On the Road Less Traveled

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The winding sandstone canyons that hide the fabled city of Petra. Here, where Bedouin live in caverns, past and future can be seen in the present. This is a land legendary and proud. Where pastoralists and sedentary pedestrians mix. The desert is hot madness, yet soft and poetic. It’s exotic as it is wild and it fuels my thirst for adventure.

As our world grows increasingly smaller it’s easier than ever to seek refuge in the comfort of familiar places. We also live in a time where thoughts and ideas can manifest in the blink of an eye and round-the-world travel is at the fingertips of risk takers and adventurers alike. I see Marco Polo and Gertrude Bell in the men and women I met abroad. Sharing the road, sharing tales of individual split-second experiences worth more than time itself.

I started blogging not only to share my story and to learn from others, but to inspire, to instill the momentum it takes to lace up ones boots and hit the road. It wasn’t until I found myself alone in a most foreign country that I felt the hot passion of life. Where my native tongue was less useful than the moo of a cow and I had no idea what the hell I was putting in my mouth… but it tasted good and I wanted more! And that is why you must hit the road.

Don’t be victimized by the culture of fear. Our planet is waiting to be explored, to reveal it’s secrets to you, to me, to any who dare ask, it will expose you to the raw truths of life. To the quarks of distant cultures and alien tongues. To disgusting foods and delicious cuisines, to dangerous and countless blessings.

Let’s take control of 2015. Don’t be afraid to leap without looking. I encourage you to take off the training wheels and take the road less traveled.

-Yallah!

NaNoWriMo : Into the Wild

Earlier this year, I set a goal to finish a solid draft of my memoir and to achieve this mission i’m going into the wild, er, offline…

A MONTHLONG period away from social media, the internet, ethernet and all those nets, in an archaic approach to finish this labor of love that i’m damn excited to share with you.

Now, I generally write longhand, heavy Cross pen, paper, table and tea–so this writing without a computer business is basically how I conduct my work anyway. But, to be away from my peers, my colleagues and you people taking time to read these articles, that’s the toughest part.

I want to keep this short so let me finish by wishing my fellow Americans an enlightening and restful Thanksgiving. And, you Turks, love him or hate him, happy Ataturk Day (Nov 10th.) The same goes for you Zoroastrians out there, happy Adargan (celebration of fire Nov 10.)And, to you Moroccans and Lebanese–happy Independence Day (Nov 18th, Nov 22nd respectively.) And, you, yes you, take a break and celebrate “Buy Nothing Day” (Nov 28th.)

You can reach me at info@nicholasandriani.com and I’ll get back to you in 30 days or more. It’s just little strange to say that.

Thank you for all the support and encouragement. I look forward to catching up with all of you in one month.

Until then…

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–Andriani

 

The Sabah House Rules

It was nearly a year ago that I discovered the Sabah Dealer.

A chance meeting on Twitter led me to this exotic, almost whimsical Instagram where I was transported to Anatolia. To the bazaars, the buskers and baksheesh and medieval villages. To a world still crafted by hand.

I soon found that behind the Sabah Dealer’s travels were shoes–Sabah’s themselves–hand stitched slippers crafted from calfskin and buffalo leather in the countryside of Turkey.

In other words–I was moved! Moved by a bloody pair of shoes that hit my like a Sufi poem.

At some point I shared my newfound passion for Sabah’s with Jaclyn and, with a trip to NYC in the near future, she emailed The Dealer. His reply came swift and his demeanor warm. He described his story:

“This style of shoe (and more importantly the construction technique) was once the chosen footwear of southeastern Turkey and Syria (dating back nearly 1,000 years), but has now mostly disappeared from daily wear. I personally discovered the shoe style because I lived in Istanbul for several years (working as an expat) and was gifted a pair by a friend’s grandmother who grew up wearing them.

