The Missus loves crab, I have never seen anyone destroy a pile of crab with speed and efficiency like the Missus and Her Cousins. So I decided on what I read was he oldest crab specialty restaurant in Sapporo; Hyousetsu-no-Mon. Located in the Susukino district, we had made reservations on our first evening in Sapporo. We had a rather difficult time finding the place the first time and we headed over a bit early just in case we got a bit lost. Funny story about our reservation. The restaurant is multi-level deal, you have to find the level with the front desk, which we did. The studious looking gentleman behind the front desk was very professional and serious looking. He spoke decent English and we worked out a time for our reservation. Then he took down my name.....with a big look of surprise....then a huge smile, "Aaaah, Xxxxxxxxx-san, Xxxxxxxxx-san!" He was so friendly, like a different person. He didn't think I was Japanese! He then wrote my name down in the book and showed it to me. Now, I'd never, ever seen my family name written in Japanese, so I just smiled and nodded. By this time, the Missus was cracking up!
The Missus couldn't help but laugh when we walked up to the reception desk, and the gentleman saw me and called out a greeting!
We were taken to one of the private rooms. The woman serving us was probably in her 60's, but was amazingly efficient. While walking to the restroom, I saw the youngers girls trying to keep up with her. When she slide open the door, I looked at the table and went "oh-oh". I dread having to sit on the floor, it's just an accident waiting to happen. Luckily, the floor below the table was sunken. Whew.
I had ordered the Live Hairy Crab and King Crab Course for the Missus (13,000¥ - about $125/US) and the King Crab Full Course (9,300¥ - about $90/US) for me.
Of course you needed sake; we started with something from Otokoyama, the kuniyoshi nona torizake (1,010¥ - about $10). A nice, crisp, and clean tasting sake.
While we met our guest of honor.
And the appetizer course arrived.
Man, we loved the crab roe!
The Sashimi Course was three hairy crab legs
So sweet, if a bit on the chewy side.
And a nice crab claw.
I gotta say, the King Crab Claw meat has maybe the best flavor of all the pieces I had. It was really sweet and had a very clean taste.
Then a portable stove and hot pot was delivered to our table.
We were both given King Crab Legs and some vegetables for the hot pot. This was nice, but no big deal. We just made sure not to cook the legs too much. For some reason, I thought the hot pot broth tasted quite good on its own.
The grilled king crab was nice, with rich, smoky touches, and quite delicious.
Then came what I call the Missus's course; the steamed hairy crab. I let Her have all of it; She does love Her crab.
While I ordered Chitosetsuru Junmai-Daiginjo (1,375¥ - about $14/US). Floral, on the light side.
While my steamed King Crab Legs arrived.
Rich and buttery, nice clean flavors.
Up next were the tempura courses; which both the Missus and I thought were light and crisp, but nothing especially distinctive.
The next two courses weren't our favorites. The crab in a vinegar sauce was too sour and you couldn't make out anything.
The King Crab Gratin was a bit too rich for us and you really couldn't make out any crab. It was quite filling though.
Our last sake was our favorite, simply called Maruta (935¥ - about $9/US). Considered one of the best examples of Ginpu (a sake rice grown on Hokkaido) Junmaishu.
Crisp with an interesting tongue feel.
I wasn't too sure about the Crab Nigiri, but it was quite good, served Aburi (torched) style, which helped to develop the flavors and texture.
We both enjoyed the final course, which was an egg drop porridge. It helped to finish things off and really did have that "aaah" factor.
And the serving was quite generous.
The nice palate cleansing sorbet was the dessert.
This was quite a meal. You'd think we'd be stuffed. But because of the pacing, both the Missus and I, while full, didn't feel like we were bursting at the seams. The service was excellent. While I don't think we'll be doing this again, it was a fun experience and we were glad we did it.
Hyosetsu-no-Mon Minami 5 Jonishi Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
We really enjoyed our time in Sapporo and were kind of sad to be leaving the next day. So we took the long way back to the hotel......
I gotta say; as years have passed, the longer I live in San Diego, my reception of what's going on over "the coconut wireless" gets more and more faint. I think most folks use the four lettered word site to get their info these days. But here's one I got a day after posting on San Diego Poke Company. Anyway, he who wants to remain silent told me the poke at this tiny little, mostly take-out shop in the East Village was worth a try for the poke. I was warned off the nigiri and he knew I don't do the rolls thing. Which is how I ended up at Tokyo Deli.
