Christmas Tamales and Holiday Pozole 2016

That’s the way the holiday starts!

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Another year of Tamales and Pozole. I am so grateful that I could continue to share these amazing little delicious packages of yumminess with my family. It’s pretty amazing how many tamales I made and always make but when you go through the work of making stocks, sauces, braising meats, roasting veggies and getting everything done you can’t just make 12 tamales. So we ate Tamales and Pozole for a long time and enjoyed them I have some in the freezer for later which is nice too.
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This year I made

Beef with red and green chili

Carnitas with Red and green chili

Green chili and cheese

Green chili and chicken

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Pork Pozole

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We also had carnitas street tacos with fresh tortillas because if you have everything out already why not.

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Sauces came out great and I was really happy with everything. Family enjoyed the fruits of tamale labor and we had a fantastic Christmas. I know that it seems like awhile ago but I truly loved every moment of the holiday season and I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2017.

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-Unrivaledkitch

Copper Top BBQ Big Pine, CA‏

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On our way home from our winter trip to Mammoth Lakes, CA we decided to stop at Copper Top BBQ in Big Pine for lunch. My dad had been there before when he goes to Mammoth to fish with the guys for Opening Day. I feel so grateful for my family to have these amazing traditions that we continue to share together and with my nieces. We have been going to Mammoth in the summer my whole life, but going in the winter is a relatively new endeavor. My nieces love to play in the snow and experience the fun of winter and it’s always so gorgeous and just like home when we return to the mountains. I am so glad I got a few days to enjoy the snowy winter wonderland that Mammoth Mountain has to offer. Our trip went by quickly, but we are not used to the snow, so it was a sweet trip. We went sledding and played in the snow and I got some yoga in as well. The snowfall was tremendous and it was really beautiful to see such a blizzard, make a fire, enjoy great company, food and family, look at the icicles and wander around in the snow a little for a change of scenery.

We packed up and were on our way home with our usual stops in Bishop at Schat’s Bakery and Mahogany Smoked Meats, both of which, I would recommend you stop at if you like amazing bread or really delicious beef jerky. On Sunday it is pretty much a zoo at both places, so just a forewarning, but I still think it’s worth it.

 

Copper Top BBQ is a small shack of a BBQ place that’s about two hours away from Mammoth. The little shack has all outdoor seating with a small tent for a covered space, which we were able to snag a seat in. The menu is straightforward and the BBQ and smokers are outside in front right next to where you eat. You are pretty much watching all the food being cooked as you eat, which is pretty cool. There were a lot of travelers passing through eating here and the food did not disappoint. We ordered a Santa Maria Tri-Tip Sandwich, Adam’s Favorite Pulled Pork Sandwich (with coleslaw), a Half Rack of Saint Louis Style Pork Ribs along with potato salad, Fire Roasted Green Chili with beans, coleslaw and chips. It was definitely a feast. The tri-tip was delicious and tender on a pretzel bun and the pulled pork was juicy and flavorful with the added creaminess of coleslaw accompanied by the tangy bbq. The ribs were tender and very sweet with a spicy bbq sauce to balance it out. I really liked the roasted green chili with beans because it had a lot of flavor, garlic, and the beans were perfectly cooked. All the food was really well made, flavorful and seemed as if there was a lot of love and care put into this family-style place. It’s not easy having a restaurant and the Coppertop is doing it right, so stop by the next time you are in the area.

 

Delicious food and beautiful scenery looking over the snow capped mountains! I’m sure we’ll go back again. Thanks for the food and the amazing trip. I can’t wait to go back during the summer for our Fujitaki fishing extravaganza. Both seasons have their own majestic, magical and mystical moments in Mammoth — my home away from home.

 

www.coppertopbbq.com

 

Cheers,

 

UnrivaledkitchIMG_9231 IMG_9230 IMG_9229 IMG_9228 IMG_9225 IMG_9224

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Oshogatsu 2016 and Osechi Ryori



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Happy New Year, everyone! 2015 came and went in a flash. It was truly a year of so many ups and downs, but there was so much to learn and so much to grow from through all those experiences. I am so grateful to have my amazing friends and family who have supported each other and helped us all stay afloat, even when we were in some deep water. I truly believe in the power of community, support, friendship and family and knowing that someone has your back, no matter what, is something that is so fundamentally important. We are not alone, stay connected!

