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Finding food and friends on a 62,000 mile journey

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Viewing a waterfall at gunpoint in Colombia; eating fattoush at a gas station in Syria. Tales of travel, food and friendship shared with SoCal adventurer, Allan Karl

Jules Verne took us around the world in 80 days.

But Southern California adventurer, Allan Karl traversed the globe alone in three years on the back of a motorcycle. 

He traveled 62,000 miles, pumped over 1100  gallons of gas, crossed over 55 borders on five continents and took 50,000 pictures. 

Allan Karl chronicled his epic journey - and the many tasty meals he ate along the way - in his new book, "Forks: A Quest for Culture, Cuisine and Connection".

Take Two's A Martinez spoke with Allan Karl about his experiences in Colombia, Syria, Ecuador and beyond. 

Fattoush Salad recipe


1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded (if necessary), and cut into 1/4″ dice

2 large pitas (preferably pocketless, Mediterranean -style), cut into 3/4″ square pieces

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, premium quality

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

3 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4″ dice

1 vine-ripened tomato, seeded and finely chopped

1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons stemmed and finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon stemmed and finely chopped cilantro

3 tablespoons stemmed and finely chopped mint leaves (save a few sprigs for garnish)

Hearts of romaine, hand torn, rinsed and spun dry, for garnish

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably from sheep’s milk (optional)

1/8 cup pitted kalamata olives (optional)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the diced cucumber into a strainer, sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the pita pieces on a cookie sheet and bake them in the oven until crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes, shaking the pan 2 or 3 times as they toast. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. (If you’re preparing outdoors, you can toast the pita pieces until crisp and brown in a basket or skillet on a grill or over a fire.)

Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Continue whisking until the dressing is emulsified, then stir in the bell pepper, tomato, green onions, parsley, cilantro, mint, pita strips, and cucumber. Season to taste with more salt and pepper and toss well to coat.

Gently toss in feta and olives, if using, and transfer to a large platter garnished with the romaine and the mint sprigs. Serve immediately.

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