Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sushi Wave

You know, I was all set to say Sushi Wave was average.  I had been there fore a lackluster lunch service, and had some Chicken Jalapeño, some Teriyaki Salmon, Spicy Scallop sushi roll, and a Blue Georgia roll.  In a word, everything was pretty average.

Because Sushi Wave is the favorite place of a few close friends, I gave it another shot.  That time, I ordered a Cool Spring roll and Lollipop roll.  Here are the pics:
These pictures are worth a thousand words.  Craftily put together, delicious balance of flavors, imaginative.  I loved them.  The first wasn’t –that– imaginative, but it was a little, and the second roll was.  I also happen to be a sucker for sweet shrimp.  And that was sweet shrimp interspersed with avocado.

Freaking fried heads.  I love it.  The Cool Spring roll was a much more interesting, and delicious, take on the "classic" "American" Spider roll.  So, here is my verdict.  3 for the first trip, 4 for the second.  3.5 in total, and above average.  I would recommend giving them a try, in particular given the dearth of good downtown Seattle sushi lunch joints.  I’m excited to drop by for a dinner service and see if it’s better so maybe they can earn and out and out four.

Sushi Wave
2904 1st Avenue  Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 441-4348
Mon-Fri 11am–2:30pm, 5–9:30pm
Sat 5–9:30pm
Sun Closed
3.5 of 5

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kebapçi Enver Usta

Thanks to a tip from Istanbul Eats and the Guardian's top ten Kebab Restaurants in Istanbul (actually brought to you by the Istanbul Eats crew), I decided to drop by Kebapçi Enver Usta and give their kebabs a shot.  Why? I know many travelers won't eat where the locals do for fear of getting sick, getting inferior meatstuffs, etc.  Well, if that's you, that's ok, but there is a reason to eat on the local economy.  13 lira!  That's what my meal, to include a bottle of water, cost.  I ordered the Adana Kebab and Ezme Salatasi.  Compare that to the 29 euro bill for breakfast at my hotel and you can see that venturing out is well worth it. 
More importantly, the food was delicious!  What made it delicious?  The fresh bread, spread of condiments, fresh meat grilled to perfection (and this particular variety had a nice mix of spices on the inside of it), and cool basement atmosphere.
And they have variety.  But be warned, the place is not easy to find.  When you get close (off the pub trans in the area and start walking up the faint hill), start asking around (or use FourSquare).
Kebapçi Enver Usta  
Şahkulu Mah. Tramvay Sk. No:5, Tünel 
4 of 5

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Famous Kahuku Shrimp (Truck)

On our culinary odyssey through the Hawaiian isles, my wife and I decided to try a few shrimp trucks.  Our first attempt was the "Famous Kahuku Shrimp (Truck)" in Kahuku, Oahu - on the North Shore.  We ordered the Hot and Spicy Shrimp, and Coconut Shrimp.  Honestly, it wasn't that great.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great.
Looking at those shrimp, you expect there to be an explosion of flavor.  They were good, but the explosion was lacking.  No explosion.  The dish was one note.  My Hawaiian friends over the pond will be disappointed to hear me say this, but the facts are the facts (and by that I mean this is my opinion).  Plates are not cheap at $10-15 each, so it's not a steal of a deal.  And then there was the macaroni salad.  Salt, pepper, elbow noodles, mayo.  It was bad.  
In the end, I would say, drop by if you are in the area and give it a whirl, but don't go out of your way to this truck like we did.  Moreover, tell them to hold the mac salad, and just take an extra scoop of rice.  Yelp, you let us down - another Aloha Bump.  But DO TRY SHRIMP TRUCKS IN HAWAII.  

Famous Kahuku Shrimp (truck)
56-580 Kamehameha Hwy
North Shore, Oahu 
Kahuku, Hawaii 96731 
Hours of Operation: 10 AM - 6 PM Daily
(808) 389-1173
3 of 5

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thomas Haas

In the Miramar Shopping Plaza in Hong Kong’s Kawloon district, you can find a little sweet shop Thomas Haas.  Their macaroons looked tasty, and with a few Hong Kong Dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I picked up pistachio, licorice and vanilla, and coconut cream and passion fruit ones.

