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T / how i’m eating 2017 / ARTillery’s magic menu

Hello Quinoa Rainbowl! Nice to meet you!.

This week, a red headed birdy sent me a bit of magic!  Jen, whom you previously have known as coffee Yoda and professor of beans, is also a doctor of menus!  (Could mother of dragons be next?)  Over the past few months, she’s been working with ARTillery Cafe in Phnom Penh to give their menu a facelift, and what a great job she’s done!

When it first arrived on the scene in 2012, ARTillery was pretty much the first restaurant in Cambodia to enter the realm of the healthy that went beyond salads.  All of a sudden, raw, paleo, and gluten free, were buzzwords that became part of the Phnom Penh lexicon.  I loved their menu!  And it was a go-to for healthy fresh salads and fun plates.  But like all good things, I overdosed on things.

This is where Jen comes in.  She’s all about flavour, and has a genetic lineage to the healthy, nutritious and delicious.  ARTillery’s new menu is still incredibly healthy.  But it got kicked in the nuts.  Kimchi quesadillas!  Fa-waffles!  Every single macro bowl you could imagine!  And the dish that made me go a little nuts: paleo Disco Fries!

Fa-waffle!

So off to lunch I went today to deep dive into Jen’s garden of fun colourful things.  With a couple of fellow foodies, we went a little nuts.  Sadly not pictured are the Jump Start avocado, coffee, raw cacao and cashew milk smoothie I may or may not have devoured in one slurp.  Nor the Cachata (cousin of horcata of course), or Chunky Monkey (we were obviously in the mood for chocolate).  But I did get a snap of Jen’s amazing green fa-waffle with hummus and garlic tahini sauce (above).  It’s officially my new happy place.

I also learned that I couldn’t tell the difference between jackfruit and chicken today.  These tacos (below) were perfect.

Not your grandma’s tacos. These babies are jackfruit.

It’s healthy with a bit of a whimsy and magic.  Fully customizable bowls.  Protein, gut health, fermented things to your heart’s content.  I like the good things and the healthy things.  It’s exactly how I want to eat this year, and now that I’m desk-bound, my lunch hour just got a little more exciting.  I can’t wait to try that cauliflower bun.  If you’re in town, do wander down a certain brightly graffitied alley and give these guys a try.


All photos by Tiffany Tsang for cait+tiff. Please request permission for use.


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T / go away / eat sleep walk ubud

bali-headerThis is the last post on Bali. I promise. At this point you’ve probably had the wonders of Bali driven down every orifice.  So this one is going to be pretty basic.  Everything Ubud.  The one place we slept that we loved, the ten things we ate that blew our mind, the road we re-loved and the one walk we did which I wish we could do e’er weekend.


bali-sleeps-headerWe knew we were meant to be flashpackers when we were 24 and the New York Times had recommended the Alam Indah family of hotels.  At the time we had blown all of our money on this trip to Bali, but we knew we had to stay here.  It helped that Alam Indah’s rooms can be as low as $45 per night during the low season (including breakfast and taxes).   We fell in love with Balinese hospitality and the rich (yet not kitschy) local design of the hotel immediately.  So we knew we had to stay with them again for lucky number eight.

Tiffany TsangAnd this time we could splurge (and not feel the pain of it) for a standing bungalow in the middle of a rice field at the Alam Jiwa.  Balinese hospitality also means that you can order breakfast the night before and they’ll serve it on your veranda.  All of the rooms, no matter what price, have their own little private terrace space.

This time we went for the Jatayu, a massive single room kampong (featuring the most comfortable king sized bed) with an outdoor, rice field-facing bathroom, and the most luxurious private little veranda.  We didn’t necessarily feel like leaving.

alam-jiwa-roomThe entire property, which is structured like a Balinese household compound, is stunning.  Each residence behind a wall and a gentle little path through lily pads and rice fields.  It’s actually mind blowing.  You really don’t need to leave.  Also pool, and complimentary afternoon tea? You really really don’t need to leave.

