Friday, October 26, 2012

Sushi at the CVS

Dear Imaginary Friends,

I just don't understand what all the fuss is about sushi. It is raw fish. No spices or herbs. Just the laziest way of serving up protein.

Nonetheless, skeptical though I was, I agreed to lunch at Sushi Taro off Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

Inside Sushi Taro

My Bento Box
And here is why I liked it so much: My entree included fried chicken! Yup, you read it right here. See center of Bento box. First course: miso soup. It was meh: salty water flavored with cabbage.
Second course: shrimp and veggie tempura (mmmm!), then fried chicken in the middle (mmmm!), and then the infamous sushi, including salmon and some other fish, which were all very fresh. And rice and shredded cabbage on the side.

I love the decor. It is very serene, with high ceilings, despite having an entry at the back of a CVS drugstore. Yes, I said CVS. Inauspicious, to say the least. But when one enters, it is into the world of Japanese businessmen bowing and handing each other their cards, and gracious wooden accents and a beautiful lighting fixture. Large windows look out onto the city below.

Make reservations, as sushi plus fried chicken is beyond a winner. And then trek next door to Mr. Yogato for delish fro-yo.

Your imaginary foodie friend,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Canyon Ranch Spa in Miami Beach

Dear Imaginary Friends,

What city is spicier than Miami? Um... not many. But there are many different sides to Miami. I could write a book. Miami has a thriving  modelling business and is obsessed with beauty. There is also the pervasive Latino influence. And then there is fabulous shopping, of which we partook in Bal Harbour. 

My favorite Miami pastime of all is actually people watching, both in Bal Harbour and on Lincoln Road, even though I have seen some sights that have burned my eyes. This time, we saw a sixtyish man strutting his stuff very slowly and deliberately in a shocking pink Lycra Speedo. He was tanned and buff, and a total exhibitionist, walking past all of the sidewalk cafes on Lincoln Road. We were incredulous. And lost our appetites. Only in Miami. I enjoy seeing the beautiful people at the Raleigh Hotel. They come to lunch poolside and everyone looks pretty fabulous: slick Europeans, youngish couples, expensive clothing.

When my husband and I recently trekked to South Beach last week, we searched for some extra special places to dine. While perusing our choices via, I realized that there is a Canyon Ranch restaurant inside an oceanside hotel and spa built a few years ago.

We made a beeline last Saturday night. The restaurant is stunningly beautiful, creatively decorated and set on the beach with outdoor dining and views of the ocean. Musicians played music that we really enjoyed, setting a really relaxed mood.
The menu was large and contained vegan options as well as a zillion other healthy choices.

Canyon Ranch is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, and has other spas in both Lenox, Massachusetts in the Berkshires, and Miami Beach. Most of the patrons are older, well-to-do, and casually dressed. Canyon Ranch is all about being healthy, at peace, and rested.

Every item on the menu in their elegant restaurant contains full nutritional information, and nothing is unhealthy. Corn syrup? No! Quinoa? Yes! There is actually a tiny healthy serving of cheesecake on the menu, which sits on a lollipop stick.

We ate reasonable quantities of low calorie elegant cuisine, and yet came away feeling satisfied, guilt free, healthy and very relaxed.
The Uber Trendy Base store on Lincoln Road in Miami's South Beach
I look forward to going back next time we head to Miami. Canyon Ranch, can you please open an outpost here in Washington, DC?

Your fan,


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

River Farms Show Up Three More Months

Photo by Shirl Walley. All rights reserved.

Photo by Shirl Walley. All rights reserved.

 Dear Imaginary Friends,

Since I sold 14 paintings from my River Farm show, I thought I would show you some items that are still on the wall. I am trying to replace sold pieces as they sell, but have not succeeded in filling every spot yet. The two pictured with me Amaryllis and Chambered Nautilus, are new to the show. So even if you have seen the show already, there is new work to see!

Your imaginary Friend,


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012

All Things Natural, Big and Small

Red Bell Peppers

Flowering Quince

Daffodil Study

Great Falls

Grace Gathering Shells

Coffeepot Rock

Love Triangle

Red Roses

Van Gogh's Chair

Lake Okeechobee

Harmony in Blue and Orange

Amethyst Waterlily

Waterlilies Squared
Dear Imaginary Friends,

When I signed up two years ago to have a one woman show, I promised to produce a body of work that contained at least 45 original oil paintings that were all natural, i.e., florals, fruit, vegetables, gardens, seascapes, landscapes, and the grounds of River Farms. I ended up painting four paintings specifically of River Farms and grounds, and seventy-two total to hang on the walls of every room of this magnificent historic building.

I am most assuredly a prolific painter. However, the architectural paintings were slow and deliberate. I kept adjusting over and over again little aspects of proportion, color, shadow. The fruits and vegetables were more loose and free. Not so, the landscapes; I have a hang up about painting trees. For me, it is like speaking in a foreign language; just my little quirk.

Of the above paintings, the one that took me a month was Grace Gathering Shells. I kept changing the little girl and the shoreline, as well as the color of Lewes Bay, to make it interesting and unexpected.

Your Imaginary Fast Painter,