They were good renditions, though the inside was a bit pasty.  The crust was right on the mark, which I understand is the most challenging part of making macaroons.  Overall, if you are in the area and the mood, you won’t be wasting your hard earned money if you throw a few dollars down on some macaroons. 
Thomas Haas
Shop 1001, Miramar Shopping Centre
132 Nathan Road
Tsim ShaTsui, Kowloon 
Tel: (852) 2992 0799
Hong Kong, China
3 of 5

Monday, October 15, 2012


My wife and I decided to celebrate a special occasion at Crush in Seattle, Washington.  It is a French restaurant in a small converted home in the Central District/Madison Valley area, and had a strong reputation for good, innovative food.  We ordered the tasting menu with the foie gras supplement.  My wife called it the “sampler,” and I think the waiter took pity on us and was extra helpful. 

The amuse bouche was a little potato soup with chive and truffle oil.  On the show “Chopped,” the judges always harangue participants for the use of truffle oil.  It taste too strong they say.  It ruins the dish.  In this case, I didn’t think so at all.  The potato soup was very lightly seasoned, so the truffle oil added the “seasoning” that made the dish work.  It was a nice start.
While we are off track, I should take a moment to mention the delicious mocktails that I had.  One was a cucumber sour, the other a cardamom lemon drink.  They were both fantastic, and actually well worth the $5 price tag.  I was very impressed by the creativity of the bar, given the no-alcohol constraints with which they were saddled.

The next course was barramundi.  The squash bits were again the most delicious I have ever eaten.  The fish itself was cooked perfectly, moist while having the crispy skin you can see below.  The natural flavors were enhanced by the seasoning and I would order this dish again too..

I would like to take a moment to talk about their bread.  It was fresh, and very, very good.  My wife loved the little pretzel-y ones, and I devoured the cheese topped buns with a vengeance.  If they sold these out of a little stand adjacent to the restaurant, or in the front, I would come by and by them by the dozen!  The butter also did not disappoint. 
Next came the bacon and eggs dish. The flan was delicious. I was impressed by how they imparted a smoky flavor into the dish.  The salmon roe had a nice salty explosion and the sweet contrast from the maple syrup was nice.  This said, this dish was one of the less successful ones to me, and would have benefit from a bit more crunch. 
Hamachi.  This dish had a very nice balance of flavors. For me, the heart of palm purée stole the show because it was just so delicious. It was simple,and luscious.  I had no idea heart of palm can become that delicious, but now that I know I will play with it in my own kitchen.
"Spotted Prawn" Gnocchi. I tasted my wife’s lobster emulsion, and it had a much stronger flavor than mine.  Mine was light, but clearly "seafoody." Hers was clearly lobster.  This ding aside, I didn't care. The course was phenomenal, the best gnocchi course I've ever personally eaten. The spot prawn was so fresh and sweet, my only complaint was the dish wasn't five times its size.  The gnocchi was not toasted off, but that did not negatively effect the texture or dish like you might imagine.  No, this dish was brilliant.
Dating our experience, in the middle of our dinner we heard a loud "Did you just call me a prick, Chef, Jason Miller" before a customer stormed off. He then cried out “You’ll see my review shortly.”  Who knows, maybe the guy posted something nasty on Yelp.  I can’t imagine a real critic would have reacted in the way he did, in particular over the issue at hand (the cooking of the foie gras).  The name of the chef, it should be mentioned, is Jason Wilson, so you can imagine how definitive his review was.

Foie Gras.  This course came as an add on to the normal tasting menu.  We had heard it was well worth the money, and we were not led astray.  It was delicious, an intriguing "apple pie" themed dish.  To me, this was totally genius and something I never would have considered. For my taste, the foie was perfectly seared with a nice temp at service. I like mine to be seared on the outside, mid-rare in the center, and warm.  My wife became giddy while eating this. Though I wasn’t quite as hot on the dish as she was, it was very very good.
The Snake River wagyu beef course, following after the heels of foie gras, certainly delivered.  After her giddy gobbling of the foie, my wife then quickly declared this may have been the best dish of food she had ever eaten.  Her father will be crushed, because he grills steak right.  However, the rich, hearty truffle flavor from the Oregon truffles they use at Crush, with the Trumpet mushrooms (which my wife ate happily in spite of herself) and butter made this dish a fatty yum explosion. Mmm.  I think the mushrooms might have stole the show, but this again was a highly successful dish of food.
After such a rich dish, the pear and pink peppercorn sorbet was a nice break. It was a nice mix of texture and flavor, and the peppercorn created a delightful zing.
Finally, they fed us chocolate cake and praline ice cream.  Honestly, these let down the rest of the dishes because they were not memorable. The cake was moist enough, but it just wasn’t great.  I also happened to be a little sad that Crush didn’t share their homemade pop rocks they were parading around to a few of the other tables.  Oh well.  So…. in the end, Go here for a special occasion...
2319 East Madison Street 
 Seattle, WA 98112 
(206) 302-7874
4 of 5 (my wife will tell you 4.5 or 5)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Adem Baba (Seafood)

Mmmmm... Adem Baba's sole shish kebab.  This place is a bit of a local institution, and on recommendations from Trip Advisor I ordered the fried calamari and some shishes.  A brief tangent, I have not found TripAdvisor to be very reliable.  I was able to find another review of Adem Baba from Istanbul Eats who I do greatly respect.  I'm glad I made the trip.
The bread they give you is good.  The cornbread stuff is dry.  The calamari tasted delicious, and were the right non-chewy, toothy consistency.  Their little sauce that comes with them was also pretty decent, they were just a bit too greasy.  But, the Sole shish kebabs were so delicious I still think about them.  I still crave them!
They were delicious because they were simple.  Sole. Peppers.  Tomato.  Lemon.  Simple grilled, perfectly cooked.  They had the right blend of natural flavor, heat, acid, and grill.  And a few leaves of sorrel.  I love sorrel!  I've tried to replicate them at home, and thus far have failed.  It's not cheap by Turkish standards, but it's not too bad for the average traveler.

Adem Baba
Arnavutköy Mh.  
Satış Meydanı Sokak 2
34000 Istanbul, Turkey
0212 263 2933

3.5 of 5 (shishes get a 5 all day long)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Otoro - A Costly Obsession

Iggy's - Singapore
When I met my wife, she subsisted on cereal and toast.  Occasionally she went through the effort to make herself nachos.  Infrequently, she was known to eat a hamburger, or chicken breast.  She also liked fried things, and potatoes.  

We still have different opinions of one early episode in our marriage.  As the lady of the house, my wife said she would do the grocery shopping.  New to living together, she asked if I had any special requests.  I knew that my wife was a meat and potatoes girl, so I said, "I'd like to east some more vegetables.  Why don't you get any vegetables from the grocery store you will eat."  She said Ok.
Proudly, that afternoon she showed me what she had bought.  Potatoes (not a vegetable).  Onions (not a vegetable).  And pico de gallo (not a vegetable).  She still swears that pico should count.  I tell her she's crazy.  I've since turned her onto a vegetable or two, but where I've had much more success are proteins.  Men beware.  Out of the oodles of things I have subjected her to, she likes duck breast, duck confit, foie gras, pork belly (are you seeing a pattern?) and her newest obession is Otoro (fatty tuna belly).  
Hanare - Kuala Lumpur
In Japan we had the pleasure of eating at four of the best sushi restaurants in the country.  Unfortunately, we didn't make it to all the ones I had hoped, but Sushi Sawada, Sushi Mizutani, Sushi Yashitake, and Kyubei - Ginza isn't a bad hit list.  While stuffing ourselves full of extravagant sushi, my wife declared she loved Otoro.  Here are two of her favorite bites.
Sushi Yashitake - Tokyo
Kyubei - Ginza - Tokyo
If you are curious, her favorite was Sushi Sawada. More on this to come soon... and for now I'm keeping her away from Kobe beef - Wagyu...