Mexican Recipe Seafood

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

This is definitely not your shrimp cocktail of the 70’s with sweet, dark red sauce. We experienced the best Mexican shrimp cocktail at a restaurant in Wicker Park in Chicago many years ago. After watching the owner take one too many shots with the live band on a Friday night, we sweet talked him into giving us the recipe! Unfortunately, that recipe died when an old phone took a swim. Ugh, what was it that he had said was his secret ingredient? Hmm. We were determined to recreate it and we did.

This fresh, limey, spicy cocktail is the perfect early dinner on a warm, summer evening. We tried a number of different hot sauces and it’s enjoyable with many. We encourage you to try this recipe but make this your own.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

1 pound fresh shrimp
1 cup V8
Juice of 2-3 limes *more to taste
2 T Frank’s hot sauce *or hot sauce of your choice
Splash of Vietnamese garlic chili sauce (we also tried Valentina)
1 T minced garlic
Splash of orange juice
2 T ketchup
Diced cucumber
Diced onion
Ice / water – for ice bath

De-vein and remove tails from the shrimp. Heat water to gently poach shrimp by flavoring the poaching water with some orange juice, cilantro stems, garlic and salt. Bring the water to a boil then turn off the heat, drop in shrimp and cover to cook for 2-3 minutes, they cook quickly. Remove & drain shrimp and immediately drop them into an ice bath to stop their cooking.

In a large bowl, combine V8, lime juice, hot sauce, garlic, orange juice, and ketchup. Stir and taste, you may want to adjust with more hot sauce and lime. Chill the cocktail. Dice avocado, cucumber, cilantro, onion and combine to your sauce. Add your cooked shrimp. Serve in tall glass with saltine crackers. We hope you enjoy this incredible Mexican shrimp cocktail, you might also like our salsa recipe. I’d love to hear what hot sauce is your favorite!

Salsa Tacos Texas Travel

A Saturday in San Antonio

It had been quite a bit since we were able to travel together and we were so excited about San Antonio. It has been dubbed “America’s most affordable foodie hotspot”… and we can see why. San Antonio is a major city in south-central Texas with a rich colonial heritage and is the most visited city in Texas. There are so many things to do including the famous Riverwalk, shopping, the Alamo, or checking out the Pearl. Like any new place we’re excited to explore, the first thing we’re curious about is the food. Whether you want Mexican food, BBQ, or something completely different- San Antonio has something for you.

We were immediately charmed by our hotel that sat right on the Riverwalk, Hotel Contessa. Rustic brick walls and vibrant pops of color invite San Antonio’s vibrant Spanish history into space, it was the perfect central location for our long weekend. They have a rooftop pool, spa, and excellent margaritas at Cork. Try the El Toro made with Milagro Reposado, Ancho Reyes liqueur, fresh lime juice, ginger beer and mint.

Wander down the riverwalk to find a lunch spot on the water or hop on a relaxing boat tour. The temps in November were surprisingly mild at 75-80 degrees and comfortable.

Further along the riverwalk, you’ll find a the La Villita historic arts village established in 1939. The neighborhood was adapted into a center for teaching regional arts and crafts and to serve as an artists market. Today, nearly 30 shops and galleries offer distinct handcrafted items by artists from San Antonio and surrounding areas. You’ll find paintings, folk art, textiles, sculptures, jewelry and more, all handmade by artists on location.

Head over to Southtown Arts District for dinner at Rosario’s. Southtown’s food scene has been causing a buzz, so check it out if you want a more locals vibe. Again, we found that addicting, deep red roasted salsa, full of black specs of roasted goodness and with an addicting heat. We ordered two favorites, Tacos Norteños, flour tortillas, thin layer of refried beans, Monterey Jack cheese, sliced avocado, choice of beef or chicken, folded over and toasted on a flat grill- and Tacos Callejeros grilled on the comal, and your choice of steak or herbaceous shredded chicken or carnitas (or one of each!) They come topped with bright cabbage lime slaw, diced avocado and queso fresco. We heard a rumor there’s a huge debate who’s tacos are better, Austin or San Antonio… we’re going to have to give it to San Antonio.