Loved the shop which was sparkling white; the crew all Japanese, there are a few brands of soy sauce and other Japanese items for sale in a small retail area.
The drill is basic order at the counter and get your food. The folks are professional.
The poke bowls can be made on rice, as a salad, or half and half. They start at $9.80 with two toppings gratis and an upcharge extra items or even more for avocado and/or cream cheese.....cream cheese....on a poke bowl. So, no Flamin' Cheetos toppings or any of that stuff here, after all, did you want all kinds of "stuff" or fish, eh?
There's a glass display of items from the menu.....no, it's not plastic food.
Wanting something basic to determine how good the fish was; I went with the rice bowl, with tuna (of course), the sesame soy sounded closest to shoyu poke, with onions and cucumber.
It was delivered to me in a little plastic bowl, with a couple of butter lettuce leaves and shredded purple cabbage. This is not a big eater portion size, but it was enough for me. First things first, the fish was good quality, nice meatiness, no tough or mushy pieces. This wasn't too salty, decent balance in salty-sesame oil, but there was a wasabi kick to the sauce; but it wasn't a gooey-watery mess either. The rice was excellent, cooked perfectly. The onions and cucumbers did the job; pungency with a nice clean palate cleansing. The really nice woman who brought me my bowl also dropped off a cup of water; a nice touch.
Which if course, meant I went back; this time for take-out.
This time I went for the half and half; half rice half salad with tuna, the ponzu sauce, avocado ($1 upcharge), onion, and cucumbers.
There was a nice generous portion of avocado; but this bowl seemed a bit lightweight with all the greens; which by the way, wasn't dressed, and that sauce for the poke really didn't extend to all that kale. Also, the fish just didn't seem as good in quality this time around; low in fat and oil, and quite a bit of "that pink" bled onto the rice. The ponzu was ok, it could have had a bit more zip and I thought the fish needed to be dressed a bit better.
Now the really nice guy who recommended Tokyo Deli also asked me to try the Sushi Burrito......something I usually wouldn't go for. He also instructed me to get a whole one ($10.80) since half really would only do for a small snack. So, I went with the tuna sushi burrito (yeeesh) and since I was going to defy that little voice inside of me going "wtf", I chose the spicy aioli as the sauce. Man, this fish was dark, the texture was still good, but it was just getting to the edge of shelf life for me as I could make out a mild "smell". Still, it wasn't bad.
As before, the rice was prepared well. This was basically an uncut makizushi with poke as a filling, which wasn't too strange to me. It was kind of light on the fish; they piled everything in the middle before rolling, so the ends were tapered, with hardly any fish. The spicy aioli; was more aioli than spicy. At least to me. At least you'll get some greens and a nice portion of avocado. I did get full; but mostly on rice.
So, what do I think? This place is decent and would stretch to good if they can get consistently good fish. The place is clean and spotless and service reserved, thoughtful (remember the cup of water?), professional, with a certain dignified, understated approach that seems so Japanese. I like that. The portions aren't very large, but as a whole ok for me. They also serve Edomae nigiri sushi; which looks a bit better than what you'd get at a Japanese market. Sorry, I don't eat it there other than kappa maki and natto maki, so you'll have to try it yourself. There are also various rice bowls and the inevitable California and Philadelphia rolls on the menu as well.
I'll eat here again.
Tokyo Deli 871 G St San Diego, CA 92101 Open Daily 11am - 7pm
At one point in time, I had thought of ending our vacation France in Bordeaux. But one item on the Missus's Bucket list was a visit to the Lascaux Cave, so I went ahead and did a bit of research, and found that the Dordogne region was full of medieval cities, beautiful vistas, and villages cut into the cliffs and crags. When I read that most important food products of the region are walnuts, truffle, duck (!), goose (!!), and foie gras....stop right there, that's enough....we were going for sure. Plus, I'd read that the Saturday Market Day was something not to be missed. And to make things even sweeter, the Missus didn't seem to keen on Lascaux II, a replica of the original cave which has been closed to the public, so I found the only site in France with polychrome cave paintings that is still open to the public!
Getting to Sarlat from Bordeaux was a snap. It was a half mile walk downhill from the train station to our accommodation, a wonderful little B&B named Chambres d'Hôtes L'Unique. The place is run by a very charming and warm couple; the wife speaks only French and Spanish, and the husband some English. I believe there are only two spacious and charming rooms. We enjoy our privacy so staying at B&B's sometimes cramps our style, but this place was wonderful. We were given a key to the front entrance and could come and go as we please.
We got a nice recommendation for dinner and the breakfast (in a future post) was amazing!
Chambres d'hôtes l'Unique 20 Avenue Thiers Sarlat-la-Canéda, France
Another plus was that the place was a few blocks from the center of Sarlat, but still far enough from the hustle and bustle (all relative of course), which we'd appreciate the next day.
To say that Sarlat charming is an understatement; with lovely cobblestone streets, meandering alleys, the Gothic and Renaissance stylings of the buildings, there's the feeling that you're breathing in the rarefied air of a medieval market town.
One that's filled with and endless assortment of Foie Gras Shops......
Which are everywhere. Find a picturesque square; this one is Place de la Liberte, and you'll know why Sarlat has been used as the backdrop for so many movies; like Ever After; The Musketeer, Timeline, Chocolat, and the Duellists.
And without a doubt you will run into another Foie Gras shop.
Folks, this sign is no joke.
I Googled "how many foie gras shops in Sarlat" and I guess even the Internet didn't want to hazard a guess.
Look close enough and you'll start to notice interesting pieces of public art; like this bronze statue of a boy sitting above Place de la Liberte, named "Le Badaud", the Onlooker. We'd find out just what he was looking at the next day; during the Saturday Market.
We just kind of wandered around with no objective in sight; other than to make dinner reservations at a place recommended by the owner of the B&B. That was done quickly; which left us to our own devices; roaming the quiet alleyways of Sarlat.
It was a tranquil Friday afternoon. It seems that most of the day-trippers had headed back to their accommodations, resting up for the Saturday swarm. Every so often you'll come something like this medieval courtyard; Cour des Fontaines, with, of course a fountain, a remnant of an Abbey that was located on this site in the 14th century.
Or the Lanternes des morts (Lantern of the Dead). In 1147 St Bernard blessed the bread in Sarlat, an event called the "the miracle of the healing loaves" when the ill and infirm ate the bread and were healed. Though I've heard a couple of other stories about this distinct and very interesting structure which is one of the oldest in Sarlat.
They say "water is life" and this fountain, which flowed out of a tiny grotto was built in the 12th century, and for centuries the La fontaine Sainte-Marie was the main water source for Sarlat.
You can see that the Virgin Mary is still standing guard, protecting the water.
And then there's this square.
Named "Place de Oies", yep you guessed it, "Square of the Geese". Geese are actually traded here on market days between November thru March.
We'd worked up an appetite walking around, so it was time to head to dinner. We had walked over to Bistrot l’Adresse earlier and made reservations for dinner. Lucky thing too as the place filled up quite quickly.
Our Server was very nice, even though she was slammed, always had a smile for us. We had the middle table on the porch, which we really enjoyed as it was quite a lovely day. There were two combinations of a three course prix fixe dinner menu to choose from; so we selected one of each.
As for wine, we couldn't decide on a white or a red; so we got both. The white to start out with the first course and a red to follow. Since the place was super busy and popular, even with locals it seemed, we'd just relax and have a nice leisurely dinner, something that seems to be lost here in the States.
We are of course Asian, so we basically shared everything; passing plates back and forth, and had a great time.
After seeing all those foie gras signs, you know what we had to start with right? The foie gras mi cuit of course!
Along with the date chutney, this was totally delici-yoso! I mean really good; fairly light yet rich, amazing texture. Yes, I do call it Basque Butter as it seemed like the folks in Basque country treat it as a birthright. But perhaps I need to find some other name for this.....like "Dordogne Delight"?
Loved the simple, yet refreshing Salade de Gesiers de Canard Magret Fume.
Basically, a wonderful green salad topped with amazingly tender duck gizzards (Gesiers de Canard ) and tasty cured duck breast (Magret Fume). I could eat this everyday.
Loved the Magret de Canard which was served wrapped in a crepe/filo dough. Really moist, great flavors from all the herbs.
The potatoes; Pommes Sarladaises; "Sarlat Potatoes", were quite rich and delicious. From what I've read; this classic rendition of potatoes is made with only Goose Fat, Garlic, salt, and Pepper. What more do you really need?
The Tarte de Confit de Canard; which is actually in the back of this photo was good, but it really didn't grab us like the other entrée.
As for desserts....well, I'm not much of a dessert guy...unless one of them is cheese!
A nice, local Cabécou, mild, milky, with a nice finish.
The Missus just loved the Pistachio Ice Cream as it wasn't too sweet.
The prices weren't too bad at 22 Euros per person, the Chateau de la Jaubertie was 19 Euros, while the Clos Montalbanie was 20. Overall, this might have been our favorite meal while in Dordogne.
Bistrot l’Adresse 8 Rue du 8 Mai 1945 Sarlat-la-Caneda, France
We left fat and happy and took our time walking back to our room.
As darkness fell, the city, the only one lit by gas lamps in France; seems quite romantic under the warm glow.
This is what I'd always thought France would be like.
mmm-yoso!!! is the name of the food blog you have found. Kirk, Ed (from Yuma) and Cathy share in the (almost daily) musings here. Cathy just got around to writing a post for today.
Things have been unusually busy for The Mister and myself. I apologize for not finishing this post earlier. I wrote a Pre-Fair post, giving you some ideas of the theme, what would be happening, as well as a lot of links.
There is so much to see and do at this, the sixth (as of 2014) most attended County Fair in the USA. I hope many of you have gone; the 1 Millionth visitor passed through the gates yesterday.
Heading straight ahead on the Midway, you will find the rides and games of chance.At the entrance, if you go to your right, just after the Theme Exhibit building, to the "CA Grown" Exhibit Hall (the green building with a Wyland Whale painted on it), you'll find all sorts of exhibits about California agriculture, like bugs (good and bad, along with a "Bug Bar" where you can eat a bug and get a pin proclaiming such), a small animal petting farm, cow milking demonstrations and learn about California's farms (It is the number one farming state with 65% of California farms under 50 acres) and agricultural commodities (more than 400) via an interactive question and answer area as well as several guest speakers. The livestock barns are next door.
Going out the back door of the CA Grown exhibit, you'll see Crutchees: Where you can buy Dole Whip, a soft serve frozen dessert.
If you walk in the main gate and go to your leftThe first building past the entrance is O'Brien Hall and has quite a few vendors as well as the flower specimens.
The next building is the Bing Crosby Hall, which has aisles and aisles of vendors, selling the latest and greatest of gadgets and services. At the back wall of Bing Crosby is this popular place to buy a snack:
Dixie's usually has a long line of people, but we were here early. Always fresh (made in front of you as you walk along the line) and tasty! In front of Bing Crosby Hall is our usual stop for a cream puff (shells made fresh daily, real whipped cream) and coffee (they will put real half and half in the coffee for you).
Head down the Midway, cross to the other side and find Home and Hobby
Where the displays of contest entries of table settings, collections, multiple crafts (as well as preserved foods, baking and cake decorating) and various demonstrations take place all day. The East end of Home and Hobby is where One Day Contests are held (above are photos from the "Mad Hatter's Hat Contest" and "Make a Child Smile" contest). Check out the link, follow the rules of the particular contest, fill out an entry form and you'll get into the Fair for free and maybe even win a prize or ribbon.
Head over to the Infield where "Family Funville"is located- child size rides, a farm, sunflower maze, lots of informative displays (honey bees, chickens, mushrooms, butterflies and much more!) along with Elementary School contests and displays.
Walking back out of the Infield, the "Bacon A Fair Booth, featuring a 'Porkabello Kabob' was calling. Mushrooms stuffed with Gouda cheese and wrapped in bacon the grilled. Yum! Easily shared.
We were looking for something more 'normal' as a late lunch/early dinner and walked over to the Paddock area: which does look like a small racetrack from above. There's a restaurant in here with a sort of 'secret' special (closer to the Fine Arts exhibit) which The Mister noticed in the free Fair Guide which he picked up (stacked at numerous locations inside and outside the Fairgrounds). Not mentioned on the menu, but when we ordered, the people working know about it. The "Paddock Trio" ($10): a choice of Coors or Heineken and two sliders. We chose the (Brandt) roast beef and the turkey, because we also ordered the large "Jimmy Durante" ($11) (corned beef), thereby ordering each of the fresh daily roasted meats here. The meats were each excellent, as were the breads and toppings.
