Category Travel

Traveling Japan

I wanted to start my pictured recount of Japan with a short story, a story about how I was parted from my wallet in a bustling city of over 13 million inhabitants. If you’ve never been to Tokyo imagine a city that resembles an ever-moving, oozing anthill of people streaming through subway tubes, tight ticket turnstiles, streets, constricted alleys and huge blocks of people waiting to cross streets like large armies lined up for battle. It seemed this way at any time of the day, the same flow of people bound for their destination — well except for rush hour where that flow probably increased twofold. Even with the sheer number of people traversing the city each day there’s no bumping, pushing or yelling. It’s ordered, calm, and polite.

We arrived at our subway stop, Suidobashi Station, late in the night. We stepped off the subway car and into the flow of people up and out to the top floor, out the turnstiles and behold! Even at the ungodly hour we were returning home the station was just as packed, but I spotted a humble man in a rickety food cart serving hot soup to those returning home too late to enjoy dinner at the table. I saw this man and immediately had the impulse to take his photo as he worked his craft. I wanted to seize the rare opportunity to take his photo without anyone else in the frame, and quickly yanked out my phone to capture the moment.

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Baking with Josey Baker’s Stoneground Red Wheat

A few months back I was called back out to San Francisco for work and before my trip I found myself following my typical routine: I planned on cafes for lunch, restaurants for dinner, bakeries for bread & pastry, and coffee shops to grab a cappuccino… You know, normal stuff. The problem with San Francisco is that there are too many good places to visit and it becomes an arduous task to eliminate items from your to-do list. I wish Albuquerque had this “problem”.

One stop I almost always make is Tartine Bakery, but I’ve already talked at length about the magical bread & pastry establishment. Another such place is The Mill, a spot that checks two boxes: it’s a bakery and a coffee shop. And a damn good one of each.

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A Trip to Northern Italy (and What I Did with My Sourdough Starter)

I’ve been separated from my good friend ‘baking’ for a short stint, but only because I traveled out to northern Italy, specifically the Veneto region, to attend a very important wedding: my brother’s! His fiance and her family live in the area but most of my family is in the south, with just a few up north, and so it’s a convenient central point for everyone to congregate and celebrate — and we sure did. Countless bottles of prosecco, sent back for recycling with nary a drop, provided ample proof of the full-day event. Prossecco is the life-blood of this area and every square inch of farmland has a vineyard placed on it, soaking up the rich soil to produce those lovely little pale grapes.

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Golden Raisin and Fennel Seed Sourdough

I recently had a chance to head out to San Francisco, CA for a quick vacation and now that I’m back I find myself still thinking of the ocean, Tartine bread, Napa wine, and Lagunitas brew… My brother and I met up there to spend some time with a good friend of ours and we did it right: Tartine bakery for oat porridge bread and croissants, Bar Tartine for dinner, Napa for wine, and a quick 2 day excursion to Healdsburg to explore the area on Segways while sipping wine and trying not to get run over.

We planned ahead before leaving to Napa and had a loaf of Tartine oat porridge on pre-order, picked up the night before it was in our packed bag with a charcuterie spread ready for the day. I would be lying if I don’t admit to being just as excited about cutting into that bread as I was about drinking wine and seeing the sights the next day.

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A Family Trip to Italy and Our Tartine Sourdough Bruschetta Recipe

My family trip to Italy begins how it always begins, with a trip down South to a small town near Brindisi. I have so many uncles, aunts, and cousins down South that a week doesn’t quite cut it. You see, you cannot simply visit a few people, or even just half, you have to see everyone even if it’s just for a short while. Family was always stressed as coming first for me when growing up and my relatives back in Italy share that sentiment. Saying they “go out of their way” for us while we are out there is a severe understatement. The custom is for us to spend a single meal (lunch or dinner) with each of the families. After a week of this you have eaten so much food you are ready to swear off eating for the next month.

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