An Interview with Chef Maeve of Sugar and Scribe

chef-maeveChef Maeve Rochford, The Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship winner is the owner and executive chef of La Jolla’s Sugar and Scribe.

Rochford is enthusiastic and furthermore dedicated to bringing the longstanding baking traditions of Ireland to La Jolla, California.

A descendant of a lengthy line of exceptional Irish bakers dating back to the 1930’s, Chef Maeve carries on the family tradition of the Rochford women, by providing Southern California baked goodies and savories based on recipes that have survived generations of wars and emigration.

Sugar and Scribe focuses on serving breakfast and lunch with sweet and savory Irish cuisine, replete with a measure of attitude straight from the magical Emerald Isle.

What a pleasure it was chatting with Chef Maeve about Sugar and Scribe, her roots, and her decidedly successful career to date.

La Jolla Blue Book: Maeve, we’ve heard through the fresh grape vine that you have some huge fans in La Jolla and way beyond as well, and you’re somewhat of a rockstar with food.

Chef Maeve Rochford: I don’t know about that, but I do love creating food in my own unique way, and then making it from scratch with only fresh vegetables and fruits. I’m just one of those people who was born for a specific task. I’ve loved cooking since I was two. The task of cooking does take being creative, and to some degree inventive. Running a business in a commercial setting takes good leadership as well, and most importantly good team work. As an only child I loved working with a team, and I love working with my team here at Sugar and Scribe now. They’re a melting pot of forty two invaluable individuals, and they’ve been my partners in crime for a long time.

LJBB: You seem you have a great sense of humor, and you mentioned that laughter is an important part of the restaurant business. Why is laughter so important?

CMR: Laughter is critical, especially in the restaurant world. You spend ninety percent of your time either being critical or criticizing. It’s every plate, every egg, every leaf of salad. It’s every detail, every heartbeat. It’s very rare that you allow yourself to hear the positive. Everything you do is gray, and you’re constantly questioning yourself and hearing the negative. So if you don’t have laughter, you will not survive. I’m a non-drinker, but laughter is my bloody mary. I have staff members who know just when to say something that will crack the inner ice queen in me and bring out the Disney girl.

LJBB: For folks who haven’t been to Sugar and Scribe before, what would you like for them to know?

CMR: The most important thing I’d like for people to know is that every single item on the menu here is made in-house daily. From croissants, to our jams and syrups, it’s all made from scratch- that is why I have a huge kitchen staff. They are like my crazy family, and I just can’t live without them. I love my guys on the line. They never call in sick, and they’re are always ready to go. My entire staff is devoted.

Because we make everything from scratch, there’s this very scary feeling of things going wrong because I can’t possibly taste everything myself. I am really dependent on my staff to get it right, and so I’m lucky that they successfully give it their very best every single day. I mean that with all my heart. They have true grit.

LJBB: What do you love most about having a business in La Jolla?

CMR: I love La Jolla! It’s become my home. The community has taken me in like I’m one of their own, the same as if I was born and raised here. It’s insane how nice they’ve been to me from the beginning.


LJBB: Can you name two items off of the menu that you really love?

CMR: If I’m going to go with sweet, I would definitely say my lemon curd pancakes. I think my pancakes are the reason I have a husband. Others seem to love them too. I won an award for one of the best pancakes in Southern California, because they’re just a whole new way of thinking about eating a pancake. I’m more of a savory gal, so I’d definitely have to say our California Benedict with barbacoa is off the charts. With it you get a house-made english muffin, avocado, red onion, house-made mustard ground hollandaise with baracoa, and of course poached eggs. No one really even takes the time to make english muffins anymore. It’s a lost art because it’s a four part process, and most restaurants don’t wanna deal with anything that takes more than two parts.

LJBB: I read that your Irish heritage influences the recipes you create and that they’re generations old. Is it true that you’re still using those recipes? 

CMR: Absolutely, I do use them. Our shepherd’s pie and Guinness beef stew recipes have been in our family for hundreds of years, and passed down from mother to daughter for generations. I’m officially the only American in my family. Everyone else in my family is from Ireland, and most are still there, except for a few cousins that live in London or neighboring cities of Europe. When people ask me where I’m from, I say that I’m American. However when I think of my heritage, I am my heritage. I am Irish.

The baraco I use on the eggs benedict is Mexican, but that’s a good influence of where I currently live.  Avocado is not happening in Ireland, but it is here and in my life now. The hollandaise sauce for the benedict is made with Coleman’s english mustard powder, and there’s nothing more Irish on earth than Coleman’s. Then the english muffin is clearly owned by the Europeans, and I make that from scratch. So, I feel like almost everything I do is a compilation of my heritage and my life now here in La Jolla.