Tiffany Tsang

Fruit, muesli, yogurt, fresh squeezed OJ and babur (Balinese rice porridge with spinach) at 9am please.

alam-jiwa-pool-and-walkOh right, and breakfast (which is big and divine) served on your veranda in the luscious morning light?  You’d be crazy not to.


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When we travel, we eat everything.  From the pig on the side of the road, to reservation attempts at the Michelin stars, or the new culinary upstart in town.  And that’s exactly what we did again on this trip.  We had really great new little discoveries (like the nasi pecel above), and obligatory pitstops (the babi guling below).

Babi Guling (aka roasted suckling pig, all the parts very much loved).

Babi Guling (aka roasted suckling pig, all the parts very much loved). Skip Ibu Oka, the place Anthony Bourdain exploded into a crowded tourist item. Any of the dudes with a big on the side of the road will be just as good.

Then my partner surprised me with something kind of epic and mind blowing.

Will Goldfarb worked the desserts at El Bulli. Drop Mic. That’s all you need to know right?  Here are some other bits: he moved to Bali, he trains chefs there, and he opened a restaurant  (in an abandoned night club) that is serving locally inspired sweets (and some savouries) and still dabbling in molecular gastronomy and the most delicious cocktails mastered by a barely legal Balinese bartender whose family makes all the local fruit-derived syrups and bitters.  He’s also the nicest guy, and his roster of very cool chefs are the best conversationists.  They will even be aware of the nuances of Cambodian food.  You should absolutely order the 9 course dessert tasting menu. Share with two other work out buddies also visiting Bali, break the diet and have a sugar high.

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Room for Dessert is located next to Naughty Nuri’s Warung on Jalan Sanginggan (open 4pm until late, 7 days a week). One of these dessert features coconut vinegar. Another has toasted gelato. I’ll let you guess which.


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Pick a road that leads from Ubud’s city center to Gunung Batur and drive your custom café race (read: scooter you rented from your hotel) up through the rice terraces, through holy bathing sites, and all the temples.   That’s all you need to do to get a sense of Bali.  And if you have time, keep driving north, or west.  Not enough people see this part of Bali.  Tourists mostly stick around the island’s south east bend of beaches, yoga and parties.  But there is so much more in between roads and down a dirt path.  And if you’re feeling intrepid, wake up at 3am and climb the dead volcano at the end of the road.

Tiffany Tsang

Bathers at the holy pools of Pura Tirta Empul.

The roads are smooth.  The green is so lush. And it is so easy to navigate and your fellow drivers are decent and polite.  You have no excuses basically.  Tiffany Tsang

Bring your sarong.

Bring your sarong.

Gunung Batur.

Gunung Batur.


bali-walks-headerThe very last thing we did was a bucket list item for me.  The moment I saw this path through a gorgeous rice field, I just had to.  The Campuhan Rice Ridge is eight kilometers of some of the coolest hikes you can do in the region.  On both sides of you are rice terraces, gorgeous traditional Balinese homes sitting on hills and a bunch of romantically placed palm trees. Here are perfect instructions on how to get there. Bring mosquito repellant and a good pair of shoes.  My flip flops didn’t exactly leave much to be desired.


All photos by Tiffany Tsang.  Please request permission for use.  We are not responsible if you can’t get a room in Ubud because it’s high season and you put off booking everything.


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T / go away / re-interpreting

bali-headerWe rarely revisit places.  With the assumption that a return would probably ruin the a previously held love.  It’s like if I returned to Istanbul, sans coup, I’d feel like we’d be missing something.  Without those 4am fighter jets, it just wouldn’t be complete.  Or alternatively, re-booting Gilmore Girls on Netflix (!!!), without Edward Herrman. Same same but different, right?

Then we did it.  We went back to a special place.  My partner and I needed a break from the world.  The kind of trip that was based on whimsy and great eats and not goals to have every amazing cup of matcha a city in Japan would have to offer.  We were also trying to celebrate lucky number eight.  So why not go back to the scene of the crime*? And sure it was different.  Very different.  But it also wasn’t the post-Eat, Pray, Love Bali that we imagined it to be.

Except for the grid lock in Ubud.  That was bad.  How did it get that bad?

Tiffany TsangSo before I shared every bite you should take and every bed you should sleep in, I thought I’d just ruminate on the art of returning somewhere.  It’s a weird feeling.  Things are completely different and the same.  The store that you bought that dress that you still wear? It’s gone.  The streets are filled with retirees from the West and the East looking to get their yoga on.  And this is low season. Remember that mostly-empty-surfers-only beach we found on our long motorbike trip up to coast?  The hipsters took over.  And all that cook batik went into hiding and has been replaced by resort wear.

But the roasted suckling pig on the side of the road is still delicious.  The volcano you climbed is still there.  And the overrated poop coffee is still available everywhere.  Also, the Balinese are still the most hospitable and lovely people around.  Oh, and the super tanned surfer boys are still riding around Canngu barefoot on their scooters sporting their Sean Penn-@-Fast-Times-at-Ridgemont-High hair? They’re still there too.

Also, a dude from El Bulli opened a restaurant in Ubud (more on that and a bunch of cool special things next week).

Bali is still a very special place.  And we can afford to stay in a room that costs three times what we spent eight years ago.Tiffany Tsang

Tiffany TsangPlaces change.  Going back to Bali was like going home for me.  In the case of home, Toronto stayed more-or-less the same, and it was my friends heading into big life changes. In the case of Bali, bigger changes happened. A gorgeous island suddenly became known to the world. And people flocked.

Eight years on, I’d still be happy to visit Bali again, though.  We’ll just have to keep looking for those special hidden places.


*We visited Bali the first time in November 2008, just a week after the terrorists who had attacked Bali in 2002 were executed.  Ubud and Seminyak were still fairly quiet.  Very quiet actually.


All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. Cait+Tiff are not liable for any costs incurred for sudden excursions to tiny, beautiful Indonesian islands.

 


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T / postcards from istanbul

14---CatstantinoppleI knew I was stepping into a delicious place, thanks to Alissa.  But I didn’t think my expectations could be blown through the roof.  From the way citizens handled the attempted coup to the owner of the (delicious!) Gazientep kebab stall who insisted he repack my mess of bazaar purchases into a slightly less nutso annoying chaos. I was smitten.  I can’t wait to explore the rest of the country, but in the meantime, at least I can look back at these little goodies I took.


 

 

01---Raise-all-the-blindsWe stayed in the perfect Airbnb.  It was just steps from all the delicious and beautiful things. But not just that, our hosts messaged us to make sure we were alright once the coup started. Except we had the fortitude of being disconnected and clueless and replied, “we’re great! love this city!”  Anyways, I loved this little rooftop apartment with the best view off the rooftop terrace, waking up to this view from our bed every morning.  I never got sick of the calls to prayer, and even with the five flights of stairs to take us up, I would absolutely stay here again.


02---Drink-LimonataFrom this trip onwards, I am absolutely making Turkish lemonade, limonata, a constantly available beverage in my house.  It’s basically minty lemonade, but the moment we saw that Turkish Airlines offered a homemade version on their drinks list, I was addicted.  It’s all I want after hiking up a 45 degree incline.


03---Kool-Kids-in-Karakoy04---Blend-into-the-BackgroundKarakoy is where all the cool kids are.  It was also just steps from our Airbnb, and on the way to the ferry that would take us to the Asian side of Istanbul. There is no excuse for not heading here.  Just remember to make a reservation at Karakoy Lokantasi.


06---Eat-BreakfastIf you don’t have a Turkish breakfast,  then you haven’t really visited Istanbul. Every single person I chatted with while planning this trip implored me to visit Van Kavalhti Evi (though, the above picture was taken at Cafe Privato), with their endless supply of delicious tea, and that massive spread! Bring friends and spend at least three hours here.


