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Is It EDible?

Updated: 2017-03-13T20:04:25.196-07:00


Coca-Cola Baked Ham


If it's Easter, then it must be time for chocolate bunnies, peeps, and baked ham. I'm not usually a big fan of baked ham as I find it a bit too "hammy." I think it dates back to an unfortunate baked ham incident I had on an international flight when I was a kid. I was already a bit nauseous from motion-sickness and when they served the in-flight meal of baked ham, the smell and taste nearly sent me over the top (and not in a good way). Thus, in all my years, I've never endeavored to bake a ham.

However, as my friends know, I'm a bit of a Coke addict. Well, Diet Coke to be exact. So when I found this recipe for Coca Cola Baked Ham in my Classic Cooking with Coca Cola Cookbook, I thought it might be time to break my baked ham virginity.

Boy, am I glad I did! This was by far the best baked ham I've ever made (ok...I recognize that isn't saying much, but it was quite good!) The Coca-Cola imparts a nice sweetness and helps to keep the ham quite moist.

There are quite a few recipes that can be found online. While some recipes call for braising the ham on the stovetop, a quick phone consult with Dean's mother resulted in the oven-baked method. The recipe below is mashed together from a number of them, including Nigella Lawson's and Paula Dean's. Enjoy!


9 lb ham
1 liter Coca-Cola*
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 ½ cup bread crumbs
1 ½ cup brown sugar

1) In a large pot, pour the Coca-Cola over the ham, cover, and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 4 hours).

2) Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking.

3) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

4) Place ham and Coca-Cola in a roasting pan. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 3 hours (about 20 min per lb). Baste the ham every 30 minutes.

5) When the ham is done, remove from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees.

6) Carefully remove ham to a large plate.

7) Carefully pour 2 cups of the Coca-Cola from the roasting pan into a small saucepan.

8) Bring the Coca-Cola to a boil and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the Coca-Cola forms a thick syrup.

9) Brush the syrup all over the ham.

10) In a mixing bowl, mix together the Dijon mustard, brown sugar, and bread crumbs. Carefully rub the mixture over the ham. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

11) Bake at 350 degrees for an additional 30 minutes.

12) Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 15-20 servings.

* Ed's Note: Do NOT use Diet Coca-Cola. You need the real sugar in regular Coca-Cola for this recipe.

IsItEDible in Honolulu 2010


I've been so fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Honolulu almost every year. It's definitely one of my favorite food cities. My list of "must-go-to" restaurants seems to keep growing with each trip and so it's impossible to hit all of them. On this trip to Honolulu, I did have the opportunity to go back to Yummy's and Tokkuri Tei. Oh soooo good.Here are some of the new (to me) places I found on this trip....Ramen Nakamura2141 Kakakaua AveHonolulu, HI 96815Mini combo $11.80This little hole-in-the-wall was right by the hotel I stayed at. Most of the folks I saw in this place were ordering in Japanese, which to me is always a good thing. For just $11.80, I had the mini-combo which included a bowl of hakana ramen (a mix of their "shoyu" and "salt" flavors), fried rice, and three pieces of gyoza.Yama's Fish Market2332 Young St.Honolulu, HI 96826(808) 941-9994I didn't realize it until this trip, but I've eaten food from here many times. For many of my work meetings, our local host organization orders the lunches from here. Their Hawaiian plates range in price from $5.35 (for lau lau and macaroni salad) to $9.50 (for kalua pig, beef stew, and mac salad) and are oh so delicious. On this trip, I was craving haupia (kind of like a coconut jello) and Yama's definitely satisfied my craving. Try their sweet potato haupia. A small square will only set you back $1.45.Sweet Home Cafe2334 S. King St.Honolulu, HI 96826(808) 947-3707I'm not typically a fan of hot pot, but this Taiwanese style hot pot restaurant has ingrained itself in my gastronomic memory. This place is so popular that you'll most likely need to wait a bit before you are seated. Be sure to add our name to the waiting list hanging on the door. Here's how it works: you pick your broth from a list of 14 options. If you can't decide, then you can actually order two broths that come in a split bowl. The steaming bowls of broth are placed on a portable induction heater on your table (I SOOO want one of these). We really enjoyed the lemongrass ($5.95) and spicy with sour cabbage ($8.95). You can also place an order for different thinly sliced meats. Try the beef tendon ($3.75)! Or if you are not so adventerous, the sliced beef, pork and chicken are also all $3.75 each. There are two sets of refrigerators in the back where you can pick out additional items such as fried bean curd, vegetables, and a bunch of different type of balls (beef, fish, shrimp, etc.) There's also a dipping sauce station where you can mix up your own dipping sauce. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. Did I mention the free dessert? My friend and I received a huge bowl of shaved ice with tapioca pearls, a coffee flavored flan, and sweet almond tofu. Who gives you FREE dessert anymore? Thank you Sweet Home Cafe. I will definitely be back as soon as I can.Duke's Waikiki2335 Kalakaua Ave, Suite 116Honolulu, HI 96815(808) 922-2268The lunch buffet ($13.95) here was decent for the price and, but what I really appreciated was the amazing, beachside view. I took this picture right from my table.[...]

Pan-Fried Pork Chops


One of my favorite restaurants in Honolulu is Side Street Inn. Each time I go there, their pan-fried pork chops is always one of the dishes that ends up on the table. I saw their recipe in Bon Appetit magazine a LONG time ago, and FINALLY got around to trying this dish at home.

Sometimes when you order fried pork chops in a restaurant, they are really crispy but the meat ends up dried out. Not so with this recipe. I'm not exactly sure why, but give it a try and see for yourself. You might end up booking yourself a ticket to Hawaii to try the real thing.


1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 pork chops (3/4 inch thick)
canola oil

1) Mix flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, and salt in plate.

2) Fill a large cast iron skillt with oil until about 1/4 inch deep. Heat on medium heat.

3) Dredge 4 pork chops in flour mixture. Shake off excess.

4) Pan-fry pork chops for 5 minutes. Then flip and fry for an additional 5 minutes.

5) Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.

6) Repeat with remaining pork chops.

Makes 4 servings.

