Tag Archives: California

Art Sampling in Los Angeles

Art Walks are calling

These days beautiful Southern California weather and warm temperatures are beckoning us outside. What better time to check out the LA art scene, especially since some great art events are just around the corner.

One is in fact happening tomorrow. The Brewery Art Walk Community opens its doors tomorrow and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. More than 100 participating artists in residence let you experience up close how they live and work. If you see some artwork you like, strike up a conversation with the artist right there and then. At the Brewery Art Walk you are basically breathing art. Anything you can remotely call art, you can find here.

Brewery Art Walk is fun, it’s hip and definitely pure creativity! There is a spring and a fall art walk and we used to visit at least one of each every year. The atmosphere is definitely a bit crazy but totally fun and groovy. Even people-watching becomes an adventure.

The famous Venice Art Walk is coming up on May 21st (12pm to 6pm). Contrary to the Brewery Art Walk it is not a free event since the proceeds of the event go to the Venice Family Clinic.  Artists as well as architects are opening their homes and studios to the public and let everyone participate in their creative process. Special Studio tours are often offered and apart from fascinating art you can see some stunning homes. The impressive silent auction features famous names like Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston , Sam Durant and many more.

What’s the atmosphere here? You are walking along the cool Venice community close to the beach with all its restaurants and bars. It’s quite a different setting compared to the Brewery Art Walk which is housed in a previous industrial zone with artists’ lofts in former warehouses. And, yes, people-watching is definitely a must also here… you are in Venice Beach after all!

We started our “art walk season” with last week’s Spring Fling at Bergamot Station. Another art haven, this time in Santa Monica. The venue is easily accessible with LA metro’s Expo Line. If you arrive by car, parking can sometimes become a bit challenging.

The Spring Fling event was a collective Open House of about 30 galleries, welcoming art enthusiasts to check out what’s hot in the contemporary art world. Bergamot Station used to be one of our regular art venues to get our ‘art fix’ quite some years ago. So upon hearing of the spring event we packed up the family and left for LA.

Having not been here for a while I perceived the audience and overall vibe as quite a bit different from the exhilaratingly crazy, creative chaos at the Brewery Art Walk. While still colorful and vibrant the audience seemed to be more on the ‘sophisticated’ side and one could feel that the venue here was managed by various gallery businesses rather than an artist community. But that didn’t mean the art was less intriguing. In fact some of the galleries put on some well curated shows. Walking through Bergamot Station felt more like visiting a bunch of micro museums.

It was quite a coincidence that we stumbled upon the abstract architectural sculptures by German artist, Manfred Müller from Düsseldorf, whose work was featured in a show called “Not From Here” at the Rosegallery.

Taking in all what Bergamot Station had to offer, we particularly enjoyed the art installation “People I Saw But Never Met” by Zadok Ben-David at Shoshana Wayne Gallery. 3,000 hand-cut aluminum figures are installed on the gallery floor covered in white sand. Another highlight was William Turner Gallery’s “Chance and Circumstances”, an exhibition that featured new works by 91 year-old famous and prolific Los Angeles painter, Ed Moses, a central figure in post-war West Coast Art.

One Show that really captivated us long after we had already left for home was Stephen Wilkes’ “Ellis Island- Ghosts of Freedom” at the Peter Fetterman Gallery. The photography exhibition took you on a trip through an abandoned hospital on Ellis Island that the early immigrants to this country had to pass through before they were allowed access to the ‘land of the free’. Stephen Wilkes captured the eerie atmosphere and its history so perfectly that one was literally pulled into each picture’s story.

One picture was taken from such an angle that the Statue of Liberty was visible in the mirror over a sink in a room, where some Eastern European woman might have had to stay to get her health monitored. Wilkes writes in his remarks next to the image, that he was wondering if this was perhaps the closest she could ever get to the freedom she so had longed for…

Striking, thought provoking compositions left you wanting to find out more about this part of history. Apparently Wilkes just came to visit the hospital for a one-time article assignment but it turned into a 5-year project. You can feel his fascination with his project in his exceptional capturing of the various moods and energy in every image. History comes alive under his camera and we seem to become an invisible witness of the many impactful moments that might have had occurred at that time in history.

Still in thought we solemnly made our way back to our car and were grateful for the appeasing pictures by Tamayo and Diego Rivera at the Latin American Masters Gallery before we found ourselves back on the freeway chaos of the late afternoon traffic.

All Images: ©CaliforniaGermans

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German Cuisine – Defined by Sausage, Pretzel and Beer?

What’s Up with German Cuisine in California?

German restaurants and German food trucks seem to be in high season these days. I feel there are so many new ones. But do they offer anything new?

I just heard of a new German restaurant in Orange County in SoCal, “Stadtgarten LA“. It sounded promising, I thought. Curious about what kind of German cuisine they would offer I went to check out their website.

I am met with the the restaurant’s name Stadtgarten written in an interesting font, that reminds me of a neighborhood German beer pub from the 60ties. Then I read the “story”: Stadtgarten is a “gourmet hub” in a historic landmark in Fullerton. The experience apparently “highlights bold tradition with every speciality item offered” .

Wow, I am eager to find out more! Did I finally discover some authentic German restaurant that will surprise me with some tasty Schweinebraten (roast pork) with a crunchy crust or a Berliner Eisbein? Perhaps the authentic northern specialty, Matjes, or a juicy Jägerschnitzel, or even just tasty Käsespätzle or Maultaschen?

My excitement to see the menu is put to a worried stop after my eyes are met by the headline “Artisanal Wurst & Bier”.

Seriously!!  Yes…, all I see is sausages galore!

Come on! Pleaseeee!!

I scroll back to the “story” that claims that I will experience the “storied taste of Germany, spanning decades of specialty quality and selection”, “with recipes  spanning decades brought directly from Germany.”

Am I not being promised a “gourmet authentic cuisine” here? I start feeling a bit offended about what I am actually being offered on the menu posted online.

– The Sausage and its Rise to Power –

Is the Stadtgarten LA seriously claiming that only sausages are making up the storied taste of Germany ? I honestly believe the German Wurst has never been that popular ever (!) than since it’s been pushed to its limits here in the USA. – Sozusagen ‘ausgezuzelt’ (ausgesaugt) bis auf’s Letzte. –

And, I m not even sure if the Wurst frenzy is in fact even happening in Germany itself. The last thing I recently read was that it was now really hip over there to get Eggs Benedict instead of a simple, fried egg… But Wurst!!?

Besides, anyone ever heard of the Vegan Mexican Chipotle sausage or Chicken Habanero & Tequila sausage being part of the German Wurst staple?

I guess I must have missed something growing up in Germany or I’m just getting old….

For me, ‘Wurst’ used to be a fast food served at stands at Christkindlmarkets and other little town fairs. It certainly was present at ALL kids birthday parties, so much so that I couldn’t face a ‘Wienerwurst’ or any ‘Wurst’ for years without slight shudders… until I fell in love with the ‘Käsekrainer’ in Vienna! Since then my sausage taste has been very selective to say the least.

But to call ‘Wurst’, no matter what kind, gourmet food!? That is for sure a social rise for Wurst & Co.

To all the Würstel Dudes (sausages dudes) out there. German cuisine has so much more to offer than only pretzels, beer, and sausages!

It’s not enough to just give a restaurant a German name and slap some German sounding words onto the menu like “share das good times“. Please check your German, otherwise it gives you away as not being very authentic at all!

Having said all that… Stadtgarten LA appears to have a hip, modern and inviting interior (unlike its restaurant name lettering would suggest). It apparently has also created a nice outside beer garden atmosphere, which indeed is hard to find in OC.

Stadtgarten LA may in fact position itself more as a specialty beer pub than a restaurant, if you consider the immense selection of beer that “… can be intimidating to a beer layman” as Edwin Goei puts it in his 2016 article in OC Weekly.

…Nix für ungut!


Author’s note: This article is solely based on the business’ website and its information posted there.

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SOCAL German Day 2017 at UCI

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Yesterday on Tuesday, February 7 the UCI Department of European Languages and Studies invited to its SOCAL German Day 2017.  A day that started out with German weather in fact. But despite initial rain showers students and teachers came out in big numbers to learn what UCI’s German Studies Program had to offer.

German School campus students and the school’s founder Frau Ursula Schoeneich attended as well and joined in the three hours filled program whichUCI -German consul was put together by Glenn Levine, Professor of German and German Language Program Director at UCI. Before the crowd of students spread out to find their respective session, School of Humanities Dean Georges van den Abbeele as well as the German Deputy Consul General Kathrin Steinbrenner welcomed teachers and students to the event.

A variety of interesting and fun classes were offered including sessions led by Peter Zykowski of the Goethe Institute San Francisco, a workshop with Hanni Geist from the DAAD, and daad-workshop-with-hanni-geista class with Vera Dindoyal from the ZfA-Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Students of German School campus won the German Trivia Quiz 1 with 20 to 11 against other High School students. They joined classes of “Getting a Degree in Germany”, “Step into German with Soccer and Music”, and a “German Theater workshop”.

