# of divers

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cheese School Part Deux

What a hustley-bustley sort of schedule I've planned for this week, as I once again take to the skies. Skeedaddling from the comfort of home yet again, only this time I've set my sails to the Oregon parts of the world.

Elated to spend the next several days with Steve Jones, 1st place winner of the 2011 Cheesemonger Invitational.

With 17 years in the business, Steve is Portland's finest Cheese Chieftain, an industry bad ass, a real cheese plating jedimaster, and a true raw milk rockstar. 

Oh, I do hope I don't become overly smitten and starstruck in the presence of such cheesy greatness!

Over the next four days, I'm scheduled for some intense training at his fine establishment, Cheese Bar

I'll be joining fellow mongers from Northern California, Washington State, British Columbia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and upstate New York in an effort to soak up all that there is to know about the craft and business of retailing artisan cheese.

School is in session beginning tonight, promptly at 6pm. There's not a moment to lose! Chop Chop now!

Perhaps I shall commission this trip as: 
Portlandia, The Cheese Tour?

I do hope you can forgive my disappearing act over the next several days. I've much studying to do at the Halls of Fromage if my dreams are to come to fruition and I am to get onto the playing field with the finest of worldly cheesemongers.

Stay tuned for cheesy updates!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rock'n & Rose'n

I've returned from the Rock'n, the Rose'n, the to'ing and fro'ing, the left and the right'ing, the day and the night'ing. 

The 9th annual Rock and Rose was indeed the spectaculous Bay Area party of the year, so saucy, with high vibrations, and ripping at the seams with ridiculously talented and beautiful people. 

As a houseguest of the party host Ethan, and hostess Luciana, I had the privilege of tuning into the behind the scenes action.

 Photo Credit: Michael Angelo Mannheimer

 Photo Credit: Rachel Simon

It's truly a labor of love created by dedicated friendfolks who faithfully check in to help set up the sounds, sights, and the otherwise delicious spectacle set to take place in the backyard of a lovely little neighborhood home in the city of San Rafael, California.  

It takes a lot of preparation and planning to ensure that everything comes out smelling Rock & Rosey come showtime.

Ethan and Luciana are artists, and there isn't a square foot of their home that isn't peppered with lively decor, collected crafts, and artistic touches of creativity.

Here, you'll find the quirky odds and ends that tell the Ethan and Lucy story.

Including Luciana's unusually charming collection of rubber duckys. Note the Ozzy Osbourne and James Brown versions here.

Unbeknownst to most Rock & Rose attendees, the celebrated affair commences with a ritualistic egg ceremony to ensure the fête is protected from the precarious weather of the northern region.

All hail to the mighty Egg Shaman of weather forecasting!

A wall mural, hand painted by local artists, frames the grand gathering.

 Photo Credit: Rachel Simon

...and the band(s) begin to play *insert bouncy Yellow Submarine brass band melody*

Jon Keigwin Band - Photo Credit: Rachel Simon

The Bay Area's local talent are carefully hand-selected by Ethan and Luciana.

An occasion for Acacia Photo Credit: Sarah Madsen

Mary Jones' Lights - Photo Credit: Rachel Simon

Chrome JohnsonPhoto Credit: Erin King

Soul Pie - Photo Credit: Nicole Ryan

Proud Mom & Pop to be -  Photo Credit: Rachel Simon

We were even gifted with the last live performance of local musicians, Bitch Franklin, and if I may rightly add, what a champion that vocalist Sierra is at an impressive 37 weeks pregnant! 

I've a feeling that little one is going to come into this world singing praises of having landed into such a talented family. 

the four kegs went dry by 4pm, the troops rallied and a beer run was expedited.

With such a grand assemblage of folks, there are standard principles of behavior to abide by, so appropriate signage is posted accordingly throughout the premises. 

I'm especially fond of the bathroom signs

The sign on my guest room, which is actually Sam's bedroom, Luciana's nearly eleven year old son (who I'm a huge personal fan of).

The night concludes with a spectacular fire performance which I was lucky to be a part of this year.
Here's an image of me and a couple of the lovely Solstice Fire Dancers shaking our shimmies. 