07---Look-Up Tiffany TsangYou’ll need to get an olive oil massage at the hammam because your neck will always be craned upwards while you’re at the Hagia Sophia, The Blue Mosque, and all the other massive pretty things that make Istanbul resemble Disney World.


08---To-Market,-To-MarketTarlabasi Sunday Market is the perfect place to get a sense of Istanbul at it’s most normcore. Located in a middle class neighbourhood just a hop and a skip from Taksim Square, the place comes alive with olive vendors, cheese men, and all the peppers and spices in the world.  All I wanted to do was buy all the produce, and every single variety of tomato.09---But-First,-Olives Tiffany Tsang Tiffany Tsang Tiffany Tsang


11.5---Go-EastThe Asian side of Istanbul is just a 15 minute ferry ride from Karakoy harbour and across the Bosphorus. Our pal Abigail was absolutely right – you can just get lost over there, wandering every delicious street, from the seafood restos and fish market to all the bars on Kadife Sokak.  We stumbled upon the most delicious honey, fresh scraped from the comb atop the thickest yogurt.  Then came all the local brew and the fresh fish. We didn’t have any more room for the kunefe, which only means we’ll have to go back. 12---Yogurt-and-Honey 13---Drink-Local-Brew


05---get-a-rooftopAnd rooftops.  Those are always important.


All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.  Cait+Tiff are not liable for sudden urges to go to Turkey.


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guest post / Alissa Ate Turkey (…errr Istanbul)

When the layover stars aligned and I decided that I’d be heading to Istanbul (en route to a far flung location) in a couple of weeks, I knew I had to crowdsource all the tasty things.  And who best to do get the goods from? Our very own travel correspondent, of course!  You’ve gone through all of her tips before, so you know this intel is quality.  Thank you Alissa!!!  – Tiff


Alissa-Istanbul-HeaderIstanbul is one of my favorite cities that I’ve ever visited. It’s this incredible mix of traditional and modern, where elements of Europe and the Middle East blend to produce an atmosphere that is unlike any other. The markets are amazing, the architecture is phenomenal, and the food is beyond words. I stayed in Fener-Balat, a cozy little neighborhood of coffee shops and antique stores, where my friends live. Staying here provided a glimpse into the non-tourist side of Istanbul, and some of my favorite moments of the trip involved wandering this area, visiting farmers’ markets and catching up with friends over many cups of tea – spend 30 minutes in this city and you’ll soon realize tea and coffee are the vices of choice. Within moments of arrival, you’ll also quickly notice the plethora of street cats. Istanbul is known for their affection and respect for kitties, with dishes of kibble and water commonly left outside doorsteps. As a result, these are some of the cleanest, plumpest, and friendliest street cats you’ll ever encounter – expect them to curl up in your lap at cafes.

Here are some of the favorite things we did:

Alissa-EatsEAT:

  • Oldest Turkish delight shop: This place is legitimately the best Turkish delight I’ve ever had. Granted, most of what I’d had before was free samples on layovers in the IST airport BUT I still argue that this is the best. With the shop first opening its doors in 1777, I am pretty sure it’s the oldest as well.
  • Baklava: My friends were quick to warn me that they had to to find delicious baklava in Istanbul… in fact, they said it was gross. Whaaaaaaat? I took this on as a challenge and proceed sample various baklava establishments daily, at the end of the trip concluded: Ya it’s kinda….. wet. We did some Googling and learned that Turkish baklava is different than Lebanese, the former uses sugar water (hence the soggy) while the later uses honey. Try lots and see what you think, despite the wetness, I still found it yummy and loved just having a piece with a Turkish coffee and watching the world go by. This place is across from the Turkish Delight place and I would highly recommend. It’s gorgeous and you feel like you are back in time and fancy.
  • Turkish breakfast: EVERYONE HAS TO DO THIS! Go here and order the biggest breakfast thing, and also order the egg dish with sausage and also order the fried doughnut things and the cheesy bread. Drink lots of tea with it. The neighborhood around here is also really special.
Dinner at Karakoy Lokantasi (left) and a kepbab at Duramzade (right). Noms.