Broiled Brussel Sprout Chips


In my adulthood, I've developed a true appreciation for brussel sprouts. Especially the crispy, caramelized part of roasted brussel sprouts. So, I thought to myself, "Self, somone should come up with a recipe that celebrates that crispy, caramelized goodness." Little did I know that I had already been beaten to the punch as I found several recipes online.

My recipe is adapted from a version that was originally posted by Sandy Smith of Eat Real.


16 large (golf-ball sized)brussel sprouts, washed and dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

1) Set your oven rack so that the top shelf is about 4 inches from the broiler. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2) Trim about a centimeter from the bottom of a brussel sprout. Carefully separate the leaves. You may need to continue to trim the bottom as you go to make it easier to pull off the leaves. When you can't pull off anymore, then cut the remaining brussel sprout in half. Repeat with remaining sprouts.

3) Place the leaves on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir until the leaves are well-coated. Carefully flatten the leaves out to a single layer.

4) Bake the leaves for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with garlic powder. Use a spatula to turn the leaves. Return to the oven. Switch your oven to broil.

5) Broil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so that the leaves don't get too burnt.

6) Remove from oven. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

Fried Chicken Sandwich


If you've never been to Bakesale Betty, then you are seriously missing out. Many folks from across the Bay Area line up to get a taste of her fried chicken sandwiches ($7.75). And they are so worth the wait. Crunchy chicken and spicy slaw served in an Acme Bakery torpedo roll. De-friggin-licious! While there aren't any tables to sit at inside, there are stools and ironing boards (yes, that's right, I said "ironing boards") that are set up outside on the sidewalk. Bakesale Betty 5098 Telegraph Oakland, CA 94609 (510) 985-1213 My office recently had a potluck picnic, and while I was perusing fried chicken recipes that would stay crisp for a picnic, I came across a SF Gate article where Betty shared her recipe for her famous fried chicken sandwich. I LOVE Betty's version, but I wanted to do a bit of an Asian twist. Below is my adaptation of her recipe. Don't get overwhelmed by the recipe below. It may look like a lot of ingredients and steps, but essentially you are making the fried chicken, the coleslaw, and the vinaigrette. But if it still feels too daunting, you can always just head over to Bakesale Betty and order up one of theirs.FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH FOR THE CHICKEN 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated 3 cloves garlic, grated 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons fish sauce 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced FOR THE COLESLAW 1 large red onion, thinly sliced 1 cup red wine vinegar 4 jalapenos, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced 1/2 cup parsley 1/2 green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced 1/2 red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced FOR THE VINAIGRETTE 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/2 cup lime-infused olive oil FOR THE BATTER 1 cup water 1 cup flour 1 tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper FOR THE COATING 1/2 cup cornmeal 1/2 cup flour 1 tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper oil for frying8 torpedo rolls (or other large sandwich roll)1) In a large ziploc bag, combine the grated ginger, grated garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, and cilantro. Mix well and place chicken thighs in bag. Marinate for 1/2 hour.2) Place 1 cup of red wine vinegar in a medium bowl. Marinate the sliced red onions for 1/2 hour to quickly pickle them. After 1/2 hour, remove the red onions to a large salad bowl, but don't dump out the red wine vinegar. You'll need to reserve 6 tablespoons to make the vinaigrette.3) To make the vinaigrette, whisk 6 tablespoons of the reserved red wine vinegar, mustard, salt, and olive oil. 4) To make the coleslaw, combine the pickled red onions, jalapenos, parsley, and cabbage together in a large bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette.5) Fill a cast-iron skillet with enough oil so that it is just under half-filled. Turn heat to medium.6) Mix all the ingredients for the batter together in a large bowl.7) Mix all the ingredients for the coating together in a large plate.8) When the oil is hot, dip 4 of the chicken thighs in the batter. Lift out and dredge in the coating and shake off excess. Carefully place in the hot oil and fry for 5-7 minutes per side. Remove to a wire rack (with cookie sheet underneath to catch the oil).9) Repeat with the remaining for chicken thighs.10) To serve, place coleslaw on bottom of roll and top with two chicken thighs. Slice in half, if desired.Makes 4 large sandwiches or 8 smaller sandwiches. Ed's Note: I like the tartness that the lime gives to the vinaigrette. If you can't find lime-infused olive oil, then just use regular olive oil. You could also try adding the zest from one lime.[...]

Oven-Broiled Barbecue Ribs


With the fourth of July holiday behind us, we are definitely in the thick of barbecue season. Although if you ask me, I believe that the season for barbecue lasts all year. If you have a craving for barbecue, but don't feel like firing up the grill (or if you don't have a grill to fire up), here is a super easy recipe that will leave you very satisfied.



4 lbs pork spare ribs
1/2 medium sized onion, sliced
1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce

1) Fill a large pot about 1/3 full with water. Bring the water to a boil.

2) Cut the spare ribs into portions of 2 to 3 ribs. Place rib portions in the pot along with the onion slices.

3) Cover the pot and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 1 hour.

4) Adjust your oven rack so that it is about 4-5 inches from your broiler). Preheat broiler.

5) Place the ribs in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the ribs with 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce. Broil for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the tops of the ribs with another 1/4 of barbecue sauce. Broil for 5 minutes.

