Advanced Screening of Parts Unknown: Ethiopia

Parts Unknown Ethiopia

I am thrilled at the opportunity that CNN, Food Republic, and Tadias Magazine have given me to highlight the behind the scenes moments of Anthony Bourdain's episode of "Parts Unknown" featuring Ethiopia on Monday, October 19th at 7pm at Ginny's Supper Club. The episode we filmed will air on CNN on October 25th, but this advanced screening on Monday will allow you all to join Maya and me in an informal setting as we watch the episode and engage in discussion following.

I've been a fan of Parts Unknown since it aired in 2013. I loved having the opportunity to show my good friend Tony around Ethiopia, trying to reveal some of the unknown areas both to him and his many viewers. It was rewarding to realize have far I have come in my explorations of my native country (and how much I still have to discover). My wife Maya and I had a blast bringing Tony to Addis Adaba, which is the capital city of Ethiopa and often considered to be the political capital of all of Africa. We made sure that Tony got to sample a large mix of food, sounds, and sights in this busy metropolis. We also brought Tony to Maya's family in the Gurage region to experience the somewhat more modest life in an Ethiopian village (although the village feast we were served hardly seems like it could be labeled as "modest").

I'm looking forward to sharing more about the making of this episode at the event at Ginny's on Monday. We will also be featuring some specialty cocktails and Ethiopian-focused small plates to bring some of the smells and tastes from the episode to you as well.

I hope to see you there!


Advanced Screening of Parts Unknown: Ethiopia  Ginny's Supper Club October 19th @ 7:00PM $25 | Tickets here This event is 21+

Catching Up with HEAF’s 2014 Learning for Social Impact Course

Last month a group of students from Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) spent an afternoon with me in Ginny’s Supper Club to learn about Swedish food and culture. The discussion and cooking demonstration were in preparation for the students’ trip to Stockholm as part of HEAF’s Learning for Social Impact cultural literacy course. I recently caught up with Jadira Mora, HEAF’s Program Coordinator of College Quest, to hear more about the group’s adventures in my homeland.

The students kicked off their trip with an invigorating bike tour of the Royal National City Park. They got to see the area the way most Scandinavians do – by bicycle. Other trip highlights include a tour of Stockholm City Hall, a fascinating lesson on the history of Swedish music, a visit with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and a meeting with King Entertainment, the creators of Candy Crush Saga. Additionally, the LSI class enjoyed conversations with The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce over a traditional Swedish Fika (coffee break). The HEAF students also met kids their own age to compare personal experiences, and attended the first World Cup game screening put on by Ortens Favoriter, a youth organization in the suburbs. I wish I could’ve been there!

Jadira facilitated debriefings each night so the students could discuss their experiences of the day. The students faced a lot of culture shock, and were surprised to encounter a different kind of diversity in Sweden. They found that diversity often relates to different nationalities instead of different colors of skin.

Of course, the HEAF students thoroughly enjoyed Swedish cuisine. They ate meatballs similar to the kind I made with them, enjoyed a lot of fish, and even tried Gubbröra, which is a traditional Swedish anchovy dish that translates to “Old Man’s Mix.” The students were surprised at the large portion sizes that were available in restaurants, and were delighted by Swedish chocolate. (We do have the best candy!)

It was great to hear about the students’ trip, and it was an honor to work with them beforehand to discuss my experience growing up in Sweden. I hope to see my HEAF friends again soon.

Photo courtesy of HEAF

The B Sides- Dallas BBQ & Deep Ellum

Pecan Lodge  

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining friends in Texas and taking part in the City of Addison's Fork and Cork Festival. I had a great time checking out all the fun vendors at the festival and learning about Addison's restaurant history. On my down time, a good friend took me to a few places around town. Instead of hitting up the usual tourist destinations, we left the museums behind and  I quickly realized that if the saying "Go big or go home" is a good mantra for Texans.

I spent a lot of my free time in a neighborhood called Deep Ellum,its name coming from a deep southern pronunciation of Deep Elm (Street.) The neighborhood is right up my alley; not necessarily known to be the most popular part of town but a culturally and historically rich neighborhood with a deep connection to the arts. Walking down the streets you see part grit, part Texas, part art, part class. Here are a few places I found in the neighborhood:


The Pecan Lodge: A friend of mine kindly invited me to the Pecan Lodge'spre-opening night Friends and Family celebration and I'm glad I went there straight from the airport. It was the best Texas welcome I could have asked for. This BBQ joint has everything from house made sausage, home cured pickles, beautifully marbled brisket, sweet tea and one of the most  impressive 24 hr BBQ pits I've seen. Justin and his team have put a great deal of work into learning what makes people's mouths water. Go early!

Twisted Root Burger Company:  As a naturalized citizen, I love seeing Americana at its finest. The burgers here are delicious, inventive and bare clever names like The Kevin Bacon (three slices of bacon and Danish bleu cheese) and The Frito Bandito (Texas Chili, guacamole, cheddar and Fritos.)  The real star here is the light-hearted and playful atmosphere. The set up is counter service with a faux attitude and a play on pop-culture. Don't think they are going to call you by an order number- instead they've selected songs, personalities and moments in history to call you when your order is ready and perhaps poke a little fun at you.

Lula B's: One of my favorite parts of traveling across the US is antiquing and vintage shopping.  There are so many regional specific things you find the more you shop, plus the prices are great outside of NYC. Lula B's was no exception to the rule. I could have spent a whole day sifting through the vintage photographs, records and furniture. What great restaurant design inspiration!

Other places to check out in Dallas: Smoke and The Foundry & Chicken Scratch Chef Tim Byres knows what's going on. I first met Tim at Austin Food and Wine so I had to check out his restaurants while I was in town. Smoke is a more traditional sit-down restaurant that as you could have guessed, serves some killer BBQ (and an amazing brunch.) The Foundry and Chicken Scratch are just down the road and serve as a beer garden/outdoor music venue combo with nothing but the coolest Texas flare. Theres comfy couches, picnic tables, a serious beer list and some pretty impressive chicken fingers.

Wanderlust: Midsummer in Sweden

The summer solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet's semi-axis in a given hemisphere is most inclined towards the star that it orbits...and if you haven't brushed up on your astronomy recently, it's also means it's time to party. Midsummer is a celebration based on the summer solstice. In Sweden specifically, Midsummer is take place on the third weekend of June with the main festivities taking place on the Friday of that weekend (this year is looking like June 21st). Sweden

Last week, The New York Times published a great article with some major photos to get her readers in the spirit.

Take a look here: A Midsummer Day’s Dream in Sweden

And if you are in New York City next month, there will be plenty of Swedish expatriates parties to go around.


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Abba Museum in Stockholm, Sweden

ABBA This past week, the Abba Museum opened in Stockholm, Sweden to hundreds of fans ready to relive the unique saga of the native pop group. (Too bad Marcus, a lifelong fan, wasn't around for the unveiling.) The museum, in collaboration with the Music Hall of Fame, boasts unparalleled memorabilia, a full-service dance floor and the actual studio console with which Abba recorded their signature sound.

The group, who formed in 1972, released 8 chart-topping albums, won the Eurovision Song Contest and extensively toured the world until their break-up in late 1982; a legacy that would spawn countless tributes to the group.

For a mere 195 Krona ($30 USD), a visitor can see the band's gold plated records, listen in on live streaming piano sessions by Benny Andersson, the 66-year-old composer and former Abba creative and actually sit inside the famed helicopter from the cover of Abba's third studio album Arrival.


If you or anyone you know is in Stockholm soon, do not walk, but run to the Abba Museum and Music Hall of Fame.

For more information, do read the article on English speaking, Swedish website The Local.

For more Wanderlust Stories:

Tel Aviv

The Bars Mleczny of Poland



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