LA Cookie Con 2015 is host to the first West Coast baking and pastry competition, featuring tasty treats from local and small businesses.
The rich depth of red cherry seduces my plate as I sip a handsome glass of Banshee Pinot Noir. Regina Spektor serenades as I sit relaxing on the mid-century modern loveseat. I gaze out to the charming but busy street of Toluca Lake. As I sit the wine breathes and I take in my surroundings…. The outer shell of the room houses various bottles, cozy in their wooden shelters. The Bar itself modern and sleek, wine box wood slats with a smooth white counter top.  I take another sip as the tannins make love to the tip of my tongue.

A little over a year ago Spin the Bottle opened it's doors to the public of Los Angeles. The owner of Spin the Bottle, Doug LaGambina, grew up in a mostly Italian American household in New York where wine was a staple of the family. He spent 20 years in the music business traveling and experiencing great food and wine. Upon moving to The Golden State his interest in California wines grew. Doug began taking classes at UCLA, WSET, and most recently the Court of Master Sommeliers. After investing in the much loved restaurant and bar Wood & Vine and watching the process from start to finish, Doug took an exit from the  music industry and enter the world of wine. In partnership with Scott Kay (Wood & Vine) Spin the Bottle was born into the growing world of up and coming wine bars North/East of the Hollywood sign. 
I thought it was odd that you couldn't easily find a place where you could have a glass or two of wine and also have options to take some bottles home. So I decided that would be the model for my place. I thought it was important to create a space that was inviting and provided a different environment from the usual dark, cluttered wine bar as well as a more stylish shop that would set it apart from BevMo etc. Also it was important to focus on small production wineries that delivered great quality for the price.
The wine shop happens to neighbor my favorite Argentinian restaurant which makes this the perfect place to stop in before a good meal. The shop does offer a few of the typical wine bar snacks, herbed ricotta crostini, mixed olives, and of course there is a cheese plate…. Hummmmm cheese. As the afternoon progresses the calm kicks in and the cherries flourish the longer they are exposed to the atmosphere. Smooth and void of complexity but rich with flavor this is the perfect glass for my mood. For this moment in time I can be still, not thinking where I have to go next or what I have to do. I can just sit, relax, and sip.


Photo's Property of Decor and Wine

It's the afternoon. The light is still vibrant, glowing off the white walls covered in art and inspiration. I lay on my belly with my low back exposed to the air. The room is comfortable. I hear the hum. The buzz of ecstasy and anguish. There is this idea that for art we suffer which in my daily is untrue, but today this  idea is inevitable.

In the first moments I am reminded of the pain so long removed. I don't cry out but I'm screaming on the inside. After hour one the pain is an old, dear friend to me. I'm reminded of the joy it once brought me and reminiscent of the pleasures of our bond. At hour two I am deep in the breath and focus on the comfort of the pain and the lessons to be gained from it. My meditation 'love'. The symbol I have chosen is a testament to this.  In the final hours the pain shows its full dominance over me, though my body lay stagnant for the most part, my jaw begins to quiver, teeth clashing against each other. My saving grace is that I know the beauty to come from this. My body is the canvas and the artist is Christina Hock.

Skilled in the art and versatile at her craft Christina's work is pretty mind-blowing. First off there is a comfortable vibe in the shop (Dolorosa) and upon meeting Christina I felt no judgment. It was clear to me that she knows how to put people at ease. Her personality is down to earth. Her work is edgy and feminine, cut-throat and detailed.  Her ability to take her clients ideas and put them into visual form is an astounding  talent. Line drawing is an art inherent in most of us, with daily practice anyone could be good. This I believe. But it takes a certain type of expertise to take the line to paper and apply that same line to the curve of the flesh. Christina does this with grace and precision. She is a talent and a force of artistry.

Designer's Resolutions

1. Experience more art
2. Create
3. Visit showcase homes
4. Write more

5. Talk with artist from varying genres
6. Design
7. Find beauty in everyday occurrences
9. Look for new ways of doing things
10. Visit museums and art galleries
11. Listen to more music
12. Try new foods
13. Research more architects
14. Attend a fashion Show
15. Visit a new state
16. Explore more wines
18. Explore
19. Get lost in a good book
20. Be

With 2014 behind us we can focus on the good to come in 2015. I wish you all a fabulous year filled with creativity and design!
I am thankful for you!
As if I dug into the earth myself to retrieve the pregnant fruit of the vine. The smell of rich cherry permanents my sense. The playful aroma of the lush fermenting liquid and the time it spent dancing the curves of the oak barrel, this is the image that sprang to mind as I closed my eyes to take a sniff.

As I sip the young fruit pops in my mouth and lingers on the sensitive buds. The saliva begins to flow... The thought appears, if only I had the rich makings of a pepper steak to accompany this spirited glass of wine.  

Les Portes De Bordeaux, Bordeaux 2013

For the price I say this is certainly a good find, though I am not familiar with Bordeaux wines. Bordeaux is a compilation of grapes bring forth complexity in flavors and a pleasant surprise to the palate. So with the cold nights rapidly approaching this is the perfect time to explore what Bordeaux has to offer and suggestions are always welcome.  

Artist Diane DiPrima will be hosting a fundraiser for Smile Train on Wednesday, November 19 from 6-9 p.m. at the Roll Up Gallery, located in Public Works, 161 Erie Street, San Francisco.

Smile Train provides the repair surgery for children around the world affected by cleft lips and cleft palates. One operation costs only $250.
For more information please visit: The Events Facebook Page (click)