One sunny Sunday this past September, we gathered to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fall on Rancho San Julian. I had invited my talented friend Carmen Ruez de Huidobro to join us to show us how she makes her delicious paellas. Carmen, who was born and raised in Madrid, Spain, now resides in Los Angeles with her handsome husband and two adorable children. We met many years ago, immediately connected, and have been dreaming of working together ever since. This paella event was our dream, come true.
I also invited a very talented local artist, Viktoriya from FOLD, to come and share her talents. Together we set a beautiful table with freshly cut flowers and greenery from around the ranch and Viktoriya's beautiful table linens.
After a lively, hands-on paella class (and some gazpacho), the guests joined me for a tour of the grounds and a discussion about life on a working cattle ranch. We ended the tour under the century old arbor, where we ate our seafood and chicken paellas, along with a green citrus salad from our garden and fresh bread, accompanied by delicious, locally-made granacha and albarino wines from Pierre LaBarge and Brad Potter of LaBarge.
As the sun began to set behind the hills, we served hot coffee and almond cake with whipped honey cream, and I toasted everyone who had come to share in this beautiful celebration of our last summer harvest.
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Photographs by Annie Meisel