I try not to throw around the word “perfect” too often, but there’s no way around it when it comes to Chef Niki Nakayama’s n/naka. From food to service and ambiance, this place is as perfect as they come. There, I said it.
Chef Niki serves a 13-course “Modern Kaiseki” nightly ($185). The menu changes with the seasons, and with the chef’s whims, while the flow of the meal adheres to Japanese traditions. The three hour experience is beautifully orchestrated and paced just so, leaving diners pampered, satisfied, and feeling thoroughly justified for indulging in something so extravagant.
Our meal began with Saki Zuke, “a pairing of something common and something unique,” grilled Japanese scallop with ikura (salmon eggs) and English pea soup. Continue reading ‘n/naka – Los Angeles’
I had the pleasure of dining with my mom at Q Sushi a few Fridays ago. She’s been taking care of June while The Astronomer and I are bringing home the bacon, so this meal was a small token of our gratitude. Bà Ngoại is the best!
Chef Hiroyuki Naruke, who ran a six-seat sushi bar in Tokyo’s Roppongi district prior to relocating to Los Angeles, serves a hyper-traditional, omakase-only sushi experience at Q. I am a total purist when it comes to sushi, so I knew that Q and I would get along swimmingly from the start.
Priced at $165 per person, the omakase typically begins with a slew of tsumami (small appetizers), followed by a perfectly orchestrated parade of sashimi and nigiri sushi courses. All in all, it’s a 2.5 hour feast comprised of 20 or so courses that passes by much too quickly.
Taking care of Mom and me this evening was Chef Rui. He seemed a bit chattier than Chef Hiro, which was a good thing, because I had plenty of questions up my sleeve (per usual).
Continue reading ‘Q Sushi – Los Angeles (Downtown)’
I never got around to writing about the trip to Oahu that The Astronomer and I took last April because “morning” sickness hit hard soon after we came home, putting me out of blogging commission for quite a while. But now that Baby June’s out and about (yay!), and all is right with my appetite (double yay!), it’s finally time to revisit the ono grindz that made our stay a fabulous one.
The eatery with the honor of being visited the most was Musubi Cafe Iyasume, a shoe-box sized spot serving musubi and onigiri that is adored by locals and visitors alike. The J Gold peeped this place in Food & Wine, and as luck would have it, it was located a stone’s throw from our Waikiki abode. Win!
The Astronomer and I visited Iyasume on our first morning in town for a relatively light breakfast of two musubi and two onigiri.
The bacon, egg, and Spam musubi ($2.48) was as tasty as hoped, with the bacon and Spam providing a double savory punch while the egg and rice balanced out the whoosh of saltiness.
Continue reading ‘Musubi Cafe Iyasume – Honolulu (Waikiki)’
I love how Chicago’s restaurants embrace excess, highlighting meat and fat in every form at all meals and price points. Sure it’s indulgent, reckless even, but under a thoughtful chef’s care, this kind of cooking can be exhilarating. See: Avec, Little Goat, and Au Cheval.
Sometimes though, especially after a few days of glorious extravagance, all I desire is the comfort of a warm bowl of noodle soup. Hello, Yusho.
Owned and operated by Chef Mathias Merges, formerly the Executive Chef at Charlie Trotter’s for fourteen years, Yusho is a “a yakitori-inspired restaurant.” The space was designed by Merges’s wife, Rachel Crowl.
The menu here is usually focused on grilled meats on a stick, but Sundays are dedicated to noodles. The special Sunday Noodles menu is priced at $20 per guest and includes a bowl of noodles, dessert, and a beverage. It was just what The Astronomer and I were craving after going balls to wall for meals on end.
We both selected alcoholic drinks to pair with our noodles. For me, a frothy coconut, lime, and rum “kegged cocktail” that was available on draught. Every sip whisked my taste buds off to somewhere warm and tropical.
Continue reading ‘Sunday Noodles at Yusho – Chicago’