Dinner at Karakoy Lokantasi (left) and a kepbab at Duramzade (right). Noms.

  • Kepbab at Durumzade. Bourdain ate here, so you know it’s the best.
  • Kunefe: There was this little cafe near the grand bazaar where we had phenomenal meat… and my friend was like, eat this you will die happy. It was kunefe and it was unreal. It’s fried cheese covered in honey and crushed pistachio. Keep an eye out for this treat!
  • Drink raki. It’s so strong, you’ll get so drunk and then like an hour later you’ll feel great. We drank lots of raki after the bathhouse and I’d recommend this as well.
  • Karakoy Lokantasi – this is a fancier resto, but still actually not expensive. It’s beautiful on the inside (one word: turquoise) and the food was phenomenal.
  • Lahmacun: this is like a Turkish pizza (but not at all) and it SO FREAKING DELICIOUS. Mincemeat on flatbread and then you put lots of greens and herbs on top, roll it up and munch. You’ll see them all over, be sure to eat one.

Alissa-DidDO:

  • Blue Mosque (above) and Hagia Sophia, obvs. It’s unbelievably magical.
  • Turkish bath! We did ours in the neighborhood where we stayed at a very locale place, but can imagine the higher-end, historical bathhouses are also amazing. It’s a pretty incredible experience, who doesn’t want to have their skin scrubbed back to baby softness
Hagia-Sofia

Inside the Hagia Sofia.

Laundry Sky Photo

Wander everywhere.

  • Do Asian side and European side, they are so different. The Asian side is really hip and a great place to bar hop at night and hear live music.
  • Hipster time in Karakoy, lots of little boutiques and cafes!
  • Wander Grand Bazaar, here you will find all the Turkish bath towels you’d ever want!
  • There are also these cisterns near the Hagia Sophia that are pretty spectacular.

All photos by Alissa Pries. Please request permission for use. We are not liable for costs incurred for last minute flights of fancy to Istanbul.


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C / Hunt for Nyonya Popiah

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I grew up in Tucson, the obvious hub for Malaysian food. It sounds weird, but I was lucky enough to have my friend, Michelle, whose family owned a Malaysian/Chinese restaurant, Seri Melaka. I spent a lot of time there in high school, draining the buffet of lo mein and orange chicken, but my 16 year-old dumb taste buds didn’t realize that the best stuff on the menu was the food from Melaka. When they opened a second restaurant, and I actually read the menu, I fell in love.

I went to KL last weekend to visit some friends and insisted on hunting down Melaka food, specifically one dish, Nyonya Popiah. Michelle’s restaurant served it and I ordered it every time, to the point where her mom would laugh at me for being such a one-trick-pony. It looks a bit like and Asian-inspired burrito, but is so much better than that.

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The outside wrapper is sort of a spongey crepe, and the inside is filled with fried garlic, jicama, carrots, bamboo, lettuce, sambal sauce and probably some other amazing stuff I couldn’t identify. It’s a little salty, a little sweet, a little spicy and totally delicious.

Luckily, the internet provided me with information on The Straits Food Company (as in “Straits of Melaka”). This restaurant feels like two street food carts had a Malaysian hipster baby. The food was delicious, diverse, cheap, and served in a great atmosphere. Bonus points for the monster monsoon that provided the soundtrack outside.

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So if you live in Tucson, go to Seri Melaka, and beg them to put nyonya popiah back on the menu. If you are anywhere near KL, get to The Straits Food Company, kind of right now. On the ceiling, in multiple languages, they have written “FOOD FOR ALL,” and we should be so lucky.

