Man, it's been quite busy since we've returned from our (all too short) trip. I've had to work everyday, so I'm starting to feel it. So here's another one of those COMC posts of places you already know.
The Missus requested Village Kitchen a few nights before leaving for Lima.
We tried a couple of the newer dishes like the "Green Vegetable Cooked the Old Way", which, in spite of the preserved vegetables was very bland, and the Intestines with Chilies and Bamboo Flavor, which tasted really good, but I'd have preferred the intestines being a bit more crisp.
There's an interesting story about the folks here.....one day I might get around to sharing it.
Village Kitchen 4720 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
Another favorite of the Missus, as long as they keep serving up the Som Tom Khai Kem; the papaya salad with Salted Egg, which the Missus pounced on so quickly, I never got the chance for a shot.
And the Spicy Thousand Year Old Eggs.
Another favorite of hers.
They actually had Roast Duck Larb on this visit.
Thai Papaya by Sab E Lee 2405 Ulric St San Diego, CA 92111
DW has been doing some great consulting work for us.....but she's from Missouri and had never had raw fish ever in her life. She does enjoy a bit of spice in her food and in spite of being terrified of some of the stuff I eat, is quite game....she had her first ramen that didn't come from a package a few weeks back, crawfish, raw oysters....but she was still terrified of raw fish. So I figured, since she loves rice, why not have same make her a Hwe Dup Bop. Knowing she was really nervous, he put the Makisu up around the prep area so she couldn't see anything, just to make her a bit more apprehensive.......you gotta love Sam!
Anyway, she really enjoyed her meal....though the look on her face when I had to explain what various things were....like masago; oh, and that cube thing was tofu. And that nice crunchy green vegetable was seaweed.
Aaah the things we take for granted. It's always nice to introduce folks to new experiences.
Kirk and Cathy are traveling, eating, doing important stuff, or maybe just resting today. So Ed (from Yuma) is posting about 3 meals (from San Diego).
I had to have some sushi. Just had to. Tina had memories of a good chirashi at Kokoro and its website said it would be open at lunchtime on Friday. And it was:
In addition to tables, Kokoro has an L shaped sushi bar that surrounds an elevated workstation and ingredient storage area, which I think helps executive chef Akio Ishito work more comfortably:
Although I don't remember it from before, the chirashi meal started off with a little lettuce and tomato salad:
The lettuces were very fresh, the tomato very ordinary, and the dressing seem to be based around rice wine vinegar, miso, and soy. Refreshing. Palate cleansing.
For soup, we were given the alternatives of miso or udon. So udon it was:
The noodles were perfectly cooked, toothsome and tender, but the soup overall was bland.
The chirashi looked beautiful:
Underneath the fish and friends, the sushi rice was faultless. The toppings presented a nice selection of sushi bar favorites, all good quality and offered good value at $19. We both liked the sizable slice of mackerel and the halibut (hirami), which was especially firm and fresh – in fact, much like the halibut crudo we would eat the next evening at the Wine Vault. We also liked the uni and shiso leaf pairing, and the surprisingly first-rate ebi, unusually meaty and flavorful. The hamachi also stood out. There were no bad tastes, though the slices of octopus and squid were exceeding thin. Overall, we enjoyed.
It had been a long time since Tina and I had been to any Korean restaurant. We weren’t looking for a smoke filled room or for cooking our own food, so we decided on Halmouny, where we’d always enjoyed our visits in the past:
We noticed they'd remodeled the interior, and we liked the changes – the place seemed cleaner, more modern, and more open:
A flagon of chilled water was brought to the table along with my beer:
A mysterious box on the table, when opened, contained stainless steel soup spoons and chopsticks – nice touch:
A funny thing happened. Tina and I started looking over the large menu, discussing things, and trying to figure out what we wanted. There were so many choices, and almost every one of them seemed inviting. Twice the friendly server came over and asked if we were ready, and we had to say no because we weren't. Then, when she came over the third time, we ordered two of the most standard dishes on the menu.
Soft tofu soup with vegetables:
And dolsit bibimbop:
I'm sure our server must have been laughing with her coworkers about the clueless gaijin taking so long to order such a simple basic meal.
But it was good. While the soup lacked a certain depth of flavor, it was certainly tasty, and the interplay between creamy tofu, spicy broth, and veggies and ‘shrooms was pleasant. The bibimbop was great comfort food. The simple meal was really what we wanted.
Though the ban chan was totally standard and uninspired, we enjoyed them. Here’s some items:
The dried radish was our favorite of those four. There was some baby bok choy and some other veggie that I can't remember, but our favorites were the regular kimchi:
and the wonderful dried tofu
For us, this dinner was, paradoxically, exotic comfort food.
For lunch on Saturday, we were looking Eastern Mediterranean, but La Miche Kabobgee is closed for lunch on Saturdays. We remembered seeing a large restaurant, Sufi, on Balboa not too far from Convoy that promised Mediterranean food. So that's where we went:
It is large, and at lunch, it serves a popular buffet:
Photographing the entire buffet was pretty much impossible as other customers were coming and going. Plus I was getting hungry, so this fuzzy shot shows just a small part of the available choices:
Tina's first plate looked like this:
She really liked the chicken and the fire roasted veggies (the big zucchini slice and the charred tomato half). She also enjoyed the garden salad with the feta dressing, and we both liked the Shirazi salad with chopped onion, cucumber, tomato, and parsley.
Here's my first plate:
For some reason, I chose three slices of sausages, which were okay, but not really unique or outstanding. The baba ghannouj was decent, and the hummus was creamy, but far from the best I've had in San Diego. The chicken wing was OK, the pickled beet excellent, and the beef kebab just okay. Tina and I both enjoyed the stewed zucchini.
At first, the breads were not ready, but soon we were able to get pita bread and Persian naan:
For me, the breads said a lot about Sufi. The pita bread was pitiful – cool, store-bought, and boring. The Persian bread, on the other hand, was warm, tasty, and probably homemade. But in some ways that is the essence of the restaurant. While it calls itself "Mediterranean," Sufi is really a Persian restaurant that serves some generic Lebanese food to broaden its customer base.
In fact, most of our favorites from the lunch were Persian, like this interesting pomegranate soup, a lentil soup with a distinct sour tang:
And the stews on my second plate:
I believe the one on the left is called fesenjoom, a chicken and pomegranate stew. On the right is ghormeh sabzi with a big chunk of tender beef covered in greens along with large dark red beans. The closest item is, I think, gheimeh, beef and yellow split peas. I have no idea about the green bean stew furthest away. In any case, these Persian stews were the most interesting items on the buffet, and I wished that I had focused on them right from the beginning.
Nonetheless, the buffet was interesting and we certainly got to eat all kinds of things we can't get out in the desert.
This little place is the "and more" in the title of the post. It's located right next to Sufi and looked promising, so Tina insisted we visit:
There was a bewildering array of Persian pastries:
So our late-night snack that evening consisted of these walnut or pistachio treats: We were expecting something like baklava, but these were different. The pastry was not fila and they were a little more savory and less sweet than baklava. Four years ago Cathy visited the same bakery and hinted that a post might be forthcoming. Hint hint.
Anyway, we enjoyed all three of these meals. None was spectacular, but each scratched an itch, and that's a good thing: too long in Yuma and I get awfully itchy.
It's time to Clear Out the Memory Card (COMC). It's been a few months since I did one of these. It's also a nice coincidence that two of my favorite places here in San Diego are Tadokoro and Taisho. If you check the Big List you'd see how many posts I've done on these places. So, here we're doing mainly photos.
It had been a while. It was nice chatting with Take-san.
For some reason the lighting gave me fits - that's Tai.
Kisu - which I believe is Whiting
My favorite Ankimo.
Sushi Tadokoro 2244 San Diego Ave San Diego, CA 92110
During one of our weekly "fixes" at Taisho.
Yakitori Taisho 5185 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92117
Man, it has been a tough week. I decided to give my self a break and headed over to Sushi Yaro. It had been a while. I arrived right at opening, so as not to tax Sam and the staff too much.
I simply told Sam, "can I just get 8 pieces of nigiri......you choose". This turned out to be quite a meal. It seems like Sam's recent trip to Japan has energized him a bit and he's trying a few new things.
Anyway, here are the photos.....
That Sunazuri Hamachi was really good.
At the end of the meal I saw Sam laughing to himself......he then passed this to me. Sheesh...what the heck... It was like a half piece of unagi. I put my chopsticks next to for scale.
Apparently one of Sam's sushi stops in Tokyo made something like this.......
Needless to say; this was a very nice meal and it really hit the spot. Sam needs to take trips more often I think!
It was nice of some of you to notice that out 10th year "blogga-versary" came and went back in May. I guess we'd celebrate....but it seems that we're never home and I kinda stopped all that stuff a few years back. I did notice however that we were coming up to post #3000 soon. Considering that I started this little blog with no objective in mind....it was the suggestion of Reid from Ono Kine Grindz (we miss you man). His blog really hit home for an expat Kama'aina....the things I missed, the food mainly. So I just started typing...and we haven't stopped since.
With that milestone in sight, I decided to finish something I started back at the end of 2012....yes, 2012. I call it the "Big List". It's a listing of all the restaurants (I might have missed a few) that we've done posts on going back to the beginning. I completed it a few weeks ago. It's an interesting list and you can find it under pages on our sidebar. I've also included photos that were sitting around in folders that for some reason I forgot to delete, or have posted only to my Flickr account. For me, it's the listing of places that have closed (at the bottom) that brings back a nostalgic feeling..... Thanks to the folks who have already noticed it and commented. Please check it out and let me know what you think. I'll try to create pages for our travels as well.
I can't go further without thanking Cathy and Ed from Yuma. Without their help, this blog would not exist. It is as much their blog as mine. Much has changed over the years; social media and instant delivery (and gratification) has taken over....we just keep chugging along. Just think, we started in 2005; the first iPhone was released in 2007, Twitter was launched in 2006, remember MySpace?
Anyway, I decided to celebrate and went to Sushi Yaro and had some sashimi.
This is after all, still a food blog.
I'm not sure if anyone has been with us since the beginning, but a really warm mahalo to you if you've been here all these years.
And just to go off on one of my usual digressions, Sammy and Frankie have been along for the ride the entire way. And this gets me thinking about when they first became part of the family.
As always....thanks so much for visiting, reading, and commenting....all these years!
It's been a while since I've posted on Sushi Tadokoro. If anything, what I've been eating here is better than ever. Anyway, I thought a minimum of verbiage would work here....a nice C(learing) O(ut) the M(emory) C(ard) post for a beautiful Friday. After all, at Sushi Tadokoro, I believe photos are enough....though I'll have some interesting stories in a future post.
Had the atama (head) later in miso soup....sorry...I was just having a great time and forgot to take a photo of that.
San Diego Uni
I could go into minute detail about all of this....but I think the photos speak for themselves. Yet another wonderful meal at Tadokoro.
Sushi Tadokoro 2244 San Diego Ave San Diego, CA 92110
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas; today, however, Ed (from Yuma) will tell about a dinner that happened there anyway. Tomorrow, Kirk or Cathy will be sharing food with you.
In a previous life, when I lived in Monterey, California, Corey and I worked in the same shop. He now lives in Las Vegas, so when Tina and I were in town, we all had to get together. I remembered that sushi was one of Corey's favorite foods, so it seemed appropriate to meet up at Yonaka, a modern Japanese restaurant: Not wanting to spend a lot of time going over the menu, we ordered an omakase – our server recommended the 11 course chef’s special tasting menu which he said would include a range of dishes and be enough to satisfy three hungry appetites. Corey had beer, Tina wine, and me sake.
The first course to arrive was Scottish salmon: The chunks of fish were accompanied by pieces of Asian pear and baby heirloom tomatoes, all topped with a sesame/ginger dressing. While this picture isn't much good, we all agreed that this was a pretty good beginning course. The pear and tomato balanced the salmon well.
