8/30/13 “Discovering Beauty and Inspiration” at Cleobella’s in Sunset Beach, CA

Friday’s lark was held at Cleobella’s 1920’s seaside cottage in Sunset Beach.  We had a balmy, beautiful evening under the stars as we enjoyed wine, conversation and an Ecuadorian inspired menu.   We are thankful for Jim and Angela for opening the doors, sharing their good vibes and joining us at the common table.

Their quaint little boutique offers timeless bohemian pieces from handbags to home décor.  All of Cleobella’s handmade products create sustainable income for artisans in Bali Indonesia and a portion of all profits are donated to Care.org, specifically helping women in South East Asia.  So inspiring!  

Cleobella’s 16792 14th St. Huntington Beach, CA 92649

www.cleobella.com

 

 

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A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach

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A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach
A lark at the beautiful Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach

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6/27/13 “Let’s Have A Great Summer” Pop-Up at The AOSA Project

We were happy to set the communal table inside The AOSA Project, an amazing socially responsible retail shop in Huntington Harbor. What a great way to start off summer!  We did our best to create a special, but eclectic setting – something that would fit the location well.   Many great topics were brought up at the dinner table, such as “The Edible Schoolyard Project” and how do you know when “You have it all”?  These great images were taken by Vivid Images-Don Baker.  Many thanks to Jennifer Orona for opening the doors for us.  We cannot wait to do it again!1040740_327480017383652_1200979264_o

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Why Pop?

Popping up a restaurant and marketplace in different locations is a cool and fun way to bring people together to share what we are passionate about in life.  For me, this is the perfect combination of friends, food, wine, and design (an abridged list as you may surmise).   It is also a way for “Lark” to figure out where it fits in this world, a sort of living business plan.  Our motto is “do, reflect, refine, and do again”.   We often tell people it’s about “doing” instead of “dreaming of doing”.   We hope this leads to becoming experts at pop-ups and, later on, having our own brick and mortar.  However, we are grateful to have discovered the opportunity to bring people together for a wonderful and unique experience doing what we love.  The beauty of popping up is that each event is fresh and different.  The combination of locations, people, food, design are constantly changing and evolving.  This makes it easy to call it an adventure, ahem, Lark.

-Lisa Gutierrez-Martinez, Owner/Creative Director

Ready to greet out guests!  at our AoSA Underground Dinner Party in Huntington Harbor.
Ready to greet out guests! at our AoSA Underground Dinner Party in Huntington Harbor.

The (lost) Art of Picnic-ing

We have a great time “Popping Up” in Corona Del Mar, thanks to all who attended!  It was great to receive such positive feedback during set-up and breakdown of our table.  Our dining experience was serene, relaxing and refreshing.  We look forward to summer and all it’s possibilities.

Photo credits:  Dave Luong-Si & Alice Young Ahn.

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2/23/13 “Bohemian Romance” at Viridian ~ Pictures


We had a wonderful time at Viridian in Costa Mesa!  Cheers to Lisa Kray for all her help and support.  We hope to have another event there soon!  Please visit www.viridianfinds.com, you will love it!

 

Wine, Appetizer & Cheese Plate greet you!
Wine, Appetizer & Cheese Plate greet you!Interior at ViridianInterior at Viridian

 

Pancetta and White Bean Soup topped with Kale Chips
Pancetta and White Bean Soup topped with Kale Chips
Janine & Lisa
Janine & Lisa
Herb Encrusted Rack of Lamb served with Polenta and a Demi Glaze Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce
Herb Encrusted Rack of Lamb served with Polenta and a Demi Glaze Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce
Homemade Strawberry Marshmallow with Dark Chocolate Mouse topped with White Chocolate Shavings
Homemade Strawberry Marshmallow with Dark Chocolate Mouse topped with White Chocolate Shavings

 

Lisa & Dawn
Lisa & Dawn

 

Interior at Viridian
Interior at Viridian

 

Loara, Gabi & Miss Daisey - Cheers!
Loara, Gabi & Miss Daisey – Cheers!

