food project

Ooh La La, Pretty Pastries in Los Angeles

If you have ever been around me when I suggest places for lunch or it should come as exactly zero surprise I love my local bakery/cafe Gigis’ in Echo Park.

Gigi’s has a glorious assortment of Cuban favorites and Mexican staples (hello potato balls and cheese + guava empanadas…), a really bangin Medianoche sandwich and one of my favorite neighborhood breakfasts (beans + crema + plantains thank you very much) but on this particular day I was in search of a couple of pretty pastries for a portfolio picture (ok alliteration calm down) and knew they would deliver.

As I work on getting up to speed in the food and beverage industry one of the biggest challenges is what to photograph for my portfolio? I am not a baker. This is beyond obvious. I could over-bake air. (Meringue? Impossible! Who do you think I am? A wizard?) So I am relying on some of my favorite neighborhood spots to help a girl out in a pinch. I’m not getting anything by sharing this, just that I hope you all keep supporting your local food spots so they stick around in these messy gentrifying times. ANYWAY, so on this day Gigi’s got called into action in the studio. Here were some of the shots I came up with!


***That bottle is a several hundred year old ceramic bottle that was literally dug up in England that I picked up on my honeymoon with the Mr who was patient enough to let me talk to a dude at a street market for entirely too long about antique bottles and historical dumping sites….***


Things I learned

  • Meringue melts really fast and is super easy to mess up even if you are careful

  • It can be fixed in retouching which I did a lot of in these shots

  • Berries in a guava syrup look pretty erotic

  • I’m ok with that

  • Having a brush and tools are very useful for carefully moving accidental crumbs

  • The best part of shooting pastries is sharing those beautiful babies with my studio mates!

Hopefully this inspires you to all go out and grab a snack from a local spot! Until next time,

Happy snacking,



Vegan + GF Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies With Kiara


This is it, the last food story of 2017!  I had no idea this year would have turned into the year of the food story but am so glad it did.  It has been a really amazing privilege to check out everyone's cool kitchens and play with their pets (and also snack I guess too).


Last week as I geared up for Christmas I got to take a tiny break from the pressures of finding the perfect gifts, drowning in wrapping paper and thinking of the most decadent holiday snacks I would never end up making to go adventure to Pasadena to hang with Kiara. 


Kiara Ana Perico is a musician, yoga teacher, chakra candle making extraordinaire.  She invited me to a much needed yoga class the morning of our food shoot where I arrived a little nervous, a little groggy (hi mornings are not my thing), probably parked in the wrong parking spot, but fully ready for some de-stressing exercise.  If you've followed my exercise journey you might know I have a love/hate relationship with yoga (mostly bc I never know if I'm getting in a relaxing session or a workout) but a love/love relationship with routine physical activity to maintain good mental health.  I always feel my best emotionally and mentally when I get regular exercise so I didn't need to be persuaded to check out Kiara's class.  It was an excellent journey into some tough poses but nothing felt impossible or excessive with her guidance.  Definitely check out one of her sessions if you get a chance.

I left for our food shoot feeling energized, rejuvenated and very ready for some of her famous Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies!


As we found out the night before when I did a check in text, we both grew up in the glamorous 413 area code of Western Massachusetts.  Kiara hails from only about a 20 minute drive from where my parents still live, which is a pretty cool coincidence to find out 3,000+ miles away.  She even had a wooden bowl from the same guy who was vending at a tiny craft fair I went to, whose work I agonized over and then finally admitted would not fit in my suitcase.

Look at that attractive raw edge bowl. Such envy.

Look at that attractive raw edge bowl. Such envy.

Her choice to make Oatmeal Breakfast cookies hearkens back to those days of New England family breakfast duty, modernized for her adult life. From Kiara:

"Family traditions can take many forms.  My papa made me breakfast every day.  The meals rotated through oatmeal, french toast and scrambled eggs.  Oatmeal has been an incredible staple through my whole life.  It's warming, nutrient-dense and full of memories with my father.  Because I travel so much and even when I'm home, I'm on the move.  I wanted to develop a breakfast cookie made with the same ingredients as that favorite childhood oatmeal so I could have breakfast on the go wherever I am in the world!  These are 100% Vegan and gluten free so everyone can enjoy!"

Ushering me into the kitchen Kiara gave me one of her recent gingerbread breakfast cookies to sample (the recipe for those are on her blog linked at the end!) and got to work on measuring out everything she would need. Plopping the oats into her mixer, she chatted with me about life in this city compared to life back east, how to be healthy on the go and about redoing her kitchen.

The last of the ingredients go into the mixer and Kiara makes some special green tea for us that was indeed very special and I have entirely forgotten it's name.  Sorry tea.

With everything mixed up it's time for our oatmeal mix to get scooped out onto trays to become it's final glorious breakfast cookie form.

With our little cookie friends in the oven we hang out in the warm sunlight of the kitchen, play with Kiara's dog sitting charge, Mooch, and I get to learn about how life brought her from the east coast all the way to this house and all the cool ways she and her husband have started to modify it to really make it home.

It's cookie time....

It's cookie time....

