A Farmer’s Market Recipe for The Books

What is it about farmer’s markets that just puts on a smile on your face? We’re lucky enough to live in an area teeming with them! And every neighborhood seems to put it it’s own twist on the tried and true farmer’s market formula. Last week we headed to Old Oakland’s farmer’s market in the heart of Downtown Oakland for a change of pace and to get inspired by the gorgeous produce currently in season. There’s something about strolling in the sunshine through aisles of beautiful fruits and veggies that completely takes away the chore (and bore!) of coming up with what to cook for dinner. You actually feel like you’re doing something fun – because you totally are! Trips to market {with a super cute market bag, of course!} are one of our favorite things to do ever. And with our new food contributor, Zoe, by our side, we were all set to dream up a simple and delicious recipe highlighting locally grown food!


Currently, plump tomatoes abound – perfect for Caprese salads or fresh salsa – juicy plums are making their way to the market and look SO Instagram worthy and eggplants, of all varieties including many we didn’t know existed, are just begging to be cooked up into something yummy. Naturally, we couldn’t leave without throwing a little bit of everything in our bag because the truth is, you can never have enough fresh ingredients to cook with. One of the best things about the neighborhood markets is their accessibility. With only $20 bucks on hand, you literally can get a sampling of everything. You can even throw in a bouquet of fresh flowers to boot!


Zoe, our new recipe whisperer, was super inspired by the speckled, funny shaped Chinese eggplants so we picked a handful of them up for dinner. Zoe has a simple, healthy approach to food that we love. She came up with a recipe for those Chinese eggplants that’ll change how you cook them forever! It’s loaded with flavor yet still highlights the main ingredient – those gorgeous purple veggies. Make it as a side for any upcoming meal and enjoy!


Miso-Ginger Caramelized Eggplants

A dozen Chinese eggplants of all sizes
3 Tbsp sesame seeds for topping

For the miso dressing:
2 Tbsp miso paste
2 Tbsp mirin (sake would also work, you just need to add 1 tsp of sugar with it)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients for the miso dressing together.

Wash, dry and slice the eggplants lengthwise. Score their flesh with a knife and spread the dressing on top with a brush.

Place the eggplants on an ovenproof dish in the oven for about 25min or until golden brown, broil during the last 3min to get them slightly caramelized.

Spread the sesame seeds over the eggplants and serve.


While it seems like we can stumble upon an amazing farmer’s market around nearly every corner in the Bay Area, many many areas of the country are not so fortunate. And it turns out there are areas that go without right in our own backyard. We recently learned through Naked Juice’s Drink Good Do Good program that 58,000 people in SF alone live in what are known as Food Deserts {a city neighborhood without access to fresh produce}. No access to fresh produce means our neighbors aren’t able to lead the healthiest lives they can live. By raising awareness of this lack of access to fresh fruits and veggies, Naked Juice is donating pounds of produce to these underserved communities. Cool, right? They’ve also made it really easy for us all to play a part. Just by posting an Instagram holding a fruit or vegeatable with the #DrinkGoodDoGood, Naked Juice will donate 10 lbs. of produce to Wholesome Wave on your behalf with the goal of donating 500,000 lbs of fresh food. That’s a selfie we can actually endorse.

So this weekend we encourage you to ditch brunch or the dinner out. Instead, go support your local farmer’s market Saturday morning and enjoy the plethora of summer produce before it’s gone. The prices of produce and the quality of the food is just so much better than you often find at the grocery store. Plus, by shopping them, you’re supporting local growers and eating healthier. Double yatzee! We’re excited to launch our new Market to Table recipe series in partnership with Naked Juice. Be sure to check back every week to see what we cook up next! You can also learn more about the Drink Good. Do Good initiative here.

original photography and recipe for apartment 34 by zoe armbruster

This post is in partnership with Naked Juice & the Drink Good Do Good campaign. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting posts that keep apartment 34’s doors open. 

Retail Therapy: {Social Studies, Berkeley}

If you’re one of those people that continues to associate Berkeley, CA with dreadlocks, hacky sacks and patchouli, you’re actually missing out. Not only is Berkeley one of the warmer micro-climates in the Bay Area, it’s also a design lover’s dream. Aside from the tried and true block of 4th Street filled with some of my go-to design stores (such as CB2, The Gardener and the Crate and Barrel Outlet), there’s lots of excitement happening a few blocks up on San Pablo Ave. Case in point: Social Studies.


