Lark x Urban Americana x Chef Kyle Powers |The Dream Is Real in Long Beach, California

Friday, September 13, 2019

The moment before the guest arrive. Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!

We started our late summer adventures at our favorite designer playground known as Urban Americana in Long Beach. Having popped-up at this unique location before, we knew we were in for a special evening. You cannot take a step inside this gorgeous vintage warehouse without being inspired by the timeless style of the past, while simultaneously dreaming of the future. This gentle pull + push lands you in a rare space we like to call the present moment.

It is such an honor to have Chris Geer, owner + creator of our favorite designer playground Urban Americana, embrace lark and open the doors to our curious & adventurous guests — and even more so to have him an his wife join us at the communal table.

Chris Geer (Urban Americana) + Lisa Martinez (Lark) on a lark at the super hip Urban Americana in Long Beach!

We spent the evening doing what we do best, creating good vibes, acquainting with friends old and new, delving into interesting conversations and sharing delicious food.

Stylist @maysonhauck always sets the good vibes! Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach

Our guests, ranging from designers to deep sea explorers to culinary lovers took to the lark with ease embracing the connections that come so naturally when immersed in such an inspirational setting. 

Guest mingle amongst the cool mid-century + antique vibes of Urban Americana. Image captured by foodie, photographer + conversationalist: @mb.maher

Manuel, of Manuel The Band, kicked off the evening playing acoustic guitar and singing Casual Love while we mingled about sipping on  local / vegan / sustainable 2017 Finke’s Sparkling White Blend hand selected by Billy O’Connell of @winc and poured with love by wine aficionado (+ yoga enthusiast) Tyler Rodriguez.

This is our seriously talented friend Manuel. He is in the band. @manueltheband check them out!

Chef Kyle Powers & Sous Chef Nelson Johnson created the most awesome looking makeshift kitchen from Urban Americana’s beautifully weathered industrial work bench sending the the first smells of crispy garlic + fried mushrooms into the air with innate and palpable enthusiasm.

Chef Kyle Powers + Nelson Johnson rocking the Makeshift Kitchen, California Style, at Urban Americana!
Welcome to the prep! Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach
Guest settle in for an evening of food, wine & conversation.Image captured by @mb.maher at Urban Americana in Long Beach!

As this was lark #50, we took a moment to share-and be thankful for-our collaborative approach where we work should-to-shoulder to create these larks and all of the fulfillment that has come from doing what we love, especially the idea of recognizing and appreciating each other, our supporters, and the moment. 

Tyler Rodriguez, Lisa Martinez, Kailee Walters, Daniel Perlof, Nelson Trey and Kyle Powers–on a lark!
Steamed clams in dashi: crispy garlic. seaweed. watermelon radish. fried mushrooms compliments of Chef Kyle Powers.
Tyler Rodriguez captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach
Steamed clams in dashi: crispy garlic. seaweed. watermelon radish. fried mushrooms compliments of Chef Kyle Powers!
Daniel Perlof on prep! Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach
Because we are in this together! Super fun times on a lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach. Image captured by @mb.maher
Fried reed avocado: crab. fried herbs. lemon chili aioli compliments of Chef Kyle Powers. So good!
@kaileeinthekitchen captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach
Super grateful to all the “yes” people in the room! Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach

How fortunate we feel to having our favorite foodie + conversationalist Mitch Maher capture the evening and to be accompanied by the endless talents of: Jack-of-all-Trades Daniel Perlof, Stylist Mayson Hauck, Ceramicist Andrea Luna Reece and Food Blogger Kailee in the Kitchen

A little “bluffer” –2018 The Bluffer Valdiguié–from our friends @winc thoroughly enjoyed on a lark at Urban Americana.
Beef tenderloin + beets: golden berry. golden beet. shish leaves / strawberry. red beet. Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach

A surprise (thanks Kyle!) awaits on the tail end of our lark, when Rita Pham of mcakesweets showcased her amazing talents in creating the most beautiful & best tasting desserts including a gorgeous Earl Grey Cake making this occasion extra sweet. 