Image courtesy of Pearl

If you’re looking to explore a different neighborhood, check out the Pearl. Located just north of downtown San Antonio, the beautiful space features unique retail, dining, green space for a twice weekly Farmers market, a riverside amphitheater, and the third campus of The Culinary Institute of America.

It was a beautiful day and we walked all around the Pearl, there are numerous incredible restaurant choices so be sure to check them all out.

We found an outdoor seat at Supper, a restaurant attached to the gorgeous Hotel Emma. The hotel is definitely worth a walk through, it was once a 19th-century Brewhouse and houses a gourmet market and deli called Larder, a gorgeous bar, and library.

Fried green tomatoes, pimento spread, Oaxacan pepper jam
Smoked salmon sandwich on rye toast with havarti dill and capers
French omelette with herbed chicken

The variety of retail shops at Pearl was fun to explore. Grab a cold brew and a few unique macaroons (Earl Gray, Caramel Apple) at Bakery Lorraine, check out beautiful turquoise jewelry and handmade artisan goods at Leighelena, or grab a cone at Lick’s Honest Ice Cream.

Pearl map courtesy of Hotel Emma

We were quite taken with San Antonio, it makes for a perfect long weekend away. Not only because of the incredible food and warm temps in November, but the friendly, laid-back attitude of everyone we met. And that dark red roasted salsa is sure to haunt you, so check out our favorite salsa recipe below!

Roasted Tomato Salsa

1 to 2 fresh jalapeno chiles
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3-4 fresh in-season tomatoes or a large can of fire-roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

In a small cast iron skillet or over a flame, roast the chiles, tomatoes and garlic until they are soft and browned. Cool then de-stem the chiles, peel the garlic. Add to a blender and pulse until chopped. Add the tomatoes along with their juice. Re-cover and pulse until you have a coarse puree. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Taste and season with salt to taste.

If you’re looking for more of a pico de gallo, check out our fresh chopped salsa recipe here.






A Perfect Day in San Francisco

Life gets busy… and you realize you haven’t traveled anywhere in a very long time. I enlisted my Mom over lunch one day to go on a weekend adventure. The goal was to go somewhere that was farther away than driving, like Vancouver BC or Portland. She hadn’t been to San Francisco in years, and I hadn’t either. There are certain cities that make you feel comfortable, like an old friend. Or maybe it’s more the fond memories you make, you apply to a location. Either way, we were on our way.

I have to include a note about Anthony Bourdain because the news of his death that morning brought a grey cloud that followed me throughout our weekend adventure, and longer. I thought about him everywhere we visited, and his familiar voice echoed in my head, “If I’m an advocate for anything it’s to move. As far as you can… as much as you can… Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.” My only hope is that he had a sense of how much he meant to all of us.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency, I’m so thankful that we did. The service was amazing and we spent a lovely weekend in a room with a patio, and many hours wandering the beautiful food vendors and Saturday Farmers Market across the street.

Inside the Ferry Building, the combined smell of warm bread, fresh cheese, herbs, boutique chocolate, pastries, produce and flowers was captivating. We wandered through all the vendors that were tastefully curated and impeccably displayed. The beautiful ceiling flood the vendors with natural light, giving off a spacious, warm feeling.

We smiled when the first store we saw was called Far West Fungi. A one stop shop for everything mushrooms? If this was what we had in-store in terms of quality, we were very excited.

One of our favorites was a gorgeous shop called The Gardener. It is incredibly curated. We picked up some white sage, a vintage style map of SF, and enjoyed the cookbooks, textiles, jewelry, and fresh smelling artisanal soaps. Check out their other locations here.

The smell of cheese pulled us into Cowgirl Creamery. How can you pick a cheese here? We settled on a sampler to-go plate with three cheeses, marcona almonds, olives and a few mini jars of Fig and Black tea jam. (I really wish I would have bought 10 more.) And yes, we did enjoy on our patio with a glass of wine while we watched the sunset.

