Brandon and I have been to Nobu Malibu, Matsuhisa and just recently Nobu LA. Needless to say, we are big fans of these amazing restaurants and since our first trip, back in 2007, Brandon’s mom, Lyz, has wanted to go to one of Nobu’s restaurants. Well, seven years later and we finally took her. Better late than never! Hopefully the next time she has something on her list we won’t have to wait so long, but I’d definitely say Nobu is a special occasion restaurant for us and you need about seven years to save up for the kind of meal we enjoyed, but it was well worth every penny.
Nobu LA is on North La Cienga Blvd in the heart of Hollywood and many amazing restaurants, so what makes it stand out? A very reputable and proven menu as well as detailed and sophisticated service keeps us coming back. We had an extremely rich, luxurious and multifaceted meal that proved to be one of the best meals we’ve had in a very long time. There are always the traditional Nobu dishes that we order, but we tried a good sampling of new items as well, and everything was masterfully executed.
Nobu LA is modern and elegant with an interesting flow of seating in two separate areas. The Sushi Bar is brightly lit with gold light fixtures hanging above the traditional bar-style seating. The side room has dimly lit ambiance with a mixtures of booths and tables for small groups and medium-sized parties. A sea of servers, busboys and other assisting staff pace the room, waiting for a glass to fall to half and picking up the slightest dirty plate. We had two servers during the evening. Both gave personal details as to which dishes they liked best, had a really great grasp of the menu, and explained everything very well.
The food was presented in a very traditional Nobu-style with gorgeous Japanese plates and extreme attention to detail. Each dish was described as it was dropped off and if there were directions on how to best eat the dish, they were thoroughly explained.
We started off with edamame and drinks. I had Peruvian Caipirinha Pisco, Fresh Lime, Shiso & Ginger Beer. I really like Caipirinha’s and this one was exceptional. They used an ample amount of fresh lime, which was refreshing and the ginger beer was spicy, but not overpowering. Lyz had the Champagne 95, which was really light and refreshing as well.
Here’s the list
We started with Oysters with Nobu Salsa. Kumamoto oysters are on the smaller side, but they were extremely clean and really fresh.
Toro Tartar, which we’ve had every time we’ve been to Nobu. It’s delicious and extremely decadent. Fresh Yuzu and caviar round out the flavor.
Truffle Albacore with crispy artichokes and dry miso
One of my favorite dishes of the evening. The artichokes is a little deceiving, but the dish is still really delicious. Truffle sauce is luxurious and deeply flavorful.
Live Scallop (Hotate) Tiradito
Thinly sliced scallop served in the tiradito-style with peruvian flavors of cilantro, spice and Japanese fusion elements. The abductor is also thinly sliced on the plate, giving contrasting flavor and texture.
Tuna Tempura Roll
This is a bit of a strange dish. It was explained well, so when we got it, we weren’t completely surprised. The tuna is rolled with nori and inside is asparagus and micro cilantro, then the tuna is lightly fried “tempura”-style with no real tempura on it at all. Then it’s plated in a deep, rich miso yuzu with tomato. Interesting, in a way that is not really what anyone envisioned, but still, the fish and sauce were a unique balance.
These are misleading, unfortunately. Our server said that he really enjoyed them and maybe as a server, getting free mini Wagyu tacos, they are good, but for $7 for a tiny taco, we would pass next time. They weren’t bad at all, it’s just that we could have spent that money on another, more impacting and wowful dish. Skip the wagyu tacos.
Kurobuta Pork Belly
This was one of my favorite things the whole night. Amazing Kurobuta Pork Belly that was braised to absolutely melt-in-your-mouth perfection, topped with crispy leeks and Shiitake mushrooms. The sauce was really rich in flavor, almost to the point of salty, extremely deep soy flavor.
Tempura Sweet Potato
I know it’s just tempura, but I just love this sweet potato. It’s so crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside and the Tempura sauce is just the right balance of saltiness. So simple, but so perfect.
Mushrooms with Wasabi Salsa
This is a huge plate of assorted Japanese mushrooms, really well roasted and topped with Wasabi salsa that was very mild, almost reminiscent of celery with Ponzu. Varying textures and flavor from the mushrooms was a good compliment to the pork.
King Crab Amasu
King Crab tempura with Japanese sweet and sour sauce. We’ve had this before and for good reason, it’s really good. The crab is crunchy and sweet, while the sauce is spicy, but still mild with the herbaceousness of cilantro and freshness of slivered red onion. Perfect every time.
Golden Eye Snapper Tiradito Japanese Snapper is delicate and extremely fresh. Clean, traditional and elegant preparation.
Rock Shrimp Tempura
Another classic dish that we wanted to share with Lyz. The spring mix on the bottom is dressed in a yuzu dressing and the rock shrimp are super tender inside and really crispy on the outside. The dish is addicting.
Seabass Jalapeno Salsa
Another extremely delicious preparation. The Seabass was perfectly cooked, flaky and moist, with just the right crust and sauce. Roasted mushrooms and mild jalapeno salsa completed an incredible meal.
We couldn’t finish without dessert, so we decided on Kamameshi Halo Halo and Claudis Carrot Cake. The halo halo was a really interesting and unique dessert of vanilla rice pudding, mochi pearls, puffed soba, sweet red beans, jack fruit, nata de coco, macapuno and purple yam, mango and coconut gelato. All the elements were really tasty, but it has to be eaten quickly or else the fire under will heat everything too much. We really enjoyed the carrot cake. Caramelized pecans, mascarpone mousse, ginger malaga ice cream, and salted caramel–really delicious and wonderful.
Overall, it was a meal of a lifetime. Some definite highs and a couple of lows, but nothing at all that wasn’t delicious. We had a really incredible time and the service and food were simply fantastic. Happy Birthday, Lyz! We hope you had a stupendous birthday and we are so glad we were able to celebrate with you at Nobu!
Thank you, to the brilliant staff and wonderful chefs at Nobu LA. We truly enjoyed every bite.
903 North La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90069
I’ve been writing now for three years 2011 and 2012 about Oshogatsu, which is traditional Japanese New Year celebrations. Of course my family is American so we do things probably very different than in Japan, but I love these customs and I hope to keep them for a very long time. Osechi–Ryori are traditional Japanese foods cooked in soy sauce and sugar or vinegars to be prepared for future consumption. It’s taboo to cook for the 1st three days of the New Year, so the food is placed in beautiful Japanese boxes called Jūbako to preserve its freshness for the days to come. This year we had a large New Year’s celebration filled with lots of love and tons of food. I hope you started the New Year just the way you wanted.
Manju (Japanese sticky rice confection)
Ozoni (Konbu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Shiitake Mushroom, Imo (taro root), Renkon (lotus root), and Mochi in Seasoned Homemade Dashi)
5-Sided Carrot, 5-Sided Daikon, Kombu (rolled seaweed), Shiitake Mushrooms, Satoimo(taro root), Renkon (lotus root), Takenoko (bamboo shoots)
Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)
Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)
Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)
Dashi Steamed Shrimp
Tsukemono (salted cucumber)
Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)
Umeboshi (Japanese picked plums)
Blistered Sesame and Soy Shisito Peppers
Sake and Mirin Grilled Shrimp
Maguro (Tuna) Sashimi
Spicy Crab and Japanese Vegetable Sushi
Japanese-Style Short Ribs
Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings (mom’s contribution)
Pork Wontons (mom & dad’s contribution)
There you have it!
Happy 2013! May it be filled with health, love, peace and happiness.
From the Fujitaki Family to you all! Thanks for sharing in our families tradition.
To see my sister in law Linh’s beautiful photos of our New Year please visit her blog here.
Early this month, I had the pleasure of eating at Fogo de Chão with Brandon for his birthday. Fogo de Chão is a Brazilian steakhouse known as churrascaria in Portuguese. Churrasco is roughly translated into barbeque in Portuguese and comes from the South American traditions that resemble rotisserie cooking. Meat is placed on large skewers and cooked to perfection over hot flames.
Fogo de Chão has multiple locations all over the United States and in Brazil. The décor is loud and striking with purpose and refinement, but the main attraction is the servers carving large or small portion of about 15 different styles of meat from various succulent cuts of beef, lamb, chicken, pork and some sausage. When we arrived for our 8 p.m. reservation the bustling dinner service was already in full force. The very large dining room was filled with Los Angeles’ various groups of people—from the large table of business men, to the medium table of birthday celebrators, and the small two-top enjoying a comfortable couple’s evening out. As we were greeted by our waiter, he informed us that we were to start at the buffet, which included many different side dishes, some cured meats, cheeses, vegetables, and various other items to snack on and accompany the rest of the meal. After we helped ourselves, we were then to flip a small circle of paper that had green or red on it—the green was to inform the servers that they could bring around meat at their leisure and the red would indicate that we were finished.
From the filet mignon, ribeye, fraldinha (skirt steak) and picanha (top sirloin), to the cordeiro (lamb), everything was prepared well and very delicious. The key to this type of eating is to pace yourself and eat what you really like. So I stayed more in the prime beef cuts and the lamb, rather than going to chicken and pork, which can sometimes be dry with this type of cooking style. The theatrics of the gaucho style servers is really part of the fun and charm of Fogo de Chão. The meat is delicious and the other bits and pieces make for a delicious hearty meal. Come hungry for good meat and you’ll leave very happy. I had an amazing meal with my very dearest love on his birthday, you can’t beat that.
While in Mammoth, I always like to cook dinner for my family at least a couple of nights. Though we’re used to the food up there, it’s not the most amazing cuisine, but it’s pleasant because some of the places we go to, including Giovanni’s, Roberto’s, and Shogun, are places we’ve been going to for years and years. This year I marinated Japanese-style short ribs and grilled them for the family, made a simple salad of shaved cabbage with a sesame, ketchup and mayo based dressing, along with vegetable rice and roasted zucchini and carrot hash; a hearty and delicious meal for anyone to enjoy. Think about using this marinade for your Labor Day BBQ it can be used for meat, chicken or even tofu if you like.
Japanese-Style Short Ribs
2 ½ lbs thin cut cross section short ribs with bone
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated ginger
½ cup mirin
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup pineapple juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Take short ribs out of the package and place on paper towel to take off excess blood, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper on both sides.
In a large zipper storage bag, place all ingredients (except short ribs) into the bag, seal the bag, and shake till all ingredients are incorporated.
Place meat into zipper storage bag and shake till the marinade is well dispersed. Place the bag in a large glass tray to prevent spilling.
Refrigerate at least over night for the best flavor.
On a preheated charcoal grill, place the short ribs down and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, depending on how thick your short ribs are.
Be careful of flare-ups if your grill is very hot because of the sugar content in the meat and do not overcrowd the short ribs. Depending on your grill size, you may have to cook them in batches.
Serve with your favorite sides.
Wednesday afternoon, we decided to celebrate Mother’s Day a little early because of my brother’s work schedule. So all of us (me; my sister, Kristen; my niece, Maleeya; my brother, Kyle; my mom, Trudy; my dad, Mark; and my boyfriend, Brandon) decided to meet up and enjoy some delicious Thai food in Toluca Lake, where Kyle lives.
We chose a neighborhood favorite of Kyle’s, Summer Canteen; a lovely little Thai inspired modern eatery. Kyle and his wife, Viet-Linh, have been going here since it opened and we’ve frequented the place many times since then. For some reason or other, I guess it’s eluded my blog, but with such a large group and a variety of dishes, I thought this would be a nice sampling of what Summer Canteen has to offer–wonderfully fresh and well done Thai food at reasonable prices with a modern and chic atmosphere.
Kristen and Brandon ordered Curry Noodle: a delicious yellow curry broth with chicken and vegetables, along with both crunchy noodles and soft rice noodles, sitting in a large bowl. Curry Noodle is definitely a dish that is always on our table at Summer Canteen. It’s not like any other curry that just comes with rice; the combination of crunch and rice noodles with the spicy mouth-watering curry, makes for a delicious and filling meal.
My dad ordered Thai Sukiyaki. The noodles were small cellophane noodles with an array of vegetables in a spicy sirracha sauce. This dish is a very different interpretation of Japanese sukiyaki, but appetizing nonetheless.
My mom ordered Pad See U with tofu and shared a bit with Maleeya. This dish is made of delicious flat noodles sitting in soy sauce and egg with tofu and broccoli, a perfectly scrumptious dish for the less adventurous pallet to enjoy Thai food.
Kyle ordered Pad Thai, a classic dish that never seems to fail here. I love the peanut sauce and noodles that are always cooked to perfection.
I ordered the Panang Beef with extra sauce and brown rice. The brown rice that they use here is fantastic. It’s not your usual cardboard tasting brown rice and it’s a beautiful, almost purple shade of color. The deep spicy and sweet flavors of the Panang beef with fall-to-pieces tender large pieces of beef, topped with some steamed bok choy, was the perfect meal. It’s something that I’ll definitely order again. I was completely satisfied and had plenty left over, even as a lunch portion.
Our service was kind and attentive, without being overly intrusive, which gave us plenty of time to converse and talk about what’s been going on and what’s going to go on. I love my family very much and this was a wonderful experience to have with all of us together, which doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but when it does it is always a great time.
This is my sisters second Mother’s Day. It’s so different when your sibling becomes a parent, I’m truly amazed by the transformation and strength it takes to raise such a beautiful little life. I love my mom so much, shes always been such a great support of myself and my dreams. I love you both and a special thanks to all the amazing moms out there doing one of the hardest jobs on the planet.
How are you spending your Mother’s Day?
I cook often. If I could blog as easily as it seems for me to whip something up to eat in the kitchen, I’m sure I could fill another four blogs with my recipes. But as most of you know, I cook with more intuition than I do with recipes. Recipe writing is an art, a skill, a talent and I’m trying my hardest to be able to do more of it, but sometimes it’s very difficult for me to do so because I was never taught to cook from recipes; I was taught by watching the people I love, make the food they love. I hope even if there aren’t recipes per se on my blog about everything I cook, if you’re curious about how to make something or how I’ve made something, you do a little research – say hello, drop me a tweet, facebook comment, e-mail, or whichever way we chat, let me know and I’ll come up with a way for you to make it happen. Here are some of the dishes I’ve photographed in the last week of ideas and meals we’ve enjoyed at home. I want to come back and write recipes for them all, hopefully one day I will. But here are the descriptions and a couple of quick recipes. I hope you enjoy these tasty ideas.
Romaine Hearts and Arugula Salad with Minced Beet, Pears, Pistachios, Avocado, Cucumber and Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 romaine heart, cored and sliced into small pieces
8 oz arugula
1 large beet, boiled or roasted, peeled and minced into small pieces
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup of shelled pistachios
1 pear, peeled and thinly sliced
½ hot house cucumber, sliced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
To make dressing
Add balsamic, honey and Dijon together and add a pinch of black pepper and salt. Mix together well and then slowly pour in extra virgin olive oil till incorporated. Use less or more oil for your desired consistency.
Combine all vegetables in large bowl, except for beets, and toss with vinaigrette.
Before serving, sprinkle on minced beets and consume.
Black Pepper and Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with White Wine Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce and Lemon Zest served aside Roasted Red Potatoes
Roasted Red Potatoes
Approx. 3 lbs of medium to small-sized red potatoes, quartered and washed, but not peeled
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced sage
1 tablespoon minced rosemary
4 cloves garlic, minced
In a large pot, add red potatoes, cover with cold water and add salt to taste.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook potatoes in water until almost done, about 15-20 minutes, but still having firmness when poked with a fork.
Drain water from the potatoes.
Place the potatoes in large bowl and add a couple pinches of salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, and ½ of the oil, incorporate well and place on a large baking sheet. Then pour the rest of the oil over the top of the potatoes.
Put the potatoes in preheated oven and cook for about 15 minutes. Take potatoes out and shake and stir them loose to roast other sides another 10-12 minutes, till crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside.
Serve with your favorite meat or vegetables.
