All Around Japan

As you guys already know, I like to take my camera around everywhere I go and capture the moment.  As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve found that I’m falling out of the habit and it’s just so much easier to live in the moment.  I’ve always battled between whether or not I should bother taking time out of enjoying myself to capture the moment.

Pictures are nice, but videos capture the mood so well and can really allow people to relive the moment.  This is more so for myself than for anyone else, but I’m trying to get into the habit of vlogging on my traveling adventures.  Vlogging really isn’t easy though – from capturing content during the time of the trip, rewatching your clips and awkward self (xD) a million times, deciding what content is quality and sharable content, and putting it all together in one clip.  The most satisfying though, is when the video is compiled all together – and rewatching the entire length of the video is like being in the moment all over again.

Since there are so many things that I like doing on my spare time (of course, blogging as one of them).  I thought it was still slightly relevant since there are lots of clips of eating involved with the vlog.  So without any further ado, I would like to share my first (and very late) ever vlog of my friends and I traveling around Japan!  This includes – Tokyo, Sapporo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

Please enjoy our adventure in 2015 and let me know if you would like any detail reviews on any area specifically!  We ate and tried a lot of cool stuff.  Here’s just a little sneak peak of some good food that I would really recommend you hit up if you ever have a chance!

 

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Wagyu beef in Kyoto.  While very expensive, you will never get a chance to indulge in such fatty and delicious meat that simply melts in your mouth!
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Tsukemen at Menya Musashi, Shinjuku.  All noodles are handmade.  Dipping the warm ramen into the cool soup was an explosion of flavour and texture.
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Osaka version of sushi – pressed sushi.  Did you know that the beauty of Osaka sushi is that it’s has lots of layers of different ingredients?  And yes, all fish in true Osaka sushi is COOKED!
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Shirako. Shudders, still building up courage to take this one on.  Anyone have guesses on what it is? Cod milt!  Find this in some revolving sushi restaurants if you want to give it a try.

-ksdn

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Sushi Kashiba

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted (eek, in 2015!), but life has been very busy and I’ve been doing a lot of traveling for work.  But by all means, that means…more opportunities to try out some fancy food spots!

This time, I’ve made my way all the way to Seattle, with the greatest anticipation of making a visit to Chef Shiro, the disciple of well known Chef Jiro of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”.  If you guys haven’t had a chance to check out the movie, it’s a must watch!  It demonstrates the beauty of sushi-making and emphasizes the complexities and aspects of sushi that are not often acknowledged.  Haha, I mean, let’s be real, sometimes it’s hard to see beyond a piece of raw fish slabbed over a small rice ball.

To provide a little bit of background, this restaurant is in Seattle.  In fact, the original restaurant was called “Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant”.  This was where I had originally planned to go to.  Fortunately, a local told me that Chef Shiro doesn’t actually serve sushi at that restaurant anymore!  Ironic, given it’s name, right?!  After some further investigation, I found that he recently opened a new restaurant, which is *drum roll please*….Sushi Kashiba!  And if you are interested in SEEING Chef Shiro, he has Tuesday’s off..so don’t go on a Tuesday if you care to see him!

The atmosphere was surprisingly Americanized, I found.  There were also a ton of people, which was a lot noisier than what I had expected.  In terms of dress code, I would recommend looking you know, presentable.  There were quite a number of business casual dressed people.  And for you people going on dates, this the perfect place ;).

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Located at the Seattle’s signature Pike Place Market’s entrance.

Ok, time to cut the chit chat, let’s get into the actual meal.  We all ordered the Seattle Sushi dinner each, which comprises of 11 different nigiri’s along with daily rolls and some chef selected appetizers and dessert.

The appetizer consisted of two different dishes.  First came a sampler dish, comprising of a compilation of conch & broccolini and a the other being a bite of red snapper gelatin fat jello served over a slice of cucumber.  I’m not such a big fan of conch to begin with, but that bite definitely had a punch of several textures.  The snapper gelatin, on the other hand, was super delish!  If I had to describe it as another food, it’s almost similar to the Chinese cold cut turkey gelatin, but with red snapper!  I love fish, and the gelatin melted in my mouth with the soft perfectly cooked texture of fish.  I wish I had more than just one of those on my plate :'(.

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Broccolini & conch brushed with sweet soy sauce (left), with red snapper gelatin over cucumber (right).

Following the sampler plate came the salad which was what the chef named “New York Chowder Salad”.  The base of the salad was made of prosciutto.  The clams were topped over the salad with some braised leeks, fried onion rings drizzled with a creamy sauce and accompanied with some tomato jam.  I found this very light and delicious!  I’m not a big fan of salads but I managed to finish this no problem.  Though, the fact that I loooooove prosciutto helped a lot, hehe.

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“New York Manhattan Clam Chowder” Salad.

And the long awaited!  Main course!  We were all so stoked for these to come!  For those who don’t know, nigiri is style of preparation of sushi with, usually, a slice of fish over a ball of sushi rice.  If served properly and traditionally, nigiri should contain a small slab of wasabi between the fish and rice, glazed with a brush of soy sauce.  With that said, it should not require any additional dipping of wasabi/soy sauce.  We were served two rounds of nigiri’s.

