Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Don Ed Hardy


Don Ed Hardy

I had the most interesting and enjoyable lunch today, Taki and I drove up to San Francisco and ate lunch with the living legend Ed Hardy. He took us to one of his favorite haunts, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Ed had nothing but praises for the owner, Tony Gemignani, and his amazing pizza spot. Tony is super tattooed and even travels to Italy to partake in pizza-making contests. Rad!


So let’s get back to lunch with TheGodfather Mr. Hardy! I had met Ed Hardy only briefly before at the SFO Tattoo Convention of the Tattooed Arts a couple years ago so lunch was the first time I actually got the privilege to sit and have a chat with him. He is so inspiring. Not just in the tattoo sense because I am not a tattooer, but on a personal level. His humble yet been-there-done-that demeanor just radiates cool. But he is down-to-earth and has a charming sense of humor.


Conversation turned to food for a bit and I got to ask him some questions about his opinions on the subject.  Here are some Ed Hardy food thoughts:

We both agree that tattooing and cooking has become glamorous because of t.v. and that chefs and tattooers come from similar stock, blue collar all the way.

We also jokingly agreed that the general reality of food in France cannot (and does not) live up to its epic reputation. But to be fair, not much does (except Ed Hardy, seriously!)

Ed loves Italian food. His wife, Francesca’s Sicilian food to be more specific! And yes you get a recipe of hers, just keep reading! Japanese and Thai food came in as close seconds.

He does not like the smell of cooking meat (Ed is pescetarian) and he has just started liking beets.

And last,

This has nothing to do with food but Ed Hardy loves French Bulldogs!


Early girl tomatoes

We invited Ed and Fran over for dinner, and I can’t wait to come up with some vegetarian dishes for them (eek!)

But here is a dish that Ed loves eating at home. Francesca has generously shared one of her go-to Sicilian dishes for you to try in your own kitchen! She loves to keep it simple and loves using seasonal produce (like the dry-farm Early Girl tomatoes in this recipe)


Here is the lovely Francesca’s go-to Sicilian dish, word-for-word!!

(Mouthwatering commence!)

-Blanche tomatoes in boiling water. Peel and chop. Add salt, pepper and chopped basil

-In same water, blanche broccoli. Rinse quickly in cold water. Top with salt, pepper, good olive oil, lemon juice or a bit of balsamic vinegar

-Cook fresh spelt pasta in the same water as well (we get from Phoenix in Berkeley)


-Meanwhile sauté sliced garlic in a bit of olive oil. When getting golden, add a bit of tomato paste (from tube)—this is optional. Add seitan, cut into strips (I use Sweet Earth), toss it a bit with salt and pepper. Squeeze 1/2 Meyer lemon over it. Toss again after it begins to brown and add the other 1/2 lemon and chopped mint. (This was the way my father made veal.)

-When pasta is cooked, put into a bowl with a bit of organic tomato puree to keep it from sticking. Top with grated Romano cheese and then the chopped tomatoes. It doesn’t get any better than this.



Thank you SO MUCH Ed and Fran for sharing your thoughts and recipes, you guys are true inspirations, in or out of the kitchen!

Check out Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City in SF:


Tattoo Tuesday!

My good friend Christie Walker has a few adorable food tattoos. The cupcake was done by Lindsey Carmichael, and the fruit was done by Dan Smith


Thank you, Christie, for sharing your food tattoos with us! Check out her blog, for some healthy cooking ideas!

If you have a food tattoo you’d like us to show on Knives and Needles, email a photo of it along with artist credit and a little back story to

Mathew Clouser


Mathew Clouser

So Mathew Clouser is an old friend of mine and my God-brother. We met one summer when I was visiting his mothers in NYC. I think we were all about 17 or 18 at the time. It was a funny week doing the things kids do from going to a Toasters and Skatallites show at the Roseland Dancehall to huffing poppers while running around The Met all day (first and last time I ever did that, had the most gnarly headache afterwards!) to climbing up the fire escape to the top of the 18 story apartment building and then loosing Matt to the elevator shaft (surviving unscathed)! Good times and good memories!


Matt and I actually went to the same culinary school for a while, although not at the same time so our lives have sort of paralleled in the sense. He is now a truly impressive chef in Texas; you can currently find him slaving away at the famed Swfit’s Attic in Austin, TX. But I digress, here is a little more about Mathew on the subject of tattoos. Read on!


