around the world in one county

Saturday, November 12

Kevin and I would forgo fancy smanch furniture, new clothes, expensive accessories, movies, music....well, pretty much anything to tango with the world. Quintessential traveling defines itself best by the essence of discovery, wide-eyed curiosity, and flavors that make you wonder where you have been all your life. I mean, you REALLY begin to feel like you are living. The beauty of this dance is that sometimes you don't have to go far to find it.

Kevin and I gave ourselves the challenge to see if we could discover the best little ethnic food restaurants in and around our hometown. Leaving behind just the idea of simply "eating", we wanted to experience the heck out of each venue, like we were occupying space in that country. So we pulled out our 5 senses, and with the help of our keen intuition (err, I mean google), we randomly stumbled across each place in a different way!

The Jagerhaus

Kevin and I were gifted with season passes to D-land (thanks Mama Cook), and every time we exited Ball Rd en-route to the happiest place on earth, we drove past this janky strip mall and a huge sign that read Jagerhaus, Authentic German Cooking. We were intrigued, for depite it's delapidated appearance, the place looked legit. From the minute we walked in, something about the wood paneling, the vintage chairs, and the walls adorned with shelves upon shelves of beer steins and family crests, we knew it was safe to pretend we were yodeling with the best of them in Germany. We were greeted by the owner herself, a Mrs. Sandra Shweiger, a plump German grandma head to toe in purple, and a smile as wide as the Rhine. Eyes twinkling, she confessed multiple times that she was "nosy", but in this day and age, we'd take nosy over a cold or indifferent waiter any day! "Bratwurst, cabbage rolls, shnitzel, sauerbraten, you will not go wrong with any of them" she mused excitedly!

And she was right, Kevin and I left completely satisfied and surprised how much we enjoyed this place. Amidst Polka in the background, abundant mustard and Hofbrau House Beer, and Sandra's stories of life in Germany, magic wafted in the air. Walking away, we both bid Grandma Shweiger Auf Wiedersehen, and agreed that we'd be back again:)

Kenyan Cafe and Cuisine, Anaheim Ca

Two years ago, I was embarking on spending a month in Kenya with the organization I work for called Empowering Lives International. Admist packing and preparations, I was hopelessly trying to study and learn as much Swahili as I could. Kevin and I were dating at the time, and his current way to impress me included learning Swahili in tandem. So to test out our newly acquired skills, we found this hole-in-the-wall place and said, "twende" (let's go!). Walls painted like the Masai Mara game reserve, we dined next to zebras

and giraffe's, and after a few minutes had quite a few Swahili teachers. Julius, the Kenyan owner sat down at the table with us, and gave us some new phrases. Two Kenyan ladies overheard us practicing while we waited for food, and laughing, offered to give us a hand. Even the cook from the back came out and taught us a song in Swahili. And what would a Kenyan restaurant be without a tv blasting Kenyan gospel music in the background? Kenya isn't know for having the most rich and delicious dishes, but as Kenyan food goes, this place was great. I wouldn't go here necessarily for the food (however it's fun to try dishes i've never heard of), but the familial ambiance and relationships we made at this place rocked! We've actually been back a few times to hang out with Julius!

Supatra's Thai Bistro

After spending a chunk of my life teaching English in Thailand, I had sworn off Thai food for a good year and a half. It's not that I didn't like Thai food, it's just the opposite. I loved it so much I ate it incessantly in Thailand, and overconsumption of anything can have negative effects! Which is why I was so pleasantly surprised when Kev took me to Supatra's for Valentines day last year, and I gobbeled down everything we ordered. This place is amazing, and the ambiance great. The curries and any dish with their peanut sauce is to die for! Plus, the waiters and waitresses humored me as I practiced my Thai, and soon a whole group of them were gathering around asking questions about where I lived and what I did. They even gave us a rose on departure, in which Kevin "the bachelor" gave me his rose at our impromptu "rose ceremony" in the parking lot. Yum-O! If you love good, authentic Thai, you will LOVE this place:)

Tana Ethiopian Restaurant

Tana is right next to the Kenyan Cafe, making it like a whole strip mall filled with African restaurants:) I had eaten Ethiopian once with childlike instincts....anything different tasted icky. But thankfully as I grew, my taste buds grew up too, so I was ready to venture onward and upwards to Tana! And I can't say enough about this place. The food was fabulous, and the culture seemed to seep from the tables and walls and kitchen. Tunes of Amharic bantering in the background, our waiter shared stories of Ethiopia, and it's flavored cuisine. Typical of Ethiopian food, all of our dishes were served on one huge platter made out of Injera (which is a spongy breadish pancake). I haven't the slightest idea what we ordered, but it was all insanely delish, like fireworks in the mouth. Just ask the waiter what he recommends and get that!

Warung Pojok
I tell people that if my husband hadn't been engaged to me while he was in Indonesia, he would have never come home! He's obsessed! Loved the people, loved the food, loved the language. He spent 7 months in Indonesia, coaching a University basketball game, and loving people well.
 needless to say, when he returned to the US, he was hankering for some nasi goreng and ayam. Mission accomplished, we found Warung Pojok. Settled between the classy venues of Chuck-E-Cheese and the 99 cent store, the placed lacked all curb appeal imaginable, and I was afraid that if Kevin and I BOTH went in we'd be breaking some fire code. But enter we did, and in a matter of minutes, the entire family running the place had mobbed Kev learning that not only had he lived in Indo, but spoke Bahasa as well. For the next hour my husband and his new Indo fan-club laughed and talked, while I sat on the side-lines and observed and ate, cracking up inside. Too funny. However, let me give this disclaimer that while Kevin ate to his hearts content, I was not a huge fan. But, it definitely has the authentic Indo vibe, so it's worth checking out.

Bottom line: eating hole-in-the-wall ethnic is about much more than the food. Much like life, it's all about the relationships. Bar none, at every single one of these eateries, we not only met, but walked away feeling like we knew the owners and families. We LOVE that! I want my life to be like that. To let people in, to make them feel welcome and loved. Food has a way of bringing people together, and love has a way of bringing people back! And even though we didn't leave the county, we feel like we entered numerous worlds through the medium of food and relationships! 

Happy weekend, and happy eating. Let me know if you have any don't-miss places to add to the list! Buon Appetito!
love Katie


  1. YOU TWO ARE SO ADORABLE! I love that you did this! and how true the way food works to bring people together.. I cannot wait for the double date we four are going to go on!! :)

  2. Tim and I want to go to the Indo place with you! The food is one of the things I miss most about Indonesia. I don't know if it counts (I think it does) but we really enjoy going to this place called Mama Di's. Its a tiny Italian place in Newport. The service is amazing and the food is incredible.

  3. Amanda! Yes, we must go on a double date when you guys are here, or we are there haha! Do you guys have any plans to come to the states soon? Love ya girl!

    Chelsea:) So great to hear from you...are you guys in SoCal now? We LOVE Mama D's! I actually thought about putting them on this post, but it was getting too long. But yes, that place is the BEST! Their bread is to die for, and the ambiance so fun! If you guys are around, let's plan a Mama D's date soon, ok?

  4. Such a fun idea! All the places look the food looks so yums!Thanks for sharing!

  5. Stella! I miss you...come visit me soon in the OC! We'll go eat Thai food and remember the "good ol' days" in Ban Phe, haha! Love ya!


I LOVE hearing from you friend:) Your comment will make my day!