Morning Glory VIne

Morning Glory VIne

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Birthday "Gather"ing...

Pisco Sour
For family birthdays, we always pick a special restaurant to celebrate. For my son's birthday this year, we chose a very special place in Berkeley, called Gather. Special because the team at Gather cares deeply about the food it serves and we share many of the same values...
Respect. For farmers, for food, for the earth, and for our bodies. We truly recognize that we don’t live in a vacuum. There is no such thing as an individual. We are all connected.

Honesty. This one's easy. If you can't do/say it truthfully, then don't do
/say it at all. Simple (my words, not Gather's).

Transparency. Got a question about where something came from or why it’s in a dish? Ask the host for a copy of “The Source Book”— an index that traces the lifecycle of every ingredient served at Gather. From spices and oils to animals and vegetables, we’ve researched how it got to us and where it went along the way. Same goes for the materials used in our restaurant. Every ingredient, material, and action we put forth has been thoughtfully considered.

Comfort. Comfort comes in many forms. It’s about feeling at ease, soothed, well-fed, respected, welcomed, taken care of, included, satiated, and at peace. We want you to feel all of these things when you dine at Gather. (Actually, we want you to feel all of these things always.) It’s one of the many reasons we’ve designed our menu to give the members of the community what they want and need in any given moment.

Always Possible. When we hear people use the words “whenever possible” which are used quite often in regard to organic, seasonal and/or sustainable food, we have a slightly different take on things. Truth is – it’s always possible. If an ingredient can’t be found, we use something else. It’s that simple.
Then there is the decor... Gather is intent on striking an aesthetic balance in every possible way.
Our space combines reclaimed woods rich with history, metal, concrete, and other sustainable, long lasting materials. We created cushions from re-used leather belts, and wooden cabinetry to assure a beautiful and comfortable “home” environment. Natural color is found throughout the space in deep green, Heath ceramic tiles behind the open kitchen, in lighting elements, art accents and living plants. Practically every material used in our interior comes with a unique story. The bar is made from a Douglas Fir that grew and fell in Camp Meeker in Sebastopol. Because the trees grow really fast in wet forests like these the rings are huge and highly distinctive. (Read more)
Some of us, obviously, celebrated with Pisco Sours. Little did we kow about the origin of this drink, which is quite a befitting cocktail to consume in Berkeley. Apparently, in the early 20th century the Morris' Bar of Lima, Peru created and popularized the drink as a variety of the Whiskey Sour. The bar's owner, Victor Vaughn Morris, was a bartender born in Berkeley, California.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Boxed In

What a FUN and clever window display! I love its play, humor and sophistication. Makes you wonder who/what else is in those boxes. You'll never guess where I took this photo... Kansas City at the Country Club Plaza.

The Plaza (see wikipedia also) is one of my favorite places in the world...and I've traveled a fair amount. I grew up in KC, went to school at the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC), with its campus just a couple of blocks from the Plaza.

I've got fond memories of the area, including Brush Creek, Westport, Crown Center (home of Hallmark Cards) and, my favorite, Gates BBQ. So whenever I'm home, I take a trip down memory lane. Seeing how splendid the Plaza is today makes me wonder why I ever left. But at age 22, after living here all my life and quite curious about what else the world has to offer, life in the Midwest made me feel rather boxed in...I was dying to get out, to spread my wings and grow.

In a way, that's what I see in this image...a burgeoning flair and sophistication trying to unleash itself (get out of its box), to become whole and greet the world headon.

So, after graduating from college, I packed up my car ('64 1/2 Ford Mustang) and headed west. First to Phoenix (for a couple of years) and then, finally, to make my new home in San Francisco. They say you can take the girl out of the country, but you can never take the country out of the girl...mostly true, in my case. But looking back, I see how much growing up I did after leaving home, and with every trip back I realize it's not just me...Kansas City, too, has done a lot of growing up. Don't just take my word for it, check out this video.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bouquet de Marie

I absolutely love this makes me so happy to see such beautiful colors, shapes, sizes...all from my garden! "Um..mmhh.." she proudly sighs.

Fresh bouquets like this are one of the many benefits and pleasures of home gardening. You get to pick exactly what you want to create a bouquet or you can leave the beautiful blooms to gaze upon and breathe in their life essence.

I also have hummingbirds—very special creatures—in my backyard! I've had Close Encounters with one or two. They are friends and guardians of mon jardin.

This photo reminds me of how much I enjoyed the flower arranging I used to do for the office and friends' weddings... Bouquet de Marie back then. I should do that again, since it brought me so much pleasure.

We should each do something that we love/have a passion for and make it our work. Those who get paid to do their lives' work are blessed!

Monday, August 22, 2011

In the Works

Okay, what the heck is this, you ask? Go ahead, take a guess!
Here's the story...
My last day in Paris (January 2010), I went to the Montmarte [I have lots of stories from that trip, but I'll stick with this one for now] to look for Gene Kelly or some other American in Paris. After walking all morning in the freezing cold & wind, I selected an Italian pizzeria for lunch—I was starved! The familiar smell of fresh-baked pizza and rich chianti drew me inside. Hours walking in the cold will take it out o' ya. It felt good to sit down, but more than anything...I needed to go pee! "Où est les toilettes?" I ask. "En haut," the waiter responded. So up the narrow staircase to the ladies room I go.
While "taking my rest," I gazed at this lovely palette of color. Great combination...don't you think? Only the French could make paint samples and a building sketch so beautiful! Notice the pencil drawing at top...the plan for the room's final design. The swatches of color are paint samples. Even though the room was under construction (the plumbing worked just fine, BTW), it was still lavish in color and adornment. Obviously I was impressed enough to take this photo!
 Have you ever been inspired by someone's bathroom? If so, what's your story?

Wearable Texture

What do i see in this image... how is it inspiring to me? Well...

I titled this "Wearable Texture" because I notice the texture in the photo first. Then there's the geometric feel the flat braclet adds to the mix. The opposing elements combine a contrast of soft & feminine with strength & structure. The warm golden light at top and reflection on the cool, white ceramic bowl softens the hardness of metal... the heart shapes among all those circular links add depth and dimension.

Of course, some will see just a bowl of silver braclets (which it is), but that's what's so interesting...we each have our own perceptions. What do you see?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

When I have time...

There are times I feel a bit overwhelmed trying to keep up with it all... While daydreaming today, I waded through my photo library and these jumped out at me (stories to follow) ...


and then Gardening again!

Squash Blossoms

Another way to manage the growth of your zucchini is to "nip them in the bud," literally.... By that I mean, if you pick baby zukes while their blossoms are still intact, you reduce the number of full-grown zucchini AND get to enjoy a wonderful treat. The preparation for this recipe requires a little time and tenderness, but its presentation can be dramatic, not to mention taste delicious. What better way to impress your guests than with your own Fiori di Zucchini...


1. Here are my baby zukes with blossoms, fresh from the garden.
2. Gently wash the blossoms and remove the pistil from the flower center.
3. I used goat cheese, blue cheese, and garden-fresh chives and basil for my filling.
4. Gently spoon filling (about 1T) into blossom.
5. Close and seal by twisting tips of blossom.
6. Place each blossom in light batter of flour and soda water.
7. Heat olive oil in pan, add blossoms & cook just until cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.

I served my fried squash blossoms (at back) with linguine & chicken, topped with sauteed zucchini ribbons and a dallup of my homemade zucchini/basil pesto...yumm!