Allison Day


Fridgg.com

Every Day is a Sushi Day!

Sushiday.com is all about sushi. My recipes vary from the most traditional sushi to the craziest off-the-wall combinations. Every week I will post new sushi recipes that I have made, as well as sushi restaurant reviews, sushi tutorials, and other sushi-related randomness. Every day is a sushi day!


It’s been two and a half years since Son and I went to Japan with Rachael and her family, and it seems I never quite finished posting about the trip! Oops.

However, since I find it helpful to refer back to the trip (especially when other people ask for recommendations), and I hope you all find these posts interesting and informative, I’m going to post about the rest of the trip anyways! (And if any of you go to Japan, let me know! I love hearing about other peoples’ trips.)

All the previous posts from our 2012 Japan trip can be found here.

———-

Our last day in Japan was a short one. We took the Shinkensen, all the way back to Tokyo.


Shinkensen back to Narita Airport


Leaving Kyoto


Countryside


Allison on the train

Of course we had to have some snacks, on the way.


Son with the shumai chips

Shumai chips – odd, but addictive!


Shumai chips


Train conductor


Back in Tokyo


View of houses from the train

Goodbye, Japan! We hope to be back soon!


At the airport.  Goodbye Japan!

(P.S. I’m surprised I wasn’t charged an overweight fee for my bags – half the weight was from cookbooks alone!)


Final cookbook tally

No CommentsRead More...


It’s been two and a half years since Son and I went to Japan with Rachael and her family, and it seems I never quite finished posting about the trip! Oops.

However, since I find it helpful to refer back to the trip (especially when other people ask for recommendations), and I hope you all find these posts interesting and informative, I’m going to post about the rest of the trip anyways! (And if any of you go to Japan, let me know! I love hearing about other peoples’ trips.)

All the previous posts from our 2012 Japan trip can be found here.

———-

On our last full day in Kyoto, we were lucky enough to meet up with an old friend of mine who now lives in Kyoto. I’ve known Kaori since I was a teenager, when we both danced with the same pre-professional ballet company. These days, she’s dancing as a professional ballerina with a ballet company in Kyoto.

We met up with her at Shijo station, then headed to Cafe Reims.


Cafe Reims menus


Outside of the cafe


Inside of the cafe


Inside the cafe


Kitchen

I ordered pasta with salmon, asparagus, white sauce, and fish eggs.


Pasta with salmon, asparagus, white sauce, and fish eggs

Kaori got a fish burger.


Kaori's fish burger

And Son had a hamburg plate.


Son's hamburg plate


Kaori

After lunch, we headed to Nishiki market, which was just down the street from the cafe.


Unagi shop in Nishiki market


Shop in Nishiki market

Nishiki market hadn’t changed much from when we visited back in 2010 – remember these little candied octopuses?


Octopus

There are so many tasty things to try at Nishiki market, it would be a shame to leave without buying anything!

So we got senbei…


Senbei shop


Man making senbei


Shop selling dried seafood

… black beans…


Allison and Kaori buying beans


Shop selling greens


Shop selling tsukemono


Shop selling misozuke


Allison and Kaori walking through Nishiki market

… yuzu kosho…


Shop where we bought yuzu kosho

… and shoyu mochi with matcha and red bean fillings.


Nishiki market


Allison and Kaori

After shopping, Kaori had to go run some errands, so after bidding her goodbye, Son and I stopped at Ippudo for ramen. Of course.


Just inside Ippudo


Diners at Ippudo


Ippudo Menu


Condiments


Gyoza


Ramen


Ramen


Ramen


Allison in front of Ippudo

Five stars, would go again. :D


Shellfish shop in Nishiki


Gift shop


Plush sushi


Samurai with utility belt

On our way back out through Nishiki market, we stopped and got some mochi with kinako for dessert. Delicious.


Mochi with kinako

After heading back to the hotel to pack, we finally got to check out the Kyoto Station CUBE.


Yatsu hashi shop

We found some tasty food souviniers to bring home for friends and family.


Allison shopping for food souvenirs to bring home


Mochi


Cakes

… and then headed to the hot food section to find some tasty foods for dinner!


