An exquisite shop in an enchanting town

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We were hot, sweaty, and a bit jagged, after having just arrived on the “jeep-boat-jeep”  from Monte Verde, Costa Rica. One of the first things we were told when we got to Essence Arenal Organic Farm and Hotel, was to go around the corner to La Gavilana art gallery and shop. Hotel concierge Vanessa, (the once ice skating girl from Chicago, now expat) said, “it’s owned by an American girl and it’s very nice.”

Continue reading “An exquisite shop in an enchanting town”


Something so nice

There is something so nice about a red bowl, and a red bowl made by a friend. Holly Himes made this lovely vessel. She has the pottery studio near my Kitsune Community Art Studio.

I enjoyed eating my homemade lunch in my new bowl – quinoa with spinach, caramelized onions, yellow squash, and a few pomegranate seeds for accent. It held the meal like a special sacred feast!

What have you done for your body lately?


If you are like me, I have been neglecting my body most of the winter, and actually more like abusing it. Maybe it is the season that causes me to want to eat all those homey foods and scarf up all the desserts at parties and have those warming Jameson sips.

I decided it was time to give back to this vessel that has been carrying around my soul through this wet and cold time. So I took a week off from: alcohol, dairy, gluten, sugar, processed foods, and caffeine.

I used Ann Louise Gittleman’s book “The Fast Track Detox Diet” which made it easy to organize meals. I was able to eat veggies, fruits, organic meats, eggs, and nuts. It was important to keep a well stocked frig of organic ingredients so as not to add back in pesticides, antibiotics, etc.

It was also helpful to have a partner for support during the seven day diet and Ander was more than willing to jump on the bandwagon. After the strengthening of our livers by eating nurturing foods, we were ready for the 1 day fast. This consisted of drinking alternately, water and a cranberry drink mix every hour on the hour. We kept our day open to deal with the all day event, but ended up going to “Watchmen” for part of it.

Now we are in the home stretch – three more days of the diet with the addition of yogurt with probiotics.

The whole diet and fast was not too hard actually. I did have one full day of headaches which I believe was due to caffeine withdrawal.

I think there is something to be said for setting a goal and challenge and successfully completing it. It does wonders for the self esteem. It feels nice to take off that big, heavy coat of Winter and be able to bound into Spring a little lighter and clearer.

Burmese Restaurant in SF

After teaching elder art in SF, I treat myself to lunch. I try and rotate around the City. A couple of weeks ago I went back to try a restaurant I used to go to years ago in the Richmond neighborhood.


Pagan serves authentic Burmese and Thai cuisine. I remembered this exotic Tea Leaf Salad. I ordered that again and it was just as great as before. Lap Pat Thut is made of imported Burmese tea leaves, mixed nuts, fried garlic, sesame seed, peanuts, grounded shrimps and dressing. The ingredients come beautifully individually arranged on the plate and the server mixes it for you at the table. I love the way the different flavors intermingle and the crunchiness of the salad. They also serve a vegetarianism version of this dish.

The restaurant decor is very beautiful with elegant gold details and art. The employees wear the brocaded native clothing.

It is definitely worth checking out!

Pagan Restaurant
3199 Clement St (at 33rd Avenue)
San Francisco, CA 94121

Wed-Sun 11:30-3:30pm, 5:30 – 10pm
Closed Mon and Tues

Savor the day in Berkeley – art, food, chocolate

In case you may want to do an afternoon in Berkeley and are not quite sure where to go, let me tell you about our lovely day filled with – art, incredible food, and finishing with a chocolate delight!

Charlene and I drove from Half Moon Bay to Berkeley via Devil’s Slide which is always a beautiful way to start the journey. We took in the view and the progress on the tunnel. Along the way, my dear friend, an octogenarian, told me stories. She recounted when her father took her upstairs to their neighbor’s flat. It was in the 1920’s. There (2 years old) she sat on Gershwin’s piano and took in all the beautiful women in their evening gowns and adults drinking their cocktails. She said at this time Gershwin was composing “You Go to My Head”. I tried to imagine that magical moment while still dealing with 101 traffic.

We finally made it to Berkeley after talking so much that we did not even remember crossing the Bay Bridge. Lunch was the first on the agenda. We went to the 4th Street neighborhood which is near the University Avenue exit off of Highway 80. I wanted to try Cafe Rouge again. I had been there years ago and remembered it was nice. Cafe Rouge is an interesting combo of a restaurant and a meat market. One of the things I really like about the restaurant is the decor. The interior has a nice palette of gold and red and orange. Beautiful hanging lights and mirrors hung throughout the place gives it an elegant feel, without being stuffy.


They describe themselves as:

…offering rustic Mediterranean fare as well as American dishes. The restaurant’s emphasis is on fresh meats and house-made charcuterie. All steaks for sale in the meat market and on the daily menu have been dry-aged on the premises. Café Rouge features a full bar, meat market and oyster bar. Heated outdoor seating on the plaza is available.

Café Rouge is known for its organic beef, pork, lamb and poultry. All meats are raised hormone free and purchased from the growers. All of these items appear on the menu and can be purchased in the meat market. All produce is also organically grown and is featured prominently on the menu.

Interestingly enough Charlene and I selected vegetarian dishes for our lunch. I got a lovely thing called early spring pistou with poached egg and garlic crouton”. I would may not have ordered this had it not been for the young woman seated next to me, who had this lovely sort of clear soup thing with fresh greens in it. I had to have what she was eating because it just looked so fresh and light and inviting! It lived up to it’s appearance and more, with fresh pea greens and pea pods, dinosaur kale, a crunchy sour dough crouton with a pinkish poached egg. It all swam in a heavenly green tinged clear broth with dashes of green algae looking tiny bits. These little floaty green things were packed with flavor. I was not exactly sure what they were, but definitely had tons of tasty garlic! (I actually looked up “pistou’ today and found out what it was – a blog entry soon on this. Warning though, my partner complained all night when I got home that I had a garlic odor!)

