Friday, July 25, 2008

Maybe I'll start again?

Should I? Less schmancy dining, more cooking, but... yeah. I probably should. Will restart after I get the new iphone. Wish I'd taken pics of the last Chinese feast.

Monday, June 04, 2007

this encapsulates

food that becomes too nouveau. how ridiculous can we get?

So i never really started up again, but i have a big milestone that everyone else in the world has also blogged about to blog about soon, so I SHALL!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

brief (or not so) hiatus

I'm going to get started again! I have a huge backlog of pics to send and spring has arrived full force in Cali which means madly gorgeous produce. My tomater plants are already in the ground, which means some obscene and juicy pics of tomaters when summer arriveth.

Took a break cuz of my new job and what amounts to a new lease on life for me since my old job was killing me.

I love pugs, and I especially love Odie the pug. He rox.

Friday, January 26, 2007


There are trillions of Japanese restaurants around here. Castro St. in Mountain View has a brand new Japanese kinda place. Apparently the cuisine is from Kyoto and is called koryori. The menu features great sakes and soju, and some "sake-specific" dishes. But it's not an izakaya (pub). The dishes are more refined.

Luckily, Jane, (the friend that embarked upon the gustatory expedition), and I share two important and delightful propensities: 1) Daring when it comes to food, 2) Tendency to over-order.

We started with something that was called "Crab Butter" or "Kani Miso" on the menu. This was a sake-centered dish:

I'm not sure what this crab butter actually was, but it was extremely fishy tasting. Jane didn't like it, but I thought that the crab butter with a bit of scallion and lemon peel cutting through it was all right. What is called crab butter is usually the white-yellow fat inside the back of the shell of a crab. It's a delicacy and I've seen it in recipes as well. It's also called "tomalley." I'm pretty sure that this was at least partially flavored by that tomalley.


"Kani miso (カニみそ), is a grey/green coloured paste, and usually you’ll get a good-sized spoonful or two from a single crab. Ask a Japanese person what they think kani miso is and more often then not the word ‘nou miso’ (脳みそ) will come up (i.e. crab’s brain). However this is a common misconception.

The truth is far more horrific, the brain size of an average size crab is little more than that of a pea, and kani miso is whatever is left after all the white meat is taken out of the crab - a nasty looking concoction of internal organs such as livers and pancrease, intestines, their contents and just a little bit of the actual brain."

The taste of kani miso really isn't terribly different from eating the "brains/guts" or "butter" of a cooked lobster or prawn head, if you are into that flavor."

I'm pretty into it...

Here was our sake. I love the presentation:

It was the cheapest bottle on the menu ($23), a decent Junmai with smooth flavors after chilling down.

Our appetizer was sesame tofu and shrimp wrapped in yuba (tofu-skin) and deep fried.

This was very subtly flavored and utterly delicious. The sesame tofu held it's shape and was almost mochi like with a richer taste than normal tofu. I would order this again and again.

Miso cod:

I've never had bad miso marinated cod, it's just a perfect marriage of flavors. This one was great, seared quickly, with a slight char. The daikon in the front was served with some unidentifiable roe. The little bowl held sweet black beans. That seemed unnecessary and they weren't very flavorful.

Stewed Beef Tongue:

This was the first time I'd had beef tongue, but this was old hat for Jane. Those pieces are a lot larger than you can see. They were extremely tender, no stringy bits, lovely pieces of meat and didn't taste anything like I imagine tongue to taste. It was topped with shredded green onions and very fine bits of red pepper skin. The broth was subtly beef flavored and slightly sweet.

Deep Fried Sardines with Ume and Shiso

Lightly fried, the ume (sour plum) cut the fat in this fry perfectly. It's like eating cornichons/gherkins with charcuterie.

Anko Nabe (Monkfish in Broth)

This broth was served over flame that kept it warm. Light and soothing but not remarkable. It reminded me of my mother's soups.

This is when Jane and I really went berserk. We ended up ordering three desserts and they were all exemplary.

Green Tea Blanc Mange

This blanc mange was a very rich and fluffy custard. The matcha green tea powder sprinkled over the top was beautiful and the cherries actually complemented the green tea. Who knew?

Brown Sugar Ice Cream

These unassuming scoops packed a wallop of intense brown sugar flavor. It wasn't creamy and was more like a Brown Sugar sorbet. If it had been real cream it might have been too rich. This was by far my favorite dessert, and I think I'm going to try making this myself with my ice cream maker.

Strawberry, Mochi and Red Bean Crepe

Exactly as the title says, this was subtly sweet. The crepe might have just been a bit too oily.

As you can see, the decor is elegant and spacious:

For higher end Japanese, I would choose this over Kaygetsu in Menlo Park. I realize that Kaygetsu offers a different experience, (Kaiseki and a sushi bar). This was more adventurous, equally high quality, much cheaper (9 courses and sake was about $60/person!), and the menu was more extensive than Kaygetsu's.

I don't think that NamiNami offers a full sushi bar, but they definitely have sashimi and sushi type dishes.

I am definitely going back. There were multiple uni dishes: uni croquettes, uni ochazuke, uni sashimi dishes.... I gots to try those!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Porky Pleasure

The most exciting discovery I made at the farmer's market today was a new stand- Severino's Community Butchers. They sell pig products galore. I picked up head cheese pate (coppa di testa), country pate (pate campagnola), boudin noir, and the most beautiful spare ribs I have ever seen. No blood, but thick, creamy striations of fat. I'm not sure what to do with pig with so much fat quite yet.

