Monday, October 26, 2009

Bistro Escondido

{Cioppino under the Stars}

Welcome back from the weekend,  pumpkinettes. This past weekend marked the beginning of the open studios in the high desert, so I spent most of Saturday tearing around unpaved roads and marveling at the talents of the local art community. And finishing up some paintings in my own studio in preparation for next weekend (eek!). Pictures of my favorite art from the weekend to come. But first, a little desert magic...

On Friday night P. and I fell in love with the desert all over again. (This happens about once a week.) A new friend of ours has a fabulous, funky shop and gallery called the Mt. Fuji General Store downtown that I've written about before. As a lady of many talents she also has a side catering project, appropriately called Bistro Escondido - the hidden bistro.

It's a brilliant idea: she emails a big group of friends, locals, and anyone who has recently signed up on her gallery mailing list, telling them that Bistro Escondido will be serving X victuals on Y date in Z location. On Friday, it was cioppino stew at sundown in Joshua Tree National Park. The email said to bring twenty dollars, and BYOB (bring your own bowls); she'd take care of everything else. We came armed with giant ceramic bowls, big round spoons, blankets and a flask of whiskey.

The night air was still and marvelous. No wind = ideal conditions for soup-eating.

There was a giant cauldron of stew. Over the fire. As promised. The cauldron was borrowed from the bbq pit at Pappy & Harriet's, where it's used to make bourbon bbq beans over a mesquite fire. I would consider that a well-seasoned pot.

In the pot: fresh fish, scallops, squid, mussels, clams and crab from the coast, cooked in the most delicious broth with tons of garlic, tomats, taters and herbs. Cioppino (pronounced chi-PEEN-o) is a seafood stew that's especially popular in San Fransisco. I'd never had it before. I must tell you, it was MARVELOUS. (If you want to try your hand at cioppino, this recipe from Gourmet looks to die for.)

Fresh seafood in the desert. Oh my, how happy we two New Englanders were. Red Trolley Ale and fresh sourdough boules from Teacakes Bakery (with a little cornmeal on the bottom, just how I like it).

Hot stew, crusty bread, warm bellies, laughter. (Our group from a knoll above.)

I trotted around taking pictures with my nifty new love-object, my Canon T1i digital SLR, and captured some long exposures of the activity in our campground with the help of my new tripod (below).

Now, off to the studio to paint, paint, paint. If you'd like a postcard invitation to my open studio next weekend, email me your address! I'd be happy to send you one. If you live in LA or SD and want an excuse to visit Joshua Tree, COME! I'll feed you and send you home with one of these. xo


  1. Life in the Desert has never looked more inviting!
    Hoo Boy!

  2. OK I get it! Maybe paradise after all!

  3. These photos are positively dreamlike, my friend. Wow. I feel transported from my ocean cottage to your desert. Magic.

    You know what else is magic? I had cioppino for lunch today in Portland down by the water at this very cool restaurant called The Salt Exchange. It is one of my favorite things in the world. That deep flavor and soul-warming smell . . .

    Oh, and I've been meaning to tell you that 1369 is one of my favorite Cambridge coffee houses. Do you think you and I are long-lost cousins?

    I'm so excited for you about your upcoming show!!!! xoxo Gigi

  4. Looks amazing Lil! Ror just introduced me to the blog and I LOVE IT! Good luck this weekend Missy and say hi to Pete for me! -duff

  5. i never mentioned how AMAZING this looks....


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