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Soba - Hybrid?

Most soba noodles are made with wheat flour. However, the addition of flour doesn't really make them much firmer. Shorten the cooking time if you like it firmer. In a professional soba restaurant, soba is cooled at the exact moment it's been boiled enough, even for hot preparations. If it goes into hot soup it is warmed gently again before adding it back into the soup. For dry soba, even thirty seconds of extra cooking time can make a big difference.

Oct 13, 2014
la2tokyo in General Topics

The Tokyo-LA Sushi Gap is Closing

IMHO The existence of places like Sawada is why the LA-Tokyo gap can never be closed. Even if you take Sawada out of the comparison, because of places like Sawada, the aspirations of the mid-upper level sushi in Japan like Kyubey have competition that pushes the level of food extremely high. Everything Sawada San serves is fished from the perfect place in Japan at the perfect time - the ability to put all of those neta together for one meal is unreal. His fish always shows typicity - it's the best version of itself that it can possibly be. Even people who eat sushi constantly in Tokyo leave places like Sawada saying how many neta were the best versions they have ever had. That's no small feat.

Oct 13, 2014
la2tokyo in Los Angeles Area

The Tokyo-LA Sushi Gap is Closing

The main difference between sushi in Japan vs Los Angeles is the overwhelming use of farm raised fish in Los Angeles. Every top sushi bar in Tokyo uses wild fish. The showcases of most of the sushi bars in LA are filled with farm raised fish that taste nothing like their natural counterparts. If you asked for the farm raised hamachi that everyone in LA sells at a place like Kanesaka or Yoshitake they would laugh out loud. As long as Tokyo has Tsukiji, LA will never close the gap. The rest of Japan can't even close the gap with Tokyo because Tsukiji is such an incredible market. There are great sushi chefs in LA, but unfortunately the quality of fish here is still nothing like Tokyo. The best few places in LA may be using a lot of wild fish too, which is very admirable, but there's just not the incredible selection of stuff that there is in Japan.

Tokyo for new year 2014

Tsukiji Market is closed starting the 31st, so you would be lucky to get any sushi past the 30th.

Sep 29, 2014
la2tokyo in Japan

How far in advance to book Jiro; Ishikawa; Ryugin; Saito (8 people)?

Ishikawa's biggest table seats six. You would have to be sat in separate rooms.

Sep 14, 2014
la2tokyo in Japan

Tokyo 5 days,Kaiseki and Unagi choices.

Ishikawa is not open for lunch.

Jun 23, 2014
la2tokyo in Japan

Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

Basically, yes. I have been able to book before on my own, but I recently called and was told they were fully booked even though I had been there before. I had a friend who is a high profile customer call for me and they took the reservation immediately. Regardless of what they tell anyone on the phone, I believe they regulate who is permitted to book pretty severely. And, in case anyone is wondering, yes, IMHO it is still worth the hassle. Although the reservations policy is not democratic, Matsukawa San in one of the most hospitable chefs I have met in Tokyo and the food is second to none.

Jun 11, 2014
la2tokyo in Japan

Tokyo / Izuhanto. Please review my trip.

Do you have Saito already booked?

May 09, 2014
la2tokyo in Japan

A nice dinner out in Tokyo without breaking the bank....Kyoto recs?

If I was the one paying, and somebody put a gun to my head and asked me to pick between Gompachi and Inakaya, I would tell them to pull the trigger.

May 07, 2014
la2tokyo in Japan

Sukiyabashi Jiro

Anything other than vomiting on their Prime Minister is an improvement!

Apr 27, 2014
la2tokyo in Japan
2

Cooking class with Yakitori Chef in Japan

If they don't have it in SF it's on the shelves at most major bookstores in Tokyo.

Apr 09, 2014
la2tokyo in Japan

Cooking class with Yakitori Chef in Japan

There is an amazing yakitori book that is relatively new - there are step by step instructions with pictures for each step for yakitori preparations from a bunch of famous yakitori restaurants in Japan. Regardless of whether you find personal help, the book would be invaluable to you. Even without reading Japanese, you would probably learn more from the book than a single day in a yakitori restaurant.

http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/switch-lan...

Apr 08, 2014
la2tokyo in Japan

Squid Ink Reports All LA Sushi Chefs Forced to Wear Gloves

Sushi aficionados what say you?

http://www.laweekly.com/squidink/arch...

