Donburi: Sushi as a full meal

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From bottom, clockwise:
“Uni” (Sea Urchin), “Kani Tsume” (Crab legs), “Maguro” (Tuna), “Nanban Ebi” ( large prawn variety)

“Donburi” is a popular way to eat sushi with foreigners as it combines quality and quantity, and usually reasonable prices!
I thought a few examples might help you choose your favourites nex time you come to Japan!
The above donburi and three following were savoured in Sapporo and Otaru (Hokkaido Island).

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From bottom, clockwise:
A little variation from the first pic!

“Hotate” (Scallops), “Uni” (Sea urchin), “Ika” (Squid), “Kani Tsume” (Crab legs)

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A more extravagant sample this time:

From top middle clockwise:
“Ikura” (salmon roe), “Kazu no ko” (herring roe), “Kampachi” (Amberjack), “Tako” (octopus), “Sake” (raw salmon), “Hotate” (scallops), in the centre, “Uni” (sea urchin)

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This is a truly extravagant one!

From bottom, clockwise:
“Hotate” (Scallops), “Ikura” (Salmon roe), “Kazu no Ko” (Herring roe), “Kampachi” (Amberjack), “Uni” ( Sea Urchin), “Kani Tsume” (Crab leg), “Ebi” (Boiled prawn)

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During a recent trip in Shiretoko, Hokkaido Island, we dropped at Ikyuya Restaurant, located in a small city called Shari (some of the place names in Hokkaido can become a real puzzle as they are mostly very local names written in Kanji that fit the pronunciation instead of the meaning!).
We (the Missus) had chosen this establishment as a representative of the local cuisine favoured by local people.

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THe Missus oredered the “Oyako Don”/”Father-Mother and Son-Daughter Bowl”.
In Shizuoka it means chicken omelette (the Hen and the Egg!) spread on a bowl of rice. In Hokkaido, it stands for Shake sahimi”/salmon sashimi and “Ikura”/salmon roe spread over a bowl of rice. It must have been good as for once silence reigned around the table!

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Our two friends (which included our gracious driver) opted for “Uni don”/sea urchin and chopped dry nori/seaweed spread over a bowl of rice,

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“Uni to Ikura Don”/sea urchin and salmon roe spread over a bowl of rice.
Extravagance at a very reasonable rice, absolutely fresh and sweet seafood away from metropolises, what more can you ask?
Ikyuya
Hokkaido, Shari Cho, Utoro Higashi, 13 (2 minutes walk from Utoro Hotsprings Bus Terminal)
Tel.: 0152-242557
Opening hours: 11:00~18:00 (might get closed in the afternoon on busy days. Come early!)
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Home-made Donburi

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You do not have to go to a Japanese restaurant or sushi bar to eat “donburi” if you happen to have a wife who not only likes them but can also concoct them!
In short, my better (worse?) half once came up with the following for lunch:

Plain steamed rice topped with slices of “akami”/ lean tuna part, avocado salad with mayonnaise and wasabi pickles (the latter provided a nice balance with a spicy touch), boiled shirasu/whitebait sprinkled with “hijiki” seaweed and “tobikko”/flying fish roe.
The tobikko added a nice colour finish touch. It is quite cheap down here in Shizuoka City. From what I saw on Chuckeats Blog, it seems quite a treat over there in the U.S.!
I poured a little Shizuoka-made wasabi dressing on top. This dressing is a lot milder than pure grated wasabi with a little sweetness which combines well with the fish!

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7 US$ Sashimi Plate!

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The Missus welcomed me back home last night with her “triumphant smile”. By this, I knew she had made a good bargain at one of the nearby supermarkets.
Good, I will be able to humor her more easily, I thought (sly macho reaction,…)
Anyway, she had noticed a good sashimi set being sold for 1,000 yen (about 11 US$) at Coop Supermarket but could not decide whether to buy it or not (it was about 5:00 p.m.) and proceeded forward. But her feminine (sorry!) instincts called her back as this was just the time when bargains start at this good (and very reasonable) big supermarket chain. The price had gone down to 600 yen (about 7 US$)!

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(from right to left: “Tai/Seabream”, “Shake or sake/Salmon” and “Kanpachi/Amberjack)

I don’t have to tell you with what relish she grabbed it!
She had the sashimi already seved on a plate on the dining room table for me to admire. I decided to take a pic, but she said that the dsiplay was not good enough for a pic!
I waited for her to go back to the kitchen and took my mobile phone out to take a few pics in a hurry!
The pics are of poor quality, I must admit, but I hope it will give some ideas to my friends!

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(from right to left: “Tonbo maguro/Tuna Variety, “Ika/Squid” and “Mebachi maguro/Big-eyed tuna”)

All seafood, except for the salmon are apparently from Shizuoka Prefecture. No wonder it is so cheap (even in Japan)

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Japanese Seasonal Fish: Turbot/Makogarei

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“Makogarei” or Pleuronectes yokohamae Gunther for the specialists is one of the many kinds of turbot indigeneous to Japan.
You will find it on the markets between June and August.
Depending where you live, you might do well to know its other names: “Aome” (Sendai), “Mushibirama” (Konahama), “Mako” (Tokyo) or “Amakarei” among many.
It is net-caught all around Japan.
It has comparatively a lot of flesh for a turbot, making it a choice morsel for nigiri or sashimi.

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It can reach a length of 30 cm. Contrary to many other fish, the size will bear no incidence on the taste, but if you wish for extra taste, avoid female specimen bearing eggs/roe, and if possible, although a bit extravagant, choose a live fish (possible at Parche, Shizuoka JR Station!).
A good sushi or Japanese restaurant will deep-fry the bones and head for you, making for a great snack with great ale!

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Italian Restaurant: Aquavite (first visit in 2009)

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(pics by Haruka Yamaguchi)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Top-class Italian wines, Charcoal grill.

Last week was my first “visit” to this old favourite Italian Restaurant of mine in Shizuoka City, namely Aquavite.
A ever-solid reference, I have introduced it time and again, therefore I will keep to the basics, that is the food I enjoyed in the company of my good friend, Haruka Yamaguchi, who was kind to help me with the photographs!

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(Haruka Yamaguchi)

I’m slowly introducing my (young, and don’t start gossiping! I know her whole family!) friend to wine, and I’m sure that friends like Jen would approve! Haruka wanted white wine.
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(Haruka Yamaguchi)
Aquavite had this (for a reasonable price!) 2002 Tenuta Castellino, Terre di Francia Acorta in Coccaglio (12.5 proof). Rowena, have you heard of it?
A very pleasant aroma of Muscat, dry and fruity was rediscovered in tasting it, fruity, dry flowery with a gentle lingering. Proved as soft, elegant and complex for the whole meal. Haruka was not holding up this time!

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The first hors d’oeuvre was a succulent Iwate “Sanriku” Oyster served with just enough sesaoning.

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The second hors d’oeuvre,”Shirako Gratin” did not make my friend blush! (“shirako” is what male cod fish are proud of!). Light, eminently tasty, I wish I could serve it online!

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The pasta dish was a beautiful creation in its simplicity: Shizuoka-grown mizuna with “Taragani” Crab Peperocino Spaghetti!
Light, elegant and the perfect amount of spiciness!

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Grilled scallops with mizuna and Parmeggiano. Need I comment?

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The Milano Risotto and its Foie Gras! Perfect balance with a very light risotto and rich foie gras sauteed with balsamico!

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Charcoal-grilled “Shamo Niwatori” Chicken (extravagant in Japan!) with grilled new potatoes and its ramequin of liver and heart!

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And then it was time for dessert:
Tiramisu for me (let’s keep things simple! LOL)

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(Haruka Yamaguchi)

Haruka kept very silent as she devoured her Torta di Bosaiola with prunes and nuts!

