Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Colin Dowling

Colin and I have known each other for quite a long time. Over 12 years ago, he gave me one of my very first tattoos! I am so grateful that after all this time, I have the privilege of working for and with him at Gold Rush. An incredibly well-rounded artist, he seamlessly creates beautiful Japanese pieces, American traditional, and portraits as well. I’m always asking him for input on my tattooing, life, and everything else, so of course I wanted to hear about and share some of his culinary talent!

Brynne- How long have you been tattooing?
Colin Dowling-I’ve been tattooing for over 12 years.

B-Do you have any chef clients?
CD-I do have clients who are chefs. One in particular that stands out is Colin. He caters larger parties and special events.

B-What is your fondest food related memory?
CD-My fondest food related memory would have to be a food fight in 6th grade at Disney Elementary. They served us chalupas in the cafeteria. One thing led to another, and soon all hell broke loose.

B-What is your favorite style of food?
CD-My favorite style of food would have to be Japanese cuisine. Sushi and beef sukiyaki are my favorites, to be specific. There was a Japanese restaurant in our neighborhood growing up, and I loved it from an early age.

B-Have you noticed a correlation between the tattoo and culinary industries?
CD-Both chefs and tattooers seem to have a distinct taste in style and flavor. One strong correlation would be creativity within the craft. Artists alike come together in all forms and mediums. Food is an art, but also a visual art and sensory experience. There is also a correlation between industries, such as training, time for research and study, and trial and error.

B-How do you balance your diet with your work schedule?
CD-I try and maintain a balanced diet throughout the day. At the tattoo shop, I usually bring a lunch or some snacks. Mostly fruit and some nuts. I eat often, but in smaller amounts. We have many options for different foods, so sandwiches, rice bowls, and Mexican food are sure bets for lunch.

B-Do you have a favorite restaurant?
CD-My favorite restaurant these days would have to be Nesai in Newport Beach.

B- What do you usually cook at home?
CD-At home, my wife cooks most of the time. She is a vegetarian so we eat mostly healthy meals, which include quinoa, salads, and different pasta dishes. I try to get my proteins by way of game hen, yard bird, or a filet, but it can be a struggle.

B-If given a choice, what would your last meal be? Please include drink and dessert.
CD-My last meal would be broiled chicken with white rice and mushroom sauce. I would have a salad on the side and a Hansen’s grapefruit soda to drink. To top it off, a dutch chocolate yogurt with almonds and chocolate chips from Yogurtland on 17th street.

B-How has traveling for work exposed you to new culinary experiences? And do you have any funny stories?
CD-Fortunately speaking, traveling and working has exposed me to many different cultures and foods. One of my favorite styles of food is Malay. Upon working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I ate wonderful curry, fish, and rice dishes. It was much like a mix between Indian and Cantonese cuisine.

Colin would like to share with you his favorite recipe,
Veggie Eggs Benedict!

Serves 2

Although traditional eggs benedict uses poached eggs, canadian bacon, and hollandaise sauce, I opted to cook my eggs over-easy, substitute meat for some greens, and use salsa to make a lighter version of one of my favorite breakfasts.

• 1 small-medium tomato (heirloom tomatoes work well)
• 6 stalks of asparagus
• 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
• 2 cups of fresh spinach leaves
• 1 lemon wedge
• 4 eggs
• 4 crumpets, or 2 english muffins, halved lengthwise
• butter (optional)
• 1/2 of a ripe avocado, cut into slices
• salt and pepper, to taste
• salsa (optional)

Turn-on broiler and place rack in top position of oven.

Cut tomato into 1” slices and place on baking sheet. Place asparagus stalks on baking sheet. Broil tomatoes and asparagus for 8-10 minutes, rotating pan half way through. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and saute for about 5 minutes. Once wilted, add a squeeze of lemon. Set aside.

Over medium heat, heat oil in a skillet [amount of oil will vary depending upon how many eggs you cook in skillet]. Cook eggs to your liking (e.g., over easy, sunny side up, etc.). As eggs are cooking, toast and butter (if preferred) english muffin/crumpets and set aside.

Place toasted bread on plate and top with sauteed spinach. Divide roasted tomato slices among bread and place on top of spinach. Gently place eggs on tomato slices and season with salt and pepper. Top eggs with asparagus stalks and avocado slices. Add a spoonful of salsa, hot sauce, or other preferred condiment to top it all off, and enjoy.


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