Another Zen Temple Favorite

I got to my in-box one morning to discover an email from my pal Paul in Florida with a link to a Google book called “The Book of Miso.” The book had been written in the 1970s, published originally as one of those old timey paper editions, one would have to assume. It was filled with the line drawings popular with cookbooks of that era.

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“You probably already have it but it is new to me,” Paul said. People often mistakenly assume that I have every piece of information on cooking ever published. I do not. More

More Neat Tokyo Tricks

As I’ve explored in previous posts about tempura, ramen, sumiyaki, sushi and other specialities Japonais, dining in Japan can be very segmented. Stroll about a street in Tokyo and you’ll find restaurants devoted to each of these particular styles of cooking (or not cooking) and many more.

Tonkatsu with Japanese cole slaw and egg/mirin dipping sauce

Tonkatsu with Japanese cole slaw and egg/mirin dipping sauce

Browsing the aisles of my favorite Japanese market the other day, I found a beautiful Kurobata pork loin on sale. Now pork loin can be one of the stupidest of meats, mostly because it has zero fat. But the Japanese have a nifty way of rectifying that problem with the dish, tonkatsu. More

A Mansion of Dreams

When I was a lad, saké was something warm and exotic we drank at the local sushi bar that served underage kids. Not ones for moderation, we used to do something called a “saké bomb,” where we would drop the small ceramic cup of hot saké into our glass of beer, and then down the whole thing.

Saké Still Life (with Sushi Knife)

I remember once, several bombs in, I chucked a California roll at my friend Pat, sitting a few seats away. It hit him on the forehead and fell into his saké-and-beer. He lifted the glass, drank the bomb and ate the roll at the bottom in one epic gulp, and we all applauded. More

Pontocho Road

Ever since I found a very cool cocktail shaker at a garage sale, I’ve been experimenting with my mixology — often motivated by given culinary circumstances (let us not forget our recent adventure into Campari on a warm night when Italian food was being served). Necessity or at the very least context being the mother of invention, I’ve been inspired to some lofty heights with spirits.

One recent evening, I was making Japanese food. My wife, having a rash that she was convinced was yeast related, was off beer. So the Sapporo that I was drinking got the stiff arm. Furthermore, she had spent much of the afternoon organizing the children’s reams of school artwork and bins of toys, and was in need of something stronger — something much stronger. All of which I took as a gauntlet being laid down. Was I mixologist enough to rise to the challenge? More

Sensuous Sumiyaki

One of the things I like about Tokyo — and Japan, in general — is you will find different restaurants catering to specific styles of food preparation. Here in America, we have sushi bars and teppanyaki table grills (given a P.T. Barnumesque American twist where chefs flip shrimp into the air, catch eggs in their hats and make rice volcanoes). In Japan, you have ramen joints, tempura bars, shabu shabu houses, unagi (eel) restaurants, skewered chicken innards cafes and countless other establishments catering to a single style of cooking or eating. There are even, unfortunately, restaurants specializing in whale.

Sumiyaki

With our large Japanese population in Los Angeles, more and more of these diverse eateries are appearing. More

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