Taking a Backroad

Evan and I love to travel. In fact today on our way down to the Oregon Coast we made a list of all of the places we’ve been throughout the course of our seven year courtship. We were amazed with the results. Twenty countries in all. Were we even old enough to have traveled to twenty different countries let alone in a seven year span? Needless to say when we reached that number we became quite humbled by our great fortune. And while much of our enjoyment resides in the literal act of traveling, experiencing the world with new perspectives, creating friendships that span across the globe, the physical challenges of a life on the road, I have to say that the majority of what we reflect upon when we do in fact take the time to reflect is the food. Looking back upon my travel journals is really nothing more than reading a food diary, an endless list of smells, flavors, and textures. It occurred to me that I experience and record new cultures and new settings through my stomach. It would be impossible for me to think about Laos without thinking about the creamiest curry that every touched my lips. Bali would be incomplete without mangosteens, the fruit Evan’s sister affectionately determined was “sour Skittles” in nature’s form. I will never forget the sensation in my mouth when I ate my first conch fritter from Angela’s Starfish Restaurant on Harbor Island in the Bahamas. Or my first experience with authentic, proper Garlic Knots in NYC. Conjuring up an image of Egypt would be impossible without fresh mint tea, and sahlap, an Egyptian beverage made from the dried tubers of various orchids, infused with cinnamon, coconut, and if you’re really lucky served in a chocolate-laced glass. Guacamole in Guatemala. Nuff said.

In February we returned from what we considered to be our last opportunity for extended travel (for who knows how long). Usually when we return from a trip there is some underlying anxiety about The Homecoming: removing the backpack, sorting through the mail, calling friends, getting back into the swing of normal working life. This time was different, however. We were excited, energized, and ready to dig our heels down into the “muck.” After spending an extremely productive week home, making contact with our web designer friend, Kyle, setting up an appointment to visit a new space located in St. John’s, and finalizing a conceptual menu we loaded the car, packed the dog and headed to the coast. Armed with our laptop, printer, camera, KitchenAid, and shopping bags full of local greens, creamy blue cheese, juicy tomatoes, organic lemons, sprigs of rosemary, fresh focaccia bread soaked in olive oil, Oregon blackberry honey, and other jewels, we are prepared to spend the next week Working, Reading, Creating, Discovering, and Indulging. So while our passports rest in the desk drawer collecting dust, we recognize that we are embarking on a new kind of voyage, a much more important one. One where you don’t have to worry about empty gas tanks and moth-infested campsites, expired visas and intestinal turbulence, canceled flights and missed trains. This will be a journey with insurance policies and schedules, lease contracts and building inspectors, blueprints and openings. And we can’t wait. Thanks for packing your bags and joining us. We hope you enjoy the ride…

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