Tag Archives: onigiri

Yume-ya Japanese Izakaya

2 Aug

I thought I knew Japanese food. I love Japanese food and eat at Japanese restaurants quite often. Turns out I’ve never eaten izakaya style food. Izakaya is like a Japanese bar that serves small plates of food (like tapas in Spain). Yume-ya in Sunnyvale, CA is a cross between an izakaya and a sushi joint. We went with a friend who regularly goes and can order in Japanese so I got to try several new dishes. Don’t be scared of this next picture.

First, we got raw squid that had been marinated (fermented?) in its own gut juice (ika no shiokara). The dish looked pretty disgusting. It was very salty with a hint of lemon and the texture was slippery and soft. I couldn’t chew what I assume was the skin layer. I probably won’t order this again.

Next we got garlic shoots with fatty pork belly. This dish was shining with oil but tasted good. The greens were crisp and had excellent onion flavor. The pork was melt in your mouth (because it was mainly fat). I only wish it could be made with less oil.

We also had beef tongue and takoyaki. The beef tongue was grilled nicely and was tender. The sweet vinegar dipping sauce paired nicely with the salty meat. The takoyaki was fresh and hot with the octopus inside not being overcooked. Nice presentation but could have had more bonito flakes, I didn’t taste them at all.

Two orders of uni nigiri and a giant seaweed onigiri came next. Uni is sea urchin and I love it. These tasted great and were creamy. Yum! The rice in the onigiri was cooked perfectly but I didn’t love the spicy filling.

We also got sweet shrimp nigiri, which is raw shrimp. This was my favorite new thing to try. I’ve never had raw shrimp before and it was so creamy and delicate. The wasabi in between the shrimp and rice was great burst of flavor combining with the shrimp and roe in your mouth. This is a must try.

Lastly, we shared a bowl of chazuke, which is rice and fish roe in hot tea. I would have preferred salmon to the roe because I don’t like cooked fish eggs, but it was a comforting finish to the meal.

There were two dishes that we tried but I didn’t get a picture of before they got eaten (I’ve linked to pictures I found on google). One was mackerel, or saba, sashimi. This fish had a nice salty and fatty flavor. The other was fried shrimp heads, which was creepy to me at first due to the large eyes staring at me. I was converted once I bit into the crunchiness. It was a tasty bite.

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Biking to Foster City

6 Jun

First off, food I made for Friday lunch were avocado summer rolls. They had avocado, sprouts, Thai basil, rice noodles, red butter lettuce, and pickled carrots.

avocado summer rolls

For Friday dinner, I got to visit Google!! I had some fantastic food and ate lots of snacks. I didn’t take any pictures because everything was new to me and I didn’t want to seem more out of place than I already was with my visitor sticker. We ate at No Name Cafe, which features a seasonal vegetarian menu. Since it was dinner service, they also had meat. The vegetarian theme was Thai food and their curry and coconut rice were amazing. I also had shrimp scampi, stir fry broccoli, green peas in shell, buttered toasts with Manchego cheese and goat cheese brie, cherry chocolate chip cookies, whipped Greek yogurt mousse with honey and blackberries, and some vegan mango smoothie. Everything was yummy and from fresh ingredients.

approximate path, the whole trip was 14 miles!

On Saturday, we went biking. Starting out I was full of energy. We biked through the streets of San Mateo until we reached the start of the Bay Trail where we were able to leave traffic (biking in traffic makes me nervous). The area by the trail head was great for picnic-ing because there were grassy areas, picnic benches and even a man made sand area with shaded spots. There were lots of families out enjoying the sun.

The trail was great! Not crowded but not desolate either and most importantly, not hilly. It’s right by the water so the scenery was nice and there was a great breeze. Although the water was pretty brown when we started out (low tide), it turned a much nicer blue as it got deeper. We could see many wind surfers and kite surfers in the water since it was a super windy spot.

there were probably 3x more in the water than this pic

Our destination goal was Foster City because there was a park there where we were going to have lunch. To our delight, we found a festival in that very park! It was a pretty standard festival/street fair/carnival set up with kiddie rides, booths to shop at, food stands, local community organizations, etc. We got to explore an ambulance, look at all the compartments of a fully stocked fire truck, shop around and finally we found a nice gazebo along the lake away from all the noise to have lunch. Luckily we brought our own food because otherwise we would be tempted to get expensive unhealthy carnival food like funnel cake!

foster city festival

Here’s the food we brought with us. We got it in a supermarket in San Mateo so it was cheap. The spicy tuna sushi was really, really good because it had masago (fish eggs) and scallions in it. We also got spam musubi, a salmon onigiri and a kombu (seaweed) onigiri.

sushi lunch

While lunching we watched a dragon boat team practice rowing. They didn’t have a drummer so the guy was yelling his throat out counting the strokes for them.

We saw a flag that looked like a fail whale so we called it the fail whale boat. Someone should make a fail whale boating company.