Osechi Ryori Collage 2016

I am honestly not a resolution type of person and I believe that with each breath we have a chance to start over again. We don’t have to wait till a new year to get a new perspective or to do things differently, we can begin again at any time. It seems challenging, but the more we do it, like anything, the easier it is. New Year’s Day is always filled with food and family. 2016 was no  different and I am glad that I can show five years of osechi ryori on Unrivaledkitch  2015, 2014, 2013. 2012, 2011 and this entry is my 6th.

As much as I have let go of blogging, it is still such a big part of me to share my food, especially these special dishes that I learned to make as a child and some that I have revised or are family favorites. A lot of the the Osechi dishes are things that are particularly important to my Bachan, who has influenced so much of my life and my cooking. And although she’ll always ask me not to do it, it is my pleasure and privilege to cook this food for her and my family every year.

Osechi Ryori 2016

So here is the 2016 Oshogatsu Japanese New Year Osechi Ryori dishes and other Japanese food that we had for New Year’s Day.

Oshogatsu 2016

Oshogatsu 2016 Collage with Bachan

 

Menu

 

California Roll

Spam Musubi

Beef Korokke  

Miso Shrimp

Chicken Katsu

Sesame Chicken

Inari

Tuna Sashimi

Roasted Japanese Mushrooms

Char Siu-Style Sliced Pork

Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings

Umeboshi

Tsukemono

Pork Wontons

Bachan Jello

Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)

Sesame Gobo

Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)

Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)

Shishito Peppers

Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)

Nishime 5-Sided Carrot, 5-Sided Daikon, Kombu (rolled seaweed), Shiitake Mushrooms, Satoimo(taro root), Renkon (lotus root), Takenoko (bamboo shoots), Gobo

 

Ozoni (New Year’s Japanese Soup) (Kombu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Daikon, Imo [taro root], Renkon [lotus root], and Mochi in Seasoned Homemade Dashi)

Ozoni Unrivaledkitch

Manju

Oshogatsu 2016

May you and your loved ones have an amazing 2016 and beyond filled with luck, love and your heart’s deepest desires.

 

Happy New Year!

 

Cheers,

 

Unrivledkitch



New Year’s Day Oshogatsu Osechi Ryori 2015

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Happy New Year! Already 12 days in and I’m still feeling the freshness of the new year and all that it has in store for us. 2014 was a great year, lots of amazing opportunities and growth that I look forward to carrying over into 2015. The year began as it should, and has for the last 5 or more years, with Osechi Ryori in my family’s traditional and not too traditional Japanese-style. For us, this is a gathering of love, health, togetherness and family and I hope to always be able to share this time with my family and friends.

 

The start of the year is a great time for new beginnings, but we can also be reminded that each moment holds a new beginning for all of us, if we so choose to take it. I wish all of you a very happy and healthy 2015! Here are the dishes I prepared for New Year’s Day Oshogatsu and Osechi Ryori.

 

Here are 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014

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Menu

Char Siu-Style Sliced Pork

Japanese Korokke

Sweet Asian Fried Chicken Wings

Tuna Sashimi

Umeboshi

Tsukemono

Pork Wontons

Bachan Jello

Inari

Kinpira (sato shoyu gobo and carrots)

Tazukri (candied, dried sardines)

Kamaboko (pink and white Japanese pressed fish cake)

Namasu (pickled carrots and daikon)

5-Sided Carrot, 5-Sided Daikon, Kombu (rolled seaweed), Shiitake Mushrooms, Satoimo(taro root), Renkon (lotus root), Takenoko (bamboo shoots)

Ozoni (New Year Japanese Soup) (Kombu, Carrot, Kamaboko, Daikon, Imo [taro root], Renkon [lotus root], and Mochi in Seasoned Homemade Dashi)

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I’m always so excited and happy to be able to prepare this beautiful meal for my family. Though it changes a bit each year, the tradition still lies in the togetherness we share with our family and the traditions we pass down to my nieces.

 

Love, Peace and Gratitude.

 

Cheers!

 

-Unrivaledkitch

 

Nobu LA

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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

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.

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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.

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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

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We started with Oysters with Nobu Salsa. Kumamoto oysters are on the smaller side, but they were extremely clean and really fresh.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wagyu Tacos

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kinme Tiradito

Golden Eye Snapper Tiradito Japanese Snapper is delicate and extremely fresh. Clean, traditional and elegant preparation.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Nobu LA

www.noburestaurants.com

903 North La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90069

 

Cheers!

Unrivaledkitch

Turning 30 a month later, Brandon’s Birthday!

This blog was to memorable not to post but it is a month late. Oh well better late than never!

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We’ve celebrated birthdays all month long and just about everywhere this summer, which always keeps me busy and on my toes thinking of new ideas and different dishes to make. Having my dad’s birthday at the end of August and Brandon’s birthday on September 7, I’ve been keeping pretty busy in the kitchen. I’m so grateful that my yoga practice and teaching have been taking a great amount of my time and with the start of the new school year (I teach primarily children’s yoga with some senior and adult classes as well), it’s been a really great transition period for my life. I’m glad I can still find time for fantastic meals with my loved ones, because it’s just so important to me to always keep us all at the table together, enjoying delicious and freshly prepared meals.

Brandon’s birthday fell on a Saturday this year, which, for a chef, is the busiest day of the week, but when he could finally muster up a day off, we got together with my family for a Japanese-style sushi and rice bowl dinner. I thought of this awesome little party idea because I wanted everyone to be a little interactive with their food. I didn’t want Brandon to have to cook at all since he cooks practically every day, but I wanted him to be able to put together some sushi, have a beef bowl, and enjoy and relax with a fun dinner. So I drew up this idea at the Japanese market, Mitsuwa, in Venice. There are some really amazing things at that store; all the Japanese ingredients I need to pull off a perfect meal, which is sometimes difficult to find in the valley.

I chose different ingredients that we could all enjoy and make into little sushi rolls with small pieces of nori and ingredients such as salmon and tuna sashimi, imitation crab, avocado, cucumber, umeboshi, ginger and wasabi. I cooked thinly sliced beef in sake, mirin and soy sauce with sliced nori, kamaboko and thinly sliced egg to create my Bachan’s signature beef bowl and made beef and pork wontons with bamboo shoots, scallions and shiitake mushrooms, as well as tonkatsu (panko breaded and fried pork cutlet) and chicken katsu to enjoy. I scooped large bowls of hot Japanese rice for everyone and we made our own concoctions and combinations to enjoy. I love interactive family style food!

I always find that making these dishes connects me with my Japanese heritage and keeps these wonderful traditions that I learned from my Bachan, in our family. Japanese food takes amazing ingredients and lets them shine all on their own with little effort, but lots of care—I love that. I’m so glad I could share these traditions that are so dear to me on such a momentous day: Brandon’s 30th birthday! I’m very grateful that I could make such a special meal for you and to cook for you because you are always so busy cooking for everyone else. Happy Birthday, Brandon, I love you!

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Because I like to cook and eat my own food… My Birthday Dinner and My New Niece Amaya

 

My 28th year is here and I believe it will be (and has been) one of the best years of my life. I’ve undergone and am still undergoing a great transformation in my life—learning so much about myself, my relationships with others, my yoga practice, my cooking, and overall my whole life and I’m so grateful for this beautiful chance to be myself.  My birthday was on August 20th and it was a beautiful day filled with yoga. Teaching seniors, kids and practicing yoga with incarcerated youth really puts life into perspective. I’m so amazed by the people in my life, especially my yoga students who are more like my teachers than my students because they always show me something new, sometimes challenging, and exciting about life.

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I’m so lucky to have my whole family be so close to me and so supportive of my choices in life— I know a lot of people may not be so lucky. My sister and niece made me a gorgeous card, breakfast and lunch, and hung balloons from the ceiling for a most festive atmosphere. My mom and dad bought me the most heartfelt card and some awesome new yoga clothes, seeing as I can never get enough of those. My brother and sister-in-law sent me the funniest card and sweet gift. But I’d have to say my brother-in-law and sister gave me and our family one of the most precious gifts of all: my new niece, Amaya Sayuri, who was born on 8/15, just one day after my mom’s birthday. Both my grandmas sent me wonderful cards with lovely messages of love. More than anything, I’ve felt the most love in my life and it feels really amazing to be able to share that love with everyone.

 

Brandon never fails to impress me with how amazingly well he knows my taste. He made the most gorgeous farmers’ market basket for me with all types of delicious fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and a beautiful big bouquet of lilies that just blew me away. Also, a really great planner to keep me organized in all my endeavors and such a sincerely thoughtful card. With everything he has to do, all the hard work he puts in every day at his demanding job, he makes me feel special in a way no one else ever has and I love him so much for it.

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What I wanted for my birthday is what I always want—to be around the people I love and share food with them—and that’s just what we did. Brandon and I made a delicious meal for my family using my favorite white platters, large serving bowls and fancy family-style plating for all of us to enjoy the delicious items that Brandon bought at the Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market.  My family jokes that I always want to cook for my own birthday, but like I always tell my sister, “I enjoy making and eating my own food” and if Brandon helps me, it’s even better. My brother bought me an ice cream cake and Maleeya sang me happy birthday about 20 times.  I’m so glad we could all celebrate together, be together and see our family grow and expand our love to our new little addition.

 

 

 

Menu

 

Roasted Mushroom Marsala Cream Grilled Pork Chops

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Herb Grilled New York Steaks

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Heirloom Tomato Summer Salad with Mozzarella, Cucumbers, Basil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Grilled Purple Baby Artichokes with Garlic and Olive Oil

 

Sautéed Rainbow Chard with Italian Sausage

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Steamed Broccoli and Peas

Roasted Squash and Heirloom Purple Bell Peppers

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Sesame Cider Coleslaw with Scallions and Fresh Peas

 

Herb Focaccia

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone who journeyed with us on this very special day in my life and welcome beautiful little Amaya.





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Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

 

 

 

Aburiya Toranoko‏

2013-04-08 19.17.58 2013-04-08 19.42.47 2013-04-08 19.42.53 2013-04-08 19.45.012013-04-08 19.49.052013-04-08 19.56.08Pressed under an apartment building high-rise in Little Tokyo is Aburiya Toranoko, a Japanese restaurant scattered amongst countless others in the downtown L.A. region. I hadn’t heard much about this place before my sister gave me a bloomspot certificate for my Christmas present—she saw the menu and thought it might remind me of our trip to Japan. The promotional expiration date on the certificate was quickly approaching,smooth so Brandon and I went on a date, not really knowing what to expect. 


Toranoko has a gorgeous mural on the large wall, where most of their seating is located; it is adorned with paintings of Japanese characters, which gives a light and distinct nature to the dark dining room. The middle of the restaurant is home to a long communal table with small dividers, should smaller groups choose to dine with large chandeliers over the table. A large bar fills the opposing side of the restaurant with many illuminated bottles of liquor. The brightly lit sushi bar plays host to the most intriguing part of Toranoko: as a focal point, three sushi chefs line the bar and about 10 seats are available to witness the preparations of each dish. A large classic Japanese painting with a tiger holding a baby tiger in its mouth sets a tone of fierceness in the air.
Toranoko is much different than the classic timeless sushi restaurants of La Cieniega, like Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills. But Toranoko offers delicious offerings with flavors and techniques that are on par with some of the best in the area. We were a bit adventurous in our selection of hot and cold dishes and to our delight, the aesthetics were very interesting and wonderful.Our waiter was polite, but very busy, seeing as there were only two servers in the whole front of the house for a Monday night. It seemed as if most of the emphasis was on the preparation of the food. We watched with anticipation as we sat at the sushi bar for the next dish and as we waited each dish that came out was, for the most part, better than the last. Executive Sushi Chef Seiji Nakano was preparing many different delicious dishes with beautiful elegance and graceful technique that highly skilled Japanese chefs are so well known for.Dishes

