Category Archives: 365 Project

2014 is the year I chose to post a photo a day_ the 365 project. I hope to learn and share 365 things that say more about who I am.

The Arts District – Pie & Coffee ?

The Pie Hole’s mission is simple: happiness one slice at a time. The Pie Hole’s original location is on Traction Avenue in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District. Their second location is in Pasadena on Colorado Blvd in the new ‘Indiana Colony’ artisans food and retail community. A great place to meet friends for pie and coffee and enjoy the moment. With pie offerings such as Mom’s Apple Crumble, Earl Grey Tea and Mexican Chocolate you really can’t go wrong. Their Earl Grey has something of a following in LA. The Pie Hole Espresso is described as “initially sweet on the lips with chocolate and cherry notes in the cup and a hint of citrus.” The syrupy body is delicious by itself or paired with your favorite milk. I recently tried their cold brewed iced coffee. The Pie Hole is now one of the only coffee brands in the country to offer cold brewed iced coffee served on tap using nitrogen. When nitrogen and coffee interact, a smoother, aerated coffee with a terrific creaminess is created. No bitterness at all !

Art Brewery Walk In Los Angeles

Using textures I shot at the recent Art Brewery Walk. Model: Steve Skuris
*This photo is using textures I shot at the recent Art Brewery Walk. (Model: Steve Skuris)

The Brewery Art Colony, located in Los Angeles, has been called the largest live-and-work artists’ colony in the world. The compound sits on twenty-one former warehouses – with an old Edison power plant chimney dating to 1903 – house work studios, living lofts, restaurants and galleries. Recently I visited the Brewery Art Walk, which is a twice-annual free event. It truly showcases Los Angeles’ artists who sell gallery-quality fine art at studio prices. Artists open up their homes to the public and allow them to browse and purchase their artwork in their lofts.

Art Brewery on YELP

Seasonal treats to welcome spring in Japan


Imperial sweetsThe Imperial Hotel is offering food just in time to celebrate children’s entrance to schools and enjoy during the cherry blossom viewing picnics. These goodies are available in the hotel’s gourmet shop, Gargantua.

Gargantua offers a special treat for children entering elementary school this spring with a cake in the shape of a randoseru school backpack for ¥864. The cakes come in two colors — pink and black. The pink one is strawberry mousse coated with sweet and sour strawberry jelly, while the black one is banana mousse covered by rich caramel mousse and chocolate icing. These are for sale until April 17.

Focaccia sandwiches (¥1,782) with fried shrimp or a pork fillet cutlet are must-haves for cherry blossom viewing. The shrimp sandwich contains crispy shrimp, cabbage, Worcestershire sauce and the hotel’s own tartar sauce. The other has a succulent tonkatsu pork fillet cutlet — from Berkshire pigs raised in Kagoshima Prefecture — tomato and tonkatsu sauce. The focaccia is handmade in the hotel bakery and the sandwiches are available until May 8.

The Imperial Hotel Tokyo is three minutes from Hibiya and Uchisaiwaicho stations, or five minutes from Ginza and Yurakucho stations. For more information, visit .

(Article featured in The Japan Times.)

Puerto Vallarta / weekend get-aways

PPuerto Vallarta is just close enough to LA that after finding a cheap flight and hotel, you can just do nothing for a few days (or 20) and feel very refreshed. Great place to walk around/ lounge around. Many restaurants, shops, bars, and miles of beaches! If you go to Puerto Vallarta you have to check out the Malecon board walk !  I used to go there pretty often – Maybe I should get-away for the weekend …

Enjoying the view from Amber Now resort. (Puerto Vallarta)
Enjoying the view from Amber Now resort. (Puerto Vallarta)

Jameson Brown Coffee – A great place for that morning cup

Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters

An incredible place for your morning coffee. Nice atmosphere with brick walls/fireplace and open coffee kitchen. The roastery just beyond the prep area smells devine. They are always roasting a variety of beans, from African Tanzania Peaberry Kilimanjaro to Indonesian Sumatra Mandheling. Their Lavender Latte hits the spot and oh so creamy.