 Photo Credit: Michael Angelo Mannheimer

Come late eve, the last ones standing gather round a fire and take to the sprawled floormats to enjoy the soothing sounds of acoustic guitars, as we melt into a living cuddle puddle of beautiful humans.

 Time to decompress from the weekend's events now. Still basking in the wonder of seeing old friends, meeting new ones, creating beautiful memories, and all the goodness that a really good gathering can bring.

What more can I say?
The Rock & Rose rocks.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Spinning in Paradise

It's a floaty little sort of Friday, and I must congratulate all you end of week seekers for making it through yet another workweek.

The weekend now lies upon us, and I'm set to take to the skies, San Francisco bound for a weekend of music, mirth and merriment. An annual event otherwise known as the Rock and Rose Festival thrown by my darling friendmates Ethan and Luciana.
It's a beautiful day long event filled with gorgeous music, beautiful food and folks. The event concludes with a spectacularly choreographed fire performance. I'm set to light up my fire hula hoop tomorrow eve, to close out the day with these enchanting and radiant beings.

The Solstice Fire Dancers

I am very much looking forward to the festivities.
It's going to be really, rather brilliant.

I'll have so much to share with allofyous upon my return, but for now, please enjoy this lovely video filmed and produced by local San Diegan, Eric Long, creative experimental film student.

He did a fantastical job capturing us in our very element. Spinning fire beside the water on the shores of Fiesta Island, while the sun slowly bid us a fond farewell from behind us.

It really captures the beautiful spirit of us Southern Californian, beach-loving, firestarters.

Have a beautiful weekend, whatever you do.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The All Encompassing Cheese Plate - A Healthy Snack. A Light Lunch. Dessert.

For snacktime = a few slivers of the goodstuff with slices of a rustic baguette, fresh figs and plumbits 

Lunchtime = aged cheddar, camembert, blue plus mini savories. Sun dried tomatoes, olives, capers, Turkish bread, toasted pita pockets, dates, grilled courgette and aubergine slices, fresh tomatoes and grapes

Sweet toothy time = a smidgen of cheese with milk & dark chocolates, cherry bread crisps, port marmalade & candied walnuts 

 Saint-Marcellin with cinammon sprinkled graham crackers and dried fruits poached in honey sweetened port

Yes... Two for dessert please, for I simply can't decide.

Oh, the tales from a life of delicious excess.

It's a bliss of another kind, really.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Miss Chiquita Banana was a Clever Lass, or Why Bananas Turn Brown in the Fridge

Ever since Miss Chiquita, the First Lady of Fruit, took to the Samba in the early 1940's, we've been dancing to the tune of the delicious, potassium rich fruit.

Yes, it was this sassy, little animated banana, while batting her lengthy lashes, shimmying her unpeeled hips, and speaking in a general cuchi-cuchi, Charo-like manner who taught us consumers about the nutritional benefits of eating the banana fruit. This saucy little number also taught us how to best consume them.

We didn't mind that she was a topless Samba dancer, as this charmer was responsible for launching the fruit that would become a staple item (and a timeless costume) for generations to come.

Miss Chiquita was unusually sorta sexy for a fruit, no?

As it turns out, Miss Chiquita really knew what she was talking about.

The skin of a banana is made up of plant cells and cellular tissue. These tissues contain phenolic compounds lending their yellow colored likeness color to the fruit. 

The aid of natural acid productions will cause the banana to ripen. This acid production slows down when the fruit is exposed to cold temperatures.

The cold will quickly break down the banana peel's cell walls, rendering the cell membranes weak and prone to leaks. Compounds collide, and as a result of this, a brown compound better known as melanin is released and completely blackens the banana.

What you're left with is an una"peel"ing hideous, blackened sight perfect for banana breads, cakes, smoothies and black bean sautes. 

 So, remember to listen to the wise jingle of that banana cutie with the nice legs and keep those tasty, tropical, fiber-dense fruits away from the cold.

 That cute little banana lady sure was a real smartypants, despite not wearing any.

A real banana tart, that one.
Si, si, si si.

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