Saturday, August 16, 2008

Quenching a good thirst

I was supposed to meet a friend today at Soif (now open for lunch) but she spaced it!

It's alright. She has a lot on her mind lately and I understand. I only missed her company today, though, because I went ahead and had a delicious lunch by myself.

When I had finished my meal (a jamon serrano with black mission figs panino--an Italian grilled sandwich often mistakenly called by its plural, panini, when in singular form), I realized that I had wanted to take a picture of it first before I ate it so I could share it on my blog!

However, I'm not in the habit of carrying a camera and I don't use the one on my phone regularly. I generally do my best to remember everything on my own--memories being the ultimate souvenir--because when I take a picture, I feel like it removes me from the experience.

Of course, that's silly. My Towers-of-Babel-high books of photographs--of food and especially of interior design--attest to the fact that I love pictures and find them a wonderful way to share an experience.

Like the panino I wanted to share with you. Oops.

Anyway, it was delicious. Crunchy, salty, sweet, and chewy. The little olives and pickles (I know there's a name for those baby pickle-things) also added a pop of flavor and tartness to the experience. I finished three glasses of iced tea and was sated. (Yeah, I go into a wine bar and don't have wine.)

It's the second time I've had this sandwich. The first time, my friend Judy (of Cornucopia Real Estate) had taken me to lunch when Soif first began opening for that midday meal. I've been craving it ever since (the last two months?).

I did have dinner at Soif in the interim with another friend, but seriously love their lunch menu more (which, although hefty, is still easier on the wallet).

After my lunch, I went over to their retail section and bought an organic, biodynamically created wine--Domaine Monpertuis Cuvee Counoise Vin de Pays du Gard (2005)--for tonight's dinner with some friends. Reasonably priced ($13.50 but can be found for less) for a limited edition artisan wine and great for the environment!

I'm not a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, but I like what I like and I'm willing to learn (the clerk added me to their mailing list and, after taking the information from my business card, went straight to my web site to see more of my art! Nice).

A friend of mine told me that people feel about art much the same way they feel about wine, and I've heard it enough times, too: "I don't know anything about I don't know if it's...I don't know...good?"

Hell, it's good if you like it and that's that in my book. You can always see more if you learn more about art, especially if you're truly interested. Otherwise, go ahead, have an opinion and be done with it. Or don't, because it doesn't interest you enough to have an opinion!

Wine and art snobbery aside, I stopped by Chaikhana (a tea shop) to see if anybody knew how much a piece of antique Oriental furniture cost over at The Empty Boat (their tea salon). Nobody did and apparently the furniture's dealer was hard to track down, so I'm left to my own fortune to find him and hope for the best.

I was invited to have some pu-erh tea with Barry, who served as tea master at my art show, Heaven & Earth, back on the eve of June. It was delicious and refreshing, and it's one of my favorite teas. Said to lower cholesterol and taste of dirt to newbies, it's really an incredible beverage that I'll never turn down (and it doesn't taste like dirt to me--ask me what I think of fancy cheeses, though, and you won't get such a polite answer).

At Chaikhana, I also had the good luck of meeting an anthropologist named Brian who studies pu-erh and its sociopolitical importance. What a great conversation and learning experience! He travels to China regularly, the Yunnan province specifically, and shared some philosophical and theoretical thoughts with Barry and me as we sipped the tea he brought in (pu-erh aged in bamboo). I think this is what cafes used to be like.

I hope he's there the next time I drop by, as I did have to leave to get back to work. I've got a lot to do to prepare for the coming week when I'll be gone from my studio and traveling to Southern California for Art at The 'Loop. If you can come to the art show, please do and say hello!

Invite Beauty,


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