This past Saturday I went out to fill the "honey do" list. It was :meat day" at Nijiya and since I was going to grill later that afternoon I had all kinds of shopping to do. We like to take advantage of our grilling time and make multiple dishes, and since it was so hot, I'd be roasting vegetables over the charcoal. It was a typical day, Starting at Sprouts, then Marukai, then 99 Ranch Market (Da Boyz needed rice). It was still too early for Nijiya and I didn't want to seem too excited about meat day and be there when the doors open.
Every so often I miss the typical breakfast I'd have when visiting my maternal Grandparents or on special weekends. To copy a passage from an earlier post on Fukagawa Soba & Udon:
"One of the earliest (and few) memories I have of my grandparents, is my "Ji-chan" (grandfather) waking before dawn. Even though the plantation days were behind them; the plantation ways were still strong. Neither Grandparent spoke much English and always had problems with my name. Ironically, they ended up calling me "Keiki" (which means "child" in Hawaiian). To this day I'm not sure if they actually knew what keiki meant, or of they just chose that word because it kinda sounded like my name, and was something they'd heard before. Anyway, my job was to climb the ricketty ladder up to papaya tree and pick two of the ripe papayas. My reward? My Grandmother would have a steaming bowl of rice, mix the raw egg with shoyu, pour the egg over the rice, top with green onions and mix....... tamago meshi. This in turn was topped with natto. I was also given half a papaya (to help me digest), and a cup of coffee (!!! I was maybe 7-8 years old) with tons of cream and sugar. A perfect breakfast for getting out there and working the fields......."
It's the breakfast of champions...... To my knowledge, the only place that serves anything like this in San Diego is Hinotez which opens at 8 am every morning.
It's a pick your poison kind of menu. A base with whatever you want to add for additional cost. What I ordered used to be six bucks and now that I add one other item, is now seven. Still cheaper than a sandwich at most places.
I get the three minute egg (not quite the raw egg, but it'll do), natto, and for some reason I love the extra "goo" of tororo (grated mountain yam). If anything, it's too much rice for me. I think in the future, I'll ask for less rice and more green onions.
First goes the egg...then the tororo...which is mixed together with the rice, then the natto, green onions and shoyu.
It's such a lovely mess of a breakfast.
I'm glad it's not one of those Japanese breakfasts we had in Japan. I would have just driven back home after eating and go back to sleep!
I do love my Spam and my Loco Mocos; though I enjoy both in moderation. But it's this breakfast that takes me back to where I come from and what I am. The grandson of immigrant plantation workers who toiled in the fields for Maui Pine.
7947 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111