kielbasa sausage + tree fruits w/cranberry garnish
local cold brew coffee
earthy juice blend
Mood: Deep Green Grass Black Floral Dress (featured), Hats. Creative Sesh involving Food, Fashion, Design + Fur. Conversation centering around what is currently inspiring us! To capture Fun + Casual Content along the way.. Chef & Photog: Daniel – Wearing Billy Aloha Tina Hauck – Guest – Wearing Jaxsea Rebeka – Florist – Wearing Jaxsea Lisa – lark – Wearing Jaxsea Cyrus – Creative – Wearing whatever makes her feel beautiful Noosa – Au natural Let’s go on a lark!
Images captured by photographer @annagokieli feature the people, places, & things that inspire and keep us moving forward.
We have strolled the Civic Center Park’s winding trails dozens of times, enjoying the varied pieces of art, flora and fauna––and always leave feeling refreshed and carefully noting the best locations for a picnic.
We decided to settle in the towering presence of the amazing Talking Heads sculpture by the classically trained sculptor Oleg Lobykin. Fitting as time between the bigger larks is always used for reflection (our motto: do, reflect, refine, do again).
While enjoying a delicious array of cheeses, meats, fruits, and crackers accompanied by sips of sparkling water and gentle ocean breeze, we talked about what was happening in our lives, things silly and serious.
We shared stories and laughed about the larks past and present and, of course, dreamed up what could be next.
Appearing along the path near our table is Lisa Hughes Anderson who enthusiastically snapped a few photos and her friend Suzanne Redfearn who graced us with her recently published novel. You never know who’ll you will meet on a lark!
Love that we took the time and effort to create a beautiful experience that filled us with adventure and inspiration.
We’re thrilled to create + collaborate with the Cannery Artist Colony of Newport Beach. We met Artist and Creative Life Connoisseur Jan McCarthy through a mutual friend (who we met on a lark!).
We were about to set our communal table at her residence in the gorgeous green Eastern Building in DTLA when the world shut down. Then, when we reconnected, she had relocated to the seaside town of Newport Beach and became a part of the Cannery Artist Colony.
We are thankful for her invitation to set our communal table with the Cannery Artist Colony whose inspiring and delightful ateliers reside among the numbered streets of Newport Beach:
Q. Tell us about the Cannery Artist Colony.
A. The building we are in originally had 3 artists but in the last year 3 more of us have joined the collective space. It is so great that we each have our own private studio space and focus on different types and approaches to creating art, but are able to meet up when we are in residence and share ideas as well as support each other.
A. We come from all different places, Some of the women have been in the Newport area for a long time and even had children in the same school together, or met at various painting classes. I am a newcomer to the group, coming from Los Angeles and Boulder, Colorado just over a year ago, but I appreciate how welcoming everyone has been.
Q. What would you say about their personalities + style?
JAN MCCARTHY https://www.janmccarthy.com/ Modern, Sophisticated, Bold and Edgy, each mark or stroke of the brush is a signature gesture as a way to connect and share flashpoints of time or place. Jan’s art gives a nod to independence and freedom, a suggestion to defy the norm, stay curious and seek adventure, Influences are from a background of travel, interior design, creative pursuits, and a curious and wild imagination.
LINDA WOOTERS www.lindawooters.com Drawn to the juxtaposition of patterns and loose brush strokes to create modern impressionistic landscapes. She is influenced by living near the ocean and observing it’s ever changing moods.
CAROLE AIKINS www.caroleaikins.com – Carole’s work could be described as bold, whimsical, and vivid! She lets the subject of her paintings present themselves as she paints, much like a drama or fiction, revealing the surprise story once the painting is completed. Her early creative pursuits, such as interior design, travel, and living in France have greatly influenced her work,
DEBORAH HAROLD www.deborahharold.com An interior designer turned artist, Deborah is passionate about painting and travel. She considers herself an abstract impressionist with a keen sense of color, using quick and spontaneous brushstrokes to create shapes that allow the mind to fill in the blanks.
