Things We Love: Julie Ann Clark’s picks

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From the January 23, 2014 edition

January, as it turns out, is quite the eventful month — and for seemingly disparate reasons — for Julie Ann Clark, a 2012 Alive People to Watch and director and CEO of Doma International, a support network for survivors of human trafficking. Not only is it National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, but it’s also the unofficial start to wedding season. Which means, Clark’s Freedom a la Cart catering business sees an uptick in interest from brides-to-be who’re looking to give to a cause during their big day. These are a few of her favorite things.

OYO’s vanilla bean vodka

I had my first taste of vodka in Russia — potato vodka. I’ve been to Russia like 14 times. You’d be on the street antiquing, and you’d be freezing cold going through these markets. These old women in babushkas would come by pushing carts of vodka, and they’d give you shots, and it was so harsh but it’d warm you up in two seconds. I can drink any vodka now because that’s how I was introduced to it. I’ve been getting Moscow mules in town lately, and every time I get it I ask them to make it with the vanilla bean vodka. I like to try local products because they’re local and go back to it because I love it. This is obviously a love; it’s my go-to spirit.

Downtown’s Fourth Street stretch

Pretty much every Thursday night I’m at El Camino hanging with friends in that big booth table in the back, eating tacos and guacamole and ending up with a $30 bill for all of us. Margaritas are homemade and use orange juice, which is how I make it. I love that. When 16-Bit opened it was natural to go to happy hour at El Camino and walk over to 16-Bit to play some games. It’s so nostalgic for me. My grandfather introduced me to the first Intellivision gaming system, which had “BurgerTime” and “Tapper.” Those are the ones I keep going back to, and no one else plays them.

Weekly brunch with my friends

It started when we’d go out and get up late the next day and go somewhere like Explorer’s Club or Skillet. It’s now a three-hour-long thing at someone’s home, and people can bring guests or pop in and out. Sometimes there’s 12 of us hanging out on Saturday or Sunday; sometimes it’s two days in a row. Fresh juice is always a must for me. One of our friends has a juicer, and we’ve been trying different recipes with that. Most of the brunch places in town make [brunch] so well that it’s to die for, but it’s nice to fit into big tables with friends and relax for a few hours too.