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.
The “original” Budweiser
Doors in Prague
We’d been talking about getting back to Thailand since we first were there, and were grateful to land four days in the steamy city three weeks ago. We vowed to eat more street food, albeit scary when raw pork hangs in the sun. Or the plates stacked with fried fish for sale that defy laws of food safety. But hey, live a little, right? We wandered the streets, checking out stalls, and ate many mini lunches.
Food stall, Bangkok
One thing was everywhere we ate, chile sauce. Not the neon pink sweetened kind you see in a bottle, but these chopped tiny Thai chiles floating in liquid that could melt your face. It’s served with breakfast on eggs or that wonderful jasmine rice offered with spicy and fragrant dishes. We kept tempting fate by adding more and more to each plate. By the time we left Thailand we had to find a recipe. We found the Thai chiles at a Uwajimaya here in Seattle and the rest is in the recipe below, called Nam Pla Prik in Thai. Enjoy your level of heat addiction! More pics of our Bangkok trip here.
- 1/4 cup sliced Thai Chilies
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 Tbs fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- Sliced shallots (optional)
J and I were sitting at a very early breakfast buffet at our hotel. We had set our alarms to be (embarrassingly) first in line for a street food in Istanbul, Turkey called Simit.
Simit is light and flaky, baked to a golden brown color, and topped with sesame seeds. It is sometimes formed into rings, and are often braided. Chewy like a bagel but the buttery flavor of a croissant, these tasty little devils are very addictive.
We’ve been lucky enough to travel internationally together and food has been more than an interest for both of us. We would tuck into small restaurants together and sheepishly take photos of everything from fiery shrimp fried rice served in a pineapple in Bangkok to strange dried shrimp and sake in Tokyo. Returning home, we’d try to recreate our favorites. Through all of these food-related adventures, we’ve started to learn new recipes together, laughed in the kitchen and formed a much stronger bond.
Back in Istanbul, J was realizing he couldn’t fill his luggage with Simit and was frowning. We had to try and make them back home. And so we did. Here’s the chewy, salty recipe. No travel to Turkey needed, but it’s highly recommended.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon milk plus 1 teaspoon
- 1 egg, beaten
- sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt. Make a depression in the dry ingredients with your fist, making a “hole” in the middle. Add olive oil, melted butter, water, milk, and egg. Fold dry ingredients into liquids to form a dough. This may take 10 minutes by hand. Once you have a dough, tear off pieces of dough, make long, cigar shapes. Bring ends of “cigars” together to make a circle. Place circle on greased cookie sheet. Brush with milk. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 30 minutes, or until Simit become a golden brown color and crispy on top.