Fugetsu

As you guys may already observe with the ongoing trend, I love Japanese food.  When I heard about the original hype of a local okinomiyaki specialty store opening up, I was stoked!  As possible it is to find this dish in some Japanese restaurants around, there has yet to be one that specialized in okinomiyaki, until today – Fugetsu!

For those of you who don’t know what okinomiyaki, it’s a Japanese pancake that originated mostly from Kansai prefecture and Hiroshima.  The variety between the okinomiyaki’s can vary very greatly, but the primary ingredient is made up of a batter of cabbage and nagaimo (Japanese yam).  It’s coated in a okinomiyaki special sauce that tastes similar toWorcestershire sauce and Japanese mayo…just the thought of it makes me hungry!

The restaurant is quite small, and cozy. I would definitely recommend going with a small party of 4 or less.  The tables are not really portable, they all have heated trays on them for your food to keep warm. This follows from original traditions of Japanese okinomiyaki restaurants. Usually in Japan they will cook it completely in front of the customers at their table. However, as we learned from the restaurant owner, because of health regulations in California, this was prohibited, so they could only put the cooked food displayed on a heated pan to recreate the experience as closely possible. To try to replicate the experience and fulfill the curiosity of people who want to see how it’s made, they’ve opened up the kitchen with a glass wall to watch the chefs cook the okinomiyaki first hand. Another observation about this restaurant is that it takes some time for the food to come. The owner is well aware of this and is working to optimize the process, but because all the food is raw to begin with and made to order, it will take a bit longer. Please be patient!

IMG_20170318_133138
Okinomiyaki spatulas and hot griddle setting.  So fun and interactive, right?

Ok, enough about logistics of the restaurant, let’s get onto the food.

N and I went for lunch and we went at around 1pm (dodging the main lunch hours as it gets really busy).  Fugetsu has a specific lunch menu with the opportunity to try many different things at once for a reasonable price.  Each dish was under $15 dollars during lunch.

I opted in for the lunch special of half an okinomiyaki and a small portion of yakisoba.  I’m a huge fan of okinomiyaki, so I’ve got to say that was the better of the two, but both are similar but unique in their own ways.  The noodles that are found in the okinomiyaki are actually different noodles that are used to make the yakisoba.  The yakisoba noodles are more firm and textured whereas the okinomiyaki’s noodles are more soft and resemble a mochi like texture.  The shop owner was explaining to us that it took around 3 months to engineer the desired texture and flavour.  The noodles come from an original recipe brought from the Japanese Fugetsu!

IMG_20170318_134944
Lunch combo #1: Small portion of yakisoba and original okinomiyaki ($11.95)

N went for the modan order of okinomiyaki, specifically the negi tsukimi, which is okinomiyaki topped with an egg and generous amount of green onion.  Upon trying this one versus my original okinomiyaki, I really felt that the negi tsukimi is the definition of a hot mess, haha.  The thick layer of okyinomiyaki, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, along with the gooeyness of they egg and freshness from the green onion, really was a complexity of flavours and textures.  These modan okinomiyaki really don’t mess around.  Would definitely recommend it!

IMG_20170318_135011
Negi Tsukimi Modan ($13). Green onions for days!

All in all, I thought it was a refreshing and fun experience that is different from other restaurants around.  The wait is long, I agree, even when the restaurant wasn’t full of people, but I truly felt it was worth it.  The store owner was welcoming, and humble — looking for criticism in order to grow customer satisfaction.  If you are thinking about coming here, you can read more about the menu and ingredients here!

– ksdn.

Yayoi Japanese Teishoku Restaurant

After having several thoughts about returning to Japan, I’m glad a restaurant like this popped up around the Bay Area.  There are two locations open today, one in Palo Alto, and one in Cupertino.  During this trip, we visited the Palo Alto location.  It’s really neat to see that the restaurant culture and the technology behind this place really reminds me of Japan.  Behold, travels to Japan in the blink of a second!

The whole atmosphere of the restaurant is super simple and minimalistic – very similar to the “muji” look, y’know what I’m saying?  It can get pretty busy though, so if you wanna sit down ASAP, I recommend giving them a call before heading there.  What’s really cool about the menu is that all the prices that you see in the menu (and in this post) are all tip inclusive, meaning you don’t have to worry about how much tip to give them and just pay the taxes on top of the prices.  I’m SO glad something like this finally exists in America!  This really follows how the restaurant etiquette in Asia is like, and I’m so sick of trying to math how much tip I should give TT.  So grateful for this!!

The ‘technology’ side of Japan is demonstrated by the way you order the food.  Each table is accompanied with a tablet, an electronic menu.  Customers will then go through the menu and choose the items that they want, add them to the cart, and order when ready.  The ordering style is much like AYCE sushi tablet ordering (at least back in Toronto)…except not AYCE..haha.

