LA WEEK: Casa Esparza/Miller

COMMUNITY, United States

Hello, friend. Ok, I am starting to see a pattern with my LA posts. Food, food and more food to come. What can I say, LA has some yummy, interesting and unique dining options.

My dear friend Ruben and his husband Jeff invited us over for a lovely evening of drinks, Paella, and great conversation. Let me just start this off by saying I have been friends with Ruben for almost 20 years. We met on my first job out of college when I moved to LA. I have enjoyed his company, cooking, art shows, pool parties and craziness over the last 20 years. 5 years ago he became a godfather for the first time to my dear little Largo. My how our lives have changed since that first encounter 20 years ago. We are both married, have our babies and our own businesses now. We have become so responsible, who would have thought it. I miss Ruben terribly now that I live in Cambridge, but he is always in my heart. Ok, enough of the gooey stuff.

The evening… We arrived to find a lovely arranged table (the iPhone pics do not do it justice, but remember, my camera bit the dust), a sweet aroma and smiling faces. To start we cracked a bottle of wine and Ruben whipped up his famous pear martinis. We proceeded to the living room/art gallery for some pre-dinner conversation. I must take a diversion here. Ruben and Jeff have the most amazing home. Ruben is a Graphic Designer/Painter and Jeff has a finite sense of style that is very minimalist and stunning (you know how I love simplicity). High ceilings, white walls, and dim lighting makes you feel so comfortable in this space. But, the icing on the cake (still thinking about those Cakemix cupcakes) is the exquisite artwork strategically placed within each room. It is just gorgeous.

Ok, back to the food. As the conversation progressed we decided to relocate to the dining area and taste the yumminess that was radiating from the oven. Now, I do not claim to be a paella connoisseur, but I have had it many times, particularly in Madrid. Theirs was fantastic. Even if it were terrible (which it was not) the presentation alone was enough to make you want to revisit the pan for seconds. As designers, we often strategically organize our food into colors that compliment each other. He used a large flat paella pan that had just the right depth. The rice, shrimp, and chicken were barely peaking through the saturated green peas forming a perfect circle in the middle of the pan. Scattered beyond the peas were thin red peppers that looked to have been grilled just enough to give them a hint of a darkened edge. Finally, the vibrant yellow and white contrast of the hard boiled eggs brought the whole dish together. It was almost too pretty to eat.

After dinner and more intriguing conversation, we moved into dessert mode. This was our contribution to the meal and although I would like to say I created a lovely apple, honey and goat cheese tart, I did not. We purchased our goods, sorry, they were still very yummy. I was very sad to have the evening end but the time had come to say goodbye to my dear friends until next time.

Do you have close friends that live far away? Does it seem like no time has passed when you get together? To me, that is the perfect kind of friendship, one that stands the test of time, space, and change.

Gumdrop Mom

p.s. On this same day, I had a lovely lunch with one of my new clients that I had yet to meet in person. I love the word she used to identify the time she takes for herself to clear her creative mind and let in recharge, “a pause.” Brilliant isn’t it. I will post more about this next week.

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