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Who has two thumbs, a dumb grin and loves Melaka food? This guy.

caitsig


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C / Hanoi Street Food

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I love Hanoi. I went for the first time last weekend with a buddy from high school. We spent our days pho hunting, drinking coffee with ice cream in it, and seeing important historical stuff. We also walked about 40 miles, and got down with local snacks.

Hanoi is one of the liveliest places I have been, and people are outside all the time. The Old Quarter, where we stayed, was full of people eating street food, playing music, watching toddlers waddle down the sidewalk, hanging out with friends, and eating ice cream. There was a remarkable about of ice cream. It felt like a very social place, and finding a quiet spot was more of a challenge that I might have thought. The traffic is terrible (welcome to SE Asia) and it takes some cojones to cross the street, assuming you aren’t used to walking directly into oncoming traffic.

We did a lot of cool stuff in 4 days, but the best thing was the Hanoi Street Food Tour

The tour is great, even though their website could use a little work. The staff is young, organized and attentive, and our guide, Cherry (potentially not her real name), was as informative as she was adorable. The company offers a number of different tours, from scooter tours of the city to cooking classes with local chefs. We decided on the 3 hour walking tour, running about $25 bucks.

The Tour

First stop: Bún chả

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Bún chả is a traditional Hanoi dish, and a local favorite. The meatballs are made of braised pork belly, then grilled and dunked in a warm broth of fish sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. Add the super delicate rice noodles, a generous hunk of fresh garlic, and a handful of herbs. Cherry said that she had eaten it every day for two months, and I totally get why.

Second Stop: No Bo Kho

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If all salads tasted like this, there would be no sad salad days. No Bo Kho combines shredded green papaya, fresh herbs, peanuts, fish sauce, brisket, and sweet beef jerky. No included in the photo is the garlic chili sauce I poured all over it. I think this was my favorite of the tour, but that’s like picking a favorite child. Or in my case, a favorite friend’s dog.

Stop Three: Beer Food

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Simply called “beer food” this stop was basically just piles of deep fried delicious. From right to left: fried fermented pork sticks, “pillow cakes,”spring rolls, shrimp cakes. Let’s talk about this for a second. 1. Fermented fried pork sticks do not sound delicious, but they are. 2. Pillow cakes are not cake, and are named as such because sometimes people drink too much beer and need a pillow. They are filled with a mix of sweet sausage, ground pork, rice noodles, wood ear mushroom, and angel wings. 3. The spring roll is just that, but 400 times better than any peasant spring roll you may have tried. 4. Shrimp cake, also not cake, but rather a full-sized shrimp on top of a rice-flour pancake situation, deep fried together. It’s shrimpy bliss, and you eat the whole thing, head to tail. It’s not weird or gross, you are.

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This is beer. It’s pretty ok, and it will run you 28 cents, or 5,000 dong. Dong.

Stop four: Girlfriend Rolls

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I loved eating this. We stopped in a park and ate “Girlfriend rolls” while Cherry told us about the name. I’m going be honest, I didn’t listen the whole time because I was too busy shoving this into my face, but it was something about if you give a girl this treat, and she accepts it, then she is your girlfriend. Which is understandable, because it’s a super thin crispy pancake rolled up with fresh coconut, black sesame, dried sugar cane and condensed milk. If I lived in Hanoi, I would be everyone’s girlfriend.

Stop Five: Bánh cuốn

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Oh I love these guys. Slippery fermented rice rolls filled with pork, wood-ear mushrooms and shallots. On top is fried garlic, pork floss (!), and a deep fried baby eel. Yum num num. The little green guy up top is not a lime, it’s a green cumquat that is only available this time of year. These dudes come with the standard fish sauce/sugar/vinegar sauce, but when it’s cumquat time, you squeeze that bad boy into the sauce, making everything a million times better. This might actually be my favorite dish.