When we were biking home, the wind had picked up considerably. It was pushing against us so it was a really difficult bike home. We were really tired and my butt was killing me (crappy bike seat). It was such a relief to make it home. I was sweating so much that I immediately changed into my swim suit and took a dip in the pool. It felt amazing.

For dinner we went over to Anya’s potluck cheesecake party. We made a Korean spinach side dish because had a whole plastic shopping bag full of fresh spinach from the CSA share. Look at how much spinach there was.

After blanching it, squeezing it dry and mixing it with the sauce, we were left with a much smaller volume. We followed Maangchi’s recipe for sigeumchi naumul.

We finished our meal with the strawberry parfait cheesecake that Anya spent hours making. It was amazingly good and put everyone into a food coma.

strawberry parfait cheesecake

Ease of a laptop lunchbox (Bento 27)

3 Apr

I was really tempted to eat out for dinner today since I only had 30 minutes left before I had to leave for work. Eating out would have been a bad idea since I had Burger King yesterday.. that will probably be the last time I go to BK for the rest of the year. I’ve managed to cut a lot of crappy fast food out of my diet. Excuse for going to BK? My brother wanted to go and they had a BOGO coupon. =/ Sucked in by marketing! *Fail* At least I didn’t fall for getting fries from Popeyes.. mmm best fast food fries ever.

bento 27

Anyway, I love having a laptop lunch box because it is so easy to throw leftovers and whatever else you have on hand into it. What comes out usually doesn’t look horrible and is so much faster to put together than making it all fit into a bento box. Plus it fits more food than a bento box without having all the food mix together. Basic rules I try to follow: include at least one vegetable and one fruit or two veggies + one carb + one protein. Try to make it colorful which means a variety of foods to eat, therefore, making the meal interesting. Done! I usually eat my dairy at breakfast but I should try to include more calcium rich foods. Being a female Asian who doesn’t do strength exercises = at risk for weak bones. Boo.

Our (U.S.-Japan) Neighbor Totoro Bento (26)

31 Mar

I rushed to make a bento today so I could submit it to the Bento Battle put on by Japan Society. I made it in an hour, took photos, emailed it, and ran to class with moments to spare. I got home only to see that the deadline has been extended to April 5th! I was working so fast that I didn’t realize one of the soot sprite eyes were crooked when I took the picture. This is only my second character bento and was so much harder than the previous one because it had so many tiny pieces. Maybe I will submit another entry.. any ideas?

Here’s the flickr set with all the entries.

totoro and neko bus bento!

Totoro made following anna the red’s tutorial, which uses ground black sesame seeds to color Totoro. Neko Bus is made from an inari zushi wrapper, he actually has little feet but it’s hidden in the broccoli. If I had more time I would have cooked the broccoli. The little soot sprites are just rice balls wrapped with nori. All the little nori pieces kept going all over the place. There must be a secret to making them stick to cheese!

Olympic Mascot Mukmuk Bento

2 Mar

I was inspired by hapa bento’s Olympic mascot Miga Bento so I set out to make my own. Mukmuk is my favorite mascot closely followed by Sumi. I chose Mukmuk mainly because he seemed easy to re-create. This was my first charaben (character bento) so I’m pretty proud of how well it came out.

mukmuk bento

Mukmuk’s body is made of yaki onigiri or soy sauce grilled rice ball. His hat is cheddar and mozzarella cheese (dyed blue). His face is more cheese and hand cut nori. His belly is wheat germ because I didn’t know what else to put. Underneath him is a layer of roast pork and onion egg scramble and he’s surrounded by broccoli, carrots and red pepper flowers. A well rounded, delicious meal.

mukmuk bento2

I hope you like it!

Octodogs (bento 14)

23 Feb

I’ve been busy. That and I haven’t packed food in a while. Bad me. I was craving sushi like crazy so I ate sushi three days in a row. Not all were great. The best sushi of those 3 was at Illusion in Brooklyn. Cheap lunch specials! 3 rolls + soup/soda for $9.

I’m so tired. I stand all day at work. It’s been raining all day. Exam tomorrow, not prepared. Issues with paypal and bank accounts. Not a happy camper right now.

On happier note, I bought the taiyaki pan! But it turned out to be $27. I can’t add apparently. Look forward to some freshly made taiyaki soon!

This dinner wasn’t enough. I was hungry soon after wards. My house seems to be running low on things I can pack.
bento 14
Octodogs, broccoli, fat free refried beans again, yaki onigiri (soy sauce grilled rice balls from trader joe’s), oranges and apples.

Bento 7 & 8

4 Feb

Lack of time to update so two bentos for you this time. Laptop lunch was yesterday’s dinner at work and onigiri were for class today.

bento 7
Quinoa pilaf with veggies, chicken and walnuts, salad with Trader Joe’s goddess dressing, cucumbers and tomatoes, veggie straws (rosemary), string cheese.

bento 8
Wasabi mayo tuna onigiri with furikake. Nori on the side for wrapping. I didn’t expect to eat all three because I don’t usually eat that much rice but I was hungry and class was boring.