Archive - 2019

Agave Pantry- Tucson’s Hidden Culinary Gem
World’s Smallest Target
The Art of Anjolee Jewelry

Agave Pantry- Tucson’s Hidden Culinary Gem

After biting into the saffron and cardamom rose amaretti, I immediately sat back in my chair and savored the beautiful flavors as I chewed. They were rich, yet subtle and exotic. Have small cookies ever put you in such a state where you have not a care in the world? Well, these did; and Shazieh Gorji is, pardon my language, a fucking genius.

Shazieh is the sole owner behind the Tucson-based cottage industry brand- Agave Pantry. I had recently heard of the brand on social media, but then had the pleasure of meeting her during this past Cultivate Tucson market. Earlier in June, we met up and she shared some insights into her world of small batch and handcrafted pastries, infused salts, spirit pots, and an AirBnB.

She has always loved baking, even before she graduated from culinary school in 2014. While in culinary school, she did an externship at Acacia. After having her son, she decided to take a step back, and while at home with him, was baking and honing recipes and skills. She knew she wanted to still be in the food industry, and had heard about the cottage industry license (cottage industry means that you can make goods in your own kitchen, however, you cannot make anything that needs refrigeration).

So she worked on getting her license and figured out what she wanted to create, as she wanted to find her voice and do something that no one else was doing. She experimented with an amaretti, which is normally a crunchy Italian almond-based cookie with no flavor. She used the same ingredients, however, changing it up a bit and made it more marzipan-like. She then added flavors that are typical of her Middle Eastern background (she grew up in Pakistan to an Iranian family), such as cardamom, rose, and saffron. The mainly gluten-free menu has since expanded to other goodies, such as Lemon Tea Cake, Carrot Cake (also comes in non-GF), Chocolate Almond Torte (also available are Spicy Chocolate and Cardamom), Raspberry Lemon Cake (non-GF), Rosemary Cookies (non-GF), Vegan Chocolate Cardamom Brownies, and much more! All of her baked goods are made from non-GMO flour, free range eggs, and organic spices. She will start incorporating more locally-sourced ingredients after this summer. She grows her own rosemary, but will be adding Hayden Mills flour and dates and citrus from Urban Grove.

It was December 2018 when she officially launched Agave Pantry- the culmination of her baking, travels, and experiences. Her first market was the Fourth Schmourth Handmade Market, followed by Cultivate Tucson and other little pop-ups around the city.

Aside from the edibles side of her business, she also creates functional pottery that includes: platters, dipping/salt bowls, small spoons, as well as jars to hold just enough coffee beans so that they won’t go stale. “The act of using coffee helps you to slow down a little because you don’t want to be too rough. Making things that let you slow down and just appreciate little moments. For me, scooping out coffee from something handmade is beautiful… Creating beauty of the mundane of every day life.”

Another best-seller is the spirt pots. She considers them “food for your soul because they are affirmation pots. They are very intimate and personal. You don’t share your pot with somebody else, and using it adds the emotional and well-being of where you are, and that adds to the emotional well-being of everyday.” Be sure to check out her Spirit Pot Workshops , which you can book on Tucson AirBnB Experiences.

Be sure to also check out her Tucson AirBnB listing- Purple Desert Heart Guesthouse if you are in Tucson and need a place to stay and don’t want to be in a hotel. Also, check out her Instagram and Facebook page for new events and such!

Look for Agave Pantry at the MSA Annex Summer Night Market in September!

Have you been fortunate to try one of Shazieh’s amazing goodies? If so, what are your favorites?

World’s Smallest Target

(Vintage Vest as Top- Mercy Vintage, Vintage Lee Jeans- Cottage Shop Houston, Vintage Sunglasses- Nostalgia Knoxville, Hat- thrifted, Belt- the Mr’s, Vintage Shoes- thrifted)

There is an art installation just west of Marathon, TX on U.S. 90 that bears the famous bullseye logo and name. Don’t expect any merchandise here though, as it’s just one of those old abandoned cinder block buildings next to the railroad. It’s a quirky place to stop for some photos while traversing through the Big Bend area.

The Art of Anjolee Jewelry

Ever wonder where the origination of the diamond tennis bracelet came from? Los Angeles-based jewelry manufacturer Anjolee takes that recognition. The company was first launched in the 1960s in New York City. It was then that the founder created his jewelry designs, while also creating relationships with leading wholesalers and retailers; thus paving the way for the company’s expansion. In 1977, he decided to incorporate and relocate the company to Los Angeles. The ever-growing company then relocated to Chula Vista in 1997, and that was when family members began to pitch in and lend a hand to the brand’s continued growth. The company then established an e-commerce branch that catered to the public in 2007, when it was then that the ‘Anjolee’ name was conceived. The name was chosen as an inspiration for the founder’s two nephews’ mother. They used ‘angel’ with her first name ‘Lee,’ then added the French word ‘jolie’ but altered it to be ‘jolee.’

Anjolee strives in putting the customer first. Their individualized customer service is what sets them apart from other brands. Each piece of jewelry is made to order, with the customer being able to utilize the multiple design options on the website. They are also dedicated in using green manufacturing, as well as having eco-friendly facilities.

I recently had the chance to experience the process of designing either a diamond ring or gemstone ring through the website. I chose the gemstone ring because I love a little pop of color on my jewelry. I was able to choose to sort through designs by: popularity, price, stone shape, setting type, and total carat weight. Once I was set on a design, I could then choose the gemstone, ring size, metal type, carat weight, diamond quality, and if I want any additional options. Once I have the ring to my liking, I was able to see a 360-degree rendering, as well as a rendering with the ring on a hand. They make the designing and buying process a breeze.

Images by Mandy Rena Photography

The ring arrived in a blue box with padded interior. The ring box was cushioned nicely in the middle of the box’s interior. When I opened the ring box, a single light illuminated the ring in all its’ glory. I think that that was an innovative touch, and something I haven’t seen from other brands.

I have been compensated for this post, however, all opinions are my own.

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