Merry Christmas 2010!!

Headed to Vancouver & Yellowknife tonight!!
A little early but wishing everybody a
Merry Christmas!!


A Mascara D 'O Pulecenella (Yokohama, Kanagawa)

I had dinner one night with a friend at a small boutique style
Italian Restaurant called A Mascara D 'O Pulecenella.

Antipasto: Tartara di Manzo
Raw beef marinated with
three different types of ingredients:
Basil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Mushrooms.
You can taste the freshness of the beef
and it goes so well with the toast points.
I would definitely order this one again.

Carpaccio Di Pesce (北海道産 水蛸のカルパッチョ)
The white piece of meat you see in dbetween the two cubes
is the fresh Octopus Carpaccio from Hokkaido, Japan.
I really liked the cubed fresh vegetables mixed in
within the salad, and also the basil pesto dressing
which was perfect and not overpowering the taste of the fresh greens.

Pizze Mozzarella Ottima,
ottima meaning excellent quality.
Only 5 are made daily due to the small quantity
of the 100% handmade mozzarella cheese.
So simple but so good.
I love the thin crispy crust of their pizzas.

Everything was so good that we just had to order another pizza.
Funghi (旬のキノコ)
Mozzarella, Seasonal Mushrooms, Mushroom Paste, Parmigiano Reggiano.

Their menu changes seasonally which is great too.
Highly recommended when in Yokohama.


Doremi どれ味 (Ginza, Tokyo)

I happened to be in Tokyo for my birthday this year,
so we celebrated at Doremi of Tokyo (どれ味 of Tokyo)
known for their Teppanyaki.

It was one of the restaurants that I really looked forwards to,
because my sister always talks about how great it is.

My sister and her boyfriend are great friends with the
Owner/Chef Captain Hirano,
which was great because I love dining at places that
make you feel more involved and at a personal level with the chef or staff.
We were also able to sit at the counter seats
to watch him prepare every course for us.

It all began with the
NY-Style Pan-Fried Breaded Garlic Scallops.

Next up, Cod with ‘Saikyo’ Miso Doremi-Style.

Grilled Oysters sandwiched with pancake and grilled pork belly.
First time experiencing this very unique combination.

Doremi Hamburg, Doremi’s ‘One Spoon’ and Beef Fillet.
Each course was like eating a piece of art.

Doremi Monjya-Yaki.
The consistency actually reminded me of Risotto.

Acqua Pazza of Homard Lobster.

Fried Rice with chopped onions.
The stacked onions resemble a volcano,
especially when steam is coming out.
So neat.

Erupting Volcano.
The performance was pure entertainment.
Cooking is one thing, but entertaining your customers
while still maintaining the consistency of the taste of the food,
I felt, was just amazing.

My favorite course of the night:
Doremi style Okonomiyaki with stewed beef intestine,
topped with chopped green onions.

Owner/Chef Captain Hirano.
He has 3 restaurants in Tokyo and also a
Yakiniku restaurant in Honolulu.
He has a blog which he updates daily,
which I look forwards to reading.

Dessert: Pancakes covered with whipped cream
topped with baked coconut shavings.

Such a memorable Birthday...


Paris S'eveille (Jiyugaoka, Tokyo)

Another must visit when in Tokyo.
My favorite Patisserie Paris S'eveille (パリ・セヴェイユ).

When you walk into the small boutique store with about 20 seats,
there is a glass showcase displaying a variety of seasonal cakes.
Their cakes that consists chocolate are my absolute favorite,
you can never go wrong.
Not too sweet and goes so well with coffee.
Perfect for an afternoon tea time or just anytime.


Kotatsu (Azabu Jyuban, Tokyo)

Kotatsu was by far one of my favorite restaurants on my food tour in Japan.
The atmosphere, service, and most importantly the food.

Entrance. I love the warm lighting and the subtle sign on the top right.

Porcupine needles can be used as toothpicks. Cute!!

The little details were amazing.
Loved the open kitchen where you can see the personable
chefs preparing you great food.
Yakitori (skewers) were awesome.
Probably some of the best and most unique that I've had.

Kotatsu has their original Japanese Sake called "Mei".
It is polite to pour beers or sake for people in Japan.
You'll see it a lot at restaurants and bars.

Very rare to see the counter seats empty.
There are only about 8 counter seats and
20 seats total in the whole restaurant,
but good thing I got this shot on the left
because it wasn't empty for long!!

The middle was our absolute favorite.
It's Shark Fin pieces with Ume (Japanese plum) flavoring,
mixed with fresh Cucumbers and Okra on a base of thinly sliced Jellyfish.
I ate at this restaurant at least 4 times while I was in Japan,
but we always ordered it. Sometimes more than 1.

Grilled Sanma (Saury) which is in season in the fall,
and Fried Aji (Mackerel).
Both were so flavorful and prepared perfectly.


Kaori Ya (香り屋)

The first really great food I had in Tokyo was at a place called Kaori-Ya.
They are known for their soba noodles and small dishes.
Chilled beer to start off.
Premium Malts is one of my favorite beers in Japan following Yebisu.
So crisp and the perfect bitterness.

We ordered small dishes to start with before the soba main course.
On the right are various Japanese spices.

Ginkgo nuts with fried string beans and soba noodles.
I hardly have any dislikes of food,
but one thing I would prefer not to eat was Ginkgo nuts.
But I was proven wrong at Kaori-Ya,
because these were fresh Ginkgo nuts,
they tasted like small chesnuts.
It was very flavorful and delicious!!

Chilled Sake.
I love the clay pottery container and cup set.

Some more small dishes, japanese style omelette and pork tempura.
Peanuts are there to hold your chop sticks.

Zaru Soba.

Egg yolk and grated daikon (japanese radish) in the background.
These are the both toppings for soba noodles.


Soba No Ki (そばの木)

The first great food that I had in Japan
was at そばの木 ('Soba no Ki'), meaning Soba Tree.
It is located in Fukuoka, in the southern Kyushu province.

Panorama views of the Japanese rice fields from your seat.
So peaceful and relaxing.

The kitchen.
Very small restaurant,
so the husband and wife run it together by themselves.

Handmade tea set.
Inside is freshly brewed Soba-cha,
which is Japanese tea made from roasted buckwheat.
Very healthy and contains no caffeine.

First course: Soba Zosui (Buckwheat Soup)

Second Course: Steamed Seasonal Vegetables

Main Course: Handmade Soba Noodles
Option to put freshly grated wasabi in your broth.

Left: Japanese cabbage rolls with rice inside
Right: Soba-yu in a handmade pot.
Soba-yu is the boiling water that was used to cook the soba noodles.
It is common to put soba-yu in your broth after you finish
eating your noodles and drink the mixture.
Soba-yu contains nutrients and minerals from the noodles
that dissolved into the water when cooking.
It even has preventative effects against modern day diseases
such as high blood pressure, decreased liver function and diabetes.

Dessert: 白玉ぜんざい
(Sweet Adzuki Beans with rice cake made from powdered glutinous rice)


Japan Food Tour

Just came back from a trip from Japan and already wanting to go back.
Tokyo is, in my opinion, the ultimate food capital of the world.
I've always thought so,
but this time around was a totally incomparable experience,
having a foodie sister who has been on a search for good eats while
living there this past year.

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Arch Rock Fish 2

Some more shots from Arch Rock Fish,
the new neighborhood joint in Santa Barbara, California.

Baked Kusshi Oysters with Cream Spinach, Bacon, Tomato Hollandaise.

Rare Ahi Tuna Salad and Poached Shrimp Wedge Salad.

State Street Farmer's Market, Homemade Guacamole and Shrimp Ceviche.

The prefect combination...
Freshly shucked Oysters and Ice Cold Beer.
At Telegraph Brewing Company,
a local brewery in Santa Barbara,
beers are brewed making use of as many
locally grown ingredients possible.

Arch Rock Fish has many beers and cocktails to choose from,
as well as a comprehensive selection of wines.
Really nice Happy Hour deals too.

To the left: Cioppino, prepared with plenty of tasty seafoods
including shrimp, shellfish and fin fish.
To the right: Beer steamed Mussels
with a hint of grain mustard and creme fraiche.

Team Arch Rock Fish!!

Main Entrance.

Exterior Shot.