Lemon Poppy Kitchen

This is where I ate before my first Community Woodshop session. I was encumbered with bags upon bags of wood, laptop, cameras, and would walk from here to the woodshop (not far).

I was a little early for the shop to open, so I began designing at the table. Two women next to me suddenly engaged me, asking what exactly I was doing. Secrets! But also I told them. We were a table apart and they had the curiosity, outgoing tendencies, and friendly demeanors that I so cherish.

Chilaquiles, Fresh OJ  on the first visit > 

BBQ Pulled Pork Hash, Coffee>>

Community Woodshop

I begin looking for access to some type of woodworking studio, because I realize that being on other people’s time and equipment is hard to do. The type of work, nor the amount of time needed to complete it, is not set in stone yet. I’ve already tapped my buddy Charlie’s dad, Kenny, to help me chainsaw some stumps of Eucalyptus and Cedar. Old high school teammate, peer, and buddy Patrick offered up his grandfather’s watch repair workshop as a space. I needed my own to accomplish - in a short amount of time - the avocado board.

After some research, I found Community Woodshop LA. This is where I needed to be, and so without haste signed up for a safety orientation ($80) and monthly membership ($80).

It’s located in Eagle Rock/Glassell Park among other artist studios and spaces.

"Avocado Love"

It was amazing to arrive at the California Avocado Festival on Sunday 10/4, and even before restoring the EZ-UP tent to full sail, a handful of folks came by saying "I read about your boards in the paper this morning!" What a joy that was! Below is the clipping from the Santa Barbara News-Press. Thanks to Jjoe Woodard for the write-up and the quote! What a nice thing to do.

Con Permiso

con permiso: Spanish, “with permission"

You normally announce “con permiso" when at somebody’s door or gate, wanting to enter. Perhaps you can’t see anyone around and want to let them know you are there. In Guatemala, I found myself drawn to the beauty of the country’s universally practiced etiquette. In Central America, you announce ”con permiso" when entering homes or restaurants, to hear the entire place reply “¡Buen provecho!” collectively, translated to “may the food go down well or be of benefit (provecho) to you.”

The idea for the Avocado Board inserted itself into my routine daydreaming and ideation on the sales floor of my retail-merchandising job in New York, approximately one year ago. Before the board came the inspiration.

The turn of the new year from 2010-2011 brought me to a friend’s home in San Francisco, CA. Her family prepared a dinner whose beginning was marked by an “Avocado Salad.” I expected a creamy portion of cubed avocado and garden vegetables, but in front of me sat a perfectly ripe, halved Hass - naked. Her mother filled the seedless cavity with a house-made vinaigrette dressing, and at my inquisition, informed me just to use my spoon and scoop out the flesh.

Since this meal, I have changed personal understanding on how to eat the fruit. I eat whole avocados on a whim, as a quick and healthy meal, and in almost any setting. Plain avocados are one of the more “functional” and approachable foods I can think of, akin to an apple or banana. Yet most avocado consumers probably never think this same way.

Which is why I thought to design a vessel - a tray, a platter, a simple board - that would do three things:

Encourage avocado consumption.

Plain and simple: people should know about avocados. There is life beyond guacamole. And it begins with the healthy, fatty, protein-rich green of an avocado, combined with bouts of culinary creativity.

Introduce a new experience for those who already enjoy the fruit.

There is certainly a large contingency of people who love avocados. Some people may already know that for a quick snack or appetizer-size meal, all one must do is halve an avocado, remove the stone, either dress it or not dress it, and scoop with a spoon. 

Create a simple solution to a small problem.

I kept thinking about this idea to encourage more avocado consumption by  introducing this specific experience of eating a simple “Avocado Salad.” Suddenly, my mind saw only one solution: to create a deep enough serving vessel with a carved-out-hollow in the shape of an avocado half. A restaurant, café, or market could serve avocados, halved and removed in entirety from the skin, on a handsome and functional board. The use of a specialty board would remove all difficulty and messiness from eating an avocado if it were simply placed on a plate, liable to roll around in the hands of the consumer. 

In line with the spirit of the first Avocado Salad, I like the idea of creating one’s own dressing borne of personal taste. The best way to do this, I felt, was the inclusion of another set of smaller recessed holes on the board to present the mise-en-place for a salad dressing. You make the salad dressing on one side of the board, empty the contents of your dressing into the place where an avocado stone once was, and enjoy as-is.

Thus, the Avocado Board was born! It only took about a year of letting the idea absorb, several trips to California, and many “firsts” to design and cultivate the pursuit of a newfound passion.

Thanks for any and all support, now and in the future.

¡Buen Provecho!