Heath Ceramics, one of the few remaining mid-century American potteries, has been making tableware and tile for over a half-century in its Sausalito, California factory. It’s beautifully crafted, my Mom shared it was also her first dinnerware when she married my Dad and they still own and use it over forty years later.

There are so many more vendors to enjoy including a Wine shop and tasting room, Blue Bottle coffee, bakeries and tea houses- there’s something for everyone. You can check out the Ferry Building’s Instagram @ferry_building

I had done some research in advance for a place to have lunch. I decided on Boulettes Larder, at the southeast side of the Ferry building. They have two rooms to choose from, both beautiful, the open air kitchen faces the Bay Bridge.

We were seated outside on the patio with a view of the expansive and colorful Saturday Farmers Market at their back door. Their freshly printed menus on beautiful paper were presented, and we were informed the menu changes daily, everything was organic, sustainable and locally sourced from Northern California. We enjoyed the iced hibiscus tisane, which is like a tea but an infusion of hisbicus. It was lovely and refreshing. The service was friendly and kind.

We started with the Muhammara and fresh baked pita which was unlike any that I’ve had. Muhammara is a Middle eastern puree that is a wonderful mezze to start, made with roasted red peppers, walnut, black pepper and pomegranate syrup. The pita was freshly baked, chewy, warm and delicious.

We also enjoyed an Eastern Mediterranean salad with bulgur, faro, cucumber, purslane, pumpkin seeds, barberries, pomegranate molasses, red wine vinaigrette and Za’atar, and a glass of a local California Cabernet.

Other noteworthy items on the menu that made it hard to choose included a Circassian chicken salad with walnuts, dates and and toasted spices, and Poached eggs with toasted walnut muhammara and Tunisian harissa. I would have snatched up a cookbook had the chefs had one…

The server and hostess both walked us to the door, wishing us a warm departure when we left. I commented how wonderful that was as most restaurants miss the opportunity to say goodbye and thanks. I highly recommend a visit when you’re in town. Mark Bittman, writing in The New York Times, said breakfast at Boulettes Larder may have been the best breakfast he ever had. Check out their Instagram @bouletteslarder

We were impressed with the size of the Saturday Farmers Market. It’s widely acclaimed for both the quality and diversity of its fresh farm products, artisan and prepared foods- and renowned throughout the country as one of the top farmers markets to visit. Some of SF’s best known chefs, and famous farmers can be seen at the market, rolling chefs carts throughout. I loved sneaking a peek at the carts to see what goods they had chosen.

My weekly visist to the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market brings rhythm and meaning to my life.“- Alice Waters, Owner, Chez Panisse.

The rest of the afternoon was spent walking around the city and uphill to North Beach where we enjoyed a well-earned cold beer in an Italian Cafe before a visit to the landmark City Lights bookstore.

We circled back to the our hotel where we had a picnic dinner on the patio and shooting some night photos before ending the day.

There are so many more neighborhoods in the city to explore, this spot I’d recommended for food lovers. What’s your favorite spot in San Francisco?

Sharing photo credit with my Mom, Deb Hunt – Summerhunt Design (website to come.)

Oregon Travel

3 Places To Check Out In Bend Oregon

Our friends in Seattle had been raving for over a year about how amazing Bend, Oregon was. When we got a weekend away, we happily joined them to see what Bend was all about. I was so glad we did because it’s a charming high desert paradise with mountains, rivers, pine trees, sunflowers, food, beer and a real sense of community. These are three spots (out of many) that are worth going back for.


Spork started as a globally-inspired green-conscious mobile street food kitchen housed in an Airstream that served creative delicious global cuisine. It’s expanded into a full size restaurant with dishes from across Latin America, Africa, and Asia that are remixed in the best way. We ordered to share: Mexican corn, Spicy Korean Fried Chicken with kimchee and pickled cucumbers, Carnitas Tacos, Spicy Pork Noodles with fish sauce caramel pork, Burmese Fried Cheese, and other small bites (that were consumed too fast to photograph.) The fried chicken is beyond addicting, spicy and sweet, and has been on my mind ever since… We cooled off the spice with a Thai Collins made with vodka, mint, basil, lime juice and soda. Check out their amazing menu here.