Another example is the lemon curd pancake. Lemon curd in Ireland is like breathing. The Irish love anything that has the word “curd” on the end of it. So when I started to think about making pancakes and how to make them different, I thought of lemon curd. I start my pancakes with a wet ingredient. Pancakes have become very Americanized, but not the way I do it! I made and Irish pancake and I’m winning the hearts of many.

LJBB: You’ve come out with your own bakery line. Can you tell us a little about that?

CMR: Yes, my cakes stands, cake platters, dessert platters, and all of the bakeware comes out in late October. It’s really exciting. I’m excited about the seasonal colors that I chose for the seasons. A lot of the colors I did in an amazing grace celate silicone ware, which is really fun. It will be available online, at Home Goods, and select Bloomingdales.


LJBB: Congratulations on winning the Food Network’s holiday baking championship with your elegant three tiered cake, top with a sleigh. That’s exciting! What was it like, and what have things been like for you since the show? 

CMR: Thanks, it was a very exciting experience. I had a lot of fun on the show. I think that in terms of bakeries, since winning the show, I’ve become known best for my interesting seasonal changes. We don’t have a set menu. What you see on the menu today may not be on it tomorrow, and that’s because we make everything with fresh produce only. My chefs cook with whatever fruits and vegetables are fresh, fun and different that day. One day they’ll be preparing quince muffins and the next dutch apple turnovers.

LJBB: Competing on a huge network show and opening your bakery in the middle of a recession turned out to be a huge success for you. Both of those were probably risks for you as well. Would you consider yourself to be a risk taker?

CMR: I would say that I am a risk taker by nature. I’m a jump now and learn to grow wings as I fall type of a gal, but I would say this: take the risks that are calculated. I know when I started I did not do the best job. I was not the best business person.  

However, I also knew that I was willing to outwork anybody on planet earth. There was just no one who was willing to put more hours in than me, and there was nothing that could detour me from reaching my goal line. I was determined to get there some how, some way. There was no bridge, almost, that I was not willing to burn in my own personal life to succeed and flourish. That’s something that i don’t think a lot of people are willing or even able to do. I don’t have children myself, and so that’s made a big difference for me. From what I’ve learned since I’ve been in the business, if I did have children I would have given it much more consideration, because opening a restaurant of any kind can absorb your life.

The second thing I knew was that I would need a strong team behind me to support me when things became a struggle. I had that team, and they seemed more determined than me to succeed. Thanks to my mother Mary Margret, my husband Andrew and my investor Patrick, I was able to take a risk and jump into the abyss of restaurant life. I’ve had their support from the very beginning, and they’ve been right by my side ever since. I’m here because of them. I’ve always had somebody.

LJBB: What advice would you give to up and coming chefs and restaurateurs?

CMR: My advice would definitely be to find your team, and find people who are willing to take a risk and jump with you. People who are willing to pick you up when you think that you’ve given your last service, or can’t work one more hour. When you’ve work hard on something and it fails, or heard your last bit of criticism. It’s going to happen- I can guarantee it. Just when you think that everything is in place, right there where it should be, it’s all gonna swirl up like a big tornado and say, “nope.” You’re going to need a team for all these reasons and more. You’ll need them so that you can do this- I sure did. Be tenacious. Keep digging and then dig even deeper. Work even harder. Refuse to give up. That’s the one thing I’m blessed to have.

LJBB: What are some upcoming events that we can look forward to?

CMR: We have Willy Wonka Day coming up on September 30th, where we’ll change our menus and transform Sugar and Scribe into the Willy Wonka Factory.

Our head cake decorator Ray will be competing on Food Network’s Halloween Baking Champion starting on September 25th.

And of course our bakery rebuild continues, which we’re all very excited about. We’re redoing the first floor so that it’s more like a high-end coffee bar, and we’re making the pastry section twice as big. When it’s all finished it will amazing!

Come on out to Sugar and Scribe today, Thursday September 21st for complimentary house-brewed coffee and cardamom cookies. Full breakfast & lunch menu will also be available. Doors open at 7:00am!  

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We would like to offer our diverse annual print, web, app and social media marketing/advertising platform to your local business as a way to help you generate new clients and customers to increase your revenue. If you or someone you know would like to see a true increase in their business, customer base or sales, please reach out to us by phone at 858-459-7939. We look forward to sharing information on our successful established diverse advertising resources with you.

