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Posts posted by torakris

  1. Thanks for the links and the info!

    I wasn't actually interested in Japanese places, but I took a look at Nakamura ramen and their specialty appears to be an ox tail ramen. My husband has been searching for some place that does an ox tail soup similar to (the now closed) Nazo's on Maui.

    He and my son are going to try them for lunch on the day the girls and I head to the outlets...

  2. Maui will be the second stop on our 2 week 3 island vacation this month and we will be there for 6 nights. My husband and I actually lived in Kihei for a while in the early '90's so we aren't newcomers to the island but our last visit was 12 years ago. It also looks like a lot of our favorite places have closed, I can't believe we will no longer be able to enjoy Nazo's oxtail soup or Azeka ribs....

    We are renting a condo in Kanaapali so we plan on cooking some meals in, mostly breakfasts and some dinners. I have already made a reservation for my husband and I at Merriman's (Kapalua) for dinner one night but other than that I am looking for some cheap meals, mostly lunches.

    I am thinking of going to the Honolua Store with my 12 year old for lunch before the 2 of us hit the zipline and rope challenge course at the Kapalua Bay Resort. We are also planning to try Da Kitchen in Kahului after we land as I have a feeling we will be starving.

    Any other ideas for a family of 5 (kids 9,12, 14)? Like I mentioned in the Oahu thread, we are all adventurous eaters and prefer local foods when possible.

  3. My family and I are headed to Oahu in 2 weeks for 4 nights (this part of a 2 week 3 island trip), we are staying in Waikiki and will only have a car for one day. This means we are going to be limited to what is in walking distance.

    This is actually my 8th trip to the islands but the last time was 12 years ago so I'm not really sure what is around anymore.

    We are a family of 5 (kids are 9, 12 and 14) and the kids eat everything and a lot of it so I really don't want to spend all of our money on food. :biggrin:

    What are your recommendations for cheap but good eats in the Waikiki area for breakfasts, lunches and dinners? Preference is for local, non-national style chains (ie Cheesecake factory, which apparently in #1 on tripadvisor). We also aren't too interested in Japanese food as we can eat that every day...

    We are going to be renting a car for one day and doing an island tour, current plans are to hit Ted's Bakery for lunch and maybe a couple of the shrimp trucks (sharing one plate among the 5 of us to taste as many as possible. For dinner we are thinking of going to Side Street Inn back in Honolulu.

    We also need a breakfast for this day, the problem it is a Sunday and a lot of the places I looked at aren't open on Sunday. I don't want anything too heavy as we will be doing a lot of eating that day but we will have car and I would like to hit someplace good outside of Waikiki. Our first stop will be the giant maze at the Dole Plantation, so any recommendations between there and Waikiki would be great.

  4. I use tabeblog (the site Hiroyuki posted from) all the time and am rarely disappointed. Hiroyuki's link ranked it it 88th out of 100, but keep in mind that that is all of the types of restaurants in the area.

    If you do a search of Nakano and tsukemen, you get these results. In the overall ranking it is 7th out of 15. The overall ranking is based on the number of "stars". There is also a popular ranking which is based on the number of comments people have made, I don't usually pay attention to this as much but FYI Taishoken is #2 with 30 comments.

    One thing that I really like about tabelog is the CP (cost performance)numbers and Taishoken has one of the highest, meaning it may be one of the best for the money.

    When using this site I like to look for a good combination of a high score combined with a minimum of 10 comments preferably more. With those criteria Aobalooks to be good, it is #4 in the overall ranking and has the highest number of comments at 133.

    Just one note when looking at the site, compared to English ranking sites (ie tripadvisor, etc) the Japanese tend to be very stingy with 5 stars and you will rarely see someone ranking a restaurant as a 5.

  5. Sorry! I was tromping around Gifu-ken for a couple days!!

    I have never bought foie gras here so can't help with that, but as to the barley....

    The stuff sold here is almost entirely oshi-mugi (pressed barley, it is smashed flat and it meant to be cooked up with rice. I have never used it for anything besides that. I am assuming it wouldn't have quite the same 'bite' as pearl barley since it has been smashed.

    This person used it for a risotto(scroll down to pearl barley risotto).

    Barley is one of the foods I pick up in the US every summer..