 

Momento's
Momento’s

 

Dining in the Art Gallery, interior at Viridian
Dining in the Art Gallery, interior at Viridian

 

Interior at Viridi

 

Interior at Viridian
Interior at Viridian

 

Tina & Ray
Tina & Ray

 

Interior at Viridian
Interior at Viridian

 

Browsing vintage furnishings, unique objects, estate jewelry, and original art.
Browsing vintage furnishings, unique objects, estate jewelry, and original art.

 

Viridian Pop-Up team!
Viridian Pop-Up team!
















 

Yummy

Thank you Whole Foods for offering up this beautiful organic Broccolini for tomorrow’s underground dinner party in Costa Mesa, CA.  Chef Kristen Trinh knows how to shop!  This bounty will be enjoyed thoroughly!

broccolini

The Making Of A Communal Table

We decided to host a communal pop-up diner party, yay!  But where can we get a table for 12?  Hmm, those beautiful farm tables are a bit pricey.  Fortunately, my talented husband and youngest son took it upon themselves built our table from raw Pinewood from Home Depot. They turned out solid and functional, but they needed a little character.

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A little research on Pinterest resulted in a simple DIY recipe for staining wood – one that would dry in just a few hours.  So on the very morning of our very first pop-up we stained the raw Pinewood with a concoction of steel wool, vinegar and coffee grounds (which we soaked together in even proportions for about 17 hours).    Once we applied the stain, we felt it needed a bit “more” so we grabbed that morning’s coffee grounds and rubbed them into the table, perfect!  While the table was drying a small rain shower made a brief visit leaving it’s own marks.  Results? Absolutely beautiful!

Joey's work of art.
Joey’s work of art.

 

Q & A with The Mad Platter Kitchen Chef, Kristen Trinh

Enjoy this Q & A with Kristen Trinh of The Mad Platter Kitchen.

Q. When did you realize you wanted to become a chef?

A. What inspired me to become a chef was my husband and I had a conversation one day about how much he appreciates my cooking and noticed how happy I am when I am cooking for him and our friends.  He lightly mentioned that I should try out culinary school. I honestly never thought about it before, but it made perfect sense to me and so I did.

Q. What is your earliest memory of cooking?

A.  I would say earliest memory of cooking was with my grandmother during holidays. We had family gatherings all the time and I would always help my grandmother in the kitchen. That’s what sparked my interest and passion for cooking.

Q. What is your favorite cuisine to cook?

A. My passion for cooking has led me to create delicious dishes from all regions all around the world, but my favorite food to cook is Southern Italian.

Q.You went to the Art Institute right?  Would you say that is where you obtained most of your skills?

A. In 2007 I went to Art Institute of Orange County where I studied the ‘Art of Cooking’ and graduated a year later.

Q. What roles did you play at Laguna Culinary Arts Cafe & School?

A. I started work at Laguna Culinary Arts in 2008 where I became a Fromage and worked in the kitchen for basic food prep. I slowly worked my way up to not only cooking in the kitchen but menu planning, food cost. managing the cafe, and instructing classes. From there I grew a strong interest to become a private chef and branch off to do catering and meal planning on my own which is where I am at today.

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A Letter From Aunt Betty

Hi Lisa,
I understand how you feel about not knowing your grandparents on our side. All of my grandparents were deceased before I was born and I have never found out anything about them.

I have more separate memories of Clarence and Ruby Castleberry than of them together..mostly because I was the youngest of a large brood.  We were mainly a dysfunctional family (way before the term was coined), but there were good times too.  I was a ‘momma’s girl’ and spent most of my time by her side.  She was a talented seamstress, and I can remember her making clothes for everyone. For many years she used an old Singer treadle machine, but in the early sixties bought a brand new electric zigzag Singer from Sears.  I can still picture the dresses and suits that she made to wear while selling Avon products.  I would ride in the back seat of our old De Soto and later in a Studebaker Lark VI with the smells of perfume and powder while she would drive her route all around Suquamish and the surrounding countryside.

