October 05, 2017
August 11, 2017
This week SPACE 519's own Lance Lawson shares his family recipe for New Mexican Style Stacked Enchiladas. La Chamba Cookware is a central part of the his process. Lance first discovered the pottery while visiting his parents in Santa Fe almost 20 years ago. He fell in love with the quality and stove to table ease of La Chamba. Since then it has become a central part of his process and recipe.
I grew up in Denver Colorado and my father is a native of New Mexico. So I have been a devotee of Mexican Food pretty much my entire life. Twenty years ago my parents retired to Santa Fe. As I began to visit there regularly I learned to really appreciate New Mexican Cuisine. It is different than what you find in Colorado or California. And a very distant cousin of Tex-Mex (should anyone ever really put sour cream in enchilada sauce?). In Santa Fe it is all about the chilie - red or green. Back in New Mexico my family returned to making enchiladas the way my dad had while growing up on a ranch outside Tucumcari New Mexico. It's all about the stack vs. the roll. I also loved the way a local institution "The Shed" cooked their enchiladas in the same oven-safe baking dishes in which they were served.
That leads me to La Chamba Pottery - which I also discovered in New Mexico at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. The Columbian pottery works beautifully from oven to table. You can even use it in the microwave or on the stove top. And their small skillets and casseroles are perfect for making individual stacks of enchiladas. These are the skillets we sell here at SPACE 519.
One final note before we get to the recipe. Some chefs will recoil at the notion of using canned enchilada sauce. But Hatch Brand Sauce is different. It's almost all Red Chilie grown in Hatch New Mexico - with no additional primary ingredients like tomatoes. There is something magical about the soil and climate in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico that grows the worlds best Chilies. And just as it is not Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne Region of France - Hatch Chilies must be grown in the Hatch Valley. Hatch Brand is a company based in the region and their sauce is the best. It is available at most Whole Foods and at grocery stores in the West and California, And now you can also buy it by the case from the manufacturer. Before said options were readily available I used to mule the sauce back from visits to my parents by the trunk full. It really is that good. I also like to add a few tablespoons of New Mexico Ground Red Chilie Powder to the canned sauce it to enhance the heat and mouth-feel.
New Mexico Style Stacked Enchiladas
makes 2 servings
1 Medium White Onion in a Fine Dice
2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese Shredded
Nonstick Cooking Spray
6 Soft Corn Tortillas
1 15 oz Can Hatch Medium Red Enchilada Sauce
2 T Red Chilie Powder (preferably New Mexican) Nonstick Cooking Spray
1/2 Cup Sliced Black Olives
1 Cup Quartered Grape Tomatoes
1 T Green Chilie Powder (preferably New Mexican)
2 Large Eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 2 La Chamba Skillets (or other oven proof baking dish) with non-stick cooking spray.
Wrap Tortillas in a damp paper towel.
Dice Onions and Shred Cheese and place aside.
Mix Hatch Sauce with Chilie Powder and bring to a low boil in a medium skillet. Turn off heat.
Microwave wrapped Corn Tortillas for 1 minute.(Note in a traditional enchilada recipe you would run the tortillas through a bath of sizzling vegetable oil to soften them prior to adding them to the sauce. However this is a healthier and lighter alternative.)
To assemble enchiladas place a hefty ladle of sauce in the bottom of a La Chamba dish. Place a corn tortilla into the heated sauce for a few seconds and then transfer it to the bottom of the dish. Cover liberally with cheese and onion and repeat the process making another layer. Top it off with another sauce soaked tortilla the cover layer with shredded cheese and a sprinkling of onion. Repeat process for second serving. Drizzle any extra sauce over the completed stacks. Spray two pieces of aluminium foil with non-stick cooking spray and tightly cover the skillets with the coated side down.
Bake for 20 minuites
While the enchiladas are baking mix the olives, tomatoes and green chilie powder and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the skillets from the oven and keep them covered while you prepare the eggs. While they are cooling fry an egg over easy for each stack . Top with the egg and surround with the tomato and olive mixture and serve.
* You can place foil back over the skillets to keep them warm after adding the egg - allowing you to fry others. But don't add the tomato and olive mixture until right before you are ready to serve.
June 16, 2017
We've begun an annual tradition of meeting our dear friend Kristi in her home state of South Carolina each summer to spend a few days exploring Charleston and taking in their food and shopping culture. Jim and I have been going to Charleston on and off for over a decade and each time we are there we find more interesting things happening in this quintessentially charming historic city.
