Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Eating Out: Getting Uni Devirginized

My uni cherry has been popped.

I never thought that I'd try uni.  Sea urchin just doesn't turn me on.  Plus, I've heard some love/hate stories about eating uni, and I already had a feeling I would't love it.

So what do I do when uni is part of the set dinner course?  I have no other choice but to give it a try, and given the sexy circumstances of dinner, it might be better to choose this special night to get devirginized.

I was invited to My Japanese Food Affair: A Restaurant Pop Up Series at Bushido in Mountain View.  I don't normally venture out to that side of the Bay for dinner, but when it's something special, I'll make way.  I shared the table with my boo who had previous uni experience as well as two other lovely ladies.  Both of these women were Sagittarius, both work in the Google kitchen, one as a chef and one as a nutritionist, and one just happened to have the same birthday as me.  So meant to be.  The chef chick loves uni and has eaten sea urchin fresh from the ocean, and the nutritionist had experience just like me.  None.  I think we were both nervous for our first time.  

The exclusive Omakase menu was created by Chef Jerome Ito, a sushi chef at Bushido who turned the restaurant into his own for the night.  I previewed the menu a few days before and was ultimately nervous about the uni course.  But everything else seemed tantilizing to me, so I'm glad that it worked out for my attendance, and also my memorable night.

Check out all of the foreplay that happened before my first time: 

Roasted Garlic Edamame: Yum, thanks for adding the garlic.  I love garlic.  

Autumn Salad with seasonal vegetables, pickled daikon, sesami ume vinaigrette: I've never had squash in my salad, and now, I think it needs be a part of every salad in the Fall.  The dressing was good and my favorite part was the Brussel sprout chips.  I could eat a whole plate of those but I only got two pieces.  What a tease.

I had to loosen up a bit since I was so nervous, and a carafe of hot sake and Sonoma County wine sent from Chef Jerome himself helped to ease my tension.  It's not the first time without alcohol right?

Ocean Trout Nigiri with avocado, seranno, and ikura: Wow, how the hell did that little fish egg ball sit so gloriously on top?  Anyways, this was soooo good, definitely memorable.  And....it was made so perfectly to fit in my mouth.  Sometimes when I eat nigiri, it's so big that I choke but this size was perfect.

Hamachi Nigiri with serrano, shiso, and ponzu: Again, so good.  The chef insisted that we try this all without soy sauce, and it was flavorful and wonderful.  I was getting warmed up.

Surf & Turf Nigiri: Here's some advice for the fellas out there....if you want to get some, treat her to the surf and turf.  The surf consisted of snow crab, miso butter, and yuzu and was a nice piece of crab.  The butter made it buttery.  Yum.  The turf was Miyazaki wagyu beef, yuzu, and momijo oroshi.  I don't even know what the other stuff is aside from wagyu beef, and I don't need to know.  All I know is that it had some fancy massaged beef on top.  Now that I think about it, I've never had beef nigiri either.  Another cherry popped tonight!

I thought that uni course was going to come at this point, so I was a little relieved when I received my main course, the Matsutake Mushroom Past with assorted Japanese mushrooms, wakame, truffle oil, and grilled crostini and truffle butter.  There were 3 options to choose from, and I didn't want the uni pasta and I have always wanted to try a Japanese spin on pasta.

The server originally didn't give the crostini, and when she came back, the butter was looking a little orange.  Was it uni butter instead?  YES, IT WAS.  This was like going to first base with uni.  I tried it, and it mainly tasted like butter, but there was definitely uni in there.  

The pasta was light and buttery, and there was a good variety of mushrooms.  I killed the whole plate.  Then I drank more wine and waited for that special moment.

The wait was a long one, but then it finally came....the uni course.   This course featured two different nigiri: Uni Meets Unagi nigiri with uni, charred unagi, quail egg, and tobiko and the Uni & Seared Scallop nigiri with bacon cany, black tobiko, and shiso.  I don't eat quail egg and rarely eat unagi, but I was feeling brave as heck and decided to just go for it all.  The nigiri was rather large and I knew that putting it in my mouth would be a struggle.  What if I choke?  

After a good staredown, I grew some balls and went for the bite.  The unagi was full of flavor and and the end I could taste this creamy ocean goodness.  I didn't even taste the quail egg, but who cares about that when I've been devirginized!

