Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Dinner 2010

The H.o.P. usually celebrates the holidays pretty casually.  Some meat, potatoes, greens, and of course, a fruit tart.  Things are changing as the years go by.  Not only is our family growing, but we are all growing up and somehow meat, potatoes, and a salad just doesn't satisfy our palates these days.  In addition, we had some new guests this year: Triple T's brother, Quadruple T (Terror from Toronto and Taiwan Too), and Running Man's whole family.  Smooth Obturator and Triple T finally finished remodeling their pimp pad, including a pretty awesome kitchen.  So it's was only natural that we would eventually take all our culinary experiences and apply them for a new take on a family tradition of Christmas dinner.

Smooth Obturator was proudly showing off his new wine fridge.  He broke out a bottle of Silver Oak for us to enjoy with the evenings meal.  I'm really learning to appreciate good wine these days.

Appetizers black olives, smoked gouda cheese spread, wasabi cashews, multigrain crackers
I was too busy cooking to really enjoy these light appetizers, but the wasabi cashews are my new favorite snack.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shamshiri Grill

The decision to eat at Shamshiri Grill was riddled with bickering and mudslinging.  Between myself, WonTuan, Tofu, The Face Puncher, and The Communist, we spent a whole afternoon wavering between Indonesian (suggested by The Communist) vs. Persian food (craved by WonTuan and me) for the evening's dinner.  Soprano Man was lucky enough to be ignorant of the whole ordeal.   Under severe pressure and threats of violence against her life, The Communist bowed out and Persian food it was!

I'm not quite sure why Shamshiri Grill only has 3.5 stars on Yelp.  I do rather enjoy the food as have most other people I've brought here.  I may even like its neighbor up the street a bit more, Flame.   In any case, we came, we ate, we conquered!

Shirazi Salad diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, parsley, lemon dressing
The Face Puncher and I took over the reigns when it came to order.  Men are extremely useless sometimes.  I think we did a good job with regard to balance and portions.  I never had this exact salad before, but recognized the flavors.  It reminded me of tabouleh, but with cucumbers.  I really found it refreshing.

Basmati Rice
Soprano Man exclaimed "Oh look, there's cheese on the rice!"  I said no, Soprano Man, that is Saffron infused rice.  The Face Puncher did not believe me, but WonTuan helped me convince the culinary savages that it was not in fact cheese, but saffron infused rice.  There was plenty of basmatic rice to go around.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hakata Ramen Shinsengumi

I'm actually not a fan of Shinsengumi's ramen.  I prefer Santouka by far and Daikokuya is not bad either.  I do like Shinsegumi for the other food options, that in combination with the ramen, make for a delicious meal.

Hakata Ramen
At Shinsegumi, they allow you the option of choosing your level of oil, salt, and noodle texture.  Usually I go medium for all of them, but I wished I had opted for more salt because my bowl of noodles was a bit on the bland side.  I'm not a huge fan of the noodles either.  When I think of ramen, I think of curly thick noodles.  The broth is definitely rich in porky-ness, but somehow lacks that tastiness that I enjoy at Santouka. 

Here the noodles are thinner and straight.  They just don't have that same oomph.  They do allow you to order extra portions of noodles to keep adding to your bowl of soup.  Some obese man sitting at the table behind me was jonesing for some diabetes because he had about 4 or 5 orders for extra noodles.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Luscious Dumplings

I have a love-hate relationship with Luscious Dumpling.  I LOVE the dumplings, and HATE almost everything else about the place.  Ok that last part may be an exaggeration.  I mean, the place is small, but clean, the service is typical for FOB Asian, the prices are cheap, but on par with most everything else in the San Gabriel Valley.   What I really HATE about the place is the hours, the wait, and how they consistently run out of food.  It's like the place doesn't even try to make enough food for all the hungry customers.  You'd think the owner was in the back thinking, "I feel like going home at 7:30pm tonight.  Let's just make 100 dumplings today.  And I only feel like making 3 types.  Don't make too much noodle soup either.  We wouldn't want customers to be happy and satisfied."  It's no joke.  If you don't show up by 7:45pm, you are sh*t outta luck.

Take a good look at this menu.  It may be one of the very few times you won't see half the items crossed off.

Small Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce
The vegetables are fresh fresh fresh.  You won't taste anything chewy or bitter about these bok choy.  They are crisp, and interestingly prepared, or so I think.  It doesn't taste like the bok choy have been stir fried in the traditional fashion, which would result in the bok choy sitting in a pool of its own watery soy sauce.  Perhaps they are blanched, and then just lightly tossed in oil in a skillet?  I can't figure it out, but I do love the veggies here.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Sushi Wasabi

I will have to be frank.  Food in LA is better than OC.  Argue with me all you want, but I stand by that statement.  LA is just bigger with more variety.  This is not to say that you can't find good food in OC.  There are some great eats here and there.  Of course, Vietnamese food is far superior here than anywhere else.  Sushi is just solid, but not amazing.  Taiko in Irvine used to be my usual hot spot, but as of late the sushi is incredibly low quality and inferior.  Although, I have heard that the sushi bar is pretty impressive quality for the price.  Even Mama H.o.P. is a fan!  Anyways, Sushi Wasabi in Tustin had great reviews so I figured it was time to check it off my "to try" list.  They make a big point of emphasizing the "no California rolls, only fresh sushi" policy.  Smooth Obturator, Triple T, Triple F, and I came here for the omakase.

I will be brief in my descriptions because, honestly, I can't think of much to say when it comes to sushi.

Albacore (Canada)
Solid.  Swimming in ponzu, but I enjoyed it.

Red Fin Tuna (front)
The members of my dining party aren't big fans of tuna.  Not because it tastes bad, but mostly because it tastes like nothing.  This tuna was no different.
Toro (Boston)
Usually toro has a rich butteriness that distinguishes it from any other fish.  This version had a pretty subtle richness.  It was still enjoyable, but not impressive.

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