Mo:Tell me about yourself, your background.

Ma: I’m a crusty old pirate at heart, and food panderer by trade. I love wolves, and I collect dogs. I started cooking and getting tattooed right around the same time- first tattoo was actually on my 18th birthday. I’ve always had an artistic sensibility, and as such didn’t really do well in traditional academic realms… I wound up in culinary school at about 19 or 20 and haven’t looked back. I went to New England Culinary in Montpelier, VT, by the way. I’ve been living in Austin for the last 13 years, and have worked my way through some of the top kitchens in town, including a stint as C.D.C. at Uchi, under F&W Best New Chef, and James Beard winner Tyson Cole. I opened Swift’s Attic in early 2012 and was recently a nominee for F&W’s Peoples Best New Chef for the Southwest.

photo 3

Mo: What styles of tattoos are your favorites?

Ma: I love all tattoos, but I collect only black & grey.  My current favorite style oscillates from the old school Sailor tattoos to the more traditional Japanese style.

photo 3-1

Mo: Are there any specific artists you really want a tattoo from?

Ma: I really want more from my current artist, Jason Brooks, and I’ve actually coveted something from your hubby, Horitaka for a while. Something super spooky from Paul Booth wouldn’t suck either.

Mo: Thank you I will tell him, I’m sure he would love to do something on you! Do you own a tattoo magazine?

Ma: I do not.

post elevator shaft

post elevator shaft

Mo: What is your most-loved piece and why?

Ma: Definitely not my best, or most technical piece, though I love those intensely, but I have a super simple heart & banner tattoo that reads “Mom & Mom” that gets me a lot of laughs, and earned me big brownie points with the moms.

photo 4

Mo: I love your moms too!! What drew you to tattoos initially?

Ma: I think great tattoos have always given me a sense of Stendahl syndrome, and I’ve always been prone to the more subversive, occult, or esoteric sides of life… though one might argue now that tattoos aren’t really that much of a signifying trait of the outsider anymore.

on the roof

on the roof

Mo: Why do you think so many chefs are heavily tattooed?

Ma: I think we love beauty and pain more than most people, plus our work/art/craft is so temporal… really fleeting works, which last only a few minutes, it seems to me we appreciate the lasting effects of a tattoo. There is a really interesting juxtaposition between the two- very closely tied, and yet such polar opposites.

photo 1-1

Mo: That is a really good point and I couldn’t agree more! Have you ever been to a tattoo convention? Did you have fun?

Ma: I have not.

Mo: Do you have a tattoo experience that stands out for any reason? Funny/sentimental?

Ma: Nothing really comes to mind, other than the first one- by some gear head doing life in prison now- who thought it’d be funny to try and convince me he needed to “set” the tattoo by slapping it after he had finished his work. Always seek a reputable artist kids, always.

photo 2

Mo: That’s hilarious! What recipe would you suggest for our readers?

Ma: We do a simple Diver Scallop “tiradito” at Swift’s that’s been a huge success. Tiradito is a kind of Peruvian raw seafood dish, not dissimilar to a ceviche, that gets its name form the Spanish word “tirar,” or “to throw,’ so in essence it’s a simple something tossed together. Ours consists of Raw diver scallops, though divers aren’t necessary- just make sure whatever you use is of the freshest available- with Aji Amarillo pepper puree (Peruvian chili- hot) ten-tsuyu marinated cucumbers, and cucumber sorbet. We garnish it with sliced, iced scallions, and Hawaiian red salt.  See below for the recipes, and assembly instructions.

about to climb to the roof

about to climb to the roof

But first, a cooking tip from Mathew

Use recipes that have been tested, assemble all your ingredients before you start cooking, and try not to bite off more than you can chew, i.e. don’t try too many new methods or techniques at the same time- cooking is not a sprint. Also, keep in mind that less is often more, specifically in cooking- you can always add more of something, but you can’t take it out. Also, there is no love greater than that of meat’s love for salt- under seasoned meat is a disaster.

Thank you Mathew, check out Mathew’s delicious recipe!

