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)
The "Pho" portion of the logo looks strangely familiar, but I just can't place it. I'm still hoping for decent pho in the Convoy-Kearny Mesa area......... I'm hoping this will at least be decent.
3904 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
The Original Tofu House opening in Mira Mesa:
I saw this a couple of days ago and drove by yesterday to take a photo.
Quite a few Korean food places opening around Mira Mesa.
I believe this used to be Arby's????
9089 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92126
Casa Medina has moved?:
I noticed that Casa Medina had closed on the way home the other day. So I dropped by after work today to check it out.
So it looked like the place has closed, until I turned around and saw the sign for Casa Medina along side that of the old Bismallah Restaurant above World Market & Produce.
So unless the market likes to collect signs of defunct restaurants, you can now get your Halal tacos inside of World Market & Produce.
5440 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
Was it cold enough for you?
I thought it was pretty chilly this morning and checked my weather app. And did a double, no triple take....
Must be a malfunction, right? This would be the weather in the Bay Park area......and would also be colder than what we experienced in Seattle!
My Christmas dinner:
Both the Missus and I have been working quite a bit. She had to work on Christmas and after grilling a ton of chicken for Her potluck and making Her a separate lunch/dinner, I really didn't feel like doing anymore cooking. So I decided to head over to Sushi Yaro and Sam put together a nice sashimi combo for me between the zillion rolls.
It made for quite a feast. It was also nice seeing Sam; it had been a while. As a bonus, a couple of the "old-time" regulars whom I haven't seen in ages also dropped by, before the place got totally swamped. Sam mentioned that I've known him for about eleven years now! Time does fly.......
Just for fun, I actually drove by Costco this past weekend. Here's what it looked like at 10 past nine, a full 20 minutes before they opened.
I was actually dragging my feet, because I had to go into work.
I worked for a couple of hours then decided I should get some ramen, so I headed off to Santouka and ran into this.....
So, I just went to Nijiya, picked this up, and headed back to the office.
I lucked out as I love natto maki....yes, while I'd never buy any prepared sushi or sashimi with raw fish in/on it kappa and natto maki is fair game. I grew up eating natto so I really love this stuff. I usually get a bento at least once a week and have rarely seen this. They probably don't make it very often.......it could very well be that I'm the only person who evers buys this.......
Nijiya Market 3860 Convoy St Ste 109 San Diego, CA 92111
I'd planned on making our first full day in Tokyo our "red lettered day" for our trip and things were starting out great with a visit to Tsukiji and breakfast at Tenfusa. We left Tsukiji and decided to walk up to Ginza. We stopped for coffee in a nice quiet shop and struck up a conversation with a nice couple, he was retired military, his wife, a native of Tokyo, returns yearly to lecture. It was quite an entertaining discussion.
Ginza is the upscale shopping and entertainment neighborhood of Tokyo....huge multilevel department stores, like Mitsukoshi, which once had a shopping complex in Waikiki which had an entire floor of video games. So large it even has its own subway stop on the Ginza line! More on that later.
We walked around the Ginza area killing time. I'd gotten lunch reservations at Sushi Iwa through the wrangling of some friends. That's the deal with being in an apartment, there's no concierge service, but I think we did fine. For what it's worth, the place has a Michelin Star, which, I guess for some people is all that really matters...... sigh.
Now finding a single doorway on a side street in Ginza while trying to use the Japanese address system, can be frustrating. Armed with a photo of the storefront, finding the address 8-5-25 Ginza, Chuo-ku ranks right up there with spending your day chewing on aluminum foil. For some reason, the Missus did exceptionally well once we could locate the "chome" - district, in this case 8-chome. The next number is the block, which was easy enough....you find 4 or 6 and you know "5" is in there somewhere. That last number is the building....the trick here being that the numbering for buildings is not consecutive. Rather, buildings are numbered in the order in which they were built or in reference to some "center"! All this made finding almost everything an adventure. We really didn't feel bad after seeing so many Japanese visitors and even residents of Tokyo...even our friend Reiko has no idea how to find a place without using a business card, an app, or asking directions. Given the immense tolerance and patience of folks we ran into, this is fairly common.