ILONA MARTIN https://ilona-art.com Ilona’s naive approach to Impressionist painting has given her a risk-taker reputation. Her love for a montage of color and shapes found in nature inspires her to paint and her work has a European influence, stemming from her German heritage and travels around the world.
JANET BLUDAU www.janetbludau.com Janet’s work offers up a cool color palette, inspired by an impressionistic era combining it with a contemporary approach. She describes her work as abstracted realism, intuitively applying color, and using her background in design to help her insert shapes and graphic lines to create a beautiful piece of art.
Q. Are any of the artists cooks?
A. We have monthly dinner parties and everyone makes something extraordinary, so yes, even if we don’t cook on a regular basis, we know how to perfect the art of dining.
Q. What makes the Cannery Artist Colony a perfect pairing for a lark?
A. It is a cozy space that lends itself to creativity and inspiration. Having the menu, table and area designed around a creative and artistic community, it is the perfect place to appreciate a lark.
Q. Any history you can share of the building or neighborhood?
A. In 1921, the area known as Cannery Village was a commercial fish cannery between 30th and Lido Park Drive but after it closed around 1966, it’s natural charm and seaside location attracted creative businesses, artists and tourists as the ideal site to gather.
Q. Art School, yay or nay?
A. I started making art just a little over 10 years ago and I’ve never been to art school. It may have been helpful to learn specific techniques, but I’ve really loved learning from others and experimenting on my own, and therefore feel confident in trusting my intuition and making mistakes. Some of my fellow artists did attend art school but we all have our own unique style.
Q. We feel the culinary world + art world go hand in hand, do you agree?
A. Absolutely, it is about bringing together imagination, color, design, mood, creativity, and a full experience of the senses.
We are thrilled to have friend + collaborator Chef Natasha Reta curate the menu for our upcoming lark at The Salt Horse in Laguna Beach. You can feel the energy and enthusiasm flowing when she’s creating delicious––and some might say––daring plates for connection and nourishment. She thinks of and appreciates all the hands that brought each element of food, all arriving in perfect unison for our enjoyment. We loved engaging in this fun Q+A to give you a glimpse of this talented Chef:
Q. You have been on several larks… our early days numbering # 10-15 — any fun insights or memories to share?
A. Besides it being a complete blast every time. There is something magical about having a vision that when impacted by a collaborative effort. It always turns out 10 times better.
Q. How would you describe lark to a someone unfamiliar?
A. A melding of minds over a delicious meal in a place you would never expect.
Q. How did you first arrive on the culinary scene?
It’s funny, my first restaurant job was when I was 4 years old and my mom took me her to work with her when she couldn’t find a sitter. I was given jobs like wiping tables and filling flowers while my mother the wine buyer met with reps and sales associates. On my “work break” I would watch the pastry chef make Creme Brulee.
But my first authentic culinary experience was at George’s San Francisco, which used to be the former Old London Wine Bar across from the Federal Reserve in the FiDi. I was looking for a serving job while I contemplated the thought of student loans for culinary school. Chef Michael Bilger said “don’t waste your time and money, I’ll set you up.” And he sure did, he took me under his wing and introduced me to culinary techniques I’d only read about before.
Q. Where has this profession taken you?
Q. Where will you go next?
A. Anywhere. The goal is to be the female version of Anthony Bourdain, may he RIP.
Q. What is your most treasured memory when it comes to food?
A. Watching the Creme Brûlée being made for the first time. That’s when I realized the science and beauty behind Food. It’s science, art and fun all wrapped into one. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to juggle all of that at once.
Q. Do you have any favorite books/novels/magazines for inspiration?
A. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and life. Most of my inspiration comes from experience and conversation.
Q. If not culinary, what other profession could you see yourself doing?
A. Acting or Singing. I think you need to act to get through the chaos— and when the wheels fall off the bus, you may as well sing yourself out of it.
Q. Can you share a favorite dining experience?
A. So many, I love food and all the moments I’ve had with it. But the most memorable would be my first time in Egypt. And the welcome meal we had with the family. Being all the way around the world, it somehow felt so familiar and comforting even though the food was so completely new and exotic to me. Food is home to me.
