By the time we got back to Tokyo Station from Kamakura, dusk was quickly approaching.
We got back to the tiny apartment, freshened up and relaxed for a bit. Then it was off to Ebisu Station to meet our good friend Reiko, who we hadn't seen since we had dinner at Tanyaki Shinobu. Hearing that the Missus loved Yakitori, Reiko wanted to take us to an "old school" yakitori "joint" named Tatsuya.
It is a place where salarymen and old timers hang out shoulder to shoulder at the bar, drinking and filling themselves with reasonably priced skewers.....
The business hours; 8am to 5am (?!?) kind of tells you what kind of place this is.
To be honest; the yakitori here is fairly generic.......the Missus and cracked up when we actually had problems figuring out what was kimo (chicken liver), because all of it looked kind of alike!
It was an interesting view into life in Tokyo........ And super reasonably priced as well. And I'm sure this stuff would be great after like 3-4 (or 5-8) beers. It was a fun experience.
Tatsuya 1-8-16 Ebisu-Minami Shibuya, Tokyo
Reiko had another stop planned, but the place was closed. So we decided to walk into a nearby yakiniku shop.
Reiko rarely has yakiniku so she was all for it.
So we ordered a couple of plates and some beer for us.
Good lord this stuff was so good!
I mean, the beef tongue and highly marbled rib meat (A5 Kobe) was great as expected. But the Missus just loved the liver and I was just amazed at how almost buttery and tender the horumon was. And the flavor from the charcoal.......oh man!
It's amazing how a little serendipitous moment can turn into such a great meal. So now, I may have to find a great yakiniku place the next time we're in Tokyo.
There's no info in English on this shop; just a rather light entry in Tabelog.
Oumiteipurasuwan 1-8-10 Ebisu-Nishi Shibuya, Tokyo
Arriving back at Tokyo Station....walking past all the all the men displaying what we call the "Asian Gene", we had to smile.
Yes, Tokyo is a lot of bright lights, hustle and bustle....there's something going on all the time, the folks here walk really, really fast....but a few blocks away you'll find a serene moment. It's that charm that makes me want to keep on coming back.
The temple the Missus really wanted to see (among several) was Jochiji located up a trail away from the main road.
Jochiji is one of the great five temples of Kamakura.
There were a couple of interesting things to see; the Kanro-no-I, the "Nectar Well", one of the "Ten Wells of Kamakura".
But we enjoyed the statue of Hotei; the "God of Happiness". The friendly folks encouraged the Missus to rub his belly for good luck and prosperity. He does look like a jolly fellow, doesn't he?
The Main Hall features statues of the "Three Buddha's", Amida, Shaka, and Miroku.
There are quite a few caves on the temple grounds and it was quite an interesting visit.
Also, from here, if you're in the mood, is where the Daibutsu Hiking Trail begins or ends...depending on which direction you care to take.
We decided to pass. I was getting a bit hungry so we headed back to busy Komachi Street to look for something to eat. We came across this rather charming looking doorway.
Looking at the sign, there was an English translation; of which there was an English translation, it became apparent that this was a soba restaurant. We weren't quite sure to start, but decided to have lunch here.
There's a nice walkway to the restaurant. Which seemed formal, understated, but welcoming at the same time.
Heading down that walkway you enter the restaurant and we instantly saw that they made their own soba here, which sealed the deal.
The place was just starting to fill up....with tourists....Japanese tourists, which wasn't a bad sign.
Since it winter, we went with the hot soba.
The Missus had tororo; grated mountain yam...that somewhat pleasantly gooey and gluey, and mildly sweet stuff.
I went with the Tempura Soba.
The tsuyu was very pleasant, rather light, the noodles were nicely drained, slightly springy, with a nice pull. For some reason, the Missus doesn't care for the lightly battered tempura, which I like....She prefers the rather dense style you find in tempura places in the US....sigh.....
The one thing both the Missus and I didn't care for was the slightly "floury" soba cooking water (soba-yu) that they provide at the end.
The Missus says it tastes just like jiaozi cooking water that they also consume in Qingdao; so go figure.
Overall a nice meal.
Kamakura Yamaji 1-7-3 Yukinoshita Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
After lunch, we headed back to the train station and caught the Electric Train on the Enoden line and got out at Hase. A short walk away is Kotokuin Temple.
This temple is famous for the iconic Daibutsu; the Great Buddha of Kamakura. While the Bronze Buddha of Nara is larger; the outdoor setting makes this rendering of Amida Buddha seem more impressive.
Don't you think?
On the way back to the station we passed this tiny temple.
It's Shugenji Temple. If you scroll down a bit on this website you can read the rather interesting story of the temple and the individual who formerly lived on this property Shijo Kingo.