Well, well, where are going next (actually expect something soon about Italian Cuisine!)

Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00 (on reservations only), 18:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK


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Bryan Baird’s Newsletter


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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2009 #3
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Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

Thanks to all of you who took part in the IPA Festival held at our two Taprooms. Even though climax was reached and our hop orgy is over, the IPA fun continues with today’s general release of Brewmaster’s Nightmare Rye IPA.

Brewmaster’s Nightmare Rye IPA (ABV 6.5%):

Malted rye is notoriously difficult to handle in the brewhouse. When mashing it produces a glutinous, gummy wort that is difficult to lauter. Should the brewmaster fail to set his mash bed just right or tick up the lauter speed a notch too high, a day infinitely long and arduous awaits. However, when processed deftly the malted rye lends a spicy, peppery character to the wort flavor that is supremely interesting. Combined with the spicy, fruity and herbal character of well-selected hops, the flavor reward is sublime.

Brewmaster’s Nightmare Rye IPA combines this rye-accented malt mash with gobs and gobs of resinous and spicy American hops (Warrior, Simcoe, Columbus and Santiam) producing a veritable fireworks show of flavor in the mouth. If hoppy, complex brews are your thing, this is your baby!

Draught and bottle (633 ml) versions will be available at fine Baird Beer retailing establishments throughout Japan (including the Fishmarket and Nakameguro Taprooms).

Cheers,
Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan
HOMEPAGE

24 Ways of Preparing Chicken by Mira of Malaysia!

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Glancing Thru My Crystal Ball

Mira of Malaysia (from Sarawak, Borneo, now living in Kuching) is a student from Malaysia who has been recently chosen by Foodbuzz, a world-wide Food Bloggers Community counting more than 18,000 (in only 2 years!), with 23 other bloggers to post a food event article and pictures for the pleasure of all!

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Glancing Thru My Crystal Ball

So Mira, with a little help of her friends prepared, cooked and presented no less than 24 different chicken dishes, including Malay, Chinese, Indian and Sarawak, her home, in as many pictures and recipes!

Do visit her blog at Glancing Thru My Crystal Ball, I can guarantee you will not only enjoy every recipe, picture and comment, but you will feel the more cognizant for it!
I forgot to mention it: Mira is apparently setting a record (as far as I know!) as the youngest blogger chosen by Foodbuzz for their 24, 24, 24 Worldwide Event!

Now, you can be sure the Missus will ask me to do all Mira’s recipes! LOL


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Japanese Fish Species: Scabbard Fish/Tachiuo

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(Sorry, but that fish is just too long for the screen!)

Scabbard Fish or “Tachiuo” (太刀魚/Great Sword Fish in Japanese), a very popular in Japan in spite of its great length is usually caught in Summer in Japan but also appears in Winter in Shizuoka Prefcture.
As other fish it owns other names: Tachi (not in Hokkaido, where the word means “whiting”!), Shirada and Tachinouo.
It is mainly caught off Wakayama, Ehime and Oita Prefectures, although it is also caught in Suruga Bay off Shizuoka Prefecture
It is both caught by line or net.
In 1999, 37,000 tonnes were caught, but it fell to 23,000 tonnes in 2000.
It is also imported from Kore and China, although their fish is slightly different from the Japanese variety. More than half of imported fish are eaten west of Kansai.

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It is fish than can be eaten raw as nigiri.

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I personally prefer it “aburi” (slightly grilled) with a dash of ponzu and some momijioroshi (grated daikon with chili pepper) as above served at Sushi Ko Restaurant.

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Some time ago I ate it at Oboro No Tsuki Restaurant (now defunct) as above:
They first put a double layer of sushi rice interspaced with shiso leaves (perilla) in a box for “oshi zushi” (pressed sushi), then top it with thick fillets (the fish is actually quite thin) and press the whole.
Next they slightly grill the top (“aburi”), take it out of the box and cut it to size.
Quite tasty and appetizing-looking!


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