I Dream of Sushi

I recently met my BFF at Angel Fish in Alameda for dinner. Sushi is always a good choice on a hot day and Alameda is usually a bit cooler as well. My BFF has been a regular at Angel Fish for almost two decades. Every time I have dined at Angel Fish, I have enjoyed it very much. Come to think of it, it is one of my favorite neighborhood sushi restaurants, even though it is not my neighborhood. The fish is always fresh and the prices are reasonable.

So first I have to admit I was late for dinner. My BFF had already gotten us seats at the sushi bar and ordered some nigiri at happy hour prices. From 5pm- 6pm, there are some specials, so she ordered the hamachi (yellowtail), sake (salmon), and maguro (red tuna). I was so delayed that she had to eat my portion. It was fine by me as I wouldn’t want raw fish sitting too long. When I arrived, I ordered my own serving of salmon. It was fresh and delicious as expected.
It was my first time having agemono. I loved everything about these deep fried tempura lobster bites. With a splash of lemon, I’m in heaven. One of the best things about Angel Fish is that it doesn’t always have to be about the raw items. They have a nice variety of cooked items that are unique and creative.
We ordered amaebi which I did not photograph. It’s not my favorite item, but I do like consuming the crispy fried shrimp head. Toro is one of the most expensive fish. When this fatty tuna belly is available at Angel Fish, you really should get it. It was so buttery, it melted in my mouth.  
Some other patrons ordered the cha soba so we decided we would share this as well. Cold noodles are a perfect choice on a hot evening. To enjoy this dish, you would dip soba noodles and seaweed into a sauce where you would first mix in minced daikon, green onions, and a quail egg.
One of my favorite things to eat is an unagi hand roll. With the added texture of cucumber and avocado, this is the perfect bite to me.  
Although Chef Taka still had a few pieces of uni out, he purposefully opened up a brand new box of uni for us. The opening of this box of imported uni from Japan really made our day.  
The uni was elegantly placed on top of a shiso leaf and rice and came with crispy roasted seaweed on the side.
In front of me in the sushi case was tamago that I had been eyeing throughout the course of the evening. I was relaying my limited experience and enjoyment of tamago. Typically, not a favorite of my BFF, we decided we would try it. We learned that Chef Taka makes this deliciousness every other day.

It was a great light dinner and we decided we would start dining at Angel Fish together once a month. I’m already dreaming about it.

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Thirty Minute Omakase: New York City

Before going on a trip, I usually do a lot of research and draft a list of eateries I want to try and then I make a few reservations. This was not the case on my trip to the East Coast last week. The main reason I was traveling was to March on Washington. I was going to spend a few days in New York and decided to mostly wing it. I did remember being intrigued a few months back by a food photo on Instagram taken in New York City. It was a picture of uni from Sushi on Jones and was taken from @infatuation_nyc.  I took a red eye flight from Oakland International Airport to John F Kennedy Airport. I was lucky to check into my hotel early in the morning and took a nap. Around 1:30pm, I decided to walk around and get some lunch. I was staying in Midtown and Sushi on Jones was about two miles away in the East Village. I was going to wing it and made my way downtown on foot.  

The concept for Sushi on Jones is thirty minute omakase. I arrived at Sushi on Jones about 2:30pm. I spoke through a small window like I was talking to a gas attendant. I was asked if I wanted to be seated for omakase. I said yes and was told to give him a few minutes. A couple minutes later, two people come out of a clear plastic door. I walked in and entered into the outdoor sushi bar with four chairs, two of which were empty. I took a seat. I also removed my coat since there were heat lamps above me. It was quite cozy so I said hello to my neighbors.
I was embarrassed, but had the courage to let the sushi chef know that I did not want any wasabi. One at a time, I was given a beautiful piece of sushi. I was quick to take a photo, dip the sushi in some soy sauce, and eat. In a matter of seconds, the next piece was in front of me. I would repeat my actions. After about four pieces, I forgot to take photos and just dipped and ate.  
I get mad at myself when I forget to take photos. I am not sure what happened. It may have been when the customers next to me transitioned. When I noticed, of course, I restarted the photography. Apparently there were twelve pieces total. You could order any of the pieces a la carte. I added the uni/wagyu hand roll on the menu.  
In general, the quality of the sushi was great at Sushi on Jones. It was all very fresh and melted in my mouth. Although I did not time myself, I did not feel rushed and was probably done within thirty minutes. I could probably have eaten a lot more sushi as well, but I was already spending a lot for lunch. If you want quality sushi and want it quick, Sushi on Jones does the trick. To make a same day reservation, text (917) 270-1815. The concept has been such a success that I heard they are installing their second sushi bar in Midtown soon. I think the idea of thirty minute omakase would do very well in the Bay Area.