The process is all very seamless.  Ordering is quite self explanatory, with detailed descriptions and nice pictures.  Everything looked very appetizing and it was hard to decide what to eat.  Food didn’t take long to be served.

Self ordering technology

For starters, N and I got a salmon carpaccio to share.  The kick of flavour in the ponzu and thinly sliced red onions, along with the texture of the pea sprouts, went very well with the thick slices of raw salmon.  I think the amount served in the appetizer was really a balanced amount to begin the meal.

Salmon Carpaccio ($9 USD)

For mains, I ordered myself the Hatsumabushi, which is a meal with eel served Nagoya style. Although ingredients very similar to the Eel rice which was a couple dollars less, I chose to go for this dish because it was a little more creative and it almost seemed like it was three individual dishes. The meal comes with an instruction card, showing you how to eat it in different ways.

  1. You can eat it plain eel with rice as it is already served in the bowl.
  2. You can add the condiments (green onion, wasabi, pickled vegetable, soft tofu) to the eel rice.  What I thought was interesting was the tofu on the bottom right, the dish was a cold dish and the tofu was very fragile and soft.
  3. You can eat the eel rice along with dashi stock on the top right.  Eating it this way reminded me of a very yummy congee.
Hatsumabushi ($22 USD).  Eel over rice in 3 different ways 🙂

My favourite way to eat it was to eat it in the 2nd way.  Dry and with the condiments.  All the condiments added a new depth to the dish, and I thought it was very fun in general.  Don’t forget to add the mountain pepper, it’s an awesome addition to the dish!

N got a Yakiniku Ju, a simple grilled slice beef rice dish.  It is served with a miso soup on the side, which is super flavourful (and in my opinion, almost too salty ><).  You can replace the miso soup for asari miso soup for a couple of dollars, which is a clam miso soup.  This dish was a bit of a disappointment to me.  The mushrooms were very tasty, but I found that since the beef slices were so thin, it would easily overcook (which I thought it was), which in turn resulted to be a bit too dry for my liking.

Yakiniku Ju ($17.50 USD)

We ended our meal off with some matcha warabi mochi, which is what I like to call a “water mochi”, powdered in matcha.  The texture of warabi mochi is very interesting.  It’s not dense and chewy, but it feels like gummy water that isn’t very wet..if that makes sense at all..haha.  For extra flavour, it comes with brown sugar syrup which you drizzle on top of the warabi mochi.  Such a light touch to end the meal – I really enjoyed it.

Matcha warabi mochi ($6 USD) (omg sorry for out of focus-ness)

All in all, I really enjoyed my visit.  It really felt like I was reliving in Japan for a moment.  Although a bit disappointed in the Yakiniku Ju, I really enjoyed the Hatsumabushi and will definitely be back to try out other items on the menu.  And let me take a moment again to express how grateful I am that a restaurant that includes the tip into the price exists in North America!  Amen, sista!

-ksdn.

Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen

Hey munchkins!  Today is another episode of fooding in the brunch genre, in San Francisco.  On a weekend where I went to the city to visit my friend in the city, we decided to stop for brunch at such a place.  It’s in a super convenient location in the suburbs of Outer Sunset district which makes it super convenient to get to if you’re from there locally.  It’s also right by the cost of the Pacific Ocean, so it’s a pretty sweet combo to hit up the beach to relax and catch the waves after such a meal, haha, then again I guess hence the name “Beachside”.

DSC04773
The exterior of the cafe. Along the side are the outdoor tables and some beach chairs to relax and chill. Check out that line, though! (Don’t worry..it moves fairly quick).

The interior of the cafe is actually really small.  The way it works is similar to just take out where you order first, pay, and get a number stand.  After, you can look, depending on your preference, for a table indoor or outdoor.  It’s all up free for grabs!

DSC04764
Interior of cafe with tables. How cozy and cute!

One thing that you may want to bare in mind is NOT to secure a table before ordering.  A and I tried doing that and the people ahead of us were not very happy, expressing that it is a bit inconsiderate for people who are ahead waiting and did not have a table…and suggesting the table would have been theirs.  Regardless, it’s really not that big of a deal, the tables free up fairly quickly, so the system works out well.

We are benedict junkies so for a heads up, the menu is not restricted to benedicts, but ohhhh trust me, they are gooooood.  A ordered the classic Beachside benedict along with a iced coffee to freshen up the morning.  I, on the other hand, opted for the more vegetarian option, florentine benedict.

The coffee wasn’t the star, of course…it was just a nice way to freshen up a gloomy day and get motivated.  Here’s me just trying to be artsy fartsy with my camera.

DSC04767
The daily necessities with an iced coffee.