Egg Custard |free range egg | ikura| soy broth

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This egg custard was a delightful little dish. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was because I’m not very familiar with egg custards, but Brandon was very excited about this dish. The texture of the egg was very velvety with such a smooth cool texture. The salty addition of Ikura, salmon roe and soy broth added a level of texture and salt to the tender custard.
Uni Goma Tofu | fresh sea urchin | sesame | wasabi
2013-04-08 20.04.25I love Uni, I know that a lot of people don’t like its overtly seafood flavor, but I love it. Fresh uni was paired with a homemade sesame tofu. The soy sauce over the sesame tofu with the uni was really astoundingly unique. It was like something I’d never tasted before, which is always something I look for in a restaurant. The texture of the tofu was so creamy and smooth, without much of the watery flavor that is associated with tofu. A brilliant dish.
Sunomono | cucumber | seaweed
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The sunamono consisted of pressed cucumbers with a various arrangement of other colorful seaweeds. The seasoning had enough acid to salt ratio and the vinegar was refreshing and light.
Steamed Foil Mushrooms | enoki | shiitake | shimeji
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Steamed in a foil pouch, these mushrooms have a very simple clean flavor. Nothing was remarkable about them, but they were very high quality delicious Japanese mushrooms.
White Fish Carpaccio | Japanese shiso | pesto
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The fish on this carpaccio was cut just a bit too thick, which made it a little bit chewy when consuming. The shiso gave the fish a very fresh quality and the pesto garlic oil added a bit of a different element to the dish.
Buta Kakuni | braised pork | spinach
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This braised pork belly was deeply flavorful. The sweetness and salty balance of flavor in the dish was really well done. I loved the addition of hot dry mustard to mellow the fatty pieces of pork. Chopped green onion and sauteed spinach added brightness and a very fresh element to this intensely flavored dish.
Chicken Leg Confit | wasabi | green onion
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I rarely, if ever, order chicken when I go out for a nice dinner, but Brandon loves chicken and how could we pass up something confit. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender and extremely succulent, while the skin was crunchy and very flavor forward. A perfectly cooked chicken leg.
Toro Tataki Salad
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Mixed greens with a deep purple toro that was a very rich piece of tuna. The flavor of the dressing was mild to really let the pieces of toro shine in the salad.
Aburi Kanpachi
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This delicious amberjack fish was served sashimi style with ponzu and house soy sauce. The technique for warming the fish with Japanese charcoal and a torch, makes the lightly cooked fish contain a slight smoky aroma and faint flavor. The fish was sliced perfectly with small grooves cut into it to allow the flavoring to melt in. Fantastic.
Japanese Scallop
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Dry packed Japanese scallops were super tender, completely delicate and delicious. The sashimi was paired with lemon and wasabi to add a bit of dimension to the clean simple flavor of the scallop.
Overall, it was a fantastic meal. Everything had an attention to detail that seemed to carry the passionate artistry of fine Japanese food. I’m sure we’ll be back for another delicious meal at Toranoko. Thank you for a wonderful meal.

 cheers 

-Unrivaledkitch

 

Unrivaledkitch Tamales 2012

The year flew by and I hope each and everyone of you had a great set of holidays. I’ll be catching up on my blogging in the next week so please stay tuned.  Thank you for your support and a healthy and happy 2013 to you all from my Unrivaledkitch to yours!

I’ve been working on tamales every year around Christmas time for about five years. Tamales are a very traditional Mexican/Spanish dish that involves masa, which is dried corn mixed with fat, broth and spices, filled with meat, sauce and/or cheese and are made in corn husks and then steamed. This year I made around 400 tamales for various family and friends. It was a long process, but very fulfilling. This year I made numerous types ranging from roasted green chile and cheese tamales, tomatillo and roasted chicken, salsa Roja and roasted pork to salsa verde and beef. The process takes many hours of hard work and lots of love, which is why I always love the tradition of making tamales. The broth takes time to develop all the delicious flavors and the ratio of meat to masa is always something that can be worked on.

tamales

I also made pozole for my family for Christmas morning, both chicken and pork. Pozole is a delicious soup that’s made of roasted and slow-simmered parts of pork or chicken and is made with simmered chiles and Mexican corn or hominy. The soup is topped with fresh cabbage, cilantro, green onions, Mexican organo and some red pepper flakes to taste. Everyone always enjoys putting their favorite toppings on their Pozole. It’s something that we all look forward to eating on Christmas morning before we open our presents.

Christmas was a wonderful holiday for our family. Maleeya really did score with Santa—she must have been a really good girl this year. We all can’t wait for next year to see what is in store for us all. I’ve been increasing the number of tamales I make by at least 100 each year, so we’ll see what happens in 2013.

I hope you developed some delicious holiday traditions with your family this holiday season.

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you!

Thank you so much for supporting Unrivaledkitch!

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Fogo De Chão

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.

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch