Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the month “March, 2013”

Paris Tattoo Convention, 2013


So I went to Paris! And not only did I go to Paris with my lovely husband, Taki (and two other couples and a friend; Horiken of State of Grace and his wife Naomi, and Steve Looney of Pacific Soul and his wife Dani and their friend Richard!) but we worked the Paris Tattoo Convention put on by the legendary TinTin. It was an amazing convention, the energy was like a huge party with some serious tattooing going on! There were around 300 artists in a huge multi-leveled complex that used to be a huge morgue in Parisian history, so cool! The convention had everything from cool French rock bands and a huge candy counter to world-class tattooers and over 10,000 of the Parisian public. It was great to see friends we normally only get to see at my husband’s SFO Convention of the Tattoo Arts every October or only if we are in Europe. We made new friends as well, two in particular. Horiken started and finished a whole sleeve on a cool guy named Roman in two days, and we actually hung out with him and his girlfriend, Mathilde, the next day! Everyone had a great time, and this convention was a huge success as far as we were concerned!  Thank you TinTin!!

Here are some photos of the things I and my friends caught on camera from the weekend… Enjoy!




















Photos by Naomi Hori, Horitaka and me

Lindsey H. Carmichael, esq.

My good friend and fellow tattooer, Lindsey, is one of those incredible people who is enthusiastic about whatever he is involved in, and it really shows through in his work. His approach to tattooing is very precise, clean and thorough- qualities which can be seen in every tattoo he makes. It’s no surprise that his approach in the kitchen is very similar. When I asked him to contribute his favorite recipe, he was stoked and more than happy to share! Please enjoy the culinary stylings and wisdom of the one and only, LHC!


Brynne- How long have you been tattooing?
Lindsey- I have been tattooing for 21 years as of February 1st 2013.

B- Do you have any chef clients?
LHC-To my knowledge, I have 2 customers that are chefs. Both are knowledgeable, quiet & humble about their job. The same way that any tattooer is that is totally immersed in their craft. Stoked to talk about it, but also careful not to make it sound like they know everything.

B- What is your fondest food related memory?
LHC- I have 2. The first is with my brother when I was probably 7 or 8, going to the grocery store with him while he was watching me one night when my Mom was out doing something. We went to buy Sara Lee pound cake and Captain Crunch cereal. I think he ate this food all of the time and he was letting me in on something that was his deal. I remember sitting at the kitchen table eating this stuff with him and feeling like we were close.
The second is making the recipe I’m giving to you here with my daughter for first time and her telling me it was good and that she’d eat it again. I was proud of myself because I followed a recipe and cooked it and it actually came out tasting alright. I cannot remember ever doing that before in my life. I was 42 years old when I completed this task.

B- Do you have a favorite style of food?
LHC- This is a difficult question to answer because I can’t really taste food the way that other people do. Food is just something I eat because I’m supposed to. I don’t have a favorite type of food or restaraunt to go to. I usually go to restaraunts because of the way they look or because of how long they’ve been there.

B- Have you noticed any correlation between the tattoo and culinary industires?
LHC- I have noticed a connection to these two fields because of the attitudes of the chefs I’ve come in contact with. Also, I’ve had long discussions with one of these chefs, Joe Youkhan, about the grades of steel his knives are made of and how that relates to carbon and stainless needles used for tattooing. (In the days when tattooers made their own needles. Something I did twice a week, every week, for 16 years.)

B-Does food play a part in your travels in the tattoo world?
LHC- Food does play a part in my travels. But mainly because it is something we go to do with other tattooers, wherever they’re from, and while we are out eating somewhere, it is a chance to talk away from the tattoo shop about non-tattoo related subjects.

B- Do you have a favorite restaurant?
LHC- Canters-Los Angeles. The Pantry-Los Angeles. Il Trochieto-Milan. I ate Ox hoof in Italy at this last place with Kevin Leblanc and it was great because it was salty & I could taste it pretty good. I also bought a 200 Euro whole bottle of wine at this place because I’d never had wine and thought it would be the best place to try it. I drank a sip of the glass they poured for me, didn’t like it, and handed the bottle over to my good friend Eric Jones, who gladly accepted it and brought it in the cab back to the hotel. He told me the rest of the wine was really good.

B- What do you cook at home?
LHC-I usually cook Meatloaf from my wife’s grandmother’s recipe. Also grilled cheese sandwhiches.

