Tag Archives: perfection

My Table, Friday May 29, 2009

A story in pictures, and a few words.



Acme Bread Company Baguette

fleur verte

From left: Harley Farms (Pescadero, California) “Monet:” goat cheese with a layer of Herbs de Provence and decorated with edible flowers, the infamous Fleur Verte: goat cheese coated with dried thyme, tarragon, and crushed pink peppercorns, and Fresco Italia’s Quattro Stagioni soft cow’s milk round with edible flower

txacolian close

Some readers might remember my adoration for txacolina, a mineral-rich white wine from the Basque region of Spain.  Urki’s Getariako Txakolina is a new discovery from Paul Marcus.  It is a beautiful experience.  The cork smelled of vanilla and flowers, and the txacolina was crisp and dry as expected, and citrus-y too, yet gentle (perhaps gentler than the Xarmant Txakolina), effervescent, but without any sour bite.  


The light bubbles as seen through William Yeoward’s Pearl goblet


Et fin!

All photographs taken with the Canon Powershot G10, an amazing camera I borrowed from I.  Highly recommended.  It makes everything and everyone look beautiful. 

New linen placemats and napkins with hummingbird pattern from my mother.  Towle “Old Lace” silver.  Mottahedeh plats with raised swan design.  Laguiole cheese knife.  Roses from my garden.


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Have You Ever Seen Anything More Beautiful?


WOW. Look at those faces. 


Look at that dress!


I officially LOVE Beyonce.  Amazing.  She looked like she was going to cry about ten times too-and rightfully so.

I could watch this about fifty times and never get tired of it.

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NYC Part 1

After throwing on some curls and pearls we headed over the Brooklyn Bridge down to the Financial district to the Forever Young Party.  It was the perfect New York night.  Not too cold and the Empire State was in my favorite decor: all white lights.  So classic.  The city got dressed for the Jans that night.  


We stopped at a Citibank on Broadway for some cash and in perfect NYC style I got hit on by a bum.  Men in New York.  Honestly.  Even the bums think they can get the hot chick.  

When we arrived at China Chalet it wasn’t yet 10.  My people had already been in place, decorating and setting up for the fete.  It was a beautiful reunion.  We all had time to hang out and get drinks in the relative quiet before the storm.  I got to meet the sassy and sexy proprietess of Beach House, the fabulous Miss Vicky B.  She soothes to insane levels and WAS FUCKING WEARING SADDLE SHOES.  HELLO!  It was love at first sight.

Things got rolling quickly though.  Before I knew it guests were pouring in.  I saw my Marlborough girls, Soph, Ash, Remy, Camille, Michelle, Lauren, Christina.  Damn.  They were looking great.  I swear the most grounded people I know in NYC are those who transplanted there from LA. 

One of the Jan’s mom was there, and the other Jan’s bro was on site.  It was a total family affair.  There was the fabulous Gelardi clan in all its glory, and looking sharp.  

There was a photo booth, photographers, and props.  Here are our hosts and the honorees of the evening; on the left, Jan Philippe and P, on the right Jan Edward in the glasses and tie:



There were so many people there I saw people I haven’t seen in three, four, five years.  Wade, Justin, Ken, Noah, Kate.  Damn.  Amazing that I’ve gotten to the age where I can say that I saw people I haven’t seen in five years.  

The space was huge.  There was a huge bar/lounge area, a dining room with banquettes, a long hallway with mini booths along the side, and a big dance floor in the back with a second bar.

My best man Devotion was there with Kiss Me I’m Polish and I set up fort at one end of the main bar in the front.  We laughed and drank beers that we had to order four and five at a time since the bartenders were so damn old and slow, doublefisting at a double birthday party was the only way to go.




The music was the best I’ve ever heard in NYC–honestly.   Courtesy of DJs Tim Sweeney (DFA) & Scott Anderson.  I didn’t dance as much as I usually would because I was too busy screaming and yelling catching up in the front bar but I did hit it for a little and all I remember was dancing to Tony Toni Tone “Let’s Get Down” and never loving anything more.  

There were so many beautiful people there.  It was as if the world was glittery and shining that night and someone had sprinkled fairy dust over the whole evening. There was even a second girl wearing saddle shoes–Red ones!!!  The only thing that brought anyone back (or further from) Earth was the ghostly image of Michael Stipe(!) waiting outside the double glass doors for a late entrance when the club was at capacity.  

I was running around telling everyone how good they looked.  Handing out compliments like it was my job.  Sorry Bay, NYC makes you look ugly!  You need to sharpen up and learn how to dress!  People in NYC are tight!  Even the uglies are looking good over there. 

We closed the place down around 4 or so and a big group of us headed down Wall Street to a deli to grab a bite.  We got egg and cheese sandwiches and slices and nothing ever tasted so good.  A good, generic NYC deli.  Dime a dozen in the city, impossible to get anywhere else.  The big cases of prepared food, neon lights, guys in blue and white aprons, and unbelievably flawless slices and bagels.  [You don’t understand the issue I had Tuesday morning in Rockridge when I was craving a bagel.  OY VE!  Problem.  The craving was so intense.  My husband went and got me Noah’s.  I protested, but ultimately gave in.  He didn’t want to drive all the way to Manhattan Bagels on 4th Street, which I haven’t tried but is supposed to be great.  When he brought it to me and asked me how it was I didn’t even have the heart to tell him how incredibly bland that thing was.]