Suquamish was what we called a 1 horse 2 tavern town that was smack dab in the middle of the Suquamish Indian Reservation. The location was idyllic..set right on Puget Sound with an astonishing view of Seattle and Mount Rainier. This was before smog had blurred everything.

We owned a double lot at the wide end of a triangle block with the two bedroom house overlooking the water just a block away. Every weekend us girls had to sit in the car parked in front of a tavern while mom and dad went in for a drink…we would stay in that car for hours on the promise of a candy bar until we got old enough to realize that our house was only a block away and so we would just walk home.

Dad really enjoyed playing the punch boards (precursor to scratch tickets) and would win toys, stuffed animales etc. for me all the time. He also spent uncounted hours combing the beach for unusual pieces of driftwood that he used to make a fence around our property. It was very unique and was featured in Sunset Magazine in the late 1950s or early 60s. Many times on weekend afternoons, he would let me help him sharpen lawn mower blades for people around town. He was very good with machines. He worked at the Alaska Steamship Company on the Seattle waterfront as a ship’s mechanic for over 20 years.  Grandma Ruby and us girls would ride the ferry to Seattle from Bainbridge Island every Friday just so we could ride home with Daddy. We usually managed to get in a few hours of shopping to boot!

I can not remember a day without one of Mom’s fabulous dinners up until she became too ill.  We were brought up on meat and potatoes, vegetables and great desserts.  One of my best and you mom’s and aunt Connie’s worst memories was breakfast. I was an early riser and when mom would ask what we wanted for breakfast I always called out “Oatmeal” …the others were asleep and never got a chance for anything else!

I hope this gives you a little glimpse of our family..but you really need to also ask the other aunts about their memories. They will differ greatly! Being the youngest I was spoiled rotten and also lived at a time when money was not scarce, we had a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, a rocking chair and a color TV. Life was good!

Love,
Aunt Betty

The Pampas

After a long trek from California, ten hunters and myself arrived in Lincoln, Argentina, which is located approximately 180 miles North of Buenos Aires (the town of Lincoln is so small it failed to appear on any of my Lonely Planet maps!).   As we approached our lodge, smoke bellowed from the outdoor grill and field dogs were the first to greet us. The house was simple and beautiful with sharp corners and beige paint.  It had large windows that allowed you to look through. Our surroundings were vast natural grasslands with infrequent clusters of planted trees.  By squinting your eyes you could make out horses to the North while a glance to the East presented a herd of cattle.

We met the Manager, Charlie (imagine Hugh Grant) and he assigned our rooms.  Speaking proper English he gave us stern instructions to report for lunch within the hour. During mealtime hunters were organized into groups and provided an outline of their routine for the next 3 days.   I, on the other hand, enjoyed a glass of red wine and pondered how to keep myself occupied.

After a lovely meal, the hunters outfitted themselves and headed for the duck pond and I spent the remaining afternoon roaming the house to admire its décor.  I ended my curiosity on the partially burned sheepskin rugs near the fireplace to relax in its warmth and enjoy the remaining wine.

In the following days the hunters left the lodge in the wee hours, allowing me to sleep undisturbed and wake naturally. During these silent and dreamlike days, I read books and magazines, enjoyed fresh brewed espresso, took long baths and walked the grounds.  I embraced the solitude and managed quite nicely without any concerns. At lunchtime the hunters returned briefly to eat and rest.  Soon after they would leave for their afternoon hunt and I would dally around until roughly 5pm when it was time to report the kitchen.

Lucas, their young and funny gourmet chef, took me behind the scenes and allowed me to observe, chop, stir, roll and, best of all, taste until dinner was plated.   I would then join the hunters, once again, around a large wood dining table to savor fresh grilled steak accompanied by chimichurri sauce, saffron potatoes stuffed with fresh herbed butter and a delicate, but delicious dessert consisting of caramelized apples and homemade ice cream.

It wasn’t one particular moment, but the sum of this very personal experience that left me with a positive and rejuvenating impression.  My time in the pampas was reminiscent of endless days I spent in my youth that I had long forgotten about…and now, long to have.