Carrot California Chile Colorado with Braised Beef served over Black Rice with Roasted Beet Greens and Garlic and Romaine topped with Avocado
Sliced Turkey, Roasted Zucchini, Mushrooms, Almond Butter, Spicy Carrots and Rice Noodles topped with Almond Cilantro “gremolata”
New York Strip Milanese (New York Steak seasoned with cumin, coriander, black pepper and lemon, then breaded in panko and deep fried) served with Slow-Cooked Black and Pinto Beans with Roasted Garlic and Tomato Spanish Rice
Potato, Sausage and Kale soup with Red Pepper Flakes and Parmesan
As we entered town after the long drive from Los Angeles, we decided we needed to kill a little bit of time before we were able to get into the condo and unload all of our things. So we made our way up to Twin Lakes and saw the first snow falling, before the snow storm started to gain momentum. It was such a beautiful and breathtaking moment to see something that I normally see, but in such a different light. With all the cold browns and harshness of the trees’ leaves swept away by the storm’s cold icicles, the lake lay dormant with a layer of hard ice beginning to form at its surface. As we threw snowballs at each other and took pictures in the windy cold, we definitely built up an appetite. This was the perfect time to head back into town and warm up.
In a shopping center alongside a Vons grocery store and a movie theater, is a small, tucked away pizza place called Giovanni’s. It serves delicious pizza pies and is home to the Mammoth-sized pizza (19-inches across). My family has enjoyed many fond memories here, all while growing up. When we entered Giovanni’s we were cordially greeted as people coming from skiing and snowboarding quickly filled the establishment. We sat down and decided on a pizza topped with Canadian bacon, sausage and roasted red peppers with thick crust and spicy tomato sauce. Delicious. The crust is crispy and chewy and the sauce has just the right amount of heat. After a couple bites of a small dinner salad, which I have to pair with pizza, and some pepperoncinis and parmesan cheese, we devoured most of the pizza with the premise of leaving a couple of slices for a midnight snack. Our service was cordial and not overbearing, just like most things in Mammoth. Enjoying delicious pizza and an amazing view of Twin Lakes with my brother and sister-in-law, made for the perfect beginning to our Mammoth trip.
In keeping with the theme of modern inspired eateries, I have a small sampling of a couple of dishes brought to you by Chef Antonia Lofaso and company of Black Market Liquor Bar. Located in the posh styling of trendy small plate establishments is Black Market Liquor Bar. The décor and signage is a bit vague, but embellishes the stylish and interesting ingredient-driven menu and cocktails. As you walk into the restaurant, there is unmistakably some of the most interesting sorts of people looking for a cocktail and maybe a couple plates of food to eat.
The beauty of Black Market Liquor Bar is its elegance and sleek nature of atmosphere. There were many people enjoying themselves without the pouring over of over-dressed servers or meager management. The seat yourself bar and cocktail tables are at first a bit intimidating in occurrence, but with the high turnover rate, even a crowded night will still offer the capacity of receiving a table eventually. Black Market Liquor Bar is brown and light-brown in color scheme with a minimalistic underground feel. The booth seating lines the perimeter with medium to tiny spaces for people to congregate in the narrow restaurant. Otherwise centrally placed, high top tables under the brick laid roof seat many, with other patrons standing, enjoying the light display over bottles of high-class liquor in the gorgeous mirrored bar area. A gleam of mild lighting, shadowing the dark columns in the center of the restaurant, provide a nice balance of light with gas-lit flames housed in mason jars on each table. A modest window into the open kitchen shows a undersized space to feed a number of hungry people.
Here we are, giving thanks for this extreme bounty of food and great times. I’m so lucky to have so much love in my heart. This is the menu I prepared for Thanksgiving day. I hope you enjoy the photos and had a magnificent feast yourselves.
Menu prepared by yours truly
Roasted lemon and herb sweet brine turkey
Roasted zucchini, scallion and olive pork stuffing
Braised sausage with red Swiss chard and kale potato gratin
Roasted asparagus with garlic, red pepper flakes and crispy pancetta
Green bean casserole with soaked “buttermilk” fried onion strings
Beef and tart apple dressing with roasted carrot shreds
Homemade cranberry jelly
Roasted shallot cream corn
Bacon and gorgonzola shrimp
Fall aromatics and roasted giblet gravy
Garlic bread sticks
Basil, spinach and green olive tapenade
Arugula and spinach salad with roasted spicy baby bellas, feta cheese, tomatoes and avocado in honey balsamic dressing
Brown sugar and marshmallow candied yams
Additions brought by family members and friends included dips, snacks, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, carrot cupcakes and ham. Some of my dishes weren’t photographed.
Over indulgence to the max. I could probably do with running a hundred miles, but I won’t.
Time to finish my menu for my brother’s 25th birthday party. I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend.