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Everything posted by JasonTrue

  1. There are good and bad yuzu juices. Look for ones made without salt or potassium benzoate, then you'll beat the average bottled lemon juice by far.
  2. I can guarantee you'll find some form of 100% yuzu juice at Mura-kara-machi-kara-kan in Yuurakuchou. I've only seen yuzu essential oil from industrial suppliers in Japan and Korea, but I imagine there's some form of product available to consumers. I don't usually use yuzu extract.
  3. Aha, I misread it as one kilo. Yes, a fair price, and better than the $20-40/lb price for fresh yuzu in the rare moments when it's available in Seattle. It's not double. It's Y454/pound (Y1000 per kg, 2.2 lbs per kilo). It may actually be a little cheaper in Japan on some days if you take the ever-dropping yen into consideration! ←
  4. Unless you're buying a fairly unusual wasabi product (fresh, or from that Oregon company that produces all-wasabi wasabi paste), you're basically using a mix of Japanese mustard, western horseradish and food coloring (with some small amount of real wasabi in some products) when you buy wasabi in a tube or can. So the difference is rather small.
  5. Yes, double the US cost isn't so bad, relatively speaking I've gotten used to thinking that way when buying shochu and sake.
  6. It would be a little extravagant if paying 150 yen a piece, but I made a nice shiso-meyer lemon lemonade a month or so ago. In Seattle, they run about $4/pound from good suppliers, and sometimes $2-3/lb from sketchier sources.
  7. The wine list at Lark was fairly nice, but probably not as extensive as a larger restaurant like Canlis. I have only been to Lark, in spite of having spent 5 years living within walking distance of Canlis, but I would recommend Lark if you want a very "Seattle" food experience, emphasizing local, seasonal ingredients, clever but not brash combinations of ingredients, and a cozy vibe, where you could feel almost equally comfortable in formal attire as in weeknight clothing. Canlis (keeping in mind that I'm looking from a distance) is more about an old-fashioned fine dining experience, with waiters that anticipate your every need and make the valet has your car is at the door when you're ready to leave. So it really depends on which experience you're going for. The view at Canlis would certainly be much better, if that's a consideration. Also, in Lark's favor, even if you need to wait for a table, you could have a very nice cocktail with a little two or three bite thing to nibble on at sibling Licorous next door, or a drink at Cafe Presse across the street. And I still get cravings for Licorous's financiers with espresso caramel sauce.
  8. I also agree it's not so great to publish someone's email without permission, unless you explicitly state that you're allowed to do that in your site's feedback policy. But Yelp and Urbanspoon both solve this kind of thing by allowing business owners to post some small kind of messaging on their restaurant profile (maybe just a menu or something) and allowing business owners to respond to reviews via some kind of private email to the author, public compliments, or just participating in the feedback system ("useful" or "likes this review"). Yelp will shortly allow owners to directly respond to specific reviews in a public manner, which savvy business owners will use to correct small factual errors but address specific concerns by apologizing or whatever.
  9. Here's how I'd respond to the owner: I'm sure it is disappointing to read a negative review from a customer in a public forum. The internet has changed the dynamic of the restaurant review, as ordinary people as well as paid reviewers are able to publish their opinions to the world. However, the most effective way to deal with negative reviews is to learn from them or ignore them. If there are any factual errors, it's fair to challenge them, as we don't condone slander. But blowing off steam in a similarly public way because you don't like the visibility of a customer's opinions can only hurt the image of your establishment. Some customers value portion size more than quality of ingredients or care of preparation, just as some customers care about presentation or novelty more than price. And yes, a large person, or a person who dances 12 hours a day, may not consider a 2 cup portion to be adequate, whereas an average person or someone in the mood to taste lots of different things might consider a 2 cup portion excessive. Not everyone has the same tastes, even if they are vegetarian or raw foodist. Stay positive, and focus on getting your restaurant's message out to the customers most likely to appreciate it. (As an aside, I was quite impressed by a restaurant-industry-focused book called Guest-Based Marketing, which is probably even more relevant in the internet age than when it was first published. It can't hurt for any restaurant owner to borrow that book from their library... it also demonstrates that a restaurant of almost any style can succeed if their staff and and food both work toward a coherent message.)
