Nov 2006

Kanoyama – New York City

November 24, 2006
Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi

175 2nd Ave, New York 10003
At 11th St

Phone: 212-777-5266

Appetizer: Sea Urchin in a half shell ($22)

Spider Roll – Soft Shell crab, cucumber, tabiko, lettuce, avocado w/mayo ($11)

Spicy Tuna Roll ($7)

Sushi for 2 – 16 pieces Sushi, 3 Rolls, served with Miso soup or salad ($42)

Dessert: Green Tea Mochi, Red Bean ice cream, Ginger ice cream

To recover from our Thanksgiving feast, my family dined at Kanoyama. Sushi’s mildness and freshness was perfect for resetting worn out palates.

We arrived at 7:15 PM and the (small) restaurant was filled to the brim, so we opted to sit at the sushi bar. The sushi chefs provided fine entertainment while we waited for our dinner.

We started off with the sea urchin appetizer, which was unadorned and served in a shell of sorts. Sea urchin is my brother’s latest obsession and has replaced foie gras as his favorite culinary delight. Since I have never had sea urchin before, he described it to me as slightly sweet and delicious. I would have to disagree. Sea urchin has the texture of brains and the taste of old sea water. Ick! I ate the seaweed garnish and let brother and mother finish off the dish.

For our main course, mother and brother shared the sushi for two, which came with 16 pieces of sushi, 3 rolls (Tuna, Yellowtail, Salmon), and soup or salad. Both mother and brother chose the Miso soup. Brother polished his off, but mom only had half. I guess it was good, but wasn’t spectacular. I helped my mom and brother with their sushi for two. I thought the standout pieces were the toro and the eel. Mmm. The eel especially melted in my mouth.

I ordered the spider roll and spicy tuna roll and shared them with mother and brother. Brother thought the spicy tuna was great because it wasn’t intensely mayo-ie. I agreed. I also thought the ratio of rice to fish was perfect. The spider roll was great as well; although I wished there was more soft shell crab and less rice.

We finished off our meal with some ice cream and mochi. I didn’t have any of the mochi because both mother and brother described green tea as “bitter.” No thanks. I really loved the ginger ice cream, but for some reason it was peach in color. Very strange. I am not a big fan of artificial coloring. The ginger flavor was strong, but not spicy and had many pieces of crystallized ginger. I only had a couple bites of the red bean ice cream. I felt that it was too sweet and lacked red bean flavor.

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Nov 2006

Naked Chocolate Cafe – Philadelphia

The dessert offerings at Audrey Claire were a bit lacking, so the Marathoner and I went to the Naked Chocolate Cafe to satisfy our sweet tooth. I ordered the Peanut Butter Nudo ($2), while the Marathoner had a petite bittersweet hot chocolate ($3.50). Both treats were delightful!

The nudo, which is unique to Naked Chocolate according to the woman behind the counter, had a soft and chewy texture. Although the nudo is described as brownie-like, I would say that the two desserts are very different. The nudo’s texture is definitely special. The pyramid shape was cute and enhanced the dessert’s presentation.


My only complaint was that the nudo was made with Jif, which is not a real peanut butter (N.A.R.P.B) that contains hydrogenated oils. Sigh. I have a weakness for peanut butter desserts, so I let this tremedous flaw slide on my visit. But in the future, I’ll probably have to stick to the non PB treats due to my fear of trans fats.

The hot chocolate was pure wonderfulness – so thick it was like drinking chocolate sauce. The Marathoner wished the hot chocolate was more bitter, but still found it quite delicious. Since I am not a huge fan of super-dark chocolate (65% or greater), I found the hot chocolate to be just the right amount of bitter. I also really enjoyed dipping my nudo into the cocoa and swiping some of the whipped cream. Even though the Marathoner ordered a petit, he had a hard time finishing it because the chocolate was so rich.

I’ll definitely be returning to Naked Chocolate for their cupcake offerings. The Marathoner will be returning to scope out the extremely attractive staff and clientele.

Naked Chocolate Cafe
1317 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-735-7310

Naked Chocolate Cafe on Urbanspoon

Nov 2006

Audrey Claire – Philadelphia

After a disastrous Thanksgiving holiday, I had a relaxing dinner with James Golden (who from here on out will be referred to as “the Marathoner”) at Audrey Claire. Although the Marathoner grew up in the ‘burbs of Philly, he has yet to take full advantage of the city’s tasty offerings. Audrey Claire was a great start…


Since I had been to Audrey Claire once before with the Astronomer, I knew we had to start our meal with a flat bread course. The Marathoner initially leaned toward the hummus, mesclun, and smoked salmon combination, but chose the short ribs because I had already had the hummus combo during my last visit. The short rib flatbread was phenomenal. The meat was crisp, yet moist and was shredded atop the flat bread. The meat was deliciously smokey and fatty in flavor. The cheese was mild and foiled the meat nicely. The crust was soft and quite pita-like. Needless to say, we loved it.


Our next course was a crabcake/cornbread dish. The Marathoner loves crab and the Gastronomer loves cornbread, so this was definitely up our alley. Mmm. The crabcake was seasoned in a fashion so that the crab’s natural flavors took center stage. The cornbread’s light flavor complemented the crab beautifully in taste and texture. The aioli and greens provided a tartness that contrasted the crab and cornbread very well.


Our last course was one of the evening’s specials. Neither the Marathoner nor I had ever tasted ostrich so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try. Although we predicted that the meat would be bird-like (i.e. chicken), ostrich meat ended up surprisingly similar to beef. One difference being ostrich is much leaner than beef. The red wine reduction was a perfect accompaniment to the naturally flavorful meat — like A1, but way better. The hericot verts and potatoes were lovely sides, but not spectacular.

The dessert offerings didn’t pique our interests so we went elsewhere for treats. I enjoyed my second visit to Audrey Claire even more than my first. Well done, Professor Caskey, well done…

Audrey Claire
276 S 20th Street, Philadelphia 19103
Between Rittenhouse Square & Spruce Street
Phone: 215-731-1222

Audrey Claire on Urbanspoon