There's much more and you just have to jump in and try things for yourself. Get there early, get the free parking(it's nice to sit on the bus before going back to your car), check out the entertainment and enjoy! I'll have a 'final' post after the Fair ends- Monday July 4 after the fireworks show.
2016 San Diego County Fair "Mad About The Fair" Website
The Missus loves waffle cut fries; I'm not such a big fan....so here She can get the "Stoner Fries with waffle cut fries"....basically waffle cut fries topped with cheesesteak fillings; beef, in this case provolone, peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
There's a reason they call it Stoner Fries...sheesh. She can never finish this, so we always tell them to drop off a box when they bring the food. The Missus will use the leftovers to make a hash the next day with eggs and some kale from the yard.
Of course I got the Blairsteak.....and got it with waffle cut fries for the Missus.
For years the Missus has told me how gross cheesesteaks were....but this one has made Her change Her tune. I think it's the combination of the soft Amoroso that has a bit of a gritty finish, combined with the milky provolone, the earthy mushrooms and the sautéed onions. I think She wouldn't even need any beef in this....but of course, I'd miss it. She now shares half the sandwich with me. This ain't cheap at about $16 with the upcharge for the waffle cut fries....but it's a nice treat every so often.
Nutty Chocolate flavors, mild sweetness, and a good smokiness that gets you at the end.
The Missus's favor here is the Monkey Gose Bananas with Tart and Black Cherry.
We've come to enjoy Monkey Paw as a guilty pleasure. Love the divey feel, friendly staff, and the temperature of the beer is always good. The neighborhood might be kind of terminally "in transition", but it kind of helps with the vibe, which we prefer to Hamilton's which was just way too "hipster" and quite unfriendly the three times we've tried the place.
I haven't done one of these in a while, so I thought I'd play some ketch....ahem, catch-up.
Mike's BBQ in Bay Park Closes:
Driving by this strip mall, I noticed that the sign for Mike's BBQ had been taken down.
So I pulled into the mall and noticed that the place had closed down! Looks like there were some complaints from residents in the nearby apartment complex. One morning I mentioned this to a couple of the old-timers at Clairemont Coffee and got some interesting stories. I believe an abatement order was filed and I guess the rest is history.
I had noticed it a few weeks back when I dropped by Island Style Café. Donburi, huh? I'm interested to see what this place, in the location that used to be The Fish Bucket is going to be like. They might even be open already, so I gotta check again soon.
6030 Santo Road San Diego, CA 92124
So that's it for now. Hope you're having a great week!
It was interesting as the place always look empty from the street, but the parking lot was quite full on this day, as was the restaurant. The folks working here were really nice, in spite of basically running from table to table.
We placed our order and soon enough the panchan arrived right before the food we ordered.
On our previous two visits, we were thoroughly unimpressed with the panchan. This was totally different. Perhaps it was the fact that the cold dishes were nicely chilled, but I gotta say, the baechu (napa cabbage) kimchi had a bit of fermented flavor and the gobo (burbock root) glazed with a nice sweet soy based sauce was very good; earthy, salty, and slightly sweet. Those two items were the highlites.
Of course the Missus went with the Yukkwe Bib Bim Bap.....still served with the rice on the side.
I know the Missus was wishing for something like She had at Gogung in Insadong. But while the meat was sliced a bit too thick, it was nicely chilled, very fresh, with no off flavors. There was quite a pile of vegetables, which, when combined with the chojang made for a tasty dinner. I know as I got to finish off what the Missus couldn't.
Of course I ordered the Bi Bim Naengmyun, which looked different from what I'd had here before. The noodles were thinner and there was quite a bit of sauce/soup.
This might have been the best I've had at Buga. The noodles were perfectly elastic and stretchy; the sauce spicy-sweet-salty-savory...the Missus enjoyed the egg. A simple yet refreshing dish; perfect for a scotching day.
All finished with Sujoenggwa, the persimmon-cinnamon drink; still a bit too sweet for our taste, but throw in some ice cubes and it was just what the doctor ordered.
After having a couple of not so great meals here a few years ago, we were pleasantly pleased and surprised this time around. I guess Buga is back on our list.
Buga Korean Restaurant 5580 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92117
So, what did you eat to beat the heat this past week?