Man making sushi


Inari shop


Tebasaki shop

After purchasing all sorts of deliciousness for dinner, we left the shops in the basement, and headed alllll the way to the top of Kyoto station.


Heading up to the roof of Kyoto Station


View of Kyoto from the roof of Kyoto Station

Way up on the 10th floor of Kyoto station, is a cute little area called “Happy Terrace”, where we sat a bit and ate.


Allison eating the pork and potatoes

We had found all sorts of interesting things, like pork with potatoes…


Pork and potatoes


View of Kyoto Tower across Happy Terrace

… and a beautiful bento box.


Bento box

(We really couldn’t get enough of the bento boxes in Japan – they were all so wonderful!)


Bento box


Schoolkids invading the roof


Schoolkids looking at one of their cameras

And then Happy Terrace got mobbed by a swarm of schoolkids.


Schoolkids everywhere

(Kyoto Tower looks so pretty from here!)


Kyoto Tower

So we headed back down the 10 flights of escalators…


The view down 10+ flights of escalators to the bottom of Kyoto station


Happy Terrace


So many schoolkids!


Heading back down to Kyoto Station


The roof of Kyoto Station


Kyoto Tower


Allison in front of Kyoto Tower

… all the way back down to the train station.


Shinkensen tracks at night

But before we left, we needed to make one more stop!

Had to buy a few last shiro cream puffs from Beard Papa’s, to bring home to California.


Allison buying cream puffs

Back at the hotel, we got into the other two things we bought at the Kyoto Station CUBE.

Five kinds of inari sushi – oh, how I wish I could find these in LA!


Inari Sushi


Inari Sushi


Inari Sushi


Inari Sushi


Inari Sushi

And tebasaki chicken wings. Delicious!


Tebasaki

2 CommentsRead More...


It’s been two and a half years since Son and I went to Japan with Rachael and her family, and it seems I never quite finished posting about the trip! Oops.

However, since I find it helpful to refer back to the trip (especially when other people ask for recommendations), and I hope you all find these posts interesting and informative, I’m going to post about the rest of the trip anyways! (And if any of you go to Japan, let me know! I love hearing about other peoples’ trips.)

All the previous posts from our 2012 Japan trip can be found here.

———-

Having forgotten to put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on our door the previous night, we were woken up at the very early hour of 10am by a housekeeper knocking at our door.

Yeah… we were still pretty exhausted from all the walking the day before.


Tuna onigiri

But since we were already up, may as well take full advantage of our second-to-last full day in Japan!

(After a quick breakfast of tuna onigiri, of course.)


Shinkensen tracks at Kyoto Station

We walked to Kyoto station, and took the Shinkensen to Shin-Osaka.


View from Fukushima station

From there, we couldn’t figure out where to go. Son wanted to go to the aquarium, but he also wanted to go to this “food street” he had heard about, and I wanted to go to a cookware street that my cousin had told me about… but unfortunately we only had a limited amount of time to see Osaka.


Fukushima station sign

Which pretty much meant we promptly got lost. Yeah, the Fukushima station was not where we were supposed to get off for any of the above destinations. Oops.


Fukushima station

Luckily the Japanese trains come by quite regularly, and the line we were on was very similar to the Yamanote Line in Tokyo, in that it just goes in one big circle around the city. So you can’t get too lost.


JR-Namba station tracks

Plus in the time we had to wait for the next train, we managed to figure out where we wanted to go.

Pretty soon we were on our way to the JR-Namba station.


Suica machine


JR-Namba Station


Outside JR-Namba Station

So which destination did we choose?


Walking along a main street in Osaka


Crossing the street to get to Dotonbori


Buildings

Well, you know us.


Walking through a covered strip mall


Side street

Of COURSE we went with food.


Dontonbori

Dotonbori is a street lining a canal in Osaka, and it’s famous as a food destination. There are restaurants all up and down the streets surrounding the canal. So. Much. Good. Food.


Ramen shop at Dotonbori


Dotonbori

Our first stop was an okonomiyaki and takoyaki shop.


Takoyaki

Osaka is known for its okonomiyaki and takoyaki, so this was a no-brainer.


View out the back of the okonomiyaki restaurant


Takoyaki

We got eight takoyaki – four with worcestershire sauce, and four with shoyu. They were excellent, of course.


Allison eating takoyaki


Takoyaki inside


Okonomiyaki

We also got a pork okonomiyaki (and when they say pork, they really mean bacon) with egg and scallops. Good stuff, man.


Allison eating


Posters inside the restaurant


Okonomiyaki


Cutting the okonomiyaki


Serving the okonomiyaki


Okonomiyaki close-up


Tables inside the restaurant


Outside of the restaurant


Outside of the resturant


Hawker outside of the restuarant

Then we wandered…


More restaurants


Pastry stall


Dotonbori


Side street


Food stall

… right into another bookstore, where we bought a Japanese cookbook all about ice cream, and some Japanese cooking magazines.

No, we did not buy the Japanese version of Twilight, though the Japanese “Edward” on the cover is pretty amusing.


Twilight in Japanese

More wandering…


River and crazy ferris wheel


Another view straight down the river

… and more food, of course.


Crepe Ojisan


Crepe

This time, a Japanese crepe with strawberry ice cream, pound cake, chocolate, and whipped cream.


Crepe


View of the river from the other side of the ferris wheel

Then we headed back to a ramen place we had read about. Kinryu Ramen is easy to find – it’s the shop with the huge dragon coming out of it!


Ramen shop


Inside of the ramen shop


Allison in the ramen shop


Kinryu Ramen


Chashu in the ramen

After lunch part 2, (which was delicious, by the way), we tried to find our way to Doguyasuji – the cookware street.


Wandering Osaka, looking for Doguyasuji


Getting closer to Doguyasuji

On the way, we got distracted by ice cream. Again.

(But can you blame us? In Japan’s hot, humid summer, as much ice cream as possible is a must!


Pastry stand


Man making pastries


Another pastry stand


People dressed up as characters

This time, it was came in the form of a wafer filled with ice cream and red beans. Delicious


Wafer cookies filled with red bean paste and ice cream


People dressed up as characters


Allison with the wafer pastry


Wafer cookie with a bite taken out of it


A person dressed up as an old man character

And then… hey, look! We found Doguyasuji!


Found Doguyasuji!


Doguyasuji


Cat statue


Bowls

I tell ya, this is food blogger heaven.


Allison, and lots of spoons


Tons of dishes


Knife shop


A food blogger's dream!


Side street

On our way back to the train station, we stopped at Choco Cro again, and bought a matcha daifuku croissant to snack on.


Choco Cro Matcha Daifuku Croissant


Inside of croissant


Reading one of our magazines on the train back to Kyoto

By the time we got back, the Kyoto Station CUBE was closed, so we picked up dinner at Family Mart again. (The best.)

Oh – and one more interesting thing you’ll find in Japan, but not in the US: oftentimes, disposable chopsticks come with a toothpick! How nifty is that?


Chopsticks come with a toothpick!

2 CommentsRead More...



Salmon avocado rolls

Longtime Sushi Day readers may recall that I’ve been a huge fan of I Love Blue Sea ever since I got to know Martin Reed almost five years ago. I used to be a huge fan of their sashimi sampler, and loved using it for my New Year’s sushi, but alas, they discontinued it a few years ago.

Luckily for me (and you!), Martin has embarked in a very exciting new venture that is all about providing sustainable sashimi to the general public (meaning, you don’t have to buy 10 lbs of fish at once)! He just launched a Kickstarter project for his new company, Two Fish.


Albacore nigiri

From their Kickstarter:

“Buy fish directly from a boat, sliced by sushi chefs and delivered to your door. Leftover trim is donated to local food banks.”

“Traditionally when fish is processed for sushi, 20 – 50% of it is discarded. This is a tremendous waste of some the healthiest parts of the fish, like the belly and collar. Instead, by processing it ourselves and buying direct, we can take the trimmings and bits, and donate those to our nonprofit partner, Project Open Hand – an amazing organization that provides meals with love to seniors and the critically ill. Our hope is that a high-protein and omega 3-filled diet will help boost health and happiness in our communities.”