Then a large bowl of charred brussels sprouts arrived, smoky, chewy, crispy and crunchy, with a light chili lemon touch: This was a tasty vegetable dish that we continued to munch on between other courses until the bowl was empty.
The next item was some decent hamachi with unusual accompaniment: Between each slice of hamachi, there was a slice of Gala apple, all covered by a Granny Smith apple relish and accompanied by a deep-fried latticework composed of dried apples. Hamachi with apples done three ways? Again there was a light dressing accompaniment. While each item was okay, my palate did not find hamachi/apple interplay especially interesting. Your palate might well be different.
A generous plate of tuna belly accompanied by walnuts and cranberry jelly arrived next: This was an attractive dish, the fish slices topped with micro greens and seaweed strips. The tuna belly itself was good, but not outstanding.
On the other hand, the sashimi plate was excellent: The maguro had an almost suspicious deep red color, but it was flavorful with a good texture. The flying fish sashimi was firm, a bit chewy, and mild. For me, the highlight was the golden thread sea bream – rich and fresh tasting, leading to a long creamy finish.
Also quite tasty was the moist cooked salmon accompanied by baby bok choy and sliced peppers, all bathed in a spicy coconut cream. Yep, this worked: The sea bream bones, deep-fried, showed up next, but they were a little too sturdy and thick for me, not nearly as pleasantly crunchy as a Spanish mackerel skeleton: Maine lobster and braised fennel in a spicy sauce: The idea of this dish was excellent; we liked the interplay of the fennel, sauce, and lobster. The lobster itself, however, was a little overcooked. Still it was okay.
Tender and flavorful wagyu beef, cooked rare, accented by a fruit salsa: We also enjoyed the roasted carrots that seemed to be standing guard over the plate.
The apogee of the meal had to be this: Perfectly prepared pork belly. Incredibly rich, fork tender, slightly sweet, and pleasantly porky. Yum. I salivate just thinking about it. That's apple kimchi in the background.
The final savory course was fried rice with broiled hamachi, uni, ikura, and baby bok choy: While I enjoyed the seafoods and vegetable, the rice seemed pretty ho-hum – something to fill up anyone still hungry at this point, and that was not me. Of course, the pork belly was a tough (tender?) act to follow.
The desert, on the other hand, was surprisingly good: Mango two ways – gelato on the left and panna cotta on the right. I believe the panna cotta was covered in a vanilla sauce, but the best touch was the panna cotta itself, stuffed with a mango center, so when you cut into it and opened it up, the yellow filling flowed out like an over easy egg yolk. Sadly, I was so amazed that I forgot to take a picture of it. Nonetheless, we all thought the desert was a nice finish.
It was great seeing Corey again, and all three of us enjoyed the meal. The extensive use of fruits throughout made our experience unique, and we all left full and happy.
Yonaka Modern Japanese, 4983 W Flamingo Rd, Suite A, Las Vegas, NV 89103, 702-685-8358
Isn't it nice to be able to walk into a place and say, "I'm hungry, can I just get some sashimi?" And get something like this?
I'm not expecting anything mind-blowing, no Michelin star experience. It's been a long week and I want some decent fish, a good meal, to leave satisfied. I get all of the above.
I've known Sam for over a decade now. And he knows me....such is the relationship of the Itamae and his regulars. That is why the term "Sushi bar" seems so appropriate. Like your favorite watering hole, be it here or wherever......it's such a great feeling to walk in after a hard day and have your drink waiting on the counter when you arrive. As a regular customer, I feel that I have some responsibility as well. I'll often request to be served last, new customers are the lifeblood of a small business, I try to tip well, and I never take freebees.. At Tadokoro, I make reservations for the earliest possible time. I know Take-san will do his best and when you're slammed, regardless of your profession, you can't do that. It's about being a good regular customer as well......
The reason I'm writing this is because I've seen various posts on sites such as Chowhound that flaunt this idea of self-entitlement, and have even seen in person cases where folks will say; "I'm a Elite (the four lettered review website) member and I want xxxx". It disturbs me. So I needed a sashimi break......though really....it's not all about just me.