Jan 10, 2014
la2tokyo in Los Angeles Area

Otaninosushi

I went to Ootanino a couple months ago and had a wonderful meal. The food is excellent and the counter is absolutely gorgeous. I wouldn't put the sushi on par with the top-tier places frequently discussed on this board, but it's not as expensive as most of them, and it's an all-around wonderful experience. It's a great place to relax and have a long evening of drinks while you eat sushi, which is not something that can be said for all high-end sushi.

Dec 31, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Hand/Stand Mixer?

I use the OXO egg beater. Saves a lot of time over a regular whisk.

Dec 15, 2013
la2tokyo in Cookware

Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

I love both restaurants. I don't really feel the need to compare the two - they are both favorites of mine for different reasons. I don't think Ishikawa wants to charge that much, regardless of if he can fill the restaurant at higher prices, or even if he can make more money. Ishikawa has a very large number of regular customers, and they are very happy doing what they are doing at the price they do it at. I felt the price at Matsukawa was fine for what I got, and I also think the price at Ishikawa is fair too. The only difference to me is that I can be a regular at Ishikawa, and I can only afford to go to Matsukawa once a year or so. I guess it all depends on the individual's budget though. Both are great restaurants.

Dec 12, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

No doubt, Matsukawa is stellar. The one thing that bears mentioning is the price. The last time I ate at Matsukawa the food was twice the price of the most expensive menu at Ishikawa. IMHO it is worth it, and Matsukawa San is a wonderful host, but comparing any ¥20,0000 meal to a ¥40,000 meal is not a fair comparison. Matsukawa San is very friendly, the food is unbelievably precise, the ingredients are top-notch, and the technique is impeccable. That said, for those who are not familiar with high level washoku ingredients, and Kyoto cooking in general, be forewarned that Matsukawa San's food can be very austere. I was expecting things to be very lighty seasoned and I definitely got them that way, some things being so light that I wondered if there was any salt added at all. I have been twice, both meals very memorable, and I recommend it highly to many people, but it's probably not for everybody.

Dec 11, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Late Autumn Crab-Fest at Shunji Japanese Cuisine: A Pictorial Essay

How much was the food charge for this meal pp?

Nov 22, 2013
la2tokyo in Los Angeles Area

Cleaning wine glasses with isopropyl alcohol?

Hi Midlife,

We don't polish twice. A group of about six people dries the glasses after they come out of the dishwasher with Riedel or similar microfiber towels while they are still wet and hot. Most of the glasses are spotless after this. Sometimes there are spots from guests with sticky stuff on their fingers or thick lipstick, so a little moisture helps to remove it. Some people use a slightly damp part of their towel, I prefer to have a electric tea kettle running in front of me so I can apply a tiny bit of moisture with the steam and rub the spot off that way. The whole process is fast and efficient, but when you have multiple stacks of glass racks that go from floor to ceiling it takes a while. I did work at one place where they polished again after towel drying, as you describe, and I didn't really understand that either. I think it was just to make sure that there were no fingerprints and that the crystal really shined brilliantly, but I don't think the effort was justified.

Nov 16, 2013
la2tokyo in Wine

Cleaning wine glasses with isopropyl alcohol?

Thanks for the reply. In all the places I have worked, which is six restaurants, everything got polished every day. Maybe I had really bad luck, but I don't know anyone who works in fine dining at other Michelin-Star type of restaurants who doesn't polish wine glasses. I'm not talking about a lot of heavy polishing, but the glasses are still polished. Most of the glasses were already very clean, but we still have to look for spots. Many of the problems you cite sometimes exist to some degree. Bad water, too much detergent etc, etc., although every restaurant I worked in did have water softeners. If we had the privilege of multiple dishwashers, I imagine machines specifically designed for glassware like Miele would be great, although as far as I know they don't make a commercial washer. Health inspectors require the use of sanitizer, and even with water softeners, with one machine for everything there are sometimes spots. Most of the time it is just a quick wipe with a Riedel cloth, like you said, but at the end of the day that's still 500 glasses that require a quick wipe. Sometimes more, and that's not even counting the Riedel Somm glasses that get washed by hand. With a hundred guests, and people doing wine pairings with a dozen or more glasses, there are a LOT of dirty glasses. When you're working in a place that is serving $5,000+ bottles of DRC, one tiny spot on any of those 500 glasses is not an option. I'm not saying there's any need to use alcohol out of necessity, ever. However, it would be nice to have a spot remover that works better than water, because when you have that many glasses, something that saves two or three seconds per glass is a lot.