6) Remove from oven. Turn the ribs over and brush with additional 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce. Broil for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

IsItEDible in Los Angeles


Last month, I spent a few days in Los Angeles for a training. While I was there, I revisited one of my favorite restaurants, Daikokuya (see the past posting here) and was introduced to some new (to me) places by my LA based colleagues and friends.Daikokuya327 E. 1st StreetLos Angeles, CA 90012(213) 626-1680This place is every bit as popular as it was when I first visited it in December 2008. There isn't a host/hostess so be sure to sign in on the clipboard when you walk in. Although their gyoza is quite delicious, I opted to start off with fried spicy tuna ($5.95), a plate of 5 dumpling-esque bundles of spicy tuna wrapped in a shiso leaf which is then dipped in tempura batter and deep fried. This comes with a little bowl of dipping salt (perhaps MSG) and a lemon wedge. Place a little of both on each "dumpling"and you are in for a treat! Note that the deep-frying does cook the tuna so don't expect the same consistency of a raw spicy tuna roll.Their signature dish, the Daikokuya Ramen, is still delicious and still only $8.50. This time, I asked for the "kotteri" flavor which uses added soup extracted from the back fat. It was a huge bowl of savory deliciousness!Lazy Ox Canteen241 South San Pedro StLos Angeles, CA 90012(213) 626-5299Two of my LA colleagues recommended this canteen that focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients. If you go, do so with a group of friends so you can order a bunch of small plates. And if you go between 5 pm - 7pm on Monday through Friday, they have a special five for $5 happy hour menu. I really enjoyed their pigs ear chicharon ($9) even though it was not quite what I expected. Instead of they typical pork rinds type chicaron, these were cut into strips that were chewy yet still crispy. I also really enjoyed the dashi marinated yellowtail with avocadao, hash brown, and creme fraiche.Salad Farm3675 Wilshire Blvd (at Hobart)Los Angeles, CA 90010(213) 249-9835This small chain of restaurants had a location near the training I attended. I liked it so much I actually ate here twice. The ingredients are quite fresh and the salads are made to order (or as they say on their website, "We even toss your salad right in front of you!"). Definitely try the fajita steak salad ($7.75) which comes with mixed greens, tomatoes, sweet corn, grilled peppers, grilled onion, steak, avocado, and homemade salsa and served in a fried tortilla bowl. The Philly salad ($8.95) was also good. It comes with romaine, tomatoes, mushrooms, grilled onions, grilled peppers, steak, and cheese.Brazil Express3500 Wilshire BlvdLos Angeles, CA 90010(213) 382-5659Tucked inside the Normandie Plaza food court, this little Brazilian BBQ counter offers quite a deal. For $8.49, you can have partake of their lunch buffet which included barbecue chicken and steak (Brazilian style) and various side dishes included fried yucca and black beans and rice.El Cholo1121 S. Western AveLos Angeles, CA 90006(323) 734-2773This place has been around since 1922! On their menu, they claim to have invented nachos and the margerita. A large group of us went here for happy hour and dinner. The wait-staff couldn't have been any more accomodating or nice considering the size of our group. I tried their award winning (see the Rachel Ray Taco-Off) filet mignon tacos with cilantro rice and refried beans.Hugo's Restaurant12851 Riverside DriveStudio City, CA 91607(818) 761-8985Ok, so this is technically in Studio City, but they also have a location in West Hollywood. For my last meal in LA, I had a chance to finally catch up with my long time friend Josh who I sang in a co-ed acapella group with in college. In all honesty, I was a bit overwhelmed at first by the extensive menu. And typically my gut reaction is that if a restaurant has too large of a menu, then the chefs/cooks don't really have a chance to perfect their dishes. But, we both quite enjoyed the Hugo burger ($12.85) featuring hormone and antibiotic [...]

IsItEDible at the Oakland Greek Festival


Above are pics of just some of the great food (spanakopita, saganaki, and loukoumades) that we had last night at the 39th annual Oakland Greek Festival. We met up with our good friend Lex who had told us about this fun and delicious event that is happening this entire weekend. If you are reading this post and are in the Bay Area, then you have until 9 pm tomorrow (Sunday, May 16th) to get your behind down to:Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension4700 Lincoln AveOakland, CA 94602(510) 531-3400 the course of 3 hours last night, Dean and I managed to inhale more than our share of delicious Greek food which left me wanting to book the next available flight out to Greece. It's $6 to get in (but only $5 if you print out the online coupon available on the website), and then you purchase tokens for $1 each. While the prices may seem a bit steep, I'm betting that the proceeds help go to support the church and the local Greek community.Below are some of our favorites that we tried last night (please note that the prices given are my best recollection of what we paid): avgolemono (a Greek lemon chicken soup). This apparently is new to the festival, and the warm, lemony flavors were perfect given the slightly chilly evening temperature. ($3 in tokens)haloumi (a grilled cheese). This had to be one of my favorite dishes of the evening. Haloumi is a hard cheese that they grilled and served on pita bread with tomato slices, capers, and a tangy dressing. ($3 in tokens for a 1/2 order of 3 wedges).spanakopita ( a spinach pie layered in filo dough). This nearly filled me up. The combination of spinach, cheese, and filo makes for a very hearty appetizer. Be sure to share this with someone else so you have room to sample all the other offerings. ($4 in token for 1 large piece)saganaki. I always order this when I see it on the menu. At the festival, it's made to order at the festival. A huge square of cheese is placed on hot grill until it starts to get oozy. Then it's drizzled with brandy and lit on fire (Be sure to shout "Opa!" when this happens) and squirted with lemon juice. As the flames die down, they scrape up the cheese and serve it over a piece of nicely crusted bread. ($6 in tokens)lamb sandwich. I was so full from all the cheese I'd already eaten, but did manage to sneak a few bites of Dean's lamb sandwich. The slices of lamb were perfectly seasoned and melted in your mouth. The sandwich bread was drizzled with olive oil which just put the whole experience over the top. (Either $10 or $12 in tokens. Sorry, I just can't remember).loukoumades (Greek donuts). After an hour-long break, we were finally ready to take in some of the Greek desserts. You must try these things! Little puffs of pastry are lightly fried, coated in a honey syrup, and topped with crushed nuts (optional). ($4 in tokens)[...]

Oven Barbecued Chicken


What are the options when you don't have a BBQ pit or grill that is readily available but you have a certain hankering for that yummy, BBQ flavor? Do it in your oven! Although nothing beats the smoky, char-grilled flavor you get from the outdoors, this method still tastes pretty good and will satisy your cravings.

For this recipe, I used the Hawaiian Chip Company's new Kilauea Fire Hawaiian Style BBQ Sauce that I discovered at this year's Winter Fancy Food Show. It's the perfect combination of tangy and sweet with just the right amount of heat.

See how simple this recipe is? Just two ingredients. It's so simple I was going to call it easy oven barbecued chicken, but I didn't want y'all to think that you'd be cooking this in one of those little easy ovens with the light bulb heat source.