At the end of the event everyone could enjoy a UCI Campus Tour led by UCI’s German Studies students in German or English. By that time California sun had come out again as well and begged for a visit at the university’s ‘Mensa’ (food court). Frau Schoeneich and her German School campus students took that moment to discuss the day’s exciting moments while going through their gift bags filled with information and enjoying California fare.

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Text/Images: German School campus & CaliforniaGermans

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Weihnachtsbäckerei – Part 5: Butterplätzchen

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Butterplätzchen – Butter Cookies

A classic in German Christmas baking is the Butterplätzchen (butter cookie). It’s a favorite for baking with children. They love using cookie cutters in all kinds of shapes to make these most classic Christmas cookie of all and decorate them later. The difference between American and German Christmas butter cookies might not only be the recipe but also the size. Usually the German variation is thinner and much smaller in size than its US counterpart.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 250 g – flour
  • 200g – butter
  • 100g – Baker’s sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp – rum
  • grated skin of one lemon

Ingredients for the decoration:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • for decorating: chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar sprinkles or pearls, smarties , coarse sugar, etc.

Prepare a shortcrust pastry ( Knetteig) by sifting the flour on a board, adding the sugar and the butter cut in little flakes on top. Make a little depression in the middle of the heap of the flour mixture and add the egg yolk, rum and grated lemon.

Blend the ingredients by first chopping them with a large knife, then kneading them to a smooth dough with your hands.

Form a big round ball out of the dough, wrap it in parchment paper and let it rest for about 30 min in the refrigerator.

Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough to about 3mm weihnachtsbackereibutterkekspixabaythin. Cut out different forms with your cookie cutters. Place the various cookie shapes on a lined baking sheet, and bake them for about 356-392 Fahrenheit in the pre-heated oven for about 8-10 minutes. They should look golden brown.

Before you start decorating your cookies, place the cookies on a cooling rack. Then whisk the egg yolk used for decorating with the 1 tbsp milk and brush the cookies with a thin layer. Decorate them with chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar pearls or coarse sugar.

…and you are ready to enjoy one of the most traditional German Christmas Cookies!

Happy Forth Sunday of Advent!

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Let us know your favorite German Christmas Cookie Recipe and send it to CaliforniaGermans(at)gmail.com !

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com


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Weihnachtsbäckerei – Part 4: Coconut Macaroons -Two different ways

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Coconut Macaroons – Kokosmakronen

Coconut macaroons are an absolute must for any holiday cookie baker. At least that’s what I was told by a very dear American friend, who has lived for years in Germany. When she saw my recent Friday posts on German Christmas Cookie baking, Weihnachtsbäckerei, she insisted that I had to include this old time favorite!

So here we go with her two recipes ! Yes, two recipes: One is with whole eggs and the other one is made only with egg whites. A great recipe, if you have excess egg whites left from your previous cookie baking, which you want to use.

Coconut Macaroons Recipe made with Whole Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 125g Butter
  • 375g Sugar
  • 1 package Dr. Oetker Vanilla Sugar or 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 50g flour
  • 375g shredded coconut
  • 4 egg whites

Beat the butter into a foamy mixture slowly adding half of the 375g sugar, as well as the Vanilla sugar and the 4 egg yolks. After having mixed well add the rest of the sugar. Then gradually add the 50g of flour to the batter together with the 375g shredded coconut.

In a separate bowl beat the 4 egg whites until you get a firm and stiff consistency, then carefully fold it into the coconut mixture.

With 2 teaspoons take out some of the batter, form little heaps of dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 420-430 Fahrenheit and bake the cookies for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Makes a batch of deliciously golden looking coconut macaroons!

Quick Coconut Macaroons Recipe made with Egg Whites only

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 250g sugar
  • 350g shredded coconut
  • A few drops orange peel aroma by Dr. Oetker or McCormick
  • 150 g hacked pistachios for decorating

Beat the egg whites to a firm, stiff consistency gradually adding the sugar while you keep beating the mixture until it takes on a glossy consistency and has stiff peaks. Fold the shredded coconut together with the orange aroma carefully under the batter.

Form little heaps of dough, put a few hacked pistachios on top and put them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake the coconut macaroons in a preheated oven (320 Fahrenheit) for about 10-15 minutes.

Makes beautifully white coconut macaroons with a green pistachio top!

Enjoy!

Let us know your favorite German Christmas Cookie Recipe and send it to CaliforniaGermans(at)gmail.com !

Image: Pixabay.com

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