An open-air, tianguis inspired restaurant

Jessica Evans has spent months pouring her blood, sweat and tears into transforming a downtown Albany, NY space into an urban Mexican haunt.   ama cocina, translated from Spanish as “she loves cooking” is Evans’ brainchild. Drawing inspiration from the tianguis [open-air pop up food truck & wares markets] of Mexico, the restaurant envelops a modern Mexican street food concept. With music pouring out onto the sidewalk from the open garage style doors, the giant portrait of Frida Kahlo greeting you as you walk in, and the hand-painted Mexican tile beneath your feet, you feel like you’re stepping out of the Mercado de San Juan and stopping for a moment to enjoy some food and a drink with friends.


The materials and finishes, created by at least ten local artisans and artists, offer the space a welcome mix of texture and contrast. During the renovation Evans not only collaborated with the construction team, but often picked up a sledgehammer or metal sander herself to get the job done right.



Thoughtful and subtle details, like the salvaged oil lamp light pendants, and the shapes of street signs built into the bar back are what give this space its inviting and warm energy.

Reclaimed pallet sliding doors closes off a meeting space, and hand-painted geometric concrete tiles spill into the wood floor.

A local graffiti artist adds colorful sugar skulls on the bathroom walls.


All in all, the ama cocina is the place to be for a high energy atmosphere and gourmet street food.

bus window




The Five Barns Farm houses a family of artists

Walking in to this charming colonial style farmhouse in rural upstate NY, I am immediately greeted by the dog of the house, “Splash”, and get the feeling that this was the house of a magical childhood. The kind of childhood where you giggled with your friends under the dining room table, ran through the backyard at dusk collecting fireflies, and sat at the kitchen island daydreaming as the sun cast rays of light through the blue glass collection lined up on the window sills.






The 2,500SF home is a blend of two old farmhouses built in 1850 and 1750, joined together over a hundred years ago. With five bedrooms and four bathrooms the house could have fit the Brady bunch, but instead the Mincher family, a family of three, has called it home for the past twenty-two years. Susan Mincher and daughter Chloe’s artwork decorates the walls and the mantels of the estate, which befittingly houses an artist studio on the top floor. Rick Mincher, a spoken word artist, showcases his creativity throughout the house with a multitude of renovation and remodeling work. “He is a very handy man,” Susan states as she gives me a tour.




The large home is full of surprises that intrigue your imagination, like the secret passageway through the studio that winds through a closet and lands you in the master bedroom, or a hidden doorway behind a bookshelf that keeps an entire bedroom hidden from view.


{hidden doorway & secret passage)


daughters room

guest bed

Stepping softly over wide plank wooden floors, covered by a collection of oriental rugs, Susan’s paintings inviting you to stories from other parts of the world, enticing you to kick off your shoes and perch up in the screened-in porch with a copy of Pride and Prejudice.



screened porch