Adam: It didn’t matter that Ryan had to get up at 4:30am yesterday. He was determined to test these cocktails with me late Sunday night after his choir rehearsal. Energized from making beautiful music with his friends and excited to spend this week filming a part in a new television show—which we will tell you more about once we are allowed to—he rolled up his sleeves and together we began testing after 10pm, even though he had to wake up in just a few hours. Thankfully, this drink didn’t take long to perfect, and after sampling a bit of this and a touch of that, we literally stumbled upon a secret ingredient that turned this delicious cocktail into one of the tastiest we have ever tried. Ryan was able to get to bed quickly while I finished the dishes, and because of his hardworking dedication, today we are able to present a hopping new beverage that will soothe your soul and alleviate your winter. Say hello to the white rabbit.
When life gives you rain, make cupcakes. Well, maybe the saying doesn’t go quite like that, but it is exactly what’s happening today. So put on warm pajamas and a comfy robe, turn on your favorite tunes, and start a hot pot of coffee, because you have earned this. It’s been four weeks since you committed to those New Year’s resolutions, and it’s time to take a well-deserved break from that Whole-Paleo-Whatever diet you’ve been trying and reward yourself with some delicious cake. This isn’t just any ordinary dessert: this cake is here to make all your sweet dreams come true. So turn off the tv, put down your phone, and start preheating your oven—these horchata cupcakes are here to ease your mind, soothe your soul, and satisfy your mouth.
Being a vegetarian in Spain is not easy, but if you know what to look for you can eat like a king. Ryan has family in Bilbao and we have been fortunate to visit them a few times together over the years. Our first experience was in the summer of 2011, and while the trip was amazing… getting there was not. Thanks to weather and other delays, our sixteen-hour travel time turned into an unpleasant (and uncomfortable) thirty, leaving us exhausted and worn out by the time we arrived. But the huge hugs and warm welcome we received from all the relatives waiting at the airport made us forget the ordeal we had been through, and for the next four days we had the time of our lives. We had planned our trip to overlap with the city’s annual festival, Aste Nagusia, or “big week.” From morning till night, there were tens of thousands of locals and tourists partying in town, with colorful floats, jaw-dropping fireworks, and delicious street foods on every corner, and this is where Adam tried churros con chocolate for the first time: thin, extra-crispy churros dipped in a cup of rich, thick melted chocolate. Ryan’s family showed us all their favorite local bars and restaurants, took us to the Guggenheim Museum of modern art, and we basically spent the entire visit eating and drinking our way through this lively Basque city. At times, it was tricky to find tapas that we could eat, but almost every bar had a few classic dishes we could enjoy, like traditional Spanish tortilla de patatas, roasted pimientos de país, and the crispy, spicy, dangerously addictive potatoes known as patatas bravas.
It has been raining here in Los Angeles and we are loving every second. Nothing is more soothing than falling asleep to the sound of drops hitting our rooftop, then waking up to find the plants outside glowing a brilliant green and radiating with life. These cloudy days are perfect for photographing food: the light is softer, diffused, and bluish-white, making everything more vibrant and a pleasure to shoot. Speaking of photography, our friend Soe (Lime & Cilantro), an outstanding cook and photographer (won “Best New Voice” at the Saveur 2016 Blog Awards), recently invited us to participate in a #noodleholicsparty where everyone cooks their favorite noodle dish and shares it today on their website. With a hashtag like that, how could we resist? This spicy and comforting delicacy couldn’t be more fitting for a cold rainy day. It is one of our favorite Korean appetizers, and this vegetarian version is just as flavorful as the original. A fun word to say, tteokbokki (duck-boke-KEE) is also super quick and easy to make!
Last week we hiked to Hermit Falls. This scenic 2 1/2 mile adventure through the forested canyons above Monrovia is one of our favorite places in Los Angeles. With majestic views of the San Gabriel Mountains, we walked through emerald fern-lined paths, winding our way through shady oaks, carefully crossing over several running streams before reaching the thirty foot waterfall at the end of the trail. The lush setting felt more like Kauai than Southern California. Here we were, high above the city, away from the noise, trying to work off the massive amounts of apple cider snickerdoodles and chocolate peppermint parfaits that were consumed during the holidays. And in those ancient hills—still sparkling like diamonds from the recent rains—the idea for this magical creation was conceived as we hiked along the babbling creek. We tested it for dinner as soon as we got home, and from the first blissful bite it was clear: they are hands down some of the best burgers we’ve tried.