The original style looks more like a genie slipper, not a Sabah. However, I was so impressed by the comfort and quality of my first pair that I wore them almost everyday and everywhere I traveled: the beaches of France, dancing in Beirut, a work trip to Munich, hiking through Morocco, even once with a Tuxedo to a fancy Turkish wedding.

A year later, in that same pair, I was back in NYC (they had worn in beautifully and were even more comfortable) and I couldn’t find anything like them in the market. My friends and even strangers on the street were always asking me about them as well. So I sought out the craftsman through my friend’s grandmother, and over the course of nearly a year, a couple trips to the ancient bazaar, (and many mistakes, I did not know a thing about shoemaking), I launched Sabah utilizing this family’s traditional construction technique and skilled craftsmen, but with a more modern design, better fit, higher quality leathers and a replaceable rubber sole. We still make every pair by hand with those same craftsmen today and are actively working with them to grow the business and train additional skilled labor.

To make Sabahs, we employ a traditional method of shoe construction that has been cultivated over generations in the ancient bazaars of southeast Turkey. We work with the few remaining traditional cobblers in the region whose families have been making this style of shoe for generations. The process to make a Sabah is quite difficult and tedious (requiring extensive training and practice), but the result is a pair of shoes that are remarkably comfortable, really well made and distinct looking. Also, since we use very high quality leather for all components except the rubber outsole, Sabahs mold to your feet after a few wears and continue to gain comfort and take shape over time. And, as a testament to the quality of materials, Sabahs never, ever smell – no socks, just Sabahs, all summer, no problem.” 

Sabah’s aren’t sold online. They’re made in small quantities, can be ordered to size in a multitude of colors and when they sell out, they’re gone. At least, until another batch arrives from Turkey. The only way to get your trotters into a pair is by arranging a visit to their showroom called the ‘Sabah House‘ or emailing The Dealer.

August came and we found ourselves on the subway towards the Sabah House. Jaclyn confessed a vivid dream about arriving to the Sabah House and swimming in a sea of colorful shoes (she still had not made up her mind on a color–red? blue? mint green?) but the only color in her size–white. The one color she really had no intention of buying. As we exited the subway we laughed about the fact we had become so obsessed that we were dreaming about them. Shoes!

Tucked between noodle bars and residential buildings, the Sabah House sits, low-key, harboring the goods that brought us to Koreatown. The only indication of what’s inside is the address. No signage, no neon lights, no fanfare. Just a Manhattan address.

While arranging for this trip we found that The Dealer would be out on a reconnaissance mission (aka – road trip across the States) and that we would be meeting with one of his trusted colleagues.

We were greeted at the door by Gabby, a former customer, now intern, who would act as our guide through this apartment-gone-showroom and we were quick to see that once you’re involved with Sabah’s you become part of this family, this movement.

Before getting down to business Gabby engaged us in conversation. Less business, more get to know you. Sparkling water and chocolate espresso beans flowed as she led us through the showroom, insisting that we take our time to explore the wide range of shoes by “dressing up” and getting to know the slippers themselves.

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Butter. Oh, the pleasure of slipping your feet into the softest,  form fitting calfskin leather. I grab a pair of oxblood red Sabahs, just for kicks, and they melt to my feet.

 

 

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This red pair on Jaclyn were perfection and they would have gone home with her had it not been for the sticky note on the inside reading “sold”. She tried on several other pairs before we realize that Jaclyn’s dream had manifest. The only pair that fit her was white. Deciding to take it as a sign, they left with us.

Gabby pulled out a pair of olive colored Sabahs explaining that this pair came in with a shipment that were produced during the month of Ramadan. Now, if you’re no stranger to Ramadan you’ll know that this is a time of fasting for the Muslim world. So these craftsmen, in rural Turkish villages, were fasting from sunup to sundown, high on piety and a abstinence, making this very pair of shoes! Meaning, that while still structurally sound, they exhibit more human error than is typical of Sabahs.

SOLD.

Without trying  them on I was completely infatuated with the humanity of this pair.