4 chicken leg quarters (thigh and drumstick together)
1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place the leg quarters on a foil-lined rimmed cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the leg quarters with about 1/3 cup of the barbecue sauce.

3) Bake for 25 minutes. Flip over and brush with another 1/3 cup of the barbecue sauce.

4) Bake for an additional 20 minutes.

5) Flip over once more and brush with the remaining 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce.

6) Broil the chicken for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until it is charred to your liking.

Makes 4 servings.

Ed's Note: A great side dish for this is my garlic potato salad.

IsItEDible at A Cote Restaurant


I typically do not enjoy dining out on Valentine's Day. The overpriced prix-fixe menus. The overly affectionate couples engaging in public displays that should be reserved for the bedroom. The 30 minute waits even with a reservation.

That's why I was very pleasantly surprised by my dinner at À Côté restaurant tonight. First of all, we were immediately seated once our party of five arrived. Second, the restaurant was offering it's regular menu (which changes weekly). Third, the food was REALLY good and came out promptly. And finally, the group of single ladies I was with was beautiful inside and out!

À Côté
5478 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 655-6469

If you are in the mood for Mediterranean small plates, then you must try À Côté. Here's a rundown of some the great dishes we enjoyed tonight.

The first two dishes that hit the table were the baby arugula salad with crispy polenta, pine nuts, and Great Hill blue-cheese dressing ($10) and the Tuscan chicken liver crostini with pickled shallots and frisee ($10). The arugula salad was nice and peppery with a wonderful crunch added by the two triangles of polenta. If you like chicken livers, then definitely try the crostini. With these two dishes starting us off, we all knew we were in for a delicious evening.

Almost every single dish we ordered was spot-on. In comparing all the dishes that we sampled this evening, the following emerged as our favorite.
  • Chicken Tortelloni with chanterelles and Swiss chard ($15). The tortelloni were essentially dumpling size tortellini and very good, but the rich creamy sauce and chanterelle mushrooms are what made this dish.
  • Coriander & Meyer Lemon Cured Salmon with buckwheat blini, dill creme fraiche and watermelon radishes ($12). When this dish hit the table, we almost didn't want to tear into it; the slices of vodka-cured salmon were so artfully mounded on top of the blini .
  • Mussels with Pernod from the wood over ($15). How can you go wrong with mussels with crusty slices of bread to soak up the cream sauce.
  • Sardinian Sausage & Clams ($17). I've never had grilled wild boar sausage, and if you haven't either, then you should try it, too. The fregola (a pasta similar to Israeli couscous) added a nice al dente texture to this dish.
  • Seared Sturgeon with roasted celery root, sun chokes, and fingerling potatoes with brown butter vinaigrette ($18) just melted in your mouth. And the vegetables were all cut in to similar mini bite-size chunks so you never quite knew what you were going to taste until you put it in your mouth. Very delicious.

The aboves were the favorites, but the following two dishes were also quite notable:

  • Comice Pear & Walnut Flatbread with Mountain Gorgonzola ($13) arrive hot and crispy to the table. The sweetness of the pear was a perfect balance to the cheese.
  • Pommes Frites with aioli ($6). This is exactly how I like my fries. There was a heaping plateful of crispy fries and a nice, lemony aioli to dip it in. The fries were also delicious dipped in the cream sauce from the mussels and the tortelloni.

Unfortunately, the only misses for the evening were the desserts: the "love bombe" arrived with out the red velvet cake that all of us at the table were looking forward to (our adorable waiter explained to us that this was a mistake on the menu) and the fennel pollen ice cream (tasted more like a honey-ish vanilla ice cream).

But, all of the other dishes more than made up for the desserts. So, I definitely hope to be returing to À Côté in the very near future.

Winter Fancy Food Show 2010, Last Post


Following up on my two previous posts about the Winter Fancy Food Show 2010, here's the last few items that grabbed my attention this year...First up, ALEXIAN's "duck with cognac" spreadable mousse. As per its name, this creamy mousse is made with duck liver and cognac. Served on little toasts, this would make a delicious hors d'ouvre at any party. For a European style breakfast, the folks at ALEXIAN also suggest spreading this mousse over a warm bagel or English muffin. Another luxurious flavor I sampled was ice cream made with La Tourangelle's roasted pistachio oil. There was something deliciously familiar about the taste, and it all clicked for me when they told me that Bi-Rite Creamery uses it in their pistachio ice cream. Last year, my taste buds were tickled by Yancey's Fancy wasabi cheddar cheese. This year, I fell in love with their buffalo wing flavored cheddar cheese. The bite of the buffalo wing hot sauce was nicely balanced by the flavor of the cheese.Justin and Dave, the folks who introduced me to bacon-flavored salt and mayonnaise at last year's show are coming out with a new bacon-flavored product... Bacon pop (a bacon-flavored microwave popcorn). And click here to find out about another of their inspired bacon-flavored product (hint: it's especially made for those of you who love the taste of bacon but don't like the taste of envelopes).I do love my popcorn. And I'm also a truffle-lover. Two great tastes that taste great together...truffled popcorn. Brought to you by Susan Rice Truffle Products, these were one of my favorite finds at the show. I had to go back for seconds! There were LOTS of beverage makes showcasing their drinks at the show. I really enjoyed the two below. Icio Water, based out of Los Angeles, had some very refreshing flavored waters. I'm typically not a fan of flavored water, but the flask shaped packaging initially caught my eye. And the cucumber lemongrass flavor was quite refreshing.Another product with beautiful packaing was Sence Rare European Rose Nectar. You can either drink Sence straight up, or you can use your imagination and create rose-flavored cocktails with it (or just try one of the recipes on their website).Finally, these last pictures showcase some of the great names that people come up with for their companies. Check out what other bloggers who attended the show found:A Date with FlavorArt and Entertain MeBay Area BitesCake GrrlCooking with AmyDutch BabyItaly in SFLettuce Eat KaleWhat's Cooking BlogWine and Food[...]

