Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It Would Have Happened Sooner or Later...

I was at the store last week looking for EVOO. You know, what Rachael Ray, and half of the world, now calls Extra Virgin Olive Oil? So when I (literally) saw the EVOO, I wasn't too surprised. It was inevitable. Cute, actually.

Quality? Not sure. I think her knives are supposed to be good. Perhaps this may be... "delish?"

Yeah, you knew that was coming, too, folks.

Happy new year, readers

Elliott's Oyster House - Review

Elliot's Oyster House - Highly Recommended (for oysters)
Pier 56, Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: 425-277-4600

After reading Eric Ripert's phenomenal book On the Line, I was craving some Washington oysters. I've never had oysters during my visits to Seattle, so I was figuring now was the perfect time. As usual, the chowhounder's did not disappoint as Elliot's was a phenomenal place for oysters. Overall, I give the restaurant an 86/100.

My Menu
1) Pan Fried Oysters **
2) Blue Cheese Oysters **
3) Hama Hama (Mild Hood Canal, Wa) **
4) Snow Creek (Juan de Fuca, WA)
5) Deer Creek (Hood Canal, WA) *
6) Fanny Bay (East Vancouver Island, BC) **
7) Kushi (Vancouver Island, BC) **
8) Totten Viginica Eastern (Totten Inlet, WA) *
9) Humboldt Bay Kumamoto (Eureka, CA) **
10) South Sound Kumamoto (South Sound, WA)

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) With cooked oysters, you still want them really juicy which is a problem at most restaurants since they usually end up dry. Here, you don't have to worry. Nice sweet (but not to sweet) Jack Daniel's glaze on the oysters served in the shell with some lettuce and tartar sauce. A great way to start and these were super addicting.
2) First time for blue cheese oysters and I definitely want to go back for more. The small amount of pungent blue cheese surprisingly doesn't totally overpower the oyster flavor. They actually pair quite well together with a nice crispy topping.
3-10) I'm not a huge oyster connoisseur, but these were hella tasty. Basically you can order specific oysters from a region/varietal or choose multiple varietals - served with a champagne mignonette granita (weird, but worked). The first set of Washington Pacific Oysters were tasty, but not great. Like ordering wine at a restaurant, I should have known to ask the oyster shucker at the bar instead of listening to the waitress. The second set I asked the oyster shucker to pick some of his favorites and these totally kicked ars. My favorites were the Kushi (tiny and sweet), hama hama (medium sized and great flavor), totten virginica (ridiculously large, but huge flavor kicks in after a couple of seconds), and my favorite - the Humboldt Bay Kumamotos (crispy, insanely creamy, and great flavor). What I learned was although I was craving Washington Oysters, the only one that really stood out for me were the Hama Hama's. All the others were from Vancouver Island or Cali?

Overall Restaurant Experience (86/100)

  • Food 8.8/10 – Really high quality oysters that made me very very happy at the end. Listening to the chowhounders I avoided all non-oyster related foods. Tried the local brew Manny's and it was a decent hoppy pale ale that paired OK with the oysters. Wish I had a dogfish, which would have been killer with the Humbold Bay Kumamoto's...
  • Service 7/10 – Waitress was nice, but not that knowledgeable. Busboy seemed like he was a expression at all, dead eyes. Good times. Wish the oyster shucker was more interactive like at Swan Oyster Depot...can't win em all I guess. Took a while to get the oysters, but there were huge orders of oysters that day.
  • Atmosphere 8.4/10 – Place was all mahogany wood and extended out onto the water. There's something about eating seafood while watching water that's quite magical - only if Le Bernardin were on the beach or something. Got there at 12:30pm on a Saturday with no reservations and was seated immediately at the oyster bar. No one else was sitting there, but there were some families sitting in the dining area.
  • Price 8.0/10 – Haven't had oysters in a while, so not sure if it's pricey or not. I got the $13 for 1/2 dozen Washington oysters and $19 for 1/2 dozen mixed varietals. The 1/2 pan fried oysters and 1/2 blue cheese oysters were $13. The wife and I were happy, so I guess that's all that matters.
Closing Comments
On the menu, I saw on M-F from 3-6, they have 50 cent oysters which I 100% want to go back for.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Xmas Dinner in Renton 2008

Back for the long Xmas break - first with the In-Laws. We had a great Xmas meal enjoying a truly white Xmas - worst snow in 100 years according to the local media, which isn't surprising since the snow wasn't plowed there on the burbs.