Thank you for once again stopping to read mmm-yoso!!! Todays food centric blog post is written by Cathy because Kirk is (once again) very busy and Ed(from Yuma) is very retired and busy in his own way.
I've mentioned before that we still get newspapers delivered to our home daily. There are many advantages to this old fashioned way of receiving news, not limited to easier comprehension for those of us who grew up learning to read the printed word on paper. Yes, I'm talking ads that can't be 'blocked'.
For the past few months, on a Saturday, the Los Angeles Times has run full page ads for L.A. based 'Revolving Sushi' restaurant, Kula. The ads mention specials (January was 'Winter's Hot Food Fair', February until March 12 is 'Salmon Fair', no ad was in this past Saturday newspaper, so I expect to see something next Saturday).
There are three $5 off of $20 coupons at the bottom of the page. This was a reason to put the ad into the car when we were taking a drive North one weekday. We were hoping to find a place closer to home that reminded us of our experience at A'Float Sushi, in 2010.Unsure of how crowded this restaurant would be, we chose the Rancho Cucamonga location (one of seven) and had alternative plans to stop at the Bass Pro Shop a few miles away, remembering our meal at the in-store restaurant, Islamorada Fish Company, in 2008. As you can see, we had no worries on this weekday morning.Walking in, we saw the sushi conveyor moving around the restaurant. Each booth, table and seat at the bar has access to the plates. It wasn't crowded at opening (11:30), but was almost filled up by the time we were leaving.Taking seats at the bar gave us access to watching the rice maker, which not only cooks the (organic, from Lundberg Family Farms) rice, but pops out pre-formed, uniformly sized servings. I was fascinated by this machine. We also were privy to watching the constant preparation of conveyor items.
The sushi conveyor constantly moves via a belt under the crescent shaped chain, turns at the end to return in the opposite direction. The sushi makers prepare three plates of a serving (all conveyor items are $2.25), placing a plate with a description which you see first, then the three serving plates, each covered for your protection. Some servings have one, two or three items, some servings are in bowls.Above, you can see the first plate with the label for Conch, two empty spaces, where plates have been removed and one remaining plate, ready for the grabbing. When the sushi makers see only the plate with the signage passing by, they remove it and that's another order of three plates they need to prepare.Fresh wasabi is brought out to the table. The condiment tray with chopsticks, a covered ginger container, soy sauce server and red pepper are all you need here.
There is a separate menu wherein you can order items from the kitchen.
We ordered green tea, miso soup (each $2)and a soft shell crab ($ 3.80) from the kitchen. Everything else came from the kaiten, the merry-go-round track of plates moving in front of us. This is a Kula roll. Real crab, topped with both tuna and salmon. Very good.Karaage chicken, with mayonnaise for dipping. Perfectly fried.Seared steak sushi...good...different.The Mister wanted to try uni. He had never had uni. The plate has a single portion. Yes, it appears it had been frozen and a mushy thaw...let's just say The Mister has no desire to try uni again. This had a label of Chicken Sukiyaki. Smooth flavor, dark meat chicken with an onion-y sauce.Sorry for this blurry photo of the wonderful cucumber salad, a refreshing mix of sliced cucumber, seaweed and bamboo in a sesame oil-soy dressing topped with toasted sesame seeds.More apologies for this blurred photo of scallops with a sort of mayonnaise sauce on top of rice. This was very good.You keep your dishes and steam covers stacked and the waitress counts them at the end to calculate your bill.
The food is...good, the experience is fun and interesting. We spent $33 before the $5 discount...it's so easy to grab a plate; discipline is needed...
Perhaps you are wondering why I'm posting about a Los Angeles based chain. After we ate here, I was researching other posts about Kula and saw this article by Candice Woo in the Eater, written in November. The space it will occupy in San Diego shares the same parking lot with Iceskimo and appears to be ready to open very soon.
Kula Revolving Sushi Bar Website Address: 9659 Milliken Ave., Suite 104-105 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 Phone:909-294-3429 Daily 11:30am-9:00pm (Last Seating, Last Order 8:45pm)