Winter Fancy Food Show 2010, Part Two


With over 80,000 products on display, there is no way that one person can see (let alone taste) everything that the Winter Fancy Food Show has to offer. Since today's rainshowers dashed my plans of running a 13-miler (not really), I headed back for the 2nd day of exploration. Below are some of the things I enjoyed most.First off, savory macarons from Montchevre. Don't look for these on the shelf just yet as they are still in research and development. The ones on the right were filled with sun dried and tomato basil flavored goat cheese. I'm crossing my fingers that they get released later this year because they are delicious.The folks at Hawaiian Chip Company were offering delicious Hawaiian style appetizers featuring their latest product Kilauea Fire Hawaiian Style BBQ Sauce. This was one of their most popular flavors of sweet potato and taro chips. And now, with mahalo to owner Jimmy Chan and the folks at Hawaiian Chip Company, it's now also a spicy sauce/marinade/dip.The folks over at Daddy Cakes are pairing up with.... Paul Frank! This is the first time that Paul Frank will be offering a food product in their stores. But, be patient. You'll have to wait till March before these monkey faces appear on shelves.One of the best things about the Winter Fancy Food Show is getting to interact directly with the business owners, founders, and staff of the various companies. Yes, there are definitely the "big boys" that you find in EVERY market and specialty store. But then there are also smaller businesses like the folks below who have great ideas, delicious products, and the passsion to carry them to reality (and hopefully to stores near you). First up, Jim Barbour, Co-Founder of FunniBonz Barbeque Sauce. Jim has held a variety of careers, and they have all culminated in his latest venture. I tried their original barbeque sauce, and it was a nice balance of tangy and sweet. Keep an eye out for their two newest flavors: Fiery Chipotle and Sweet & Tangy Mustard.Below is Mr. Toru Takahashi, the inventor of Yuzusco, a new Yuzu flavored hot sauce. I tried just a few tiny drops of this stuff. It definitely packs a fiery, citrus wollop. Mr. Takahashi is still looking for a US distributor for his product. I hope he finds one soon because my little sample packet is not going to last very long.Below left is Justin Gold, Founder and CEO of Justin's. At this year's show, he debuted three new flavors: all-natural Chocolate Hazelnut, all-natural Chocolate Almond, and organic Chocolate Peanut. Each year, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade gives out its sofi awards (perhaps the specialty food world's equivalent of an Academy Award). "Sofi" stands for specialty outstanding food innovation. Kitchen Table Bakers won a 2009 sofi for their Aged Parmesan Mini Crisps (and very deservedly so!) in the Diet and Lifestyle Category. In speaking with President and Founder Barry Novick, their crisps are made entirely of cheese and are wheat, gluten, trans-fat, and sugar free. But they certainly ARE NOT flavor-free! In addition to the award-winning mini crisps, they also carry 8 larger crisps, including: Aged Parmesan, Everything, Flax Seed, Garlic, Italian Herb, Jalapeno, Rosemary, and Sesame. My favorites that I tried today were the Jalapeno and Everything flavors.In 2009, Cypress Grove Chevre's Truffle Tremor (a lightly aged goat cheese containing a good amount of black truffle) won a gold for Outstanding Cheese or Dairy Product. Today, I had the opportunity to sample Truffle Tremor, and I completely understand why the sofi judges awarded it this honor. I also particularly enjoyed their Purple Haze which contains lavender and fennel pollen. And, this beautiful wedding cake below also caught my eye today. It's Cypress Grove Chevre's sig[...]

Winter Fancy Food Show 2010


Today was the opening of the 35th Annual Winter Fancy Food Show here in San Francisco. This food industry-only event takes up the entire North and South Hall of the Moscone Center. Imagine rows upon rows of food exhibitors offering samples of their products in their attempts to raise awareness about their items, get retailers to order them, and press members to write about them. There is more cheese, olive oil, crackers, cookies, sodas, chocolates, and other specialty products than you could ever ingest in an 8 hour period. In other words, foodie heaven!

For those of us who attend this show, coming home is reminiscent of how a kids feel as they dump out the contents of their trick-or-treat bags onto the kitchen table. Below are just a few of things that I was excited to bring home with me:

Donsuemor French Almond Cakes. Last year, this Alameda-based company introduced its chocolate madeleines. This year, they featured their French almond cakes, otherwise known as financiers.
(image) Annie Chun's Go-Chu-Jang. At the show, Annie Chun's offered up potstickers dipped in their delicious new Korean sweet and spicy red chili paste sauce. (image) Landrin's 2010 Waferatto Collection, comprised of 3 flavors: Rich & Famous (light creme and whole almond filling, enrobed in dark chocolate and crushed bitter cocoa nib-coated wafer), Creme (sweet creamy center with a whole almond, in crisp wafer covered in a silky white glaze and topped with freshly crushed hazelnuts), and Gold (chocolate hazelnut filling with a whole almond, encased in delicate wafer and crushed hazelnuts).
Ghirardelli's Luxe Milk Hazelnut Square. A not so new release, but one of my favorites.
And for your Jelly Belly fans, here is their newest flavor: Honey Bean. Keep an eye out for it in your local stores in February.
Check back later for more pics and discoveries from this year's show.

Orange-Ginger Chicken with Cashews


I couldn't decide if I wanted ginger chicken or cashew chicken for dinner tonight. So, instead of choosing, I combined the ginger and cashew into one dish. For an extra layer of flavor, I added in some orange zest as well as the juice and pulp from 2 Cuties oranges.

Ever had Cuties? (That's CUTIES, not COOTIES.) They are one of my favorite types of oranges because they are small, super-sweet, and seedless. If you can't find Cuties where you live, then you could probably substitute a small orange, but make sure it is sweet and not tart.


oil for stir-frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs - cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
4 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
zest from 2 Cuties oranges
juice from 2 Cuties oranges
1/2 cup roasted whole cashews

1) Place 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add in the onions and stir-fry until they are lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Remove onions to a plate

2) In the same skillet, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add in the chicken chunks, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, orange zest, and orange juice. Stir0fry the chicken until it's cooked through but still tender, about 5 minutes.

3) During the last minute of cooking, add in the cashews and previously stir-fried onions.

Makes 4 servings.

Ed's 1st Note: This is great over steamed rice.

