And since I did start a foodie Instagram account, I thought I would share the cheese board my husband and I had at LACMA’s Ray’s and Stark Bar for my birthday. The wedding last year has me feeling really burned out when it comes to planning anything, so I decided I wanted my birthday to be simple with just Dan and me. I was inspired to have an evening at LACMA to celebrate, and on the way we decided to stop in Ray’s and Stark Bar for a glass of wine. Our dinner plans for the night would include our latest favorite restaurant Exchange in Downtown LA. We will need to return and take decent photos of the food there, right now they are blurry and don’t highlight their deliciousness properly. But the photos of the cheese board, on the other hand, are lovely and the cheeses were delicious. I feel restaurants never serve enough pieces of bread, so we enjoyed the soft cheeses and apricot compote with the crostinis and paired the Marcona almonds with the hard aged cheddar. At this point, I don’t recall the other cheeses, but I’ll be stepping up my foodie game in the future and will be taking notes.
I love Santa Fe and I long for it in the golden hours of the morning, Santa Fe my old friend.
When I woke up in Santa Fe, I gazed out our hotel window on the desert scenery and watched the sun heat the earth. It was a soft blue morning and I could feel Santa Fe’s unique peaceful energy. From the moment we arrived the people were sassy but kind, everyone had an approachable vibe about them. One of my favorite moments was when the cashier at Whole Foods remarked that the residents of Santa Fe are all a bit kookie. A city filled with kookie people like myself. I daydream about returning for a sabbatical spending my days writing, painting, going to yoga and enjoying the delicious food.
Santa Fe was one of the most delicious cities I’ve ever been too. I can’t recall the specifics of the amazing meals we had, but I was never disappointed in any dish. Each restaurant we went to offered a red sauce or green sauce that would make an atheist believe in a god.
We spent one of our afternoons exploring every inch of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. At the gift shop I picked up Joan of Arc and St. Christopher medallions, discussing road trips and desert adventures with the nuns. One sister shared how in her youth, she and a friend traveled along the same journey she had read about in one of her favorite books. Her tale seemed to have been before she was called to the cloth and that only increased the intrigue. Seriously, one of my favorite things about traveling is meeting new people and hearing their stories. I hope when I leave this earth, I’m not just filled with my own story but bits of pieces of hundreds of stories.
My only disappointment from our entire time in Santa Fe was that I never had the opportunity to check out the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. Every time we tried to go, the doors were closed, bad timing. I did, however, take as many pictures from the outside as possible, yet it doesn’t heal the pain from missing out on the exhibition they had at the time.
Driving through Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado helped to open my eyes to the circumstances that Native Americans have been put into as a consequence of historic decisions.
As I’m sharing about Santa Fe and with Thanksgiving this week, I can’t help but remark on the double edge sword this national holiday has. After hundreds of years, this holiday has been watered down to represent family and gratitude. In grade school, it’s an opportunity to introduce the history of Native Americans to young children. It’s to honor the coming together of the pilgrims and indigenous people, but we all know life wasn’t all kumbaya for the Native Americans afterward. So with that said, hindsight twenty-twenty of course the English shouldn’t have come over to America raping, pillaging, and stealing land from Native Americans. Yet, at that time of the world – unfortunately, that’s how things functioned. Countries and tribes either fought with each other or traded with each other, it seems now a days the only reason we aren’t all fighting is because we’re trading, but I digress. This Thanksgiving as we do surround ourselves with our loved ones and reflect on the blessings in our lives, let us acknowledge that although we can’t change the past, we should try to rectify the sins of our forefathers by not committing the same arrogant atrocities again.
