Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by JasonTrue

  1. My understanding was that the chef at Mazarin became ill and elected to sell or work something out to turn it into Turkuaz. I didn't realize Casuelita's was expanding to a third branch. There's another Latin/Caribbean restaurant (La Casa del Mojito) which seems to have expanded relatively recently, adding to their Lake City shop another location in the U-District.
  2. Nano-ramen. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24876052/ (Only loosely food related).
  3. I'm in Seattle; Hiromi's been in Japan awaiting visa processing, which has taken about 9 months. She now has a spouse visa that allows her to enter the US without hassle, but is busy until July, so it'll still be a bit longer. She went back to Japan for a job offer, about 11 months before we planned to marry. Thanks to some rule changes that went into effect preventing consular visa processing when the US spouse isn't resident in that country, and massive fee increases in July 2007, along with other administrative changes, the process has been bogged down even further. We started the petition for a spouse-based visa in late August. It would have been much faster for me to just move to Japan and get a job there, alas.
  4. Most Washington wines are slightly higher in alcohol than European wines, which has been explained by winemakers as a consequence of the desert climate in Eastern Washington. The alcohol/sugar content is a tricky balance. If the winemaker tweaks in favor of a lower alcohol content, the sugar content will go up.
  5. Just curious if anyone's made it to the new building at Akasaka called Sakasu. Hiromi said she went to a nice Belgian restaurant yesterday. Any other interesting spots there? It seems to be in the tradition of Marunouchi Building, Roppongi/Omotesando/whatever hills.
  6. In my relentlessly increasing age, "the last month or two "seems to mean something different than it used to. I apparently can't remember that I received this issue 6 months ago. It was the November 2007 one. The online edition is rather minimalist, but they mention the restaurant name, Chikusei. It's 2-23 Kameoka-cho, Takamatsu, Closed Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday according to the magazine. Phone (087) 879-2204. They also suggest Waraya, which serves tarai-udon out of a wooden tub, which sounds interesting to me. The owner of Ikegami was also featured, which has over a thousand customers a day and looks pretty tempting. Ikegami moved to an area near the airport probably just outside of town. I haven't seen the movie yet, but the owner may have had something to do with it based on my cursory rereading of the article. http://www.saveur.com/food/classic-recipes...pura-54839.html Thanks, but I'm in the UK. This is not a particularly easy magazine for me to buy or read. And no mention on the Saveur website about Takamatsu recommendations. Can any Saveur readers give me a hint? (Even if it's a PM). I'm going in just a few days and won't have internet access once I'm gone. ←
  7. I'd have an easier time suggesting things from the Bay Area, since I haven't been to LA since childhood, but I think there are plenty of locally-made treats in the L.A. area; perhaps some local chocolatier (less clever in mid-summer though) would work. I sometimes cook for friends or parts of Hiromi's family, and I've done the same when visiting people in Germany, even when my cooking skills were fairly basic... don't know if he has the skills to pull together a taco, but if he can throw together a salsa (or buy a good jarred one) and grill some meat or marinate a ceviche, and bring some corn tortillas along, that could be fun. Avocados are easy enough to get in Tokyo. From Seattle, I bring locally produced dried fruits, chocolates, nuts, and so on. I've been advised over time not to bring jams in jars bigger than about a half-cup, though; most people don't consume jams that often, even if they do toast for breakfast. It's not so cool to have something big languish in the refrigerator because the quantity was too big. Coffee's good, though most people don't have grinders at home, so I don't bring it unless I know for sure. I've sometimes brought some sampler packs in small sizes, pre-ground, from "local" coffee companies big enough to vacuum-seal their stuff. It's the wrong part of California, perhaps, but maybe something like a jarred artichoke spread or olives would be good. Local crackers or cookies would be good too. Also, even if the product packaging isn't spectacular, you can always put something in a nice box with a ribbon as a gift, so if there's something you love that doesn't look that nice on its own, you have some options. Finally, don't bring too much (though I break that rule constantly). It's a bit overwhelming to leave five or six different completely unfamiliar products... something small and interesting is good. My little brother came with me to Japan from Idaho on my last trip to Japan, and he brought some local-to-Idaho huckleberry candies, and some face moisturizing cream and soap made with potatoes.
  8. Saveur's current (or within last month or two) issue has a profile of "the" Takamatsu udon place.
  9. In the US, most tofu is at least made in the same region it's sold, except for the mori-nu tetra-pak version. It's really only slightly more than one day of trucking between Seattle and Northern California, though, and not more than 5 days trucking cross-country; it's probably about 3 or 4 days for Japan. In climate controlled trucks, even halfway-across-the-country is tolerable if the distribution is efficient. However, packaged tofu really only has an optimal lifespan of about 2 or 3 weeks. The labeling on US-made tofu often has slightly more optimistic sell-by dates than I consider acceptable, though. I've seen packages dated for 2+ months out in the future, which, except for that Mori-nu stuff, is just wrong. I like traditionally freeze-dried tofu like koya-doufu, but I have access to good enough tofu in the Seattle area that I don't think I'd go out of my way to get silken freeze-dried tofu unless I decided to take up camping. Wow, this very cheap for 300 g silken tofu. Is this locally made near you? Thanks for this info Hiroyuki. So they do have freeze dried tofu for sale in Japan. I would love to see these sold in the US too. Maybe someone from Japan can sell these on ebay or amazon for US shipping. I would buy 10-20 right away. ← Of course, it is locally made. Fresh tofu can't be shipped long distance. You would? ← Well, in the US, I do not think tofu is locally made. There is one nearby that is locally made - San Jose Tofu. They make momendoufu, but not silken. I can easily make momendoufu, no problem, but still not happy with the silken. Absolutely, I would buy in bulk if available to cut down on shipping cost. I have purchased tea on ebay from a fellow in Japan and had good results. ←
  10. Salt-rubbing sliced, half-moon or matchstick cut daikon will cause the daikon to sweat a bit... after 20 minutes or so, you can squeeze out the excess liquid and add vinegar and sugar for sunomono. Alternatively, for overnight pickles, instead of vinegar and sugar, I like to cook a dried chili or two and some sliced, re-hydrated shiitake in a little sesame oil, then add vinegar, a splash of soy sauce, and maybe a tiny bit of mirin to the pan, and pour this over the daikon. Generally I make this with some carrots. It's nice after one night, but after two or three days it's particularly good, and keeps for about 4 weeks in an airtight container. They look like this: http://blog.jagaimo.com/images/ul/daikon_2...jin_2Dtsuke.jpg (from http://blog.jagaimo.com/archive/2006/12/20/2862.aspx )
  11. The "simple" and "austere" aesthetic that isn't exactly simple or austere is best represented by the adjective "shibui" in Japanese. This translates as "astringent" when applied to things like tea. When applied to ceramics, interiors, clothing, and design, it suggests a kind of richness balanced by a kind of minimalism, but probably not the kind of severe unadorned white porcelain aesthetic that you'd expect when "austere" is used to describe things in Europe or North America. The word is a bit tricky, though... When applied to wine or sake, it means precisely the opposite of "refined."
  12. In Mashiko and Kasama, tanuki are often outside the cheaper pottery shops. (I never noticed them outside the better galleries, but perhaps they just don't end up being as prominent). Of course, those pottery shops are usually selling the tanuki as well.
  13. I think lamb and sheep's milk consumption has actually declined in Japan... Hokkaido used to have dramatically larger herds. Historically, my understanding is that mountain people had a larger dependency on hunting (birds and rabbits, among other things) and foraged items. I'm not quite sure how much actual cultivation happened in the mountains, but probably roots and tubers (konsai) figured into the diet much more than now.
  14. If you do kaiseki, it's probably better to do it in Kyoto, which really seems to me the home of that style of cooking. There's certainly nothing wrong with doing it in Tokyo, of course; it's just that kaiseki is more a signature of Kyoto than Tokyo. (I've only done simpler versions of kaiseki, though).
  15. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/24/business...ml?ref=business Pricing pressure on rice (in the US)... Probably the same forces that led wheat prices to roughly triple in the last year or two.
  16. Starving, surely not, but a number of people here and elsewhere have reported shortages of butter. How the izakaya staples of renkon butter, jaga-butter and corn butter will survive, and thousands of French-style bakeries will fare, I don't know. But lack of butter, popular but not even remotely a staple item for Japanese, does not mean starvation... We had a similar shortage about 3 years ago in the US and it just meant prices went up. Edited to add: Oops, my view somehow got switched to threaded, so I didn't see there had already been several replies.
  17. Probably the closest match is Belle Pastry on Main Street in old Bellevue.
  18. I've probably been unlucky so far, but Hiromi also complains that it's hard to find remarkable cocktails in Tokyo. Presumably, this, like most problems in Tokyo, can be remedied with sufficient financial resources. As a result, we tend to focus on shochu and sake when in Japan, and cocktails in Seattle and Vancouver. I suspect that the very exclusive piano hostess bar that a charcoal salesman took me to in Ginza might have been a good place to ask for a traditional cocktail, but my friend and I had already had enough at dinner earlier, and we switched to Sprite while our host continued to sip copious quantities from his "keep bottle" with the couple that owned the joint. Most of the bars and cocktail lounge-like places I've been to seem to be somewhere between slightly worse than to slightly better than the standard "sour mix and well spirits" that you find at average "full bars" in the US. That being said, traditional cocktails aren't necessarily impossible to find; I see the Negroni on far more izakaya and restaurant menus in Tokyo than in Seattle. Personally, I'd recommend searching for places that do house-infused shochu, such as jikasei (house-made) umeshu, anzu-zake, karin-shu, yuzu-shu, and the like.
  19. The first time I had cold taiyaki was in San Francisco. Before that, I had no idea that people ever let them sit around long enough to become lukewarm and barely edible. Apparently in Japan the vendors seem to pick just the right places, and cooking pace, to keep the hot taiyaki coming. If they can't do that, maybe you find steamed manjuu instead, which seem to be able to handle extended periods of exposure to heat. They're called bung-eo-pan in Korea - carp bread, I think. Peter's right, you have to insist they give you a hot one, or it's just not worth it. ←
  20. No, it's between Epicenter Fitness and Starbucks, I believe. Likely a fairly small shop, perhaps smaller than Ralph's. Was this the Ross space on the corner? ←
  21. Actually I thought this has been true for a while... Sapporo, Asahi and Kirin all have beer brewed in North America. The price is actually slightly lower than in Japan. I'm not a beer drinker, so I couldn't tell you if the taste is different than the Japanese-brewed ones, however, most of the low-alcohol beers don't like to be stored for a long time, and both beer and sake don't like to be in very hot temperatures. So unless the beer is transported in refrigerated shipping containers like some of the better sake, you are probably losing a lot of quality during the ocean transport, except in winter months. Hitachino is, to my knowledge, still brewed in Japan. My friend, Aidan, from dipsophilia, was pointing out to me that there are three "Japanese" beers available in Vancouver, and not one of them is actually brewed in Japan. ←
  22. Actually the oden you got on sticks wasn't fish cakes... it was konnyaku balls. I like savory konnyaku snacks.
  23. I've had a bottle for the last year or so, but I don't really use it all that often. For my taste it seems a bit sweet for a gin, so I don't think it works well as a martini, and it's far to sweet to drink on ice unless I'm in the mood. Gin and tonic was also a bit syrupy, though it might be good with a drier tonic. I experimented with it for awhile but couldn't find anything that worked for me, and I've mostly forgotten about it. Perhaps it would work with some other fruit juice.
  24. I've been to that crumpet shop... since many patrons sit down and order tea and crumpets there, they were likely operating under the assumption that the coffee was lost revenue for them. But considering they have 6 packs of crumpets to go, it seems a bit disingenuous to assume the worst, since they instantly lost the intended transaction. There are a number of shopkeepers who request that patrons do not bring food and drink into the store. Could it be that in a small space, a cup of coffee (or a soda or ice cream) would constitute a hazard for other patrons? ←
  • Create New...