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Cuban Korean Mexican 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

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 French Paris Travel

The First Espresso in Paris

The first espresso-Tiny Global Kitchen

Cafe

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…

Chicken Sandwiches Street Food Travel

Prosciutto, Pilsners and Prague

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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. 

Austin Food trucks Hot dogs Korean Mexican Tacos Travel

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.

Bali Fish Indonesia Mexican Recipe Tiny Kitchen Travel

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.

Recipe Street Food Travel Turkey

It all began in Istanbul

Simit

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.