Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Very Happy Food Day: Saul's, Poulet, & Nanayiro Reviews

** I have my camera battery charger now!! **

Sometimes I buy food impulsively. I didn't go crazy, but today I definitely spent more money on food than I usually do in one day (actually, dinner doesn't count cuz that ended up being a special occasion!).

* Grilled chicken sandwich from Poulet (you know...that chicken place you always pass by on Shattuck north of campus):

+ Tasty! The bread had rosemary in it, and you know how well rosemary goes with chicken.
+ The place was cute. Had little chicken gadgets like staplers and magnets. They also sell sweets like cake.
- Too expensive (a little over $8 with tax!!) for its size and what was in it (I can easily think of several places that have bigger and better sandwiches for cheaper prices):

- I could see how people might think it's boring because it only had chicken, cheese, and a little mayo.

- Bread was greasy, but that might have been what made it taste so good.

* Chocolate chip & strawberry bread pudding from Saul's (because Cheeseboard wasn't selling their bread pudding today):
+ Yummy without being too sweet
+ Original price was $5, but because it was pretty small, the girl gave it to me for $3.
- Coulda done without the strawberries. I just don't like fruit in bread pudding :( Bananas are awful in bread pudding, by the way.


So...I gave Nanayiro a second chance. The first time I went, I was too annoyed by the menu's spelling errors to even remember what the food was like. Before I point out exactly what kind of errors they made, I have to say that I hate spelling errors on menus because they mislead/misinform people. I understand that many Japanese restaurants do not have Japanese owners, but that's no excuse. Wouldn't you be annoyed if you saw "Nugets" on a McDonald's menu or "beaf" or "letuss" or something written on some other menu? You get my point. If you want to attract and keep customers, you've just gotta have things spelled correctly. I don't even speak much Japanese, and I immediately found these errors. What do I mean by spelling errors? First of all, the Japanese characters on their window don't match the English spelling (the hiragana says "Nanairo," but the English part says "NanaYIro." Guess those few years of Japanese culture/language school taught me something!

Second, "HAMACH"?? Sometimes you can drop the I sound when speaking Japanese (e.g., in the name Yoshiko), but you can't do that with spelling as far as I know. And now you all think I'm a big pompous grammar/spelling freak.

Third, they consistently spelled wasabi incorrectly (the pronunciation for the spelling pictured below would be "wah-sah-bee-eh"):

Anyways, on to the good stuff. The service was excellent. The waitresses were all smiley, polite, and nice, and they brought our food quickly. Here's my turtle shell-looking plate and salad and miso soup, all of which came with both Kurtis's bento box and my oyako donburi. Kurtis and I agreed that the salad dressing was spicy but still good. I thought the miso was a little on the watery side, but it wasn't awful. The water was good (that's important!).

The food was beautiful:

* Caterpillar roll = avocado, unagi (eel), cucumber, masago (small orange eggs):

My oyako donburi. Good, but the chicken didn't taste like normal oyako donburi chicken. It tasted...smoky. There also wasn't enough egg. I liked how the broccoli was healthily unfried though.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Japan 2005: Part II

Here are some of my pictures of the food we ate with our host family in the mountains of Yamaguchi-ken (prefecture). Living with them was a great experience. I slept on the tatami-matted floor with Whitney and Valerie with just the screen door open (I guess they don't lock their doors up there). And we woke up to the sound of rain. So peaceful and beautiful (although there were a lot of mosquitoes). And we tried desperately to read and chant the hiragana/kanji writing in their service books during our private little services, but we failed (the family's house was also a Buddhist temple).

I think I have more pictures of our host family meals somewhere, but these are the only ones I have right now. Anyways, my host family's neighbor or friend was a "professional chef," and so he came over one night and brought a ton of fresh fish and other ingredients with which he made us all of the fresh sushi we could eat on the spot. That was incredible.

Maguro (raw tuna), unagi (cooked eel), and sake (raw salmon):

Ham (random!), something greenish, something missing a bite, and raw squid, which made me nauseous for some reason. Once in a while, I get nauseous when I eat sushi. The weird thing is that that hasn't deterred me from eating it. I think the squid made me sick because it was reeeaaaally chewy and had a weird texture. I think I'd better stick with cooked squid.

