We Support Small! Featuring: Local Press + Brew

Here at SOHOSTORY, we love supporting other small businesses here in Dallas and all over! We will be featuring some of our favorite small businesses, beginning with Local Press + Brew.

Local Press + Brew basking in the beautiful 7am sun as it slowly rises up over the treetops.

Local Press + Brew basking in the beautiful 7am sun as it slowly rises up over the treetops.

Located at 1605 N Beckley Ave, this charming cafe is a welcome addition to the Bishop Arts area. The staff are warm, friendly, and experts on the neighborhood as they all live nearby. Their knowledge and love of the craft and technique of both coffee and juice is inspiring.

Delicious baked goods from local bakery,  Reverie Bakeshop .

Delicious baked goods from local bakery, Reverie Bakeshop.

Owners Tiffany Vance and Ben Johnson started Local Press + Brew because they are passionate about providing fine coffee, fresh juice, and an intimate community space featuring arts and crafts from local artists.

Tiffany Vance, owner of Local Press + Brew.

Tiffany Vance, owner of Local Press + Brew.

The bright clean airy space is warm and inviting, perfect for enjoying a cup of coffee at any time during the day!

The bright clean airy space is warm and inviting, perfect for enjoying a cup of coffee at any time during the day!

A little nook to enjoy a coffee or juice with friends...

A little nook to enjoy a coffee or juice with friends...

Or a pretty setting to spread out and work.

Or a pretty setting to spread out and work.

Every cup of coffee is made to order so it’s guaranteed to be both fresh and exactly what you want. Their beans are from local fair trade small-batch roaster Noble Coyote.

Hoyoung's favorite was the “Nut-Shaken Latte,” made with fresh homemade almond milk.

Local Press + Brew makes the most delicious Nut-Shaken Lattes with their  freshly pressed almond milk and  refreshing  cold brew on tap from  Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters.

Local Press + Brew makes the most delicious Nut-Shaken Lattes with their freshly pressed almond milk and refreshing cold brew on tap from Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters.

They also have Holy Kombucha on tap!

They also have Holy Kombucha on tap!

Local Press + Brew fresh presses juices daily.

Their juice is served in glass bottles, not plastic, because juice is better experienced in glass.

With so many delicious choices, we could not decide on one. We had the juice flight and got to try 8, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

The bright colors of the juices, filled to the brim in sake glasses, look like little wells of paint.

The bright colors of the juices, filled to the brim in sake glasses, look like little wells of paint.

My favorite juice was the “Cacao Milk,” which includes raw cocoa powder, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and dates. 

We highly recommend stopping by Local Press + Brew if you are ever in Bishop Arts area!

A Food Shoot at SPORK

 
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Recently we had the privilege of shooting for SPORK, a new restaurant in North Dallas. Although Sojung and I have worked together on many shoots, this was our first time both photographing food and taking pictures together. I shot on my Fuji X-T1 camera and Sojung used the iPhone for their social media posts.

The week before the shoot, we purchased a video course from Creative Live on how to style and photograph food. We grabbed a bag of chips and settled in to watch the videos together. 8 hours later, we were filled with information and ready to begin planning the shoot.

I love learning new things, so photographing a new subject was a great opportunity for me. I’ve shot hundreds of people, but I didn’t realize how different it would be to photograph food and not skin. Greasy foods like cheese and fries absorb light much differently than skin. It is helpful to light food from the back instead of overhead or to the side like a typical headshot.

Food is often shot with a back light because to show texture and volume; lighting from the front can make food look flat and unappetizing.

Food is often shot with a back light because to show texture and volume; lighting from the front can make food look flat and unappetizing.

However, I started the day feeling unprepared. I left my tethering cable at the studio, which meant that I was only able to view the images on the back of my camera instead of the computer. I was already out of my comfort zone, and I felt more anxious after forgetting something.

Also, I wasn’t expecting the food to settle so quickly. Cheese, especially, melted quickly and soon looked like it had sat out for hours instead of 10 minutes. There was a salad we had to quickly but carefully layer with pickled radishes and beets so it didn’t look like a green muddle with toppings. Meanwhile more dishes were coming out of the kitchen.

We worked fast with the Caesar salad and fried egg that still had a runny yolk. We couldn't have the yolk filming over!

We worked fast with the Caesar salad and fried egg that still had a runny yolk. We couldn't have the yolk filming over!

During this shoot, I learned that I really need to stick with my gut instinct. I was constantly thinking about the kinds of photos I was used to seeing in magazines and advertisements. I was tempted to copy other people’s styles without first thinking about what I wanted the shot to look like. When I stuck with my vision instead of only what I had seen other people do, the pictures turned out much better.

