Saturday, February 26, 2011

Morning latte

Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland is absolutely fabulous. We were in Oregon in 2009 for a friend's wedding and heard about their coffee so we had to try it. The barista was very laid back and friendly and took great pride in brewing and pouring a perfect latte. I watched as he effortlessly created this artistic leaf in the creamy foam, hoping I could replicate it at home. But no such luck. Another art form that takes skill and practice!

Friday, February 25, 2011

La Farm baguette

I strongly favor bread (instead of crackers) with cheese, preferably a freshly baked baguette. We took a bread-making class at La Farm Bakery in Cary, NC; a photo of the output of that class above. The French owner, Lionel, grew up baking bread and shares it with family and friends whenever possible, fostering a sense of community. A culinary artist with a passion for his craft.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cheese tasting

Speaking of tasting cheese, I took this picture at a cheese and wine tasting that a friend of mine gave me one year as a gift. There's something I like about the baguette crumbs and silver fork that have interrupted the formal layout of the cheese samples. I like taking classes like that and learning little tidbits. If I remember correctly, the instructor said that Greece is the #1 consumer of cheese in the world. Who would've thought!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fabulous fromagerie

I love the variety and selections at a good cheese counter. This one is located in Manhattan, but I feel you don't have to be in a big city to get great cheese. There are so many small regions and producers around the world, it seems the choices are endless. And I like to hear about what grows in the local pastures where the animals graze and how it affects the flavors. So much to learn and taste!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The chicken lady

Another food image. The chicken, and especially the potatoes, at this little rotisserie stand were exceptional. Lucked-upon at an open-air market in a tiny town in the south of France, the potatoes were cooked in a giant paella pan (see bottom right)—peeled, sliced, and herbed right on the spot. We tried to figure out what went into the flavors, but even at a little stand, the secrets are guarded. Just like an (artist) chef!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Food as art

Do you ever take pictures of food? Of your plate or dish? Maybe at farmer's markets? I love photographing food and things that are edible. An entree that's plated up at a restaurant is an art form all its own, as is a display at a market. This is one of my favorite photos, of spices at a French market in the south of France (Fayence-?). Even the signs are little pieces of art. Maybe I'll create photo cards one day...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Local chocolate

I love shopping and eating at locally-owned places, and supporting small businesses and artisans. I also love chocolate. I have discovered a delicious combination of the 2 in a sea salt, dark chocolate bar made by Escazu, a new chocolatier in Raleigh. I can't wait to go to their shop and see it all in action. I wonder if I'll be able to smell the chocolate even from outside the front doors, like you can standing outside the Jacques Torres store in Manhattan's West Village. (One Thanksgiving I bought a chocolate turkey that became part of the centerpiece for our dinner table. It was decorative AND delicious!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beauty in the everyday

I've been thinking about the concept of "beauty in the everyday" and how true that is when I look back through the photographs I've taken over the years. This image, for instance, is of a glass I left in a windowsill. I forgot about it until sunset when the colors caught my eye and I noticed how they highlighted the air bubbles in the water. Very simple, but also pretty. I wonder how many people every day are taking photographs of everyday things that show beauty-?

Monday, February 14, 2011

New note card: Lily

Recently I was fortunate to receive a gorgeous bouquet of lilies. These giant blooms filled the air with such a sweet aroma, you could smell them from across the house. They inspired me to work on a new flower note card for JAKE & META. Maybe next is a flower-arranging class!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Resident hawk

There's nothing like adding a hawk to the backyard to keep things exciting at the bird feeder! This Red-shouldered Hawk (I think) set up camp on a low-lying branch and observed the goings-on. Eventually he made his move and pounced on something on the ground. Soon thereafter he flew off to reposition himself in a tree farther away. It's always exciting to see such a big bird, and to observe him hunting so close by is a treat.

Monday, February 7, 2011

This evening's sunset

I just can't get over the sunsets we get out here in the country. It's not just that city buildings aren't blocking the view, though their absence helps. There's something about the sky and clouds. The colors this evening were absolutely beautiful, with pale blue, lilac, and pink cascading down into a fiery yellow at the horizon. Breathtaking.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Party balloons

A bunch of colorful balloons at a birthday party is so festive. And when they're allowed to float freely, bobbing against the ceiling, it's almost as though they have their own party going on up there. Must be a good one because they always make people smile!