Yes, I'm no longer an uni-virgin, but that doesn't mean that I was going to just induldge.  At that point I was pretty full, and my first time with uni stopped at that first nigiri.  I gave the second one to my boo to eat.  I've had plenty of bacon and scallop in my life!

That wasn't the only climax, because we ended with a green tea cheesecake with raspberry puree.  The cheesecake was so light and airy and had good green tea flavor.  I really liked the crust....and just look at that sexy presentation!

By the end of our dinner, there were crowds of people waiting for our table so they could enjoy their exclusive experience.  I'm definitely down for another food affair from this chef again.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mile High Club: Free Mai Tai’s….And That’s It…

On a recent flight to Honolulu, I was feeling some type of way that Alaskan Airlines wasn’t offering an in-fight meal.  Why the heck not?  We dropped bread on the tickets and I would have been happy with a piece of bread because I love eating in the air.  Same thing in the water.  But nope, no free food.  Yeah, we received a tiny bag of tropical island mix with dried pineapple and other stuff, but for the meals and snacks, we had to shell out more dough to eat.  

I ended up purchasing a Signature Fruit and Cheese Platter (I'm so fancy) for $7 and I got a Pork Yakisoba for $6 for the kid.  The yakisoba looked so good in the photo and event the description was teasing me: shredded pork with a tangy Szechuan sauce over yakisoba noodles.  I should have known better.  Tasted like a wannabe TV dinner…and I like TV dinners.  The sauce was gross.  

The fruit and cheese platter, on the other hand, was just what I needed.  It featured Beecher’s Flagship handmade cheese, a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese straight from Seattle’s historic Pike’s Place Market.  It’s pure, all-natural, additive-free, and aged 15 months.  How do I know this?  I copied it off of the menu.  The cheese was REALLY good, event though it was just one little triangle.  The other cheeses were Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, which is always good, and a nice wedge of Brie.  Told you it was fancy.  It came with a little cluster of red and green grapes, and a few slices of apples.  I love apples and cheese.  The platter only had 4 Partners Olive Oil and Sea Salt crackers, but it was enough.  Well actually...those crackers are crack and I could have eaten more.  They’re thick and crisp with obvious sea salt and definitely an upgrade from Saltines or Skyflakes.  I would consider getting this on the flight back, if I’m not stuffed from all the local grinds. 

Of course they offer in-flight complimentary beverages, and the good part about going to the Islands is that there are way more free drink options, like guava juice and P.O.G., or pineapple, orange, guava.  You know I chose one of those because you can get cranberry juice anywhere. 

But the real highlight of the flight was the free Mai Tai that they were passing out before we landed.  I don’t really drink that crap, but if it’s free, it’s all me!  It was really sweet and syrupy and I’m not even sure if there was alcohol in it….but there are no complaints from me!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Eating Out: Monkey King Pub & Grub

Call me crazy but I just ate at the same place two nights in a row.  Crazy because yes, it's the same food, but crazier because it was on a Friday and Saturday night, and if you know the Monkey King Pub & Grub, then you know how crackin' it gets on those nights. 

I've been here before when this place must have first opened.  I was with a group of people who already killed two bottles of Grey Goose and were working on their third.  It was pretty empty.  There was another group of gals there that night, but they were quite tame and couldn't handle the karaoke mic being passed around, or the shots of Goose.  

My friend had a surprise birthday dinner here too, but I couldn't make it due to a turnt up tween slumber party the night before.  I heard how good it was, and they have all night happy hour, so I have been wanting to come back and give it a try.  

So fast forward to this past Friday, and after striking out at not one but TWO restaurants, we ended up at the Monkey King.  First thing you do when you get there is to write your name and your party size on the list.  This list is golden.  The list is on some recycled grid paper on a toe-up table in the corner.  If there's space at the bar, you can sit there without a wait, but I'm trying to eat more than I drink. There's a small couch to wait on, and if there's a spot available, you better take it because there will be a wait for sure.  

This place was crazy on a Friday night, with all kinds of people.  I noticed babies of all ages, grandmas passing around plates and carafes of drinks, and ladies with heels of all heights and skirts of all lengths walking in and out of the door.  I didn't really think this place to be kid friendly but apparently it is.  We waited about 30 minutes and then we were seated at a counter height table in the corner.  