The shop itself is quite tiny; only six seats. The lines very clean, very neat, the space wide open for viewing the chef Hisayoshi Iwa preparing our meal.
So why lunch? Well, the Missus was having a hard time justifying spending over $200 per person for a sushi dinner, kaiseki maybe, but just not sushi. Plus, with rice involved, we tend to fill up rather quickly. Sushi Iwa has a basic sushi lunch (10 pieces) for 4750 yen - (under $50, you can get the 13 pieces for $85). This is a bargain in my eyes.
We started with a nice clean, cold sake, which the Chef recommended.
It was a joy to watch the precision practiced by the rather young (mid-late 30's) Chef. I love the single bite Edo style sushi. The rice here is very mild and balanced in flavor, which is my preference. The nikiri is also quite neutral, no heavy sweet or salty tones, just adding a mild umami. I loved what I call the "rice explosion", when the nigiri enters the mouth and just breaks down without chewing....the Missus still isn't used to this having had too much neighborhood sushi back in the states.
1 - Hirame.
It's standard operating procedure to start with a firm and mild shiromi and hirame (fluke/flounder) fits the bill. I personally love shiromi, the subtle flavors, rasied by a nice nikiri. This had a bit too much wasabi on it for my taste, but was still a nice firm piece.
2 - Madai
Firm then yielding, my kind of fish.
3 - Kinmedai
I really loved this fish, golden eye sea bream, when I had it earlier in the year at Shunji. This just confirmed my love for the firm, yet deceivingly fatty flesh which was elevated by the nikiri. We basically used no soy sauce for any of our nigiri.
4 - Akami-zuke
Lean maguro, "cured" in a soy sauce mixture. This was fine, but really nothing special in terms of flavor or texture. In fact, this one just reinforced how good Tadokoro is in my mind.
5 - The prep for the ika was amazing to watch. The squid was sliced horizontinally into paper thin sheets....you could actually see through them! It was then cut into very thin strips.
It almost looked like shio ebi! After having mine, I told the Missus this one was going to change Her view of ika. And it did! It was amazingly tender with great flavor....it nearly melted in our mouth.
6 - Katsuo
Good oil, but still quite mild, nice meaty texture.....the usual ginger helped refresh.
7 - Ishigaki Clam
At first I thought it looked like mirugai, but I was told it was Ishigaki-gai - Giant Clam from Ishigaki Island, something new for me. It was firm and crisp and more briney than sweet. In fact, the rather heady flavor reminded me of Chocolate Clams.
8 - The hotate (scallop) was cured, then massaged.
Man, this was awesome, so tender, sweet, and almost ethereal as it melted away in your mouth.
9 - Ikura
The Missus had also never had ikura that tasted like this. It was clean, like a orb of the cleanest, sweetest, ocean water. I often go back to this line, "I've been told that the freshest, cleanest salt water in the world exists several hundred miles off the South coast of the Big Island, deep in the ocean, the Ikura made me think of how clean and refreshing that water would taste" from a post from the past.
10 - Anago.
True Edo-mae sushi places in Tokyo will never serve you unagi, rather, only items from the ocean, and out of Tokyo bay will be served. This was an excellent example of the sweet, mild, melt in your mouth, anago nigiri. Nothing I've ever had (Kaito, Kokoro, Tadokoro, places in LA) has ever been this good.
11 & 12 - Things ended with some miso shiru and a combination of rolls.
All in all, a wonderful meal, and a bargain at $110 for the two of us.
Sushi Iwa 8-5-25 Ginza, Chuo-ku Tokyo, Japan
Wow, we'd had quite a day....and it was only half over!
It's actually more like spinal fluid/disc material...but who's keeping score, right? I had been curious about it for a while and I gotta say, I really love the texture and the mild briney.ocean flavor of Swordfish Bone Marrow....think of the mildest oyster in flavor, clean and crisp, combined with the texture of Liangfen 凉粉 - starch jelly noodles. Man, this stuff was really good!
I have to thank Tommy of Catalina Offshore for having Candice and I as his guests, along with Maria and Jonathan for being such great company!
Tommy had been trying to get Candice and I over to Wrench and Rodent for a while for a blow-out Omakase. Admittedly, I was a bit hesitant since, like Candice warned Tommy, I'm a bit of a "traditionalist" when it comes to sushi and sashimi. But you can't forget that I'm from the home of Pacific Rim Cuisine, Hawaii....which is why I hate slapped together con "fusion" dishes..... After reading Faye's post, I thought at the least, this would be an interesting meal.
I gotta say, some of the stuff Davin Waite puts out was so very creative, risky, but still trying to capture the essense of the product. I really enjoyed this meal, even though it was enough to feed an army, or at the least, one hungry Tommy.
My preferred way of having the bone marrow was plain, in the shot glass; there was something so pure and refreshing about it.
I have to say, some of the dishes were just wonderful; the bluefin collar was just out of his world....moist, fatty, like eating "buttah".....it was well seasoned without killing the product.
I thought this pseudo gunkan maki of toro was a wonderful combination of textures. The cucumber crisp and refreshing, the masago added crunch and the flavor of the ocean, the gari, which I usually have between bites to refresh and clear my palate actually did well here.
Of the nigiri; it was the anchovy with a dengaku style miso paste was my favorite.
The Hamachi Kama was just wonderful as well.
Don't let all this fusiony stuff fool you; Davin makes a decent nigiri......
I quickly found out that Davin's sauces tend to run on the fruity/sweet side; which goes well with a pristine scallop; though I could have just eaten this plain....
I did think there was a bit too much mirin action in his nikiri for the maguro.
His pesto type concoction works relatively well with salmon.
There's no denying there's a good amount of creativity going on here. Davin takes risks and has some chops as well.
When it works, like this wonderful Opah, or was it Monchong cheek, BLT dish, it's quite delicious.
When it doesn't, you can't blame him for trying......
You'll notice, not a single Gringo roll....and only one item I say that belonged on another table.
No mayo, surimi..... though I did see a good amount of tempura/mayo/cream cheese rolls going out.
I really need to thank Tommy for arranging this; and for being a fantastic host.....and keeping us entertained as well. You can tell that Davin loves food and creating, it was a blast talking about different ingredients, products, and techniques.
And I got to cross an item off my bucket list as well.
Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub 1815 S Coast Hwy (inside of Bull Taco) Oceanside, CA 92054
W&R isn't the only little treasure hidden in Bull Taco. Brewmaster Havin Harris has opened a little microbrewery named Beer Brewing Company in the back of W&R.
I had a taster of the beers available and my favorite....well, I'm not so comfortable writing this; was the, ahem..."breast beer". Apparently, Havin did a ton of research and developed a beer that is supposed to aid in lactogenesis. As strange as it may seem, this was the breast, um, best beer I tasted and Candice agreed. As to it's effects on lactation...well, you're asking the wrong person!
Overall, it was an amazing night of new experiences; from swordfish bone marrow to breast beer!
I really enjoy the miso soup and also how Akio-san seasons his rice, which is just about right for my tastes. Though the fish are the usual suspects; maguro, salmon, etc..... I always enjoy the anago, which I was told is steamed, making it a melt-in-your mouth experience. The tamago isn't too tough and nor overly sweet as well.
Recently, I read a post on the lunch Chirashi by Dennis. It looked lovely (the power of suggestion), so I just had to order it on my next visit. It's quite a generous sized affair, in my mind worth the $18 price tag.
Akio-san dips a bit deeper into his stock of fish for this; on this day, the katsuo was outstanding and the uni creamy, oceany, and refreshing. The rice was as usual perfect for me; though there was too much of it. I think I'll see if he'll do a sashimi lunch for me one of these days since I just can't put away the carbs like I used to.
It's really nice to have a little splurge lunch spot, for those weeks that I feel in need of a little R&R - reward an respite from the grind.
Kokoro Restaurant 3298 Greyling Dr San Diego, CA 92123
In case I'm in need of some variety; what are your favorite splurge lunch spots?