20 April 2011

Adventures in Foodie Land

I just got out of the shower and was mid-way through my 32 step regimen that follows my daily cleansing when my DROID started buzzing off the countertop. I dropped the towel from my head to answer. It was the editor and publisher of the magazine for which I've been writing. Like last week and the week before, he was calling to see if I'd cover a foodie-related event at the last minute for their website blog posts (what am I going to wear?! I was going to prep for Friday's interview? Is there something else I was planning to do? I'm sure there was . . .).

Now, continuing to work with this magazine is a dream, and I also love food more than most. However, for an OCDite, these spur of the moment decisions make me instantly break out in a sweat. "Of course - where are you sending me this time?" was my reply, because I do really love to do it. I've had the opportunity to cover 4 events in the past couple of weeks, and not only do I love free food, but I am feeling more and more like a part of a community - the writers community. I may have a heart attack from the mental stress of dropping everything and taking my day or night in a different direction than originally planned, but I am loving every minute of the challenge to manage my disorder and jump back into what makes my mind tick.

So, for this week's post, I'd like to share one of the pieces for which I've been rearranging my routine. For my fellow OCDites - this is proof that spontaneity can be done. And I will admit, every minute is an adventure in the world of juggling constant compulsions. I will be posting future write-ups on my Facebook page and alerting you Tweeters on Twitter. Happy Reading!

The Beat Goes on until Your Food is Gone
CULINARYsound at Shorebreak Hotel’s Zimzala Restaurant and Bar
500 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
April 20, 2011 
Written by Kristal Docter for LOCALE Magazine
Just around the corner from the most famous street in HB filled with straight-billed surfers and nearly-naked beach babes, sits the newly constructed “surfer chic” Shorebreak Hotel and Zimzala Restaurant and Bar – hosts to a unique concept coined CULINARYsound. Different than anything you’ll find in north or south county, CULINARYsound connects food, music, art, shopping and lounging in one locale. The organization’s mantra and our theme for the night, “because food tastes better with music,” intrigued me enough to see what the buzz was all about.

Me, CULINARYsound creator Randy Mello and wife Tammy Mello

“We’re bringing you the best of both worlds – food and music. A chef prepares a plate of food the same way a DJ prepares to play the next track. We’re serving good eats and sexy beats,” said CULINARYsound creator Randy Mello.
Still slightly uncertain of what I was in for, I grabbed a glass of chardonnay from the hosted wine bar and headed into the Uth Pop-up Shop for a little eye candy, because there is nothing that makes me feel more at home than shopping. As a centerpiece for tonight’s shop, a live art installation was in progress. Artist David Borgatta of Creative Alliance blended and brushed a palette of vibrant colors onto canvas while a crowd quickly formed around him. The rest of the room had been transformed into a gallery, showcasing Borgatta’s beach-inspired work and other shop specialties were scattered across the tables. I perused through kitschy vinyl wallets, handmade bracelets, Japan relief posters and cleverly labeled candles which I had to purchase! All of the items are made by local designers and artists, so I felt extra supportive about my purchase. I was starting to feel it – the CULINARYsound vibe.
  After filling my shopping fix, I joined Mello who was gathering the group of attending foodies and professionals around his guest table for a feast with new friends. Mello exudes an energy that is intoxicating and difficult to describe in words. His passion for this philanthropic culinary concept pulls you in like a magnet. He invited us all to join hands and thank whoever brought us all together to experience this mash-up of sensory stimulation. Where else can you eat, sleep, shop and lounge to tasty tunes and live art installations?
Speaking of tasty (now we’re getting somewhere!), as the beats boomed on in the background, Mello ordered the table several dishes from the CULINARYsound exclusive menu – invented by Chef de cuisine Roy Hendrickson. Keeping CULINARYsound partners in mind, each item is infused with one of the brands involved with the event. Mello calls this “brandships,” fusing brands and friendships and creating a family of partnerships. Tonight, we were presented with dishes (as well as visually stimulating table-top installations) containing FUZE® Infuzed Beverages and Blue Moon beer.
Working our way down the very reasonably priced menu as Deejay Cocoe moved through his set, we started with the Duck Confit Sliders, spread with just enough FUZE® blueberry-raspberry jam and skewered with a pickle on top. Sweet and savory, I could have eaten two plates, but was trying to be polite. Just as I was eyeing the 2nd plate of unfinished sliders, and hoping I was one of the few who thinks duck is delicious, the next course came: a beautifully constructed butter lettuce salad like I have never tasted. Added to the traditional mix-ins like goat cheese, toasted almonds and fruit topping were pretty little pearls of FUZE® strawberry-raspberry caviar that popped in my mouth. I hope they put this item on the regular Zimzala menu, because it will please veggies, vegans (without the cheese) as well as carnivores like me.
The music appropriately begins to wind down as our next dish arrives: a bowl of buttery clams in a Blue Moon broth. Lightly dusted with herbs and served with crusty-grilled bread for double-dipping, this soupy sensation reminded me of summers by the sea.
And finally, what’s a meal without dessert? How about a house-made Banana Colada FUZE® truffle that bursts when bitten? Yum!
With a purchase in my Birkin, a satisfied appetite and a new group of friends, I would say this night has been music to my ears – and, in this case, all of my other senses, too!
Make your reservations and come check out CULINARYsound every other Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. - 11 p.m. in Zimzala Restaurant and Bar at the Shorebreak Hotel. At May 4th's event, CULINARYsound welcomes new partners Groceries Apparel, producer of organic garments, and Invisible Children, activists who are devoted to helping children in Uganda. CULINARYsound's "feel good kitchen concept" will be donating proceeds to participating local charities. I will be donating by dancing in my chair and devouring more duck sliders. Bon App├ętit!

10 April 2011

"Gettin' Ready, 'Cause Here I Come!"

So what do you think of My So Called OCD Life's new look? (Thank you, my secret graphic Guru.) Do I look like a writer to you? Is the look more intriguing? Do you think I am still portraying a somewhat professional appearance? Do the images provoke a sense of wonderment and fun? Do I look like I have OCD?!!

For the past couple of months, I have been captivated by the conceptualization of putting together logos, looks and language to promote myself as a budding freelance writer (never expected to still be "budding" past the age of 30, but here I am). Maybe it's my obsession with creating a visionary brand for myself and evolving into the writer I've always dreamed of becoming (get ready readers, someday I will own a beaded eyeglass lanyard, and I can't wait!); maybe I really am on the verge of crazy (or finally success!); or, maybe I'd just like to get more of a rise out of my readers (that is most certainly a hint). Whatever my motivation, I'm "gettin' ready" to make an impact in the competitive world of composing, and thought I needed (and was also advised) to "writer-ize" my image.

As you might imagine, I can be critical and yes, obsessive, about the impression I portray to the circuit I surround myself with and now to the world of writers and the readers who follow them. I don't think anyone loves to see themselves in photographs. I would guess that approximately 3 times a year, I somehow come up with a photo of myself that I can proudly display, but that's about it. It's not that I'm insecure about my looks - I just take terrible photographs! The photo shoot that produced my site's new images was no exception. There is a reason one image is so small you can't really make out my face.

So I thought, what better event to test out my image but the launch party for the newest issue of the magazine I'm writing for?! After a day spent stuffing my face with other bloggers at a food blogging event where we learned more about the biology of seafood sourcing than I really ever wanted to know, putting together an outfit for my "coming out" event was not at the top of my to-do list, or I should say want-to-do list.

First of all, as an OCDite, it takes me probably twice as long as your average female to get ready for an event like this . . . or any event for that matter. I know that some of my friends are laughing at this, because they've watched my process, but I'm sure others of you - hello, fellow OCDites - can relate and have your own processes to share, but that will be saved for a future post of its own. 

So how can you possibly prepare or decide how you want to be perceived when the brand is essentially yourself? I can and have accomplished a lot of big and small things in my life: surviving my first piano recital, crossing the Girl Scout bridge to Cadette level, graduating college with high honors, moving across the country with no real plan - just a dream (sometimes I think I'm still dreaming), and most recently managing the accounts for a multi-million dollar venture capital firm, but I have never excelled at self-promotion. I move forward on the basis of accomplishments and hard work - that's what you're taught when your Dad is one of the greatest farmers in the country. (It is true!) Endorsing me is just not something I feel completely comfortable with. It takes my OCD to a whole new level. Sometimes I think I really may have a heart attack or stop breathing, because I may not have made the right choice. It is enough of a challenge to keep calm and carry on when the discussion involves a group topic, but I struggle to keep it together when the subject is me. Maybe I should heed the advice of my mentors and "hang in there, kiddo," and luck will come to me? How do you know?! 

Pushing the mania of my disorder's mental debates aside, I decided to pull it all together with the leather jacket and hat you see to create a little mystery to pair with my madness. I thought they both seemed appropriate as well as items I in which I am extremely comfortable. Yes, we're still talking about and have been talking about my "coming out" outfit for the party and for the prefacing photo shoot intended to improve my image. Image is important! 

Well, I most certainly stood out at the magazine launch party in the crowd of perfectly painted faces, college students out for what seemed to be another Thirsty Thursday party and wannabe Brit band mates (you should have seen these 2 - they looked like twins and possibly brothers of Russell Brand - it was entertaining.) But someone told me, while I was simultaneously taking a sip of my cocktail and savoring a moment in my mind about the energy exerted for this magazine which I am now representing (yay!), that I "looked like a writer," and that was all I needed to hear.

So what do you think?