  10. Perhaps not the Asia you're after, but I like simmered cardamom and saffron with milk, cooked until reduced at least half, add sugar and cream, prepare as ice cream, top with pistachios. It's a variation of badam kulfi. Here was my version a while back: http://blog.jagaimo.com/archive/2007/07/13...ream-maker.aspx Essentially, this is condensed milk ice cream, which should work well with Latin flavors. Maybe served with a little piece of tres leches cake. I made a miso caramel ice cream recently which was quite a hit with initially skeptical friends. Matcha with white chocolate or cream cheese... Black sesame works well with lots of things.
  11. Gaku Homma advised using sake in cooking once it loses its charm in drinking... the old sake smell doesn't cause any real problems in cooking.
  12. The marmalade is just for convenience of storage... you can just boil sugar/honey and water with the fruit until it gels a bit like cranberry sauce, but actually, when I have fresh yuzu, I just slice it and add honey to a cup, then pour hot water over.
  13. I've not been brave enough to open a restaurant, but when I was entertaining the thought more seriously, I stumbled onto a very good book called Guest-Based Marketing. It's really about getting your shop's message coherent and using subtle-to-obvious tactics to push that message into the minds of every person who walks into your shop, and do so in a way that gets your customers to spread that message for you. The tactics are very, very frugal. His point, more or less, is that you can do this for almost any category of restaurant business, by playing up your strengths in your messaging. Even things like portion sizes... emphasizing big portions works for some places, but you can sell quality ingredients in portion sizes that won't require you to have a cardiologist on speed dial. Emphasizing speed works in some places, but personalization/customization works in others. It also discusses tricks like giving an occasional meal away for free "at random" but obvious enough that other customers are going to notice, preferably always on your slowest day of the week, training people that their chances are better on Monday and Tuesday... The menu and waitstaff behaviors can emphasize your key messages without being annoying. Fresher ingredients, artisan ingredients, crazy combinations that work, thematic consistency, etc. One tiny hamburger spot in Ballard, Seattle called Lunchbox Laboratory, run by eGulleteer Chefturnedbum (or whatever he goes by now) uses idiosyncratic decor and some unusual combinations as "daily specials", with extreme customization and nowhere-else-ingredients on another chalkboard, and customers do most of the marketing for him, explaining the entire complex system of ordering to new customers before they even walk in the front door. They seeded that by messaging it to the first few people to walk in the door, but probably only have to do their messaging to a small percentage of current customers.
  14. My experience with recipes containing lots of chocolate in the ice cream maker is that the cocoa butter plus the cream set firm, causing an incredibly hard mix, like a sliceable frozen parfait. So I now make chocolate ice cream with less chocolate, preferably 85%+ cacao, and more cocoa powder. I'm not sure if there's a trick for balancing out the cocoa butter, but for sorbets, either alcohol or more sugar usually does the trick to control freezing.
  15. Punjab Sweets in Kent might do the trick. More for sweets and chaat, but they also have very decent lunch fare. The crowd is more Indian than at Taste of India, though, so it may be different food than you are used to, but I'd rather have easy access to Punjab Sweets, for what it's worth.
  16. In the US, overgrown crimini mushrooms used to be thrown away. Now they are sold as a premium, almost twice the price of normal mushrooms, because of good marketing and an ambiguously Italian name (portabella, or some variation of that spelling). It was so successful that crimini mushrooms which are just a little larger than average are sometimes called "baby portabellas." I would think that the same thing could be done in Japan...
  17. I may be wrong about this, but flameware should generally be less porous than most Japanese stoneware. Hagi-yaki, for example, is incredibly porous, but doesn't leak under normal conditions. Hagi ware is often accompanied by instructions to soak the pots in water "to prevent stains", but not to prevent leakage. If you read between the lines in the same instructions, you'll see that it's advising you to soak the pots in water so that some of the natural cracks in the glaze (not the pot) change color, so that you can see the first gentle transition in the 7 stages of Hagi ware. It does little, as one potter in Mashiko suggested, to actually prevent stains. Adding liquid to a vessel and soaking would do little to prevent leakage, but it may expose a defect before you have an entire pot of boiling water spilling out onto your dining table. A little starch may fill tiny, invisible structural gaps, but wouldn't do much against more serious cracks. (Hiromi tried the starch trick with our more seriously cracked pot, to no benefit). Earlier forms of pottery that were placed over flame, predating most anything that any Japanese would have used in the last several hundred years, were sometimes soaked and then rubbed with oil to reduce leakage, but these were actually quite porous, sometimes more so than what we now know as terra cotta ware. By the way, if your fry pan is at least 4 cm deep, that's certainly adequate for many nabe... a lot of individual portions of yosenabe or yudoufu are servced in relatively shallow vessels. You could probably serve up to 2 people in a typical skillet. The long handle getting in the way would be the biggest source of frustration.
