16
nov

Julia Morgan sagde ja til opgaven

Hearst Castle idyl af Julia Morgan

Da William Hearst ville realisere sin store livsdrøm, måtte han gå fra den ene hovedrystende arkitekt til den anden. Ingen turde binde an på det overdådige projekt. Men så mødte Hearst arkitekten Julia Morgan, der sagde ‘ja’ til opgaven.

Hearst Castle er en blanding af arkitektur inspireret fra blandt andet Grækenland, Italien, England, Ægypten og fra Hollywoods filmindustri. Det en slags fusions-arkitektur, der flere steder stikker af og bliver bizar, men der er også perler imellem, som er helt unikke.

Hovedindgangen til Hearst Castle

Det særegne slot blev bygget i Hollywoods storhedstid og har haft prominente gæster som Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable og Cary Grant. Inspirationen til mange af detaljerne, er hentet fra Hearst barndom, hvor han rejste i Europa med sin mor. Slottet er en slags blanding af hans erindringer og viden fra rejserne. Der er ikke noget less is more over Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle udefra

Hearst Castle består af flere bygninger, her ovenfor Casa Grande, der rummer hele 115 værelser og 38 badeværelser. Her boede William Hearst med sin elskerinde Marion Davies afsides og dog ofte med huset fuld af prominente gæster fra filmens verden. Der var også besøg fra Winston Churchill og flere andre højtstående politkere og embedsmænd, ligesom også George Bernhard Shaw og Howard Hughes kiggede forbi det enorme palæ. Her en liste over de kendte, der har nydt de spektakulære forhold, den friske luft og den skønne udsigt.

Hearst Castle udsigt

En fortryllet bakke

Hearst Castle, der oprindeligt fik navnet La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill) ligger i fantastisk smukke, naturlige omgivelser i Californien i amtet San Luis Obisbo. Det er idyllisk, overdådigt og lidt for meget. Præcist som en vaskeægte Hollywood produktion. Her inviterede avis- og medieejer William Randolph Hearst prominente gæster fra filmens verden på retreats i sit afsides og rolige palads.

Hearst Castle tennisbane

Der var alt hvad hjertet kunne begære med tennisbaner, udendørs og indendørs pools, riddersal til de store middage, solterrasser til alle sider, en smuk have, en stor biografsal, gæsteboliger og en privat zoo. Her nedenfor ses en af de mange solterrasser, der har et ganske specielt mønster i den måde fliserne er lagt op på. En blanding af flere stilarter, farver, udtryk og tekstur.

Hearst Castle solterrasse

Her nedenfor et foto af esplanaden, der løber rundt om Casa Grande som hovedbygningen hedder. Her boede Hearst selv med sin elskerinde igennem mange år. Esplanaden indbyder i sit design til en løbetur, et cykelløb, stafetløb eller blot en slentrende tur rundt i selskab med de mange forskellige planter, der udgør haven i Hearst Castle.

Esplanaden rundt om Hearst Castle

The Roman Pool

Et udstyrsstykke af pragt, overdådighed, keramikfliser, mønstre og lys. Denne pool / spa oplevelse må være enhver kvindes drøm at træde ind i. På billedet nedenfor ses udsprings-podiet midtfor til dem der ville tage en dukkert ned i den enorme pool, der er 25 meter lang og 3 meter dyb. Jeg ville gerne…..

Forbløffende smuk Roman Pool fra Hearst Castle

Det er ikke svært at forestille sig hvordan flere smukke Hollywood starletter har nydt poolen og området, der lå lidt afsides fra hovedhuset. På taget af The Roman Pool er der anlagt tennisbaner, så arealet udnyttes maksimalt. Her er der keramikarbejde for millioner af dollars og måske har Buster Keaton, Greta Garbo og Erroll Flynn taget mere end en enkelt dukkert i dette blå, univers.

The Roman Pool

The Roman Pool er også bevis på, at stilarterne af og til stak af for Heart og Julia Morgan, der rådgav og samtidig forsøgte at følge med de ideer Hearst fik. Tænk på hvad dette rum ville blive uden de hvide lamper, hvide statuer og underlige hvide vinge/bølge gelændere til trapperne op fra poolen. Det ville være smukt og stilrent uden de elementer. Men dermed ville det ikke være et Hearst-Morgan designstykke.

The Neptune Pool

Desværre var restaureringen igang på The Neptune Pool, da jeg besøgte Hearst Castle, så den var tømt for vand og i stedet fyldt med stilladser og materialer. Men der findes mange virkeligt smukke fotografier af poolen af andre gæster og fotografer – se her i en Google billedesøgning. På billedet nedenfor har jeg fotograferet omgivelserne omkring poolen.