We contemplated checking out the nearby Hasedera Temple. But decided on returning to Kamakura on another day. We needed to get back to Tokyo, to rest up a bit and then meet a good friend of ours for dinner.
Here you are once more, reading mmm-yoso!!!. a food-centric blog. Kirk has been having some really busy days of late and so has Ed (from Yuma), so it's Cathy doing the blogging today.
We've been having some really dry, hot weather lately. Since home has no air conditioning, The Mister and I go out when still cool to run errands and grab a bite. In keeping with a New Year Resolution, 'shop local' isn't easy yet it turns out to be quite rewarding. One day last week, we were heading to Swami's in La Mesa for a refreshing beverage and noticed this new storefront, two doors west.
Public Square Coffee took over the space of a long time coffee house/gathering place, Cosmo's Coffee, which unceremoniously closed about a year ago.
The space has been refurbished and is brighter. Since it is a 'soft' opening, there is a sort of temporary menu taped near the cash register, as well as a simple beverage menu on the wall.
More photos of the refurbishing, including a very nice outdoor patio area in front.
Deciding on a Cold Brew (large, $3) and a pour over (Columbian, $3.75), we were delightfully surprised at the 'for here' pot and cup brought out on a personalized (see the 'square' symbol in the bottom left corner? It matches the designs out front) and the large size glass for the cold brew. Each coffee was very good.
Returning a few days later, we ordered a 'Gibraltar' ($3.25)-two shots of espresso mixed with about the same amount of warmed milk. This was also very good, if not a bit too mild for my taste.
We ordered a 'Rooted Salad' ($5.95) described as having kohlrabi, golden beets, celery root, green apple, orange, greens, candied almonds and a lemon maple vinaigrette. Other than no kohlrabi or celery root and instead slices of wonderful radish, it was a good salad. Since Public Square is still in its 'soft opening', we understood.
Then we saw this at the top of the menu.
Homemade sugar scones ($3.50 each), with a choice of butter or a flight of six butter (50¢ each) (or two scones and a flight of all six butters for $9.50)...and so we did.
First, the scones are *perfect*; flaky, buttery and creamy. The rock sugar topping is not disturbingly crunchy nor too sweet.
2. The butters were such a variety of flavors: pumpkin spice (which I imagine will change with the seasons), guava, cinnamon, maple cayenne, blueberry tea and Nutella bacon. Each was unique, not salty (except for bacon pieces in the nutella) and oddly, began melting from the bottom of the cold, wood tray.
This was very good and far more interesting of a sweet than some sort of baked or fried pastry.
I really wanted the Banh Mi Bo Kho from Pho Lucky unfortunately, they are still still closed for remodeling. At least the sign has changed and said "closed for painting". So I decided to see how the Banh Mi Bo Kho was at Pho Cow Cali. They sat me in the section by the restrooms in back....then proceeded to forget about me. Luckily, I managed to flag one of the army of servers down and place my order ($7.25).
So, beyond the rather odd serving dish.....I'm guessing there was a sale somewhere, what to say about this. In keeping with "Cow Cali" there's quite a bit of meat....it's flank and brisket and is quite tender. I really missed the tendon though. The broth was much too thin and this was really salty...as in the "MS heebie-geebies" salty. The bread was nice and warm though I'll stick with the pho here next time.
And of course, there's the typical pho shop service.
Pho Cow Cali 9170 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92126
This was pretty good; the broth was a bit richer than what I've had in the past. The intestine was prepared well; slightly "offal-y", but quite clean. The noodles nice and chewy with a bit of stretch and the blanched bean sprouts adding a bit of crunch to things.
A bit better than I recalled....and a nice choice on this morning.
777 Noodle House 4686 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92105
I set out on a bit of a mission the last couple of weeks. A couple of months ago, I was asked what I thought the best "Cubano type" sandwich in the area was. I quickly said Embargo Grill. Then then quickly thought that I'd hadn't been to other places in the area in quite a while. So I decided to head off in a quest of sorts and managed to hit up four places before I'd seen enough pork, ham, cheese, and pickles for a while.
And while Embargo Grill still came in on top; here's the places in order.....favorite to least.
I think the Medianoche at Embargo Grill has gotten better over time.
The pork here, sort of a "pulled pork", was nice and moist and wasn't too salty this time around. That porky flavor combined with the slightly milky cheese and just the right amount of pickles did it for me. The bread was nicely crisp, toasted well, and the bread was nice and light, not too chewy. The one component I really couldn't make out was the ham.
The Yuca Frita was nicely fried. When done the way I like it; the smaller pieces have a light, airiness to them, while the larger pieces, are denser. The mojo was better than on previous visits.
Embargo Grill 3960 W Point Loma Blvd San Diego, CA 92110
At first I thought this would be much too bready and not toasted enough, though it was done adequately. Here the flavor of the ham comes through quite well; teaming with the mustard and pickles. The plantain chips were cold this time around and not very crisp. The sandwich was a bit on the dry side but this is a very solid #2 pick for me.
Havana Grill 5450 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
My goodness; stepping in here is like talking a walk back in time. Plus, this was the only true "restaurant" of the places I visited.
The Cubano here was fairly mediocre.
The bread to filling ratio stood a bit too far on the "bread side" for my taste. The pork was rather dry and tasteless; though the nicely melted cheese shone through quite nicely, but it all came through as rather bland. Luckily, I ordered the Yuca Frita....I ended up pouring a good bit of the mojo on my sandwich. For some reason, like Tropical Star below; this was just too much for me to finish.
The Yuca Frita was decent; loved the smaller pieces which were crisp and creamy. The larger slices got cold pretty quickly and became quite hard. I do like the mojo here; while it could perhaps use more citrus; it is very garlicky and it looks like there's bacon or ham in it.
If you've ever walked to the back or the side banquet room at Andre's, you'll realize just how large the place is. The small façade belies that. This place is in my 'hood, I really should get here more often.
Andre's Cuban Restaurant 1235 Morena Blvd San Diego, CA 92110
I had noticed that over the last couple of years; TS had expanded, then retracted back to what it once was. A charming little Latin Grocery that served rather inexpensive Latin American food. I thought it right that I should have the Cubano here.
This was totally by the book; slice of pork, check, thin slices of ham...check....cheese on both sides, check...pickles, yes indeed. It was indeed pressed; though the bread had seen better days. Overall, quite filling....partially because of all the fries; nice and hot, but lacking salt...but I only finished half.
I don't recall seeing Diet Inka Cola before........even in Peru!
So not quite stellar, especially when compared to the others....but it was the most inexpensive. Plus, I like the older gentleman behind the counter. I always bus my own table and he seems to appreciate that.
This third part of the 2016 foray out of California will not contain places or foods one might typically associate with the Detroit area. (Since this wasn't a vacation, there were time restrictions; I will get to three places in particular on the next trip). All of the restaurants in this post have familiar foods and are places where special meals occurred when I was growing up.
Cafeteria style with waitresses who take your tray, seat you and refill your beverages. (The first small photo is where you can hang your heavy winter coat when you walk in; it is Michigan). There are only two locations left, but beginning in 1957, this was THE place to go, with many locations.
Known for hand-carved, slow roasted beef, which is and has always been my choice (and a comfort food) The hot beef sandwich (top onwhite bread, bottom on pumpernickel) shown with various cafeteria chosen sides and the condiment bar selections of pickles, beets, horseradish and sour cream.Then there is the chopped round steak plate, which my brother chose. Also very good, because...meat (along with mushroom gravy).
There are manyConey Island restaurants in Detroit, with people having a favorite one close to home and another favorite close to work (similar to taco shops in San Diego). Leo's Coney Island is a nearby, local chain. It's been around since 1972. Most coneys also have Greek selections on the menu, like this wonderful avgolemono (chicken/egg/rice/lemon) soup.
But of course the actual 'coney' (on the right- a smokey, natural casing hot dog) topped with beanLESS chili, onions and mustard, along with a 'loose'-(loose hamburger in a hot dog bun, topped with the same) is a typical order.
Long ago, there were Polish restaurants in every neighborhood in Detroit city. Those are now in the suburbs. I went to three differentPolish restaurants this trip and these photos are typical meals.
As soon as you are seated, a basket of breads, crackers and butter are brought to the table. Two slices of each flavor (marble, white and rye) in plastic lunch bags.
Soup is also served at every meal. This one, dill pickle soup, is my favorite. Each restaurant has a 'Polish Plate"which includes everything seen here: kraut, kielbasa, pierogi and Gołąbki (gah WHUMP key)-stuffed cabbage.
Here's a cross section of some pierogi - with mashed potato, cottage cheese and sauerkraut fillings.
Chicken dumpling, chicken noodle and creamy mushroom soup were also consumed at various meals this trip.
Another common food on a 'Polish Plate' is City Chicken, which I wrote about in 2014. I was slightly disappointed in this version, because it was made of chicken (!) instead of the traditional veal and pork...because real chicken is now cheaper, defeating the whole purpose of 'city chicken'.
There are also 'family style' places in the suburbs, similar to Jimmy's, Perry's and other 'diner' type establishments we have out here. comfortable, with comfort food.
