downpour that was actually quite shocking to witness.  Sometimes when the weather is this bad, I'm forced to stay inside and just... Think.  I've been wanting to do a piece with this little guy in it for a while- of course I had to include pug, since he seems to embody all that is cute and full of joy.  I really have no shame when it comes to painting cartoon characters... they make me happy.  They also bring out an ability that I will very seldom admit.  I love whimsical, kooky, goofy cartoons.  I get it from my dad.  He's been drawing cartoons ( a very accomplished cartoonist actually) since before I was born.  I suppose his talent, along with my mom's sense of humor, kind of rubbed off on me.  My brother is also an accomplished illustrator, so clearly it runs in the family.  I'm very proud of this talent, through and through.  It's a part of me that I would like to showcase more often.  This painting took me three hours from start to finish and I couldn't be happier with it.  It's very Me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


My friend Jade and I often get together and have painting sessions... Or rather, I should say, we get together and drink champagne and end up painting.  It's a great way to connect, we chat, sip and laugh- much to the chagrin of my dear husband.  He laughs at us, shakes his head and happily spends the time writing his blog while we banter and make a mess.  The resulting paintings aren't terribly awe inspiring, but I love that when we are finished I can sit back and say, "that was a fun day."  Jade managed to complete quite a few paintings over these past two days, but I only began one.  I got caught up in the conversation and beautiful weather, what can I say?  My hubby was kind enough to provide food and more bubbles to the hungry artists, he's such a good guy.  The painting above is one that both Jade and I worked on together, back and forth while in the midst of conversation.  If you want to see more of J's paintings, you'll have to nag her because she's shy about sharing.  Heheh.  As for my husband, he merrily accepts my ridiculousness, covered in paint, holding a glass of cava.  Bless him for being so patient and kind.  And while you are at it, go check out his blog--- (aka Vinopanion)

Be kind rewind,

Monday, April 2, 2012


I'm not sure if you guys live in the area, but this past week Mother Nature has been giving it to us good weatherwise.  On several occasions I was actually afraid that we might lose our backyard umbrella, a few trees and perhaps even the roof- all thanks to the wind.  I don't mind rain, I don't mind lightnening and thunder... But there's something about wind that seems so uncontrollably destructive.  The really puzzling part is that once the storm is over, the streets are usually blown clean, the birdbaths are full, all the plants have had a drink (or ten), the clouds have been booted out of the sky and things are generally calm.  I was sitting out on my front porch during the biggest windstorm watching the trees sway, thrash and snap when I looked over towards our favorite friend in the yard- our Western Redbud (i.e. Circis occidentalis).  The poor thing was bending so fiercely it looked like a sopping mop being dragged across the floor.  And yet after the storm, there it stood as steadfast and hearty as our dear 180 year old craggy Black Walnut tree.  Flowers and all.

Be well,

Something new.

If you know me well, I'm pretty much obsessed with collecting "things".  I collect religious trinkets, the majority of which are Mexican and Spanish influenced, although my collection has grown to include Hebrew and Chinese pieces as well.  Mostly because these items remind me of my friends, not because I'm a religious person or a worshipper of any particular faith.  Each item has a story to it, whether a friend gave it to me, it was found or I picked up on one of our many adventures.  I have rocks, wooden crosses, milagro's, sacred hearts, sugar skulls, diety figurines, hammered tin skeletons, antique ceramic doves, handmade tiny dolls and endless other cherished treasures.  These little things are all like a snapshot of a moment in time to me- good times.  I try to only hold on to the good times.  I painted this piece with all of those moments in mind.  Not only does it slightly resemble something I might pick up at a flea market or a certain favorite winery, but it also has a piece of me, a piece of the lightheartedness within.  The strange stick figurine is a character I've been reincarnating for years, probably since early high school.  He appears in many drawings I do and in several different paintings.  A doodle I also go back to when I'm creatively stiffled, a fun creature to sketch for kids at family bbq's or a lost in thought scratchy pen drawing on a bar napkin.  Perhaps I will give him more color in a new painting- bring him to life so that friends and family can say, "oh yeah! I recognize that!"  He hasn't been around for a while, maybe it's time.

Much thanks,

Laughing amongst pals.

This painting cracks me up, only because it started as a joke over a couple of glasses of champagne.  It is specifically for my dear friend Miss MC. We have become quite close over the last few months I've been unemployed.  We worked together for 4 years but were never entirely allowed to "befriend" eachother due to oddly strict work environment type rules.  When we did work together, we'd pass one another in the hallways and crack jokes, we'd goof off in the art room, we'd have lunch and air our worries etc... Once I was no longer tied to the store, I was determined to keep my friendship with her and the fellow Miss AO in tact.  One day, as I was sipping on bubbly sitting out on my front porch, I received a text from MC stating that she too was sitting at home sipping bubbles.  We started chatting and talking about my paintings for some reason and she very brightly proclaimed that she needed one.  Now, little did she know I had already started planning a more sophisticated piece for her earlier that week- I wasn't going to let the conversation end though, so I proceeded to tease her and tell her I was painting a purple cat wearing chaps riding a unicorn over a rainbow for her.  She was SO excited at the prospect (I'm guessing she never thought I would do it) that of course, I HAD to do it.  This is the result.  Strangely enough, she loves it to pieces.  I even gave the unicorn glittering eyes.  I have yet to finsih some of the black outlining, but once I do, I'm forcing her to hang it somewhere in her oh-so-minimalistic apartment to scare future visitors.  It makes me laugh really hard though, which is nice.

C'est la vie,