Tagged: Japanese

Biggest Project Yet: “Strawberry Spree”

Guys, I did it. It’s finally over. Mother’s Day 2012 at Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar was a huge (and not to mention, all-consuming, body-exhausting, & mind-blowing) success! A widespread brunch/lunch buffet of Japanese fare was followed by “Strawberry Spree” Sweets buffet (by yours truly), where 460-something voracious, yet surprisingly pleasant, guests devoured 1800-something servings of 12 different types of strawberry-themed desserts within a span of 5 hours and 3 full-seating turnovers. Let’s not forget that this was, believe it or not, after these bottomless bellies were stuffed with mountains upon mountains of sushi, tempura, udon, salad, chicken, king crab, and God knows what else. All I really want to know is, who are these thoroughly inhuman people with such exigent appetites and where on earth did they come from? Because I have this ever-growing hunch that I must be related to them. After all, there is a most uncanny resemblance between my belly and theirs.Stomach resemblance aside, there may have been little else alike between these wonderful guests and I. Though the picture doesn’t show it (thank God), I slept for a very true-to-saying, painstakingly short-and-sweet 45 minutes. The grueling fun-filled hours leading up to that nap and the even more agonizing joyous hours that followed were wholeheartedly dedicated to baking and assembling a mass amount of the greatest (and most practical) homemade desserts I could muster up and create from scratch. Exhausted as I may have been, and trust me when I say exhausted is a euphemism for the physical state I was in at the time, this project was my absolute pride and joy from unshaped, prenatal beginning to expectant, postnatal forthcoming. It was Mother’s Day, for crying out loud, and this project was my beautifully overweight newborn. Continue reading

Furikake Crusted Mahi Mahi

This post is going to be relatively short, ending with a recipe for a dish that I did not create myself. Actually, the idea was originally mine, but as soon as I mentioned my intentions to create the dish, Pat was on it. What about my intellectual property rights?! Little did I know that Pat was, in reality, a vicious maelstrom of sorts out to suck up each and every one of my culinary ideas! Well, not really. This is actually not even an original idea of mine, it is a common way to prepare fish here in Hawaii. It was just the first time that I had wanted to re-create the dish at home (and apparently, the first time the idea had ever even crossed Pat’s scheming mega-mind!). Furikake is a Japanese dry condiment that is typically sprinkled upon rice to add flavor and texture. Though there are many variations, furikake usually consists of chopped nori (dried seaweed), sesame seeds, bonito (dried fish) flakes, sugar, salt, and yes, MSG (monosodium glutamate – the infamous flavor enhancer and preservative). Considering the fact that Hawaii is so geographically close to and culturally influenced by Japan, it is only natural that what we deem “local” in terms of food and its preparation heavily integrates various aspects of Japanese Cuisine.

As most of you are all aware, a couple days ago (on March 11), a tragic earthquake and tsunami hit Japan and destroyed Sendai as well as many other areas. Many were injured, killed, and are still missing. Everyone in Hawaii has been affected by this natural disaster, be it due to the constant sirens of tsunami warnings or the countless number of family and friends that live in or are inextricably tied to Japan. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to Japan in this time of great need.
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Jin Din Rou

After months and months of elated anticipation, Jin Din Rou officially opened their doors to a mob of famished and impatient customers  about a month ago on an already restaurant-laden and culinary-active South King St. Notwithstanding the hegemony of Pan-Asian cuisine in Hawaii, Jin Din Rou immediately enthralled locals and tourists alike for their Taiwanese specialty xiao long bao or soup dumplings (surprisingly, not-so-featured nor readily available in Oahu).

The chaotic and overpopulated restaurant¬† mirrors the atmosphere of China, while the interior decor and architectural aesthetics embodies the essence of Japan. The initial impression is that of a sensory overload (at least in sight, smell, and sound). The structure of the rather small restaurant is simple yet refined, making it visually appealing despite the manifest lack of space and privacy between cramped tables (minus the more spacious booths for parties of 4 or more, an unfortunate discrimination against couples, which I happen to travel in!). The window displaying their dainty kitchen and industrious chefs combined with the savory fragrance of steaming dumplings only arouse further eagerness and hunger for what’s to come, drowning out the commotion of an equally excited crowd around you. But, alas, is all this hype about Jin Din Rou reprehensible? I know that I, for one, have certainly rescinded my enthusiasm and expectations for the seemingly promising restaurant and its dining experience. Continue reading

Miso Saba

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, not so long ago (as in, two weeks ago to be more exact), I promised to bring you cookies. The events that occurred thereafter are to blame for my failure to deliver those seriously terrific cookies, which will lamentably have to wait. I went to Dallas, Texas over the winter holidays, for no other reason than the fact that Pat’s immediate family lives there. While the trip was actually more animated and entertaining than imagined, there was one particular event that detained me from coming home to my kitchen to cook and photograph all that I love for the world to see. Obviously, of course, amongst a heap of other things.

Ever watch that movie The Terminal? The one with Tom Hanks? Well, I was Tom Hanks and this was not a movie. After irresponsibly missing our flight home, we were put on standby for what felt like an eternity. Seriously, our flight was supposed to leave on the 28th and we then proceeded to “live” in the airport until late New Year’s Day. Well, not quite “live,” – seeing as we did have the luxury of being picked up late at night to sleep at Pat’s parents’ house after an entire disappointing day of waiting hopefully for any flight out of there – but spend 9-hours a day for four grueling days. Pat’s mom even packed us amazing banh mi sandwiches every morning, which I joked that we needed to ration in case we decide to trade sandwiches for burgers or drinks with our new temporarily permanent neighbor, Burger King. At that point, I was only half kidding. Anyway, we made it home (albeit with arduous efforts) to bring in the New Year with renewed resolutions and better recipes, this being the indisputable “happily ever after.” Continue reading

Moriomoto Waikiki.

I definitely haven’t been the most diligent blogger lately. I have, unsurprisingly, on the other hand, been quite the diligent eater. I am finally proud to say that I am no longer green with envy of those who’ve experienced the wonders of Iron Chef Morimoto’s new restaurant in Waikiki. I realize that this does not give me absolution from my sin of procrastination and negligence, but allow me to blandish you into forgetting my mistakes, my loyal and lovely readers out there (be there any left).

Being the Iron Chef fanatic that I am and the sushi aficionado that Pat is, going to Morimoto was certainly at the top of our food agenda. The only problem was finding the right time and occasion. Regardless, that problem was answered pronto since it was Patrick’s birthday a few days ago. I surreptitiously made reservations weeks in advance, but unfortunately didn’t come up with a proper surprise plan of execution. Nevertheless, he was indeed pleasantly surprised and quietly thrilled (being the mild and mellow guy that he is).¬† I, of course, was a little more expressly excited and exhilaratingly anxious to do my wallet some serious Iron Chef damage. Wow, and major damage did we most certainly do.
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Chinpei Ramen.

I did it. I survived the first two weeks of my senior year as college student. Whewwwww. While I could totally attribute my victory in this squabble with school to numerous factors, one indispensable and tremendously influential aspect of my college life thus far stands out: Ramen. Sure, I’ve refrained from meeting friends and going to parties, been begrudgingly glued to word documents on the computer screen, pulled zombie-forming all nighters, and followed other practices of abnegation. However, one affordable luxury and comforting source of sustenance has dependably been ramen.

I must admit though, the kind of ramen I grew up with and am still quite fond of is the cheap, red packaged Shin ramen you find at grocery stores. So you can imagine my sheer amazement and utter excitement in finding out that there is so much more to gourmet ramen than having a well-flavored soup base packet and adding an egg to it.

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