Rita Pham of @mcakesweeks rocks the celebratory vibes on a lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
@mcakesweeks rocks the celebratory vibes on a super fun (50th!) lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
@mcakesweets, Chef Kyle Powers + Nelson Johnson roll into our”50th” lark pop-up communal dinner party!
Rita Pham of @mcakesweeks rocks the celebratory vibes on a lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
Rita Pham of @mcakesweeks rocks the celebratory vibes on a lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us! 

……More?

As we are always on a lark…here’s a few {personal} moments to share:

Clam-less in Long Beach

Unfortunately the adventure was too much for one little clam (he didn’t make the lark). Soon I discovered that all the elements of this dish, clam excluded, were over-the-top satisfying. 

Lark Therapy 

I was well into a conversation, dabbling into bits of my history (military brat, late bloomer, endlessly curious), when I learned I was speaking with a professional therapist. I feel better already! 

Why Do I Feel Happy

A gentleman on a lark leaned over and said, I feel happier than I have in a long time and I don’t know why. We all chimed in on the endless benefits of social dining.

Hot Yoga

As a universal rule, we only lark in extreme weather and this smoking hot evening was no exception. We laughed at how the high humidity made our “purposeful work” (set up + breakdown) feel more like hot yoga!

Meet Chef & Food Photographer Jim Sullivan of San Diego, California

Chef Jim Sullivan on a lark at The Hood Kitchen Space
Chef Jim Sullivan on a lark at The Hood Kitchen Space

We are thrilled to introduce Chef Jim Sullivan of Medium Raw Arts who we met on a lark at The Hood Kitchen Space last summer. Chef Jim is also a talented culinary photographer who captures food and pretty much anything associated with food. The best thing about Jim is his boundless enthusiasm for his craft. He will be cooking up the good vibes at our 1/30/16 DTLA lark at the Lawrence Fodor Loft.

What is your idea of the perfect meal?

I always think about this and ask my friends. What would my last meal be if I could pick anything? For me that’s easy, a hot spicy bowl of ramen w pork belly, poached egg and fresh herbs.

What living chef do you most admire?

I wouldn’t necessarily say a chef, more like person, my grandmother! This is a woman who was in WWII as a prisoner in a camp, left everything with just the clothes on her back and came to the US. Worked her ass off to raise 5 children (all are very successful) and has 16 grandchildren. That’s what inspires me!

What is you best, most simple, culinary advice?

Have FUN!

What is your motto?

Work hard, be humble…repeat!

What came first, food or photography?

Food/chef. I was doing pop up events after culinary school and people were taking images of my food with their iPhones, which were terrible. So I finally decided to get a DLSR and delve into food photography. This was about 3 years ago and since then my focus has been food/cocktail photography but still cook as much as I can.

How does your food and food photography influence each other?

For me they go hand in hand. My love for food drives my photography.

What foods/ingredients do you consider over or under rated?

I think a lot of “foodies” get caught up with the fancy ingredients i.e., foie gras or truffles. I like to keep it simple and just focus on fresh ingredients. I’m more of the adage less is more, which I feel you can see in my food and photography.

What was your most favorite dining experience?

Well Per Se in NYC definitely was the best restaurant dining experience. The way the FOH/BOH work in symmetry was amazing. BUT I will have to say the absolute best “food” experience was when I spent time in Paris. I stayed in a flat just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower and was able to walk across street to all the available purveyors on a daily basis. I would walk to the fishmonger, pick out some fresh seafood and then walk over to vegetable stand and then go back and cook! The ability to have such amazing fresh and various purveyors right there was awesome! I wish I could have that every day! Being able talk to the purveyors and get what was fresh was so inspiring. Definitely want to have that experience again, soon! (on a side note: I do have this secret love for street food. The best thing I’ve eaten in awhile has to be in Tijuana. The food at Carwash del Torta is badass!)

Who is your favorite person to cook for?

My wife! Hands down. She is a foodie at heart, a great baker and my toughest critic.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being able to provide for my family. My family is everything to me.

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We love how this Chef/Photographer captures the heart of the culinary community. See Chef Jim’s delicious Baja inspired menu and come on a lark with us!