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Despite being the sort of place in which you could kick back for hours on end, where good conversation and mellow vibes are guaranteed, this is New York City and we had just tapped the surface of our itinerary.

Decisions made, white Sabahs, olive Sabahs, high on espresso beans, we bid Gabby farewell, strolling off into the sunset… OK midday sun, towards the Brooklyn Bridge.

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I wear them as a charm and in exchange they carry me safely through life. And, now i’m talking about a pair of shoes as if they were my brothers in arms… You know what? They are. To the market, on my back patio, and to the pyramids.

Onward.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Orquideas Hostel, Cancun, Mexico

Hanging on the high line in our new Sabahs. #sabahshoes #howwesabah #vscocam @thesabahdealer

A photo posted by Jaclyn Joslin (@jaclynjoslin) on

On the Manhattan High Line.

*All photos by Jaclyn Joslin unless noted

TBEX, TRAVEL BLOGGERS AND NORTH AMERICA

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“Tbex is love made visible”
–To misquote Khalil Gibran never felt so right

Last week I participated in my first Tbex conference.

This coming together of like-minded artists in the travel industry has opened my eyes to the potential we have within. From a passionate and lyrical lesson by Don George to the dynamic Dave and Deb from Planet D I emptied pen after pen, spilling ink, high on the goods dished out by some of the industries greatest minds.

We found ourselves in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo in a little town you probably haven’t heard of called Cancun–or Kaan Kun, ‘the nest of snakes,’ in the Maya tradition.

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For two days we were corralled within the Moon Palace Resort. This being my first experience at an all-inclusive destination I had my reservations, particularly as a traveler with a focus of the road less taken. Yet, I must say, they have done an incredible job coexisting with the surrounding jungle. Said to be a leader of eco-friendly accommodation, the Moon Palace participates in many conservation efforts such as assisting the growth of local flora and aiding the dispersement of sea turtles, an activity many Tbex-ers had the chance to participate in. I left the resort thankful to see such places from a new angle and would be pleased to be a guest of theirs once again.

Despite my weeks of plannin I walked into the Moon Palace unsure of which sessions toattend. The roster was just impressive this year. These are people i’ve admired since I began my career as a writer and to chose one session over the next was something I had to calculate. Ultimately, the route I chose could not have been more appropriate for my needs at this moment. So the final line-up went as follows–

Sept 12

  • Profits and Prestige from Becoming a Published Author with Tim Leffel. From self publishing to the culture of being an author I felt as if Tim were speaking directly to me. His thoughts on finding your niche, your tribe, your outlets for publishing were exactly what I needed to hear as I polish off my manuscript for Yallah’Bye.
  • Don’t Quit Your Day Job: You Don’t Have to be a Nomad to be a Successful Travel Blogger with Chris Christensen and David Brodie. What made this session so great was having these masters of the craft feeding us information on creating a powerful outlet without having to be on the road 24/7. This is a topic I honestly stress about-“Where next? How will I get there? Who want’s to sponsor me? Blah, blah!” In the course of this lesson we learned how to utilize past trips and virtual tourism to create authentic articles for blogging. From writing product reviews to “how to’s” sometimes all it takes is a little research to write a great piece on a place we’ve yet to visit.
  • From Pitch to Profit: Earning Money with Your Brand with Dave Bouskill and Deb Corbell from Planet D. It is said that writing is a lonely profession -so is travel- and some of us struggle with a double dose as travel writers. A sure way to beat the isolation is to find your kindred spirit, a partner in crime. And, that’s just what we have here. I had the pleasure of hanging out with them between sessions and have to mention how personable and entertaining these two Canadians are. Our session dove into brand partnerships and how to build long lasting relationships, because that’s what this is all about. To be successful as a travel blogger, or writer in this modern world, it is crucial to build a solid network. The value of knowing your worth is essential to success and we learned that as content providers we have a right to stand up for ourselves, for our worth, and to not negotiate against yourself, despite what may arise. Oh, and always read the fine print! Don’t be that sucker who signs over their masterpiece out of sheer laziness because a contract may be a little lengthly! We are powerful content creators. Embrace it!!

