Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the tag “san francisco”


Grime, Grime, Grime. One of the best tattoo artists in the world! On the slim chance you have not heard of him, he has a shop called Skull and Sword in San Francisco. He is widely known for being a renaissance man of tattooing (and art in general!). What I mean by that is that man consistently crushes any tattoo or style of tattoo requested of him no matter what it is. Grime has created his own style in the process, one that cannot be imitated or replicated although many have tried and failed. Basically you have to see his work for yourself to understand what I am talking about and I highly recommend checking him out!



But today that is besides the point. Today we are talking Grime and his food! Mr. Grime can also cook (…renaissance man…) and he occasionally sends me photos of his dishes. They always look amazing. The other day he sent me a particularly mouth-watering photo of his pan-fried salmon filet with an oven-roasted yam and sautéed spinach garnished with raisins, pine nuts and a balsamic glaze. That photo had me seriously second-guessing what I had already decided to cook for dinner that night. You can never go wrong with simple yet sophisticated! Check out a few great recipes and some of Grime’s tattoo work below… Cheers!

I will try my best to recreate Grime’s recipes for you all. Try this dish for your next dinner, you will love it!


Grime’s Pan-fried Salmon Filet With Oven-roasted Yam and Sautéed Spinach

Serves 4

Oven-roasted Yam

4 medium-sized yams

1-2 TBLS butter for every yam

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Poke a few holes in each yam and place on a foil-lined baking dish. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until tender all the way through. When finished, place on the plate with the salmon and spinach. Split them down the middle length-wise and top with butter and salt and pepper.

Pan-fried Salmon

1 Side of fresh, wild-caught salmon (skin on), cut into filets about 3-3 1/2 inches wide (wrap the extra pieces tightly in cling film and freeze for next time)

3-4 TBLS Olive oil or avocado oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat up oil on a frying pan (one with a cover) on med-high. Meanwhile dust salmon filets with salt and pepper on both sides. When the oil is well-heated (but not burning or smoking), carefully place salmon filets skin-side down. Turn heat down to medium and cover pan with the lid. Cook for about 7-10 minutes on medium. Take the lid off and turn up the heat again to med-well to crisp the skin for a minute. With a spatula, remove salmon from the pan and place on a plate with the spinach and yam.

Balsamic Glaze

1c Balsamic vinegar

1 TBLS Maple Syrup

1/2 TBLS Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients and bring them to a boil in a small sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer for about 12-15 minutes, letting the mixture reduce until it becomes thick (it should lightly coat the back of a spoon). Set aside and let cool, it will thicken more as it cools. Spoon over salmon, spinach and yam!

Sautéed Spinach

20-30 oz Fresh spinach leaves

2 TBLS butter

2 TBLS Olive oil or avocado oil

1/8c raisins

1/8c roasted pine nuts

Heat up butter and oil in a medium-sized skillet. After butter is melted, add the spinach and sauté until the spinach is starting to wilt. Toss in the raisins and pine nuts and cook until the spinach is fully wilted. Season with salt and pepper and serve with salmon and yam.


Below are some fine examples of Grime’s work, and one of him racing the other day on his bike!!










Thank you, Grime for letting me share your beautiful work and amazing cookery!!

You can catch more of Grime on his Instagram, website or FB:



If you have recipes or food tattoos you think we would want to share, email us or tag us!!




Andrew Santana

 Andrew Santana


I have had the amazing opportunity to interview a talented chef named Andrew Santana. He is from California and is a jack-of-all trades when it comes to cooking! He has done it all! He has a passion for tattoos and kindly shared some of them and their story with me. Here is our interview along with a mouth-watering recipe courtesy of Andrew!  Read on and check it out!


M: How long have you been a chef?

A: All my life I’ve been in kitchens. My family has owned restaurants since I was a child but professionally about 14 years. In 1999 I decided to go to culinary school in S.F. (best time of my life) then I made it to the big leagues. Right out the gate I landed a spot with Michael Mina (fuck me that was a blur! Shout out to Steven Fretz!) Then became his sous chef for a minute. Hung out with Chef Wade Hageman at Blanca, a French restaurant in Del Mar, was his opening sous. Also hung out at The Plumed Horse in Saratoga another French restaurant (Chef Peter Armellino a beast of a chef, learned so much from that man!) Then I did everything from opening a food truck  (shout out to the Mobowl crew Kevin and little Mijo aka the Willie) to a farm to table bistro and did private events! Man you name it, I did it … can’t even list it all.


M: Where are you working now?

A: This industry has taking a toll on my family so now  I’m a culinary ronin . A knife for hire if you will . I keep in contact with everyone I’ve worked for in the past so I help when they need help. Sometimes a sous chef needs a couple of days or a chef will travel and I fill in for them. Chez Tj was the last place I worked. My good friend ( Chef Jarod ) needed me to step in and iIdid . I’ll be traveling the European country side with my wife and children this year and When I get back ill be opening up a spot. Stay tuned for that . @underwaterroads


M: Any chefs you admire?

A: That’s a can of worms, here we go .  The French and UK greats would be Albert and Michel roux , Pierre Koffman, Raymond Blanc, Nico Ladenis , Marco Pierre White. Californian greats would be, George Morrone , Jeremiah Towers, Michael Mina, Alice Waters, Thomas Keller and Traci des Jardins. The Chefs I’ve worked for Micheal Mina  Wade Hageman, Peter Armellino, Steven Fretz, Joseph Humphrey, Robbie Lewis, Jarod Gallagher, Steven Hopcraft (weird to see him on top chef)  and Joe Cirone.


M: There are so many amazing chefs out there! So on to tattooing, when did you first start getting tattooed?

A: I was a 13-year-old vato. Some homie’s uncle was giving out tats in the garage. He looked at me and said, “You’re next “. I thought he was joking. He wasn’t.

M: What was it and do you still have it?

A: It was my last name of course (Santana), left shoulder. Still have it. I’ll never get rid of that 3-inch blurred out, fat lined tattoo.


M: What is your favorite piece and why?

A: Wow, that’s like asking who’s your favorite child. I like them all equally but for different reasons. The names of my family members are special. But if I had to pick one it would be my skull and roses. An ode to my rehabilitation! That was done by Cristo at polished tattoo in San Jose also shout out to Big homie Paco Excel and Chronic Joe from Death Before Dishonor. They have schooled me on ink politics.


M: What drew you tattoos initially?

A: It’s always been part of my families DNA.  It started with my grandfather. He was getting inked up over seas while he was serving his country in WWII. Also, my gangster uncles who served their sentences in the pen, I wanted to be like them.


M: Why do you think the tattoo industry and the culinary industry are so intertwined?

A: I believe we are cut from the same cloth in this way. There is deep rich history in both our industry I love that. We provide a great service for the individual who walks through our doors; a spiritual healing of sorts and Our Reputation is everything. We work, love and play hard…


M: Have you noticed this correlation (or lack thereof) in your travels in other countries?

A: Currently I have taken some time off to pay homage to the culinary world on the other side of the planet. I wonder how people will react to my ink.


M: I think they will be more curious than anything. Do you have a tattoo experience that stands out for any reason? Funny/sentimental?

A: Hahaha, yeah. My third tattoo was horrible (17 years of age). A best friend of mine was getting his moms name on his arm. He turned to me and said “your getting one too its on me, pick something.” So of course I pick something small original and different. It was a dual tattoo an evil face and half moon and star, half dollar in size. Now that I’m thinking back I’m not sure what it was or why I actually got it, ahahahaha. But man the guy who did it, didn’t know what the fuck he was doing. It was the worst pain I had ever experienced and I’ve chopped a nail completely off, stabbed my wrist trying to shuck an oyster, oil and oven burns galore but nothing compared to my third tatt. It bled for days and scarred like a bullet wound. Truthfully though if I could go back and change it, I wouldn’t. My good friend died that year…. So it’s a gift I’ll take with me till I’m six feet deep!


M: Who do you admire as far as tattooers are concerned?

I admire any professional tattooer that takes his profession seriously! I
Like the up and comers like Cristo from Polish Tattoo,  the veterans like Paco Excel from Death Before Dishonor and then there is Horiyoshi 3. A man who is in a league of his own . Eddy Reyes from secret sidewalk is doing some crazy shit.

M: Any cooking advice for a novice?

A: Invest in a good knife and keep it sharp. Be clean and organized. Attack a recipe with great courage…. It’s as easy as that.


M: A good quality, sharp knife is SO important! Great advice! What recipe would you suggest for our readers?

A: Magical bahn mi sandwiches!!!  Combines all my favorite cuisines with Californian seasonal vegetables.  Do the liver pate and pork the day before.


Char Siu Pork

1 pork sirloin roast (1.5 pound)

1cup low sodium soy sauce

1/2cup h2o

1/2cup chopped green onion

1/4cup mince garlic

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2cup sugar

1 teaspoon cracked pepper

Splash of vinegar

1 jar of char siu sauce, Yee or Lee Kum Kee are good brands (or you could make your own)

Add all ingredients together except the jar of char- siu, mix well place in a heavy duty zip lock bag and marinate 6 hours.

Take the pork loin out of the marinade and put it on a sheet tray. Cover the loin with the char-siu and roast for 55min at 350-degree oven.

Take it out and let it rest.


 Chicken liver pate

1pound air chilled, organic chicken livers, cleaned

1cup almond milk

1 stick cold unsalted butter cut into pieces

1cup chopped yellow onions

2teaspoon mince garlic

1 bay leaf

1teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4cup aged whiskey or red wine

Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish

French bread croutons or toast, accompaniment

In a bowl, soak the livers in the almond milk for 2 hours. Drain well.

In a large sauté pan or skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken livers, the bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the livers are browned on the outside and still slightly pink on the inside, about 5 minutes. Add whiskey, cook until most of the liquid is evaporated and the livers are cooked through but still tender.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Discard the bay leaves.

In a food processor, puree the liver mixture. Add the remaining butter in pieces and pulse to blend and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Pack the pate into a container Cover with plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 6 hours.


Quick pickled veg

1cup water

1/2cup rice wine

1/4cup fish sauce

2teaspoon kosher salt

1 mince garlic



1diakon radish or radish of choice

Mix all the ingredients and cut veg, long and thin slices. Place the veg in the solution. Use solution over and over.


Garlic Aioli

1egg yolk

1 cup of olive oil

2 garlic cloves minced

Juice of one lemon

1/2tablespoon salt

Place the yolk, lemon juice and salt in a mixing bowl and mix till salt is dissolved. Slowly add the olive oil to create a mayo consistency.

Buy some French bread and go to town spread the pate on the bottom and the aioli on top. Add the slice pork then the pickle veg. Add in some fresh cilantro and Serrano Chile’s! Sit back and enjoy the ride!


Sounds delicious, Andrew- Thank you!!

Photos courtesy of Andrew Santana

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