Friday Night Fun at Musha

Friday night dinner with Tiffany, Jesse, Shannon, and Kevin, at Musha in Santa Monica. TGIF!biggrin

musha 1

(Clockwise from top left): Aburi Saba; Ponzu Duck; Kakuni; Spicy Tuna Dip.

musha 2

Tofu French Fries; two kinds of sauces for the tofu; M.F.C. (Musha Fried Chicken); Ebimayo.

musha 3

Musha’s Risotto; Aski; Black Sesame Ice Cream; Takotama.

Hokkaido Fair at Mitsuwa

Kevin and I went to Torrance to check out Mitsuwa’s Hokkaido Fair last weekend!

We actually decided to skip the limited edition miso ramen from Ezofukuro, and went straight to Santouka. We’ve been disappointed with the over-hyped special ramen from the previous food fairs (it’s such hit and miss), so we decided to stick to the guaranteed goodness of Santouka’s tonkotsu ramen.  This is my second favorite ramen shop in Los Angeles, after Daikokuya, and we didn’t have to get in a long line!

Kevin ordered the combination, with ramen and pork chashu bowl.  It was so delicious!

We were so looking forward to the soft served ice cream made from the luscious milk from Hokkaido but I am disappointed to report that it was not as good as I remembered. The ice cream machine wasn’t working properly and the cream had already melted by the time we got ours (it started dripping right after we snapped that photo). I remember it being so much richer and silkier … but this one tasted no different than any other soft served from fast food joints. It so want my $3.00 back so I can go to Pinkberry! 😦

We were already full by the time we finished the ramen and the ice cream, so we took some of the fish cakes home and enjoyed them with the family for dinner.

We got some yummy croquettes too!

Takoyaki Weekend

Here’s Kevin, making takoyaki, using a recently-acquired aebleskiver pan.

Kevin was always opposed to me buying an aebleskiver pan. He thought I’ll use it once to make the Danish pancake balls and the cast iron pan would eventually make its way to my kitchen graveyard, along with a crock pot, heavy-duty mandolin, and other appliances that I no longer use. He’s probably right,but we bought it anyway on our recent trip to Solvang. We couldn’t resit … it was $12.

To make sure that we are using our new pan to the fullest, we make the Japanese octopus pancake balls every weekend with it. Well, it’s actually Kevin who makes them, and it’s me who devour them.

Takoyaki
This is Kevin’s creation

1-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking power
1 teaspoon dashi
1 egg
About 2 cups water (it should be runnier than the regular pancake batter)
2 tablespoon green onion, chopped
1 octopus leg, chopped
Some red ginger
Some tenkasu (tempura batter scraps), optional
Salt to taste

Here’s a little wacky but informative instructional video on how to make these balls.

We love to dress our takoyaki with bonita flakes, aonori, Japanese sauce, and mayonnaise.

Happy weekend! 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day

Early Mother’s Day celebration at Ichibankan, our favorite sushi joint. I love its Chirashi, with piles of sashimi on top of sushi rice. Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in the Universe.

Dessert from Porto’s – fruit tart on a bed of chocolate!

My latest obsessions: Heating curler and Anastasia Brow Pen.

Cheers to all the wonderful mothers out there! Thanks for all that you do!

Bar Hayama

Great dinner with Saori at Bar Hayama on Sawtelle — thank you!

We both ordered Chef’s Special Bento Box, with miso soup, otsukemono, brown rice, assorted tempura (vegetables and shrimp), assorted sashimi, assorted sushi, skewered meats (beef, lamb, and chicken), salmon and mushroom dynamite, meatball wrapped in fried wonton, and berries for dessert.

Lovely space inside, although the outside fireplace is much more wicked.

LOVE the mug design.

Kings came out victorious tonight over Vancouver, in the first round of NHL playoffs. We are now leading the series 3-0! One more game, boys! Go Kings go! Pride. Passion. Power!

Happy Birthday, Shannon!

Kevin, Raf, Shannon and I got together for a shabu shabu dinner at home, to celebrate Shannon’s birthday. We ate, laughed, and talked the night away, over good food and Shannon’s favorite wine, Beaujolais! It was a blast!

I love that the at-home shabu shabu dinner is quickly becoming one of the rituals for us. It’s so much more economical than eating this Japanese hot pot dish out at a restaurant, which can easily go up to $25 a plate. I also love that we can collapse onto a couch after eating just a little too much!

I sewed up a handmade bag using the lovely Etsuko Furuya’s Eshino collections for the b-day gift. It has an adjustable strap (so it can be used as a messenger bag or a tote), with easy-to-open magnetic snaps inside. I wanted to make something in her favorite color but this was the closest to red I can find in my fabric inventory.

You know you had fun when you see an aftermath like this! Happy birthday, Shannon!

Say Yes to the Dress

Lunch (11:00 a.m.): Early lunch at Fat Spoon in Little Tokyo with Tiffany and Shannon, before wedding dress shopping. We started out with an order of Fat Spoon Salad, followed by its famous corn dogs. I had beef curry for the main dish.

Dress Shopping: We visited the Simple Bridal showroom in Downtown. Simple Bridal is an online bridal dress shop that has a several by-appointments-only showrooms around the country. We visited the LA showroom near Staple Center, in a building overlooking the entire Downtown LA.  It was breathtaking!

The experience was absolutely amazing. The showroom staff was knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and made me feel so comfortable. I was really dreading this process before arriving here but they made it completely pain-free for me. I actually ended up having a wonderful time playing dress up.

We even got to enjoy a few glasses of complimentary mimosas!biggrin

I was bummed that Saori (she wasn’t feeling well) and Maya (she lives out of town) couldn’t join in, but big thanks to Tiffany and Shannon for the much-needed moral support and honest feedback. Saori gave me her comments and feedback virtually via our iPhones after I sent her photos with options!

I’m happy to report that I found the perfect dress. And what people say is true – when you find the one, you just know. I knew immediately when I put on it on that this was the dress that I was going to walk down the aisle in!

I tried on a few more, just in case, but nothing came close to the feeling I had when I put on the winning dress.

Dinner (4:30 p.m.): After dressing shopping, we headed over to Daikokuya for an early dinner. I ordered Tsukemen, a deconstructed version of a regular ramen bowl.  We walked over to the nearby Pinkberry for a small pomegranate- and original-flavor frozen yogurt with strawberries, kiwis, and chocolate crisps, for dessert.

Late-Night Snack (8:40 p.m.): Imagawayaki from Mitsuru Cafe in Little Tokyo.  I ate way too much today.  Juice detox to commence next week.

This was a wonderful productive Sunday! Thank you, girls, for everything!