Ed's 2nd Note: I squeezed the oranges in my hands over the pan. Instead of throwing away the remaing pulp, I tossed that into the pan for some extra orange goodness.

Fried Turkey Wings


Happy 2010 everyone! Here's a recipe for those of you who still haven't overdosed on turkey.

I love the idea of a fried turkey, but have never been able to bring myself to actually deep fry a whole turkey (especially since I don't really have an outdoor area where I could do this safely.) So, instead, I've played around with deep frying pieces of turkey. The problem is that turkey breasts and thighs are so big that they take FOREVER to deep fry.

So when I saw turkey wings on sale at my local market, I thought I would give them a try. I separated the wing into the drummette and the wing sections. Voila! Turns out that a turkey drummette is just about the same size as a chicken drumstick. I used the same batter recipe that I usually use for my crispy fried chicken which gives it an extra crunch over most fried turkey recipes. Enjoy!


4 Turkey Wings
canola oil for frying

For the batter:
1 1/2 cups room temperature water
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the coating:
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour

1) Divide the turkey wings into drummette and wing sections.

2) Place enough oil to fill your deep fryer (or cast iron pan) halfway. Heat oil on medium to 325 degrees.

3) In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the batter.

4) In a shallow rimmed dish, mix all the ingredients for the coating.

5) Dip the wing sections in the batter. Lift out and dredge in the flour until well-coated. Shake off excess flour and carefully place a few pieces in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd.

6) Fry for 8 minutes. Flip over and fry for an additional 8 minutes.

7) Remove to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining pieces as necessary.

Ed's 1st Note: I discarded the wing tips. But I guess you could fry these up as well.

Ed's 2nd Note: For a variation, try this with a 1/2 teaspoon of ground sage powder mixed into the batter.

Char Siew Lamb Chops


I'm slowly trying to get back into my cooking (and blogging) rhythm. Thus, I found myself leafing through my past issues of Bon Appetit magazine this afternoon. One particular recipe for char siew (or Chinese barbecue) lamb chops caught my eye. I love char siew, and I love lamb chops. But instead of using the Bon Appetit recipe, I decided to try adapting this recipe for some tasty New Zealand lamb chops I picked up from Trader Joe's today. SUCCESS! The smoky flavor of the Chinese 5 spice powder adds a nice dimension to the lamb. I like my lamb chops medium rare, but if you prefer yours medium, then up the cooking time to 4 minutes per side.


4 lamb chops (about 1 lb)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

1) Place all the ingredients in a ziploc bag and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.

2) When ready to cook, lightly oil a cast iron skillet and warm over medium heat.

3) Remove chops from marinade and place in the skillet and pan-fry for 3 1/2 minutes.

4) Turn the chops over and pan-fry for an additional 3 1/2 minutes.

Makes 2 servings.

Salisbury Steak


I've always had a fondness for salisbury steak. Back when I was in elementary school, I remember this being one of my favorite school cafeteria foods (right behind the sliced turkey with dressing and the cheese "pizza").

Since then, I've satisfied my salisbury steak cravings by partaking of Budget Gourmet and Boston Market's frozen versions. Till now...

Skimming through an old copy of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, I found an uber-simple recipe and jazzed it up with my rendition of a mushroom gravy. I may never go back to the frozen version again.


For the steaks:
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup milk
2 lbs ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup bread crumbs

For the gravy:

8 oz mushroom, cleaned and sliced
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup cool water
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1) Preheat the broiler.

2) In a medium mixing bowl, soak the bread in milk.

3) Add beef and remaining seasonings. Mix thoroughly.

4) Divide meat into 6 equal portions. Shaped into oval-shaped patties about 1 inch thick. Place patties on a cookie sheet.

5) Cook 3 inches from the broiler for 5 minutes. Turn and broil for another 5 minutes. Check for doneness. Serve with gravy, if desired.

6) For the gravy, saute the mushrooms in a lightly oiled sauce pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms to a plate.

7) In the same pan, heat beef broth in a small saucepan over medium heat.

8) In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons Wondra flour with 1/2 cup water. Slowly pour this mixture into the beef broth, stirring constantly.

9) Add the remaining seasonings as well as the mushroom. Cook for 2 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Scallion and Shallot Pancakes


I remember my very first scallion pancake. It was a dark, stormy night during my freshman year of college. Ok, maybe not so dark and not so stormy. My friends and I were ordering delivery from a local Chinese restaurant (none of us had cars), and I saw the words "scallion pancake" on the menu.

I remembered reading about them in one of my Frugal Gourmet cookbooks. And I thought to myself...I like scallions. I like pancakes. Let's give it a try. Ooo...famous last words. how can one not love the taste of greasy, crispy, scallionny (is that a word?) goodness. Many of the recipes I've seen call for lard. Now, I love the stuff, but my waistline and arteries can't handle it anymore. I found the original recipe in a Martha Stewart magazine,and I've added shallots (because I thought they would go well with the green onions).


2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons sesame oil
5 scallions, thinly sliced
2 medium-sized shallots, thinly sliced
additional salt, to taste

1) In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, boiling water, and a tablespoon of vegetable oil.

2) Remove dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes or until soft and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

3) Roll the dough into a 16-inch long log. Cut into 24 equal pieces. Cover with plastic wrap.

4) On lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of dough into a 4-inch circle. Brush with sesame oil.

5) Combine scallions and shallots in a small bowl. Spinkle 1 teaspoon of scallion-shallot mixture on the rolled-out dough.

6) Roll up the dough circle into a tight cylinder. Pinch the ends close. Then wrap the cylinder into a tight spiral. Cover with plastic wrap and repeat with remaining dough pieces. Let rest for 20 minutes.

7) On a lightly floured surface, stand up one of the spirals vertically (like a snail shell). Flatten gently then roll out into a 4 inch circle. (The point here is to create as many layers as possible so you get a flaky pancake).

8) Repeat with remaining spirals, stacking the rolled-out circles between waxed paper.

9) Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook 2 or 3 of the pancakes at the same time for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Sprinkle with additional salt, if desired.

