Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New Orleans Diary

Rode in the city in a quiet uber, through the dark streets and to the restaurant. Outside in their uncovered patio, the black sky is my ceiling. I feel like I wandered onto a movie set. Or like I’m an actor in someone else’s play, and someone else’s life. Maybe my ears are still plugged from the dissent, so all sound is muffled like it’s coming from an old recorder. The patio feels like a movie set. Are these real bricks, real windows, real balconies? Is this a real cool breeze, real shadows, real glow from the lamp light? My back to the wooden staircase, paint is peeling off the railing. The waitress talked me into a sangria.

By 10:30pm I was at Cafe DuMonde. I feel like I’m in Leopold‘s in Mumbai. Here I imagined a quaint French café with coffee and donuts. I’m here on Wednesday night along with 300 people. I know the drill now. Sit down anywhere. The server comes up. Order from the menu taped to the napkin dispenser. They bring it to you in one minute. You pay in cash with the tip. The giant TV truck just passed us, like in Tokyo. And all is illuminated for a brief moment. Mostly there are large groups here. Fours fives and sixes. Loud crowds, showing no signs of waining. But I am. I am due for sleep. The hours upon me. I long to return home now. Sangria worn off. Belly full. Sugar crash coming on. Ready to go home.

- Excerpt from my diary, April 11, 2018

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A couple cafes of Minneapolis

I've had a few 24-hour long business trips to Minneapolis recently and had a chance to visit a couple cafes in the area...only three actually. But what I lack in quantity, I make up for in quality...and that quality is Penny's. 

Penny's has to be one of my favorite cafes in the world, and for that reason, I'm putting is right at the to of the list.

I went to Penny's three times in 24 hours and have no regrets. I had a chance to try a few of their signature drinks, like the Charcoal latte (left), Lavendar latte (middle), and Golden latte which has Turmeric (right).

The Bachelor Farmer
One of the most popular restaurants in Minneapolis is also a pretty darn good cafe. I got to order a lunch and work from the cafe for a good hour. 

Spyhouse is another widely popular cafe with specious seating and a very hi warehouse vibe. I ordered a regular latte and was pleased with the quality. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Minneapolis Central Library

Recently I've been doing a lot of domestic business trips and have visited Minneapolis twice in the last few months. Thankfully, on both trips I was staying right next door to the Central Library downtown and had a brief moment to tour this impressive building.

Upon first entering this library, the first thing I noticed was the metal floor grate. Given that there was a few feet of snow outside, I need to stomp the snow off my boots when I walked in, and the metal grate was perfect for that. 

Once you're inside the inner foyer is very impressive...

I also liked how this library made a subtle joke about Donald Trump. Recently Trump made a comment about being a "stable genius." The strangeness of the remark is not lost on people. The librarians here decided to curate a collect of work by "unstable geniuses."

I really loved this beautiful wooden doorway.

From the inside of the foyer, you can see some really nice reading pods on these balconies. In a cold town like Minneapolis it's nice to feel like you are sitting outside...inside. 

My other favorite room was the teen room, which has this amazing red wall. 

Finally, from the windows of the library, you can see the views of snowy Minneapolis. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Chilly Afternoon

Wore my very formal fur coat with jeans and a T-shirt to brunch one weekend. 

Coat: vintage via Goodwill
Bag: vintage Louis Vuitton

Monday, June 4, 2018

San Diego Cafe Guide

In just four days and with a full agenda at the conference I was attending, I was able to check out six cafes in San Diego and report on my findings:

Hawthorne Coffee 
The house-made vanilla latte was a pleasant surprise to me. I guess I expected too little of SD cafes and assumed they would't have house-made syrups. 

Communal Coffee

One of the most aesthetically lavish cafes I have visited. This one gets all the Instagram views. Being a flower shop, I ordered one of the signature floral lattes - rose -  and had an avocado toast with egg to go with it.  

Holsem Coffee
Very basic and standard place for a solid latte. Wish I had more time to spend here because it seems like a decent atmosphere to get some work done. 

James Coffee 
This cafe is housed in a giant warehouse that shares a space with retails shops and other businesses. I ordered an original honey cinnamon latte and took it to go. 

Because I live in Portland, where we have not one but three Coavas, I wasn't going to visit this one in San Diego because it did't feel unique to me. However, when I was passing through downtown and saw this beautiful location, I could not resist. It's kind of disappointing that Coava in San Diego is more beautiful that the locations in their home city of Portland. 

Coffee & Tea Collective
This very hip and trendy shop delivered on a solid vanilla latte. This is somewhere I would return to time and time again if I lived in San Diego. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

What I ate in San Diego

Is San Diego known as a foodie city? I'm not sure. But given it's proximity to a place as delicious as Tijuana its only natural that a few good things would find their way into the restaurants here. Here's the list of San Diego eats:

1.    Food I wished I had but didn't:  Puesto tacos in La Jolla, recommended by a friend but way too far
2.    Food I had but wished I didn't: fried tacos at Las Cuatro Milpas, greasy and really out of the way from where I was staying
3.    What should have been on the list:  Cantina Mayahuel - a great place!
4.    Biggest surprise:  truffle pizza from Napizza
5.    Most delicious meal:  the goat taco at City Taco


Mezcal Margaritas, Chips and Guacamole from Cantina Mayahuel

all the tacos at City Tacos

Las Cuatro Milpas fried tacos


Florencia's pepperoni pizza and Greek salad delivery

Napizza's truffle pizza

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Tokyo Street Style

The purpose: trip to Tokyo
The setting: July, middle of summer 99% humidity and 100 degrees. 
The challenge: light breathable layers that I could mix-and match for new looks each day (this stuff has to fit into a suitcase after all). 

Day 5 Look: 

Top: Urban Outfitters
Dress: Target
Belt: Dior
Shoes:  Target
Bag: vintage Coach

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

San Diego Public Library

I always try to make a visit to at least one cool library in every city, and San Diego's Central Library downtown did not disappoint. Many people were surprised when I said I had it on my schedule to visit, but I honestly don't know why. The library is so cool and offers such stunning views of the city that I can't understand why it is not a tourist attraction itself.

Doesn't this look like a theme park attraction? And on the inside, it certainly doesn't disappoint...

This library only opened in 2013 at the measly cost of $185 million. 

The ground floor has a lot some beautiful seating with lots of window light.

I took the photo below because you can see the gas lamps just outside the window, since the library is located in the Gaslamp Quarter. 

I visited this library just around the start of the #metoo movement, and was surprised to see how quickly librarians had pulled books on that theme for the Young Adult section. 

This room was on the top floor and is one of the most beautiful in the entire library. I was especially impressed with the paintings. 

Another study area on the upper level with gorgeous natural light. I usually don't get to spend too much time in libraries on my travels, but on this trip I was able to spend an hour in the library getting some work done before my flight, and this is the room I chose to be in.

The very top floor of the library is open air and has some stunning views of the city. 

New Orleans Diary

Rode in the city in a quiet uber, through the dark streets and to the restaurant. Outside in their uncovered patio, the black sk...