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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

How do you watch your figure?

Low carb after breakfast, six days a week to lose, five days a week to maintain.

Oct 28, 2013
la2tokyo in General Topics

What's the most romantic restaurant in Vegas?

I went to Guy Savoy last month, and while the food was spectacular, my wife and I definitely did not consider it to be romantic. We were sat in the room facing the strip when we arrived, and it is just concrete and glass, with polished concrete floors. There were two tables in the room and the conversations echoed like we were standing in a metal box. We asked to me moved to the main dining room, which they happily did, and we enjoyed our meal, but the space is so modern it may feel very cold to some people. Service was good but not comparable to what we have experienced at Robuchon. The dining room at Robuchon has a much warmer feel and color palette, but I guess that's could be a matter of personal preference for some.

Oct 26, 2013
la2tokyo in Las Vegas

What does a $300 bottle of wine taste like ?

A "legitimate" $300 bottle of wine tastes like a legitimate $200 bottle of wine, but better. If you haven't decided what a legitimate $200 bottle of wine tastes like to you, then IMHO you should figure that out before shelling out $300. It took me a while to decide what was really worth $100 to me, then $200, then $300 and so on. I've never spent $1,000 on a bottle of wine, but I imagine the day will come when feel the need to drink something from the next level, when I know precisely what I expect it to be, and when that day comes I will eventually have to pull the trigger. That's what wine can do to a person. Unfortunately no bottle of wine is a sure thing, which is what makes the process frustrating and worth it at the same time. Whatever the price, for me, when it's the most expensive bottle I've ever drank, it should be captivating.

Oct 25, 2013
la2tokyo in Wine

Sunday night inTokyo -- 7 choices...

If you are talking about Kagurazaka Ichimonji, I was only there once about four years ago, but I would pass.

Oct 25, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Tonkatsu in Shinjuku

The more upscale branch of Wako named Takumian in Isetan is very good. Can't say how it compares to Katsukura, but I have eaten at Takumian dozens of times and always been happy. They serve several types of pickles with free refills, and have a couple great salad dressings to try out on the salad or cabbage that you get before the katsu comes out. They usually feature some special pork (this week it was Miyazaki) that is always significantly better than the regular offering.

Oct 22, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Visiting Tokyo from NYC for the first time!! (Researched)

For ramen, just go down to Tokyo Ramen Street in Tokyo station across from your hotel. Some of the best options in Tokyo have shops down there - if you want ramen you are lucky to be close by. Be prepared to wait in line.

http://www.tokyoeki-1bangai.co.jp/en/

Oct 13, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Ekiben Recommendations for Tokyo Station, Shin-Kobe and Kyoto Station

I love to buy bento. Although some stations have better bento than others, in my experience the best ones are in the high end department stores. I usually buy something somewhere like Isetan and take it on the train. Many of the vendors also sell special ones that require ordering ahead, so if I'm taking a long trip and I want something special I'll order one. I usually order one to take on the plane when I go back to LA. Although there are exceptions like the beef bento in Matsuzaka, I rarely see the special ones with tons of stuff in them and two stacked boxes in the train stations.

Oct 13, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Recommendation for someone who loved Ishikawa?

The 15K and 19K menus differ by quality of ingredients. The menus are basically the same, but there is more luxury stuff like abalone, crab, and expensive fish like nodoguro in the 19K menu. The rice dish is almost always vegetarian in the cheaper menu, whereas it has some sort of fish or crab in the more expensive menu. Steamed abalone is a signature dish of Ishikawa San, and he only serves that with the 19K menu. Obviously it depends on your budget, but in my opinion it's well worth it to spend the extra 4K yen.

Oct 12, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Recommendation for someone who loved Ishikawa?

I like Ginza Toyoda for washoku in a style similar to Ishikawa. The service and atmosphere may not be on par with Ishikawa (although still very good), but the food is in a similar, authentic straightforward washoku style with very high quality ingredients that shine through. Ren is good but the food is more casual than it is at both Ishikawa and Toyoda. Okuda is also good but I found the seasoning to be a little heavy in some of the dishes. That's the style they are known for though, and many people like it. If you want to eat Okuda San's cooking you should go to Koju if you can get in. I consider the service at Okuda to be about the same as it is at Toyoda.

Sep 29, 2013
la2tokyo in Japan

Is anyone here good at katsuramuki technique? Tips?

It takes practice. Practice with something cheap like a potato and then cook it all up when you're done.

Make the thing as round as possible first. This takes time to learn, but if it's not round it will be much more difficult because you will try to make your sheet even by turning the knife, which makes the thing even less round as you progress.

Only cut on the upstroke. You have to still have the knife pressed forward a little on the downstroke, but most of the forward movement of the blade should be while it moves up.

Your thumbs are the guide. You feel the thickeness of what you are cutting right under each thumb. Keep your eye on the top edge and feel the thickness at the bottom only with your thumb. The top thumb is used to feel too, but you use your eyes more at the top. Do not apply pressure, it will just leave a long indented line under where your thumb is.

The thing you are cutting does not move besides its rotation. While you rotate it, visualize the knife moving up to the left at an angle. This will help a lot. As you rotate with your left hand, the knife should move towards 10 O'Clock at about the same speed as you are turning your left hand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HDro-...

Sep 10, 2013
la2tokyo in Cookware