Q. What advice do you have for people who want to become chefs?
A. Make sure you are ready to be a mother, therapist, friend, artist, math teacher, engineer, and culinary master all in one. You have to be strong in mind and body.
Q. What is your most treasured ingredient?
A. Salt. I like all of them.
Q. When it comes to dining, what element do you often see overlooked?
A. Flat ware and cups. Many times operators purchase the prettiest items but forget to test the feel with food and the operations of plating.
Q. Can you describe your culinary style?
A: A fusion of flavors and organized chaos, just like life.
Q. Who are your heroes?
A. My mom, she’s hasn’t been the biggest fan of my life choices, but she’s the biggest fan of my life. She’s never been shy to tell me how proud she is of me.
Q. What phrase or word do you use too often?
A. Holy Chowder, I’ve been trying not to curse…..and I curse a lot, so now you hear more holy chowders than fucks.
Q. As we are all navigating new seas, any thoughts on the future of dining?
A. Try to enjoy the moments of pause and be sure to cherish each bite. Many people worked hard to create the meal in front of you. Life is not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.
We love collaborating with people who love their craft! Soon we’ll be soaking up the last days of summer enjoying food, wine & the rediscovered art of conversation at The Salt Horse in Laguna Beach. The good news is that everyone can come along through our images and stories!
Enjoy this fun little Q+A with Samantha Savage Breit, founder of this amazing local + sustainable grocer in Laguna Beach:
Q. Where did you grow up?
A. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Q. We know you are close with farms + markets, what is your most memorable Famers Market experience?
A. One day I was in the parking garage on my way to my car when I noticed that the OG of the food buyers world was parked next to me. She is a powerhouse and highly respected at the Market by farmers and chefs, alike. As I approached my car she said Hi to me and from there we had a wonderful little chat. At the end of our chat, she offered me her favorite fresh juice from JJ’s Lone Daughter Ranch. The next week I went to JJ’s Lone Daughter Ranch and asked if I could order their juices for The Salt Horse. Laura replied, “So you are the girl from Laguna Beach that everyone is talking about!” I was blown away by the acknowledgment and with the feeling that I was being welcomed into the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market family, so to say, and I am incredibly grateful for the Market community! And the woman, Karen, who I met in the parking garage, is now a valuable mentor to me.
Q. Are you a chef?
A. I pretend I am.
Q. Why the name The Salt Horse?
A. The Salt Horse is a farm-to-table grocery store concept and brand. ‘Salt’ is the most important ingredient in the kitchen. It is the essential seasoning that can make or break a dish. I also love salt to the earth people, of whom I have the pleasure of working with. The ‘Horse’ represents the farm, the original way food was delivered and hardworking people, which you have to be to be in this industry. Coincidentally when I was looking up ‘Salt Horse’ online to be sure that it wasn’t already being used somewhere, I found out that ‘salt horse’ is an Irish nautical slang for corned beef. When I read this, I had chills up and down, for I was named after my Grandfather, Samual Savage, a deep-sea diver from Ireland. He passed away a month before I was born. It was a confirmation from the Universe.
Q. What made you take “the leap” in pursuing your passions full time?
A. When a door opens, even at the most unexpected time and even when you don’t feel prepared or ready – you go through the door.
Q. What is it that catches your eye (or heart) about a product?
A. The Why! Someone once told me: “People don’t buy what you do but why you do it!” I look for the ‘Why’ stories.
Q. What is your most memorable meal (one you made or one you’ve had)?
A. Super cool fact about me: my great aunt is Mimi Sheraton, the most renown and influential food and restaurant critic (first woman to hold that position at the New York Times), James Beard award winning cookbook author, brilliant storyteller, true visionary and living icon. I shared many of meals with her in the comfort of our family home but going out to a restaurant with her was an experience I will never forget. My most memorable meal with Mimi was at Daniel Boulud’s restaurant at the Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. Mimi invited me to dinner with her, her husband and a few of their friends. Chef Boulud ‘rolled out the red carpet’ and it was at that dinner that I fully understood who my aunt was. However, what made it the most memorable was after everyone ordered their dinner, Mimi made her opinion known to the table – I ordered the best and she was very impressed! I ordered my steak ‘Pittsburg style,’ which I always do, charred on the outside and (almost) rare in the middle. I remember every single detail of that meal we shared together.