I’m always a sucker for benedicts, and I really enjoyed my choice.  The yogurt sauce along with the fried spinach was a good combination of flavours that went well with english muffin and poached eggs.  The tomatoes also add a touch of freshness to the entire meal which makes me feel like I had too clear of a meal, prepping me for the entire day.

DSC04769
Eggs Florentine – Served on our Homemade English Muffins & Hashcakes

The beachside benedict came with english muffin and bacon, drizzled with hollandaise sauce.  Although I’m not too big of a bacon fan I found the flavour light and a good combination of all the ingredients.  A is a pepper and salt addict, which after trying it with and without it I found it necessary with just a light touch of pepper and no salt since the bacon itself is salty to begin with.

DSC04770
Beachside Benedict – Served on our Homemade English Muffins & Hashcakes

One great thing that came with both our dishes that we didn’t expect to be so great were the hashcakes.  A mix combination between hash browns and tater tots, the hashcakes were so dense and moist on the inside while maintaining a crusty exterior.  The potatoes were very rich in flavour and a bite of the hashcakes was different than any other another hashbrown texture that I’ve ever had in the past.  A and I both enjoyed eating them a lot :).

The restaurant in general was very homey and small but cute.  One downside I would say about the little restaurants that are around is that although it’s super convenient to get to, it can get quite crowded pretty easily.   Although it gets quite busy,  tables become available for seating at a reasonable amount of time.  Our meal was around $30 in total, which I think is decent for eating in the city.

I would definitely recommend coming here if you are looking for some breakfasty food in a local suburban area!  Don’t forget to visit the beach that faces the Pacific ocean after!  The beach is calming and beautiful!

Mission Beach Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

-ksdn

Craftsman & Wolves

Hey my foodos!

It has been an awful long time since the last time I’ve posted on this…and too many things in my life have changed.  I’m currently no longer a student, I’m graduated and now working – and the biggest catch of this, is that I don’t live in Canada anymore :(.  I moved down for work, and now I live in NorCal, the home of fresh food and amazing food talent.  I’m hoping to revive this food blog and am planning to post more often (when I have time and when I can remember..).  Now that I have a job this also allows for me to explore with less guilt and go eat recklessly more often.

Okay, well enough about me, and now I will talk about my foodventure that me and N had during our weekend in the beautiful city of San Francisco.  We spent the weekend in Mission – food central.  We hadn’t realized this until we started exploring and we noticed all these restaurants with beautiful, hip interior and the creative items available on the menu.  At this point, we promised ourselves that we would make a stop at the next candidate that met the criteria.

And that is how we found ourselves inside a wakening ambience that we wanted to be in.  The interior was very simple, with an smartly perfectly unfinished ceiling and spider lights.  This little shop was filled with little baked goods both sweet and savoury.  Because N and I walked into Craftsman & Wolves as our first meal of the day, we decided to order a few savoury dishes.

DSC04124
DSC04119

We ordered a very delicious savoury muffin made with wheat, sausage and green onions that speaks for itself, really.  I mean, never judge a book by it’s cover ;).

DSC04125
A “simple” muffin

Craftsman & Wolves are geniuses by stuffing the muffin with a soft boiled egg that makes your eyes salivate just its looks, haha.  All the flavours were subtle yet worked in harmony, which made hard not to devour.

DSC04126

We also ordered a slice of their quiche, which was my personal favourite of the two.  Although I’m a sucker for soft boiled eggs and the muffin was amazing, I loved that the ingredients inside the quiche complemented one another so well.  The picked carrots had a nice and subtle kick to them which really worked my taste buds 🙂

DSC04128
Quiche (zucchini, baby kale, curry, asiago cheese) with pickled carrots

Our visit here was very pleasant.  It’s always nice to encounter a nice little shop that you enjoy by coincidence.  It just makes everything a better experience ;).  It’s good to be back, and hopefully being in this new space will motivate me to be more disciplined in blogging more often.  Until next time guys!!

-ksdn

Click to add a blog post for Craftsman & Wolves on Zomato

Canoe Restaurant & Bar

I may be a bit late, but first this first – Happy new year, 2013!
So my friends and I decided to participate in this year’s Winterlicious (see here for the full restaurant list).  We decided we wanted to go to the renowned Canoe Restaurant & Bar because we always wanted we’ve heard so many good things about it.  One quick tip for those who are interested in going during a Winterlicious/Summerlicious – there’s no way you can book any later than the first day that they start taking reservations!  Seats/tables go by super quick!

Moving forward, Canoe is found on the top floor of one of the TD Towers Downtown Toronto.  The view that the 54th floor restaurant is phenomenal.  There’s an awesome view of Lake Ontario and CN Tower.  The restaurant itself is quite fancy, so I suggest that if you’re planning to go, it might be better to dress for the occasion.

