bye la, for a bit and Hello Berkeley!!!

I fly back to berkeley in the AM and start work the following week! Excited to go back to my room, my apartment, my bike. A little sad to leave the LA hipsters behind. [haha] But I am coming back in August, so I don’t even feel like I am saying bye really.

An epic day was had on saturday consisting of make music pasadena, and then bar hopping and dancing downtown with a group of awesome people. Went to two bars which I had not been to yet: the Golden Gopher and Broadway Bar. Golden Gopher was quieter, and older crowd with small tables scattered throughout, which were old-school video/computer games. Pool tables to. Broadway Bar was a very different scene. It looked like the haunted mansion in disneyland, 2 stories, a younger crowd a bit on the…trashy side for lack of a better word. that is, too short skirts, too high heels, and too much makeup. despite the sign saying “dress code strictly enforced” we managed to get in. The music was alright and the dancing was fun and the company was awesome. The next morning I awoke quite sore, so I suppose one could say the dancing and festivities were a success

Today I crossed “lark cupcakes” off my list, I went on a date…with my sister. awww!!!

My hair is also a brilliant new shade of purple. It makes me quite happy. and people reactions are very entertaining. those under the age of 5 just stare, wide eyed. some people say nothing. others tell me they wish they had the guts to do something like that (i don’t really feel gutsy however). 
A goal I have is to maintain better contact with some of my friends down here. I see them every time I come home, but in between visits contact is quite sparse, if not nonexistent. It does take time and commitment to maintain contact, but I can afford a few phone calls per month. It will require me getting over my odd/awkward dislike of phone conversations. (why? well, because when you are with a person and there is a silence, it is not always awkward. you can just be. but on the phone all silences seem awkward to me….like…uhhh….what should we talk about now….)
Someone that I know in LA had a pregnant cat. Said cat was about to burst. I really wanted to see the itty bitty cute and cuddly kittens. When did said cat give birth? The morning I fly back to berkeley of course. 
So Berkeley…it feels great to be back. I feel so at home here, I love my room. The current state of my room is quite tragic however, see below. 
I am in the process of making posters for camp set up, which starts tomorrow and carries on til friday.
I was so excited to back that yesterday I went on an epic journey to trader joes, the farmers market, and berkeley bowl. I had to restock my house with food. and I realize, I do not have a baking sheet, which means I cannot make cookies. this is a situation which needs to be fixed ASAP because I want to make cookies. and eat cookies. 

gearing up for my last week in la

I am a little sad. yesterday I bought my ticket to go back up to berkeley and I leave in one week from today. Unfortunately, I have been feeling slightly under the weather for the past few days. Extraordinarily lethargic, scratchy throat, and monday morning a may have had a bit of a fever. I suppose its good to get sick now instead of when work starts. I will be back in LA come August, but I have been having such a good time here “relaxing” and I am not ready to get back to work. I mean, work will be FUN, but the days will be long and I will be tired and have no time, patience or energy to do stuff during the week. and that means, not much puttering and poking around making things in my kitchen. So, I am doing as much as humanly possible for the next few days (especially because the kitchen at home is slightly more equipped than the kitchen in Berkeley ie bigger food processor and more pans and baking sheets and spices etc).

I had my first experience learning to drive a stick shift car. As a former dancer, I felt very uncoordinated and it was unnerving to…not be good at something right away. I would have quit much sooner (although I only lasted for about 30 minutes) had it not been for awesome teacher person. The driving and shifting part was simple, but the starting and stopping is where I felt hopeless. I did eventually get the car going, stalled a few times. I want to get it right and be able to have this skill. I think its a good test for my perfectionism and sticking with something even if I suck at it instead of avoiding it altogether. But I hate that feeling =/

Sunday=seed planting. Seeds were purchased at the seed bank back in april on my alternative breaks trip but I did not have the materials to plant them. My friend did!!!!! I hope that my enthusiasm and attention span for this project does not wane. Speaking of which, I should water them now…

…ok I am back. After seed planting, we made
#1) a raw peach cobbler. fresh farmers market peaches were topped with a “crumble” made of dates, walnuts, almonds, oats, and spices. sadly, I do not have documentation.
#2) chai spiced truffles. bittersweet chocolate was melted down and stirred with coconut milk, almonds and cayenne pepper then refrigerated, balled up and rolled in cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. of course a large portion of the chocolate ended up in our mouths, all over our hands, and in my case, on my face. so worth it. below is a crappy cell phone picture, and note the poop shaped ones.

Yesterday afternoon my dear mother and I went out for cappuccinos at the alcove, as seen below [this was my mothers]. 
Then we went to what used to be the nature mart but is now called something else to pick up some pears and a few other odds and ends (like chocolate) so that I could re-make “pear frangipane tart” that was gone within 48 hours the first time I made it (but let me clarify that the chocolate was not for said tart. it was…for my mouth) The recipe is from Post Punk Kitchen (never fails). The first time I used d’anjou pears, while this time around it was bosc pears. Also, I used a spring form pan instead of a pie plate which was a bit to shallow. Finally, I layered the pears in a much more organized time the second way around. Oh, and for those of you who are unaware of what frangipane is, it is: a sweet and most delicious almond filling used in assorted baked goods. traditionally it is butter, sugar, eggs, and almonds but in my case it was coconut oil, sugar, cornstarch and almonds [and a few other things like vanilla and almond milk]. 