Q. If no one was looking, what is your most prized ingredient?
Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A. Newspapers as tablecloths, Blue Crabs in a bushel ready to be steamed, children jumping off the dock, surrounded by my family and friends, sand in my toes and a chilled drink in my hand.
Q. What is your greatest extravagance?
A. A 5 lb lobster at The Station House in Lantana, Florida. But just the other day I made my first extravagant purchase – a Nissan Passenger Van. It is huge! I see it representing the growth of my business that I am manifesting and working hard towards every day.
Q. What do you find yourself saying when people ask what it’s like have your own business?
A. I was born with a competitive, hardworking nature. Give me a challenge or high pressure – That’s how diamonds are made. (And dreams do come true.)
Q. What is your current state of mind?
A. Grateful for the incredible people and opportunities showing up in my life at the moment! Ready for what’s next!
Q. If you could change one thing about how people enjoy food, what would it be?
A. Where people source their food. Mainstream grocery stores aren’t anywhere close to what they use to be and the food/food system isn’t either. People need to know where their food comes from, how it was grown, and how it got there. And for people to only eat seasonally!
Q. What chef inspires you?
A. My brother Barrett.
Q. What words or phrases do you overuse?
A. I read this as what words or phrases are overused – Curated. Curate is a work that is used too often with little understanding of its true meaning. The key to curation is knowledge and meaning – knowledge of the industry and a keen understanding and appreciation for all aspects of it. Is it curated? Does the person have knowledge? Have they taken the time to collect, research, and present only the best of something in a meaningful, intentional and purposeful way?
Q. What do you most value about food culture?
A. Connection to community, family, friends, history and culture through food memories and storytelling.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish in life?
A. To make an impactful difference and transform the grocery business through mindful and valuable innovation. And most importantly to have a home where my two boys, family and friends always come to visit, creating memories, and to share that with the love of my life, whom ever that may be. Door is open.
Q. Who/What inspires you?
A. I am easily inspired. Most especially in a garden – where fruit grows out of a flower and bees communicate by dancing.
Q. What is your motto?
A. I see you and I love you. I tell myself that every day.
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If you ever have a chance to speak with Samantha in person, we highly recommend it. She is radiating positive energy and we know that, at this moment, she is right where she needs to be. We can’t wait to join her at the communal table.
Thank you Matt & Adam for opening the doors to your amazing studio to lark! We are fascinated with the original Art Deco build dating back to 1924, making it just shy of 100 years old!
We loved how you cared for the building and how you really got into all aspects of interior design (one of our favorite realms).
The studio is a great combination in design, photography and full of good energy…and our chef cannot believe his lucky stars to have a beautiful, convenient, and fully functional kitchen (rare on a lark!).
Below are some fun Q + A’s for everyone to get to know you more:
How do you know each other? We met online many many years ago, went on a date and have been together ever since!
How did your professional relationship evolve? We both fell into our careers serendipitously and while we both perform different jobs within the photography world, it’s nice to have our work paths travel together.
What made you take “the leap” in pursuing your passions full time? It was a necessity! We both wanted to work and like most things you must give it your all to get it off the ground. So we did. It’s easier said than done I realize.
You have done so much amazing work for magazines, books and just about anything that needs a great photo, what is/could be your dream duo project? We’ve worked on so many amazing projects all over the world, I think at this point we are the happiest working with amazing people from all creative disciplines. As long as everyone is kind and the vibe is there, we’re happy!
As it is essential to your craft, why FOOD? Food unites us. We all eat. We are all experts. We know what we like and what we don’t. It’s inherently political, sensual, personal. We have an immediate built-in common element with everyone through food.
