Posts Tagged ‘food’

This is the first of Series Two, Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio. In S1 I painted all the pieces at once, working on 4 at one time. For S2 I have painted the base of all 9 but am going to finish them all individually. Not because I’m lazy as much as I have other projects that I am working on and also wanted to spend more time on each individual piece.
S2 is less naked women eating one another and more playful zombie action. Padma and Tom is an example of such and is timely in the sense that Anna and I had the opportunity to have dinner and drinks with Ming Tsai one Wednesday.

Finished this piece today, which was started 10 days ago. It is an octopus, batt…ling a great white shark. This person wanted something that spoke of his battle with…well, personal issues. He chose the octopus because to some degree the octopus is his aumakua, the shark because it represented the adversity that he had to overcome. It was tricky fitting in between his existing work, but all in all, was good fun!

Part 1

Things were better when I was a kid.

Life wasn’t something that required a credit card, a password or any device with an acronymic name to enjoy. I wasn’t counting calories, concerned about keeping my sugar or sodium intake in check and certainly didn’t give a damn about my abs.

We had 3 channels on TV, the radio played rock, oldies and disco and you had 2 types of blue jeans to choose from: Levi’s or Wranglers. One made you a rad, the other made people gag with a spoon. The two fast food joints were known for their differences; one flame broiled their patties, the other fried them, and you chose were to dine according to your mood.

But those were luxuries found only on the mainland. In the islands, you could go to Tex’s Drive In, Dick’s Coffee Shop or Cafe 100, distinguished only by the quality of their gravy. You wore the pants that were handed down to you or bought on sale at Woolworth’s.

At night on the black and white, you could watch Star Trek re-runs if the rabbit ears were cooperating, followed by Happy Days and Lavern and Shirley. Your choice of footwear was simple: Rubber boots, rubber slippers or cowboy boots; farmer, beach bum, hillbilly.

Life was simple: Get up, eat a loco moco at Cafe 100, go to Itsu’s to buy bait, beer and hotdogs, head down to 4 mile to fish all day while my dad drank with his friends on the side of the road.

How much better could life be?

Star Wars? Oh yeah, I saw that in the movie theater. Ditto, Raider’s of the Lost Ark. Video games? That was when the ONLY place that kids wanted to be was the arcade, and it cost money. The look on your parent’s face as they forked over another fiver whose fate it was to be fed mercilessly into machines that returned the investment with sound effects and perspiration, priceless.

It was a simpler time.

There weren’t as many people, traffic was something that occurred in places like New York or LA, fantastical places unto themselves. People were friendly to one another; they didn’t exchange suspicious looks. No one worried about being mugged, tagged, flash mobbed or twittered about. There wasn’t H5N1, mad cow, GMO crops or Ethanol. No one had to worry about someone stealing their PIN or piggy-backing on their WLAN.

However, what existed in abundance was aloha.

Aloha: Hello, goodbye, love. Those were the good old days. So, where did it all go?

Recently, my wife Anna and I went to visit my mom in Idaho. She was born and raised on the Big Island back in the plantation days, which according to her, was a time that was less glamorous than it sounds. Back then, they were lucky if they got a new potato sack dress for Christmas. They ate what  grew in the garden or was raised in a pen. They watched the knobs on the tube radio.

Life was simple, perhaps too simple.

My mother saw living in Hawi as a trap, a dead end. She wanted more for herself and her son, so as soon as she could she packed me up and headed to the mainland. Although I returned to my home to spend summers with my father and the rest of my family over the next decade, my mother never looked back. She was done.

But I digress.

Despite the fact that the only racism that I have ever experienced in my life occurred in Idaho (granted that was before Idaho underwent a ‘cultural revolution’, yikes), upon returning with Anna, I encountered some of friendly folks that I had met in years.

Genuinely friendly, people.

Cashiers making minimum wage who were eager to engage in conversation over the health benefits of quinoa. Strangers on the street or in the malls that were smiling at one another. Waiters who really seemed to care if our french fries were crispy enough for us, who were willing to stand over the fryer themselves to ensure that we received the deep-fried, chipped spuds of our liking. It was both refreshing and alarming. Refreshing because I was beginning to think that geniality was dead, alarming because I live in the aloha state, which has become, over time, bereft of its intrinsic commodity.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fantasize about living in Celebration, nor am I the type of person who enjoys engaging door-to-door solicitors of any kind, in any sort of debate. I enjoy my space as much as the next guy or girl. I prefer to sit in the least crowded section of a restaurant, I turn the chat function off on Facebook.

