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Posts Tagged ‘japanese’

Tokyo Chinatown

Chinatown / Yokohama

Yokohama was a bit out of the way, but it was interesting to see how different the Chinatown would be from others that I’ve been to before. I wanted to see what type of Japanese influences existed here. Mostly though, it was fairly unimpressive. I mean, by the size of it, it was a fairly sizeable Chinatown. I suppose the intentions of a good Chinatown where there; they had the dimsum restaurants, Peking duck, and picturesque ancient Chinese style architecture, but it was lacking a bit of the classic Chinese character. Where were all the Chinese people? I didn’t see any. And the people hawking goods- authentic or otherwise? All we saw were uninteresting gift shops. We also didn’t appreciate the pricing – everything seemed excessively expensive.

While walking around and exploring, we decided the only thing worth spending our money on would be the food. Even though we couldn’t fathom normally spending this much money on simple Chinese food, especially having just come from Hong Kong and China.

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Tokyo Adventure!

No lie, the sole purpose of all my companions and myself during our trip to Japan was to shop. And eat. But mostly to shop. Tokyo is the mecca of fashion, electronics, comestics, basically any material good you can name. Plus, the Japanese know food. If only they could teach me their skills through osmosis!

First, our 3 bedroom furnished apartment I managed to snag for us for the week at Oakwood Shinjuku.


Yes, Japanese people like to watch Hilary Clinton too


full kitchen. it even came with a rice cooker


the infamous bidet. i dare you to try it


the master. and yes, we like spongebob square pants!

And now, onto the good stuff (more…)

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Weekend in DC

Foodings from a weekend trip to view the cherry blossoms back in March.

The boy and I went during the first weekend when they had all the festivities like the kite flying around the Washington Monument. Thankfully we had really good weather; I heard a bunch of horror stories about being rained in during cherry blossom season and I’m glad it didn’t happen to us.

To the food!

Lunch: Oyamel
401 7th St NW, Washington DC

They claim they’re authentic Mexican, which I doubt. This is a more casual upscale-ish tapas place, but most dishes we tried lacked flavor, any flavor. The highlight was the homemade guac, but overall, the food was sub-par to the atmosphere, which was clean, sleek, spacious, and at lunchtime, had a ton of natural sunlight.

oyamel


home-made guac! yummo


onions can make even big boys cry


guac-face!


left to right:
1. Tinga Poblana – Stew of shredded chicken with potatoes, chorizo, and chipotle, topped with red onion
2. Cochinita pibil con cebolla en escabeche – Yucatan-style pit barbecued pork with pickled red onion and Mexican sour orange
3. Pato al pastor con laminas de piña – Shredded duck confit with tomatoes and peppers, served
with pineapple, onions and cilantro


Tamal Verde –Tamale with green sauce of tomatillo, shredded chicken breast, chile, garlic and cilantro

Maybe it was our food selection, but they were mostly unflavorful and not as exciting as I thought they were going to be. The tamale was dry and not spicy as I was expecting.  I’ll be heading to Mexico in September, so I’ll be able to enjoy the real thing then!

We also got a chance to walk around their tiny Chinatown and discovered that all their Western style shops and restaurants such as Legal Sea Foods and Urban Outfitters all had Chinese names on them. It was cute. This is how Chipotle is written in Chinese (it’s basically a transliteration):

Now, foodwise, we really had the BEST meal at this non-descript Japanese restaurant. I can just tell I’m going to be making some annual trips to DC just to eat at Sushi Taro.  We had to wait about 1.5, but ended up getting on within the hour since we waited around the restaurant and they just happened to have an opening.  Although we didn’t eat anything that was particularly out of the ordinary, everything was made extremely well.  Sitting at the sushi bar also helped. I love being able to watch the chefs work; you can see the care each one of them puts into the food.  There are so many things we want to go back to try.  We noticed that they offered a separate menu for the daily specials that they neglected to give us, which is  written in Japanese with English translations.

Dinner: Sushi Taro
1503 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA


they offer the traditional japanese cushion seating.


the super skillful chef. he makes me wish i could speak japanese


chicken skin and kobe beef

Though this isn’t the best kobe beef I’ve ever tasted, but it did retain its juicy flavors as it was on the grill.  Then there’s the chicken skin skewer that’s a heart attack waiting to happen.


Simplicity:  soft shelled crab; eel, spicy tuna, tofu stuffed with seasoned rice


oyakodon- think: reallyyy juicy, savory, and yummy chicken veggie omelet where the juices seep into the rice underneath.

For all you sashimi lovers out there, but sure to check out their extensive raw selection if you ever make your way there.  They even emboss their tamagos with their insignia.

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So I’m saddened to say that one of my favorite eateries has bitten the dust. It’s the small space with the small garden area behind Ramen Setagaya. People are probably paying too much attention to the ramen place to consider going to the hidden quieter gem in the back. I mean, yes, the name, Oriental Spoon makes me cringe but the food is good, the service is good, and the ambiance is good. What more can one ask for? Oh right, a shelf life of more than 6 months.

While I’m probably over-hyping the quality of the food here, I did enjoy my experience and I think that always makes the food stand out more. I must admit that some of the dishes could use a little improvement, but I didn’t think there was anything that couldn’t be improved with time.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact specifics of each dish so you’ll just have to deal with the pictures.

bar
bar area

garden space
overlooking the “garden” area

backwall
interesting wall design

 

We started with a sashimi salad. The selection of fish was small but the quantity was fairly large for a small plate and it was topped with a bunch of shredded daikon.

sushi salad

They have HUMUNGO ROLLS.  Hu-mung-go!

sushi

This is their sampler appetizer platter. Clockwise from the top left: 1. Sashimi with pickled shredded daikon and caviar 2. tuna with a wasabi based sauce 3. sashimi pieces in ponzu sauce 4. tempura eel rolls

sampler

Chicken wings wrapped in some type of bitter tasting dried veggie. Chicken was nice and crispy but it was too hard to eat with the veggie, I had to take it out.

fried chicken

Calamari. Pieces of squid were good sized but it was lacking in the crunch factor

calamari

Pineapple curry chicken.

curry rice

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