That night, under the guidance of Expedia-we partied to the tune of an open bar as an incredible spread of seafood and Mexican fare was spread before us.

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Sept 13

  • Video Blogging: First-Person Storytelling As A Powerful Marketing Tool w/ Lisa Schwarts. This was a challenge for me as I haven’t shot a single video through the course of my travels. And, that’s not acceptable. To be successful is to lead a multifunctional brand. Anyway, I have an iPhone and that’s a great place to start. Despite this session being advanced for my background I now know where to start. From utilizing music to branding and marketing, the talented ladies behind Bare Feet and Vagabond3 offered us a great way to vlogging and i’m extremely excited to enter that realm.
  • The Quality Quotient: Ten Tips for Creating Content that Engages and Expands Your Audience with Don George. One hour was not enough to contain this craftsman. Being a reader of his for years and having just finished the Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing, which he penned, I entered the arena starstruck.Don opened with his Four Pillars of Engagement- which are the Subject, the Self, the Audience, and Your Own Writing- then moved on to the Passion Points- the “where and why” of your story, what makes this location special and how to define it. How to focus on the stepping stones that guide you along your journey and reveal the valuable lesson that will be the purpose of your story. Capture this lesson and allow the details to spill forth. Utilize all of your senses. Take in the aromas, textures, noises, sensations that illuminate your story. And most importantly, the story is not about me, nor you, rather the place. The purpose of penning an experience is to cast light upon a moment in time. A place which is begging to be embraced by a readership across the globe.He closed with a Q&A as I fought to keep my notebook from catching fire- pen blazing an illegible hybrid between long and short form. A lesson with Don George-priceless

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  • And, then this happened– As the third session rolled into place I ran into Samer Abu-Taleb, an associate for the Jordan Tourism Board. Yes, please! How damn fortuitous and how did I not realize he, they would be here? So, I skip the last lesson to have a great conversation with this Jordanian expat. As my readers are well aware, this connection is easily one of the most valuable i’ve made in this career, considering that I have something of an obsession with the Hashemite Kingdom and a blazing passion for the Middle East. We discussed Kanafeh (in case you missed the article in which I profess my love for the Arabian pastry you can catch it here–How To Kanafeh), the need for eco solutions to traditional tourism in the region and the unwavering kindness of Middle Easterners. I’m still high from this meeting.

Tbex closed with a passionate discussion on professionalism and the question of whether or not travel blogging is a sustainable venture–the answer? Yes, and no. In this ever-changing industry between technology and escapism we must be willing to embrace both new and old approaches to success. Without this fluidity we will be left behind with the troglodytes, who still refuse electricity.

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A special thank you to-

  • Alex the Crazy, Sexy, Fun Traveller 
  • Robin at Globetrotting Junkies 
  • Sergio Sala who acted as my unofficial cultural guide while in Mexico. This guy has an addicting personality and I’m excited to see what he can achieve.
  • Tim Anderson. This is one brilliant yet mellow leader in the industry. I’ve been following his work since I began blogging and I insist that you check out his brain child Marginal Boundaries based in Palenque. If all goes well i’ll be joining them in a travel blog boot camp this winter. So i’m extremely to have made this connection.
  • Maggie aka Mags On The Move
  • Don George
  • Tim Leffel
  • Dave and Deb with The Planet D
  • Rick Calvert with New Media Expo. I had the pleasure of hanging out with this guy on the opening night and, man, this is one authentic, thoughtful human.
  • Nathanial Boyle with the Daily Travel Podcast. We met by chance, in passing really, and just hit it off. In the last hours of Tbex we discussed podcasting, Mexican buffets and his insane journey across the globe. Since returning home i’ve been listening to this podcast religiously. Interviewing people such as Chris Guillebeau and C.C. Chapman these podcasts are massively inspiring for anyone within the industry.