Seattle Spots You Don’t Want to Miss

I spent 3 1/2 days in Seattle and 2 1/2 of those days were to attend the International Food Blogger’s Conference (IFBC). This left little time to eat out, but I did manage to squeeze in two new places and make return visits to two others.

The IFBC was filled with evening activities, so I was only able to eat out for dinner my first night. We ate at a sushi restaurant called Tsukushinbo located in the International District. Luckily we had reservations for our party of three so we didn’t have to wait.  

The sushi was fresh and reasonably priced. There was nothing fancy about this place. It was more of a neighborhood type restaurant. My favorite items were the Ora King Salmon sashimi and the uni, sea urchin. This New Zealand salmon was smooth and buttery. The uni tasted like it was fresh out of salt water, but ironically it came from Santa Barbara which I know produces some of the best uni.  

Here’s a collage of the dishes we shared. 
 The other place I tried for the first time is Humble Pie located on the outskirts of the International District. I would call Humble Pie a pizza shack.   
 You order at the window and can eat either in the partially enclosed space or completely outdoors. We ordered the pizza with sopressata, mushroom, kalamata olives, mozarella, and tomato sauce. It ranks pretty high in the thin crust wood fire oven pizza category in my book.  
 I had an hour and a half break for lunch from the conference on one day so I walked over to the famous Pike Place Market. I stood in line at Beecher’s, a cheese shop that also sells a few specialty items like mac and cheese, sandwiches, and soups. I think of them as the Cowgirl Creamery of Seattle. I previously had indulged in their “world’s best mac and cheese.” I wouldn’t call it the world’s best. I decided this time to get their grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. It was a great combination and hit the spot on this somewhat gloomy Seattle day. My tip for the soup is to either skip the croutons or ask for them on the side.

 
The number one thing that comes to mind when I hear the word Seattle is not rain or the Seahawks. It is the donuts from Dahlia’s Bakery. Ok, the second thing is the coconut cream pie. But I seriously cannot get enough of these freshly made to order pillows of goodness. They come hot out of the fryer and are doused in sugar before you get to add the mascarpone cheese and homemade jam. Yum! Go ahead and also order the coconut cream pie.  It’s good to have the ying and the yang.

 
Seattle is a great food city and such a perfect location for the IFBC.

Sushi in San Diego

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I was in San Diego last week and realized that it has been twenty years since I moved down there for graduate school. How time flies and how things have changed. Twenty years ago I didn’t eat sushi. Back then, I even had a part-time job as a waitress at a restaurant called Sushi-Ya. As an employee, I had the benefit of half-off, but used it for teriyaki, not sushi. I wish I could use that benefit today, because I eat a lot of sushi now.

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My friend recommended Sushi Ota, so I made reservations for two at the sushi bar. With good sushi places, my friend and I have been experiencing omakase meals. We were a little disappointed in the omakase, but we were served some amazing sushi worth talking about.

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We had a global trio of sashimi. The uni is local from San Diego, the amberjack came from Japan, and the toro came from Spain. The uni was so sweet and fresh and beautifully set on a half shell. I have never seen such oily looking toro which put a smile on my face. The generous portion was mouth watering.

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We were served quite a few nigiri. I can’t ever recall having salmon belly nigiri, definitely not one that looked long and skinny like this. I had higher expectations for this interesting looking nigiri.

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The golden eye snapper nigiri was lightly seared with sea salt and citrus. I enjoyed this one a lot.

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My friend thought it was awkward that we were given toro and uni nigiri when we had it as sashimi in the beginning. I didn’t mind at all because they ended up being my favorites of the evening and I believe they are the most expensive.

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Another beautiful nigiri was the tuna. I’m not normally a fan of red tuna, but this one had been marinated in soy and served with a Japanese pepper.

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The omakase included a lot more than I am showing above, but I don’t recommend going to Sushi Ota for the omakase. I would order a la carte in the future.

I had seen some unagi being served so decided to order an additional unagi hand roll. Everything about the hand roll was perfectly delicious including the freshly roasted seaweed. This is one of the best I have had.

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For those who live or frequent San Diego and enjoy Sushi, add Sushi Ota to your repertoire. You will get high quality fresh fish. And ask for Kaz as in Be”cause”. He was a friendly guy and a great sushi chef.

Kiss Seafood: A Hidden Gem

I probably shouldn’t have started Weight Watchers a week and a half before my birthday. At the same time for someone like me that enjoys eating so much, there probably isn’t a right time. I made the decision to go ahead and start.

What I like about Weight Watchers is that you don’t necessarily have to give up foods, it’s about moderation. In celebration of my birthday, two of my friends took me out to Kiss Seafood in San Francisco. Japanese food seemed like a healthier choice.

Kiss Seafood located between Japantown and Pacific Heights is a mom and pop shop that seats about a dozen people. I’m not kidding when I say mom and pop. The husband is the sushi chef while the wife waits tables. Kiss is a restaurant known for their Omakase meals and I have been getting my fix of Omakase lately.

We started with a free appetizer made of white radish, clear noodles, and tiny sardines. It was pretty adventurous to say the least. It was fairly tasty having been marinated in some kind of sweet soy and was easy to wash down with Asahi beer.
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Our first plate was a trio of salads. It came with Japanese eggplant, octopus, and a persimmon salad. I loved the octopus. It was tender yet smokey.

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Our second plate was full of beautifully cut sashimi. From left to right, we had baby striped bass, toro, king mackerel, amberjack, giant clam, and Thai snapper. It was fresh and all were very good. I can reflect on a time many years ago that I worked at a sushi restaurant and disliked sushi.

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Our third plate were deep fried lotus root and turnip with fish meat in a broth with a clam placed on top. This plate showed a lot of creativity and textures.

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Next came number four which is a favorite of mine, chawanmushi. It was not that long ago that I had my first chawanmushi at Coach Sushi. This steamed egg was perfectly silky. It had scallops and mushrooms in it.

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The fifth plate was five pieces of nigiri. From left to right, we had halibut, sockeye salmon, spanish mackerel, yellowtail, and marinated tuna. I was so focused on making sure I got the names down that I forgot my photo. The photo below is a bad photo of a customer having the same dish as us. The other photo is my plate after I was done with it, after all I am on Weight Watchers.

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The sixth dish was mushroom soup. The warm earthy flavors were very comforting on this rainy evening.

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It’s common for Asian restaurants to leave you with some type of fruit to end with. We received a piece of melon. It was nice and sweet.

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Kiss Seafood is a hidden gem and really worth finding. And if you happen to be on Weight Watchers, a meal at Kiss works pretty well.

Coach Sushi: An All Around Winner

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The Bay Area has had some unpredictable weather this year. It is finally getting warm. Besides ice cream, one of my favorite things to eat in hot weather is sushi. My BFF and I recently went to a neighborhood sushi restaurant. Coach Sushi is famous for their bottomless saki, but I think they have some of the freshest sushi in Oakland and definitely the freshest in the Lakeshore neighborhood.

At Coach Sushi, you can design your own masu or square wooden box cup. The next time you come, they will retrieve your cup to use again. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to retrieve mine because it was too long since I last visited. My BFF got hers. The “Coach” comes around to make sure your “masu” is always filled to the top.

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One of my favorite things I’ve eaten at Coach Sushi is not even sushi. It left a lasting impression on me the first time I had it that I order it every time I eat there. Nasumiso is baked eggplant with miso. It is very soft and delivers a somewhat smokey flavor that is delicious.

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Another appetizer we ordered was chawanmushi which is shrimp, chicken, and mushroom steamed in egg custard. It was my first time having it and like the nasumiso, I will probably order it every time I go to Coach Sushi. It was that good. Chawanmushi is very delicate and offers a nice balance of saltiness and sweetness. It just melts in your mouth. It also goes very well with rice, especially the sauce which is a mixture of soy sauce and mirin.

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For sushi, I decided on the salmon sashimi. It was plentiful with eight pieces. I was a happy camper.

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My BFF ordered a spicy scallop hand roll and salmon roe. She really enjoyed her sushi.

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We shared the blue shrimp. Having the blue shrimp was a feat for me as I am not that adventurous. I decided to skip on the fried shrimp head and the BFF was happy to eat both.

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If you haven’t been to Coach Sushi, I highly recommend it. Coach Sushi serves delicious food, fresh sushi, and offers a friendly neighborhood environment.

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