Friday, March 30, 2012


I was thrilled last weekend to bump into some great friends of mine, Tawny & Ian, at The OC Mart MIX in Costa Mesa and get to meet their adorable 4 1/2-month-old baby girl, Knightley (how can you not love that name, btw?!) for the first time.  I mean, I love babies and think all babies are beautiful - but, THIS baby. Knightley. Wow - so, so, SO cute. She has a better head of hair than any grown-up I know, and absolutely gorgeous blue eyes that'll knock your socks off.

Naturally, I couldn't help myself and snapped a few impromptu photos of Mom + Daughter.  And I thought I'd do this blog post to give you a tiny sample of highlights from our lil' spur-of-the-moment shoot for your baby-oogling pleasure!...

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Sunday, March 18, 2012


Every time it rains here in Southern California, I eagerly await the storm's passing so I can venture out into our garden and explore. Rain is such a rarity in this arid desert climate, its presence inevitably changes things - the smell, the look, the feel of everything - if you pay close attention, the entire garden goes through a metamorphosis after a downpour.

One of my favorite post-rain discoveries is how rain affects the delicate Nasturtium flowers that my husband Tim planted in our garden.  From a handful of seeds, they now grow like weeds - spreading over the ground, climbing over fenceposts - their yellow, red & orange blooms peeking out between their large, lilypad-like green leaves. And the rain transforms these little beauties.

Originally from Peru, Nasturtiums made their way to Europe when they were brought by Spanish conquistadors to Spain in the early sixteenth century and quickly spread around the continent. Monet's famous garden at Giverny was laden with nasturtiums as they fit the impressionist's style of shimmering, blurred colors as they spilled over pathways like enthusiastic brush strokes.

These clever little edible plants were designed by nature to catch the raindrops - one at a time - in their conical leaves. And when the post-rainshower light reflects on these droplets, something magical happens. It's like something out of a fairytale - too beautiful not to try & capture with my lens - and share with you...

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012


This past Saturday, March 10th, SoCo Farmers' Market in Costa Mesa played host to a first-of-its-kind gourmet five-course prix fixe brunch with two of OC's top Gourmet Food Truck chefs - Chef Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria and Chef Joe Youkhan of Chef Joe Youkhan's Tasting Spoon - who worked their magic using local Farmers' Market ingredients & created a brunch menu that was nothing short of a masterpiece.

Chef Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria (left) and Chef Joe Youkhan of Chef Joe Youkhan's Tasting Spoon (right)

I was lucky enough to land the gig as the official photographer for the event, and loved every minute of it. It never ceases to amaze me just how incredible the dishes are that these Gourmet Food Truck chefs can create out of such a seemingly tiny space, especially given the technical restrictions they have to face with a mobile kitchen-on-wheels (have YOU ever tried poaching an egg on a stove that shakes every time someone takes a step in your kitchen?! Me neither).  This is Michelin Star-quality stuff - and if ya' ask me, these guys are culinary geniuses.

The brunch consisted of five courses (3 by Taco Maria and 2 by Chef Joe Youkhan's Tasting Spoon), served to guests at their reserved seats by service staff in the manner of a fine dining restaurant. Guests savored their food, and all-natural drinks provided by Rob's Really Good, under shaded canopies in the middle of the Farmers' Market in an environment that was a perfect blend of elegance & fun.

Below, feast your eyes on the detectible dishes created by Chef Carlos and Chef Joe (WARNING: Prepare to salivate!). And, be sure to stop by SoCo Farmers' Market every Saturday between 9am - 2pm in the parking lot of the SoCo Collection / OC Mart MIX for some fabulous Gourmet Food Truck action and plenty of amazing farm-fresh, locally-sourced produce.

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Course #1 by Taco Maria: SoCo Farm Egg - a warm Da-Le Ranch egg yolk, rosemary spring onion & cotija cream
Course #2 by Chef Joe Youkhan's Tasting Spoon: Ragu of Wild Mushrooms - white truffle, fava beans, and Anson Mills marscapone polenta
Course #3 by Taco Maria: California Dungeness Crab - preserved lime, shellfish broth infused with dried hibiscus flowers
An amazing table-side service team!
Course #4 by Chef Joe Youkhan's Tasting Spoon: Duck 3 Ways – duck bacon, duck egg, foie gras hollandaise, and saba reduction atop a toasted brioche
Step 1: Duck Egg atop brioche - The Beginning of a Culinary Process...
The Process Continues... add: foie gras hollandaise
The Process Continues... add: duck bacon
The Process Continues... add: farm-fresh Farmers' Market Baby Arugula
Top with Saba Balsamic Reduction. Duck 3-Ways Perfection!
Chef Joe Youkhan & his team
Course #5 by Taco Maria: Here, Chef Carlos' Classically-trained Pastry Chef background truly shines! Strawberries Roasted in Mesquite Embers – dulce de leche, burnt vanilla, and mezcal
Refreshing All-Natural Beverages Provided by Rob's Really Good