*It would be a hell of a task to drop all the names of those who guided and enlightened me along this journey.

Overall I came to understand the authority we hold as bloggers and leaders in the industry. It is our duty to represent the planet from a perspective that will promote sustainable travel and remain compassionate to other cultures, industries and the environment.

To all of those who have supported my writing and venture into this uncharted territory, thank you. I do realize the importance of my readers and am fully aware that you are just as valuable as my content. So, again, thank you.

This coming together of people in support of one another was truly love made visible.

–Nicholas Andriani

 

Under Construction

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You may have noticed many changes here at Yallah’Bye. In fact, we’re now operating under the banner of Nicholas Andriani–reserving Yallah’Bye for my manuscript alone. Over the next week pages will come and go as we transform this site into a portfolio to showcase my writing and promote my memoir “Yallah’Bye.”

Expect to see many changes. The addition of video, more guest bloggers, weekly features, new art, fresh recipes and experimental features.

I will continue to blog, as per usual, in my slow motion kind of way. For me, it’s all about taking one’s time. To soak in my surroundings, become grounded, enjoy all things from the cellular level to the cosmic. Slow food, slow travel, slow writing, slow-poke–that’s me.

I’m extremely excited to reveal our new vision with you.

As always–Yallah’Bye

 

Sketching Sights: Burma on My Mind

Burma on my mind

Before the world can truly reveal itself you must take a period of meditation. A time of reflection. To pre-game, to set a cosmic course of action by stating your intentions and making them manifest. This is the driving force behind Sketching Sights. To become one with the elements of each and every environment that strikes me.

Dreaming of old Bagan I left brush and paint to guide themselves across the stars and secure my itinerary.

Burma on my mind

Scattered about the enchanting valley of Bagan are the remains of some 2,000 structures (monasteries, temples and pagodas). Historically this land housed over 4,000–each one thoughtfully placed and with purpose.

With this country of monks, gold clad domes and incantations opening its doors I see no other location more relevant to our cause at Yallah’Bye. That is, to document indigenous cultures at risk in this world of globalization.

Burma 2015?

Until next time–Yallah’Bye

Rally For A Two-State Solution

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Last weekend I took part in a polarizing protest.

And, I want you to know, dear reader, before proceeding, that I hold no anti-muslim nor anti-semitic sentiments. My opinion is neither religious (for some they sure have made it out to be) nor ethnic (for some they sure have made it out to be).

I’ll let my friends at the organization Jewish Voice for Peace take over for a moment-

This is a bloody mess, and pointing fingers will only breed hysteria. The blame game needs to end and we must lay the groundwork for a new era in Israeli/Palestinian relations.

This needs to start at home. By educating ourselves thoroughly and logically.

Avoid the media. Apparently, their responsibility to share unbiased news is far less important than swaying viewers for greater profit. They perpetuate half-truths and hype, lacking humanity and self-respect.

Drop the religions, the preconceptions. Look to the facts. Be rational and calm. Forget Israel, forget Palestine. Forget all emotion you’ve invested in this conflict and read the history of these two nations independent from what you’ve been told your whole life. Start from the beginning and formulate your own conclusion. Because, I promise you, it won’t be that which Fox news is screaming in their own brand of terrorism.

I condemn them. Fox News, Israel, Hamas. Way to perpetuate violence. “Eye for an eye”, how Babylonian. (That’s so 1772… BCE) Real progressive.We must look to the philosophies of Gandhi, of Mandela and others who overcame apartheid with astounding results by instigating a non-violent movement.

Wherever your allegiance lies, just remember that we can only get through this together. Right, left, Jew, Muslim, Christian, whatever–we need each other, and we have to acknowledge this with compassion.

Though I stand in support of a two-state solution I remain hand in hand with Palestine.