Here's what we had. Everything was homemade including the absurdly delicious Bobao rice.

1) Oxtail Stew
2) Crispy garlic and ginger chicken
3) Rice noodles with shitake, carrots, cabbage, and shrimp
4) Omelet with shrimp
5) Marinated Beef and Beef Tendon
6) Cabbage and tofu soup
7) Potato salad
8) Bobao rice - sweet glutinous rice with red bean paste and dates
9) Red bean soup

Monday, December 29, 2008

Awesome Steaks on Sale... Today Only!

For one day only, Dry-aged American Wagyu Beef Rib Chops are priced to sell at $99.95. With only a limited supply remaining, these freshly cut-from-the-rib chops are available only at Aged 45 days to concentrate this rich-tasting, luxurious beef, these American Wagyu rib chops are marble score 9 + on the Japanese marble score scale. You cannot get this dry-aged meat in Japan, and only offers it in the United States. If you were to buy this in a restaurant, it would sell for more than $250 per steak (serving two). But you can have it at home, ...
specially priced for one day only at $99.95 per 30-ounce rib chop for two. Sale ends at 11:59pm on Monday, December 29th.

click here to order

Friday, December 26, 2008

X'mas Cake

Picked this up at Mitsuwa (Japanese supermarket in Edgewater, NJ).
This is a typical Japanese Strawberry Shortcake.  Very good and highly recommended. 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy Holiday Season. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Christmastime, and you’re out & about. Want to get something quick & cheap to eat. $1 double cheeseburger at McD’s! (No ketchup, please) I ordered two, and the lady asked me for $2.4x. Huh??? I know, I know; it’s not a big deal. But when you’re used to hearing $2.10, and now it’s almost $2.50, of course there’s a double-take. Apparently, dairy went up in price enough that it’s not on the Dollar Menu any more. The price is now $1.20.

Instead, there’s a McDouble that is the same thing, but there’s one slice of cheese in between the two burger patties instead of two slices on two patties. For me, I think that’s fair. But in the name of science, I ordered one of each. Enjoy the pictures.

Stuffed Duck Breast

Can't say I'm a huge Mark Bittman fan but I definitely don't dislike him either.
But with his recent article about Duck Breast, he earned back a few points on the scoreboard. 

Basically, take a Duck Breast. (ideally a Magret or the breast of a Muscovy)
Score the skin, and slice a pocket in between the meat. 
Stuff it with garlic, rosemary, fennel, and salt and proceed to pan sear it for 10 minutes on med. high.
Flip and put in a hot over for another 3 to 4 minutes. 
Take out and let sit for 5 to 8 minutes.
Slice and serve. 

What could be easier.  It's kind of fancy, it tastes really good, and not much prep, cooking time or clean up needed. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lackluster Lunch in Boston

Yoshi's Japanese Cuisine - not really recommended : (
Somerville, MA 02144
Open most days until 10 p.m.

I will be the first to admit to being critical when it comes to restaurants, especially Japanese ones. I have lived in Japan, worked in the restaurant industry for 10 years, and am trained in sensory analysis for my job. Some might say that I am not the best person to review restaurants like a "normal" dude - but what the hell.

I really wanted to like Yoshi's. It is tucked away on a corner in Somerville, has a typical light-wood interior and seemed "homey" and "lived in" for lack of better terms. Some of these things are the earmarks of places that make really good food.

When I walked in, I noticed the other Japanese restaurant accoutrement that are often overused in Americanized Japanese restaurants: noren, maneki neko and prints of geisha and other ubiquitous images that people assume comprise genuine Japanese decor. The waitress was eating with three guys at the corner table, and the one other customer was silently chomping away on some sushi - a great time to see what a restaurant is really made of.
I was shown to my table by a just-done-chewing waitress. I caught a smatter of the conversation from her table with the sushi chef...Korean.

What I ordered:
  • Nigiri - Hamachi and Saba
  • Vegetable Tempura Teishoku
  • Cup of Green Tea (they don't have a liquor license!)
The Good:
  • Nice quality chopsticks
  • Waitress was cute
  • Service was prompt and food was hot
The Bad:
  • Hamachi and Saba were both slightly fishy and had the sponge texture of badly frozen fish. Wasabi was necessary, which shouldn't be the case.
  • Vegetable Tempura was not true tempura. The veggies were coated in a thin batter and rolled in Tenkasu. Odd.
  • The other items in my Teishoku were a complete afterthought: scallion pancake, deep-fried pork slices, makizushi, salad and a small, sad onigiri made with a plastic molding device.
  • Miso soup was made with instant dashi, slimy wakame and tiny bits of tofu that were too small to bother with chopsticks.
  • Bathroom.
    *remember, a bathroom is a peek into how the restaurant really operates!*

Is it possible that I would have better experienced Yoshi's if I had ordered the Maguro, Toro, Salmon or other popular American sushi fish? If they were busier and had more staff and were in a groove in the kitchen? Possible; but cooking Washoku is about quality of ingredients, attention to natural flavors and execution. If you can't make good vegetable tempura or miso soup, then I am not sure there is any reason to explore further.
3.5 / 10

Monday, December 22, 2008

Jumbo Slice – Washington, D.C.

I can put down a whole pizza by myself.

Most of the time.

When I was introduced to the “Jumbo Slice” sign in the window of several places around Washington, D.C., I kind of chuckled. “How ‘jumbo’ could it be to boast such a neon sign?” One night I found out.

I think most of these establishments centralize around the Adams Morgan area where you can find one every few store fronts. This is especially good when drinking too much in one of the many bars up and down that area, and you can stumble along to reach the nearest Jumbo Slice. And let me tell you, a Jumbo slice pizza reeeeaaaally hits the spot after a night of drinking. The U Street Corridor is another part of D.C. that you can find them. I think I may have seen one in Arlington, Virginia.

So one night, as you may have guessed, after some drinking & dancing, we found ourselves at one of these 24 hour places. They’re not all the same owner, nor even the same company, but they’re almost all pretty much the same. You walk in, and there’s a place to stand/bar-stool sit on the right and the left. There are a few community napkin holders, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese containers. Cheese slice is $4.50, and pepperoni is $5. These are tax-included, too. There may be other things on the menu, but that’s what you get when you’re there. Perhaps grab a beverage from the cooler at $1. But the Jumbo Slice? Folks, let me tell you - they earned that neon sign. Here I am waiting for that tin foil sheet with a slice of pizza, but no, you get a pizza box for maybe a small pizza. You open it, and this slice takes up the entire box. Moreover, it’s even folded a bit to make it fit in the box, since it’s so, well… jumbo.

How does it taste? First off, 3:30AM and copping a good buzz… anything tastes good. But I’ve been back sober, and yeah, the taste still holds up. I mean, it’s simple – huge, thin crust, and cheese or pepperoni. You give them a fin… done.

wd-50 Review

wd-50 - Not Recommended
50 Clinton St, New York 10002
Btwn Stanton & Rivington St
Phone: 212-477-2900

Took my wife out to wd-50 and was pretty pumped, since we've been wanting to go for a while. I was expecting something similar to Eleven Madison Park - uniquely textured food with some home runs and some misses, but there were really zero homeruns here. I am definitely open to new dishes texturally, but food is really supposed to satisfy and flavors are most important to me. This place definitely falls short on the satisfaction and flavor front, but gets high marks for creativity and plating. Also, we had a case of food poisoning, which knocks this down big time. Overall, I give the restaurant an 20/100 because of the food poisoning. It probably would be 84/100 and slightly recommended without the food poisoning.