Yes, omelets and liver and onions type of comfort food, along with cabbage soup.
Of course, there are the 'Dairy XXX' type places on every street corner. Soft serve, sundaes, flurries, treats.
Interesting factoid- these all open on Memorial Day weekend and close on Labor Day. One of the reasons Michigan public schools don't start until after Labor Day- so that seasonal employees/students can finish up their summer jobs.
mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog. Kirk is crazy busy right now, as is Ed(from Yuma) so Cathy is writing a short post on this overcast day.
After driving home from the midwest (there are more 'chapters' about the three weeks of condiment-free foods consumed), I was craving spices, flavors, heat...food that could be consumed with chopsticks...! The Mister suggested LittleSheep,which has beenblogged here a few times since opening in 2007. Lunch was available, with its own menu!($11.95)
Why yes, we each chose the 'spicy' soup base. The Mister chose the lamb shoulder and I chose the fresh fish filet. The same seasonal vegetables, meatballs and noodles were on the plates. I was happy with the flavors and glad to have tried the fish- it was fresh and different than what we've usually had. My brother was visiting and we decided to bring him to Little Sheep, since he had never had Hot Pot. This was dinner, where you can mark your choices off the paper menu.
Playing it 'safe' by ordering the mild as well as vegetarian soups, we went a bit crazy on add-ins. The 'veggie combo' ($9) does not include mushrooms, so a small order of oyster mushrooms ($2.75) was added to it. Traditional hot pot dumplings ($5) were ordered instead of noodles.
A large order of 'Supreme beef' ($14) was more than enough. The small order of chicken breast ($6) was enough) The Tiger Prawns ($8) were great! The beef skewers ($6) were ordered 'just in case' there wasn't enough food. Ha.
All in all, a great way to satisfy the cravings.
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot and Grill 4718 Clairmont Mesa Blvd, San Diego 92117 (858)274-2040 Opens 11:30 a.m. daily. Closed between 3 and 5:30 p.m. M-F. Closes at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m. other days. Website
My curiosity piqued, a took time out on a weekend morning to visit. It's nice that they open at 930am.
The gentleman working was quite friendly and was fascinated that I asked about a couple of dishes on the menu; specifically Pacaya, the male inflorescence of the Chamaedorea tepejilote a species of palm. We really enjoyed the version we had in Honduras and while versions we've had in San Diego were obviously bottled and not as good, we still enjoyed the texture and slight bitterness.
But I was here for the pupusas and I ordered the Chicharron and the Loroco ($1.99/each). Things started off with some pretty good chips; crunchy, not greasy, with the typical Salvadoran style thin "salsa".
I also ordered some Horchata; which wasn't overly sweet, but also seemed a bit too watered down for my taste.
The pupusas arrived nicely griddled. I thought it was perhaps a bit burnt, but that wasn't the case. I thought the tortilla to be on the thick side for my taste, but it was fairly crisp.
The loroco was the better of the two. The pork in the chicharron was rather greasy and quite salty throwing the overall flavor out of whack. And while the flavor of the Loroco, the green bud of the Fernaldia pandurate was rather mild, I really enjoyed the flavor of the slightly milky queso and the rustic tortilla. I'm thinking the simple queso con frijol (cheese and beans) might be worth trying.
The curtido; the slightly fermented; in this case more like pickled cabbage was fine, it would have been better being slightly more sour and tart, though it had a nice oregano and an almost clove-fennel flavor, along with obviously being pickled with beet juice.
This was decent, if not outstanding, and as I usually do when trying out places, I returned for a follow-up visit.
I had Pacaya on my mind. Unfortunately, it was not to be as the young lady told me, "no pacaya today"! Bummer, so what to do? In need of some healthy collagen, I went with the Sopa de Pata, cow hoof stew ($8.50).
This was an interesting, almost roller-coaster ride for me in a way. When the bowl arrived, I was shocked at how much tendon was being served....it really seemed like an entire lower cow leg. The tendon was wonderfully prepared, gelatinous without being too hard and chewy. The overall soup however, left something to be desired. First off, the soup was very thin and much too light, even bland, in flavor and texture. It truly lacked richness, something that hoof soup should not be. I'm used to some tripe in my sopa de pata, also at least one nice chunk of potato, and corn, all of which was nowhere to be found. There was some sliced cabbage and carrot sticks, like you'd find in the produce section of the local supermarket. Not quite the sopa de pata I know and love.
I'll probably try and return, just to try out the pacaya...if they have it. Other places don't have it on the menu anymore. I think I need to check out El Salvadoreno, it been a while.
Nice folks, cash only, they open at 0930am.
Silvia Pupuseria 916 E 8th St National City, CA 91950