Am I guilty of killing aloha? Did the ideal somehow arrive at its current moribund state because of something that I or my generation had done? Now that we carry, at any given time, an average of three devices on our person that can not only receive radio, TV and streaming data, but help us find our way, do our taxes and make phone calls, shouldn’t we all be happier? Perhaps a better question would be: Where has our happiness gone?

I’ve been busy at the shop for the past few days and haven’t had time to post anything significant on my blog. So to keep things moving along I’ve decided to post a recipe for Pad Thai that I picked up during a cooking class at Apple Guesthouse in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
While on a tour, my wife Anna and I (and the rest of the tour group), stopped in the town of Kanachanaburi on our way back to Bangkok. From the train station we each climbed aboard our own individual rickshaws and headed out into the city on our way to Apple Guesthouse.
Up to that point we had experienced the many different modes of transportation that Thailand had to offer. The tuktuk, which is basically a dirty, two-stroke scooter with a third wheel and a bench seat, the longtail speed boat which was a slender almost canoe like water craft, that was propelled by a car engine bolted to the aft section of the boat. The propeller shaft running straight from the back of the motor was nearly fifteen feet long and hand operated so that the driver could lift it out of the water to avoid floating debris. We had also ridden various buses, trains, boats and even elephants! All in less than a week.
When we arrived at Apple Guesthouse we settled in and ate with the rest of the group before retiring to our rooms for the night. Needless to say, the food in Thailand is delicious. And at Apple Guesthouse, famous for their culinary expertise, we were treated to the best food of the trip.
The next morning our tour guide informed us that we could choose our activity for the day. The first was to visit a waterfall in the area, which required another bus ride and some hiking. The second choice was to take a cooking class, offered by the head chef of AGH. Since I had had enough of motorized travel, but more so because I live in a place teeming with waterfalls, I choose to pass on the excursion. Besides I like to cook.
As it turned out, the head chef was a katoi whom we had all seen the night before during dinner, when we all thought he was a very attractive woman! Since everyone on the tour happened to be couples and since my wife had elected to go on the waterfall tour, that left me the odd man out. The katoi informed everyone to partner up. When he noticed that I had no partner,  he looked at me and said with emotionless expression, “You and me. We will make beautiful food together. I will be gentle.”
As everyone else chuckled to themselves I could only smile and nod. He then took us to a farmer’s market where he talked about the regional fruits and veggies and abundance of proteins. Never in my life had I seen such a diversity of raw ingredients. After we purchased the ingredients that we were going to be using to prepare our meals, we headed back to AGH to get our cook on.
This recipe is the first one that he taught us and what sticks in my mind more than anything is his teaching style, which reminded me a bit of the ‘Soup Nazi’ from Seinfeld.
He would say things like, “Coconut milk? Who told you to cook with coconut milk? We making pad thai, not dessert! You want something sweet? Eat ice cream bar!”
Or, “Fast, fast! Stir it fast! In Thai cooking, all about heat and how fast you make stir! You need hot wok, perfect temperature. Like life, heat is what brings everything together, makes flavor!”
But the most memorable line was after we had completed four different courses of curries. He wouldn’t allow us to sample any of the dishes until all four were completed.
When we had plated all four types, he said, “You all like curry? Thai curry the best. Now you know the difference: red, yellow, green, massaman. You think now you can tell difference, beside color?”
We all smiled and nodded.
“Good” he continued. “Because now I want you to eat all this curry! Eat it all! Now! Fast! Before it get cold! Taste the difference! Eat it! Eat it!”
We were so intimidated that all we could do was shovel the stuff into our mouths as fast as we were able. Needless to say, after that experience it took me a good two years before I could even bring myself to look at curry sideways.

Pad Thai


1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp tamarind or substitue apple vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce

1 package thai rice noodles

bean sprouts
spring onion

1 bunch shallot
1 daikon (radish)
1 egg

lime juice
chili flakes

wok or large skillet

note: when using dry noodles, place in COLD water for 5 min

On medium heat add to wok, 2 tbsp oil, shallot, daikon and egg, scramble lightly

remove wok from heat


1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp tamarind (apple vinegar sub)
2 tbsp soy sauce
noodles (once they are soft)
1/4 to 1/2 cup water

increase heat to high, stir quickly
add, chili and vegetables, keep stirring quickly 2-4 minutes

Note: Pad Thai is made to order in Thailand, unlike the states where it is often made and stored in a container. Therefore this dish is very quick to prepare and the key to it is the preparation of the noodles. They should not be sticky. Real Pad Thai does not clump together, which is a sign of over cooking.


Posted: June 20, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

It’s official, I am now recovered! Having a stomach flu or food poisoning, or whatever it was that I had is a good way to lose a few extra pounds, though I wouldn’t recommend it. Now I can eat real food and not mashed yams and carrots like a baby. Maybe I can even have a beer tonight!