 

Last Stop: Banh Mi and Egg Coffee

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I didn’t take a photo of the banh mi because it wasn’t that good. It was fine, but no one needs a photo of a mediocre sandwich. The egg coffee, however, was awesome. Its made by putting a shot of very strong espresso at the bottom of the cup and topping it off with egg yolks whipped with condensed milk. Yeah. Not super light, but super delicious.

I can’t recommend this tour enough, I am not usually into tours. I learned a lot, ate a lot, and left with dreams of noodles; the best kind of dreams.

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All iPhone photos by Caitlin Decker. They aren’t that good, so stealing them would be dumb. Steal Tiff’s instead, at least those are good.


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C + T / Good Krama

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This city just keeps getting cooler (though not on a thermometer). Adding to the list of awesome in this funny little city is Good Krama. Good Krama is an ethical clothing company with an edge.

Good Krama isn’t new to the scene here, but they do have a new cool girl at the helm, Katia. She’s French, but raised in San Francisco, and if that didn’t make her cool enough already, she also has a degree in Environmental economics. Basically, she knows her stuff and can pull off a killer cat eye at the same time.

Good Krama uses local fabrics, including the traditional Cambodian krama*, locally woven silks, sustainable fabrics like tencil, and up-cycled materials from deadstock or surplus fabrics from local garment manufacturers.

What’s interesting about the company is that their design doesn’t cater to expats or western tourists. Katia, who leads the design team, uses inspiration from local Cambodian trends, making a lot of the pieces much more interesting than your standard tank top.

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Left: Cait in the Khiev krama. Right: The Arunny krama. Both 100% handmade, 100% organza silk.  Check out all the Good Kramas here

We partnered with Good Krama to do a fun shoot with a few of our favorite pieces from their new line. Our best impressions of edgy super models below.

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Tiff in the signature Good Krama Borei Snapback while also rocking the 100% linen Vithu pant.

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Cait in a new hoodie coming soon!

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Tiff in the GKxChifumi Faded Tank. Made from 100% upcycled cotton.

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Cait in the Sov Tee.

We are planning fun things with these great people soon, so watch this space for updates!


All photos by Cait+Tiff. Please request permission for use. We are not liable for krama love.

 


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T / postcards from nepal

C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---13I’m still adjusting to civilian life after our little big week in Nepal.  And it’s not just the unrelenting heat in Phnom Penh that drives me to go back to Kathmandu in a heartbeat.  With a friend’s wedding in full swing, we barely had any time to get to know the place.  I didn’t reach my critical mass of momo consumption.  Nor truly get my textiles on.  So when I sat down today to finally go through 28 gigabytes of raw images, I knew what I had to do.  Postcards.  Enjoy!

C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---2 On our way, overland, from Pokhara to Kathmandu.  To those who haven’t yet graced cliffside, un-fenced, Asian roads (and their drivers), this might be a little death defying.  But once you get over that, the views are amazing.


C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---1 From the top of Swayambhunath, aka the Monkey Temple, in Kathmandu.  C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---3 C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---12


C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---10We spent the tiniest bit of time wandering through Patan Durbar Square.  I could easily come back here for a cuppa masala tea. Stat. C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---11 C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---9 C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---8


C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---4On our last day, we got to visit Bhaktapur, the ancient Newari capital of the Kathmandu Valley and its royal palace.  Just in time for Nepali New Year celebrations.  Which, when you’re getting over a night of wedding festivities, is the best wake me up a girl could ask for.  And this is when we really confronted the damage caused by 2014’s earthquake.  Five hundred year old temples rendered into rubble, not to mention the lives lost.  But the city was in full swing for new year festivities and the celebrations were just infectious.  After a pot of masala tea, of course. C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---5 C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---6 C+T---Postcards-from-Nepal---7


All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. And you should definitely go to Nepal.


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C / slide show

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I grew up spending a few weeks in Door County, Wisconsin every summer with my maternal grandparents. There were a million wonderful things about the place, but one of my favorites was the slide show they would have from their travels that year. We would all go to the small living room after dinner, sometimes with our cherry pie, and my grandpa would turn off the lights and talk us through the show, with commentary from gram.

