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Terry’s Shortlist: Sushi Restaurants (San Francisco)

I get asked about sushi recommendations a lot, especially since there have been a plethora of new restaurants that can make the scene difficult to navigate. So, here is my SF shortlist! 🍣

For the Fance 💰💰💰 ($100+/person)

  • Ju-Ni (Foodjournies Review)

    Known for: Receiving one Michelin star from non-Japanese chefs; an optional additional 3-piece nigiri set to end the omakase
    Memorable Item: Grated frozen monkfish over house-cured ikura (salmon roe)
    Reservation Tip: Make a reservation around 45 days ahead of time. If there’s a particular date you’re looking for, put yourself on the waitlist. You never know what will open up!

  • Kinjo

    Known for: Chefs who come from Sushi Ran and Ijji; fish comes directly from Tsukiji Market since they have special connections with vendors there
    Memorable Item: Live wild-spot prawn (ikibotanebi), where they also fry the head
    Reservation Tip: Make sure to specify bar seating for a more personal experience

  • Robin

    Known for: Serving sushi with modern twist in a chill hip-hop infused atmosphere
    Memorable Item: Sturgeon caviar topped on a potato chip and chai blossom
    Reservation Tip: You should be able to snag a seat since they recently opened (July 2017) but I foresee it getting harder over time

For the Average Night 💰💰(~$100/person)

  • Akiko’s

    Known for: Housing great sushi chefs; having a seasonal omakase
    Memorable Item: Wagyu A5 sushi topped with fried garlic
    Reservation Tip: For a primetime hour reservation (think 7pm), book two weeks in advance

  • Hinata

    Known for: Great lineage of sushi chefs (Ju-Ni, Ijji) in a more casual atmosphere
    Memorable Item: Soy cured salmon roe (shoyu ikura), which is beautifully salty and pops of umami
    Reservation Tip:  Shouldn’t be hard to get a table; note there are two seatings (6pm and 8:30pm)

For the “Great Deal” 💰 (~$60/person)

  • Ryoko’s

    Known for: High quality fish at a reasonable price, in arguably the loudest (“party-forward”) setting; open until 2am
    Memorable Item: Spicy scallop roll. The scallops are meaty, sweet and fresh, and the roll is stuffed full of them
    Reservation Tip: N/A – they don’t take resos, though I would suggest lining up around 5:45pm which will guarantee you a table no matter how large your party is

  • Elephant Sushi

    Known for: “Fun” rolls that come to you lit up on fire, reasonable prices
    Memorable Item: “The Beastie Boy” – ankimo, quail egg, and uni with shiso
    Reservation Tip: Walk-ins only

What’s on your sushi list? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Recipe: Easy Peasy Chicken Stock

If you’re scared but want to start cooking, go with making a chicken broth. It’s delicious, cheap, lasts a long time, and most importantly – satisfies your soul. Plus it’s a great way to save your scraps (and the environment)!

Prep time: ~5-10 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours, mostly stewing so you’re not doing much
Commitment rating (time + money): Low

Two full tubs of stock!

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, eaten to the bone (keep all of what you don’t eat!)
  • 2 quarters of water
  • 1 onion, sliced including the head
  • 2 scallion stalk scraps
  • 2 pieces of ginger (sliced 1/4″)
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 pieces (I use Early Girl, but you can use whatever you like)
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/4 pieces
  • 1/2 serrano pepper, sliced (optional, I like a little kick in my broth)
  • Coarse sea salt, use as much as desired

Note: Feel free to add in any other vegetable scraps you have. It’ll make your stock have a personal touch!


Directions

  1. Fill a medium-to-large deep pot with water
  2. Toss in all ingredients into the pot with a pinch of sea salt
  3. Heat pot at medium heat
  4. Cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally every 30 minutes. Add in water if you want more stock, and if too much water has evaporated
  5. Add in salt as desired (recommendation: don’t add too much salt if you plan on using this stock for other dishes)
  6. Strain the broth using a fine-sieve colander directly into a container

Voila! You’re done, and you can go back to watching the second season of Narcos.

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Lists: Where do I Foodjourney?

Recently I’ve had a number of people ask me where I eat at or if I have recommendations to eat in certain cities, and…I’m awfully flattered! It’s great to hear that people value my perspective on food, drink, and the like. Below are lists on Foursquare (it’s really the easiest way to share places with my friends), with the exception of the Taipei, that may be helpful to you as you travel to these cities in the future.

If you’re interested in seeing more photos and foodjournies, follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

For those in San Francisco, please help me dwindle down my list. There’s currently over 75…:GASP:

San Francisco
The SF Musts
SF Places (To Try)

New York
New York Musts
NY Want to Try
NYC Cheap Eats

Taipei
Taipei Eats

Tokyo
Tokyo Eats

Portland
Portland (To Try)

Hawaii (Honolulu)
Hawaii Eats

dinner/ Japanese/ Seafood/ Uncategorized

Kusakabe: A Deliciously Harmonious Omakase

I want to be a regular. This may be aspirational, since it seems as though everyone also feels the same way. With one Michelin star under the belt, Kusakabe seems to churn out fans – not only with its high-quality fish but its natural and comforting service. Nothing seems to be out of place, and all is harmonious with the extra focus on what’s most important – the fish.