The funny part: The head of the family/reverend told me to try their REAL wasabi (apparently the stuff in American restaurants is fake? Dunno what that's made out of), which he said was "not hot." was hot. :D So this is real, fresh wasabi:

Lasagna Pastry from Strings

I wanted to make a separate post for this because I labeled the first Strings post "favorites," and this dish isn't one of my favorites, unfortunately. I think it was too salty or rich...and it was expensive too. It was interesting though because it was basically lasagna inside of a thin pastry shell. Unique.

The inside (this looks kinda gross):

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Japan 2005: Part I

Took a lot of pictures in Japan. These are the only food ones I have on the computer at the moment, but I will most likely put up the rest at some point in my life. :D

K...this is why Japanese are so thin and American are so...not (we were still hungry after almost all of our meals). The tray is in the shape of the Superman S!! This was in Kyoto:

I HAD to try my favorite Japanese dish, oyako donburi (means something like "mother and child," which is sad, but it is made out of chicken and egg), in JAPAN. This was very good. You can see my Japanese language guide in the back. This was also in Kyoto.

Natto (You either hate this or you love it; it's fermented beans. I gave it another shot, and I still hate it. It tastes like snot + glue + coffee + red beans):

Hot soba (pretty much what you see here...noodles) from a restaurant in or near Yamaguchi. I think my favorite thing about this place was that they had little buzzers that you could press when you wanted service. WHY DON'T WE HAVE THAT HERE IN AMERICA?:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cherry Blossom Roll

This is from Fresno's Wassabi, where they have good sushi but awful teriyaki chicken (it was tough and I think it was burnt too). Purdy, huh?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

More DC food

Here's a sandwich from Ramona's (another one of Cal's food places). I think our sandwiches are really good. Look at this one! They're long/huge (this is just half, and I didn't ask for many ingredients for some reason), and they grill them. Mmm...

Here's a sandwich from Ramona's (another one of Cal's food places). I think our sandwiches are really good. Look at this one! They're long/huge, and they grill them. Mm

Claim Jumper's Eclair

* Fresno location now out of business *

Look at this thing!! It was huge (this is just half, and you can't really tell in this picture how big it really was)!! Huge and delicious. They should really cut down on the whipped cream though...then it would be absolutely perfect. I dream about this eclair every once in awhile.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Zachary's Pizza

Went to the Zachary's on Solano one time last year with Alex (that's not Alex):

Yummy but expensive. During Cal's Welcome Week back in the day, we got Zachary's pizza for free @ Unit 1:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My first UC Berkeley meal

My first Crossroads (Cal dining commons) waffle. This one was from Cal Day '05, but they serve them pretty much every day still--or at least every weekend for brunch. I miss Crossroads!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Florida: December '06

Ate some 'gator. Like they always say about a lot of things, it tasted like chicken...but fishy (??).

The best key lime pie (from Kermit's Key West Lime Shoppe, which was featured on The Food Network) from the Florida Keys. I say "best" because the one I tried before this one was nasty with its fake whipped cream and stuff...and this one was really, really good (and I don't normally like lemon or lime desserts). If you ever go to Key West, you HAVE to go to this shop. Or you can shop online here. They have everything lime-flavored). Hey--they have recipes! Guess I shoulda taken a picture before we took bites:

Breakfast at a really good bagel place:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Uncle Jerry's shrimp platter

One of my uncle's fancy dishes. That's not him sitting behind it. Whoops! Accidentally got a crotch shot in there. :o/

Anyway, this was soooo good, and I don't usually like shrimp all that much (I usually just like it if it's fried).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Jamba Juice's Breakfast Blenders!!

I had Jamba Juice's Chunky Strawberry when they had their free breakfast day and LOVED it so today I thought I'd try another blend. First of all, the Chunky Strawberry is strawberries, bananas, peanut butter, yogurt, soymilk, and organic granola blended together. SUCH a great idea. I love all of those things, and I think that peanut butter is an awesome ingredient in a smoothie (and in a lot of things).

Anyways, today I got their third organic granola blend (the second is the Mango Peach Topper), the Berry Topper (blueberries, strawberries, bananas, yogurt, soymilk, and organic granola blended together). It looked like that first picture but with granola on top. Not a whole lot of smoothie, but I did order a small size so maybe if you order a large one the granola-to-smoothie ratio is different. This was really good too, although I prefer the Chunky Strawberry.

But before you start buying one every day, check out the nutrition facts. They have a lot of calories--especially the Chunky Strawberry (470).

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Berkeley Buddhist Temple Bento Box

People who volunteered at the Jodo Shinshu Center (center for Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in Berkeley) when it opened got free bento boxes for lunch (bento boxes make me so happy...they're so cute):