Thursday, May 28, 2009

food: a night at chez panisse

sometimes it's hard to do justice to a meal in a handful of words, except to say, it was just right. last month, we ate at chez panisse in berkeley, and it was that kind of dinner. the food and the experience linger in your mind for weeks afterward. a dinner that was all about the details--from each carefully considered course to the individually printed menus (one standard, one vegetarian) to the simple table settings to the lowkey waitstaff to the little bit of chocolate at the end of the meal.

for fellow food lovers, here is the menu:
+ smoke black cod salad with cannard farm leaks and creme fraiche
+ bellwether farm ricotta gnocchi with fava beans and peas
+ grilled liberty duck breast with kumquat and cardamom sauce, potato cake, and roasted green asparagus
+ nougat confit glace aux fruits rouges

in short, it was delicious and everything was just right.

:: images from chez panisse menus for april 23, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

home: the landing strip

so truthfully, the home front has been a bit disheveled lately--not forgotten, just a little overlooked. but there's one spot that i can share that's usually in pretty good shape: this little table in the kitchen, our landing strip.

this little spot is the first place that we land when arriving home and the last spot we hit before walking out the door. it's where our keys and our mail live--plus other fun things like our salt&pepper shakers, the occasional bunch of fresh flowers, and our two home cities represented by the neighborhood maps that we so love. it's the filter between the inside and outside worlds.

do you have a landing strip at home? was yours purposeful, or did it come about on its own? admittedly, i got a little obsessed with the idea of a landing strip after reading the apartment therapy book (which is awesome, by the way). it seems inconsequential, but i'm convinced that it's a key to balancing life at home and out in the world.

listening to: you're gonna make me lonesome by madeleine peyroux (listen)

:: image from lillieinthecity / flickr

Monday, May 25, 2009

travel: catalina island

life has been full of lots of little adventures lately, which makes me feel pretty lucky. this weekend, i went on a short-but-sweet trip to catalina island in the good company of one californian and two germans. we got up early and drank hot chai tea on the ferry. watched sea lions and dolphins on our way out into the pacific. and eventually docked in two harbors, the smaller of two villages on the island. our campground had a gorgeous view of the water. we hiked and ate lots and rented kayaks and picnicked on a deserted, remote, little beach.

it was--as self-proclaimed on the village logo--a little "island paradise."

listening to: deep blue sea by grizzly bears (listen)

Monday, May 18, 2009

city: cemetery screenings

an outdoor movie and a picnic with friends. the perfect combination for a summer saturday night, yes? and in LA, we then add: a DJ for pre-movie music, a crowd of hundreds, traffic jammed in all directions, and a big open field at the hollywood forever cemetery (thanks to lack of green space and/or twisted sense of humor). and as odd as watching a movie in the middle of a cemetery sounds, it's one of my most memorable summer activities in this city.

on saturday night at the first screening of the season, we feasted on yummy wraps, pesto, fava beans, german chocolate, fresh lemon cake, boont amber ale...and then watched the glorious paul newman in cool hand luke. and by the end of the night, we were already making plans for next week.

screenings are every saturday night--plus special sunday screenings on holiday weekends. if you're in LA, it's certainly worth checking out! find more information and a listing of upcoming movies at

:: top photo from chotda; bottom photo from lillieinthecity / flickr

listening to: gobbledigook by sigur ros (listen)

Friday, May 15, 2009

a little college reunion

and then the fun continued! within days of my family adventure ending, more of my favorite people arrived in town. this time for a little college reunion.

it's not easy to coordinate the lives of six friends in five cities across the country and to agree on one location and one time for them to all to converge. but thanks to some marathon email chains and several "just do it!" phone calls, we managed to reserve four days, several plane tickets, and an excellent campsite for one laugh-love-food-filled weekend.

our main destination was jalama beach, three hours north of los angeles and a solid half hour from general civilization. there in good company, we got our fix of campfires, enormous egg scrambles, late night dominoes, banana s'mores, cowboy coffee, and sunshine.

a special thanks to in-n-out for being conveniently located by the airport. to gmail for making our email marathons possible. and to skype for allowing dave in prague to join in on the fun. it was all very well worth the effort.

see more photos of our camping at lillieinthecity / flickr.

listening to: total eclipse of the heart by bonnie tyler (listen)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

family in the city

greetings! lots to catch up on in life and online. the past few weeks have been awesome and exhausting and adventure-filled and enjoyed with some of my very favorite people.

our little family reunion in san francisco was a perfectly balanced weekend of catching up and relaxing, eating and drinking, sitting in coffee shops and exploring the city. we have a good time for ourselves.

a few lasting memories: the many hours spent at the bean bag coffee house on divisadero. pesto pasta at caffe sport in north beach. makeshift sleeping arrangements in my little brother's apartment. visits to the flower conservatory and the craft & folk art museum. an amazing dinner at chez panisse (more on that soon). one night at a little cottage on the russian river. wine tasting via bicycle in sonoma valley. plus, a great roadtrip from LA to SF and back with half a pie, garlic ice cream, and an unexpected detour to the outskirts of yosemite.

it was a very good weekend.

see more photos of our family adventures at flickr / lillieinthecity.

listening to: thunder road by bruce springsteen (listen)