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An Interview with Lisa Jacobsen and Jonathan Gall of Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery

CFA Gallery - Orlando & Richen

CFA Gallery – Orlando & Richen

Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery isn’t just any art gallery. It’s a highly acclaimed spot for the passerby and irresistible for the art guru. They feature Paintings, Sculpture and Limited Edition works from Internationally acclaimed artists. Located in Downtown La Jolla, their locations provide unparalleled services in Fine Art Acquisitions and Consulting, Custom Framing, Art Installation, Corporate Collections and Award Design.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Lisa Jacobsen and Jonathan Gall of The Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery.

How long has Contemporary Fine Arts been in La Jolla?

This will be the 25th year for Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery in La Jolla.

For people who aren’t familiar with your gallery, what kind of artwork does CFASD showcase?

We feature contemporary art including abstract, figurative and landscapes. We showcase a wide variety of mediums including oil and acrylic paintings, mixed media paintings, wood, glass, bronze and resin sculpture and also ceramics. We represent both local and internationally known artists. We tend to have long term relationships with our artists. Several have been with us over 20 years. Our sons who are now 23 and 25 have grown up knowing our artists. In fact our eldest son just flew down to Colombia last year to spend a week with the artist we originally opened the gallery to represent: Orlando Agudelo-Botero. Our younger son attends NYU but when he is home in the summers he hangs all of our art exhibits for us. We have also developed long relationships with many of our collectors who have become friends as well.

What is the best part of having a gallery in La Jolla?

We have a loyal following who attend all of our artist receptions and are very supportive of the gallery and any new artists we decide to exhibit. We get to meet a lot of interesting people who share our love for art.

In addition to your gallery, you offer framing. Can you tell us a little about that?

We have two picture framing businesses in the area. Our little design showroom: Art in Framing just moved after 25 years on Wall Street to The La Jolla Village Square on Fay Avenue across the street from “The Village Corner”. We are very happy in our new location. We actually do the framing in our large facility on Morena Blvd: JAG Art, 4390 Morena Blvd just one block before Costco.

We also feature an art showroom at that location. It is very enjoyable to get an opportunity to see the wide range of art and photography we get to frame for our clients. We frame work for many artists and interior designers and also for other galleries.

One of the most enjoyable aspects has been framing children’s art projects for many local schools who then auction off the art for their yearly fund raisers with great success.

Is there anything coming up at your gallery that you would like to mention?

If you have not yet visited the gallery check out our website where we always post our upcoming events and artist receptions. Or follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We hope to see you soon!

For more information on Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery, Click HERE

An Interview with Dennis Wills of D.G. Wills Books


A veritable one-of-a-kind, it’s easy to see why D.G. Wills Books is a true charm in La Jolla. What is more, in our contemporary, progressively and increasingly impersonal, digital society, the attention paid to personalization and the sheer aesthetics of text is simply inspirational and stimulating.

Dennis began advertising with the La Jolla Blue Book back in 1979 when La Jolla was yet the budding seaside beauty of a community it has grown into. Wills has a complete understanding of what it means to construct a business from the ground up, which is precisely what he set out to do and achieve on La Jolla Boulevard the same year he began advertising. Moreover, his community roots in La Jolla complement the little store’s enduring allure and charisma

The diminutive edifice began on a shoestring budget and with an idea born of love. With a couple of borrowed hammers, a rusty old saw, a few friends that believed in his vision, and a smattering of lumber, work began in 1979. Wills began to craft bookshelves from scratch with painstaking dedication and attention to detail. And with his visualization entrenched in his mind for the La Jolla community, he began to stock the store with various books he located and or stumbled upon at area garage, yard and estate sales.

The dream grew quickly and the bookstore came to be a serene haven for lovers of books, intelligentsias and academics, and rankly, right down to the local who was merely seeking an unobtrusive place to sit and peruse a tome or novel away from the noise pollution life often brings.

Dennis’ undying devotion and commitment to knowledge has drawn various scholars, literary critics, myriad students, and professors from universities from around the contiguous United States. With authors such as Plato, Shakespeare, Darwin, and the Bronte sisters, Wills’ rests assured that he stocks a most inimitable selection of books in the literary world. Indeed, the old, antique and difficult to locate books one may find in his store are certainly not carried by the impersonal chain and corporate stores that pander to frivolity. Perhaps best of all is the place he maintains in the hearts of his clientele, those thousands upon thousands who have found this La Jolla niche and veritable treasure trove, and who have had occasion to interact with him on a personal and intellectual level.

We had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Wills about his remarkable bookshop.

The genesis of D.G. Wills Books is really interesting. Did you ever imagine it would become what it is today?

