¡Oye! A LAtina perspective on food, fashion, familia and art.


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Coffee Cookie

By Laura E. Alvarez

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What came over me?  Spontaneous peanut butter cookie making?  I’m trying to be that person.  I might not be my mom who ALWAYS had homemade cookies in the cookie jar, but I can randomly blow everyone’s minds with a surprise baking spree.  Last night I made waffles at 8:30 pm FOR NO REASON.   Straight to teenage boys’ hearts. Cups from Tortoise. Spoons from Tokyo Shop. Plates from La Paloma Market.

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Cazbah Cafe beautifulness.  Just exquisite.  The same people work there from 14 years ago.  That’s saying something.  I want ALL the clothes they sell there. That place was made for me.

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Shout out to home chef, Cynthia Agustin for the above feast that was so over the top I’m still in a warm bath of gratefulness.  “Do you want vanilla ice cream on your hot, homemade peach pie.”  I’m fainting from happiness.

This makes our life rich. A friend that was moving to New Zealand was remarking that his family’s new life would mean more time for “coffee cookie”, and that this was a standard by which one could evaluate one’s quality of life. “Coffee Cookie” was something we invented when the boys were just babies.  We wanted to carry on with our bohemian artist lifestyle after the kids were born.  So we took them to art shows, they hung out for music recordings and painting sessions, and they did “coffee cookie”.  Just throw the word “cookie” in there and a four year old is happy to accompany you to a cappuccino, sketch, and conversation outing.

In Japan you have tea ceremonies, in México you have “la merienda”, and in England they used to ask us if our kettle was broke if we didn’t offer tea in the first five minutes.  It’s all about slowing down, by ourselves or with others.  Yes, give yourself a present, here we come again.  Just be.  Well, don’t just be.  Be and drink your tea or pretty coffee.  And you know, don’t just be and drink your tea or pretty coffee and nibble on your spirulina churro.  Take a picture before you eat it all. Post it or tweet it or instagram it, show it off some other way or just save it on your phone so later you can look at it and think, “Oh yeah, that was so nice.  Let’s do it again… RIGHT NOW.”

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Cafe Dulce blog bomb… AGAIN.  Love you, Cafe Dulce.  Sorry to not dedicate a whole blog post to you… yet.

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Love you, Ikea… for your cheap little frother that makes my life so fancy at home – even with almond milk!

 

 


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give yourself a present

by Laura E. Alvarez

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Left to right starting at the top left:  a) Kale and steamed egg over sushi rice with savory on top, b) mâche and homemade beans on homemade tostada shell with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, c) pasta with Parmigiano-Reggiano and lemon (that’s right… lemon!  It’s a fruit!) water, d) savory on steamed egg on multigrain British muffin with stove top Gavina espresso. 

Every Tuesday we get a present.  Well, technically we give the present to ourselves.  It’s called Abundant Harvest Organics, and it’s a farm-share delivery service that supplies us with a box of gorgeous organic fruits and vegetables.  For a little more than twenty dollars we get a cornucopia of food that was just picked the day before from local farms.  It’s always a surprise what we will be cooking with every week.  Not only that, but it forces us to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables every day, and I mean every meal.  I have to admit that it really challenges me, this working in the fresh food at every meal, but our taste buds benefit from it, and our whole bodies benefit from it.  Breakfast is probably the most challenging, but look!  Above, you see two breakfasts with farm box ingredients thrown in.

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Hey, did you think this post was about organic fresh fruits and vegetables?  No, it’s not… because obviously, that is a donut.  Yes, a donut.  But look at how it’s presented.  This donut sits on a warm, country-carved block of Mexican loveliness with an adorable espresso at its side.  Because the donut is not from far-away Cafe Dulce, then I cannot say I escaped without a stomach ache.  Was it worth it?  Aaaaal-most.  Oh, Cafe Dulce, what is a food post without thinking of you?

Right, then.  This post is about Giving Yourself a Present.  And sometimes the present is in the presentation.