Aji Amarillo Sauce

  1ea Can Aji Amarillo

1ea Shallot, sliced

1ea Garlic clove, sliced

1ea Marjoram sprig

1/2t Salt

1/4C White Wine

1/2C Water

1t Sugar

1T Calabrian oil

In a sauté pan, sweat off shallot, garlic, and Aji, Deglaze with white wine, reduce to au sec. Add in remainder of ingredients, and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, and puree in blender till smooth. Pass through chinois, and chill.

 Dashi Broth/Ten-Tsuyu 

1gal Cold Water

1ea Konbu Sheet

1c Bonito Flakes

Bring water, and Konbu to a boil, turn off heat, and add Bonito Flake. Steep for 20 minutes, then strain and chill.

Ten-tsuyu is 1 part dashi, one part tamari, one part sugar, one part unseasoned rice wine vinegar.

Cucumber Sorbet

8 cups cucumber juice

1 cup distilled vinegar

4.5 cups simple syrup

1 ½ tsp kosher salt.

Combine all ingredients and spin!

To assemble-

Roughly 2-2.5 ounces of thinly sliced scallops per person tossed with 1 ounce of sliced marinated cucumbers (marinated for 2 to 24 hours) and a small amount of salt.

Arrange the scallop/cucumber mix down the center of the plate and place one scoop of cucumber sorbet in the center. Spoon the sauce around the scallop perimeter and garnish with thinly sliced scallions that have been soaked in ice water for 1 hour- this makes them curly. Finish with the red salt.

That sound amazing, Mathew!  Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and skills with us!

Get inspired to cook and get tattooed! Keep checking in with, you never know who you’ll see here next…. 

Photos compliment of Mathew Clouser

Tattoos done by Jason Brooks of Great wave Tattoo in Austin, except the “mom & mom” tatt- artist unknown.

Recipe of the Day: Beef Chilli


Recipe of the Day

Beef Chili

This is a great dish to make in bulk! It is easy to make and you can freeze it in portions for yourself in zip lock freezer bags and just grab one for on-the-go meals or for when you are just too tired to cook.

If you want a vegetarian option I have posted a non-meat version on my blog,, check it out!

Beef Chili

1 pound of extra lean ground beef

1 yellow onion, medium dice

4cloves of garlic, minced

2 carrots, cut into ½” rounds

1 ear of fresh corn

4 Roma tomatoes

1 chipotle chili, seeded and minced and reserve adobo sauce from can

2tsp of the adobo sauce from the chipotle chili

1 can of black beans

1 can of garbanzo beans

1 can of kidney beans

2Tbls ground cumin

2Tbls chili powder

2Tbls paprika

1tsp celery seed

1tsp dried oregano

2 large bay leaves, whole

2c Chicken stock

2, 28oz cans of crushed or diced tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

In a sauté pan brown the ground beef on medium-high heat until all is cooked through. Strain off excess fat and oil. Transfer into a large stockpot (the pot should be on medium-high heat as well) and add the onion, garlic, carrot, tomato, corn, chipotle and all the spices and herbs. Sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the beans, chicken stock and canned tomatoes. Bring to a light simmer on high, and then bring the heat down to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes. After that, taste the chili and season with salt and pepper to taste.



Garnish with cheese, crackers, sour cream and chopped green onion!!

Does anyone have recipe they would like to share?  If so, write to

Thank you and happy eating!!

Tattoo Tuesday!

Our friend John Niederkorn (johndotcom) over at Tattoo Artist Magazine has gotten some pretty rad food tattoos over the years. One in particular came from the legendary Mike Malone, I’m so glad he wanted to share it, and the great story that goes along!

John- This story started when I got a job at Taylor St. Tattoo in 2005-2006-ish. I had met Chris Smith (or Chis Smiff, he loves that) through some mutual friends and he asked me if I was interested in working at the shop one day a week, just doing the counter…

So “Name Day” became my litmus test at Taylor St. and Keith Underwood hired me despite me being late on the first day… But that’s another story altogether. Anyway… One day a week turned into two, two into three…etc. Boom! I’m there 65 hours and five days a week by spring 2006.

So, Rollo and I had spent quite a bit of time together prior to my birthday on March 20th. Often I would come in early (earlier than I had too) just to hang out with him and Keith. He’d always be there… Smoking his cigar (inside the shop mind you) painting, telling stories, selling crap on e-Bay so he could buy more crap from e-Bay… you know, the usual… Ha ha!

One of these Keith/Rollo mornings I was playfully bitching about getting tattooed on my birthday because I had never been tattooed on my actual birthday before, and for whatever reasons nobody at the shop could do it on that day specifically… So I was airing my disappointment aloud…

“I’ll do the damn thing… when’s your birthday?” Rollo said.

Okay, now you have to understand something about Rollo… At this point he was telling some people he didn’t want to tattoo them or he would turn people down ALL the time… People would drive (sometimes from very far away) to see him and try to get a little tattoo from him and he would just say, “No, sorry… not feeling it today…” and poof… he’d disappear into the walls… Ha!

In fact, I had just recently witnessed one of these denials go down. So the thought of asking the shop Dragon to tattoo me was the furthest thing from my mind… And never in a million years did I think he was just gonna offer…

Then the discussion turned quickly to “what would you get” and I kinda still hadn’t caught my breath from the idea that this “Living Legend” who fucking turns people away left and right, is now having a mini impromptu consultation with me…

“Um…um… I… Hmmm… well… The thing with the stuff and… goo…”

“GET A BIRTHDAY CAKE!” Keith screamed from the back office, undoubtedly with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and one still burning in the ashtray…

“Oh! I like food tattoos…” Rollo said, and I could see the wheels of excitement spinning in his brain. And then he started to tell me a story about this ice cream cone tattoo he did at Jerry’s shop in Hawaii on a sailor, and how much he loved doing that tattoo and how much the sailor loved it and how little Rollo charged him because he liked the idea so much… And then I think he said the sailor came back and told Rollo how much the ladies liked his ice cream tattoo… and then shit just kept getting more awesome…

Rollo tells me how he’s going to make it chocolate with “jap pink” frosting, just furiously describing this factious cake like it was sitting in front of him…

I’m in! Wonderful idea, thank you Keith and now I’m hungry!

So that’s kinda how that went down… That’s how I got my birthday cake from Rollo… Now him “actually” tattooing me… That’s a story for close friends… and it’s pretty damn funny too.


What a great story, thank you so much John!

Luke Wessman

Growing up in a rough part Oceanside, California, Luke Wessman had a hard road to travel to get where he’s at today. Years of hard work, and artistic talent, have built him and his “traditional gangster” style of tattooing quite a reputation in the tattoo and art communities from coast to coast. Now a fixture at Wooster Street Social Club in New York City, Luke stays humble and sticks to the work ethic that got him to where he is today.

I was so stoked to hear that this self made gentleman wanted to share some of his experiences and tattoos with our readers. Thanks, Luke!


Brynne Palmer- How long have you been tattooing, and how did you get into it?
Luke Wessman-I’ve been tattooing almost 15 years now. My older brother’s friend Jason was tattooing everybody in the neighborhood out of his home, and I started getting tattooed by him at 16. He eventually got a job at a newly opened tattoo shop in our city and it was there that I met some other artist and friends that eventually brought me into the life, forever changing it.

BP- What was your first tattoo, when did you get it and do you still have it?
LW- My first tattoo was “Wessman” in Old English across my shoulder blades 18 or so years ago, unfortunately it was covered years back when I started a full back piece. I say unfortunately because the older I get the more I cherish the old ones, but the memories are still there.

BP- What is your fondest food related memory?
LW-Getting the desserts at this homeless shelter we used to eat at as a kid “Brother Benos” That and the donut plate that was out before church started on sundays when I was little.

BP- Your career takes you all over the world, do you have any standout culinary experiences or funny stories from your travels?
LW- I was with some dear friends in Milano, Italy for a tattoo convention, we all went to eat at this little restaurant (Italian of course) and this rude server could not grasp that my friend Manako was vegan and what that meant, we literally almost got into a fist fight with this guy in this crowded restaurant because my friend Manako wanted to send back the cheese filled french onion soup. Another memorable food moment, and more positive, was watching my dear friend at the Aspen food and wine festival do sushi at a SWS party and later hearing Chef Nobu Matsuhisa say to him “I hope we can work together one day” which ment a lot to my friend, which means a lot to me.

BP- Now living in New York, what are a few of your favorite places to eat? Any good go to date spots?
LW- I have a few spots I frequent often, one is called ‘Sons Of Essex” the other is “Schiller’s Liquor Bar” both in the Lower East Side where I live. I get treated very well at both and only a very special lady will I bring to either.

BP- Are there any restaurants in your hometown you really look forward to when you get back?
LW- Yes, one of my oldest friends Rob Ruiz is head chef at a sushi spot called “Harney”, It’s the best sushi I have ever eaten, served by one of my dearest friends, in the city I grew up in, win win.

BP- Do you have any chef clients, and if so what have you tattooed on them?
LW- I do, I suppose the most notable are, my friends Rob Ruiz whom I have done a lot of work on, and Chef Rick Tramonto I did a big Hammer Stahl knife on his forearm. There is a cool video of me tattooing it on Rick on my site.

BP- Have you noticed a correlation between the tattoo and culinary industries?
LW- Oh yeah big time, it seems to go hand in hand. Most chefs I have come across have many tattoos, it seems to be a big part of the chef culture. A lot of passion and struggle in the kitchen. The average people have now idea how hard those guys work back there.

BP- What is your favorite thing to cook at home, and could you share the recipe with our readers?
LW- Well now being a bachelor these days, I’m not really cooking too much in my little NY kitchen, I think the most elaborate meal is like a peanut butter and jelly on a toasted bread, and a wide verity of cereals. For dessert I like to eat a Hershey’s chocolate bar with Nilla wafers and some milk.

For more of Luke’s work, check out!

Hi, my name is Marcus

Hi everyone! I’d like to introduce myself to you as a member of this great blog. My name is Marcus and I am a lover of food & tattoos. I manage the awesome tattoo shop State Of Grace in San Jose’s Japantown. I had the honor of being asked to work there with all the amazing artists and now I have the honor of being  invited to be part of this awesome blog! I can’t believe how fortunate I’ve been!

I love all types of food and am willing to try anything once. Although my favorite cuisine would be Vietnamese. The combination of textures and flavors within single dishes are compelling to me. So in the coming weeks I hope to share my recipes, food adventures, interviews, and random thoughts with you. Cheers!


A tattoo I got in NYC.


My left arm by Jill Bonny.
marcus at orenchi

Downing a bowl of ramen at Orenchi!

tengu thigh

Tengu and Kitsune masks on  my thigh by Drew Flores.

marcus and horiken

Horiken-san and I at UC Santa Barbara. He did a tebori demonstration and I was the subject.

Recipe of the Day, Make Ahead and Take to Work!


Milanesa de Napolitana with Butternut Squash Puree and a Fennel and Roma Tomato Salad

Serves 4

This is a great go-to recipe that is not really very difficult. I used to eat this all the time in Argentina but it is originally Italian. It is usually made with veal or beef but I am doing it with chicken today. Happy eating!!

BTW, you can check out a bit of the history of the Milanesa on my other blog,!


Fennel and Roma Tomato Salad

1 Fennel plant, thinly shaved and toss into the salad some of the thin needle-like leaves slightly chopped

5 Roma tomatoes, cut in medium-sized wedges

2 Lemons, juiced

1/4c olive oil, start with half and add more depending on your taste on how tart you want the salad

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the fennel, leaves, tomatoes and lemon juice. Add the olive oil to taste and then season with the salt and pepper to taste. Chill until served and serve with the Milanesa and puree.


Butternut Squash puree

1 medium-large butternut squash, trimmed and cut into medium chunks

4-6 TBLS unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a medium or large pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and boil until soft. Strain the water out and mash or whip squash with either a masher, a fork, a whisk or mixer with the whisk attachment. Add butter and combine both until butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Warm up before serving and serve with Milanesa and salad.


Milanesa de Napolitana

4 thinly sliced chicken breast filets, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper

1/2c flour

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 1/2c dry breadcrumbs (panko breadcrumbs are great)

4 TBLS tomato paste

3-4cloves of garlic, minced

2tsp oregano

4 pieces of a good ham

1c mozzarella cheese (fresh mozzarella is amazing)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Coat each piece of chicken int he flour first, then egg, and last press the panko firmly (but gently) onto the flour and egg coated chicken filet. You really want to make sure the panko is pressed onto the meat, otherwise the breading will fall off. Sprinkle a little olive oil over each Milanesa and place them on one or two baking sheets depending on how they fit and size. Put in the oven and bake for about 7 minutes. Take them out of the oven, flip each Milanesa over and top with first the tomato paste, then the garlic and oregano, and after the ham and mozzarella. Put back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starts to turn golden on the edges. Remove them from the oven and transfer each one to a plate. Serve while hot and with the puree and salad.