  18. Well, there are at least a half dozen Chinese bakeries in the international district alone, not to mention one near Sears in Bellevue (Regent Cafe) and one (last time I checked) in Factoria mall. There's also an old-school Japanese-style bakery near Factoria Mall called Seabell. Regent Cafe on the Eastside used to be pretty good as a Chinese bakery, less so as a restaurant. Yummy House works reasonably well in Seattle. Sweet & Fresh used to be a favorite up on 8th near Weller, but they've changed ownership as far as I know, and may be run by a Vietnamese family; haven't been there in ages. Comparable to Vancouver, I don't know, but certainly passable. Egg tarts can also be procured at House of Hong and similar Yumcha places. For restaurants, I'm currently a fan of the Chinese and vegetarian menus at Chiang's in Lake City, but they also have a more "American" items on their general menu for those that are happier with deep fried stuff in sticky sauces.
  19. I've resisted "cooking" nashi because I'd worried the aroma and texture would suffer too much; they certainly don't caramelize like younashi (western pear). However, when I had a surplus of them, I did a couple of things that involved heat without major disasters. (Memory is fuzzy on the details, sorry). An alcohol infusion will take a fairly long time, but you might get some value out of a high-sugar alcohol infusion within a week or two. I would only use about 30ml per liter or the ice cream won't freeze. However, it will provide both flavor and texture benefits; alcohol will yield a softer, less icy sorbet.
  20. You can always start with a deep frying pan. The advantage of the donabe is its heat retention. There are actually nabemono for which that is not an advantage, and also pragmatic people who realize that rounded metal nabe are inexpensive and more durable. Iga is just a location. I believe it's actually the old name for part of Mie prefecture. Flameware just means pottery which has materials and a firing temperature suitable for cooking on a flame or direct heat source. Pottery which is not designed for this purpose is more prone to cracking, but even flameware can crack if there is an internal defect or a temperature shock. I've had one very nice pot that Hiromi picked in Japan die a premature death, unfortunately, with a hairline crack that leaks. In the metal nabe category, there are two styles, including thin metal and cast-iron. Thin metal is often used in restaurants and ryokan for serving at the table, because it heats quickly, though heat retention is bad. Cast iron has similar heat retention to clay pots, but has somewhat fallen out of favor. I've actually been served yudoufu in a hinoki-based box, which was, I presume, using an induction heat source. So there's plenty of variation in how to serve nabe. It's a simple food; no need to fall for any particular brand of snobbery, but there will be differences in how each type of pot retains heat, and how well it holds in heat with the lid. I use a donabe, but it's partially for presentation reasons. For certain categories of dishes, such as takikomi gohan, I think donabe are better than the thin metal nabe designs because the flameware pots retain heat better and hold steam better. Before I had a nabe, I used a small saucepan. If you have some Le Creuset-style pots, they would work, as well; they just won't look very Japanese.
  21. My first stab would be partial dehydration. Did you add any lemon? In moderation, it'll bring out the flavors too.
  22. I can't say I've seen terra cotta donabe very much in Japan; they're almost all Iga-style flameware, with some occasional use of simple metal ones, and a few restaurants pull off some tricks with a wicker-like basket and an induction plate inside of a special paper, but usually only for simple nabe. (As a disclaimer, on occasion I sell Kotobuki trading donabe through my web site).
  23. "Mizuwari" is the term for any spirit, including shochu, diluted with water. (The word is composed of "water" + "break") I think Japan just didn't succumb to the illusion that "neat" is the only proper way to drink Scotch. In the US some sort of misplaced snobbery has emerged that says adding anything to your Scotch ruins it.
  24. The straight-from-the oven croissant we had at Honore about a week ago gave both Besalu and Bakery Nouveau a run for the money. It wasn't bready at all. The kouign amann was bready, but it had been in the case for a while. One other laminated dough was fantastic; basically a blueberry danish. The almond brioche had excellent flavor, with deeply fermented (not yeasty) notes. However, the traffic at Honore is still a bit light. Besalu used to be accused of having unimpressive croissants until they started getting busy and turning them out every 30 minutes.
  25. My neighbor in college used the spices typically associated with five spice powder whole, usually in soups. I can't say I've noticed the flavor much in China or even Hong Kong, but I've only spent time in Beijing, HK and Taipei. Plus I'm vegetarian, so the chances are lower that I'd encounter it.
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