Take 1 and take 2 are pictured above, with take 2 being much better looking that take one, in my opinion. 
Saturday was a true silverlake day. Farmers market, flea market, flore vegan and the thirsty crow. Below is some of my loot
I think the tomatoes were the most delicious things…ever. I just punctured the skin with my teeth and sunk them into the soft and succulent flesh. A summery aroma filled my nose and I could almost feel the rays of sunlight on my cheeks. As the slightly sweet juice poured into my mouth, my taste buds began to dance with joy. Tingling for more, I bite again into the heirloom beauty, and subsequently spill seeds all down the front of my shirt. 
Today I will be transforming my kale into a vegan frittata with tofu and garlic and onions and some other ingredients. stay tuned. 

back in LA and puttering in the kitchen

Over the weekend I had training for my job at camp this summer, assistant teaching “chef-ology”. It was loads of fun (say WHAT?!), exciting, and exhausting. So much to remember (games and chants galore), so much to do beforehand (like reading a 300 page curriculum and creating classroom decor), and I feel a tad bit overwhelmed by the “excitement” and camp-y atmosphere that they create. I mean, fun and excitement and high energy is great, but as a middle schooler attending camp, and given my personality, it seems a bit much. So my goal this summer is to bring excitement and act childish and random which is part of my personality for sure (I mean, I am a princess and the tooth fairy SO exists), but I want to stay authentic. That means…not being fake. And when I am intimidated, which I am a little bit (or maybe a lot bit) then I have a tendency to be a little…not real. defense mechanism possibly, but once I get to know everyone better that changes. My team seems super awesome.

I’ve been spending my days in LA reading Julia Child’s “my life in france”. That, in combination with galileo’s curriculum emphasizing innovation and creativity and taking risks and having fun inspired my in the kitchen. Here are my creations which arose from the very few and sparse ingredients in the pantry.

First, a Quinoa dish with crumbled tempeh+cabbage+cucumber+olives+soy/mustard/nutritional yeast sauce.

Then, “cheesy” circles flavored with turmeric, onion powder, pepper, and nutritional yeast (I am slightly obsessed with this stuff atm. it goes on EVERYTHING) This photo is before I baked them.
Then, a raw beet salad with parsley+mint+cucumber+lemon juice+a sprinkling of sugar (for some reason none of my photos do it justice)
Then, finally, vegan brownies made with flour+sugar+cocoa+almonds+coffee+black beans! They provide an excellent, moist texture. This recipe is a keeper, but next time I will lessen the sugar and add some carob chips! 
Cheers!

epic end of may/start of june adventures

The last day of may, and the first day of june were adventures for sure.
Yesterday, May 31st, I went on an awesome date with…myself.
Biked down to the movie theaters on Shattuck and saw “first position” the ballet documentary about YAGP that I had been dying to see yet could not find someone to go see it with. And it was a good thing I went on my own and that the theater was empty save for a few elderly folk because I could cry my eyes out in peace. It was a good film following several dancers as they train to compete. As a sucker for things that show snippets of individual’s lives, I was captivated. After the film I continued to the marina, and stopped at 4th street to look at all the super fancy super expensive shops. And I stopped at Chocolatier Blue for chocolate of course. As I entered I was force fed a grapefruit lavender truffle which was surprisingly delicious. The tart grapefruit and the slight bitterness of the lavender balanced nicely with the chocolate coating. I also sampled an “ants on a log” truffle that sounds a lot more exciting than it tasted. It was a bittersweet chocolate shell filled with peanut butter, currants, and celery seed. The peanut butter was extraordinarily overpowering and the celery seed left a slightly odd aftertaste. I bought 2 more truffles: a pretzel truffle consisting of that addictive sweet/salty/crunchy combination and a chili truffle that left my mouth with a pleasant spicy tingle.

After that I met up with a friend at Triple Rock Brewery for Monkey Head Ale (which is only served in liter sized bottles on Thursday night and is bottle conditioned) We went through a bottle and it was awesome. Then we hobbled over to jupiter (because said person had never been to either place) and finished off the night with cider and I ate an entire olive tree. Well, not the tree but just the olives. 
Today’s adventures were powered by electric scooters, vegan soul food, and Mr Lets Paint TV. We puttered over to the scooter rental place by campus and started the day with smaller and dinkier and less powerful scooters to get the hang of what it felt like to drive one in the street. Went down to the marina and almost into albany and then forced them to climb a crazy hill on northside. Lets just say, one of us didn’t make it to the top (not me). We returned the dinky scooters to the shop after 2 hours or so and got our hands on some more powerful and hardcore babies. My top speed was a whopping 32 mph. But it kept up great in oakland/berkeley traffic.

These were ridden to Jack London Square in Oakland where we got off and walked about for a bit and were able to get close to the port and the huge boats. Souley Vegan, which had been on my list for some time, is in that area and made an excellent lunch pit stop. I got grits and BBQ tofu, which my friend had Biscuts n gravy and mac n cheese. it was…delectable. (photo does not do it justice)
The day ended with “5 minute photobooth” by Mr. Lets Paint TV aka John Kilduff aka embrace failure. I was introduced to this man midway last semester and had to fastforward my way through some of the youtube videos because I had no idea what was going on. In a nutshell, he is a crazy artist of sorts. My friend however, is a diehard fan. 
Today there was an art hop in Temescal where Mr Lets Paint TV man was doing 5 minute portraits and he wanted to see how many he could do. A painting marathon in other words. I was number 17 and my friend, 16. It was brilliant how in 5 minutes he would paint a portrait with oil paint and just keep going one right after the other. That is passion if I ever saw any. We got to take them home in pizza boxes. So this is what I look like as a 5 minute oil painting.