B- If given a choice, what would your last meal be?
LHC- If I could request one last dinner in life, I’d choose a turkey sandwhich (no mayonaisse, plus tomato on the side), a bowl of Matzo ball soup (including carrots and noodles), an order of potato salad & bagel chips from Canters Delicatessen in Los Angeles. It is not because of the outstanding taste of each of these items. It is because I have very fond memories of bringing my lovely wife Leah here on some of our first dates when we met. It was a time when the sun seemed to be out every time we drove there, and the night was perfect when we drove home. It was a beautiful time. I would hustle some Sprite Zero in for the drink, and eat Suzicakes chocolate cupcakes for desert in the car after.

Here is Dad’s Country Chicken Skillet Dinner.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup milk (your preference what type)
4 tablespoons margarine
2 packages stuffing mix
I can mixed vegetables (I prefer low sodium corn)
1 can Campbell’s cream of celery soup
1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup
2 eggs
Liquid Smoke
1 package King’s Hawaiian rolls
2 cans Swanson’s chicken stock
Garlic salt
Country Crock bread spread

Take a cleaver to the chicken and chop it into smallish cubes.
Put some oil, your choice what kind, into a large skillet and brown the chicken pieces. Cover the pan & put it over to the side.

Follow the directions on the stuffing mix and make it next. This is where you use the margarine, replace the water when preparing the stuffing with the chicken stock. More chickeny flavor in the completed product. Cover it & put it over on the side when it’s done. I personally like to add the corn juice from the canned vegetable in this mix for some extra moisture. This is needed because I will take whatever leftover bread action we have at our house, toast it and add it to the stuffing. Rolls, and unused heels of bread in the refrigerator are good here.
Take the soups, 2 beaten eggs, milk, & drained corn and put it all in the giant, metal skillet with the cooked chicken. Bring that to a little bit of a boil. When the whole deal is hot, take 1/2 of the stuffing and put it all around the top of the mixture. Pre heat the oven to 400• and put the skillet in the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. When that’s up, take the skillet out and cover the top of the mixture with the rest of the stuffing. Add Liquid Smoke if you like. I do. Set the timer for 17 more minutes and put it back in. At this point take the Kings rolls, cut the whole shot down the middle (filleted), open it, spread with Country Cock and sprinkle with garlic salt. Put it on tin foil, and put it in the oven also for the remainder of the cooking time of the skillet dinner. Feel free to clean your kitchen while you’re waiting for it to be done.

Take everything out when the time’s up, let it cool down for a little bit, and serve it to yourself, your family & 6 friends. But don’t serve this to Tim McAlary. He is vegan and eats rabbit food.

Start it off easy!

Hi everyone! My name is Brynne Palmer. I’m a tattooer out of southern California with a passion for food. Molly has asked me to collaborate with her on this amazing platform, and I’m so excited to bring you my cooking experience, and learn a lot along the way!
For my first post, I though I’d begin with a simple favorite that’s a go to for any starter. Caprese! Whether you’d like an appetizer for a dinner party, a salad to compliment a savory meal, or just a late night snack, this easy recipe can be whipped up in just a few minutes.

You’ll need:
2 vine ripened tomatoes
8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice the tomatoes into 4 slices each, and arrange on plate.
Top each tomato slice with a slice of mozzarella
Top each mozzarella slice with a proportionately sized leaf of basil
Lightly drizzle each caprese with olive oil and balsamic (I personally drench them)
Finish with a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper
And just like that, you’re ready to impress!


Another reason I love this recipe is because there are so may ways to change it up. Burrata cheese instead of mozzarella adds a different creamy texture. A slice of prosciutto, cucumber, onion,or avocado can add a new layer of flavor as well. Just like in tattooing, it’s fun to get creative!

Horitaka of State of Grace


Tattoo Artist Horitaka


Horitaka is not only one of the most prolific tattoo artists in the world today, but he also happens to be my husband. Thats why it seems only natural to write my first blog on him!  Horitaka has been tattooing for over 15 years and is best known for his traditional Japanese tattoos. But in this format, we will be talking Horitaka and food, not tattoos.


