Oakland Installation Dispatch

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Ene and James lay tiles for the Kente pattern

I’m recouping from a second challenging week installing our Oakland Fusion project. By the end of the week we had laid up the first quarter of two murals, and got over the hurdle of working off the ground, using a new adhesive with a shorter pot life. I measure and mix the epoxy in a shady spot on the ground, then James ‘butters’ the panels, slowly combing the gew with a saw-toothed trowel. Ene applies the tiles in rows, beginning at the bottom and going up. It took us a day to get the proportions right and choreograph the moves, with the adhesive kicking off quickly in direct sun, applied to warm metal, but we were relieved to find a comfortable groove yesterday, which will carry us through the remaining installation over the next week and a half.

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chef Lacey Sher, Andrew McLester (seated), Linda Braz and chef Eric Tucker

The highlight of the week was when Ene and I were invited to attend a five course, vegetarian meal conceived¬† of and cooked collaboratively¬† by chefs Lacey Sher and Eric Tucker, currently Executive Chef at Millenium Restaurant in San Francisco. The meal featured pairings of unusually distinctive wines from the Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties, distributed by Andrew McLester of Real Wines Company. Lacey lives in the building hosting our ‘residency’ where she will be opening a vegetarian wine bar this summer called Encuentro. The meal and flight of wines was intended as an introduction to the future offerings of Encuentro, and Lacey and her collaborators did a superb job introducing each new dish and flavor. The food was inventive, original, healthy, delicious and fun, and the wines tended to be mineral-y, low in alcohol and strong with simple, fruity nose and deep texture. Ene and I both had a wonderful night and left feeling oddly happy and alert. Here’s the menu:

Appetizer: sweat pea cakes with curried cashew cream; pea sprouts and crisp spring onions; crispy baby fava beans; pickled baby spring vegetables

Soup: cream of stinging nettle with lemon thyme cream and popover

Salad: potato terrine wrapped in braised leak leaves with smoky pimenton aioli atop a spring salad of strawberries and marcona almonds

Entree: crisp filo purse filled with farro and goat cheese with a fava bean/asparagus and morel mushroom ragout

Dessert: a selection of cheeses; dried black mission fig tart; vice chocolates

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