Well, one is never sure when opening a business how long or to what extent it might last; but that said, I chose La Jolla specifically to be near UCSD and the Salk Institute on the premise that the educated community’s interest in scholarly books would make it more likely that we would survive for thirty-six years now;  and that good libraries from retired professors would emerge. We were lucky and honored, for example, to have acquired Nobel Laureate Francis Crick’s library.

Out of all of the literary celebrities who have spoken at D.G. Wills Books, do you have any personal favorites?

Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer and Christopher Hitchens were clearly the most entertaining and witty. Francis Crick and Freeman Dyson were the most brilliant scientists here. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins was the most entertaining poet, although Allen Ginsberg drew the largest and most chaotic crowd, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti was the funniest. Playwright Edward Albee’s appearance was like attending a graduate seminar on theater. Pulitzer Prize journalist Maureen Dowd and Jill Abramson, then Managing Editor of the “New York Times,” were a brilliant team when they appeared here together.

Some may argue that the printed word is dying due to all of these technology advancements. What keeps your passion alive for what you do?

While Kindle and other e-book options have their use, many also continue to prefer to handle the printed page. The passion ever remains as we continue to discover the wonders of knowledge and mystery contained within books.

For people who have never been to your store, what should people know before going to D.G. Wills Books?

We carry new, used and antiquarian books, mainly within academic categories, and “backlist titles” that have passed the test of time, like Shakespeare, Darwin or Isaac Newton.

Is there anything special coming up at D.G. Wills Books that you’d like to mention?

Our Thirty-Eighth Annual St. Patrick’s Day Open Reading of Irish Poetry and Prose is coming up, on 17 March 2017, from 7 P.M. until it ends.

What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring writers today?

My advice to aspiring writers is to read, read, and read; then practice, practice and practice with your revisions, constantly fine tuning.

D.G. Wills is open from Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Be sure to drop in at D.G. Wills, give Dennis a whispered holler, and see for yourself why indeed you’ll want to come back time and again seeking those hard to find gems, as well as enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

For more information on D.G. Wills Books, Click HERE

GDC Construction: A Long La Jolla History

The Dewhurst family and GDC Construction have been utilizing their collective know-how and exceptional skills to turn ideas and concepts into reality for nearly a hundred years.

It all began when Ernie W. Dewhurst founded a construction company in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, England. Subsequently, he immigrated to the United States through historical Ellis Island. Ernie soon settled in Hollywood in the early 1900s, where he utilized his extraordinary skills to construct movie sets. He was asked to build a home in La Jolla and instantly developed an affinity for the then-relatively uninhabited, quaint seaside town.

Ernie relocated his family to the village in 1920 and started work as one of the only builders in town. Due to hard work and commitment, by 1929 the Dewhurst passion for constructing elegant homes flourished and became a full-fledged, successful construction business.

Ernie’s son Walter Dewhurst teamed up with the business in 1948 with a thirst to sustain the family tradition throughout the 20th century. Much like his father, Walter was an innovator, mover and shaker in the construction industry in La Jolla, constructing several of the community’s finest residences.

Some of the community’s enduring hallmarks were built by Walter. The Athenaeum, a veritable La Jolla landmark, was remodeled by Walter in 1956. Today it houses an art and music library. Moreover, Walter built the Mount Soledad Cross in 1954. Adding to the cross, in 2001 the war memorial surrounding it was inspired and developed by Walter’s son, George, and built by GDC Construction. An annual Memorial Day celebration is held in the shadow of the cross every May.

In 1976, Walter’s son George joined the business, carrying it into the 21st century. Previous to the union with GDC, George heeded President Kennedy’s call and joined the Peace Corps in 1962. Subsequently, George completed his MBA at renowned Thunderbird University before returning to La Jolla where he assumed the reins of the family business.

George’s continuous dedication to remain true to the Dewhurst reputation for quality and craftsmanship is observed with the many homes he and his group have constructed. Additionally, he continued the family tradition in business, sport and civic commitment. Stirred by his visit to the National War Memorial in Washington, D.C., George conceived and then built the Mount Soledad War Memorial. This is a local testament to the brave men and women who have served the nation with honor.

George led an effort to modernize the YMCA La Jolla Firehouse in the historic district as a center for youths in 1984. Furthermore, as the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club president, George planted the seed for many of La Jolla traditions that continue to this day.

In 2001, Pancho Dewhurst joined GDC construction to carry on the institution of constructing quality custom homes in La Jolla and throughout greater San Diego County. Influenced by the modernists and his studies in Italy, Pancho made his mark in the family business. In 2008, he assumed the leadership at GDC Construction. Pancho and his father are the 3rd and 4th generation of Dewhurst builders in La Jolla.