The scale makes the city perfect for walking and exploring, Charleston is just big enough to have a lot to offer - but still remains small enough to radiate a quaint coolness.Our go to hotel is The Zero George (pictured left). Tucked just a few blocks off the main drag of King Street, the hotel is comprised of several historic buildings - two of which were relocated - all centered on a quiet tree-lined courtyard. The rooms are traditional, comfortable and contain all the modern amenities you look for during a weekend away. The rate includes a continental breakfast (think fresh baked biscuits and gourmet quiche not frozen waffles and cereal dispensers) which is just perfect when enjoyed with a cappuccino on one of the lovely outdoor spaces scattered throughout the property. It also includes nightly wine reception with gourmet cheese board hosted in the property's tiny bar. If you want to stay in the Zero George has a well rated restaurant that delivers delicious complex food made out of a closet sized open kitchen in the hotel lobby. Service throughout is top notch and friendly. Seriously this place is heaven.
During our last two trips we've dined at Husk - an early incarnation of the gourmet farm-to-table southern heritage food trend. Housed in a historic house it is very charming and always packed (reservations made well in advance are a must). After our last dinner there we felt they had kind of jumped the shark - but the award winning burger is truly top notch. So I would go back for lunch. Another spot F.I.G. has become a true institution in the city. They were doing farm to table long before it was a thing. Jim and I had a wonderful meal there on our first visit to the area in 2004 and it still remains on every "top list" for the city, and many national ones as well. And for good reason - they keep adapting and evolving to stay on their game.
This trip our two stand out meals were lunches at two places that also seem to be on everyone's list of go-to spots. One was Leon's Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop located in the very Brooklynesque area of Upper Upper King Street. Housed in a former auto repair shop it has a very cool and open vibe. The food has a Southern focus. The fried chicken sandwich was so good - crispy and a bit spicy - on a soft roll with house-made bread and butter pickles. The Salads were fresh and creative and Leon's makes their own ranch dressing (which is heaven). The hush puppies were light and crisp and oysters casino were melty with the oysters not overly cooked. The drink menu has the expected craft cocktail slant - but they also serve Frozen Rose Slushies. #hello #lunchperfection. We had a similarly terrific lunch on our way out of town at Butcher & Bee.This place has relocated from a tiny location on King Street to a large modern space on the outside edge of Downtown. The food is Mediterranean with a Southern Influence. It was hard to get my head around that concept until after I had experienced it. The Menu has a whole section of Mezze (Small Plates). The standout here for us was Whipped Feta with fermented honey and cracked pepper. It was so smooth and delicious with all the right contrasts in flavor and texture. They also had a wonderful chilled pea and avocado soup and a wide assortment of grilled a pickled fresh vegetables. The Pita are super fresh and toasted atop the burners on the gas range (you witness this happening in the open kitchen). The Lamb Pita with spiced yogurt was simply delicious - it sounds boring - but the sandwich was executed so well. And the house Roasted Beef sandwich with smoked onion jam and miso mayo was also a standout. Again all the flavors and textures worked so well together.
During this last stay we also discovered a terrific new place - The Dewberry Hotel.They have been getting a lot of press because their concept is so unique. The developer converted a 1960s era government mid-rise building into a Luxury Hotel. The vibe is very Mad Men Mid-century - which is a noted departure from all of the classic architecture and style you find almost everywhere else in town. We didn't stay there - but a friend who has reports that the rooms albeit modern are very comfortable with may small touches that make them very appealing. They are what we at SPACE 519 like to call "happy modern" vs. the expected cool starkness. Before our dinners each night we sampled both of the bars located on the first floor. The first was housed in Henrietta's the hotel's french Brasserie. The second we checked out was the lobby bar. Both were a lot of fun and provided top notch cocktails and service. Henrietta's for sure had a more old school vibe with the black and white checkered floor and Parisian cafe feel. The lobby bar is a super glamorous brass semi circle nestled amount the notable collection of new and old Mid-century furnishings in the lobby. The hotel does a great job of paying homage to it's 1960s heritage but it also feels very warm and today. It is for sure a must see on any trip.
The city is filled with several different areas for shopping. The majority of the city's stores are housed along King Street - the central boulevard bisecting the city. The middle area of King holds lots of local stores as well as huge national players like J Crew, Louis Vuitton and GUCCI. On Lower King you will find more locally based businesses including some great antique and home stores. There are also some really cool men's stores in this area. Way atop King Street is the more emerging area. It is where you will find Leon's. The whole area for sure has a very Brooklyn/Logan Square/Silver Lake feel throughout with lots of young families remodeling old houses and a focus on independent locally owned business. The majority of the shopping in this area is West of King on and around Cannon Street. This area is officially called Cannonborough Elliotborough - it is largely residential with shops scattered throughout. Another cool assortment of shops is located East of King in Cigar Factory. The majority of the shopping here is within Fritz Porter (pictured) a huge loft space that houses dozens of independent design themed booths/showareas curated by local merchants and designers. There was so much to look at here - with a lot of finds at many different price levels. This is for sure a must stop for anyone interested in interiors. All in all the main fun about the city is the ability to walk and explore - every area listed here is walk-able from one to another.
That concludes my report for now. But one of the great things about visiting Charleston is that there is so much to explore that you are always left wanting to check out a few new things next time around. The places left on my "to-do list" include Hall's Chop House, 167 Raw and Xiao Bao Biscuit. So go and explore and be sure to report back next time you're in the store.
April 28, 2017
While researching her ever more complicated skincare regimen, winery owner, April Gargiulo realized that almost all of her highly touted skincare products contained high levels of ineffective, toxic fillers. As she researched more and discovered the cumulative damage these chemicals have on our systems, April sought out toxin free alternatives—trying everything from cult beauty oils to coconut butter.
What she found was that many all-natural products ceded activity and results for a smell-good formula. Committed to creating the most active, luxurious serum possible, April began a 2 year-long research and formulation process. Drawing from her experience in fine winemaking, April, alongside natural skincare veterans set out to create a “hero” formulation that would address all of her skincare needs—everything from fine lines and wrinkles to acne to elasticity and general radiance. Much like the fine winemaking process, Vintner’s Daughter begins by sourcing the world’s finest raw ingredients and honors these ingredients through an exacting and time-honored formulation process. The result is Active Botanical Serum, a powerful, multi-correctional serum for face that has earned a cult status the world over.
Let's learn more about April and her product.
Q: Can you tell us something about yourself? What are the things that interest you?
A: I love design, especially modern French and Scandinavian design. I love music and shopping for records. The place I like to be most is with my husband and daughters near some form of water; ocean, lake, or river.
Q: How did Vintner’s Daughter start?
A: Vintner’s Daughter started because I was appalled at how cheap and toxic the beauty industry was. Even so-called luxury, cult creams were filled with non-active synthetic junk. I don’t eat food filled with cheap fillers and chemicals or even clean my house with it, why would I put it on my face. It was this realization that led to the creation of Vintner’s Daughter. I wanted a product that was 100% active, multi-corrective and made from the finest organic and wild-crafted ingredients in the world.
Q. How did winemaking influence the processes you follow?
A: It has been everything. At my family winery, Gargiulo Vineyards, we are solely focused on producing the finest wine sin the world. In order to do this, you must focus on the finest quality at every step. Short cuts are not tolerated. We go at the speed of quality. Vintner’s Daughter shares that philosophy and passion to make one of the finest products in the world.
Q: Can you tell us more about your “Hero” product?
A: Active Botanical Serum was formulated to be my desert island product, the one item I would never leave home without because it does everything. It is highly multi-correctional, nourishing and balancing and delivers the optimal amounts of skin beautifying vitamins, minerals, essential oils and fatty acids. It is made from the same nutritive building blocks as your skin and profoundly effects skin’s texture, clarity, tone and elasticity.
Q: Of the toxin-free beauty alternatives that you are using, which one stands out for you?
A: I love Agent Nateur deodorant and In Fiore lip balm.
Q: What do you think are the characteristics that make Vintner's Daughter unique from other natural beauty products?
A: Most beauty is sold or marketed based on a single active ingredient or result. Active Botanical Serum is not about any single ingredient or result. Quite the contrary, it is made from 22 of world’ most nutrient dense botanicals and delivers serious multi-correctional results. Everyone’s skin can benefit from it. Acne sufferers, hormonal skin, rosacea, dry, imbalanced skin. All see profound results. It’s a gamechanger product.
Q: As a mother and a business owner at the same time, days can get stressful. How do you manage to maintain balance?
A: Ha!! That is always the struggle. I never evaluate balance over the course of one day because it’s an impossible feat, but over the course of a week I work hard to find balance. It’s my number one priority, so I make it happen.
Q: How would you describe your beauty routine?
A: Simple, luxurious and seriously effective.
Q: What would you recommend for your customers to harness the maximum effects of your active botanical serum?
A: Keep it simple. Along with paying attention to nutrition, movement, spirituality, sleep, I recommend a simple but effective routine. Cleanse, tone (this is important and I prefer a gentle acid type toner) and then apply Active Botanical Serum using Push / Press. Begin with it only at night and then work it into your daytime routine. As with any active product, sunscreen is important.
Q: Are there other beauty and wellness tips that you can share for other busy women?
A: Beauty is truly a light from within. Let it shine.
January 12, 2017
post by Lance Lawson
With the busy holiday season behind us, Jim and I decided to opt for a break in the sun and a holiday out West in Southern California. It seems there has been so much buzz of late about what is going on in Los Angeles. We have read and heard of many new stores and fresh dining spots taking hold in the city. (I mean how many copies of Everything I Want to Eat: SQIRL and The New California Cooking and Gjelina: Cooking from Venice California did we sell last year? A lot.) And we even lost one of our favorite employees when she headed to grad school at UCLA and traded in Logan Square for Silver Lake. So in anticipation of a new project launching later in 2017 we wanted to head West for inspiration and see for ourselves what was going on.
This week we'll look at experiences exploring the Casual California Cafe food scene. In the coming weeks look for additional posts on stores and new products we found.
Stop one on the trip - literally - was Gjelina (pictured above) tucked onto an inconspicuous corner on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Within a hour of touchdown we were on the list. Reservations are available online beginning 30 days out - but the pleasant hostess was able to make a late walk-in lunch at the communal table work. Even with all the hype - Gjelina did not disappoint. Although the decor seemed a bit Anthropolgie 2013 the food was solidly on point. Jim began with the most refreshing cocktail composed of Honey, Lemon and Pale Ale. The Swiss Chard Salad was super fresh and creatively composed with Squash and Pumpkin Seeds and the lightly charred Gjencallie Pizza was sublime. And I'm still dreaming of the Smokey Pork Meatballs served with a well grilled slice of their signature bread. The trip was off to a delicious start. Right next door is their take away spot that looked fantastic. The sidewalk outside the restaurant was littered with people eating slices of the most delicious looking pizza.
The next morning we followed it up with a visit to their sister bakery concept Gjusta a few miles down the road near Venice Beach. This was the first of three visits there - including a frantic final one on the way to LAX where I left with a loaf of Seeded Wheat Sourdough Bread tucked into my carry-on. (I sometimes have issues with food). The spot is in an old warehouse and is unmarked (of course). About Gjusta Bon Apetit quipped "It's a juice bar-bakery-deli-pizzeria-coffee shop-smokehouse—you get the idea. Is there anything this ambitious, do-everything spot doesn't do well?" Based on my experience - not really. It was all exceptional - from the friendly guys behind the counter to the perfectly yolky Baked Eggs (pictured above) swimming in a spicy red sauce. Jim loved the Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich and we both adored the spot on East Coast Style Bagels served toasted and served with a generous schmear of housemade cream cheese. Our Cafe Con Leches were punctuated with a frothy heart and we too were in love. After you order you have to scout seating at the marble lunch counter or on the back patio and your food is brought to you - but we never ran into any issues. We didn't make it past breakfast this round - leaving lunches and dinners for a future trip.
Our neighbor friends also recommended another fresh breakfast - lunch - bakery spot located in Venice. It's called Superba Food + Bread and it was also terrific. Here it is sit down service and the bright and happy room is just what you would expect - stylish with a modern easy California vibe. From the Everything Croissant (their take on the seeded Bagel and Cream Cheese Staple) to the Sweet Corn Cookies the baked good were creative and delicious. The Marbled Eggs (pictured) satisfied - spiced and baked topped with torn bread and avocado. Jim's Breakfast Burrito was uber fresh and very California with the addition of Quinoa and Kale. Superba is such a sunny happy spot it makes you wish you lived in the neighborhood. Ironically it is not named for the quality of it's offerings, but instead after a street nearby. A second location is also open in El Segundo.
Next up a visit to SQIRL in the much hyped hipster mecca of Silver Lake. There we also found a lot of creativity in flavor combinations. Even though we got there just a bit after they opened at 8 the line was already well out the door. Here you wait in line, place your order and scout for seating. The customer to seat ratio is not proportionate - so this is somewhat stressful. We ended up sitting on tiny stools along a miniature counter lining the restaurant's wall. While I get this is their concept it is somewhat obnoxious considering breakfast for three was almost $100 once toast, coffee and tips factored in. But perhaps I am showing my age. The food was solid. Their signature Brioche Toast with house made Jam was comforting. Our breakfast sandwiches were satisfying, But my friend had the most interesting dish - an Asian influenced long cooked Chicken and Rice Porridge with a Poached Egg on top. I think if I had it to do over I would stick to the Toast Menu and Coffee for breakfast and head back to check out the lunch menu.
It might be a stretch to categorize my final food highlight as Cafe Cuisine. But it was certainly very California and we did eat it outside. After we were turned away from the very trendy Farmshop at The Brentwood Country Mart (the very impressed with himself host told me that the list was so long that I needn't bother putting my name down) we ventured to the darling shopping mecca's Central Courtyard and had the BEST Burgers and Fries from Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers. Here you order at the window - making your own combination from the extensive list of options - and find a seat at a picnic table. We scored a great one by the fire pit. And my Cheeseburger was perfection - with all my California inspired touches (Monterrey Jack, Avocado, and Grilled Fresh Jalapenos). One taste and my FOMO with Farmshop evaporated. And honestly I think I had maybe had enough high touch baked goods for any one trip anyway.
That's all for now - check back next week for Installment Two with our take on the LA Retail Scene.