Monday, June 23, 2014

The Anaheim Packing District

Greetings from the Packing House Anaheim, CA via The Sunshine Grove

On the corner of Anaheim Boulevard and Santa Ana Street sits a Sunkist packing house. From 1919 to 1955 the Packing House served as a part of the Anaheim Orange & Lemon Association where orange growers would deliver their fruits to be packaged and transported around the country on the railways. It makes me wonder how many oranges from the orange groves that used to grow where my house sits traveled through the Packing House. How I remember it as an ice house. You pulled around back and requested bags or even blocks of ice that were carried in trunks or truck beds to celebrations around town. These days the celebration is at the Packing House.

Packing House North Entrance via The Sunshine Grove
The last few years have transformed the site from a rough, empty building to a beautifully redesigned and functional space housing over 20 eateries and community meeting spaces. Although the days when the building was used to sort and pack oranges are gone, the exposed beams, large ceiling windows and original wood floors compliment the new modern touches.

Hammer Bar at The Packing House Anaheim, CA via The Sunshine Grove

Walking in the North entrance you have a view of most of the first floor and atrium. To the front you have the concierge and to the side Studio la Fleur, a little flower shop on carts. To the right you have the Hammer Bar which I think is one of the best put together spaces. The actual bar area is an old trailer hitched to a vintage tractor. Sitting in the bar you feel like you are in a greenhouse, surrounded by plaid and metal vintage camping d├ęcor. Cocktail glasses hang from rakes, with copies of Popular Mechanics laid out for reading while lounging on old tractor seats. My favorite cocktail? A Twist of Cane: rum, fresh-pressed cantaloupe, lemongrass syrup and Aloe Vera liqueur.

Adya and Lemon Drop at The Packing House Anaheim, CA via The Sunshine Grove

On the South West side of the building you will find the first of many eateries. Adya isn’t just any Indian restaurant, it focuses on Indian street food. Chef Shachi Mehra’s fare has been a huge favorite; I have yet to hear anyone try something they didn't like. Many people assume Indian food means curry, but this isn't true at Adya. Even if you don’t think you are a fan of Indian, you might be surprised by the Malai Tikka chicken and goat cheese naan – my favorites! Bonus – everything except the bread is gluten free.

Dark 180, buy'n bulk and The Kroft at The Packing House Anaheim, CA via The Sunshine Grove

Chances are you won’t be disappointed by the other food options either. The eateries aren't traditional sit down restaurants, but this isn't a food court either. Community seating between the restaurants allow for variety that can meet your party’s palette. Choose from sushi and ramen from OrangeTei, fish and chips from The Chippy, waffle sandwiches and craft beer at TheIron Press, shabu shabu at Rolling Boil, comfort foods at The Kroft and coming soon is Georgia’s southern cuisine. And don’t forget to grab dessert! Although I haven’t tried it yet, if the line speaks for how good their pops are, Pop Bar serves gelato on a stick with dipping options like chocolate and nuts. Since ice cream is my favorite treat, you’ve probably seen me in line for Han’sHomemade Ice Cream. Crafted from cream from local dairies, this ice cream is delish. I suggest the peanut butter ice cream with chocolate ribbon.

Outdoor seating and Chippy at The Packing House Anaheim, CA via The Sunshine Grove

I love the culinary and dietary variety that come together under one roof at The Packing House. Raw Chef Jenny Ross’ Lemon Drop serves cold pressed juices, smoothies and a variety of other raw and vegan foods. Have you ever thought a delicious breakfast would be slices of avocado topped with berries? Me neither until I tried it. Since I’m not a full time vegan, I can walk downstairs and visit Wheat & Sons Butcher/Rotisserie for locally sourced grass fed meats. I’m thinking a perfect summer day would include a fresh squeezed juice, then a whole chicken or sausages for barbecuing in the afternoon.

The Packing House East entrance via The Sunshine Grove

Don’t forget to visit the outside spaces for relaxing in the shade. Railcars that used to pull up next to the building to transport citrus throughout the country now sit stationary as outdoor eating spaces. Just outside the East of the building is a grassy area with plenty of seating including rocking chairs and a fireplace. Take a seat on North side of the building’s first floor rocker or ground level lounging areas and enjoy the view of Farmer’s Park.

Sustainable Sam and Farmer's Park via The Sunshine Grove

When I first walked inside of the Packing House on opening day I was impressed. What I saw far exceeded my expectations and I thought, “This is ours.” The way the Packing District (Packing House, Farmer’s Park & Packard Building) has been developed is one with the history of Anaheim. There aren't many historic buildings left in Anaheim, and to give these life again is celebrating the past, present and future. During the media tasting welcome address, Shaheen Sadhegi of The LAB Holdings, who has developed the area, said the Packing District was designed with “localization, customization and personalization” in mind. He referenced how post WWII America’s interest was in mass consumption, but these days people are looking to make their own goods or buy local goods. That to me is part of what building a community is all about.