What is your most memorable meal (one you made or one you’ve had)? We’ve eaten in Michelin-starred restaurants all over the world, dive spots from coast to coast, and while they’ve all be once-in-a-lifetime experiences, we both tend to remember the meals that are personal, humble, and focus on the connection between people. I’ll never need another 29 course tasting menu!
What is your most prized ingredient for meals OR for photographing? There’s not one ingredient! All of them make our jobs so interesting and worthwhile!
What is your idea of perfect happiness? When life, work, health and energies are in balance.
What is your greatest extravagance? Adam: Caviar, fragrances, and skincare. Matt: Champagne, my Oudh collection, and long summer days in the pool! With bubbles, of course.
What do you find yourself saying when people ask what it’s like to be a food photographer / food stylist? It’s quite a mystery to so many people; we’re usually met with “Wait, that’s a job?!” The conversation then moves to what people THINK we do, as they think we use fake ingredients and slight-of-hand tricks. Alas, we do not.
What is your current state of mind? Clear.
If you could change one thing about how people look at and/or enjoy food, what would it be? We need to remove the shame-based aspect of food. Subsequently, we also need to remove the sanctimony involved with our food choices. Of course we can all make food choices that benefit the growers, the farm workers, the animals, the environment, but we don’t need to use these and things to brag about and make others feel less. But back to my shame-based statement… how many times have we said “Oh I deserve this because xyz” or “I can’t have that because I didn’t work out”? Food is food. It’s for everyone and we deserve to eat what we like, not because we’ve earned it.
Who in the food world inspires you?José Andres for using his voice and heart for the entire world.
What words or phrases to you over-use? Adam: “Fuck.” Matt: “Totally.”
What do you most value about food culture? It unites us. We can argue about politics and religion all damn day, but we all eat.
What do you think the future of dining is? It changes every few years. What’s new on the horizon next year will be dated in 3 years. It’s ever changing. So the future of dining will be anything and everything.
What is your motto? Be kind to yourself so that you may be kind to others.
Any favorite photos — perhaps one that comes with a fun behind-the-scenes story? I could never pick any favorite photos!
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We love all the thoughtful answers (definitely food for thought) and can’t wait to step into their inspirational + gorgeous studio for welcome drinks & mingling leading up to a four course chef crafted meal and wine pairing…all while enjoying the (rediscovered) art of conversation.
So thrilled to find our way back to collaborating with people who are passionate their craft.
We’ve known the talented San Diego Chef & Photographer Jim Sullivan for since our early lark days and through the culinary connection haven known as The Hood Kitchen Space in Costa Mesa.
Chef Sullivans love for food + film have led him to various kitchens around the world from sandy surf shacks to Michelin Star restaurants. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious––and it’s just what we need at this moment.
Chef Sullivan introduces to Chef Alejandro Bolar who comes from a background of his own supper club Eclair in Atlanta, Georgia and who currently finds his way creating delicious meals in various kitchens throughout Los Angeles and surroundings via kala.
We are looking forward to creating a super fun (& delicious) lark with these two chefs, who will be taking full creative control of the menu.
We invite you along for the ride through this introductory Q & A:
Q. How do you two know each other?
Jim: I’ve known Alex for some time now. We originally met one another while cooking at a friend’s restaurant in Atlanta a few years ago.
Alex: We met in Atlanta at a restaurant called Better Half and then on a subsequent trip to California we met up again. We’ve been wanting collaborate for a while, definitely looking forward to creating some magic.
Q. What led you to lark?
Jim: I’ve always admired the Lark events and have worked with Lisa a few times in the past, both as a chef and photographer.
Alex: Jim said had a friend…he showed me your instagram and I was in.
Q. How did you arrive in the culinary scene?
Jim: I basically grew up in the restaurant industry, starting at the age of 14. After having a long career in the medical field I decided to go back to school. I graduated from culinary school in 2007. Since then I’ve been doing pop ups, staging and being part of the restaurant industry as a professional food photographer.