Arealet omkring The Neptune Pool
Introbilledet til denne blog artikel viser solterrassen rundt om The Neptune Pool. Den er 32 meter lang og 1-3 meter dyb. Da den var i brug af Hearst og hans gæster, var den opvarmet.

The Neptune Pool af Julia Morgan

De kendte gæster kunne dyrke forskellige aktiviteter og nyde livet i løbet af dagen, hvor Hearst selv arbejdede, og så ville de alle mødes til middagstid og nyde en lækker middag, samtaler samt vin og andet godt inden sengetid. Spisesalonen nedenfor minder mest af alt om en riddersal. Hearst sad altid på den samme plads og var omgivet af husets prominente gæster omkring langbordet.

Spisesalon fra Hearst Castle

Hearst mente ikke, at man skulle fordrive hele sin dag væk, og derfor blev der f.eks. aldrig serveret alkohol i løbet af dagtimerne. Med intet mindre end 96 virksomheder var Hearst selv en utrolig flittig og arbejdsom herre. Hans kunst- og antikvitetssamling er imponerende i samtlige rum i huset.

Hearst Castle indenfor

Julia Morgan

Arkitekten Julia Morgan, der var freelancer med sit eget bureau, hjalp Hearst med at realisere sin store drøm, da hun gik ind i projektet. Mange andre arkitekter takkede nej til projektet, der skulle ligge på en bakketop, der ikke alene var kompleks at bygge på, men også svær at komme til med materialer og så videre. Julia Morgan, der også stod bag genopbygningen af The Fairmont Hotel i San Francisco, efter det blev ramt af et jordskælv i 1906, arbejdede sammen med Hearst fra 1919 til 1947. Her kan du læse mere om Julia Morgans arbejde og baggrund. Hun var på mange måder forud for sin tid som stærk og selvstændig kvindelige arkitekt, der turde binde an på det projekt mange mandlige kolleger takkede nej til. Projektet har sikret Julia Morgans eftermæle som en kendt og velanset arkitekt.

Julia Morgan arbejdede i starten også sammen med Hearst kone Millicent Hearst og lyttede til hendes designforslag. Snart fortrak Millicent dog til New York og Los Angeles, da Willam Hearst mere og mere åbenlyst indledte et forhold til skuespillerinden Marion Davies. De to boede sammen på Hearst Castle i mange år og tog imod gæster som par.

Nedenfor ses nogle af gæsteboligerne på ejendommen lige omkring Hearst Castle – Casa Grande.

Gæsteboliger rundt om Hearst Castle Hearst Castle gæsteboliger

Ejendommen overgik efter William Hearst død som arv til familien, der valgte at sælge det fra som en national park. I de sidste år af Hearst liv begyndte økonomien at lide under de store udgifter og han endte med at nedlægge den private zoo. Nogle påstår, at man stadig i dag kan være heldig at støde på en vild zebra i de enorme landearealer omkring Hearst Castle. Hearst havde i sin tid opkøbt landet fra områdets indianere. Hans efterkommere lever i dag af kvægdrift i området og ejer stadigvæk store mængder areal af den jord Hearst opkøbte i sin tid.

Hearst Castle udsigt

I dag vedligeholdes ejendommen af staten, der har åbnet det som en turistattraktion. Som gæst ankommer du typisk i bil til modtagelsescenteret for enden af bakken. Du kan booke din rundvisning i forvejen eller satse på at ramme en rundvisning, når du ankommer. Derefter køres grupper i busser op til slottet og rundvisningen starter. Det tager et kvarters tid i bus fra modtagecenteret til slottets indgang, og det fortæller lidt om hvor enormt et område det er. Det er ikke tilladt at fotografere med blitz eller at bruge tripod.

I højsæsonen besøger ca. 5000 gæster dagligt Hearst Castle – i lavsæsonen reduceres tallet til ca. 1000 gæster om dagen. Her finder du et overblik over de forskellige tours der kan købes.

 

07
jan

Din Tai Fung dumplings

Din Tai Fung soup dumplings

If you are around Los Angeles and feeling hungry you should drive by Din Tai Fung and get XiaoLongBao – or soup dumplings. They are the best.

Din Tai Fung is know in my family as ‘the dumpling place’. A simple and to the point description. Even if we also often get delicious fried green beans, noodles, marinated cucumber and occasionally a soup, Din Tai Fung will always to us, be known as ‘the dumpling place’.

Simply because that is the best dumplings we have ever had. Din Tai Fung has restaurants in several countries – the Hong Kong restaurant has been awarded with a Michelin Star several times. That is how good the food is. Din Tai Fung specialise in soup dumplings – XiaoLongBao.

Eating xiaolongbao

If you have never had a XiaoLongBao here is an attempt of a description: the dumplings are served in a type of steampot with a lid to keep them warm while you eat. You want to order a bunch of varieties to keep your tastebuds alert and tempted. Your meals come with a dumpling dipping sauce that, if cooked by yourself may contain: soy, vinegar, ginger, chili flakes, sugar and sesame oil. The recipe at Din Tai Fung might contain other ingredients – it is very good! You are presented to a variety of drinks but they also serve hot tea and water with the meals.

The XiaoLongBao is often a pale looking package of dough (go to their website gallery here). At Din Tai Fung it is extremely consistent in looks, size and taste yet all is handmade. They are exquisite little packages of surprises really.
You grab the dumpling with your chopsticks and dip it into the dumpling sauce before putting the entire dumpling in your mouth as you would do with sushi. Do not bite it in 2 because they are soup dumplings, which means that hot soup/stock is inside them. As you bite through the dumpling you will feel the slight resistance from the dough and thereafter the soup will fill your mouth with flavors and warmth.

Here is a google image search for Din Tai Fung dumpling pictures.

The tastes will of course be according to your order and I would suggest that you try a variety like fish, pork, vegetarian to get the best experience. Also order some crispy ‘greens’ to have in between your dumplings to clear the tastebuds – like ginger in sushi – here you could order beans or cucumber. Or just ask the staff what they recommend.

Greens from Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung in Los Angeles

We go to one of their 2 restaurants in Los Angeles and they are both very good. In particular we tend to like the smaller restaurant in Arcadia a little better than the one in Glendale. Simply because while you wait to get a table at Arcadia, you may follow the making of the dumplings through a glass wall from the reception to the kitchen. It is a spectacular sight and I can’t even begin to guess how many dumplings the guys make on an average day. They are working really fast that’s for sure. The restaurant in Glendale is also really great and both restaurants are very child-friendly.

Read Din Tai Fung reviews on Yelp

Make sure you have time

Make sure to go there in time before your hunger takes control of you. There will be a wait to get a table or even to get dumplings to go. That says a lot about the quality and the popularity of course. While you wait you are presented to a menu to make your selections of order. That way the dumplings are ready when you get your seat.

Enjoy your XiaLongBao

19
feb

Dirty Chai Latte

Dirty Chai Latte

I don’t know who came up with the idea, but I guess it was a question of time before the chai-coffee latte came about. The name of the hot drink is Dirty Chai Latte and I tried my first in San Diego a couple of weeks ago. Actually what I had was more likely the Dirty Chai that comes without milk – so no Latte in this one.

How was it?

Well, I always find that whenever tastes are not extensively good, they will get a little extra vocabulary to their description or name: in this case the word ‘dirty’ is used as an extra teaser. It is kind of a marketing trick but also a magic trick that often works on some segments. This one got my attention when I looked at the menu of my luncheon pcik for the day, but it did not turn out so well at all. I had envisioned a spicy and thrilling taste that would hit my tastebuds with excitement = dirty. This was however not the case because the taste of cloves was too intense. The cloves simply took over everything with their intense flavor and I felt I got enough cloves for the next many Christmas seasons to come….. Cloves are a typical Christmas spice used for Glögg and a variety of ornaments and cookies.

Chai people

Chai is still somewhat considered to be a drink of the more conscience people who do yoga, travel to India, likes Asia, Marrocco og the Arabic countries who tend to invite spices and herbs into their drinks and food.

Chai is not as addictive as coffee might be and probably a bit more kind on your digestion as well. Depending on how much sugar is added and the milk is, of course, also an issue regarding health, calorie intake etc. Aside from that ‘chai people’ are considered more calm and in flow with their lives, their mindset and their body. ‘Chai people’ have insight and they are lively and light in their energy where ‘coffee people’ are more ‘heavy’ with a dark sense of humour and a little pessimistic realism. They are grounded versus the more airy perhaps?

Of course a lot of us flow in and out of tea, chai and coffee drinking and therefore we flow in and out of dark, light, heavy, intense, calm, grounded and airy times. As a normal life does.