I sat down with him for a few minutes today and we talked about some of his favorite dishes to cook. Now, being his wife, I know he does not have the time to cook much, but what he does cook is amazing!! His signature dish is Japanese curry and rice. Its Japanese comfort food at its best! Japanese curry is derived from Indian curry, but is typically not as spicy and is dark brown in color. You can make it from scratch using a combination of spices or you can buy prepared curry roux. Most people in Japan use the roux, but some restaurants make their own. Horitaka uses the roux as well, so today we will go over the recipe using the roux. You can add anything you want to the curry, from different vegetables to breaded and fried meats, seafood or tofu products. Horitaka loves panko breaded fried shrimp (ebi fry) with his curry so today’s recipe will feature just that!

P.s. This is a great food to make in bulk and freeze for later!!


Japanese Curry with Ebi Fry

makes 4-6 servings

For curry

1 box Japanese curry, cut the roux by shaving it into small pieces, they will melt better (any brand is good and you can get it at any Japanese market)

2 large yellow onions; i onion large dice, 1 onion very small dice or minced

2 large carrots, cut into 1/2inch round pieces (Taki detests carrot so he does not use them, but traditionally you should)

2-3 baking potatoes, medium dice

5c water

Sauté minced onions on medium-high in a stockpot until they turn transparent. Add the other vegetables and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil on high. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 20-30 min or until the potatoes and carrots are cooked through. Add the shaved roux to the vegetables and water and make sure all the roux melts into the curry. Serve right away with pickled pearl onions or the dark red pickled ginger.


For rice

2c rice

1-1 1/4 c water

Wash the rice in running water until the water runs clear and strain the rice. Put the rice in the rice cooker with the water from the recipe and let it cook. Serve topped with the curry and shrimp.


Ebi Fry

12-16 shrimp, peeled except for tail and flattened out

1c four

3-4 eggs, lightly beaten

2-3c panko breadcrumbs

vegetable oil for frying, use more for deep-frying (about 3-4c)

If you are deep-frying, pour the oil in a deep sauce pot and heat up on medium-high. Keep a watch so the oil does not burn or start smoking. Peel headless shrimp but leave the tail on. Make 3 little horizontal shallow gashes in the shrimp on the belly side. Turn the shrimp over so the belly is on the cutting board and with a pinching motion moving from tip to tail, flatten out the shrimp, elongating the shrimp. The shrimp should end up twice as long as it was to begin with. In separate bowls; coat the shrimp with the flour, then the egg, lastly the panko. Make sure the panko is a firm and thick coating but be gentle as the shrimp can break apart if you are too rough. Check to see if the oil is hot enough by putting a pinch of flour and egg in the oil. If the flour/egg comes up to the surface right away, then the oil is hot. If not, turn up the heat for a few minutes and check again. Place the shrimp (a few at a time) in the oil and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the panko turns a nice golden color. Place the cook shrimp on a paper towel or frying rack to discard any excess oil. After all the shrimp are fried, place over the rice and curry and serve. Enjoy!!


Do not just pour the oil down the sink. Let it cool and you can put it in an old jar and store it in the freezer to save for the next time you want to fry. You can also dispose of it properly; cooled, jarred, and put in your normal trash or local recycling center.


photos done by me and John DSR Agcaoili courtesy of Horitaka of State of Grace



Knives and Needles Blog is my latest blog, welcome! This is a blog that I started because I have a passion for food and a love for tattoos. I am a professional sushi chef of over 13 years and have worked all over the world for more than a decade. Over my travels working in various kitchens, I always noticed how many chefs are tattooed. Not only tattooed, but many heavily tattooed. I myself am pretty heavily tattooed. Not to get too deep but this has always interested me and I think that chefs and tattooers have similar personality types; artistic, transient punks who are traditionally low-lifes of society working in a thankless profession. Tattooing and the chef profession have both seen a 180 to their popularity and reputation in recent years with t.v. shows and celebrity stars being formed in this modern-day atmosphere. I want to give all those tattooed chefs the chance talk about something other than food  and  give foodie tattooers a chance to talk about something other than their work with this blog! My friend Ellen Murphy, a tattoo artist from NYC, and Marcus Bui the shop-guy at State of Grace Tattoo are contributing writers as well as myself. And there may be others in the future…! My friend Eric Alegria is helping with this blog as well! Thank you for reading this blog and follow us!  There will be interesting interviews with your favorite chefs and tattooers, amazing recipes, cooking tips and beautiful photos of food and tattoos being shared here, don’y miss out!

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