Two summers ago we visited a floating bar in the middle of the British Virgin Islands that served the best Bloody Marys we have ever tasted. Only accessible by small boats, the steel ship—converted into a two-story restaurant and bar—is regularly filled with smiling customers wearing bathing suits, flip flops, and sunglasses. Once people get a few cocktails to build their confidence, the fun begins and you can watch them jump from the second story balcony into the crystal clear ocean twenty-five feet below. Our brave niece, Stella, who was nine at the time, lost all inhibitions after downing a few Shirley Temples, and decided to jump with the adults.
This recipe was destined to be shared with the world. In 2010, while Adam’s band was touring the West Coast, they stumbled upon a Puerto Rican restaurant called Sol Food just twenty miles north of San Francisco. None of the guys had ever tried this type of cuisine before, but everyone instantly fell in love. The outside of the restaurant was painted a vibrant green and the interiors were decorated with colorful vintage doors and lush tropical plants. Adam ordered a flat pressed vegetarian sandwich with avocado, roasted red peppers, sautéed onions, organic greens, sliced tomato, Jack cheese and a tasty cilantro-lime mayo, and it was one of the best sandwiches he had ever tasted. On every table in the restaurant there was a mysterious bottle of red sauce with no label, and as the guys looked around, they could see other customers generously pouring it over everything: sandwiches, black beans and rice, and yuca. Well, they started by adding a few tentative drops to their dishes, but by the end of the meal they were all practically drinking it straight from the bottle. It was spicy, tangy, and deeply flavorful: filled with bright chiles and just the slightest hint of sweetness, it was unlike anything Adam had ever tasted, and he had to find out more about it.
Four years ago, we had the pleasure of visiting Japan for the first time. Adam’s band was performing at the Fuji Rock Festival, high in the mountains three hours north of Tokyo. After the last show, the rest of the group went home while the two of us ventured around the country for ten days, falling completely in love with the Japanese people and their inspiring culture. We took bullet trains to Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Miyajima, and Hiroshima, traveling across the countryside, spending a few days in each city, visiting pristine gardens and ancient Buddhist temples, while learning where to find the best vegetarian meals and how to properly ask for them. Throughout the day, we often found ourselves saying, “watashi wa bejitarian desu,” hoping they would understand that we were politely communicating, “I am vegetarian.” We snacked on inari (sweet tofu pockets filled with sushi rice), we lived off onigiri with umeboshi (white rice triangles wrapped in seaweed with a sour plum center), we found unique tiny restaurants on hidden side streets serving bowls of hot udon noodles, ramen, and miso soup, we tried a savory pancake called okonomiyaki, sampled multiple flavors of sweet mochi candies, and discovered a delicious noodle dish called zaru soba. This light and refreshing entree quickly became our go-to meal in Japan, and since it is served cold, it makes a perfect summertime dinner that is easy to prepare and fun to eat!
Do you hear that? Kids laughing and splashing in the pool, vegetarian burgers sizzling on the barbecue, cool ice cubes clinking in glasses of fruity sangria, a golden retriever slurping from his water bowl, your favorite tunes playing in the background. These are the relaxing sounds of summer which unofficially starts this Memorial Day weekend. We are ready for it and so are the local grocery stores and farmers markets which have already begun over-stocking their shelves with fresh summer produce like sweet juicy peaches and tangy heirloom tomatoes. Dust off your flip-flops, get out your sunscreen and bathing suits (our apologies if you may have gone up a size or two), and let us celebrate warmer weather, school-less beach days, tropical vacation getaways, romantic evening walks, roasting s’mores outdoors, and spending more time with friends and family. Today we would like to welcome this bountiful season with a delicious, crisp corn salad that is a little sweet, a little spicy, and perfect for all your entertaining needs.
Your first meal of the day is the most important: it gives you strength, energy, and focus. It helps decision-making, planning, and regulates your mood. And the best way to do that is with a light, healthy, and nutritious breakfast. You stop and read the title again. Yes, you read it correctly, and we know what you’re thinking: there must be a typo, right? How can the word breakfast follow the words banana pudding? It would be a dream come true if this were so, but it must be a mistake! Well, let us reassure you–there are no typos here, and this is not a dream. Pinch yourself, banana pudding for breakfast is your sweet new reality.