Take a look at their menu. If you are looking for delicious pastries at a discount, you can ask for either a-day-old item for $1.25 each or reasonably priced fresh pastries. No frills or distractions and the baristas there know coffee.

Located a bit North of Colorado Blvd on Allen, Jameson Brown is known for great roasts, but also for live entertainment that you can find most Friday and Saturday evenings.

The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff is friendly.  Located in a spacious warehouse with couches, a few tables with chairs and a slightly Bohemian feel.

Street parking is easy to find (2 hours ) and it is also close to the Allen Station Metro stop on the Gold Line ( 3 min walk).

Kyoto’s Outdoor River Restaurants

Seeing all this rain we are getting here in Los Angeles and the freeways suddenly turning into rivers, my thoughts turned to the Kamogawa River in Kyoto. Summer is traditionally the month when eating and drinking places along the banks of the Kamo River build large wooden platforms, called “yuka”. This past summer I experienced it for the 2nd time and it is indeed an unforgettable and always relaxing experience.


Restaurants along the Kamogawa river in summer

Restaurants along the Kamogawa river in summer

Back alleys along Kamogawa in Kyoto
Back alleys along Kamogawa in Kyoto
Restaurants along the Kamogawa river
Restaurants along the Kamogawa river

Kyoto summers are said to be the hottest and most humid in all of Japan. This has a lot to do with the fact that the city is surrounded on three sides by mountains, which makes it hard for the heat and humidity to escape. This is why outdoor yuka dining is so popular and so perfectly suited to relaxing at the end of a long, hot summer day.

Yuka extend east (facing the Kamo River) from many downtown restaurants and make for an unforgettable location for a relaxing, fine dinner. These open-air dining areas are unique to Kyoto and, though they have a reputation for being very expensive, I was really surprised at how reasonable the prices can be. In addition to the beautiful views over the river and the eastern skyline and the excellent food, the lively, open setting makes for good company.

Let’s Stay In Touch – I’d love to share my journey !

Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Intelligentsia Together with Keurig ?


K eurig Green Mountain, the company best known for its K-Cup coffee, is being bought (Dec.2015) and taken private for about $13.9 billion. You may not be familiar with the buyer, JAB Holding Company ( their portfolio also includes Peet’s Coffee & Tea, which recently acquired two smaller coffee brands, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Intelligentsia), the investment arm of the billionaire family that in 2014 combined its coffee business with that of Mondelez to create a company with annual revenue topping $7 billion. You can find Intelligentsia in Pasadena on Colorado Blvd. and Stumptown in LA Arts District.

Cappuccino and more on Lake Ave. @ FLOAT

Had a great tasting cappuccino at FLOAT Pasadena this morning. They carry Coava coffee from Portland as well as Sight Glass coffee from San Francisco. The shop is tucked away in the Colonnade on South Lake Ave. The Barista knows his stuff.

Union Station. LA’s past and future come together

Historic Union Station is the most accessible destination in Los Angeles and one of the county’s busiest and most beautiful transit hubs. Built in 1939, the station houses multiple transportation providers offering local, regional and long distance service. Travelers passing through Union Station will enjoy its authentic Spanish Colonial Revival and Mission Moderne architecture. Not to mention the Starbucks right inside the entrance to the tracks, there are some great places to dine there at the station including Traxx.

8 Tips To Take Better Travel Pictures/ A Post By: Valerie Jardin

8 Tips To Take Better Travel Pictures
A Post By: Valerie Jardin
Ever noticed how some people’s vacation pictures are often an imitation of the postcards they could have easily bought at the airport on their way home? Whether it’s the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera, it’s common to try to capture those iconic images. After all, it’s one reason why we chose to travel to these exotic locales in the first place, right? Keep reading for some incredible tips to use on your next trip.