Alex: My brothers and I are super competitive from who can catch the most or biggest fish to seeing who make the best burger. During these times I noticed that cooking was fun and I had a natural gravitation towards it. During a semester off from college worked Silver Star deli and that introduced me to the commercial kitchen.
Q. Yay or nay to culinary school?
Jim: I did graduate from culinary school and while it was a great experience, I don’t think it’s necessary to become a great cook/chef. If a young person is motivated and can gain knowledge/experience under a great chef then I would suggest that route.
Alex: I went to culinary school and I met cool people along the way, but restaurants teach much more. For someone with a late start, they should consider a school… but if you have the time, working in a restaurant is the school of hard knocks — you’ll have no choice but to learn.
Q. What is your most treasured memory when it comes to food?
Jim: For me that would be working as a young adult/teen at an Italian restaurant in my hometown. This is where I spent my formative years learning the ins and outs of the industry.
Alex: Fierce competitive cooking with my brother Kyle Bolar.
Q. Can you share an impressive elevated dining experience?
Jim: I really like what Outstanding in the Field does. Jim Denevan travels around the country working with local farmers and local chefs. Together they create a fantastic dining experience. I’ve had the pleasure of both eating and working with his team a few times and I absolutely love what they do.
Alex:Atomix in New York City offered a 16 course meal. Korean fine dining. Also, Wolvesmouth in Hollywood was pretty amazing.
Q. What advice do you have for people who want to become chefs?
Jim: Do it because you love it. Don’t do it expecting accolades, money or fame. Do it for the passion, love of food. I realize that sounds cliche but honestly it’s the truth.
Alex: Always be willing to learn something new. With food, there is so much to learn.
Q. What is your most treasured ingredient?
Jim: It used to be fresh seafood like uni or abalone. But as time goes by I’m learning to appreciate and use vegetables more.
Alex: A squeeze lemon on everything!
Q. What is your go-to dish when cooking for yourself?
Jim: Fried rice or Congee, using anything that’s left in the fridge.
Alex: Rice with soft egg and chili crunch.
Q. What is your go-to dish when cooking for others?
Jim: That would depend on the season and what is currently inspiring me. Recently it was using stone fruit.
Alex: Always something chicken based because it’s more familiar to people and there is no variation when it comes to cooking, i.e. raw, seared, etc….
Q. Who are your heroes?
Jim: Alex Bolar (wink wink)
Alex: My parents who are both self-employed, I am witness to them creating a life and lifestyle.
Q. What phrase or word to you use too often?
Alex: “My Man”… an ode to Denzel Washington!
Q. As we are now navigating new seas, do you have any thoughts on the future of dining?
Jim: Man, that’s a tough one. I think the way restaurants are going to run for the foreseeable future has changed. Considering the rising costs of ingredients and the pandemic restaurants are dying off or barely hanging on. I see restaurants pivoting to more of a fast casual model, or dining halls. No longer are you going to fine dining or upper echelon restaurants unless you’re willing to cough up $300 or more per seat.
Alex: Restaurant owners will adapt to meet the needs of their employees. The gap is closing between fine dining and comfort food. Fine dining chefs are creating burgers and comfort food has become more acceptable.
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Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Come on a lark with us!
3/26/22 at our favorite designer playground known as Urban Americana in Long Beach.
Thrilled to connect with Chef Jim Sullivan (who is also a culinary photographer), fellow creative-meets-practical Christina Peterson, and (new to the L.A. scene) Chef Alex Bolar.
This super fun guerrilla lark (creative sesh) on The Jetty at Corona Del Mar finds us having fun, enjoying food & conversation while creating the good vibes for an upcoming lark communal dinner party!
Many thanks to Chef Huskey at The Jetty restaurant for serving up these delicious classic burgers + perfectly spicy cauliflower “wings”… a reminder that, in Chef Alex Bolar’s words, the pandemic has closed the gap between fine dining and comfort food.
📸 by the talented @jameshudddy who we met way back when on a lark at Maia’s cottage in Laguna Beach-so fun! We were thrilled to hear the occasion inspired him to create backyard dinner parties of his own, the best!