Sparrow Bakery

Photos Courtesy Of Sparrow Bakery

Sparrow Bakery’s breakfast sandwich is one not to miss with its house smoked bacon, avocado, arugula, aioli and a poached egg. On a croissant. Yes… It’s just as much perfection as it sounds. We had to also try their world famous Ocean Roll, a buttery pastry filled with cardamom, sugar and vanilla, pairs perfectly with coffee.


Barrio is another food truck turned brick-and-mortar restaurant drawing inspiration from Mexican, Spanish, and South American cuisines. We dug into Carnitas street tacos, Shrimp Ceviche, Cuban sandwich, Watermelon gazpacho, Chips/salsa & guac, with a pitcher of great margaritas. It was a great ending to a short getaway with our good friends.

There was plenty more to see than food… there are so many breweries to sample beers from, you can rent a tube and float the Deschutes River or go for a long walk or hike.

Have any favorites in Bend? Let us know in the comments! We look forward to another visit.

Best of Seattle

Best burger in Seattle

I know, it’s a big statement. I still think about this burger since the first time, and am now as I’m writing this. Meet Loretta’s Northwesterner. Thanks to our friend and chef, Brian Walczyk of the Tom Douglas fam and his wife Bea for taking us.

Located in the Seattle neighborhood of South Park, Loretta’s is like a cool cabin in the woods with a with wood paneling, icy frozen glasses of beer, vinyl and board games to play, and an open-air patio with an Airstream trailer to hang out in.

There’s a few burgers on the menu, but we went for the Tavern Burger ($4) with its charbroiled patty, American cheese, chopped onion, sliced pickles, and a special house sauce on a buttery toasted bun. Up it to a double tavern (shown here) or deluxe for a little more. Handcut fries are available for $3 and their icy cold beers were so cold that there were ice chips on top. We liked the Lucille from Georgetown Brewing. The vibe is mellow, full of locals from the neighborhood.




Loretta’s is located at 8617 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA. Check out their full menu here.

What’s your favorite burger?

Hotels Korean Los Angeles Travel

24 hours in LA

Ever since hearing Roy Choi’s story and reading his cookbook, I’ve wanted to check out The Line hotel. We got that chance when J was booked to DJ in LA. We’re so glad we did.


We checked in after a 45 minute Uber ride from LAX. (Ubers seem to be cheaper in LA👌) We loved the industrial-chic rooms with concrete-patterned walls, funky original art, floor-to-ceiling windows, and chairs upholstered from vintage Mexican fabric.

We were starving and ready to try their restaurant Commissary overlooking the pool. We were greeted with a friendly welcoming smile by the host and sat in their greenhouse dining room. It was filled with the most lovely filtered light that gently hit the tables that were covered in sweet vintage linens for napkins. J ordered the French dip and I ordered the Pan roasted scallops with green sauce, pea shoots and a glass of rosé.



We decided to grab a happy hour cocktail at Lobby Bar. We again were met with a smile, thanks Raphael! Boxes full of toy water guns and colorful glasses, big bowls of fruit, Mexican candelas, lollipop roses, tamarind sticks and bowls of candy line the bar. The vibe is laid back with huge booths for kickin’ back. Super fun.


We pondered about going for a walk as there’s many things to do nearby like Grand Central Market, the art deco Wiltern Theatre, Downtown or Koreatown. It was 96 degrees and climbing so we decided to enjoy the AC and take a nap. 

Our highlight was dinner at POT, Roy Choi’s modern Asian spot. You walk down a dark hallway and are met by a glowing green POT sign and the sound of bumpin’ old school hip hop. We ordered way too much food from their newspaper-like menu but it’s easy because everything sounds delicious; Duck fried rice, Korean spicy chicken wings, and Steak ssam with crispy rice and lettuce wraps. The servings are pretty big, so keep in mind though leftovers are always awesome, right?

The rice was served in a volcanic-hot pot so the rice crisps up on the bottom. A soft egg is added on top and you stir it up and enjoy. Incredible. The Steak Ssam with crispy rice was excellent. Served with assorted lettuce wraps and kimchi to make little bundles of joy.


The highlight for me was the Korean spicy wings. Crispy, sticky, spicy and sweet. Worth the mess that comes along with it. I’m on a mission to find a recipe that comes close so I’ll post it here when I do.

After J DJ’d, we came back to the room and feasted on late night leftovers. YES!

The next morning, after a coffee and croissant, we lounged while listening to the smooth soul and hip hop from the Stones Throw pool party happening below.

Always a fan of unique magazines, I checked out this great little one created by the hotel called HERE that features people and places nearby, encouraging you to get out. You can sample it digitally here.


I would’ve loved to stay another day and explore the neighborhood. Great staff, delicious food and some sunshine- quick trip win! If you have favorite LA or Koreatown spots, feel free to list them in the comments!

Coffee Travel

The First Espresso in Paris

The first espresso-Tiny Global Kitchen


I was anxious when landing in Paris. Why? Curious isn’t it? My heart was pounding. Probably because I’d longed to be here for so long. In my mind I’d wandered the streets, sat in cafes, taken photos down narrow alleyways. But now, I felt nervous. Like it wouldn’t meet my expectations. Like I didn’t deserve to be here. Would I be able to communicate? Would they be rude? Did I pack the right clothes? Do we have enough time? We landed and breezed through customs. Not one question. We collected our bags and met the taxi station. All the women are so fluid. Words spill out of their mouths like a vinyasa flow. The cab driver greets us with a hearty bonjour. He struggles to communicate with us in English but he’s trying. A heartfelt kind of communication, using body language and warm smiles. He turns on the AC and I silently praise him. The 11-hour flight has left me drained and unemotional. We drive into the city in silence and I hold my breathe waiting for a stirring, a feeling of expected excitement. I see industrial buildings and wonder what’s around the next bend. The traffic flows, no honks, motorbikes, Audis, Peugots, and sleek Mercedes all around. I catch a glimpse of Sacre Couer. It’s smaller than I imagined but perched on a hill watching the city. The tip of the Eiffel tower shows itself and my mouth pops open. We exit the freeway into the Arc De Triomph. The driver tries to explain that we’re staying on a ‘very good street.’ We pull up at 33 Avenue Foch. A sleek apartment building surrounded by a long park and the widest avenue in France. He graciously thanks us and we arrive into our temporary home of the music promoter we haven’t even met yet. How trusting.

It’s warm. We open the windows to try to get a cross breeze. It’s quaint. A modern couch, a vintage couch, sueded walls. Wood floors and a beautiful view from the kitchen. We are so tired. We have a few drinks and collapse for a nap, guiltily. All I can think is, Sarah- you’re in your dream city for not even three full days and you want to sleep…yes. I awoke from a nap to the sun shining over the buildings. It’s 5pm. I wake J up and tell him the evening light is amazing. That’s enough to rouse him up.

We wander down and find a cafe called Cafe Victor Hugo and find a table outside. Our first meal. We order a filet of beef with béarnaise, fries, and a glass of rose. After dinner, we order an espresso. It arrives with a perfectly rich caramel crema. We people watch, the woman walking in her ballet flats, chewing the end of a baguette, the slim tailored suits of the French businessmen with their pointy shoes. We talk about the future and slowly savor our coffee. Afterwards we walk down the avenue, stop in for some Perrier to go. We take photos of the Arc De Triomph, and watch the insane circular traffic nightmare, then back up Avenue Foch, taking photos of old doors, Embassies, rich Parisians houses, and collapse on the couch back in our apartment. What is the feeling of the first day? A curiosity, an overall feeling hoping people will be nice. I feel a hesitation with not knowing enough French. It’s so easy to just speak english. But are they silently cursing me, a disdainful look or answering in French. It’s different than I expected, but very much the same as things I’ve read. I’m waiting for goosebumps, for those serendipitous moments of wandering down just the right street, a life changing meal, the magic that I’ve been told about. Until then, it is time for sleep. Or maybe one more espresso…

Recipe Sandwiches

Open-faced Egg Salad


Saturday afternoon and 1pm rolls around. What to do for lunch? I have such fond memories of my Mom making egg salad on weekends. I loved watching her hard boil eggs and turn them into a great balance of creamy and crunchy textures and bright, fresh flavors to make us the tastiest sandwiches. I thought I’d re-create on a sunny Saturday. There’s so many directions you could go to customize…with curry, traditional or adding extra crunch with radishes or your favorite veggies. See? Even Bon Appetit loves egg salad. I decided on mayo, dijon, white balsamic vinegar, salt/pepper, fresh cilantro, red onion. Also, after reading its health benefits, a little turmeric. Who knew this little power plant would work so well in egg salad. I served it open faced on a slice of Dave’s Killer Bread. If you haven’t tried Dave’s, I highly recommend. Organic, non GMO, full of seeds and excellent toasted. Hope you enjoy!

4 hard boiled eggs, chilled, peeled, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. dijon (or more to taste)
1 dash of white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 tsp turmeric
Course salt and freshly ground black pepper
One slice of your favorite bread

Mexican Tacos

Green chile and cotija chips

Green chile chips - Tiny Global Kitchen

We missed Cinco de Mayo traveling back from Europe. Not that it really matters, because I could eat tacos every day. We landed in Chicago and I had about 24 hours before my flight back to Seattle, so we decided on one of our favorite places, El Milagro in Pilsen for lunch. Their tacos are not for the light eater. I only usually can eat one because they’re stuffed with your meat of choice, rice (yes, inside the taco), beans, shredded cabbage and their spicy salsa. Delicious. But they have something else that I accidentally ordered, that I cannot live with out when we visit.

My first time at El Milagro, I was really hungry, so I saw they had a side of chips and salsa. Yes please! The woman behind the corner asked me if I wanted cheese on them. Huh? I said ok, not entirely sure I understood her correctly. Then, it arrived. Warm, freshly made tortilla chips with a warm green chile salsa and Cotija cheese on top. I took a bite and the crunchy, salty, warm chips and green chile, combined with the cold cheese… I told J it was truly, one of the best things I’d ever eaten. I asked the staff working what kind of chiles they were and they said “green.” Hmm. I would guess using Hatch could come close, and I’ll be trying to replicate these soon.

Musings Street Food Travel

Prosciutto, Pilsners and Prague


I wasn’t going to come along on this trip. Work schedules, family, stress, money… all reasons we give ourselves for not being able to get away. The opportunity came up for J to DJ three cities in Switzerland, Germany and Prague. I decided to take the opportunity and get away. Friends had always told me Prague was beautiful. It’s old, rich in culture and home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe.

The first few days were spent wandering taking photos, hiking to the Prague Castle and sampling their Pilsners. But it’s what happened in the moments of quiet, like quickly deciding to go watch the sunset after a thunderstorm, that was truly moving. Travel gives you perspective and a glance into the human experience like you don’t get with anything else. Watching people of all backgrounds take photos, experience meals in a picturesque outdoor setting under an awning, or wander tiny streets holding hands while speaking French, Italian, Japanese or German. I’ve had a hard time finding reasons to take photos or be creative and recently felt that I was in a slump. But this city was reinvigorating. It surprised you around every corner with a beautiful old wood door, a canal flanked by sunny lilac bushes, or a chef in full uniform and hat handwriting specials on a menu board.

In our last full day here, we ventured out to find some brunch. After a grumpy manager didn’t want us to sit at an outdoor table yet, we decided to walk and find someplace else. We found a small cafe by the river with a view of the city and had an open face sandwich with Prosciutto, cheese, balsamic, and sun-dried tomatoes on a baguette. Simple, but with the view, spectacular. It’s in moments like this, that spontaneity is the best medicine.