We moved the after hours party to Brooklyn where I ended my night–just tearing myself away knowing I really didn’t want to see sunrise all that much–dancing to Biggie rap “Juicy.”  Very symbolic as I had left the West Coast years before, abandoned the riotous streets of L.A. and its segregation and its fearless leader Pac for the in-your-face East Coast where I converted wholeheartedly to Biggie:

I live out there, so don’t go there, but that don’t mean a — can’t rest in the West, see some nice breasts in the West, smoke some nice cess in the West, y’all — is a mess thinking I’m gon stop givin LA props, all I got is beef with those who violate me, I shall annihilate thee…



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The Search is Over

Wow, wow, wow.  Everyone wants peonies ALL the time.  They are the ultimate in lushness and pure beauty.  When I was working at Bloomies desperate husbands would come in looking for their wives’ favorite flower from June to March and walk away sorely disappointed, with ranunculus if they were lucky.  The elusive peony can usually only be found in the months of April and May.  Due to the need for a deep frost, they will not produce blooms in California, although I’ve heard of many people trying and harvesting nothing but their fabulous greens.

BUT, BUT, I found peonies at (GASP) TRADER JOES this week!!!  They had them in from Chile, and they were priced at $6.99 a bunch!!!  Peonies are tough to get in off-season for under $15 a stem.  Usually they have to be shipped from New Zealand in a tight bud that isn’t even guaranteed to open.  

So, without further ado, the TJ’s peonies:



See is believing: check out that price tag!

When I went back last night they were sold out, but I’m guessing they will get more.  So run to your Trader Joe’s and ask one of those super helpful part-timers when they’re getting the next shipment in from Chile!

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Election Reflection in 24 hours

November 4, 2008 7:20 AM


 Lining up to vote: Rockridge United Methodist Church, corner of Hudson and Manila near College Avenue


Early morning sun and the news truck antenna

8 PM


270 Electoral Votes achieved, fire in the street on Avon, marshmallow roasting


The handsome President, giving it to us from Grant Park 12′ high on the side of a Rockridge home

November 5, 2008 7:25AM


The dawn of a new day in Rockridge, Oakland, California, United States, America.

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The Underside of an Orange Tree


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Carnation Bouquet by Birch San Francisco


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It was supposed to be 1 pasta dish, 1 glass of wine

But Oliveto can’t be that simple.

I got back to Rockridge from after school night at nine pm, starving.  I. was at a work dinner, and rather than return to an empty house to scrounge something together, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine at the bar at Oliveto.

When I got there I turned exhausted self and my gastronomic experience over to the capable hands of Finn, who often works upstairs behind the bar.  When I told him I was coming from BTSN he immediately started mixing me a Vodka Nero.  Now, I’ve always been curious about the Vodka Nero cocktail offered at Oliveto, but never tried one.  Let me tell you, it was worth it.  It was really, really good.  I mean really.  Finn mixed Ketel One with Navarro Pinot Noir grape juice and a tad of lime juice.  Exquisite.  The pictures are bad, because all I had was my iPhone, and the lighting is dim, but I must include them anyway:

There is something about how they grow Pinot Noir grapes in Mendocino that is unworldly, and Navarro is just TO DIE FOR:

Then I got the glass of wine, Pinot noir (this time with alcohol), and the bowl of pasta I’d been hoping for.  Finn helped me select the farro spezzatini with boar meatballs.  The meatballs were made completely delicate with a subtle hint of juniper.  Yet the spezzatini itself was strong enough to make the entire experience both refined and comforting.

Then, as Finn plied me with Pinot Noir, Fernando helped me pick dessert.  I can’t even remember exactly what the ice cream was, just that it had toffee–oh yes and almond base!  And it was delicious.

Sitting at that bar is just a slice of heaven.  I stared into the fire in the wood burning stove, watched as Hoffman farm hens were cooked under a brick, and chatted with the wonderful people of Oliveto.  I even spied through the kitchen door Paul Canales wrapping proscuitto in the back, hopping around energetically in his black beret, black Monterey Fish Market sweatshirt, khakis, and black converse.  It’s hard for me to remember a time I’ve seen him in anything else.  He served the table of VIP’s behind me on the balcony the prosciutto, and had even removed the beret to do so.  After chatting them up, he came back behind the bar, and scrubbed his hands in the sink.  It’s amazing to spy and artist’s hands; his fingers fit together nicely, making his hands into two cups he scrubbed toghther.  He walked by, I caught his eye, and he said, “keeping out of trouble?” I said, “sometimes.” 

Finn wasn’t done with me.  He poured me a glass of sherry by Pedro Ximenez.  You can catch a glipse of the troublemaker behind the glass:

It was quite an experience, the Pedro Ximinez.  Unbelievable taste, strongly reminiscent of molasses, of which I’m a huge fan.  It must be my Southern blood. 

At nine when I came in, the people of Oliveto were scurrying around, making every amateur diner’s night a magical experience.  They are amazing those people of Oliveto.  Everyone from the busser to the manager has a spark, a wild spirit if you will, along with great knowledge and pride in their work.  Sitting there at the bar surrounded by convivial atmosphere (and two gorgeous large scale fall colors arrangements with leaves, snowberries, and rosehips!) I just wanted to MOVE IN and LIVE THERE.  It’s that great.

By ten things had calmed down, Paul was out the door, and Sarah, who drew me in to Oliveto in the first place came over for a little chat.  Another great night at my home away from home. 

Long live Oliveto.  Bravo i miei amici, Bravo!


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Anniversary Devotion

September 15 has proven to be an auspicious day in the life of Saddleshoos.

Let us give our thanks to M. and D. also known as D. and V. who are married 30 years today.

D-A-R-L-I-N-G by Beach House


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New Day, New Rose

This is very exciting.  I’ve been cultivating this rose from a cutting, and it bloomed for the first time this week.  

This color is a great addition to my little rose garden.  It adds boldness and sophistication.  Gorgeous.


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