Thursday, February 12, 2015

A sneak peek into Gjusta Bakery & Cafe in Venice

Gjusta Bakery Cafe Deli Venice Gjelina

While in Los Angeles last week, I swung by Gjusta in Venice for a quick lunch and sneak peek at the latest Gjelina off-spring. I am a long time fan of Gjelina {as well as GTA, their tiny take out next door} for both its food and interiors, so couldn't wait to see what this latest venture had to offer. The Matt Winter designed interiors, combining reclaimed wood, rough marble and vintage fixtures, made for a rustic vibe and great first impression ...

Gjusta Bakery Cafe Deli Venice exteriorGjusta Deli VeniceMatt Winter Design Venice Gjusta

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A sunny West Marin oyster picnic with friends

A midweek escape from the city and a sunny winter day picnic with friends old & new along Tomales Bay, taking in fresh air and incredible views, enjoying some of the local bounty West Marin has to offer ~ the perfect California send-off for our dear friend Ilaria who will be leaving the Bay Area for London soon ...

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Feast of the Seven Fishes with friends

No one seems to be quite sure where the tradition originated, but the Feast of the Seven Fishes has become a popular Christmas tradition lately, and no longer just within the Italian-Americans community. We embraced the idea some years ago, and with no holiday obligations this year, spontaneously decided to organize a Feast of the Seven Fishes potluck dinner: a polyglot group of friends {Italian, Japanese, French, German and American} along with an impressive potluck menu of sea-centric dishes made for a fun and rather stress free holiday dinner. With eight fish dishes no less.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Some hall decking, tree trimming & cookie baking {Happy Holidays}

Bavarian butter cookies recipe

'Tis the season ~ and as always it feels like it sneaked up way too fast, at least for my taste! I was actually in complete holiday denial until last week, when a big West Coast storm front brought the perfect excuse for cozy, homebound days ~ and the sudden urge to get a tree, deck the halls and bake some holiday cookies, so here's a sneak peek at what I made:
classic Bavarian Butter Cookies {my great grandmother's recipe}, citrusy Orange Chocolate Stars and Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies. None of these recipes are too time consuming or require anything beyond baking pantry staples, so I am sharing two of them below ~ HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Orange Chocolate Stars Essen & Trinken

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A festive holiday table, Northern California style { Remodelista }

Parkside The Room Stinson Beach

Earlier this month Remodelista invited me to an exciting collaboration: a feature on inspirations & tips for a non-traditional {think sans orange} holiday table and a stress free dinner menu.
The photo location I suggested is one of my all time favorite dining rooms, a cozy cottage with wood fired oven nestled in Stinson Beach. I discovered The Room earlier this year by chance, fell in love with the ambience {& had recently organized two private dinners there}, so approached proprietor {& Brit expat} Maxine Gilbert along with her husband/chef John Gilbert as collaborators. Maxine got yet another collaborator on board ~ all stunning wild flora centerpieces and bouquets were foraged and arranged by Louesa Roebuck, who happens to live in Stinson Beach and is the talent behind many stunning floral arrangements at Bay Area restaurants ...

Louesa Roebuck wild foraged bouquet flora photo by Julia SpiessParkside The Room Stinson BeachLouesa Roebuck wild flowers flora photo by Julia Spiess

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A lazy West Marin day & rustic dinner with friends in Bolinas

With our friend Sibylle visiting from Zürich, we headed across the bridge & up Highway 1 last weekend to spend a sunny Saturday with our friend Kelly around his new neck of the woods in West Marin. We met for morning coffee & awesome pastries in Stinson Beach, picked up fresh produce at Gospel Flat Farm Stand, gathered Richards Bro's Farm Meyer lemons in an enchanted garden, strolled through Bolinas and watched the surf from the beach ~ before sitting down to an alfresco dinner with incredible sunset views of the estuary below ...


all photos © dinners with friends

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