Here are some pictures of the interior:

Canoe entrance – on the 54th floor of TD Tower
Interior of Canoe. An awesome view facing Lake Ontario and the CN Tower.

This is the Winterlicious 2013 menu that they offered. What I found really neat about it was that they also included wine and cocktails that match well with the dishes:

2013 Winterlicious canoe menu along with beverages that complement the meals.

So before our 3 meal courses, we were served an appetizer of two types of bread (sorry! I forgot the types of bread) and a mushroom dipping. I think the bread was some sort of sour dough, which I am not too fond of, but the dipping was very tasty.

Pre-appetizer: two different types of bread with mushroom dipping.

And the long awaited 3 course meals:

APPETIZERS:

I ordered this one. I found it quite flavourful and creamy. There was a strong spice flavour, which I found slightly overpowering, but I liked the incorporation of yoghurt in the soup.

Roasted Squash & Parsnip Soup Birch Yoghurt & Spiced Croutons. The majority of my friends ordered this dish (mainly because we wanted something chilly since the day was so cold too)
Sheep’s Milk Quark – Baby Greens, Beet Reduction & Crisps

MAIN:

The brisket was perfectly cooked, the meat would melt in the mouth and nothing was overly chewy. What I enjoyed the most was the contrast in texture of the oats and the cabbages really complimented the meat.

Slow Cooked Ontario Brisket – Steel Cut Oats, Red Wine Cabbage & Cedar Pickled Mustard Seeds

I really liked how the pork was so soft (almost like a pulled pork). Although, I found it a bit salty at first, I eventually grew to love it and the spinach soaked in the sauce was fabulous. However, I found the crispy things on the top of the dish quite questionable…haha.

Maple Braised Willowgrove Pork – Orecchiette, Crackling, Kale & Thunder Oak Gouda

DESSERTS:

Maple Gingerbread Pudding – Cranberry Preserve & Scorched Citrus Crème Anglaise

Most of my friends ordered this one. I was afraid it was going to be too dry, but I found that the apples with the contrast of the cake blended very well together. It was all in all, probably my most preferred dessert.
Almond Cake – Niagara Apple Compote & Salted Caramel Sauce

The spice in the chocolate was subtle yet evident. I found it a bit overwhelming after taking a few bites. However, I enjoyed the marshmellows a lot. I found it refreshing in contrast to the strong spiced chocolate flavour. I found the contrast in texture also quite satisfying.
Spiced Chocolate Panna Cotta – Marshmallow Graham Cracker Crumb

The total of the lunch was a $25 price fixe + tax and tip. The atmosphere of the restaurant was very nice and higher tier. I thought it was very cute of the waiters to wait until the table was finished completely before they all gathered to retrieve our plates. They also timed the presentation of the dishes. All in all – service was extraordinary, atmosphere was very nice, and food was pretty decent. I would have to say it’s a bit overrated though compared to what it really is though..I just got so hyped up from everyone telling me its the BEST restaurant in Toronto! I still think it was a great experience and super fun and tasty, though.

Here’s my rating:
– atmosphere: 9.5/10
– value: 7/10
– food: 8.5/10

The regular priced items are slightly pricey (or so I find), so if anything just find a time to go during Winterlicious or Summerlicious!
Oh yes, and happy Chinese new year!

Canoe Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

-ksdn

Cora’s Breakfast & Lunch

Hey all! 🙂
If you’re hungry in the morning and feeling for a fresh but filling breakfast, Cora’s is the place to go!  Specializing in breakfast and lunch menu, Cora’s provides a selection of crepes, pancakes, sandwiches and much more!  They also have a featured fresh smoothie made with a mix of the freshest fruits they have.  M ordered one with pineapples, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  It had lots of berry seeds and tasted very fresh with a hint of sourness (which I actually liked!).

Spinach and Cheese Omlette ($9.25 + tax)
For my meal, I decided to order the spinach & cheddar omlette.  In my opinion, I preferred the potato wedges more than the omlette itself. The wedges were lightly roasted and salted. The omlette on the other hand was a little too cooked for my liking. They overdosed on cheese and the spinach was not very noticeable in flavour.  The flavour ends up getting a little bland in the taste palette, and I ended up resorting to ketchup for help.  But in terms of filling level, I was EXTREMELY full!

The atmosphere of the restaurant is very home-y and friendly.  It’s definitely a casual place to have fun with family and friends!  Even though there will probably a wait time when you go, the wait time is relatively short and servers are friendly and respond quickly.

My overall ratings for Cora’s …– atmosphere: 8/10
– value: 7.5/10
– food: 6.5/10

Feel free to visit Cora’s at http://www.chezcora.com!

Cora's (Waterloo) on Urbanspoon

Until next time!

-ksdn