  6. I eat Subway once a year. During my summer trips to Cleveland I always spend one day at the Premium Outlets and Subway is the only edible option in their extremely limited food court.

    I have always ordered the same thing, a spicy Italian with no mayo, only mustard and oil and vinegar and double up on the jalapenos. It tastes pretty damn good to me.

    As to Subway in Japan, they really are disappearing. All the ones in my area have been closed for quite some time now.

  7. My husband and I have decided to to take our first (non-camping)trip in Japan and have chosen Hida Takayama. We are spending our first night in Shirakawago (in a gassho-zukuri of course)and the second night in Takayama. In Shirakawago the meals are included but decided to pass on that option in Takayama so we could decide what to eat. The problem is that now I don't know what to eat...

    Any suggestions?

    We are family of 5 and two of my kids eat more than an average adult so we are looking for some reasonably priced meals. :unsure:

    In particular has anyone ever had kei-chan/kei-chan yaki? I had never heard of this until I started looking for restaurants in the area. It sounds like something the whole family would enjoy. This is one of the places that has it:


  8. I am pretty sure that the tonkatsu place Erin is referring to is Wako. This is a major chain and I go quite a bit (to a different branch of course, the food they serve is a great deal for the money. I have been Maisen and some of the other famous places but I really like Wako. Here is a sample of the menu:


    I really like the Ladies set, bottom right, it consists of a hire katsu (tenderloin), ebi-fry (shrimp) and a chicken katsu with an umeboshi (sour plum) and shiso filling. The 1300 yen set also includes a dessert (usually fruit) as well as all you can eat rice, soup (their tonjiru is wonderful, cabbage and pickles. They actually bring a bowl of shredded cabbage to the table along with a wooden box with 3 to 4 different pickles so you can keep helping yourself during the meal.

  9. I don’t know a single Japanese person that would leave their short grain rice (the only kind eaten in Japan) unfluffed. The fluffing is necessary for short grain rice to help some of the unwanted moisture to evaporate. Most people I know fluff it once, close the rice cooker and let it sit for a couple minutes then fluff it again before surving.

    To fluff Japanese rice you need the rice spoon called a shamoji and working from the side of the rice cooker bowl (or pan) you scoop all the way to the bottom and then gently fold it. It is more like cutting into it than actually mixing.

    This link will show you the proper way to mix Japanese rice, the mixing starts at 4:15.

  10. That was exactly the first thing I thought of when I saw that picture!

    It's easy to get in a rut when have so many limitations, whether put on by the school, dietary/health conditions or just a downright picky eater. You find a couple things that work and you just keep rotating, as long as the kids are fine with it I don't worry too much.

  11. I have never cooked brown jasmine rice but I have found when working with short grain rice that as long as the brown rice portion is kept to 1/3 of the mix you can cook it on the regular white rice setting with out a problem. Cooking a batch of all brown rice in my IH rice cooker takes one hour, the regular white rice can take between 38 and 43 minutes depending on the specific course I am using. My rice cooker also has a wonderfully convenient 17 minute "fast" course but I would never use this for brown rice.

    I used to soak the brown rice for a couple hours before cooking it in my 2:1 blend but once I forget and just cooked it without the soaking and it came out fine. Now I soak if I have time but don't worry about it if I don't.

    I don't mix my rices in the bag as I prefer to control the blend each time.

  12. I often blend rices. My husband and I really like brown rice but our kids prefer white so a couple times a week (depending on the meal) I mix white and brown (short grain rices) in a 2:1 ratio. This makes a a wonderful slightly nutty "white" rice. Sometimes I add a tablespoon or two of a Korean black short grain rice to 3 or 4 cups of my blend for a beautiful color and even more nutty flavor.

  13. Kris, did you grow that zucchini...or did you pay *actual cash* for it? I'm very impressed with the chorizo, by the way.

    I have tried to grow zucchini a couple times and have never had luck, it tends to rot before it can be eaten.

    These were from Costco, I can usually get them there at about 600 yen for 6 to 7 good sized ones.

  14. Top left

    grilled salmon onigiri

    roasted sweet potato fries sprinkled with chili powder

    homemade chorizo sausage

    zucchini frittata

    Top right

    more sausage, onigiri and frittata

    steamed broccoli with lemon

    grilled chicken (marinated with grated onion, saffron, paprika, garlic and lemon



    more of the same :biggrin:

  15. I think it would depend on what you want to use it for. If you want to use it raw (like julienned ) in a salad, jicama would be a good substitute. If you are simmering it, try another root vegetable. The taste would be different obviously but it would still make a good dish, try turnips, carrots, potatoes, even rutabagas or lotus root.

    If you need it grated I think you are out of luck.

  16. I really think autumn is the best season for fish! I just picked up some beautifully plump samna today and will just grill them with a nice sprinkling of salt. It doesn't get any better than that and they are so cheap to boot!

  17. Our school has implemented an English program from this year and I am currently volunteering a couples days a month to help out. The principal says that they can't pay me but they will give me a school lunch every day I am at the school. This works out just fine for me! Next week I get to finally try the bibimbap, which apparently was voted #1 of all the lunches by the kids.

    If I remember I'll try to add some pictures of my meals.

  18. Long-time lurker, first-time poster . . .

    Our son just turned 4 and is about to start Pre-K here in New York City. He will be bringing lunch every day. We have some restrictions I haven't heard about on this topic, namely that the lunches need to be kosher-dairy, which in essence means no meat, shellfish or mollusks. Also there's a nut-free policy at the school.

    I'm feeling radically behind-the-curve on the art of packing kids' school lunches with style, but I'm determined to get caught up. To that end, today I dropped in at H-Mart in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, to begin the process of acquiring equipment for packing lunches. Here's what I bought today (actually, the water bottle was an earlier purchase):


    I also have some egg molds (H-Mart didn't have any) and rice molds on order.

    If you had told me a month ago I could have brought various molds for you!!

    4 year old boy bentos are about the simplest they get. No meat and shell fish makes it a bit of a challenge, I take it fish is OK?

    To start off here are some pictures of bentos I made for my son when he was 4.




    For younger kids it is best to make things that can be eaten with either their hands or stabbed with a fork to avoid spills. When my kids were that age I preferred rice balls (onigiri) to rice just put in the bento. Asian markets have a variety of furikake (rice sprinkles) that can add color as well as flavor to the rice, just be sure to read the labels as they may contain meat/shellfish products. Other things I avoided at this age were corn and peas and other things that have a tendency to roll around. Thin slices of corn on the cob (about an inch or so) that have been broiled or gilled are quite good.

    Whole cherry tomatoes are good but avoid cutting them at this age because the juice ends up on everything in the hands of a 4 year old. These are also a great space filler and add color to an otherwise bland looking bento.

    Another simple but fancy looking bento is one with inarizushi.

    You can find them in the refrigerator section of Asian markets, they look like this:


    They are pre-seasoned so all you do is heat the pack in some hot water and stuff them. The directions tell you to make a sushi rice (vinegar-sugar-salt) but I never bother. One tip to stuffing them is to form the rice into an oblong piece a little smaller than the pocket and then just slide it in. You can stuff them with plain rice or get a little fancy like this:


    frozen edamame are the biggest lifesaver, they take up space, they don't need any prep, they keep the bento cool and they defrost in time for lunch. I suggest always have a bag of the pre-boiled ones on hand at all times. :biggrin:

    Most of the vegetables I used in bentos, were either leftovers from the night before or prepped the night before. For example I would just pull out as much as I wanted for the bento after either steaming or boiling and refrigerate it then season it the next morning.

    With no meat/shellfish/nuts, sandwiches would be a challenge for me... but I'm assuming tuna and eggs are OK. Using cookie cutters cutting them into shapes is pretty easy.

    I make little mini-omelets quite a bit, I need 2 eggs to make it so I refrigerate the leftovers and add them to the next 2 or 3 bentos as well. Omelets can have various things added to them so it seems like a different dish every time. My kids like them with a slice of nori in the middle or made with scallions and sesame oil as well as with veggies like potatoes, spinach, broccoli, peppers, not all at once though.

  19. The Bluestem meal was really incredible and I loved every dish, the walu was what blew me away though. Every part of that dish, the fish, the beans, the broth was superb. I often prefer fish to meat but rarely order it when I am the midwest because I have been disappointed too many times. I could go on for days about how much I loved that dish.

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