Photos by me

Ellen Murphy


Ellen murphy

Ellen Murphy is not only a tattoo artist who loves food, but she is one inspriational girl. We recently chatted about her love for food and what inspires her eating habits. Here is what she had to say, so read on!


M: How long have you been tattooing?

E: I started my apprenticeship in late 2004.


M: Do you tattoo anyone thats a chef?

E: I have worked on a lot of chefs and people who work in the food and restaurant industry and it’s a good thing because I usually guide the conversation to food sooner or later.


M: In all your talks with culinary professionals, have you noticed a correlation between the tattoo and culinary industries?

E: I Have! A lot of Tattooers seem to be Foodies and Visa Versa. Tattooers and chefs both have jobs with long hours that kick the shit out of them but they love it. And what better way to reward yourself after a long day than to lean back and have someone serve you a fucking awesome meal made by people who care about what they are doing and using real fresh food. I’m sure people feel the same way when they get tattooed by some rad tattooer who gives a shit about what goes into their body.


M:  Interesting! So, what is your fondest food related memory?

E: Picking and eating wild blueberries in the woods as a kid. My mother grew up eating what they could find so she taught us to forage for wild food. We used to pull over on the side of the highway and cut the bark off bayberry trees or collect wild red clover for tea.


M: Uh, that is amazing. Seriously cool. And what is your favorite style of food?

E: I would have to say Asian and Middle Eastern. Both tend to have good flavor and simple healthy ingredients. Honestly though…I love all food. Ramen, Pho’ and Sushi are a big staple in my diet. At home I usually just eat fruits and vegetables. Raw foods.


M: Yeah raw foods are really good for you. I’ve noticed tattooers eat at odd hours most of the time because of their jobs, how do you balance your diet with your work schedule?

E: It’s hard to be healthy at a tattoo shop. When everyone else is getting fried chicken and biscuits your bean salad doesn’t look so good anymore. I save the real gluttony for when I’m not working. I eat mostly vegan gluten free during the week and everything else on the off days. I also go to the gym 4 days a week and yoga plus walk 30-90 minutes a day. Sitting on your ass for a living and eating when you have five minutes every five hours can really make it hard to have a healthy diet.


M: You live on the East Coast, any restaurant recommendations?

E: I have a few of them. But the one that really stands out is Coppa in the south end of Boston. It’s an Italian restaurant and the Chef is Jamie Bissonette. He uses every part of the animal you can think of.  Some of my favorite things I have had there were calves brain ravioli and chestnut pasta with a boar ragu. Vinegar bleached sardines and a pig’s tail braised with a honey glaze and Ethiopian spices. I could go on and on and on…….


M: That sounds like heaven! You travel a lot for work and just in general. What do you end up eating, anything interesting?

E: Whenever you go to a convention or a shop somewhere else, the first thing people want to do is show you where they like to eat. Or find the best place to get good food in town. Not Applebees and TGI Fridays.

Going from place to place makes you interested in the culture and a big part of culture is in food. First thing I wanna do when I get off the plane is eat. It’s what I think about most of the day haha!  And if you don’t want to starve in other countries you eat what they have when they have it.


When I was in San Francisco last year I went to a really great sushi place called Tekka. It’s so awesome. You have to wait outside in line for an hour or so before they open. And they have 10 seats and only two seating’s a night. There’s one guy making the sushi and his wife serves the drinks. It was so quiet you could hear a mouse fart in there and all of a sudden he turns the TV on and Johnny cash Live at Fulsome prison starts playing. The sushi was awesome and the cuts were as big as my fist. There was a sign above the chef that basically said, we make it the way we want and you will eat it like that and like it or get the fuck out. Genius.


Once in Japan I ate a sashimi fish at a restaurant where you catch your own. It was still moving while I was chewing on it. That was interesting.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on food, Ellen, suddenly I feel like hitting the gym!

Ellen Murphy recipe


 Sautéed Tofu on Quinoa and lemon pepper asparagus


Extra firm tofu

Agave nectar

Chili powder






Olive oil


First, bring one cup of water to a boil. Add 1/2cup quinoa to water. Stir and then lower heat to simmer and keep covered for 15 minutes. While that’s cooking

Drain Tofu and press it in between two paper towels to make it less soggy.

Then cut it into cubes. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to frying pan and bring to medium heat. Then add Tofu. Once the tofu starts to cook, add a few tablespoons of agave nectar, 1teaspoon of chili powder and a few pinches of salt. Stir around every few minutes until browned a bit on all sides.

In a separate pan add one teaspoon of olive oil. Then add Asparagus. Let sear for a minute or so and then squeeze half a lemon into the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then cover on medium heat for two minutes.

Plate asparagus and quinoa. Add tofu to quinoa. Done!

Enjoy and happy eating!

photos courtesy of Ellen Murphy

Daniel Albrigo

Daniel Albrigo is quite a force to be reckoned with! Not only is he an accomplished tattooer, his artistry has gained him notoriety in both the fine art and tattoo world. He started his tattoo career in Southern California, and now finds himself working at Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn, NYC. Daniel is one of those people who is incredibly enthusiastic about anything he is involved with, and I knew that he would be excited to share his artistry and culinary prowess with us!


“I’m very happy to contribute to The Knives and Needles blog, it’s a cool experience to have a different platform on the internet than usual.”


Daniel Albrigo-
As a Chef and food lover I’ve always said that if i wasn’t tattooing I’d probably be a chef or cooking somewhere. There is something very calming and satisfying about cooking a meal with fresh ingredients and enjoying the gifts of your labor along with the fruits of this beautiful earth. My wife Brook and I are food connoisseur by nature, we are always chasing a good meal or a new ingredient that we haven’t used before. One of the things that fuels our love for traveling is the access to trying foods from all over the world. after the trip we bring back those flavors and try our own version of what we tried.

My mother and father were always cooking and encouraging us to help in the kitchen, cooking, prepping etc. whether it be a family recipe from my Italian Grandmother Alma, BBQing in the back yard or even my Mom’s famous seafood surprise soup haha, Ive always been cooking even if just making a home made grilled cheese. its just what i know, we didnt ever really order out growing up but rather cooked most meals together as a family. But, after moving to NYC from California my Wife Brook and I try to cook more at home and take advantage of the produce market across the street from our house instead of ordering thai food every night.

Because NYC gets so insanely hot and humid in the summer time there isnt much cooking going on, that is officially when the oven is turned off for the season. i get excited in the cooler months here mainly for the kitchen use and making new meals. This is one of my favorite spring/fall meals, A whole roasted chicken with roasted veg. something that warms the soul and something that is very easy to prep. a meal that the next day you can make a soup or a sandwich out of. (but thats a different post all together)

All hail the ONE POT MEAL

Chef Albrigo


1 six-pound roasting chicken
Olive Oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 carrots
10 small golden potatoes
1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled but left whole.
1 hour and 30 mins cook time
30 min prep time.
A Cast Iron Pan is my personal recommendation for roasting chicken and/or Vegetables

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove and discard the plastic pop-up timer from chicken if there is one. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body. its best to use the chicken at or near room temperature. season with salt, pepper, cummin and turmeric to your likings
Heat cast iron pan on stove untill hot, add olive oil and begin to caramelize the potatoes, garlic and carrots for 10-15 mins. remove vegetables from pan and set aside. add seasoned chicken to the hot frying pan breast side up. Once the chicken is centered in the cast iron pan add vegetables around the chicken and put into the 450 degree pre heated oven.
Bake the chicken at 450 degrees for 30 mins to achieve and nice golden brown color on the chicken. Take the chicken out of the oven and cover the chicken/pan with a foil top which will prevent the chicken from getting too dry and prevent the skin from getting burnt. Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees and continue baking for an hour or until the internal temperature has reached 180 degrees.
let the chicken rest for 10-15 before cutting or serving. and Enjoy 🙂


For more of Daniel’s work, please check out and
Thanks, Dad! 😉

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