The boutique Social Studies was opened towards the end of 2014 by Lauren Woodward and has since expanded with the recent debut, a men’s store (also located nearby on San Pablo). In addition to the two shops, Lauren and her husband Shawn Weiland recently launched Form + Matter—an all-natural skincare line being carried in their stores as well as online! 


As a former gallery curator, Lauren has an innate eye for good design. Social Studies carries an array of gorgeous goods, including some of my favorites like Riudavets sandals, Wary Meyers candles, Hasami Porcelain and goods from Yield Design Co.

Insider Tip: If you’re a former Southern Californian like myself and sometimes find yourself nostalgic for lazy beach days, this candle basically transports you to the beach. I’m serious. It’s the perfect antidote to “Fogust”. 


On top of the incredible product mix, the retail presentation is truly one of a kind at Social Studies. Putting their architectural and design backgrounds to work, Lauren and Shawn handcrafted all of the display structures from scratch. Suspended tables are hung from the rafters while custom wood fixtures create eye-catching product displays—making the ambiance of the shops as equally alluring as the products inside!


And as if there’s not already enough reason to pay Social Studies a visit, Lauren, Shawn and the rest of the staff could not be nicer. They cheerfully engage with anyone that walks into the shop and won’t hesitate to recommend other local businesses to check out in the neighborhood (ahem, Flowerland). True to Berkeley form, the folks at Social Studies are some of the most humble and down to earth people you’ll encounter in the Bay Area.


In the end, what I love most about this shop is that it gives off a totally Modern California vibe while still paying tribute to its Berkeley roots and the surrounding neighborhood. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, be sure to pay a visit to Social Studies (and then follow it with a drink and a bite at Bartavelle).

Copy and photography by Ali Hartwell for Apartment 34

Santé to Summer: A Must-Do Beach Celebration

When we looked at the calendar last week, we were shocked that it’s already the middle of the summer. Holy****, how did that happen?! But what’s worse than realizing over half the year has gone by? Realizing you’re smack dab in the heart of your favorite season and have YET to actually spend a day at the beach. And you can’t quite call it summer without some sand between your toes, right? So in celebration of San Francisco finally hitting temps that actually feel summer-like {hello, 80 degrees this weekend!}, we wanted to set the scene for the perfect ode to the season – a chic gathering on the sand, perfect for toasting to a summer well spent or, in our case, a summer that is just unfolding!


Sure, you don’t need to over think a day under the sun, but there are definitely some things you can pack to make an escape to the beach feel pretty special. For our set up, we started with a home base – a place to cool off and protect ourselves from the sun. We love this Sombrilla cover – think super cool umbrella tent. It provides a lot of shade – you can easily fit a group of friends under its chic roof, and once it’s pitched you’ve got a place that feels secluded from the crowds!


Once the Sombrilla was up, it was all about creating the ultimate place to lay back and relax. Rather than eat off our laps, we set up a “table” that we made out of a couple of planks of wood. It’s a nice way to elevate things {literally, ha!} and bring them out of the sand! A piece of plywood would even work. We threw down woven blankets, Turkish towels and beach rugs and made things extra comfy with soft floor pillows. Things were quickly starting to look like the perfect setup for a glass of wine and a good book! We could have easily lay there for hours!!


To get ready for our beach buddies, we set out beautiful ceramic plates, antique silverware and vintage glasses to dress up the eating area {all from a local company called Mrs. Peasy, where you can rent out everything you need for a beautiful party!}. We could have opted for paper items, but oysters and rosé are way more enjoyable with the real deal on hand – don’t ya think?! And with drift wood straight from our surroundings, some non-traditional beach themed decor like these ceramic bells, lanterns and some candles, things were pretty much perfect! With the ambiance just right, the fun was sure to go way past sunset.


It is such a treat to be able to gather friends and enjoy amazing weather and beautiful views. With just a little bit of effort, you can put together a day everyone is sure to remember for a long time. Thankfully, we all have a few more weeks of sun to enjoy and we certainly can’t wait to get our toes in the sand again and again. Honestly, we plan to just keep our Sombrilla and beach towels in the trunk of the car, so we’re ready for any spur of the moment beach day!

Looking for more summer entertaining inspiration? CLICK HERE

original photography for apartment 34 by emily scott

This post is in partnership with Hollie & Harrie. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thanks for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34’s doors open.