You get delicious sashimi delivered to your door, people in need get the health benefits of fish added to their diets, and none of the fish goes to waste – what more could you ask for?


Tobiko gunkan maki

I got a sneak peak at his new project a couple of weeks ago, when a box of frozen sashimi arrived at my door. All I had to do was defrost it for a few hours before eating, and voila! Sashimi-grade fish.

The albacore I got came in small slices, perfect for sashimi. I made a few mini nigiri with them, but the majority we ate as sashimi. Son couldn’t stop eating it – I had to force him to take a few photos before he ate it all up!

I also got some ikura (fish eggs). Since I was more interested in sampling the quality of the sashimi than playing with weird combinations like I normally do, I went traditional, with a gunkan maki. But since I can never pass up an opportunity to play with the Rice Cube I got a few years ago (see here and here), (plus it’s super convenient), I made square gunkan maki. Due to the freezing, the ikura were a little saltier than usual, but still very delicious.

The last type of fish I got to play with was their salmon. Of the three fish I tried, this was my favorite. (Unfortunately, I did not get to try the ahi tuna that’s on their Kickstarter.) I made a simple salmon and avocado roll (I made a similar tuna and avocado roll several years ago) which was absolutely delicious.

All in all, I’m really excited about Two Fish. I love supporting sustainable seafood companies as much as I can… plus, anything that keeps me from having to battle my way through Japanese supermarkets the week before New Year’s is always a good thing. ;) I’ve already supported their Kickstarter – I’d love it if you would, too!


Salmon and avocado roll

Disclaimers: The fish was sent to me free of charge, with no obligation to write a post about it. All opinions are my own… and Son’s. The Rice Cube link is an affiliate link.

1 CommentRead More...


Salmon PokePosted on May 26th, 2014 · No Comments »

Other Recipes


salmon poke

A few months ago, a new restaurant opened in Redondo Beach that serves nothing but poke. We’re kind of addicted. (We like the California Roll poke the best.)


Jus' Poke

A few weeks ago, Son and I went on a business trip/vacation to Europe, which was tons of fun, exhausting, and left us craving Asian food like crazy. (Check out my Instagram for lots of pictures from the trip, and keep an eye on the Fridgg blog for writeups about everywhere we went, as soon as Son has time to process some of the thousands of pictures he took!) (We totally have been binging on Thai, Chinese, and Japanese food since we’ve gotten back.)


Flying to Europe

A few days ago, one of the awesome people I met at Big Traveling Potluck this year blogged about ahi poke. Yummm….

And then, Saturday night, after a long day full of lots of eating, Son and I were standing in front of the fish counter in Whole Foods at closing time, trying to figure out what I should cook for the next week. “Figure out what you want,” I told Son with a yawn, as I gently pushed him towards the big slabs of fish.

“Hmmm, maybe salmon…” he hemmed and hawed.

“All the salmon is sashimi grade,” offered the man behind the counter, with a smile. “You could make poke…”

“Ooooh!” Son and I both perked up at the idea. “We could get a couple of pounds of salmon, and make half into poke, and cook the other half…”

So we bought the fish, and the next day, used Samantha’s ahi poke recipe (substituting the salmon for the ahi tuna, of course), and made half of the salmon into poke. And then made the other half of the salmon into poke, because it was too delicious not to. :D


salmon poke

Recipe slightly adapted from Samantha of Little Ferraro Kitchen

Ingredients
  • 1 lb sashimi-grade salmon, cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp shoyu
  • 2 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional – Son thought it was a little too salty, but I liked it with the sea salt, so add to taste)
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Enjoy!

No CommentsRead More...


Note: I wrote this post shortly after New Year’s. And then couldn’t decide when to post it, or if I should post it, and… now it’s two months late and I’m posting it anyways. Yeah… I’m an awesome blogger like that. Enjoy!

Happy New Year!

I hope 2014 started out with a little less excitement for you than it did for me!

Ever since starting Sushi Day back in 2006, I’ve gotten the responsibility for making sushi for my family’s New Year’s celebration every year.

On top of that, for the last three years since we mentioned it in my Miso Hungry Podcast, I’ve also started making the kuromame every year (we used to just have canned kuromame).

