Dinner with Friends
A design-focused, quarterly lifestyle magazine celebrating California's Central Valley, one dinner party at a time.




In a new weekly blog, DWF's founder Kendra speaks from the heart about her decision to leave Fresno in the midst of creating a magazine based on her love for the city and surrounding Central Valley. (Yes, it's confusing to her, too.) But above all, she's committed to continuing the magazine's mission. And instead of dwelling, as it is best not to do, she's celebrating the ways her new city reflects her hometown, and how Fresno is never really that far away.

A LESSON IN LOVING LOCAL / My love of local began in Fresno. Mother's Day this year reminded me of that. I'd already bought my mom a gift I thought she'd like (spoiler alert: she loved it!), but needed a card to go with it. To be quite honest, in most gift-giving situations I consider the card more important than the gift itself. So I was definitely panicking as the days on the calendar fell away and Mother's Day approached. Faced with a card crisis in Fresno, I'd know exactly where to go: Top Drawer. But alone in a new city, whose purveyors of papier were as unfamiliar to me as, well, the French language, I was at a loss. Then I found the downtown-Seattle shop Paper Hammer. Crisis over. 

I hadn't reflected on how much my first 4 months in Seattle had been influenced by my last 4 years in Fresno until I couldn't bring myself to go into a Walgreens for a simple last-minute Mother's Day card. Shopping local is about much more than a transaction; it's about a connection -- to people, an idea, a feeling. And, in my case, home. Fresno had taught me that. And from the time I arrived in Seattle, I had been unconsciously practicing my love of local all over the place. 

I found ferns for my new apartment at Ravenna Gardens instead of Home Depot. And when I visited Swanson's Nursery on the recommendation of a friend, I got Gazebo Gardens feels, times ten! But, sadly, minus the food trucks. :( I've repeatedly visited Prism for its cool-girl apparel, accessories, and home decor that are thoughtfully sourced and curated. And, while it doesn't quite fill the shoes of Root, it's a solid second. Scoops from Frankie & Jo's or Molly Moon's come in a rainbow of delicious flavors, but the (bitter)sweetest part of enjoying them, are the memories of my favorite neighborhood ice cream shop Ampersand that come with. Alas, the one thing I have yet to find in a city known for its coffee, is a coffee house that compares to Kuppa Joy. But that doesn't mean I'll stop trying to find one. No matter how many mochas I have to go through. 

It's nice to know that although I may be far from home, and on a path that's a bit uncertain right now, my connection to local people and places is both my ticket forward and my connection to where I come from. Thanks, Fresno!

**And thanks, mom! For without my love for you, and my need to express it with a gift and a card, I may never have come to this enlightened state of mind about where my love of local came from and why it's so important.**

Kendra Gilbert