A second chance

Taste is hard to discuss since we have different preferences and first impressions almost never last, so I felt like giving the ‘Dirty Chai Latte’ a second chance to be my kind of dirty = a spicy and thrilling taste that would hit my tastebuds with excitement. This time with a homemade version with a Marsala Chai recipe from About Food, combined with an Espresso.

So my second try did not turn out well either but I will give it one last try with a lot less cloves. Actually I am going to use only 1 clove in total for my next and last try of a Dirty Chai Latte. If that doesn’t do the trick I might go for the Arabic coffee with cardemom seeds or the Mexican coffee where I heat milk with a cinnamon stick bathed in it.

And of course there is always the regular Latte to return to.

17
jan

Ice cream sandwich cake

Miette in San Francisco
A drive up the west coast of California introduced me to a treat of an ice cream sandwich I will be longing after when going back home to Denmark. The ice cream will be fairly easy to find because the flavor is a hit worldwide. The sandwich bites will be a little more tricky to find.

The ice cream sandwich cake is made of two chocolate wafer cookies surrounding a wonderful chocolate flake, mint ice cream. The combination is just so good that I have to try to bake my own chocolate wafers at some point.

Carmela Ice Cream

This particular ice cream sandwich cakes were introduced to me by a local Los Angeles food lover and I am so glad she insisted on going to Carmela Ice Cream. There is a variety of flavors in their fridge so you might also find a delicious Salted Caramel chocolate wafer version. The ice cream from Carmela Ice Cream is a delightful and tasty experience in itself – but the wafer sandwich is especially a pleasant experience.

Another great flavor is the chocolate sorbet which I feared was a little bland and perhaps too light. It was not however…. it was exactly the way I prefer it rich, chocolate flavor without the creamy taste and feel.

Carmela Ice Cream has several locations in Los Angeles. They offer classes for the person who likes to learn how to make delicious ice cream or just needs a little inspiration to the usual recipes and some tricks from the pro.

Ice cream sandwich cake

Miette

The sandwiches are available in San Francisco at Miette in the Ferry Market Building. Find other locations at their website.

Order the chocolate wafers from Miette here (box of 4 servings = 8 wafers in total)

There are other flavors to get, such as:
Miette offers classes as well for the person Gingersnappers with crème fraiche but the Chocolate flake mint with chocolate wafer is superb and highly addictive.

Ice cream tip

Speaking of ice cream I heard along the coast, that Rocky Road is supposed to be really good with Balsamic Vinegar sprinkled over it. I will try it tonight and get back with a review.

27
dec

Donut Revolution by Nomad Donuts

Nomad Donuts of the day

Crunchy Nomad Donuts

‘Crunch’ – the crispy sound of freshness and thickness is noticable as the knife cuts through the donuts from San Diego located Nomad Donuts. The crunch effect is a big selling point in general when it comes to food and freshness, and this donut is freshly made by the chefs.

Iced coffee and donuts

Dogma rules

Flavours vary from day to day and it is often not possible to get the same donut 2 days in a row. That is kind of a dogma for Nomad Donuts. Yet broken by the big hit donut: corned beef, jalapeno and horseraddish glaze which is available for 2 days in a row…..and often sold out. It is addictive and sooo good. The fact that it is not too sweet and filled with sugar is a win in itself.

2 donuts from Nomad Donuts

Nomad Donuts tag some of their images and quotes with #DonutRevolution and from looking at the menu it certainly does look like a bit of a revolution:

Nomad Donuts menu

– corned beef, jalapeno and horseraddish glaze
– banana, custard, bacon, peanut butter
– bacon, fig, goat cheese, rosemary glaze
– honeydew mint
– pina colada custard, coconut, lime glaze
– maple glaze
– cinnamon, sugar, chili, arbol

Nomad Donuts is just a little more than one month old but already in the top league of donuts. If you follow #NomadDonuts on Instagram you might get the next days’ donut menu in the evening and plan your donut treat for the next day.

A normal donut

Admitted – I am not American and I do not have many donut experiences but this experience was really, really good. I would say their donuts are in my top 3 list fighting for the top No. 1 with a Los Angeles donut that is absolutely heavenly – yet so different.

You find Nomad Donuts at 4504 30th Street, San Diego. Enjoy your donut experience.

18
dec

Cranberry vs liquorice

Cranberry versus liquoriceCranberry vs. liquorice

Cranberries are to America what liquorice is to Denmark – inevitable, delicious, a-must-try, a part of everyday life, a spice or herb that goes with the most, an acquired taste and a somewhat nearly ayurvedic ingredient. Some love it, others can not stand it and yet others have learned to tolerate it.