“Being in the construction business for four generations, we have developed a considerably strong group of sub-contractors and associates that we work with on a daily basis” said Pancho. “I am very privileged to have such a vigorous and robust group of individuals. Some of these people have worked alongside with my grandfather and father. It’s been a significantly huge boost to GDC Construction.”

The renovation of the Community Center epitomizes Pancho’s contribution to the La Jolla community as well as the unrelenting commitment to dedication by the Dewhurst family to the local community.

“In addition to building beautiful homes in the San Diego area, what I’m really truly most proud of is all of the effort that my family has extended to give back to the La Jolla community.”

From building Fire Station 13 to the La Jolla Community Center, the Dewhurst family has been an essential part to what the community of La Jolla is today.

The Dewhurst family and GDC Construction also go out of their way to bring Christmas blessings and cheer every year to San Diego residents. Additionally, they have sustained one of the oldest and most esteemed traditions in La Jolla, that is, decorating and lighting the tree at the La Jolla Recreation Center each and every holiday season. The custom was initiated in 1984 while George Dewhurst was serving as Chairman of the Christmas Parade, as well as President of the Rotary Club.

The Dewhurst collaboration with the La Jolla community continues with GDC’s contribution to the La Jolla Christmas Parade each and every year. Walter Dewhurst, who was named President of the La Jolla Town Council in 1965, initiated the very first La Jolla Christmas Parade in the 1950s together with the Council. Thereafter, he was present at every parade and became known as the “Mayor of La Jolla” because of his all-encompassing patronage and support for the La Jolla community.

When Walter initiated the parade in 1960, it served to bring the village together in a new way during the Christmas and holiday season, and today it remains one of La Jolla’s most beloved customs. The annual parade attracts participants and visitors from all over San Diego as well as outside the county.

GDC Construction participates in the parade every year. One of the trucks is actually converted into a festive float to the delight of onlookers. Pancho Dewhurst and his family ride alongside much like his grandfather did well over a half-century previous.

“My philosophy is not about just building custom homes; it concerns building long-term relationships within the La Jolla community. This concept was taught to me early on by my family. As a four generation builder, I have a great commitment and great pride in being afforded the opportunity to give back to the La Jolla community.”

Pancho has two Children, Ava and Austin, who are the fifth generation of Dewhurst’s in La Jolla. I believe we can speak on behalf of everyone in La Jolla in saying that we hope the family tradition continues for many more years to innovate and shape La Jolla.

For more information on GDC Construction, CLICK HERE.

La Jolla Veterinary Hospital to Perform Free Dental Procedures for Pets During the Holidays

La Jolla Veterinary Hospital staff has volunteered to perform free dental procedures for the holidays! Dental cleaning is a process often overlooked by pet owners as it can be quite expensive and might seem unnecessary; and there is a lot of misinformation out there about dental cleaning with animals in general. To combat this, on December 3, La Jolla Vet will partner with the FACE Foundation to provide free dental procedures to local pets.  Continue reading

Community Spotlight: Karen Anderson, DPM of La Jolla

karen anderson dpmAlthough it isn’t as talked about as other physical ailments, as many as three out of four Americans experience serious foot problems in their lifetime. Karen E. Anderson, DPM, of La Jolla specializes in treating just that – chronic foot pain. She has been able to solve, on a regular basis, foot pain that patients have endured for months and sometimes even years. Continue reading

Satellite Service Made Simple with Amerisat

A domestic satellite dish is in the foreground, in the background is an apartment building and sunset

For those in the know, Amerisat is San Diego’s premier satellite provider. Family owned since 1983, Amerisat is currently run by founder Robert Dudley’s son Chris Dudley and provides contemporary communications with attention to the details. Whether you’re looking for satellite service, installation of a home theater, or something else, Amerisat is the place to go. With their help we’ve created a simple guide to your satellite experience.

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Community Spotlight: Alta Vista Properties Inc.

Jackie Alexander Real Estate Agent and Alta Vista Properties Inc. An image of a La Jolla Beach with a logo and Jackie Alexander headshot layered over it. Beach image courtesy of Thomas Galvez

Major personal decisions like renting your home or finding a property for your business are daunting, even ignoring financial and legal considerations. Having an expert on hand to guide you through the ins and outs of realty is a huge help. Luckily, Alta Vista Properties Inc. has been San Diego’s go-to for property management and realty expertise since 1980. Continue reading