My Menu

1) Crab tail, pickled ramp, cranberry, nori *
2) Everything bagel, smoke salmon threads, crispy cream cheese *
3) Foie gras, passionfruit, chinese celery
4) Scallops, tendon, endive, parsley, hazelnut oil
5) Eggs benedict **
6) Lobster legs, brussels sprouts, lily bulb, banana-kimchee *
7) Rabbit, wild rice polenta, cassis, kale, black olive
8) Squab, butternut noodles, cream soda, carob *
9) Sweetbreads peanut, beet-pomegranate, pickled sweet potato *
10) Ricotta, caper, frozen honey **
11) Jasmine custard, black tea, banana *
12) Caramelized brioche, gala apple, sage, brown butter *
13) Concord grape sorbet, peanut shortbread **

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) A nice amuse to start with. Perfectly cooked sweet crab tail paired nicely with the pickled ramps and cranberry foam. Flavors worked well and not as crazy as I expected from a wd-50 dish.
2) Now this is a what the f type of dish. Not necessarily in I want 10 of these, but more like this guy's f'n with me. Everything bagel flavor in ice cream form that looks exactly like a bagel and has a nice sweetness to it. Top that off with dried salmon threads and a frozen crispy cream cheese. Add it all together and it tastes exactly like a bagel with cream cheese, but with different textures. It was very fun to eat, but it tasted like a good bagel, cream cheese, with salmon.
3) Foie gras with a sour passion fruit puree piped in. Not a big fan of this dish. The foie wasn't as rich and creamy as I liked - it also needed some salt on top imho. Also, the fruit puree was much to tart for the foie. Chinese celery was a nice touch, but everything did not work well together
4) Interesting dish with two types of tendons - thin gelatinous sheet and a crispy version as well. Flavors were decent together, but the scallops completely get drowned out. Also, I felt this dish needed some acid to bring out the flavors more.
5) The best entree of the night. A gelatinized, rich, creamy, egg yolk. A truffle looking item filled with a hollandaise sauce encased in a thin english muffin shell that is waiting to burst out. Put the two together and you have a ridiculous explosion of flavors.
6) Pretty tasty dish with all the ingredients combined. Brussel sprouts adds a nice nuttiness and the banana kimchee puree is sweet and slightly spicy.
7) This was a pretty dull tasting dish. Tender rabbit, but everything tasted very one note. The only thing that made the dish pop is the sweet cassis sheet. Also, the whole plate looked like it was covered in crude oil (or squid ink), so not really that appetizing.
8) Perfectly cooked squab (maybe sous-vide) with a surprise pairing of cream soda sauce. Oddly enough it works very well and brings back great memories of childhood.
9) Encased sweetbreads that tasted exactly like chicken nuggets except it's uber creamy inside. Breaded sweetbreads and probably deep fried. A fun dish to eat.
10) My favorite dish of the night. Salty rich ricotta, capers, caper foam, and frozen honey. Great pairing of textures and sweet/salty flavors.
11) Tasty dish, but a way too intense banana flavor for me. The wife liked this better though.
12) A dish with weird flavors and textures, but it's pretty good. Don't ever expect to see sage foam in a dessert dish, but there it was. Crispy, dehydrated brown butter was an interesting touch and it felt like it was smoked too. Everything together tasted like a homey thanksgiving dish...kinda like an apple brown betty with sage.
13) Peanut butter truffle filled with a corcord jelly...basically PB and J. Really fun and very tasty to eat. There was also this dehydrated chocolate thing that was encased in a chocolate packet that is edible - uber fun to eat.

Overall Restaurant Experience (20/100)