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Photo credit to Jo Larmore

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Photo Credit to Alma Habib

 


I wanted to wish all the Muslims out there a merry Eid al-Fitr. Sending good vibes your way, despite the major gastronomy-envy I’m feeling!

Until next time–Yallah’Bye

 

Abbot Kinney Part II: ZenBunni

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We stumbled away from Another Kind of Sunrise high on good food and despite this the lure of chocolate never wore off. I felt like a child longing for a view into Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. Knowing that what lies beyond contained the secret of cacao alchemica; that is, the transformation of cacao from plant to biodynamic and holy confections.

Rounding the alley we found ourselves in the presence of a true American pioneer- ZenBunni

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Overturned turtle shells emit a soft glow as they light a path through the rabbit hole.

Bohemian and whimsical in equal measure the storefront carries the timeless essence of passion and sustainability. After repurposing an old broom closet husband and wife -Zen and Bunni- created this space using clay and mud from their property outside Los Angeles. If that isn’t admirable enough, this was followed by a final dusting of cacao powder (the walls are chocolate!). Thus encouraging any and all to take a trip down the rabbit hole.

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Packets of hand selected chocolate mingle with pine cones and antlers on display for a quick fix.

Below the counter ten artfully prepared recipes await for you to explore the world of dopamine enhancers.

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This is the kind of chocolate in which it’s a shame to chew. That which you’re drawn to for the sensation of all those well balanced compounds like phenylethylamine and cannibinoids; a recipe for childlike giddiness.

We sample the “Lost Salt of Atlantis” following up with an order for the Rainbow Pack (which comes with 9 chocolates and a little crystal) and several bars (Maui Turmeric Ginger, Cali Almond and the Shiva Rose). It’s hard not to smile after breaking a bar in your mouth. Sit back and let the good times roll. But know your limit. Between Jaclyn and myself, we could have cleaned out this store in one sitting!

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With one final pass we bid farewell to Zen as our last day in Los Angeles comes to a close.

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In the alleyway between ZenBunni and Another Kind of Sunrise.

Our original plan had us on the road, leaving L.A. at 9am. It was just past noon as we left ZenBunni. And that is how to travel consciously.

Abandon your precepts and break the rules. Otherwise ZenBunni, Another Kind of Sunrise would have been nothing more than chalkboards I probably wouldn’t have seen and Abbot Kinney just another place-name on a map.

One last thing–ZenBunni is up for a Guinness World Record for smallest chocolate shop. How cool is that?!

until next time–yallah’bye

 *Photo credits to Jaclyn Joslin

Tbex and The Great Travel Writers Campaign

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Calling all philanthropists, all investors. This year brings my first opportunity to attend the travel writers conference, Tbex, in Cancun, Mexico and i’m looking for a little support in the financial arena. Now, I know that sounds like a load of drunken debauchery in the midst of Maya ruins but there is just so much more to it!

Between the 11th and 14th of September, Tbex will include one-on-one networking with experts in the travel industry. Writers, businesses, publishers and masters of this or that field. Three days of lectures, classes, and hands-on training. All of which could propel me from the seat of an amateur to a full-time professional travel writer.

Since 2012 i’ve been working on my memoir chronicling archaeological research and cultural exchanges across the Middle East. A time immediately after the great Arab Spring and before the hopes and dreams of the Syrian uprising became a brutal civil war. By attending this conference I will be able to pitch my manuscript to a wide audience of publishing houses while also making my name relevant.

Here are the links to my campaign and to the official Tbex site.

If nothing more please share this campaign with your community. Any support would be extremely appreciated. All sponsorship and contributions will be noted.


 

A special thank you to my first donor Kaori Nishimoto of Fragments of Travel. Kaori “Likes traveling, talking with locals, and finding “common” in different culture”. Her Instagram feed dazzles from Morocco in the west to Japan and China in the East. With an eye for detail she captures the soul of travel through the art of photography. Do be sure to pay a visit to her site.

