Breakfast with Beatrice Valenzuela
We went over to our friend and neighbor Beatrice Valenzuela’s home recently for breakfast and coffee. We feel lucky to be close to Beatrice, figuratively and literally. She’s someone who inspires us as a creative and leader, both through her work and her lifestyle. In this post, we share photos of our morning taken by our good friend, photographer Justin Chung, and a bit more about our friend Bea.
All photos in this post are by Justin.
We first learned about Beatrice through Echo Park Craft Fair (EPCF), a convergence of artists and makers that she and Rachel Craven (another amazing friend & creative woman we look up to!) first began as an intimate backyard gathering 10 years ago. Both women are designers and makers themselves—Beatrice has her own line of shoes, clothing and jewelry—and the craft fair was borne out of their mission to create a space for themselves and other local artists to connect with the community.
Through fate and a little luck, we became the coffee vendors for EPCF right after starting Canyon Coffee in 2016, and it was through that opportunity that we first got to know Beatrice.
First encounters with Beatrice are bound to leave an impression. She has the kind of presence and energy that lights up a room, and an exuberance that can turn an atmosphere festive, weighted with the depth of an artist and the prowess of someone who can balance being a loving mother and partner, business owner, and festival creator/organizer with dexterity and composure, all while keeping a smile on her face.
Since meeting her a few years ago, we feel lucky to have become friends with Beatrice and her family: her partner, designer Ramsey Conder, and their two children, Astrid and Dmitri. When we were first moving to the Eastside of LA and still looking for a home, we lived in their beautiful guest house for a month.
Now that we live in the same neighborhood, they’ve helped make us feel a welcome part of the community. We love walking over to their house for the dinners and parties they host. And it’s not just about the company—a little surprise we learned about Beatrice is that she makes incredibly delicious food.
The atmosphere she cultivates at home mimics her personality. It’s warm and inviting, with plenty to eat and drink (usually mezcal!), and fun and interesting company. Beatrice is everywhere, pouring drinks, making food, having conversations, and before you know it she’s filled a table with food and no one can believe she made it all, or at least most of it—sometimes she invites a local mom-and-daughters trio who make legendary quesadillas, Oaxacan-style.
It all speaks to the depth of Beatrice’s presence and character, which is largely grounded in her roots. Born and raised in Mexico, Beatrice lives, breathes and speaks her cultural heritage. Her home is filled with art and color, ceramics and goods from Oaxaca, relics and wares made with quality and built to be passed down through generations.
Of course, while quality and originality are through-lines, Bea doesn’t draw solely from Mexico for her inspiration. Bea loves traveling near and far with her family, and the global influences are evident in their perspectives and lifestyles. This past summer (2019), they spent several months living around the Mediterranean Sea in Italy and Greece.
The fact they took that time to be travel and be together as a family is inspiring on its own, but the way the do it speaks volumes. It was evident that they enjoy the simple things. While they’re not trying to rough it, they’re not over-the-top in their travel style. Fresh food, proximity to the sea, time with each other—the simple things—these are the things that matter to Bea and her family.
On the morning we walked over, we were surprised to walk onto Bea's back deck and see this beautiful brass coffee siphon on the table. At once beautiful and technical, scientific but analog, it somehow seemed to be the perfect coffee-making method for Beatrice. Made with quality, built to last, interesting, but warm and charming in its build, and capable of producing something (coffee!) with depth and character.
Pour over enthusiasts that we are, we've never made coffee using a siphon—we had only watched them being used and tried coffee from them at shops (most notably in Japan!). So we were excited to watch Bea use it.
We asked for the story behind the siphon, and she told us she had gifted it to Ramsey as a birthday present.
After coffee and a delicious breakfast over conversations around travel, food and shoptalk on our respective businesses, we said our goodbyes and left, already thinking about the next time we'd be back for more food and good times with Beatrice.