The table was sticky and grimy.  What was even grimier was that the chick sitting there before us must have spit on the floor.  When we were waiting, you can't help but stare at the people eating at your upcoming table and wishing they would hurry the fuck up.  This chick was hurt, head down, swervin' as she walked out the door.  And now, there was her spit on the floor.  I feel sorry for the Asian family with 3 young kids sitting right next to her!  

The menu was sticky too, and the happy hour flyer had a sticker to cover up the old cheaper drink price.  Janky!  It's ok for the price change though, $5 isn't bad.  From the happy hour menu, we ordered salt & pepper wings and "disco fries" for $5, and an order of potstickers, also $5.  I asked the server if they had white wine sangria, so I got a pitcher of that ($14).

He came back with a small carafe of something red.  Apparently he didn't hear me ask for white over the music.  They were playing everything from top 40 to house shit.  I ended up taking the sangria anyways.  It wasn't anything special, and it made me wish I ordered a cocktail instead. 

We also ordered the spicy edamame ($6), spicy Korean dried fried ribs ($10), scrambled eggs & shrimp ($12), and garlic noodles ($8).  Everything came out in waves, but I'm the type to eat my meat with rice so I had to wait for the rice to come.  

The wings were simple and tasty, and the disco fries were skinny and fried to perfection and tossed around with some garlic and jalapenos.  This was well worth the happy hour price.  The potstickers, on the other hand, had a thick chewy wrapper and could have been panfried a bit longer.  I didn't care about those.  

The edamame was poppin!  It was spicy and had a cheese melted on top.  I liked how it was hot and roasted.  I needed to have something healthy in the mix.  

The ribs were HELLA good!  Fried really well and tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce.  We killed them.  I used to be vegetarian.  

The scrambled eggs and shrimp was pretty dense but still tasty.  The shrimp was plump and it was flavorful.  

Last were the garlic noodles.  I already thought I had plenty of garlic until this huge bowl of noodles showed up.  The ribs and fries were mixed with a good amount of garlic, but these noodles had triple the amount.  I was worried how my breath would smell for the next few days, but after taking a bite I didn't even care anymore.  Thick and slippery noodles.  Slurp.  

We ended up with about 4 boxes to take home, which meant breakfast the next day.  I wasn't mad at that.  But I don't even know when it was decided that we'd eat there again the next night.  

This time we showed up a little later, about 9pm, and it was a whole different vibe.  First off, there were no kids and there were already a crazy amount of parties going on.  There was a tired looking couple who looked like they've been waiting for a minute.  We still wrote the name down and started to wait.  

After about an hour, a security showed up and set up at the door to check IDs and make sure shit don't go down.  After one party got up and left, this one dude tried to weasel his way to a table.  After him and his lady took a seat, Fredo couldn't let that shit slide, and before you know it, the couple waiting before us took over that table, which means we were next.  Shit would have gone down if not!  

We were finally seated by an apologetic server who hooked us up with two drinks.  We got the coconut mojito ($6) and the strawberry + guava martini ($6).  The mojito had coconut juice and pulp, and the martini was good.  I even ordered a lychee martini after ($5).  That made it a bit better, especially since we waited HELLA long for somewhere we just ate that night before!  

We still ordered the garlic noodles and ribs, but this time got salt & pepper tofu ($5), ginger & crab fried rice ($12), and corn in a bowl ($6).  The salt & pepper tofu was fried to perfection, with a crisp outer layer and a creamy center.  It had loads of garlic, onion, and fresh jalapeno, but it wasn't tossed with the tofu so the flavors weren't mixed well.  It was served with over a bed of freshly shrimp chips and a sweet and sour sauce.  The shrimp chips was a good filler, the sauce was not.  

The ginger & crab fried rice was so good.  I love ginger, and there was plenty of crab in each bite.  So full of flavor.  

The corn in a bowl was supposed to be like what the elote man serves in the cart.  Sweet corn tossed with mayo, lime juice, and chili pepper powder.  It was a good mix to have with the other food, but nothing beats the real deal from the elote man.  

We ended up with two huge boxes to take home, which meant another breakfast.  I'm not going to eat there again tonight or anything, but I will definitely go back again, just maybe not on a Friday or Saturday night.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Eating Out: London Fish & Chips

So we're walking through Soho in the pouring rain, trying to make our way to a proper British fix at London Fish and Chips for some fish and chips in London.  We've been in in the city for a few days already but still didn't get any, mainly because it wasn't yet time.  