Instead of shooting in the studio like I normally do, I used the natural light that spilled in from the floor-to-cieling windows of the restaurant. We used six different locations throughout the space for the fifteen dishes and five cocktails we photographed.

The Grape Ape is a deliciously refreshing cocktail.

The Grape Ape is a deliciously refreshing cocktail.

It was interesting to photograph small objects instead of people. With people, I can take almost unlimited shots until I get the right one. But food and drink settle quickly, and I only have a few minutes for each dish. It was exhilarating to get out of my normal routine and rethink what I want photos to look like.

Working quickly to get iPhone shots of the milkshake before the whipped cream melted away completely - we had to re-top it twice!

Working quickly to get iPhone shots of the milkshake before the whipped cream melted away completely - we had to re-top it twice!

Five hours and fifteen dishes later, both of us were worn out. But we enjoyed working together and learning so much. We also enjoyed all the food we ate throughout the day, especially the Flank Steak Sandwich and the Smoke Bacon Sandwich.

Flank Steak Sandwich - The steak and the fried egg were perfectly cooked.

Flank Steak Sandwich - The steak and the fried egg were perfectly cooked.

Smoked Bacon Sandwich

Smoked Bacon Sandwich

We can’t wait to go back to SPORK again!

All photos were taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera.

Joyce & Gigi's | Dallas, Tx

Back in March, Hoyoung photographed some of the chefs nominated for CultureMap's Dallas Tastemakers 2014. Gigliola Aguilera of Joyce & Gigi's Kitchen was one of those.

Joyce & Gigi's Kitchen is a modern South-American restaurant on the East side of Dallas. I know absolutely nothing about South American cuisine so I was a little worried that I would feel intimidated by the menu and not know what to order. However, I was delightfully surprised. When you walk in, the atmosphere is bright and comfortable, like you've stepped into a home kitchen.

The interior is unpretentious and so is the menu. The selection is well curated with a variety of beef, pork, chicken, and fish dishes for appetizers and main courses, plus a vegetarian entree that I need to come back for.

We visited the restaurant on Wednesday a little after they opened at 5pm. We are so glad that we came at an hour where it was not so busy so that we could take our time and enjoy all of the food. We also took advantage of the happy hour prices - half off all cocktails and all appetizers.

As we drooled over the menu, our lovely waitress, Arelli, brought us two slices of warm buttery bread with Chimichurri butter to start. The slightly sweet bread and the subtly spicy butter was so good.

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We ordered the Empanada Trio to start.

Each one is filled differently; all are very good.

Later in the kitchen, we got to see one of the sous chefs rolling out dough for the Empanadas. Everything here is homemade, from scratch, by loving hands.

I also ordered a G's Punch, a cocktail with whiskey, peaches and orange zest bitters. By far, this is my favorite mixed drink with whiskey I've ever had! It was generous in size, too, so I was able to sip on it throughout my entire meal.

After we were finished with the Empanadas, Arelli recommended that we try the Pâté next. Hoyoung and I were unsure about it because it was made of beef heart, which neither of us have ever tried. She reassured us that it was very good, that it would be on her if we did not like it. Any doubts we had about the Pâté went away with the delicious first bite. Texturally, the Pâté is not creamy like I expected but more crumbly. It was rich and full of flavor - the sweet pickled onions on top ever so slightly offset the richness of the Pâté. 

Chef Gigi herself later greeted us at our table and asked us if we'd like to try the Escabeche next. "It is a light and refreshing contrast to the richness of the Pâté."

And it was.

Citrus Chilean Sea Bass is served with an apple cider vinegar broth, surrounded by currants and fennel, topped off with julienned fried plantains.  It was my favorite appetizer out of the three.

After consuming bread and butter plus three different appetizers, we were ready for the main course. Hoyoung and I decided that we would be "responsible" and just order one entree.

We chose the Pescado Sudado.

This dish also had Chilean Sea Bass, but seared and over a Yuka Root Cake with asparagus. The textural combination of the flaky fish and the creamy potato-like Yuka Root with the dried chili broth was delicious.

For dessert, we ordered the Manjar - caramelized bananas topped off with meringue. My stomach was feeling very full by the time dessert came out, but once I caught a whiff of the sweet smells of the caramelized bananas, I was ready to eat. The soft and gooey bananas were very good and the meringue just so sweet.

While we waited for dessert, we snapped portraits of each other - the light that spills into the restaurant is spectacular.

Overall, we had such a great time at Joyce & Gigi's. We will definitely be coming back again for the great atmosphere and the delicious food.

Learn more about them on the Joyce & Gigi's Kitchen website.

All photos were taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera.