Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the tag “travel”

Jeff Gogue


I had heard Jeff Gogue was a foodie through my husband. So imagine how excited I was to hear that Jeff had agreed to have a chat with me about food. This was the first time I had ever gotten the chance to sit down with Jeff one-on-one, and I have to say that he is very genuine and very nice. His humble attitude is almost shocking as he is one of the most talented tattoo artists out there today and could have every right to be not as nice as he is.

 We mostly spoke about food, what Jeff’s favorite things to cook and eat are. We also spoke about his love of fishing. Jeff grew up fishing around Lake Tahoe but now lives in Grant’s Pass, Oregon. It sounds scenically stunning and really chill, have to make it up there one day! Just imagine the seasonal foods you could forage in the abundant wildlife up there! Jeff and his wife recently took a fishing trip up the Puget Sound where he caught some pretty impressive-looking salmon. The trip sounded fun and like a real adventure with the crisp sea air and ice-cold sea!

Jeff likes cooking (and eating!) fish in pretty much any way you could think of preparing it. He also loves a good pork chop or a rare steak on occasion. But he really tries to stay on a healthy diet and exercise regime. His favorite lunch at work consists of a young coconut filled with berries and Chia seeds. That actually sounds amazing and I will have to try it out myself! When he does have a cheat day, he loves to chow down on a burger with peanut butter. While that may sound strange, I think it is reminiscent of Thai beef with peanut sauce. Very innovative! Anyone have a good recipe for either?

An interesting fact about Mr. Gogue is he actually wanted to be a chef at one point in his life and had even taken a cooking class on one of his trips to France!

Here are some photos of Jeff, hope this inspires you to get tattooed or get in the kitchen!!
























Thank you Jeff!!!!  You can catch more of Jeff and what he’s up to at any of these fine places:


If you have food tattoos, recipe or are a tattooed chef or foodie tattooer- we want to talk to you!

Hit us up at @knivesandneedles or



Chris Brand


Oh man, Chris is one of my favorite friend’s of my husbands. He is one of the most energetic and inspiring people you will ever meet. His positive energy radiates and immediately makes you feel at home wherever you are. He also happens to be one of the best tattooers out there these days.

Besides all that, Chris really loves food. He is a definite foodie and from what he says, one of the top foods on his list is ramen. Not just your average Top Ramen variety though. Chris is a real ramen man! Legend has it, Chris and his lady Jackie made a ramen tour of Japan a few years ago and ate so much ramen Jackie’s ankles swelled from all the sumptuous but sodium-laden broth that goes into the noodle soup, talk about commitment! Needless to say that cut Jackie’s part in the ramen tour short and in a show of solidarity Chris refrained from consuming more ramen as well, what a gentleman! Chris’s love for ramen has translated itself into his paintings/artwork and he has been gracious enough to let us all have a look-see!

Check them out below!












Thanks for stopping by knives and needles blog! If you have any recipes or food tattoos you would like to share, please email us at!


Have a great day and enjoy!

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

Tattoos and Thailand Part 1


99 Baht all you can eat shabu shabu!!

Tattoos and Thailand Part 1

A few winters ago I spent 31/2 weeks roaming the North of Thailand. It was too touristy to go down south to any of the islands, so my friends and I decided to explore the north to end up in Chiang Mai by New Year’s Eve. I was blogging for a now non-existent site back then and I had this idea to take as many photos of tattoos and food as I could during my trip and blog about them. And so the journey began.


Kawasan Road

We started out in Bangkok, staying a few nights there. We stayed in the touristy area near Kawasan Road. That road is jam-packed night and day with tourists. Tattoo shops litter the road with restaurants and souvenir shops selling everything from fake i.ds to dresses and shoes. It’s hectic and it feels good to get out of there.


Bangkok Chinatown

One night while in Bangkok we took a tuktuk (a 3 wheeled enclosed motorscooter/taxi vehicle, I don’t recommend them without a surgical mask as you inhale all the exhaust the traffic) to Chinatown to walk around and eat. A majority of the restaurant windows either had dried shark fins and edible bird’s nests displayed for eating. The bird’s nests are called swallow’s nests in Chinese and are a delicacy usually in the form of a soup.



It turns sweet and gelatinous in liquids and is traditionally believed to provide health benefits, such as aiding digestion, raising libido, improving the voice, alleviating asthma, improving focus, and an overall benefit to the immune system. The nests were originally harvested in caves in Borneo but now with growing demand are harvested in man-made nesting houses mainly in Indonesia. Most are white, but there are natural red nests. They are found in caves on one of Thailand’s islands. An interesting fact is there is a lot of counterfeit nests and is a huge industry with a large black market.


bird’s nests for sale

After walking around for a bit looking at all the herb shops and restaurants, we decided to leave Chinatown to eat at a 99Baht (about $3.50 usd) all you can eat Thai-style shabu shabu restaurant that is situated along the Chao Phraya River that runs through Bangkok. Shabu shabu is a Japanese dish that consists of thinly sliced meats or seafood and vegetables that you poach in boiling water or seaweed broth called dashi at the table.


food for the masses

A dipping sauce is served with the meat, usually a citrus soy sauce called ponzu or a sesame-based sauce of some kind. The resulting soup is usually eaten at the end. It was pretty insane! Probably the strangest place I’ve ever eaten but definitely one of the coolest. First off, it was huge and all outdoors. It was literally rows and rows of raw meat, seafood, vegetables, fishcakes, tofu, puddings, cakes, ice creams, and jellies all covered by little roofs and safely on ice. It was pretty clean considering the amount of food and people.


the stage

The business made food seems to turn over quite quickly as well. In the uncovered, open area right on the river, there were rows and rows and rows of tables of all sizes and shapes. It seemed like almost every chair was filled with someone casually stuffing their face in between loud chatter and louder laughs. Then there was the stage. Flashy live karaoke of Thai-pop songs seemed to fit this atmosphere perfectly, I was wondering how many beers it would take to convince one of our friends to get up there and belt one out. We all ate to our hearts content, packing in the food and drink. It was a great time, really the first of many on this trip.




more meat and sauces


me in the background with yumminess in front




tons of people, tons of food


more people


close up of meat




food area. open area




ahhhh empty dishes


drink the broth at the end!

Stay tuned for more on actual tattoos and more food in Tattoos in Thailand pat 2…!!

Photos by me

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