Making all that has never been a problem. Until now. (DUN DUN DUN!)

I started the kuromame on time – started soaking it two nights before New Year’s Day, then simmered it all day on New Year’s Eve. Buuuut… it seems I had the heat turned too low, because the beans were crunchy (crunchy!!!) after eight hours of simmering. GAH.

“Okay,” I thought, “I’ll just leave it on low overnight, and if it’s still not ready, I’ll cook it on high all morning while I’m making the sushi.” It was a totally solid plan.

… that is, until I noticed the power light on my laptop charger dimming, then brightening, then dimming again around 2:30am.

“Uh… am I using too much power?” Not that that makes any sense at all, but it was 2:30am. I wasn’t exactly thinking straight.

I ran out to the kitchen, and turned off our electric stove. Everything seemed fine (although for some reason our apartment seemed a tad bit dimmer than usual), so I tiptoed back to bed, trying not to wake Son.

A few minutes later, the power cut out entirely.

This time I did wake up Son, and made him go check outside. All the neighborhood lights were out. Great.

As we were falling back asleep, the sound of sirens cut through the air. “I wonder what that could be…?”

7am. The alarm on my phone is blaring. Sushi time!

Except… not. We have power, but only just barely. Not enough for the rice cooker to work, and no rice means no sushi! (And remember the part where we have an electric stove? Yeah, no way to cook rice the old-fashioned way, either.)

Crap. Crappity crap crap.

I stepped outside to run to Starbucks (which… um… was closed due to power outage. *facepalm*) and ran into one of my neighbors. “Do you have power?” “Just a little.” “Any idea what happened?”

Turns out a drunk driver was playing chicken with a power pole at 2:30am, and they both lost. -_-

Okay. Don’t freak out.

At a loss for what to do, I called my dad to see if I could try to bring everything over and make all the sushi at his house. (Which, by the way, is very difficult to do when the local cell towers are ALSO without power. Oy vey.) And then I realized that the car was in the garage… and I can’t get into the garage…

Called my mom. She suggested having Grandma cook some rice, and heading out there a few hours earlier than we had all planned to go. Okay. That should work. I woke Son, to tell him the plan and get him ready to go…

AND THEN THE POWER CAME BACK ON.

*happy dance*

Once I was sure the power was going to stay on, I started the rice, over-caffinated myself, and got the kuromame cooking again.

Two hours and 27 rolls of sushi, a successfully-cooked pot of kuromame, and a bowl of New Year’s ozoni later, we were ready to go. Right on time!

Moral of the story? Don’t drink and drive! (And maybe buy a backup generator for important cooking days… ;) )



No CommentsRead More...



Ramen Burger

Have you heard of the Ramen Burger™?

They say it’s the next Cronut.


Ramen burger on TV

Started in New York just two months ago by Chef Keizo Shimamoto, the Ramen Burger™ has taken the ramen world by storm.

If his name sounds familiar to you, there’s a good reason for it – Keizo and I have been friends for several years now, and I’ve mentioned him when we went to the Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum and his ramen shop Bassanova the first time Son and I went to Japan, and then again when we went back to Bassanova and then got monjayaki and ramen with him in the middle of a typhoon during our second trip to Japan with Rachael and her family.


Prep

A few weeks ago, Keizo sent out a message to a bunch of his LA friends. The ramen burger was coming to LA!

Even better (at least, as far as I was concerned), he was bringing the ramen burger to the Torrance Mitsuwa!

Since it was so convenient for us (we go to the Torrance Mitsuwa all the time), and we REALLY wanted to try a ramen burger, Son and I volunteered to help.


Allison with the Ramen Burger shirt

When we got there at 9:30am, they said there were already more than 300 people in line. (They weren’t going to start serving Ramen Burgers™ until 11am.) Some of the people near the front of the line had been there since 6am!


Ramen burger line

At one point, there were over 1000 people in line. The line wrapped around the entire Mitsuwa building, until the tail met the front of the line… and Mitsuwa’s a pretty large building.


Ramen burger line

Never have I been so glad to be able to volunteer for something – especially since it was a pretty hot day in Torrance.


Ramen burger line

Since there were so many of Keizo’s friends volunteering, I just hung out for the first couple of hours (and explained to all the random people passing by what a ramen burger is) while Son and Cam and Tracy (the other photographers) took photos of the prep and the enormous line.


Chef Keizo flipping buns


Chef Keizo showing volunteers how to cook the buns

Keizo was busy prepping, and showing all of the volunteers how to prepare the Ramen Burgers™.


Chef Keizo showing how to prepare a ramen burger


Chef Keizo with the first ramen burgers


Chef Keizo eating the first ramen burger


The first round of prep volunteers


Starting to cook ramen burgers for the media

It wasn’t long before the news stations and other journalists started crowding in.


News stations filming ramen burger prep


Getting ready to start


Keizo with his ramen burger

So… what is a ramen burger?


Allison holding a wrapped ramen burger

It comes wrapped in this neat wrapper that acts like a bowl, to catch the sauce and loose noodles.


Allison with a wrapped ramen buger

And when you open it up, you find two ramen “buns”, surrounding an angus beef patty, arugula, their special shoyu-based “secret sauce”, and green onions.


Ramen Burger

(Yeah, I’m a food blogger, of course I had to Instagram a photo of it!)


Allison taking a picture of her ramen burger


Ramen burger

So how does it taste?


Allison eating a ramen buger

Pretty gosh darned good, in my opinion.


Ramen burger with a bite taken out of it

I love ramen, I love burgers, and what Keizo has made is the perfect combination of the two.


Allison eating ramen burger with Lana in the background


The crowd

Everyone who had waited in line for hours seemed to think it was worth it, too!


The first people to get their ramen burgers


Keizo being filmed by CBS 2


Allison with her ramen burger shirt

Sweetest moment of the day? Keizo serving his mom the very first ramen burger of the day – and she loved it!


Keizo with his mom and brother


Lana being filmed by CBS 2

Hey, who’s that food blogger? Lana showed up! ^_^

Lucky woman didn’t even have to wait in line – one of the members of the media didn’t want to finish his, so he gave the rest of his ramen burger to her.


Allison and Keizo


The line inside Mitsuwa


People purchasing ramen burgers


Ramen burger prep line


Allison wrapping burgers

A few hours after we started, a couple of the volunteers had to leave, so I got to step in and wrap the ramen burgers for the next three hours.


Allison wrapping burgers


Allison handing off a burger

By 3pm, the last of the ramen burgers were gone. We had cooked, wrapped, and sold more than 500 of them. The day was a total success!

If you didn’t get to try a ramen burger this time around, you can try them every weekend at Smorgasburg in NY, or on weekdays for the next two weeks at Dassara in Brooklyn.

If you want to know when the ramen burger will be back in LA, follow me on twitter or facebook – I’ll announce it next time Keizo brings his Ramen Burger™ back to LA!

4 CommentsRead More...



Ramen shop

It’s time for another Mitsuwa fair, and all of the delicious things that comes with it!

This past weekend they had their Kyushu and Okinawa Fair at the Torrance, Costa Mesa, and San Diego stores. (If you’re near San Jose, Chicago, or New Jersey, check out their event page – the fair is in those cities this upcoming Thursday through Sunday!)


Condiments for ramen

As usual, they had a guest ramen shop visiting from Japan. This time, it was “Tanaka Shoten” with their “Hakata Nagahama Ramen”.


Ramen

We loved the light flavor of the broth, and the chashu was flavorful and just fell apart in your mouth.

They also offered a rice bowl topped with spicy cod roe, which Son loved.


Spicy cod roe rice bowl

We loved everything so much, we came back two days later for two more bowls of ramen and another rice bowl!


Allison eating the ramen

One very cool part about these Mitsuwa fairs is getting to see all of the interesting products they import from Japan just for the fair.


Allison shopping

Since this was an Okinawa fair, there were quite a few sweet potato products, including purple sweet potato somen (you can expect to see a recipe using that one of these days!) and sweet potato sticks.


Strawberry pudding cream puff stand

They also had “Pie Fresh AMAO strawberry Pudding on Choux” from “Kikuya” from the Oita Prefecture.


Strawberry cream puffs

They were interesting – custard and a flan-like strawberry pudding inside a cream puff.


Allison shopping

The caramel sauce was a little too bitter for my tastes, but aside from that they were delicious.


Sushi stand

They also had various types of sushi rolls, including mackerel sushi (which we didn’t try), and the Genkai Roll Sushi.


Sushi packaging

Japanese packaging is always so pretty!


Sushi

The Genkai Roll was delicious. The fillings in the roll included anago, shrimp, crab, cucumber, tamago, and mushrooms.


Sushi


Crepe stand

And, of course, we can never resist Japanese crepes!


Allison with the crepe

Since they had a “purple yam special” crepe, we obviously had to try it.


Purple sweet potato crepe

A little too potato-ey for our tastes (we would have expected them to sweeten the purple sweet potato puree just a bit), but it sure does look nice, doesn’t it?


Purple sweet potato crepe

Want to know when the next Mitsuwa fair is? Check out their event page (the next fair is in just a few weeks!), or follow me on Twitter or Instagram – I always post photos when I go!

No CommentsRead More...


If you live near Torrance, CA or New Jersey, and if you like Japanese food (which, if you don’t, I hate to tell you this might not be the right food blog for you… ;) ), then you MUST go to the Mitsuwa Japanese Gourmet Fair this weekend (next weekend if you’re in New Jersey). (Also, if you live near Costa Mesa, San Jose, San Diego, or Chicago, they all have smaller versions of the fair, so those stores may have some, but not all, of the things I mention here.)


Ramen shop sign

Mitsuwa has these food fairs every year and I always try to make a point to go, because there is always SO much good food to try that they don’t normally carry!

I visited Friday, and let’s just say that my tummy is in a very happy place right now. :D

First things first, let’s talk about the food that they sell to be eaten there. Because oh my goodness, I think this food fair was my favorite of all the ones we’ve been to.

If you haven’t ever been to a Mitsuwa, then you should know that every one has a large food court with about five or so different Japanese restaurants there, as well as assorted other shops, and a large grocery section. For the food fairs, Mitsuwa takes over one of the restaurants and brings in a restaurant from Japan.

This time, they brought in Kamome Diner, owned by a man named Mr. Chiba, from Kesennuma, Japan. His shop served “Kesennuma Ramen Ushio Aji (Salt)” – a shio (salt broth) ramen – and a salmon bowl with sesame shoyu (soy sauce).


Kesennuma Ramen Ushio Aji (Salt)

We LOVED the ramen. A lot of time ramen can be pretty heavy, but since this had a chicken-based broth instead of a pork base, this was really light. The chashu was incredibly flavorful. We could have happily eaten another bowl. ($11 with the egg, less if you go without.)

(Pardon the instagram photos – someone forgot to bring his camera.)


Salmon bowl with sesame shoyu

I wasn’t expecting much from this, but it was insanely good. The sauce was a little bit sweet, and perfect for the fresh salmon. Seriously, so good we went back for a second bowl (and at only $4, totally worth it!) Even as we were eating it, Son was telling me that we will have to replicate this at home – so hey, maybe you guys will get a recipe sometime soon!

That was it for the food court (although all the other restaurants are still open, so you could totally have takoyaki, okonomiyaki, ramen, or all sorts of other delicious things, at least if you’re at the Torrance store!), but there was plenty of packaged food available to purchase.

We didn’t buy/try everything (some of the stuff is CRAZY expensive, like seafood salads that cost $40/lb!!!), but here’s what we did get:


Seafood bento

This seafood bento (which I’d call a chirashi, because there was definitely sumeshi underneath all that seafood, but what do I know? ;) ) was so beautiful, we couldn’t pass it by. Son really wanted to try it.


Seafood bento

It’s a little pricy at about $16, but SO WORTH IT. It consists of sushi rice topped with a mixture of uni, tamago, mushrooms, two types of tobiko, ikura, crab, and… I’m not entirely sure what that translucent white thing is, but it was delicious.


Seafood bento

I have never tasted such a satisfying bento/chirashi before! Everything was fresh, perfectly seasoned, and all the ingredients were wonderfully complementary, not to mention the presentation is gorgeous. Son really wants to go back tomorrow and get another one. :D


Croquettes

When we bought these, Son was all, “Meh, I don’t really like croquettes, just get whatever you want.”

And then he actually tried them after taking the photos, and was more like, “OMG THESE ARE THE BEST THINGS EVER! WHY AREN’T ALL CROQUETTES THIS DELICIOUS?!?!”

(Okay, maybe not so much yelling, but you could tell that’s what he meant. ;) )


Croquettes

We got potato and butter, salmon cream, and uni cream croquettes. The potato was alright, not too exciting. Tasted like mashed potatoes. However the salmon and uni croquettes were MIND BLOWING. Imagine taking the best things about salmon and uni, then make them creamier, mix them with potato, roll them in panko, and fry them up. It tastes even more amazing than it sounds.

They’re $1.50 each, but fairly large, so not too pricy.


Fish cakes

The thing Son loves most about every Mitsuwa food fair is the stalls that sell a huge variety of fish cakes. He always buys a bunch, then brings them home to put in his instant ramen or eat them over rice. They’re pretty much his favorite thing ever.

This time, they were all on sticks. There were six types (not like I have any idea what they all were – sorry!) and we got one of each.


Fish cakes

Delicious x 6. (Obviously we had to try a little of each, so we could report back to you!)

$2 each.


Sesame makidora

I’m a total sucker for anything black sesame (Rachael is 100% to blame for that one) so I just had to get one of these black sesame makidora (rolled dorayaki – like little Japanese pancakes filled with some sort of filling).


Sesame makidora

Mmmm, yum. I always love Japanese sweets, especially if black sesame is involved. :D

$2 each – they also had red bean, custard, and matcha fillings.


Caramel and custard imagawayaki

I’ve had something like these Sweet Pumpkin Obanyaki before and wasn’t super enthused about them, but this time, everything was different. We skipped the red bean one, and went for the caramel and custard ones.

HOLY COW THAT CARAMEL.

So here’s what you do.

Buy a caramel one. (I bet the custard is good too, but I haven’t actually tried that one yet.)

Heat it up just a bit, until the pastry is warm and the caramel is soft.

Take a bite. Make sure you get some of the caramel.

Do a happy dance around the kitchen because it is SO FREAKING GOOD.

Eat the rest, and then wish you had bought a few more at the fair.

Realize that hey, there are still two more days of the fair!

Rejoice.


Caramel and custard imagawayaki

These were quite a bit sweeter than I’d usually expect from Japanese sweets (that caramel is LEGIT caramel!), but I did not mind one bit, they were so good.

$2 each – there was also a red bean-filled one, but I seriously recommend the caramel.


Green tea cheesecake

Lastly, green tea cheesecake.

We almost didn’t try this one. Son wanted to buy something for his dad, so he decided on the cheesecake. Then while we were in the checkout line, he piped up, “I kind of want to get another one, because I really want to try it…” So he ran back to grab another one for us. ;)

This is true Japanese cheeesecake. Now, forget everything that comes to mind when you think of cheesecake. This is nothing like the rich, heavy, sweet American cheesecakes you’re probably familiar with. No, this is super light, not too sweet (especially with the green tea flavor), with only the slightest hint of cheese.

In other words, absolutely delicious.

About $20 each.


Green tea cheesecake

We also got a lemon chiffon cake which we haven’t opened yet because we’re saving it for dessert on Father’s Day (hi Dad!)

So if that hasn’t convinced you that you should go check out the Mitsuwa Japanese Gourmet Fair, you should go read Mary the Food Librarian’s post… and if you’re STILL not convinced, then there’s no hope for you at all. ;)

Personally, Son and I plan to stop by at least once more this weekend, because, um, we kind of want to get more of everything. :D

For more information, you can visit Mitsuwa’s website.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, no, I was not paid to write this review. Mitsuwa probably has absolutely no idea who I am. I just adore Japanese food (obviously) and want you all to be able to share in the deliciousness as well!

6 CommentsRead More...

Enter your email for updates: