EmPower Breakfast at Rialto

>>  Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Friday everyone!

I had a wonderful chance to attend a charity breakfast to benefit ATASK (Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence) a few weeks ago. For those of you who many not be familiar with ATASK, ATASK is a Massachusetts-based organization that provides support for Asian families and individuals who suffer from or are at risk of suffering from domestic violence.

This event was held at the lovely Harvard Square restaurant Rialto, definitely one of the best restaurants in the Boston area. Bryan and I personally love having dinner at the bar at Rialto. It's a great way to enjoy a taste of Rialto (especially on Monday nights when raw oysters are only $1) without breaking the bank.

This breakfast was special, as we got to hear from some really inspirational women.

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Sushi Kanesaka

>>  Monday, April 25, 2011

Today we come to the end - the culmination of the Tribute to Japan series. I purposely chose to write about this special restaurant last because it's the epic, gastronomic pinnacle of our dining experiences in Japan.

You would think it would be hard to beat perfection.

After our last trip to Japan, we returned to the US unable to eat sushi for months because it paled in comparison to the incredible dining experiences we had in Japan, most particularly at a wonderful place called Kyubey (frequented by none other than the likes of Steven Spielberg and Nicholas Cage!!). We had fond memories of that place, and even went back for a second visit this time around.

Our epic meal at Sushi Kanesaka completely blew all those previous experiences away . . .

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Greetings from Greece!

>>  Friday, April 22, 2011

Greetings from Greece!

Well, technically speaking, I'm not in Greece anymore. After a super long flight (2 layovers, one of which was 5 hours long!), I finally arrived in Boston last night. It's been a whirlwind trip (2 weeks in Europe) and I've got tons to share with you. Right now, though, I'm soooo exhausted, so I'll finish off this week by sharing with you a few pictures from Greece.

Soon though, I do plan on writing both a London Series as well as a Greece Series!

For now, please enjoy these snapshots of this beautiful country. :) Have a wonderful Easter holiday!

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>>  Monday, April 18, 2011

This burger is probably the most expensive burger in Boston.

Ringing in at a whopping $19, it beats out Craigie on Main’s famous $18 grass-fed beef bone marrow burger. Its price also blows away other very very famous burgers in the Boston area, such as Bartley’s (around $10), R.F. O’Sullivan’s (around $8), and burgers from top notch steakhouses (Smith & Wollensky’s prime steak burgers, for example, are a bargain at $13).

Is Michael Schlow’s unique burger, piled high with fried onion strings and dressed with horseradish, worth it? Of course there was only one way to find out.

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Grape Nut Ice Cream

>>  Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tosci's Grape Nut Ice 


Grape Nut Ice Cream from Toscanini's

This recipe was originally part of my final, winning Round 10 post for Project Food Blog. I have decided to split it out so it's easier to find! This is my favorite ice cream, and thus I look it up a lot!

Toscanini’s is my all time favorite ice cream place in Boston. We used to have one on my college campus and I used to go there all the time (hello “freshman 15!”). Not only is the texture of Toscanini’s premium ice cream uniquely thick and doughy, the flavors at Toscanini’s are constantly changing and are always really, really interesting.

My all time favorite ice cream flavor is Grape Nut Ice Cream. I know it sounds weird, but the Grape Nuts soften considerably once they're mixed into the ice cream, and they give a wonderfully malty flavor to the ice cream.

I've developed my own version of Grape Nut Ice Cream, which I love making at home in the summertime, or the wintertime, or . . well, anytime, for that matter.

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Greetings from London

Greetings from London!

Of all months to be in London, I choose the crazy month of the Royal Wedding. London has always been an area of diversity, excitement, and activity, but this month . . . it's a bit crazier than normal!

Since I am in Europe right now, the Tribute to Japan series will be put on hold until I return. Meanwhile, since I'm busy here working, I may be posting a little less frequently than normal. I definitely plan on checking out a few Michelin restaurants while I'm here though, so stay tuned!

A few pictures from my last London trip . . .

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Snacking in Japan

>>  Friday, April 08, 2011

It's all my dad's fault.

Starting from when I was around 2 years old, My dad started me on a tradition. Every day, he would place me in the front basket-seat on his bike and we would visit . . . . . the ice cream shop. I'll never forget the look of that unique ice cream shop in Toledo that was shaped like a huge igloo.

And thus the habit began.

I love love love ice cream. In high school I used to eat three scoops a day after school. Even now, whenever I make ice cream, I end up eating it day after day until it's all gone (especially if it's my all time favorite flavor).

This post is actually not just about ice cream, though it was one of the first "snacks" that caught my eye when I was in Japan. Instead, think of this as a mini tour of my snacking experiences during my trip to Japan.

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>>  Tuesday, April 05, 2011

This post is part 6 of my series: Tribute to Japan. Other posts in this series include: Part 1: Kappabashi-dori, Part 2: Tapas Molecular Bar, and Part 3: Suzuran (Ramen)
Part 4: Japanese Matcha and Azuki Breads, Part 5: Masamoto Tsukiji Knives

Here in America, it's tough to truly appreciate the nuances and diversity of Japanese cuisine.

In most parts of the US, all Japanese food is lumped together in one restaurant. Sure, some of you are lucky enough to live in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, where you'll actually see dedicated ramen shops, sushi restaurants, or izakayas.

For the rest of us, however, "Japanese food" connotes this general idea which is essentially a mish-mash of popular Japanese dishes - spicy tuna rolls, shrimp tempura, noodle soups, a curry dish, and inevitably your chicken or salmon teriyaki bento box. If you're lucky, you might see tonkatsu or its cousin, katsu-don on the menu.

One thing I love about visiting Japan is the opportunity to learn about (and taste!!) all different types of Japanese food at dedicated, specialty shops. For example, visit the best shabu shabu restaurant in Tokyo, and you'll receive a menu that's literally just full of different shabu items (e.g., Kobe beef . . . sooo good!). Similarly, there are scores of ramen shops, curry houses, and all sorts other shops dedicated to various narrow slices of Japanese cuisine.

One of my favorites? Tonkatsu.

Surprised?  Indeed, there are many dedicated tonkatsu restaurants in Japan.

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Masamoto Tsukiji Knives

>>  Friday, April 01, 2011

This post is part 4 of my series: Tribute to Japan. Other posts in this series include: Part 1: Kappabashi-dori, Part 2: Tapas Molecular Bar, and Part 3: Suzuran (Ramen)
Part 4: Japanese Matcha and Azuki Breads

I'm not one that typically buys souvenirs.

Sure, there was a time back in high school when I obsessively collected pins or mugs from every place I visited, keen on bringing back with me physical mementos of my trips. As the unused junk started piling up at home, I subconsciously began coming home from my trips empty-handed.

That totally didn't happen on this Japan trip. For some reason, (probably via Bryan's insistent prodding) I decided it was time to upgrade my knives. Up until this point, I had been using the same, relatively economical knife set that I got right after college. 

Japan is probably THE top maker of knives in the entire world. Japanese steel is generally much harder than Western steel, and thus their knives hold their edge a lot better. How else do those sushi chefs cut such perfectly thin and delicate slices of fish? Of all cuisines, Japanese is the one with the artistry and sophistication that really demands the highest quality knives in the world.

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