They both loved adventure, and my grandfather was a wonderful photographer. I remember sitting on the floor, teetering back and forth in a BackJack, trying to hold on to the details of the slide show. They traveled all over the world, and I remember seeing late-80’s style slides from Aruba, Easter Island, Alaska, and Kashmir. These slide shows prompted my interested in places far away and by about 11 years old, I had a long list of thing I needed to see.

My grandparents have since passed, and I haven’t seen a slide show in a while, probably because people don’t use film, or get slides anymore. I’m not going to shake my fist angrily at technology here, but I miss how special photos used to feel. Seeing a few over-filtered snaps of someone’s face with maybe a mountain in the background isn’t all that interesting to me.

In the spirit of two of my favorite people who have walked and danced on this earth, I have put together a bit of a slide show, photos with actual explanation, from my first few days in Nepal. I know some people don’t have time for that, or really even care, and that’s cool, you don’t have to.

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This is RS Moto, in Kathmandu. It’s owned by some of the coolest kids in KTM and isn’t ust a motorcycle shop. They have a fantastic coffee bar, yummy cafe, and an extremely cool shop full of motorcycle stuff and handmade outdoor gear. They also make incredible custom bikes, see the Ducati just chillin’ there in the background.

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This is some of the cool, locally-made swag in the shop at RS. It’s good I don’t live in KTM because I would have given them all my money by now.

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Walking through the alleys of KTM was one of my favorite things about the city. This part of town, near Freak Street and the fabric markets, is especially old and suffered during the earthquake. Through a lot of alleys now are these wooden braces that are golding up the buildings. They don’t look super secure to me, and I think I’m right. Wandered through anyway.

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This is a kinda crappy photo, taken from the back of a moto going through the city. It’s easy to forget what the country went through last year while having lunch at cool little restaurants, but physical reminders are everywhere, and heartbreaking.

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One big regret of my trip is that I never got a saree. There were too many gorgeous colors and I couldn’t make a call. I will just have to go back.

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Fabric shopping in this city was a damn treat. Patterns here mean different things, each tiny little city has it’s own print, and vendors have a lot to say about each one. I could wander the fabric area for days, though I would need to buy another gigantic North Face knock off bag to bring all the goodies back.

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This is the lassi shop near the fabric market. They serve one thing, plain lassi with dried fruit and pine nuts on top. My favorite part about this place is that most people don’t do “take away” so you order and drink right there. There were TWO guards watching the patrons hovering around the shop, to make sure they didn’t steal the glass cups. They meant business, too, and would scold you if you walked too far away. I feel like I would be an excellent lassi cop.

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Just a standard city scene near Durbar Square in KTM. Traffic laws are merely suggestions.

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Nepalese donut! I don’t remember what this tasty treat is called, but it’s rice flour and honey, rolled up with corn meal, then deep fried. The little squiggly guy underneath? I don’t know how they make them, but it’s basically tubes of deep fried honey.

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View from the top of a friend’s house in Bhaktapur, one of the very laid back, old cities near KTM.

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My trusty steed for a day of exploring outside of KTM. (Note: By “trusty steed” I mean i sat on the back of it and held on for dear life. It’s a freaking DUCATI, it goes crazy fast and I am equally proud of myself for not flying off the back of it as I would be for driving it.)

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That’s a special combination of fear and pride on my face. And that is just posing with it.

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Pretty garlands outside a little tea shop in .Banepa

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Mostly quiet temples in Banepa.

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Cruising through Banepa with new buddies. I love the colors here, and how it felt like going back in time, which is the most cliche thing to say about old stuff, but it’s true.

I have a million more photos from the trip, some a re much better than these, but this was my first look at Nepal, and when I think about it, I will remember these few days perfectly.

More photos sometime soon.

caitsig