In Denmark we mainly know the healthy Cranberry Juice and the dried cranberries which we use as salad sprinkle or maybe in our cereal / müesli in the morning and occationally in a cookie. But the use of it seems as vast as the use of liquorice. We are not that familiar with the concept of a cranberry sauce and do not celebrate Thanksgiving which seems to be the time of year to really kick the sale of cranberry upwards.

On the other hand Danes have a tradition on Christmas where our dessert pudding involves a heated cherry sauce and for meals with game or dark meat we might enjoy a boisenberry jam or pickle to go with it. This serves to give the meal a little sour flavour to it and goes as well as the cranberry with turkey in my opinion.

Cranberry hipster ingredient

Cranberry versus liquorice
Here a list of examples for use of cranberries:

Cranberry ….

… juice
… sauce
… cheese
… salad
… muffin
… chiles de Rellenos
… syrup
… pie
… bread
… icecream
… relish
… chutney
… vinaigrette
… eggnog
… gelatin
… powder

Liquorice as hipster ingredient

Liquorice versus cranberry

Here a list of examples for use of liquorice:

Liquorice ….

… almonds
… beer
… icecream
… steak marinade
… coffee
… tea
… syrup
… vodka (called Små Grå)
… mojito
… cookies
… bread
… pulled pork
… milk
… macaroon
… milkshake
… smoothie
… powder

Cranberry and liquorice

Cranberry and liquorice does actaully also go very well together – here is a recipe for Cranberry Liquorice compote from Food and Wine.

Here is a candy jar from the Danish ‘King’ of liquorice Johan Bülow with Liquorice, Cranberry and Chili.

Another example of af sweet recipe is a cookie with cranberry, chocolate, almonds and liquorice.

My first ‘go’ at a cranberry sauce was more of a cranberry pickle or relish than an actual sauce. It did not turn out well. Not that it is a hard thing to master, but I simply put too much sugar in it….. rookie mistake!

12
dec

Dairy product detective

Non-homogenized, organic, fat-free milk

Finding the right milk

Dairy products are very different from country to country and it may take a little while to find the perfect product for your taste. To me dairy products such as milk is really a question of habitual taste. Don’t give up on the hunt for the right dairy product.

The variety of milk and dairy products are big in America where it is quite common to add vitamins and minerals to the milk. Any additions as such are however always printed on the carton or bottle. Being from Europe where legislations ever since the 70s have ruled against added vitamins and minerals to dairy products, I am of course a bit sceptic. Today things are changing however and several products now have added vitamins in Denmark as well.

Selection of dairy products

Cream or milk?

In Denmark we normally get milk to go with our coffee but some of the slightly older generations might prefer cream in their coffee and therefore perhaps also serve that with the coffee when having guests. Others simply like cream a lot better in their coffee but might on a daily basis choose milk over cream of health reasons more than taste.

In America the ‘half and half’ is commonly served with your coffee and often you have to specifically ask for plain milk, to get the taste you are looking for.

Half and half dairy product

I love my coffee to have added a non-fat, organic and non-homogenized milk if possible. If not available I can go with other versions but I do like my milk to taste like milk and honestly a good deal of dairy products do not taste natural at all. I guess the most natural would be warm or at least have a top layer of cream and in that aspect the fat-free would never exist……..

The hunt

After an intense search in the dairy sections of many, many supermarkets I found the brand to match my needs and tastebuds to be non-fat, non-homogenized, organic, grass-milk from Organic Valley. It tastes exactly like non-fat and natural milk or at least like the Danish skim milk called ‘skummetmælk’. My American friends have remarked that it is more or less like drinking water, but there is actually a very fine taste of milk to it.

From out-of-town?

On my request for non-homogenized milk, the guy in the dairy product area said: “You must be from out-of-town because we never have requests like that here. It sounds European!”

Well the guy knows his stuff and he quickly showed me the brand that produce exactly what I was looking for. Whole Foods sell it.

Whole Foods dairy products

What about the newer hipster product called Skyr? I wonder if there might be a match that is somewhat similar?

Almond milk

If you have a soft spot for almond milk smoothies – go to recipes from Almond Breeze – California is the right place to be. The variety of almond milk products is great and at a very good price compared to Denmark. This is of course a state of almond crops and it is possible to find chocolate almond milk, icecream made from almond milk but also other dairy products made from almond milk. Just let the fun begin.

Almond milk products

Good luck on finding your products out there.