A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘sushi’

Sushi Roller Derby

In Drink, Food on April 11, 2010 at 9:24 pm

We had been planning for weeks to go to dinner at my sister’s fab new apartment in Santa Monica off Montana, but when the moment arrived we were totally unprepared for the CRAZY sushi spread she had prepared. I mean seriously. Gorgeous sushi-grade hamachi and ahi, fresh crab and salmon roe—all from Santa Monica Seafood. Claire had prepared sticky sushi rice and julienned cucumber and sliced up avocados. My husband was particularly excited about the spicy tuna Claire had made by mixing together mayo and Sriracha:

From there it was an all-out sushi derby as we raced to create our ultimate rolls. Here’s Mr Foodinista spreading rice onto a seaweed wrapper, while my sister cuts one of her expert rolls:

Yours truly is obsessed with salmon roe and so was particularly smitten with these ikuro avocado rolls, while Mr. Foodinista scarfed most of my sister’s spicy crab and cucumber creations:

And what did she serve with this spectacular spread? One of my all-time favorite bubblies, Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose ($20). It’s a sparkling rosé from the Alsace region, made from 100% Pinot Noir using the Champagne method but because it’s from a region outside of Champagne it can’t legally be called that. It is a perfect sushi wine. And thank you, Claire, for a PERFECT evening! xx

Lunch for $15 or Less: East Japanese Restaurant

In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on April 8, 2009 at 4:45 pm

The latest in my quest for lunch under $15 while I’m on jury duty downtown...


First let me say that it is possible to order any number of satisfying lunchbox options for $8.50 at East Japanese Restaurant in Little Tokyo. Your choices of entrées include tonkatsu pork cutlet, broiled mackerel, tuna handroll, or tempura vegetables—each comes with a choice of a couple pieces of sushi or sashimi to start, as well as green salad, miso and steamed rice. Or, you can order a sushi combo of four pieces of sushi and a 6-piece cut roll, with miso soup, for $8.50. A bargain considering Whole Food’s version of this (called the Medium Tsunami Combo) fetches $9.95 and on occasion features cut rolls that are frozen in the middle.

Second, a confession. I blew my $15 budget by almost double. Instead of ordering one of the enticing and affordable lunch specials, I ordered directly from the sushi bar in part to erase the memory of Monday’s subpar sushi experience, but mostly because the specials board boasted Santa Barbara sea urchin. Uni, or sea urchin, is one of my very favorite things to eat and I love living so close to the source of some of the best uni around! Sweet, creamy and slightly nutty, uni is rarely a bargain on a sushi menu. In this case it was $7.50 for two pieces. It was incredibly fresh, and worth every cent.


Add to that the Chu-toro from Japan, a couple pieces of hamachi, and salmon for the omega 3 fatty acids, and an unusual ume shisho cut roll (below) made from pickled Asian plum paste and shiso leaves with fresh mint, at once both tart and slightly sweet. The flavor was a little too intensely sour for my taste, but definitely one of the more interesting flavor combos I’ve tried recently. I highly recommend the sushi at East, and I’m told that the udon is really good and that at night they have an extensive appetizer list that features sublimely grilled squid. 


Lunch for $15 or Less: Frying Fish

In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on April 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm

The latest in my quest for lunch under $15 while I’m on jury duty downtown…


Back in the day when I worked downtown (circa ’99 to ’04), Frying Fish Restaurant in the Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo was a favorite for cheap, conveyer-belt sushi. The good news is that your sushi is still delivered via conveyer belt, an amusing novelty, and it’s still cheap. As well it should be, because—how do we put this nicely? I guess we don’t. The fish is remarkably flavorless. Definitely frozen. The hip Japanese clientele who once crowded the bar seem to have moved onto fresher waters. Yesterday there was an assortment of cops, college kids and a few tourists who’d wandered in. The service is friendly and the sushi won’t kill you. But check back tomorrow for better sushi options in the vicinity.

Local Boy Spices Up the Strip

In Food, Out of Town on February 17, 2009 at 8:32 am

Chef Jet Tila / Wazuzu, Encore Las Vegas

Los Angeles native and rising star chef Jet Tila has just opened Wazuzu, an Asian bistro, at the Encore. You may know Jet as a regular on Evan Kleiman’s “Good Food” on KCRW, or perhaps you remember him from his family’s Bangkok Market—that incredible Thai food emporium on Melrose and Western where you’ll see local chefs stocking up on Asian ingredients from Thailand, as well as Vietnam, China, and Japan. So, while we were in Vegas last weekend, we stopped in for lunch and settled into an oversized white leather booth.


We started with a beer and one of the better sushi rolls I have ever tasted. Seriously! It was made with super fresh and fatty toro with scallions.beersushi

Then we had some spicy chicken and coconut soup with red and green jalapeños (definitely a standout), followed by pad thai and crispy halibut with Thai basil and green apple mango yum salad.