Food for Thought with Krista Simmons

This week we sat down with talented travel writer and video producer Krista Simmons to talk about three of our favorite things: food, travel and the pursuit of creativity. She travels the world creating content for publications including Travel + Leisure, Departures, New York Magazine and the LA Times and just started a new venture as her own boss at Fork in the Road Media. Read on for an inside look at how video content and social media impact food and travel writing and the dream meals of an international foodie.

Krista Simmons

  1. How has traveling the world changed you the most? 

    I’ve always said that traveling is the one thing that you can spend money on that actually makes you richer. It’s changed my life in so many ways, but what I’m most grateful for is that it’s given me a deeper sense of empathy. Experiencing other cultures has given me a sense of compassion towards how others grow up and the issues they face (especially as women). It’s taught me a deeper appreciation for the privilege I was born into. Simply having a US Passport is a real blessing in this day and age, and I always try to remember that in the way I view the world both at home and on the road.

  1. How have you seen food and travel writing evolve in recent years? 

    I loved watching the evolution of 360 degree storytelling. Food and travel are such visual subjects, and it’s really inspiring to see how stories can be told in a way that gets viewers excited to hit the road and try new things. A few years back, it was a total uphill battle to convince editors that video and social were important. Fast forward and now it’s the most lucrative part of my business, so much so that I’ve started my own media company called Fork in the Road to tell these digital stories in a meaningful way.

  1. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a travel writer or content creator? 

    I always say the only way to do something is to do it. It’s so important to carve out time to nurture your creative side. It’s not an easy road, but it’s absolutely one worth taking.

  1. What’s the most underrated place you’ve ever traveled to? 

    I honestly am all about traveling to the under-the-radar spots with bubbling culinary scenes that no one knows about. I’d so much rather be sitting on a little plastic stool slurping up curry in Yangon, Myanmar than a patisserie with a line out the door in Paris. I am always after what’s new and next. It’s exciting to know that you can help bring light to those places and stories, and hopefully bring business to deserving people who haven’t yet been discovered by my audience.

  1. What would be your ideal food day if distance was no limit (breakfast, lunch and dinner)? 

    If I had one of those fancy PJ’s, I’d zip around the world for a three part tour. Breakfast I’d be back in Shanghai for soup dumplings with my younger brother Danny. We had such a blast shooting there together. For lunch, I’d be somewhere in the Sri Lankan tea fields stuffing my face with string hoppers and coconut-laden sambol alongside the locals. For dinner, I’d end up at Etxebarri in Basque Country with my girlfriends, looking out at the bucolic landscape while enjoying one of their perfectly prepared wood-fired steaks and a great glass of rioja.

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Friendsgiving with Tillamook

November is the perfect time to give thanks, and we always look forward to sharing our gratitude with loved ones while happily embracing the excuse to reach for second servings and dessert (without judgment). One of our favorite new traditions however, is Friendsgiving, the chance to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with your buds before or after the family festivities. A few weeks ago, we were fortunate to spend an afternoon with some of our favorite creatives, writers, bloggers and photographers, celebrating #RealFoodSunday with a Friendsgiving Brunch hosted by Tillamook.

Old friends and new were brought together at Light Lab to enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving inspired brunch prepared by Barrett Prendergast of Valleybrink Road while learning more about Tillamook’s #RealFoodSunday movement.

Tillamook launched Real Food Sunday because of their devotion to making food the right way – with the highest quality ingredients, nothing artificial and without cutting corners to increase profits. Real Food Sunday is meant to make choosing Real Food easier for everyone, starting with one day a week. So why Sunday? Sunday is the day when big meals are cooked, families eat together and plans are made for the week ahead. Sundays are special. Tillamook believes Real Food should be a part of that, and we couldn’t agree more.

Seasonal décor styled by Anne Sage provided endless holiday inspiration and major #FOMO.

Guests enjoyed and took home some of our favorite real food goodies that were generously contributed by Alma Chocolate, Bob’s Red Mill, Entube, Health-Ade Kombucha, Hester & Cook, Jacobsen Salt Co., Le Grand Courtage, Mountain Valley Water and QUIN Candy.

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We are so thankful to have clients, partners and friends that value the importance of a shared meal and good food! Cheers to a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Team Soda Pop PR

Soda Pop Goes to Portland

The Soda Pop team traveled to Portland, Oregon this week for a meeting with our Tillamook friends.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather – not too cold and no rain! To be honest, it was almost nice to have a gray day for a change of pace from our LA weather – sorry we know – #LAproblems.

As usual, we stayed at the amazing Hotel deLuxe, a downtown hotel and contemporary tribute to the Golden Era of Hollywood film-making.  Our afternoon was spent strolling the streets of the Pearl District, stopping for coffee at the famous Oregon Stumptown Coffee Roasters and shopping at the Alder & Co. boutique.

To top it all off, we met for a savory meal at the Italian infused restaurant, DOC. We dined on Tillamook sweet oysters, risotto dungeness crab, cavatelli smoked beef heart, gnudi tomato endive and more. The atmosphere and food were unforgettable. We highly recommend making a reservation if you are ever in the area.

Every time we visit Portland, we find more things to love about it and always look forward to visiting again.

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All our best,
Soda Pop Team

24 Hours in Las Vegas

Stressed from a long work week and tired of the LA scene? Get a group of your friends together and escape to Las Vegas for a weekend to remember (well, hopefully…)

7:30 AM

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Leave early to beat the traffic and enjoy the view as you make your escape.

12:30 PM

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Take a drive down the Las Vegas strip before checking into your hotel.

Recommended Hotel: Cosmopolitan

1:00 PM

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Grab a celebratory cocktail at the Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar and take advantage of the open container laws by strolling the strip, drink in hand.

1:30 PM

Head next door to the Bellagio to check out the casino and enjoy a quick bite at the food court.

3:30 PM

On to amazing shopping at Caesar’s Palace. With every store and designer under the sun, a must stop is the three-story H&M with a fantastic collection.

5:30 PM

Now back to the Cosmopolitan to freshen up for drinks and dinner.

7:00 PM

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Meet for a pre-dinner drink at the posh lounge, Lily, in the Bellagio hotel.

8:30 PM

Take a quick walk across the street to Todd English’s Pub for gourmet pub food and craft beer.

10:30 PM

Next stop the Bellagio’s Hyde nightclub with masked dancers and an open balcony overlooking the fountains.

12:00 AM

Last stop of the night is Marquee nightclub at the Cosmopolitan hotel. Use your connections if you have them to avoid a 2 hour line and $50 cover charge for guys. An elevator takes you to the Cosmopolitan rooftop where an energetic crowd on an outdoor patio admires the view of the strip. The DJ is the life of the party on an open air dance floor.

11:00 AM

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Sleep in, pack up and indulge in Simon Las Vegas brunch buffet. All you can eat with everything from fresh fruit smoothies to sushi. Make sure to try the Frosted Flakes crusted Brioche.

1:00 PM

Get extra coffee to go. The drive home always seems longer then the ride there.

~Kelly