Why?  Because I was prepared in advance for this meal; I purchased a Groupon voucher and wrote it on my travel itinerary to eat lunch here. I even mapped out the path from the shops to to spot, but I was not prepared for the rain.  I can't control everything, dammit. 

We sloshed through Chinatown and I kept hoping it was just around the corner.  By the time we made it, my North Face was soaked and my Timbs were looking bad....and I was damn hungry.  The manager kindly greeted us and motioned us upstairs.  The spot was so London with the telephone booth murals all over the walls.  I ordered this heavenly dish of cod and shrimp...and my mushy peas, of course.  

The food arrived quickly and first thing I do is dip a chip in the mush.  I don't care if it's like baby food, it's damn good innit?  So good, I didn't even touch my seafood until the chips were halfway gone.  The fish hit the spot, but the shrimp wins the crown.  So buff and juicy, hench style shrimp. 

The added bonus of this joint was the free wifi.  Without wifi at the tip of my fingers in a foreign land, the access to my Instagram juiced me up even more.  

After the meal, I found out that the tube was just around the corner.  Oops.

Thank goodness for the Travelcard.  We hopped on the train, with my clothes still wet from the walk.  I couldn't wait to take them off....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Good Girl: Apples and Grown-up Peanut Butter

 While I love a good sausage in the morning, sometimes my body is just calling for something good for me.  I brought a little jar of Adam's chunky natural peanut butter to work because I bought the super jumbo container at Grocery Outlet and need to eat as much as I can.  I'm pretty picky with my peanut butter, and the chunkier and more oil-on-the-top natural, the better.  

This stuff needed a little more chunk, so I mixed in some protein-packed pumpkin seeds and drizzled on some sexy honey.  Yummy.  I smeared this all over a juicy slice of Gala apple and any dreams of sausage poofed into thin air. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I'm Just Here for the Food: My Bro's Wedding

When you're a bridesmaid, the most you get in your mouth all day actually comes at the end of the night- the wedding dinner.  For my brother's wedding, we had a morning full of pampering, so the only thing that touched my lips, besides lipstick, was an onion bagel oozing with cream cheese and a few pieces of obligation fruit.  The minute I got to the reception, I stalked every server passing the hors d' oeuvres for a few meatballs and loaded my plate with crackers and cheese.  

When it was time to get seated for dinner, I had that moment of wedding guest anxiety- when you hope and pray that your entree selection was best choice.  I developed a strategic plan where I ordered one entree and my date, the other.  That way, if my dish was gross, I'd just steal his.

I didn't have to steal his food, because mine hit the spot, but probably because I was starving.  I don't mind a little leg and thigh.  The servings were super small, but I wasn't trying to gorge myself because I was wearing a little wiggle dress that hides nothing.  The plate was licked clean, with nothing left but a measly bone.  Sounds familiar?

Once a bridesmaid...always a bridesmaid.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

XXX Movie: Savages

 I know what you're thinking, an empty theater....what naughty adventure did I get myself into?

This was just an average day after work, and after a request of being wined and dined, we ended up in this empty theater with a large popcorn (extra butter) and a large drink (fruit punch).  I couldn't keep my hands off of the popcorn, digging deeper and deeper into the bucket as I kept my eyes peeled for other movie goers.  I didn't want anyone to see how we were getting down with the popcorn, and the movie didn't even start yet.  

Sure enough, it was just our luck, because more people entered the theater, ruining our isolated moments of buttery bliss.  But as soon as the lights dimmed, we were back at it again.  After 15 minutes into the movie, I had to call it quits.  That's just too much for me to handle.

Never would I allow myself to consume such a sugary sweet drink, and in such a large size, but after each handful, I needed to give my tongue a break from all of the salt and just get a good slurp.  This drink was gone before the popcorn was done!

I know it's naughty to get a large popcorn for only 2 people, but these damn movie combo deals make it just a few cents more to go large.  And going bigger just means you'll be getting bigger, because there's just so much more to put in your mouth.  

On a side note, this movie Savages was also quite naughty.  Reminded me of the show Weeds, but just the season when they messed with Mexico, minus the comedy, with wayyyy more blood and bombs, and equal parts sluttiness.  Plus, seeing Salma Hayek as the big bitch in charge ain't so bad either.