33% funded thus far!

Thank you and Yallah’Bye

Abbot Kinney Part I: Another Kind of Sunrise

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All cities come equipped with a beating heart. A cultural core that stimulates the genius in urbanites giving them a unique identity to stand apart from the rest of the world. Some cities, like Los Angeles, race to the tune of several hearts and it was on our way out of L.A. that we came across one such nucleus while on the hunt for breakfast in a seemingly deserted town at 9am. IMG_0405

It was reggae music that came first, then voices and finally we found ourselves part of a small crowd, down a tight alley, in front of a makeshift cafe where a young woman stood with confidence between the grinding of coffee beans and noting of detailed orders.  We were the last in what became a line as the crowd dispersed leaving us alone with chef Lela Buttery.

Another Kind of Sunrise

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Biologist and self-described food sorcerer, Lela “yes, my last name really is Buttery,” Buttery projects her addicting personality and revolutionary approach to diet.  Talking us through her own philosophies and menu items such as Buttery Brew and Paleo Granola we were quickly becoming entranced.

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After placing our order (Buttery Brew, Farfurina’s Paleo Granola, a Meri Acai Bowl and a Dandelion-Lavender-Ginger Tea) we set out on a tour around the tight alley.

Not only the chocolatier but a handful of other merchants lie beyond the cafe/cereal house.

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Trail marker. So that Hat-maker, that’s Nick Fouquet-local Mad Hatter=He who made not only a personalized head piece for Madonna but also Pharrell.
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Urban jungle. The alley which holds many, many secrets.
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ZenBunni: It’s clear that there be something magical behind these closed doors. But sadly the doors were locked shut.

Food ready Lela called us back to the cafe at the entrance of this quirky alley.

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With the Buttery Coffee to wash it all down I dove into my Paleo granola a boy and emerged a caveman (no offense Neanderthals), in a complete food-centric rage. Ravaging every morsel of berry and gluten-free granola. All balanced by the tart grass-fed whole-milk yogurt. Jaclyn was equally pleased with her spicy gingery tea and acai bowl.

Lela gave us the rundown on Buttery Coffee and the wrongful villainization of butter in our society. Freshly roasted coffee beans (from Handlebar Coffee) are brewed and married to equal parts ghee and raw coconut oil. It’s royal, decadent, smoothly silken, and seductive. All without being overly sweet. I’ve never been fond of coffee, nor lattes, nor mocha-whatevers. This miraculous concoction spoke my language.

Jaclyn and I move about the cafe, savoring our bowls of cereal and sipping our brews like children with hot chocolate on Christmas morning.

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What treasures are to be found if you follow the trail of the UniWolfCheetah?

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Art and greenery envelop the alley giving it an organic, natural feel.

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*A note on the UniWolfCheeta- Diana Garcia is the mastermind behind these Unicorn-Wolf-Cheetah hybrids which are part of her series titled “I’m Not a Wolf”. Indeed, you are not a wolf. They can be seen down the street on Abbot Kinney, in Mexico City, NYC, and Austin, Texas. This mytical creature gets around, you could say.

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 Only a quarter of the way through the alley we’re ready to move on to the next shop as the rest of Abbot Kinney stirs to life. We meet the owner of ZenBunni, a regular at AKOSunrise as he ordered his breakfast and assured us that the shop would now be open.

On we march to chocolate paradise where the door has been peeled away leading us down a rabbit hole…

Let’s save that for next time


P.S. I can’t close without noting that the food sorcerer, Lela Buttery, authored a book titled We Can Do Butter. It’s an informative goldmine covering sustainable living and sourcing better quality food. Full for recipes, scientific evaluations, and logic the book serves it’s purpose well. If you’re one to question the world of commercially processed foods do take a look at her site.

Abbot Kinney Part II: ZenBunni

until next time–yallah’bye

*All photos taken by Jaclyn Joslin