  • Food 8.4/10 – High cooking technique - taking traditional dishes and reinventing how it is texturally. Unfortunately, flavors tasted like the originally inspired item (e.g. bagel and salmon) and really nothing was that special. Desserts were by far the best, which is rare when desserts outshine the apps/entrees. Very nice plating
  • Service 7.3/10 – Food comes out pretty fast and everyone seems to know the dishes. Very casual environment - even the servers wear jeans. Knocking this place down a little lower, since I expect better service when spending this much money. The sesame crackers they serve are tasty, but they leave a whole mess load of crumbs on the table which no one cleans up until right before dessert time. Also, almost every single dish should be served with a spoon to catch the creative sauces and foams, but they were serving forks most of the time instead.
  • Atmosphere 8.5/10 – Very casual relaxed environment. The first thing you notice is how bright the place is - a refreshing change from all the dimly lit NYC restaurants out there. There were lights directly above the center of each table showcasing the food perfectly - great place to get pics of the food. Lots of couples, groups of 4s, and some notable chefs there as well. Open kitchen as you can see Wylie manning the pass. Relaxed environment. We had reservations and were seated immediately. I checked and it looked like you get a reservation for a Thursday night on that day as well.
  • Price 7.3/10 – Price was decent, but not great per the satisfaction level. Bout 400 for the two of us, but like with all molecular places - you don't leave feeling satisfied. Probably cause the lack of starches usually. Afterwards, my wife was feeling the need for some fried rice - we obviously didn't get any, but it felt like it would have been nice. She had the same feeling at Moto in Chicago as well.
Closing Comments
Afterwards, my wife had food poisoning and I had a slight case of it as well. 99% sure it was this place since we did not eat the same things the previous two days. Without the food posioning, I would have been glad we went to check it out, but probably never would have gone back any way. If you want to go to a better place that messes with textures and flavors, rock Eleven Madison Park or more importantly Ko...if you can get a reservation.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Columbus Salame

Not all Salami are created equal.
And if you are unconvinced, try a thin slice of Columbus Salame, you will certainly agree with me then.
Wow, is this stuff good!

Columbus Salame
30977 San Antonio St
Hayward, CA 94544

(510) 921-3400
Did you know, true salami is simply cured... never gone through any heat treatment?
It's the way you incorporate good bacteria into the meats and fats, then form it into a log shape with the help of a casing, then inoculate it with a type of penicillin for it to start it's magic, then age it to perfection.
Julius Caesar was a big fan of salami and he always had Master Salame makers commissioned for his long war efforts abroad.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tori Nabe

I had some friends come over for a typical winter dish in Japan. It's called "Nabe" (loosely translated to hot pot in english).
This one was a Tori Nabe (Chicken Hot Pot). Usually served with a little Ponzu.
The hotpots in Japan tend to be very mild in flavor, as compared to a Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc...
The key lies with the Dashi and bringing the gentle flavors of the kelp and chicken broth out with a ton of vegetables.
It keeps you warm and it's some what satisfying, but this dude prefers a little more flavor to his broth.
Attached as some pics I took during the prep and also once done.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Read Dudesonfoods... it could save your life!

I guess Jeremy didn't read up on Mercury studies earlier this year that were blasted all over the media, including the NY Times. (Perhaps too busy pissing off the waitstaff at Nobu with leaving his Entourage DVDs as tip.) Just another good reason to keep up on dudesonfoods. All this could have been avoided Ari...

people mag -
Jeremy Piven suffered "shocking levels" of mercury in his system from eating too much sushi and Chinese herbs, forcing him to leave the Broadway play Speed-the-Plow, his doctor tells PEOPLE.

"I pulled Jeremy from the show," says Dr. Carlon Colker. "I'm an unpopular character right now."

Responding to skepticism over the decision to leave the play – playwright David Mamet joked that Piven was leaving show business to "pursue a career as a thermometer" – the doctor says the decision was purely medical, and one that Piven, 43, initially resisted.

"He's disappointed that I had to pull the plug," says Colker. "But I think he's hurt more by the comments that he's not trying or that he walked away. He's been working straight for 30 years. He doesn't walk away; I tore him away from it."

Colker, an internist and attending physician at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut, says Piven initially came to him after the show's run began in late October, complaining of severe fatigue.

"This was very, very unusual for him," says Colker, who is also CEO and medical director of Peak Wellness in Greenwich, Conn., with another facility in Beverly Hills. "He's known as the iron horse – he's been working nonstop for 30 years, and he works 17-hour days."

Mysterious Fatigue

After a battery of tests failed to reveal what was ailing the three-time Emmy winner, Colker checked his "heavy metals" and was "absolutely stunned" to find mercury at a level "almost six times the upper limit of normal and allowable," says the doctor. "It's the highest level I've ever seen."