Finally we sit down on Kiara's brand new couch (it's awesome guys) with our mugs of fancy tea, some of her chakra candles lighting the way and these warm, perfectly crumbly oatmeal breakfast cookies.  She also brings out a jar of her homemade Meyer lemon marmalade to liberally top our bites of breakfast and little Mooch runs around trying to live up to her namesake and sneak a taste.  These cookies are incredible.  The not overtly tart marmalade plays off the hearty sweet notes in the oatmeal cookies and it feels friendly and substantial and full of good intentions.

Thanks Kiara for sharing your taste of home with me!  You can check out more of her recipes, yoga suggestions and general tips for a cool life on her blog at:


Until next time, have a happy New Year and I'll catch you all in 2018.

Happy snacking,




Rosemary Vegan + GF Biscuits with Rachael


It's not often that I get the surreal and wonderful experience of photographing another photographer, but that is exactly what happened earlier this month for my latest food story with photographer turned baker extraordinaire, Rachael Lee. 

Like so many of us artists, Rachael has found it hard to stick to just one avenue of expression.  She often shoots portraits and weddings but has been exploring her passion for writing and baking recently through the release of her very first cookbook called "Flour for Thought", which is a collection of vegan and gluten free recipes and poems. 


As I hopped over to her kitchen, she was working on the first of many batches of snacks for her book release party and I had the opportunity to see her rosemary biscuits in action and capture some snack making for a really important and momentous occasion.  If she was nervous about her book release, she never showed it for a second.  Ever the hospitable host, Rachael poured me a cup of coffee, introduced me to her tiny pup and got to work on the dough. 

One of my favorite parts of these food stories is seeing how people get started, how they arrange their ingredients and the way they use their hands.  I hear from so many people that they are nervous to be seen working a dough or mixing with their hands, as if it somehow looks unprofessional or messy.  To me, it's the sweetest moment, where one sees a person really interact with their creation and put a little bit of themselves into it.  Basked in the sunlight of her wonderfully vintage kitchen Rachael and I got to talking as the biscuits took shape.

Here's a little bit from her in her own words about the importance of these special biscuits.

"Something new woke up inside of me this heart began to ache and long for things that it had previously given up on. Things like community, seasons, and being nourished. Food has a lot to do with history, legacy, and what is passed down from generation to generation. Our ingredients and recipes can be a deeply intimate record of who we loved and how we lived. That being said, my work on my poetry cookbook (Flour for Thought) led me to a newfound discovery that there has been a beautiful history of strength in the women of my family -- strength that came from pain. And while I adopted these powerful habits of independence and fearlessness, I had to become self-taught at what it means to be soft.

Living in a large city like Los Angeles doesn't always make the gentleness easy. It's massive and sprawling and makes us prone to disconnecting. In a world that has become loud and a culture with more noise than we can decipher, we have to become our own teachers, physicians, and spirit guides. It is crucial, now more than ever, that we learn to nurture ourselves and each other. It is our duty here.

These vegan rosemary buttermilk biscuits are one of my favorite ways to cut out the noise and create "home." This recipe is straight from my book and I hope it inspires you."

The biscuits get kneaded and patted out.

The new little biscuit shapes are popped onto a tray and prepped for baking.

We relax for a moment, sip some coffee and talk about the ever changing landscape of photography.  Though the world can certainly be stressful and heavy, in these brief little windows, in a bright kitchen on a lazy morning, it's so comforting to be just two women, doing what we love, sharing and hanging out.

The oven lets us know our biscuits are ready and it's time for their close up!

Seriously, look at those beauties!


After a quick quality control taste test, it's confirmed- Rachael's rosemary gluten free vegan biscuits are a success! 


You can find out more about Rachael on her blog at: or her photography at: where I hope you will snatch up a copy of her cookbook and poetry book for youself!


Happy snacking everyone,




Farmers Market Empanadas with Pam


This week I caught a cold.  It was pretty well deserved after Halloween weekend as a fairly irresponsibly dressed ghost, but it was still a cold.  The newly grey California weather this week and cold have set me back a little bit of enthusiasm for editing photos of the rad snacks people have cooked for me in the last few weeks, so I took a little break this week to recouperate, but rest assured no cold can keep me down that long- especially when there are cool food photos to share, so they will be coming.

In the meantime, yesterday I was happily dragged out of my house to check out the Echo Park farmers market and drink a much needed coffee with one of my favorite pals.  Along the way we found some snacks, because what is cooler than friendship + snacks?

Pam, the force behind rad LA band Nyxe, has a lot of dietary restrictions due to super annoying allergies, but still likes a good snack just like all of us. 


Fortunately for her we stumbled upon Komeme Vegetariano- an awesome Vegan and Gluten Free Empanada stand that was vending at the Farmer's Market.  She was able to get savory black bean, a super flavorful potato and leek and a sweet peach empanada that all tasted great and kept her belly happy.

I often forget how hard it can be to find cool food that is tasty, diverse and safe for dietary restrictions and was glad we found Komeme.  I snagged a couple bites and was really impressed even if I have probably never met an offensive empanada.  These little dudes were a great snack for a finally fall day.  Maybe you can check them out the next time you are roaming the market looking for a tasty and healthy snack.  Pam and RP aproved!

Happy Halloween, happy fall, happy snacking!


Echo Park Farmers Market : Fridays 3-7pm

Lot #663 Logan St. 
Los Angeles, CA 90026