Nov 15, 2013
la2tokyo in Wine

Cleaning wine glasses with isopropyl alcohol?

Hi Midlife,

All the glasses in question have been washed in a dishwasher. The reason we use steam is just to help remove any stubborn water spots. We could dunk the glasses back in water but it's a lot more work to dry a entire wet glass than a little spot where there's a little moisture from some steam. Some fine dining places where I have worked polish everything from water glasses to wine glasses, which means there are literally hundreds of glasses that need to be polished at the end of the night. Sometimes over 500 glasses. It takes hours.

I was already aware isopropanol has some toxicity. Isopropanol is approved for use in food surface sanitizers, and there are a quite a few "no rinse" food surface sanitizers that are 70% isopropanol, but it's not something that I want around all me the time, which is why I asked the question. I tried 190 proof Everclear, but it has something in it that leaves a couldy residue, so I guess I'm going back to steam.

As far as residual odor, there is none once the alcohol evaporates. In fact, the reason the conversation came up was because I was always impressed how clean this sommelier's glasses looked and smelled. When I tried it myself I was kind of shocked how clean the glasses smelled. Even with an immaculate microfiber towel I can usually smell a little bit of a lint or dusty smell for up to 60 seconds, but the glasses cleaned with alcohol had zero odor once they dried.

Nov 15, 2013
la2tokyo in Wine

Tokyo - Reasonably priced Robatayaki

Okajoki is great but I don't think they sell much besides fish. They have some shellfish too, but I don't think I've ever seen them cooking meat. If the OP is looking for "many different types of proteins" I'm not sure that Okajoki is the spot. If you like grilled fish it's a fantastic choice though. Everything they serve is quite good.

Nov 14, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Best value oriented champagne/sparkling wine under $50

If you can find it, Chartogne Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne is a bargain at under $35. Great juice, and with an extra year or two on the cork you would be shocked how good it is for the price.

Nov 14, 2013
la2tokyo in Wine
2

1971 Charles Krug

I LOVE the old Napa wines. If you get the chance next time you're in Napa, treat yourself to dinner and some of the old stuff off the Press wine list. Everything I have had there has been in unbelievable condition for its age. My dinners there have consistently been some of the most exciting wine drinking experiences of my life. If there is another restaurant with the same depth of old Napa Cab anywhere in California I would love to know about it.

Nov 11, 2013
la2tokyo in Wine

Cleaning wine glasses with isopropyl alcohol?

Someone just told me they use a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol to polish wine glasses at their restaurant. Is it safe, or is it a bad idea? This was the first I've heard of it. I tried it and it works better than steam, but I'm not really sure about residue or side effects.

Nov 07, 2013
la2tokyo in Wine

Kegani/Horse Hair Crab

There is Kegani everywhere. If you really want to eat a lot of it you could call a good washoku restaurant and ask them to make you an entire dinner tasting out of it. You could also buy it in the market and eat the whole thing at home.

Nov 05, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan
1

Recommendation for someone who loved Ishikawa?

I am really interested to hear what you think about Koju vs Ishikawa.

Nov 05, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Did I botch my De Buyer Mineral B Element frypan seasoning?

IMHO everyone worries way too much about how they season their pans. There's no way you can do rust damage to a pan in fifteen minutes. The gummy stuff that was in the pan was excess oil that wasn't completely burned off. Just keep using it like normal, the whole thing will eventually turn black, and you will forget about all of this. If you think the surface is not sufficiently seasoned, heat it up, wipe it with a very lightly oiled paper towel, and keep the heat on until it stops smoking. Repeat as many times as you wish. Just make sure that the oil you burn on the pan is thin and even.

I have pans that have beautiful even black seasoning on them, and I have pans that are blotchy and ugly. They all work equally well. If something gets stuck to one of the beautiful ones, it may have to get scrubbed out, and it may not look nice any more, but it will still work fine. Eventually it will be all black again. As long as you don't gouge the surface or warp it by sticking it in cold water when it's hot, there's nothing to worry about.

Nov 02, 2013
la2tokyo in Cookware
2

De Buyer Mineral B Pans

Noooooo! I am about to buy a dozen of these pans (I'm in California) and I haven't seen a price even close to this.

Nov 02, 2013
la2tokyo in Cookware

Best Kaiseki in Tokyo

I love Ishikawa too. Funny thing is that he is very insistent that his food is not kaiseki. He will correct people and say it is washoku, and not kaiseki. I guess it's because kaiseki is seen as having so many rules.

Oct 31, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan