Thursday, November 13, 2008


We asked Alfred Tse for a restaurant recommendation and he suggested 'Mission 261' on South Mission Drive. It's right across the street from the wonderful San Gabriel Mission.

Along with the Mission, the historic building housing the restaurant is worth a trip to San Gabriel. Besides, it's a charming little 'arty' community. Walking in, past the arcade of amazing Bouganville, probably as old as the Mission, we entered to find a wedding party in full swing. For those of you who were on our amazing trip to China, you'll appreciate hearing about the huge framed photograph of the bride and groom (on an easel) that greeted us along side the very same happy couple.
We were wisked away to an inner courtyard where we quickly discoved that amongst the 800 or so people (three wedding parties) we were THE ONLY NON CHINESE. Everyone looked at us as if we had taken the wrong turn on the road somewhere.
It's worth a trip to '261' to see the grapevine in the center of the open air patio where we were seated all by our lonely selves. Planted over a hundred years ago, it's probably 30 feet high and had clusters of beautiful purple grapes. Heavenly!!!

Ordering was again just like being in China and the menu was certainly not Panda Inn variety. I was salivating for Peking Duck and Charles being the kind hearted gentleman that he is went along. Soup is always a big winner with me and here we encountered our first problem as Charles understood it to come in two small bowls which would have been perfect. The Olympic sized bowl that arrived had us shall I say, overwhelmed? Ordering vegetables is not an easy matter. Again, no mixed veggies as at the Panda, no, you get one pick and again Charles wanted brocolli. The waiter seeing a Chinese 'Gringo' informed us that it was 'Chinese' brocolli. "Fine" says C.P. When it arrived we thought it was all the C. Broccoli in San Gabriel!
Now I have to tell you that I LOVED the Peking Duck. Poor C.P. was not so inclined even with all my encouraging to "here, you must try the's wonderful". Well, let's remember that duck's are fatty little creatures and that was just too much for Charles as he declared the whole meal to be "perfectly awful!" (Up all night to prove it.) Remember, he subsisted on rice only throughout China!
Well, we (I) did our best. Considering that there was enough food for eight people (the duck even had four that's some duck!) there was quite a bit remaining. We were given the check and NO FORTUNE COOKIES. Don't be surprised. Did you ever see one in China?
For more information:

No comments:


There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.