Charlene had the “Nettle spaetzle, Cabralinda cheese, broccoli di Cicco and pine nuts”. She took one bite and sank back in her seat. She said now I know what the critic means when they write ‘..savored every bite’. I got a taste and I agreed with her that it was indeed incredible. She said it took her back to Vienna where she first had spaetzle.

After we finished our glasses of wine and our terrific lunch, I thought about dessert and then decided to save that for later. I had a destination in mind for that…

So I whisked us off to see my art piece at JFKU Art and Consciousness Gallery, in the old Heinz Building. This is a very nice gallery which is kinda hidden away and is well worth the effort to seek out and spend some time in.

Gallery director, Doreen Coyne, was in the process of taking down the Alumni Show which just ended this week. As promised she left up my piece Elderly in America” so I could show it to Charlene and also take some photos. elderly-in-america.jpg
I’ve been able to show this piece in numerous places: The Intersection for the Arts in SF, Enso Art Gallery, in Half Moon Bay, and now here in Berkeley. Since it is very modular, it has been a little different in each locale. I have changed the number of wheel chairs or using projection depending on the gallery. The piece is my response to visiting rehab and full service care facilities when I was interviewing places for my mother.

Charlene helped me deinstall and load the piece into my truck. I kidded with her that she got to witness the unglamourous side of being an artist. The materials for the chairs were all had from Chip Roma, my incredible art material supplier. Click here if you want to see how I store this installation at home.

As a last treat after all that labor, we went to Cafe Cacao. The cafe is connected to Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker where they have a store and the factory tours.


We had a wonderful server who correctly steered us towards the Chocolate pots de crème. Another moment to “savor”! There was a bit of spiciness, hmmm, maybe cinnamon or perhaps cayenne?


I could not put my finger on it, but whatever it was added a special zing to the richness of the smooth chocolate pudding and the whipping creme. It also came with a flaky cookie and a small bowl of toasted cocao nibs to crunch on. That with a cup of coffee, a perfect decadent ending to our Berkeley odyssey.

Boiled spuds have less calories


millie says:

“…..I offer up blues, sweets and yukon golds as preferences to the white Idahos due to the fact that the formers are not members of the nightshade family and therefore do not promote inflammation in the joints like the latter. Variety is not the only thing to follow however as method of cooking determines the glycemic index. The higher the temperature during cooking the more simple sugars become available. A baked, roasted, BBQ or microwaved potato has a very high glycemic index of 84-93 as compared to a boiled new potato whose level is down in the low 50s. This means that for every teaspoon of oven-made patate, the carbohydrate content more closely resembles white sugar (glycemic index of 100). the higher the glycemic index the more the potato raises insulin levels, promotes hyper/hypoglycemia and starves the brain of energy long-term.”

I learn something new there every time I read her!

Go green for a long life

I just read this post and like the suggestions. Here is an excerpt:

There are places in the world where a concentrated number of people routinely live to 100. From the lush valleys of Ecuador to the peaceful island of Okinawa to the pristine hills of the Himalayas, these centenarian clusters all have something in common: an environment conducive to a healthy, long life-clean air, pure water, and nature unspoiled by the modern world.

In our Western world, we have to contend with the toxic by-products of our technological advances. Not only have we made our environment cancerous for ourselves, but we have also made it harder for other organisms in nature to thrive. By living in harmony with nature, we bring health to ourselves and to the planet.

Here are suggestions from the article:

1) Make our world less plastic
2) Unbleached paper for the planet
3) Green your clean routine
4) Eat with an environmental edge

Go to Dr Mao for the full explanation of each point.

Danger: do not drink hot tap water

The claim has the ring of a myth. But environmental scientists say it is real.

The reason is that hot water dissolves contaminants more quickly than cold water, and many pipes in homes contain lead that can leach into water. And lead can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in young children.

Lead is rarely found in source water, but can enter it through corroded plumbing. The Environmental Protection Agency says that older homes are more likely to have lead pipes and fixtures, but that even newer plumbing advertised as “lead-free” can still contain as much as 8 percent lead. A study published in The Journal of Environmental Health in 2002 found that tap water represented 14 to 20 percent of total lead exposure.

Scientists emphasize that the risk is small. But to minimize it, the E.P.A. says cold tap water should always be used for preparing baby formula, cooking and drinking. It also warns that boiling water does not remove lead but can actually increase its concentration. More information is at or (800) 424-5323 (LEAD).

Source: nytimes

“A month of merry can pile up…”

“Naturopathic doctors believe that doing no harm is the best way to go.” What a concept! I just read this on

I love her recommendations on what to do after the Holiday binge!

dry up for a while. a month full of merry can pile up like a bowl of rancid jelly so take steps tout de suite to cut the sugar, fat and alcohol to dissuade the cellular metabolites from settling in for a long winter’s nap. dash on, dance on, prance on you vixen straight to your favorite cold winter activity followed by a warm up in a steam, sauna, detoxifying hot house of some tradition. pick a date, like today and give the calorific extras a break. exchange the creamy liquor soaked coffees for hot lemon water or dandelion root and leaf tea first thing in the morning righto and like a comet your liver will be functioning smoothly again by the time the valentine’s cupid rings at your door.

Read more of her great advice at Millie Says.