After an amazing night out with Bowerbird’s pal drinking and eating at Cavalier, I had to wake up early the next morning to do some work. While Bowerbird slept, I got ready for the day and followed up on emails and scheduled content for my clients. After Bowerbird woke up he decided to be a sweetheart and walk over to Blue Bottle coffee down the street and pick us up some good black brew, he left and I continued to work. Twenty minutes later, he returned to the hotel room frustrated as he couldn’t find the coffee shop. We both hate google maps and how it decides to change directions on a whim or decide to say you’ve arrived when you’re still 500 feet away from your destination. So I understood his frustration and pulled out my phone in order to get a better sense of where the coffee shop was on the map. Staring out our hotel window, together we finally figured out where Blue Bottle was located. So he went down for round two of mission “Blue Bottle Coffee”. I continued to work.
Twenty minutes later, Bowerbird returns even more aggravated and stressed. He had waited in the long line at Blue Bottle, only to discover his wallet was missing at the crash register. When he got back to the hotel room, the wallet was fortunately left on the bed and obviously our blue bottle experience was not going well. Bowerbird ate a Luna bar as we both sipped on crappy hotel room coffee, waiting for me to finish working and we could grab a bite at Cowgirl Creamery. One of the most delicious cheese makers EVER!
Spam spotted on our walk to Blue Bottle Coffee
Our friend had told us that the Blue Bottle location next to our hotel was the absolute best, so hoping third times the charm, after I was done working we walked to Blue Bottle together. The line was ridiculously long and as time was running out, we decided to give up and just walk to Cowgirl Creamery inside the Ferry Building. It’s important for me to note that there is no parking in San Francisco. It’s not a very street parking friendly city, so we decided to walk everywhere in order to save money. We had decided to leave our car parked at the hotel and just be charged for hotel overnight parking. And since I didn’t want to pay for any additional hours outside of our hotel stay, it was really important we left the parking structure by check-out time (noon).
The Ferry Building was a 25 to 30-minute walk from our hotel. I love the architecture in San Francisco. I feel like the city was built for me! The entire city was interesting and captivating, the wires and cranes. I could wander around that city for days. The Ferry Building was AWESOME!! I have yet to visit Grand Central Market in Downtown LA, but I have a feeling it might be like the Ferry Building. Vendors were pushing large carts filled with fresh produce. I snapped a blurry photo of a man holding two ginormous heads of lettuce up to his ears as he moved through the crowd. There was an entire section devoted to mushrooms. I was completely awe-struck and falling in mad foodie love.
We found Cowgirl Creamery and order a grilled cheese and cheese platter. While I waited for the food, Bowerbird hopped on over to Blue Bottle to stand in line for coffee. At this point, there was no way we were leaving San Francisco, let alone go on in our day, with our proper *caffeination from flipping Blue Bottle. I found him in line and we devoured our warm grilled cheese. I honestly don’t remember what it tasted like, but I’ll assume good. Then I abandoned Bowerbird to explore the Ferry Building more and drop off my fun postcards. I fell in love with this adorable cake and sweets shop called Miette, where I picked up my nieces and nephew gummy brains and pumpkins for Halloween. By the way, I’m terrible at buying souvenirs and feel I’m failing as an aunt, but more on that later.
After Bowerbird had our coffees we headed outside to scarf down the rest of our cheese platter, because as I looked at the clock we only had 30 minutes before check out. Oh and our hotel is a 30 minute walk away!! I feel like Bowerbird and I are pro-sightseers, we try to absorb as much of our atmosphere as possible, like dry thirsty sponges that found a puddle in the desert. So we walked back through the Ferry Building making mental notes of our surrounding and snapped a few photos of it from across the street, then we walked as fast as our legs could carry us. We only stopped if the intersection was red, throwing caution to the wind if only the hand was red. Checking my phone periodically to see what our estimated time of arrival was, just as we gained time we lost it because we stopped to take pictures of the architecture. We managed to get to our hotel, out of breath, ten minutes before check out. Running up to our hotel room, I grabbed my client’s products to shoot in the lobby and Bowerbird took our bags down to the car. We were back on the road by 12:15pm.
Please check out the vlog I made of our adventure to the Ferry Building. I still dream of that hall of wonders.
*caffienation – is not a real word, but it is today!