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I didn’t make this, but I did photograph it!  Yes, colorful and dynamic presentations such as this one at Ruen Pair, Thai Cuisine inspire me at home.  You can do this too!  Everyone can.  The secret is out.  Here are some tips that I recently discovered…

1) Choose a bowl or plate that compliments what you are serving to yourself.  Use something out of the ordinary like a little chopping block.

2) Layering food items is nice for some reason… and affects the taste. Wow.

3)  Pay attention to color.  The plate is your canvas!

4) Chop up little things and sprinkle them on top.  This creates texture.

5)  It’s a wonder what a tray can do.

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And lastly, to show you that presentation can actually help heal you… I texted the above photo to Byron when she was sending me messages the other week like, “Hellooo!  Are you still alive, Laura?!  I’m worried about you, Amiga!” I was SO sick in bed.  Highly unusual.  My photo to her expressed that I must be okay if I have such an attractive tray on my bed.  I mean, look at it.  Yes, there are two trays involved, flowers in a jam jar, homemade tea, and that tangerine looks like a flower the way it has been peeled.  And even… yes, some not-very tasty elderberry syrup is sweetened by the whole presentation.  Now, I must confess that this last present is not a present to myself, but a present from my Love. Presents are really nice when they come from others, too. 😉


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Mix It Up, Serendipity

by Laura E. Alvarez

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Oh, how I love mixing thrift store folk textiles, men’s work clothes, Abuelita’s jewelry, Little Tokyo finds, American Apparel factory store bargains, Fred Segal gifts, AND sandals that have been forced into functioning as water shoes.   Doesn’t everybody?  It’s kind of cool when the Levi shirt you borrowed at the park because you didn’t know it would be cold becomes such a great addition to the whole ensemble.

Thrift Store Folk Textile:  I’m pretty sure this is a Mexican dress.  I’m pretty sure my mom helped me bargain (I was an embarrassed teenager!) for one just like this in hot pink… or was it fushia… in Baja back in the 80’s.  And, I’m pretty sure I love any cotton that looks like it was made on a loom.  I LOVE that.  I can feel the love while I’m wearing it.  And these colors?!  They’re SO Greek!

Men’s Work Clothes:  You will see a lot of Levi’s in my outfits because of my husband’s influence on my wardrobe.  Also, back in the early 80’s I used to take my brother’s old Levi’s when he grew out of them.  I would peg them on the sewing machine because I was SO rockabilly in my dress.  This gives the outfit a little Californian railroad worker/craftsman warmth.  Mmmm.

Abuelita’s Jewelry:  Every time I put on one of my mom’s pieces, I feel her love.  Nice.  This necklace reminds me of beautiful things growing underwater.  The beads are glass.  It’s SO pretty.

Little Tokyo Find:  Okay, these sunglasses are kind of already falling apart, but they still look cool.  Any visit to Little Tokyo is just an excuse to go to Cafe Dulce.  Oh, Cafe Dulce.  I could build an altar to Cafe Dulce… but I digress.

American Apparel Factory Store Bargain:  Lucky us to live in L.A. so we can stop at the American Apparel Factory Store on our way to Cafe Dulce – drat, did it again!  Just call this the Cafe Dulce Post, already where no one actually goes to Cafe Dulce and there are NO photos of Cafe Dulce.  Gosh.  Anyway, I found these brilliant blue leggings there for a few dollars and that is why that store is so wonderful.  A great place to shop for kids, as well.  There’s something for everyone!

Fred Segal Gifts:  Bettina Duncan gave me these earrings years ago for Christmas and I think they are just amazing.  She has a shop at Fred Segal.  She’s so smart.  I always feel a little Victorian when I put them on, even though maybe Victorian ladies did not wear earrings.

Forced Into Water Shoes Sandals:  Hush Puppies!  Colors that go with everything.  Found them at DSL Shoes when I needed water shoes to go to a tropical island, but they are not water shoes.  Shhh!  Don’t tell them.  I have walked hip boutique streets in these babies AND walked in a dark and mysterious river, as I boarded my stand up paddle board, for real I have.

Thank you, Evan Hartzell for the nice photographs.