Sep 2006

Ajia Japanese Fusion – Philadelphia

September 16, 2006
Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi

3131 Walnut St, Philadelphia 19104
Between 31st & 32nd Street

Phone: 215-222-2542
Website: none


Round I: All U Can Eat


Round II: All U Can Eat

Three friends and I went to Ajia this evening for the All U Can Eat Sushi offering priced at $21.95 per person (tax and tip not included). This was my fourth visit to Ajia and my third time doing the All U Can Eat special. As always, Ajia did not disappoint. My eating companions and I gorged on a ridiculous amount of sushi:

  1. Sweet Potatoes
  2. Salmon Avocado
  3. California Roll
  4. Philadelphia Roll
  5. Salmon Skin & Cucumber
  6. Boston Roll
  7. Tuna Avocado
  8. West Roll (Smoked salmon, cream cheese & scallion)
  9. East Roll (Salmon, avocado, cucumber)
  10. Spicy Tuna Roll
  11. Spicy Salmon Roll
  12. Rock N Roll (Spicy tuna inside wrapped around avocado)
  13. Kani (Crab Stick)
  14. Tofu Skin
  15. Surf Clam
  16. Ika (squid)
  17. Tako (octopus)
  18. Tuna sashimi
  19. Salmon sashimi
  20. Yellowtail sashimi
  21. Spicy Crunchy Tuna
  22. Spicy Crunchy Salmon

The sushi rolls were of high quality fish and were not overly stuffed with rice. The sashimi pieces were very fresh as well, but unfortunately were accompanied by rice. Oh, fillers. My personal favorites are the shrimp tempura roll, inari sashimi (tofu skin), Philly roll, and crunchy spicy tuna and salmon.

We did not keep track of exactly how many rolls of each kind, but I assure you that it was well worth our paying price. I left completely drunk off mercury poisoning. Whatta feeling!

Service at Ajia is usually pretty horrible. Luckily the evening we went was fairly quiet so service was pretty decent. Note to self: avoid Friday nights, go early Saturday evenings. The waitress was quite militant about us finishing our sushi before ordering more. I don’t remember them being so adamant about the whole ordeal during my previous visits, but I guess that’s how it goes with an All U Can Eat special.

I crave Ajia every couple of months, so I’ll definitely be returning for another sushi fest soon.

Ajia Japanese on Urbanspoon

Sep 2006

Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes – Maya Angelou

About: Throughout Maya Angelou’s life, from her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas, to her world travels as a bestselling writer, good food has played a central role. Preparing and enjoying homemade meals provides a sense of purpose and calm, accomplishment and connection. Now in Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, Angelou shares memories pithy and poignant–and the recipes that helped to make them both indelible and irreplaceable.

Angelou tells us about the time she was expelled from school for being afraid to speak–and her mother baked a delicious maple cake to brighten her spirits. She gives us her recipe for short ribs along with a story about a job she had as a cook at a Creole restaurant (never mind that she didn’t know how to cook and had no idea what Creole food might entail). There was the time in London when she attended a wretched dinner party full of wretched people; but all wasn’t lost–she did experience her initial taste of a savory onion tart. She recounts her very first night in her new home in Sonoma, California, when she invited M. F. K. Fisher over for cassoulet, and the evening Deca Mitford roasted a chicken when she was beyond tipsy–and created Chicken Drunkard Style. And then there was the hearty brunch Angelou made for a homesick Southerner, a meal that earned her both a job offer and a prophetic compliment: “If you can write half as good as you can cook, you are going to be famous.”

Maya Angelou is renowned in her wide and generous circle of friends as a marvelous chef. Her kitchen is a social center. From fried meat pies, chicken livers, and beef Wellington to caramel cake, bread pudding, and chocolate éclairs, the one hundred-plus recipes included here are all tried and true, and come from Angelou’s heart and her home. Hallelujah! The Welcome Table is a stunning collaboration between the two things Angelou loves best: writing and cooking.

Sample of recipes: cornbread, potato salad, lemon meringue pie, minestrone soup, red rice, buttermilk biscuits, banana pudding. Good ol’ Southern comfort foods.

My thoughts: I found this cookbook to be fabulous for a number of reasons. Firstly, Maya Angelou is a fantastic storyteller. Her short vignettes are colorful and rich in personal history. I appreciated her candidness throughout the book. Secondly, her recipes are not complex and as a result require very few ingredients. As someone who is a minimalist in the kitchen, I can appreciate a short ingredients list. Lastly, Maya Angelou prepares very humble food; nothing extraordinarily ambitious like, say, a vegetable mousse terrine! Oh, and the pictures in the book are excellent as well. I look forward to trying many of her recipes, especially the chocolate éclairs and the tripe.

Sep 2006

Rosemary Brown Bread


pesto bread 10

9 bread 9


Here is a savory soda bread with the distinct flavor of rosemary.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons honey

In a large bowl whisk together the flours, the salt, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the rosemary. In a bowl whisk together the buttermilk, 3 tablespoons of the butter, and the honey, add the mixture to the flour mixture, and stir the dough until it is just combined. Turn the dough out into a buttered 9-inch ceramic or glass pie plate and with floured hands pat it into a 7-inch round loaf. Brush the top with 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter, cut an X 1/4 inch deep across the top, and bake the bread in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 1 hour, or until it is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped. Transfer the bread to a rack, brush it with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and let it cool on the rack for at least 4 hours before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf.

Adapted from Gourmet, October 1991

[For Printable Recipe Click Here]

Substitutions: I used only 100% whole wheat flour, brushed the dough with buttermilk rather than butter, and did not brush the finished bread with butter. Also, do not wait four hours to eat the bread. Consume immediately. It tastes best fresh out of the oven! Note – the original recipe calls for dill seeds, not rosemary.