For the first plate, the fish was mostly comprised of the tuna selection with a few additional fish.  We were told to eat them from left to right, top to bottom.  Throughout our journey of this dish, we found that the fish textures went from left to right, soft to bold/thicker/meatier.  My favourite, no question, was the fattiest tuna, toro.  It was so creamy and buttery, it literally melted once it entered my mouth!

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Plate 1 (L-R, top T-B): Albacore tuna, bluefin lean tuna, maguro seared zuke, toro, thai snapper, flounder.

The second dish, comprised of a larger variety of fish.  The server also introduced us to where the seafood was originally from – ranging from the Americas, to Europe, to Japan itself.  Salmon, which is always my go-to sushi, and never a letdown.  I also loved the fresh water eel.  The daily rolls, though, were kinda meh. I’m not that big of maki rolls, especially “spicy”anything roll.  I guess it just doesn’t come off as very classic to me.

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Plate 2 (L-R, T-B): Ebi big shrimp (from Hawaii), hamachi (from Japan), salmon (from Scotland), in-house smoked mackerel (from Japan), sea water eel (from US), spicy tuna roll and some type of white fish roll.

A lot was going on, because even after, we were served dessert!  So many mini courses, right?  Haha, well, dessert was quite simple, ending with a warm toasty miso soup and a sweet tamagoyaki.  It’s hard to make a standout miso soup, but this was good thanks to the tofu.  It was extremely smooth.  The tamagoyaki, also the last thing I ate, was so satisfying!  What a great finale to a memorable meal.  The presentation of the egg was so cute, cut in half, in a very clean brick shape.  The texture of the egg was also very dense but fluffy, if that even makes sense.  Aside from the texture, the flavour was also a lot sweeter than usual tamagoyaki.  This really was a good cherry on top of a sundae.

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The oh, so simple tamagoyaki.

And that ends the entire meal!  This tallied up to a total of $75 USD + tax, which I find it really reasonable given that it is sushi served by a renowned chef.  One last tip, I strongly recommend making reservations.  It was extremely crowded even on a weekday night, even at 8:30pm.  You don’t need to make reservations a lot in advance, I changed mine a couple of times even the day before my reservation.  As busy as the restaurant is, I was surprised to see that they even take reservations!  So make them to guarantee your spot!

Hope you guys had as much fun as me during your visit!

Sushi Kashiba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

-ksdnlee

Matsuda Japanese Cuisine

To celebrate my sister’s upcoming birthday, my family decided to go out for a luxurious dinner.  We ended up going to Matsuda Japanese Cuisine for dinner, an all you can eat (AYCE) restaurant in Toronto.  One thing that I recommend, especially if you’re planning to go on a weekend, is to make reservations!  The wait time can be so brutal there!  Regardless, their wide menu selection gives reason as to why there are so many people there.

I didn’t forget to bring my camera with me, so I actually have a lot of photos to share :).

The store banner/logo from outside

Interior of Matsuda. Lights are dimmed. Spacious and cozy :).

Check out http://www.matsudasushi.com/alldin.html for the full dinner menu!  Some of the items on the menu that left a good impression:

One of the more unique items on the menu. It's super delicious, and yes it's raw! It also tends to be harder to find on menus of other AYCE restaurants
Mango Roll: tempura bits, kani, cucumber roll w/ avocado on top and mango sauce. What I liked about it was that it tasted so fresh and all the ingredients complimented each other very well.
Steamed egg: Another rare item that is served at AYCE restaurants. I love how they steam the egg perfectly, and the complimented ingredients - shrimp and enoki mushrooms
Sashimi Platter: This is just a few from the selection of sashimi they have on the menu. The star of the platter, I would say is the sweet shrimp, which is so difficult to find! One thing to bear in mind is that they only serve sweet shrimp on Fri-Sun.
Grilled Beef Skewer: Although it doesn't look very special, I have to say that it tasted so delicious when I bit into it. Flavour was strong and meat was very tender.
Takoyaki: Who doesn't love takoyaki? And...ALL YOU CAN EAT? *gasp*
Salmon Roses: One of my all-time favourite sushis.
Grilled Mushrooms: My mom loved this the most. Who has ever seen mushroom caps so big before?
L-R: Ginger milk, taro mousse, tiramisu mousse, mango yoghurt. So much selection (these are only a few on the menu) and all tastes fairly decent! If I had to pick one though, it'd go to the famous mango yoghurt.

By the end of the meal, we were all filled to the max, and were complaining about how full we were xD.  The meal was definitely very satisfying and delicious.  Orders were generally took a reasonable time before it came and were processed pretty accurately.

My rating for Matsuda:

– atmosphere: 7/10
– value: 8/10

I don’t think it’s fair to rate food for this trip because it is an all you can eat place after all.  Instead I put my “food” criteria in value because the menu variety reflected on the value of what you were paying for.  And because we went on a weekend for dinner it costed $23.95 + tax.  It may seem a bit pricy, but there was a great variety in selection, and quality was fair for an all you can eat.

Matsuda Japanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Until next time!  And Happy birthday sis!!!

-ksdn.