There is only one menu – the omakase (chef’s menu) – where eight central courses are all centered around fish, and several sushi pieces sewn throughout the meal.

Sushi Prelude

The first piece was a great opener and set the tone for the rest of the meal. The Zuke Chutoro – a lightly seared bluefin medium fatty tuna cured in soy sauce – was awfully delicious. The tuna was flavorful; the saltiness from the soy with tuna melded harmoniously and ended with a faint char at the end. Chef Ken mentioned this was their signature piece, and I can totally understand why.

Unlike its previous counterpart, the hirame (fluke) served with shiso was light and refreshing. Nice way to follow the zuke chutoro.

The katsuo (skipjack tuna) followed suit. Served with some green onion, it was delicious as it encapsulated umami flavor.

Sashimi

Tuna and hotate (scallop) sashimi served on top of shaved ice with fresh wasabi and yuzu onion sauce. Each piece was definitely very fresh. Surprisingly I also enjoyed eating the radish as it provided a complementary refreshing taste and crispy texture against the fish.

Soup

The Ushio-jiru (seafood soup) was made from Japanese tai snapper, and had somen noodles with fresh yuba. At first I wasn’t expecting much, but after the first slurp I was under a food trance. All I could keep doing was slurp to much of my pleasure. The soup had depth, with meshing umami and citrus flavors, and lightened with dashes of cilantro.

Hassun

The beautiful plate of the chef’s petit fours and a Shiguko oyster served with French Daurenki caviar well represents what’s in season. What I got was, not surprisingly, all very tasty – some examples include a shrimp with a dusting of freeze-dried egg yolk or a crab claw with a puffed rice cracker.

Warm Dish

The Sansho Teriyaki Monkfish and its liver with “Soba” buckwheat and Nameko mushroom risotto was finely cooked. There wasn’t much risotto and I would say, mainly focused on the monkfish. Nothing wrong with that in my book!

Sushi Chic

The shima aji (striped jack) was nice, with some good fattiness to it.

Kamasu (Japanese Barracuda) was so delicious too. It was lightly torched which brought out the light char flavor but went so well with the fish itself.

I easily gulped down the buri (yellowtail) – it was very fresh and had some good fattiness to it. Yum.

Sushi Finale

The omakase officially ends with your choice of toro or wagyu beef sushi, which I chose the former. You can never go wrong with toro (fatty tuna). After all, it’s meant to melt in your mouth and that it did.

Obviously I couldn’t stop there so I ordered two more pieces to see what was on the a la carte menu.

I decided to pick a piece where it required a bit of preparation versus being a fresh piece of fish, so this was the Ji Kinmedai (Golden Eye Snapper) that has been lightly smoked with cherry wood. It was delicious, though I think I tasted more of the smoke from the char than the cherry wood.

Last, but certainly one of the more memorable pieces of sushi to me, was the Gyoku. It was made from fresh lobster and organic eggs. Essentially it was a fluffy egg cake, and provided a perfect sweet savory ending to the meal.

I found my entire meal to be nicely paced. Chef Ken was incredible and knowledgeable about his craft and fish. Nothing there felt pretentious and just a restaurant that aims to serve delicious sushi and dishes. Good thing I’ve already made my next reservation.

Kusakabe
584 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 757-0155
kusakabe-sf.com
Opentable

dinner/ nyc/ Spanish/ Uncategorized

Gastroarte: Food is Art and Your Plate is the Canvas

Located by Lincoln Center, Gastroarte is a restaurant to immerse yourself into the world of art and food. With intricate paintings of a bull fighter and flamengo dancers on the walls, it is hard not to notice the Spanish influences that Jesus Nunez (the chef) has made upon this restaurant.

Note: All dishes shown are their tasting-sized portions.

Each table was given a few small starters to whet your appetite.  Pictured above were their croquetas – one filled with cheese and ham and the other made of squid ink. It was actually quite nice, not too fried or oily, and so easy to just pop them into your mouth.

I really enjoyed their version of patatas bravas, Patatas Braviolis, which are fried potato cubes with house bravioli sauce. The sauce was very well done – nice and spicy giving the petite potato cubes a nice kick.

Labeled their Savory Carrot “Cake” with mahón cheese, asparagus seemed like an interesting appetizer to try.  They said it was one of their most popular dishes and served as inspiration for their paintings and decor of a dining room section.  It was definitely unique (who makes savory carrot cakes?) and had a nice creamy texture to it.  The carrot flavor was just enough for you to know what it is, but had a completely different texture than the typical carrot crunch.

Their Beets And Goat Cheese Mosaic Salad was nicely cooked and cubed; the beets were soft and easy to eat.

The Red Tuna served with tomato and sherry sauce was delectable.  The tuna was cooked just right, a pinkish red in the middle and lightly seared on the outside.  I particularly liked the “sauce” or as I would like to say “broth” – it had the sweet tartness from the tomato and sherry.  I only wished my piece was slightly bigger so I could have more.

