Key learnings from our 5th annual Goren siblings camping trip: black bears eat 25,000 berries a day, our glaciers are melting, everything’s better in Canada.
Japan is an exquisite country, filled with kind people, impeccable order, and the best dashi broth and fatty tuna I’ve ever eaten. Everything is executed with the utmost attention and care. Each person we met felt like they had been waiting for us, ready to offer a cold towel at the izakaya bar after a hustle through Shinjuku Station, or draw us a bath warmed by fire and fill it with fresh mint.
We began most days with a mochi cake made by a street vendor or an onigiri rice ball from 7-Eleven (no joke). The seaweed comes in a separate package so it’s perfectly flakey when you wrap it around the rice — a perfect reflection of the attention to detail that was pervasive throughout Japan. Our time in Tokyo was underscored by steaming bowls of ramen and incredibly fresh fish outside of Tsujiki Market. My favorite ramen was made with yuzu broth and chi-yu, chicken fat blended with dashi. Though the ramen in Golden Gai, a tiny cluster of speakeasies and noodle shops in Shinjuku, was a close second. Made with sardine broth, the soup is as rich as tonkatsu (pork ramen) but not as heavy, and filled with two types of thick, chewy, perfect egg noodles. Taking in the scenes and smells of Tsujiki Fish Market and enjoying sashimi and steaming miso for breakfast at a six-top counter was pretty unforgettable, as well. Special shoutout to my friend Ilana of Free the Picnic, who basically shaped our entire dining experience in Tokyo.
For a city of 13 million people, we were amazed by how smooth and simple it felt to move about Tokyo. No matter how crowded the train or how long the queue, people always remained calm, quiet, and respectful. And so very punctual. The average delay of the Shinkansen, Japan’s bullet train, is less than 60 seconds, and it’s been around for over 50 years.
Our time in bustling Tokyo was complimented by a few days in Kamikochi, the Japanese Alps, where we stayed in a mountain lodge and hiked with monkeys through the beautiful Asuza river valley. We spent most of our waking hours soaking in onsen or reading in our yukata robes, and bookended each day with hearty meals of many tiny courses. Pickled mountain vegetables, sauteed wasabi greens, sesame burdock root, tempura made with puffed rice, fish dumplings. Somehow we always managed to finish it all.
Kamikochi was followed by a week in Kyoto, an incredibly special and beautiful city. The tiny streets twist and turn and are dotted with makers and craftspeople of all kinds — each wholeheartedly dedicated to what they do. Tofu, pottery, soba, paper. By night, the streets grow quiet, the temples light up, and the geisha scurry about to their appointments.
We ended our travels with a few days at Koyasan, a temple complex in the mountains outside of Osaka, followed by a farm stay in rural Kyushu, the southern-most island of Japan. We were welcomed by the loveliest family, Midori-San, Yoshidori-San, Tomo, and “Baba”— the 86-year-old grandmother who tends to her plants each morning. It’s no wonder Japanese women live longer than anyone else in the world. After a few weeks of touring and dining in restaurants, it felt incredibly special to harvest vegetables, sit in someone’s home, and watch them cook. I was mesmerized by Midori’s kitchen — filled with jars of ume-boshi (pickled plum), koji (fermented rice), and doburoku (unfiltered sake).
There is no doubt that Japan is a place you can keep coming back to, and I hope we do. In the meantime, we’ll bask in the gratitude we feel for our experience, sift through our keepsakes, and stock our pantry full of seaweed.
Getting married on Orcas Island surrounded by the people we cherish most was indescribably magical. Lucky for us, that magic followed us across the Puget Sound as we hopped over to Lummi Island for a few days of relaxation and post-wedding bliss. Our days were long and slow, filled with salmon berries, hammock naps, leisurely bike rides, and jars of honey comb. All of the people we crossed paths with blessed us with such warmth and generosity, from the Willows Inn cooks who offered us bikes as they smoked salmon and grilled green garlic in the blazing sun, to the peony farmers who filled our house with fresh flowers. It was the perfect place to drink in this beautiful time in our lives.
A visual feast of the best weekend of our lives. Doe Bay, you’ll always hold a special place in our hearts. Photos by the lovely Lauren Kolyn.
My sister married Alex last weekend in a little town on Lake Ontario. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
To witness the coming together of two people with such intention, spiritually, thoughtfulness, and love is an incredible gift. My heart is still vibrating.
Driving along the Olympic Peninsula feels like pouring out onto the earth’s edge.
We drove slow, taking in the vast and rugged coastline, eating oyster po boys and dreaming about the future along the way. We watched seals swim at sunset, befriended a deer, sunk our toes in the sand, and drank whiskey by crackling fires. It was just another beautiful Pacific Northwest weekend, until Adam asked me to marry him over coffee on our second morning. Read More
Passover is about many things. Cherishing our freedom. Committing ourselves to social justice. The power of storytelling. The bounty of spring.
Each year, we have an opportunity to celebrate, question, and interpret these themes. Each year, new faces show up around our Passover table, and the same story we’ve told holds new meaning.
For the last 5 years, I’ve been fixated on the question, “what is my relationship to food?”
Growing up, food was always at the forefront. I spent the first 18 years of my life sitting around a table with my family, eating a delicious, simple meal prepared by my mom. For years, and still now, I watched her churn out perfectly flakey salmon and quajado and Hungarian mushroom soup and chicken marbella that made the whole house smell like sweet prunes. I had the great joy of eating my Noni’s keftez and Spanish rice, thick with tomatoes and chickpeas, and crispy roast potatoes for holidays or special occasions. My 86-year-old Papu still whips up currant scones or French madeleines on an ordinary Saturday, just ’cause.
The changing of the season always takes me by surprise. Even though it happens each year, I am always struck by how it manages to creep in, quietly, doing its work in the night. Until one ordinary morning, it shows itself, as if sitting outside your window the whole time.
After six weeks of temples, motorbikes, sticky rice, tiny islands, night buses, and fish sauce — I find myself in a very different part of the world: Tuscany.
I am currently a farm intern at Spannocchia, an agrotourism specializing in salumi, wine, and olive oil. Along with 7 other hard-working, food-loving twenty-somethings, I share this beautiful 12th century estate with visitors from around the world. Part villa, part organic farm, Spannocchia integrates historic preservation with cultural and ecological enrichment and education.