Colker attributes the high mercury count to Piven's habit of eating sushi, often twice a day, compounded by certain Chinese herbs he was taking "for general health." Piven was ordered to put a moratorium on the fish and the herbs, and his doctor sent a letter on Dec. 10 revealing the health problem to the Speed-the-Plow production staff.

While Piven decided to continue with the show, his symptoms did not abate – and after a spell of dizziness led to a three-day hospitalization, Colker says he decided to put the curtain down on Piven's Broadway run. The actor will be replaced by Norbert Leo Butz and William H. Macy.

"It is very serious. Mercury can kill – it can absolutely cause cardiac arrest, kidney failure, even psychiatric problems," says Colker, who was first interviewed by Entertainment Tonight. "He is going to be OK. This is completely reversible," adds Colker, who believes Piven will be "rockin' and rollin' and ready to be his old self for Entourage" by March. He just needs to really lay low and rest."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scent of a (Whoa!) Man

Burger King releases meat-scented cologne

American fast-food chain Burger King has come up with a novel Christmas gift idea for the meat-loving man who has everything: barbecue-scented cologne.

  Last Updated: 9:40AM GMT 17 Dec 2008
Burger Flame, a body spray for men, is sadly not available in the UK, Burger King releases meat-scented cologne
Flame, a body spray for men, is sadly not available in the UK Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND

Just in time for the festive season, the company has released its very own men's body spray, Flame.

Not recommended for vegetarians, Flame is being promoted as "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broilled meat".

While the smell itself might not inspire confidence, the price will.

Flame is on sale for the credit crunch-busting sum of just $3.99 (£2.65), suggesting the Burger King promotions department has realised their contribution to the fragrance market might work best as a novelty stocking-filler.

Flame, a body spray for men, was launched this week online and in a selection of US stores – it is sadly not available in the UK, and now even has its own website, the appropriately named

The site proudly proclaims to prospective buyers: "The Whopper sandwich is America's favourite burger," before going on to extol the virtues of a perfume that smells like cooked meat.

"Flame by BK captures the essence of that love and gives it to you. Behold ... now you can set the mood for whatever you're in the mood for."

More of Flushing

If you type in Flushing in the "search blog" queue, you'll find a few enthusiastic posts about awesome Chinese food we've blogged about.
But there's more. There's a lot more to report.
This past weekend, a few of us (Aramis and Mr. Risotto included) decided to head out to Flushing again and eat our way around town.

Aramis and I got there first, and we were a bit hungry to start with... So we walked around and spotted some little snacks en route to our rendezvous point. We started with a street vendor right under the train station and ordered up some meat buns. 4 for $1.25. I think this was a winner.

We later waltzed into an underground food court and proceeded to order some dumplings.
You sit on these little stools that are designed for kindergartners and you share elbow space with the next table of really loud Asian people, but the food is comforting and extremely cheap. $3 for the box of dumplings... Um, Yah.

After we met up with the rest of the entourage, we went back to the underground food court and sat at a different vendor's stall and ordered up some lamb with cumin burgers, braised goat ribs and spine and rice noodles with cumin. Once again, super cramped and rough service. But we ordered for 5 and the bill came to $30.

Next stop, off to Nanshiang Xiaolongbao.
I like this place a lot. Their XLB are probably the best I've had in the States, but if there was one area of the dish that was questionable, it would be the skin (as Aramis pointed out immediately). Not as soft as "the best", but still elastic enough to not break when picking up. (Your chopstick skills are tested here. If you can pick up a XLB, uncooked tofu, and individual peanuts, you can pick up just about anything else.)
But I'm not that picky. The center is what matters to me the most. Good filling that's not dark brown because they douse it with soy sauce but good pork broth to fill. Leaving your lips a little sticky because of the collagen in the soup. That to me is where the love is.

We finished up here and walked to the Flushing Mall for some bubble tea. But for some reason, I ordered some guotie (potstickers) as well, and they were fantastic. Mind you, we were pretty full at this point and the potstickers still tasted really good.

All in all, this was a successful food crawl around Flushing. The weather wasn't too cold and we spent the whole day talking about food and eating.
Pretty sweet!