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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

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

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.

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.

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I love you Austin, but I need a salad

Yep, we did sushi in Texas. But it was a jalapeño and cilantro roll!

I’ve always loved Austin for it’s being so different from other parts of Texas. The food trucks, the friendly people, and all the music venues. J and I were excited to venture down once again for SXSW. We walked all over the city, checking out bands for my day job, meeting with industry friends… and eating. Tex Mex and fusion dishes like Chi’Lantro Bulgogi tacos, Mexican sushi rolls with crunchy jalapeño and cilantro, smoked pork tacos, Frank’s hot dogs with BBQ sauce and burgers too big to admit you consumed. I think there was a poblano caesar in there, but it was underwhelming, probably because it was trying to be a salad. At the end of the week, we had blisters from walking from one side of the city to the other, but reinvigorated hearing great music. Ok, I won’t lie, we enjoyed ditching our normally clean diet for some Frito pie. But we were happy to be headed home… I love you Austin, but I need a salad.

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Ceviche

Ceviche - Tiny Global Kitchen

Ceviche, Woobar W Bali

Nothing refreshes you in tropical climates like a cold ceviche. We were lucky enough to visit the W Resort in Bali last month where the famous sunset sessions are paired with electronic beats, overstuffed couches, exceptional service, and ice-cold drinks. Inspired by the ocean, their bar is designed to symbolize a giant wave in action on the beach, an artistic architecture of curvaceous raw concrete that adds to the spectacular vistas on the shore. Being that close to the equator, you’re constantly warm (ok sweating), the breezes are welcome and the cool drinks go down easily. J was there to DJ so they invited us to have some drinks and bites after we arrived.

Watching the sunset, we sampled our ceviche which was a bright and creamy combo of tuna, red peppers, chiles, and lime served with crispy chips. It was delicious and the backdrop of this Bali ceviche was worth all those miles we flew and perfectly paired with a ok a few chile mojitos.

However, we have to admit we have our favorite version. It’s typically a tomato base, lime, chock full of shrimp, cilantro, hot sauce and best eaten with Saltines crushed on top and devoured with a spoon. We once learned the recipe of J’s all time favorite spicy and sweet ceviche from a small Cuban restaurant (now closed) in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. We asked their manager for the recipe after we saw he’d been knocking a few too many back. He winked at us and started rattling off the recipe as I furiously typed it into the notes section of an old phone. Alas, the phone later took a swim, the recipe to forever remain a mystery.

Here’s a recipe for an awesome shrimp ceviche by Rick Bayless.

  • 1 quart salted water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 generous pound unpeeled small shrimp (about 41 to 50 count to a pound)
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus several sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegary Mexican bottled hot sauce (such as Tamazula, Valentina or Bufalo)
  • About 2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra-virgin (optional, but smooths out sharpness)
  • 1 cup peeled, diced cucumber or jicama (or 1/2 cup each)
  • 1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • Salt
  • Several lime slices, for garnish
  • Saltine crackers, for serving

Cooking and marinating the shrimp:

Bring 1 quart salted water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of the lime juice. Add shrimp, cover and return to a boil. Immediately remove from heat, set pot lid askew and pour off all liquid. Replace lid and set aside, letting shrimp steam in closed pot for 10 minutes. Spread out shrimp in large glass or stainless steel bowl to cool completely. Peel shrimp (and devein, if desired). Toss shrimp with remaining 1/2 cup lime juice, cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

The flavorings: In a small strainer, rinse chopped onion under cold water, then shake off excess liquid. Add to shrimp bowl along with chopped cilantro, ketchup, hot sauce, optional olive oil, cucumber and/or jicama and avocado. Mix gently, taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Cover and refrigerate up to a few hours, or serve immediately. Serving the ceviche: Spoon the ceviche into sundae glasses, martini glasses or small bowls. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and slices of lime. Serve with saltines or tortilla chips.

Mexican Recipe

Mango jalapeño salsa

Salsa-TinyGlobalKitchen

It may be raining in Santa Fe New Mexico as we celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday, but it’s hot inside this bowl. Listening to bossa nova watching the thunderstorm outside, we’re chopping mango, tomato, jalapeño and wondering how many times I’ve made a variation of this salsa. We’ve tasted so many salsas in restaurants, grocery stores, at many a BBQ… but I love this recipe for it’s chunky, crunchy, freshness. It’s also fun when people request “your salsa.” By all means, make this one your own.

  • Tomatoes – 4-5 romas
  • Yellow pepper
  • Red onion
  • Jalapeño or serranos, adjust the heat to your preference
  • Apple – I like the contrast of a green apple, but use what you prefer.
  • Cilantro, adjust to taste, I usually chop a good handful.
  • Garlic
  • 2-3 limes depending on the size of the batch
  • Mango
  • Salt & pepper

I chop all the above in the same size pieces, squeeze in the limes, add some garlic, salt and pepper. I like to chill this after it’s done. It’ll marinate together and come out better after a few hours in the fridge but holds its crunch nicely. Now that the thunderstorm is over… time to party! Happy Birthday Dad.