I ended off the meal with Warm Liquid, chocolate fritters served with various orange sauces and jellies.  I liked the dessert, especially since they used a dark chocolate that really worked with the slight bitterness and tartness of the orange sauces / jelly.

Gastoarte is a solid restaurant that cooks their food to perfection and plates it just as seriously.  Your plate is their canvas, and they look to bring your dining experience into another realm of artistry and deliciousness. You pay for this particular experience where entrees are upper $20s to $30s, but hey – it’s still cheaper than a painting.

Gastroarte
141 W. 69th St., nr. Broadway
http://gastroartenyc.com/ 

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Upgrade: New Camera?

Wait, that’s not food. What is going on?  I’ve been thinking about getting a new camera and the one I am looking at is the Canon Rebel T2i. I’m not a huge camera geek, as many of you might assume, so luckily I have friends that are. It’s an upgrade on the Canon Rebel T1i with better video capabilities and a few other things. Click here for the comparison. It’s a good amount of money but considering this is a hobby I take somewhat seriously, perhaps it’s time to really invest. If anyone has suggestions for camera lenses that are great for food photos, let me know.

Anyway, I will need to get a camera soon considering I have many places to explore and eat at. My next post should be featuring food photos using my new camera so stay tuned!

Chinese/ dinner/ Japanese/ Korean/ nyc/ snack/ Taiwanese/ Uncategorized

Lucky Rice’s Night Market – A Taste of Asian Street Food

On a beautiful comfortable Friday night on April 30th held Lucky Rice’s Night Market, hosted by David Chang. This night market event is based on popular nighttime markets throughout Asia, found in Taipei all the way to Kuala Lumpur. Typically speaking, these night markets feature various cheap street foods, shops, and fun games.

In its first year, Lucky Rice was able to secure 26 different restaurants for the Archway, where the main event was held, and eight alcoholic beverage vendors located in the Loft. Being a passionate Taiwanese foodie, I was very excited to see how this event would come into fruition. The Archway under the Manhattan Bridge provided the perfect awning for all vendors to place their stands and prepare their street foods for the masses. Traditional and non-traditional restaurants highlighted Asian street food in small portions. All the vendors provided free samples and optional foods for purchase ranging from $1 to $3. Some highlights of the night included:

Mantao’s Spicy Pork Sandwich was nicely marinated, and the mantou (aka. Chinese steam bread) with sesame seeds on top offset the saltiness of the meat. It is quintessentially an Asian mini burger. Mantao’s partnership with American Airlines provided discount coupons for flights and a fortune cookie.

I really liked Kuma Inn and Uni Nom’s “Adoba and Atchara” Pork Belly. These days it is pretty easy to find pork belly in a dish, but I found that they did a particularly good job in marinating the meat – soft, oily, and salty. They provided small amounts of fatty goodness, which made it a perfect amount for me to enjoy without feeling too overwhelmed with the oily portions.

The Setai’s (South Beach, Miami) Crisp Fried Pork Belly served with Kimchi and Island Creek Oyster was different than Kuma Inn’s but just as good. It was important to take a bite of the pork belly FIRST and then slurping your oyster afterward. The oyster refreshed my palette from the fattiness of the fried pork belly.

Of course I had to get Baohaus’s Stinky Tofu since stinky tofu is one of Taiwan’s traditional dishes. The constant reaction was, “Oh my gosh, that really smells”. However, in my mind I believe that the smellier the tofu, the better the taste. Even though it was not the best stinky tofu I have had, I was glad that Baohaus was serving it. The stinky tofu certainly brought me back to my memories eating this street food in Taiwanese night markets.

The Malaysian Pavilion, located in a small section right before the Archway, was open to the public and featured 11 restaurants where small samples of food were sold. I didn’t eat anything here though I am sure there were plenty of good eats. Yet, I did explore one particular stand – the free photo booth where you can dress yourself in traditional Asian accessories like a fan or red umbrella. You were provided with a free souvenir picture so my friends and I went twice.

There was definitely too much good food to mention all in one post. Lucky Rice did a great job encompassing what a night market truly is – good street food and drink mist bright lights enjoyed in pleasantly warm weather. The Night Market revealed the beauty of the Archway of the Manhattan Bridge decorated with lantern and night-lights. I am looking forward to next year’s night market, and prepared to eat my heart out.

And more food pictures of the night for your pleasure.

Baohaus – Baohaus Fries with Sesame Paste

Baohaus – Pork Bun

Baohaus Stand

Buddakan – Chilled Udon Noodle with Peanut Sauce

Kum Gang San – Royal Court Rice Cakes

Kum Gang San – Assorted Pancakes

Delicatessen – Foie Gras and Beef Short Rib Dumpling

My Brooklyn Kitchen – Small Cupcake

My Brooklyn Kitchen – Small Cupcake 2

Asiadog – The Ginny

An Choi – Tuan Bui

Tea Magic – Shaved Ice

Kampuchea – Pork Meatball Numpang