10) Repeat with the remaining pancakes, adding more oil as needed. If you like, you can keep the pancakes warm in the oven at 200 degrees. Serve with dipping sauce (see recipe below).

Makes about 24 pancakes.


1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sugar

1) Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Ed's Note: If you don't like shallots, then omit them. Up the number of scallions to 7 scallions.

Whoppers Ice Cream Pie


Wow. Has it really been 3 months since my last post? It's amazing how time flies amidst work-related projects, timelines, and deadlines. But, my hope is to get back into the rhythm of blogging (and cooking) again.

So, my first foray back into cooking and entertaining included this recipe which was not hard to find. It was right on the back of a box of Whoppers. The malted chocolate candy Whoppers not the Burger King hamburger Whopper just in case anyone was confused.

The only change I made was instead of using vanilla ice cream, I substituted cookies n' cream. This made the perfect finale to the 4th of July get together that Dean and I hosted. And it was so easy to make!


1 pint cookies n' cream ice cream, softened
8 oz whipped topping
2 cups of Whoppers, crushed
1 graham cracker pie crust

1) Mix together the ice cream and whipped topping until well-blended.

2) Stir in 1 cup of the crushed Whoppers.

3) Spoon mixture into the graham cracker pie crust.

4) Sprinkle top with the remaining crushed Whoppers.

5) Place in freezer for at least 4 hours.

Makes 6 -8 servings.

IsItEDible at OB Town


A few years ago, the New York Times had a great article on Korean Fried Chicken. During my trip to to NYC last year, I had the opportunity to try BonChon's version. Luckily for those of us in the Bay Area, New York City isn't the only city that has access to great KFC. Oakland's got it, too, thanks to OB Town(formerly Oriental BBQ Chicken Town).

OB Town
6101 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 595-5338

For those of you who want to give Korean Fried Chicken a try, order the Gan Jang Chicken ($14.50), which is coated with a delicious sauce with garlic and soy. Or if you like it spicy, then try the Yang Nyeom Chicken (also $14.50).

There's also several "bar dishes" on the menu. The garlic fries ($5.90) go great with the fried chicken.

If you are in the mood for seafood, then give the Shrimp Ganpengji (12.99) a try. At OB Town, the fry up the shrimp in a nice batter and coat it with a spicy sauce. Also, good are the spicy rice cakes and seafood ($12.90).

Split Pea Soup


Here's a dish I literally turned my nose up at when I was a kid. But like many other foods, I've developed a fondness for this as an adult. It all started with the annual pilgrimmage that Dean and I make down to Palm Springs. We usually try to stop at Andersen's Pea Soup for a bowl of the restaurant's signature dish.

With the cold, wet weather we've been having lately, I've been in the mood for the smoky goodness of this comfort food. I scouted around on the internet and found some interesting variations over at 101 Cookbooks, the Food Network, and A Year of Crockpotting.

Here's my take on this comfort food classic.


1 lb dried split peas
4 strips bacon
1 onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic
6 cups water
2 tablespoons "Better than Bouillion" chicken base
1 tablespoon garam masala
salt and pepper to taste

1) Pick through the split peas for foreign particles. Rinse.

2) In a large pot, fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove and place on paper-towel lined plate. Crumble the bacon.

3) Add onions and garlic to the bacon grease. Cook for 3 minutes.

4) Add 1 cup of water and quickly scrape off the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining water.

5) Add the dry split peas, chicken base, and garam masala. Bring the water to a boil.

6) Cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes.

7) Remove from heat. Place half of the soup in a blender and puree. Pour pureed soup back into the pot and stir.

8) Salt and pepper to taste.

9) To serve, ladle soup into bowl and top with crumbled bacon.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Ed's 1st Note: Thanks to my honey for helping me to stage this shot. All my previous attempts looked like green gloop in a white bowl.

Ed's 2nd Note: The garam masala gives this recipe a nice "smokiness." For extra smoky flavor, I used some of the
Saltworks smoked sea salt I picked up at the Fancy Food Show.

IsItEDible at Citron


One of the great things about moving to a new city is getting to explore all the new restaurants. Granted, Oakland is just a hop, skip, and jump away from San Francisco, but Dean and I have truly enjoying scouting out new dining spots.

One of our discoveries is Citron. Located in the Rockridge area of Oakland, this restaurant has not let us down over several visits during the last 6 months. Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle describes it as a "charming neighborhood restuarant with a destination attitude." We always appreciate the chef's amuse-bouche, the warm bread (try the orange-hued one made with pepper), and the delicious French/Mediterranean cuisine served by an attentive and friendly staff.

5484 College Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 653-5484

Note the menu here does change regularly. On each of our visits, the Maine lobster bisque ($10) with creme fraiche gougere has always been on the menu. This is hands-down one of the best bisques I've had. It's svaory richness of the lobster is nicely accentuated by the gougere. This is a "must-order" if you see it on the menu. On our most recent visit, we brought Dean's mom who was visiting from out of town. She thoroughly enjoyed her butternut squash soup ($9) with orange scented shrimp and crispy leeks. For salads, try the baby spinach salad ($10). It's served with a warm balsamic dressing and accented by spiced pecans. A few slivers of sweet Medjool dates add an extra layer of sweet flavor that sets it apart from your typical spinach salad. Usually there is a choice of about 5 different entrees on the menu. We particularly liked the rosemary-scented rack of lamb ($26) which was served with a straw potato cake, romano beans. and a black olive-red wine sauce. For desserts, try the ginger ice cream ($9) served with whole wheat graham crackers and dulce de leche. A sprinkle of pomegranate seeds added a sweet and tart crunch.

Winter Fancy Food Show


The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade brought the Winter Fancy Food Show back to San Francisco this year. I took the opportunity to join over 16,000 other attendees who walked up and down the aisles of the Moscone Center to check out over 1,250 booths in search of the latest and greatest in specialty food and drink. I even ran into fellow food blogger Amy from Cooking with Amy, and we both waxed nostalgic about our love of the whole spectrum of Hawaiian food... from plate lunches to fine dining.This was my first year to attend. To say that I experienced sensory overload is an understatement. Amidst the pungent smell of the cheeses, the "oohs, ahs, and mmm's" of attendees, the celebrity chef sightings (I saw Ina Garten and Paul Prudhomme), and the delicious tastes of all the different things I tried, I definitely had a hard time narrowing down my #1 favorite food find from the Show. So, instead I offer a glimpse at the following things which caught my attention (and may soon be found on the shelves of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, William Sonoma, or your local market).Saltwork's Yakima Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt and their new line of Fusion Naturally-Flavored Sea Salts. The fragrant, smoky aroma of the the Alderwood brought back memories of meals around the campfire. For those of you who like "boba" (also known as "bubble tea"'s essentially tea with tapioca balls, keep an eye out for Sogo's popping boba. What's different about this boba is it literally pops in your mouth releasing a burst of liquid flavor.I also was introduced to Landrin, a first time exhibitor at the show. This Russian confectionery gave out samples of their waferatto. I especially enjoyed their waferatto classic, a whole almond surrounded in white chocolate and crispy wafer with a coconut coating. The folks at Stubb's Bar-B-Q celebrated their founder by commissioning artist Jason Baalman to create paintings using their sauces. I sampled some of their brisket with their hickory bourbon bar-b-q sauce. It was de-finger-lickin-licious.Here's an unexpected combination: Wasabi Horseradish cheddar cheese! And it was pretty good!Um, yeah. This company's name speaks for itself. (Or perhaps silence is golden?)I thought that these SushiParty soy wrappers from Yamamotoyama would make a colorful addition to any Sushi party. And, yes, those wrappers are completely edible.Did you know you could make bouquets out of lavash? The folks at California Lavash did.I grew up on jasmine tea, but the white jasmine sparkling tea from Golden Star Tea Co was a nice twist on a classic.You may have had madeleines, but think how much tastier they are when they are chocolate madeleines OR chocolate madeleines dipped in chocolate. These are the newest offerings from Donsuemor, based out of Alameda.Finally, in the past year, I've developed a taste for mojitos, so I really enjoyed samplings of an iced mojito tea from Caffe D'Amore and a mojito ice sorbet from Silver Moon. Both products made their debut at the show so it may take a while before they are available in stores or served at your local restaurant.So those are some of the things I particularly enjoyed from this year's Winter Fancy Food Show. Did you attend this year? What were some of the things you particularly liked? Were there any trends you noticed compared to previous years? Check out what other food bloggers discovered at the Show... Cooking with Amy and her post at Bay Area BitesJoy the BakerLick My SpoonEat Cheap,[...]

IsItEDible in Tokyo


Last month, I had the chance to spend about 40 hours in Tokyo on my way to a meeting in Palau. I didn't have much time to explore the city, but luckily I was able to maximize my short trip thanks to some helpful pointers from our good friend John who used to live there. After arriving at Narita airport at about 5 pm, I took an hour-long train ride into Tokyo. That night, I ventured out into the Shinjuku district(see photo below) where I had a late dinner at Tsunahachi, a restaurant known for its tempura.I woke up early the next morning (thank you so much, jet-lag) and made my way to the Tsukiji Fish Market, the world's largest wholesale fish and seafood market. I wasn't quiet enough of an early bird to take in the tuna auctions, but I was able to still get a feel for the frenetic pace of this place. Like many other tourists, I indulged in a sushi breakfast featuring some extremely fresh sushi at Sushikan.Around 10 am, I caught a ferry up to the Asakusa district to check out the Senso-ji Temple. Next, I walked over to Ueno in search of a restaurant that is famous for it's tonkatsu. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find the restaurant so I ended up walking down to Akihabara, Tokyo's discount electronics district. By then I still hadn't had lunch, and my stomach was rumbling! So, I took my friend John up on his recommendation of Sugino-ko, on the Omotesando.Afterwards, I walked over to Harajuku station in an unfruitful search for harajuku girls (apparently Sundays are when most of them come out). A quick subway ride brought me to Shibuya station where I got completely lost while looking for the next item on my "must-see" list... the statue of Hachiko (see photo below). It's a good thing I wasn't on the Amazing Race because I would definitely have been the last team to reach the checkpoint.For those of you who aren't familiar with the story of's a heart-wrencher (especially if you are a dog-lover). There was this Japanese professor who walked to the train station every morning accompanied by his dog. The man would get on the train, and his dog would return home. Every evening, the man would come back from work to be greeted by his dog at the train station. One day, the professor passed away while at work. For nine more years, his dog walked to the train station every evening, faithfully waiting for his master to return. The locals were so touched by his devotion that they cast a statue of him, and to this day, the statue of Hachiko is a famous meeting spot.After finally finding Hachiko, I spent the evening wandering about Shibuya and Ebisu, and I even took in an amazing (and free) view of the city from the Ebisu Tower. And so ended my short layover in Tokyo which definitely left me with the desire to hopefully return one day to more fully experience all that Tokyo has to offer. Below is additional information about the restaurants I dined at.Tsunahachi3-31-8 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-kuPhone: 03-3352-1012This is their flagship location. I lucked out and got a seat right in front of the deep-fry station. For me, this was a great spot, because 1) I got to watch the chefs in action 2) I was served my meal straight from the deep fryer and 3) I love eau de deep-fry. You might ask for a table upstairs if the previous things do not appeal to you. My server handed me a menu in Japanese, and he astutely observed me whipping out my English-Japanese dictionary. Luckily for me, he immediately handed me an English v[...]

Pan-Fried Tandoori Salmon


In one of the neighborhoods we used to live in , there was a deli owned by a South Asian family. One of the hot meals they offered was a grilled salmon seasoned with tandoori spice mix (which often includes coriander, cumin, paprika, garlic, ginger, and a few other spices.)

That was my inspiration for this dish. The tandoori spices are mixed with flour to give the salmon a golden-hued crust and an added layer of flavor. Hope you enjoy it.


1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon tandoori spice mix
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 six ounce pieces of salmon fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil

1) In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, tandoori spices, salt, and pepper.

2) Dredge the salmon in the flour mixture until fully covered.

3) Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.

4) Place each piece of salmon in the hot oil. Cook for 4 minutes.

5) Carefully turn the salmon over and cook for an additional 4 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.