The Packing House Anaheim, CA via The Sunshine Grove

There’s a group of us that frequently run into each other at restaurants, Center Street or even the Anaheim Brewery. These meetings aren't always planned, many times they are just by chance. We call each other neighbors even if we live streets or miles apart. My neighbors and I have been excited to see so many strangers at the Packing House. We imagine there are other groups of friends, probably thinking the same thing about us. Now we have a new place to bump into each other, and even meet new neighbors. 

440 S Anaheim Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92805

Friday, June 20, 2014

Victory Book Club: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams, 2013

The summer of 1938 brought a massive hurricane to the North Eastern Coast known as the Great New England Hurricane. As it pummeled through the fictional town of Seaview, Rhode Island, leaving complete destruction in its path, the hurricane put the future back on course for Lily Dane.

Since Memorial Day weekend a storm has been brewing for Lily. Returning summer after summer to Seaview, Lily comes face to face with her former best friend Budgie, who brings along memories, ghosts and old friends from their last year of Smith College in 1931. A Hundred Summers follows Lily as she slowly rejoins her old friends, appearing to let bygones be bygones. The more she gets to know the friends from her past, the more she reevaluates the events that changed her life 7 years ago.

Although the New England hurricane of 1938 was a historical event, this novel is more of a romance than historical fiction. I almost suggest it could be chic lit for the women of the 1930s, but the novel is more tragic than humorous. If you are looking for a quick beach read filled with gin, lovers and high society drama, A Hundred Summers is worth a try. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Victory Book Club: The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman, 2007

There’s a saying that when we don’t understand the past, it is bound to repeat itself. It is because of that saying that I kept reading The Zookeeper’s Wife. Three times I almost put this book down because I did not expect the horrors of the past to touch the strings of my heart. I can’t say I’ve ever been described as empathetic, however when it comes to animals, I feel a deep compassion. Maybe I read this story wrong, because I felt for the animals, and for the relationships the people had with them. It isn’t that their stories overshadowed those of the people, it is that animals aren’t in control of a war brought on by humans. Regardless, The Zookeeper’s Wife’s story showed me a very different perspective of war. One that I found to be both alarming and generous at the same time.

The book is not a novel, but written from accounts taken from Antonina Zabinski’s diaries. She and her husband Jan were the zookeepers of the Warsaw Zoo during World War II. Along with accounts of other’s that experienced the war in Warsaw and historical events, The Zookeeper’s Wife, chronicles how the zoo helped the underground movement as well as assisted in hiding Poles and Jews in the Villa and animal enclosures of the zoo.
It is Antonina’s way with animals that allows the family to live cohesively with them, as well as use them to protect their friends on the run from the occupation. Hurt, but otherwise wild, animals would be brought to live inside the Villa alongside the family until they were well enough to return to their enclosure. New baby animals would at times become pets for their son Rys, or other visitors of the Villa that were in need of a companion during the war.

When bombs started falling from the sky they did not discriminate animals from people. The war treated everyone equally, leaving death and destruction along the way. Antonina’s story shows the horrors of both the people and animals of Warsaw dealt with, specifically the idea of pureness. Nazis adopted the belief that animals, like people, should be pure Aryan. Zoos were looted for their best animals and sent to German zoos, while the ones left behind were often killed for sport.

Although the Zabinski family and most of the Villa’s visitors survived, many animals didn’t. As an animal lover I find it commendable that the zookeeper’s wife and other guests of the Villa took to protecting animals as best they could during the occupation of their city. I know I wouldn’t dream of leaving my pets behind, and it is comforting to know that my sentiments have been shared in times of darkness for all animals. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Community Bazaar

This weekend I took my vintage on the road for the first time. I attended the Community Bazaar handmade and flea market as a seller, and of course as a buyer. I was already in love with this event since it was a mix of handmade goods and vintage, but it was also being held at one of my favorite places in Anaheim; Community. I shared an indoor store space with The BeesKnees Vintage, who has amazing Pyrex, Fire King and Hazel Atlas pieces for sale.

To top it off, The Makery was hosting a rummage sale for craft goods. I dropped off some excess crafting goodness earlier in the week and had a sneak peak, but during the Bazaar I was too overwhelmed with the amount of amazing craft goods people were detaching themselves from. I ended up with the cutest retro zoo print pillow case and wood beads. I have my fingers crossed that a beautiful pink flower print fabric is still around later this week. Talk about buyer’s regret if it isn’t because it would make for a fabulous shirt dress.

My loot! Metal pin leg table and picnic handbag from The Mexican Picker, vintage zoo pillowcase and wood beads from The Makery Rummage Sale & yellow Pyrex fridge dish.

To be honest, it should have been a trading post, since there was quite a bit of buying from other vendors. I suppose that’s what you get when you bring together vintage and handmade lovin’ friends.

The Sunshine Grove vintage & wood goods will be at the next Community Bazaar on July 5th and August 2nd from 8 am to 1 pm at Community: 423 S Brookhurst St. Anaheim, CA.