The guys behind the booth seem to be Justin Severino and Jim Dunlop according to this post.
They were charming, laid back, and after tasting their products I believe I will become a regular. Famous food writer and Tony Bourdain and Thomas Keller crony, Michael Ruhlman, mentioned them in his blog last month.

Here's a moody photo full of chiaroscuro with the country pate on the left and their head cheese on the right. It's all slathered on some crusty Acme baguette :

I tasted this stuff and was addicted. I started just eating it straight, licking it off the knife. It's embarrassing and true. That chunk of garlic there came with the head cheese. The flavors are very strong, the texture isn't too creamy, there are pieces of pig and herb (and garlic), but it's so clean tasting. You don't feel at all like you're eating offal. I hope this stand sticks around.

Mountain View Farmer's Market is da Bomb

The Mountain View farmer's market is by FAR the best market on the Peninsula and it's much closer to us than the Ferry Building is. They have great prices, huge selection of produce and prepared, lots of samples, generous hours and they are open year round. They also have lots of harder to find veggies. I took a few pics but this doesn't give you a very good idea of their breadth. Since I don't like sweet things as much, I forgot to take any pics of all the baked goods, even though I got myself some Acme bread. There's a Chinese dumpling stand, cheeses, Indian and Pakistani food and lots of florist and gardener stands.

Little Kiddos can be amused too.

Oyster stand. He also makes a crazy tostada del mar.

Pretty produce

Daikon and scallions, farm fresh, look at how green the greens are for that daikon.

Sugar cane.

Natto Pasta

I had said I would post more about natto, the unamerican soybean product. It's very healthy, it's slimy, smells horrible but tastes quite mild. I like it a lot. I generally just eat it with some brown rice, diced scallions and the little package of soy and mustard it comes with.

"In BrokeDaMouth world, Natto eats YOU! AAAAHHHHHH"

But yesterday, I was hungover and my mind was on Mars. I thought, heeeeey, why don't I make something crazy with natto. So, actually, natto pasta is not at all crazy. Do a search on natto recipes and you'll see all sorts of pasta and spaghetti recipes. I didn't bother to look a recipe up and winged it. I had some weird rolled up looking pasta lying around, some green onion/chive things growing outside, and a can of tuna. I threw in some soy sauce, the little packets of sauce the natto comes with, olive oil, some more mustard, and VOILA, my natto pasta was born.

It was very tasty and hit my hungover spot perfectly.

Natto pasta lookin slimy and gorgeous.

Power of Plating

Last weekend, I brought that three cheese fondue recipe to a dinner party of 20 somethings. Dinner party for 20 somethings usually involve pizza and some brewskis, but in this case, we went a little beyond. Actually, scratch that, I didn't go beyond, I just made some fondue. But our host, who you can see here blocked by part of that hookah pipe in Palo Alto's newish hookah cafe cum florist (Mills the Florist), actually did go beyond.

Brav is blocked, Jack's eyes are rabid and Jack is discussing a brilliant new wireless related service that will conquer the world.

So, Brav's coup de grace was this cauliflower soup. Cauliflower soup, you say?! How can that be a coup de grace? Cauliflower soup is homey, rich and soothing. But I wouldn't ever call it anyone's culinary achievement. Now I have to revise this statement. Brav got this recipe from epicurious. I am too lazy to look it up, but it was basically titled Cauliflower soup with a lot of other stuff. I would have looked at the recipe, substituted whatever ingredients I had handy and then eaten it straight from the pot. However, Brav actually followed all the directions, included all the ingredients, and then plated it beautifully.

BEHOLD! another crap photo!:

This delicious cauliflower soup is essentially sauteed onions, cream and stock and cauliflower. You can't go wrong with simple ingredients like that! But then, on top of that, there were poached leeks (under that scallop), which added a subtle allium flavor and much needed crunchy textural contrast. Then, Brav added perched that perfectly seared scallop. Not overcooked at all. He drizzled some olive oil, sprinkled some caviar (salty little pops!), I tossed some chives around, a little cracked pepper- It was beautiful. I forgot to mention that the 20 somethings who prepared this meal are actually younger than me. At their age, I was microwaving flour tortillas with shredded cheddar and slopping some Old El Paso on it for dinner.

The point of this is, for just a little more effort, you get a beautiful end result that elicited gasps of disbelief from us all. And it was tres tasty to boot.

Crise de BrokeDaMouth

There has been a slight pause in posting. There are multiple reasons for this pause, but the main one is that life got in the way for a bit. Yes, BrokeDaMouth does things other than take crappy pictures of food. Anyway, now that most of my life is temporarily squared away, I can recommence with my real life- the life that revolves around eating.

Additionally, some of those close to me have remarked on the poor quality of this blog's writing. They have noted that I may be capable of more gripping commentary... This is possible but I'm not altogether sure where they came up with this idea. BrokeDaMouth is not a journalist. So to anyone who comes to this blog expecting earth-shattering food-related revelations and prose to make you weep, I am sorry to disappoint. But I shall attempt to double-check my writing before I post it. Onward!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

True Love=Bouchon

I am about to go meet Carrie who has requested to borrow my Bouchon cookbook. Since I am a little distracted by various changes occurring in my life I had forgotten to post about my meal at BOUCHON in Las Vegas. I enjoyed this 50 trillion times more than L'Atelier Joel Robuchon, though the atelier was quite an experience.

First of all, I love the Venezia. The Venetian was an old client of mine and I'm still saddened the um, "middleman" futzed up the situation so that the Venetian was poached, actually by another internal organization. So there ended my somewhat tenuous relationship with The Venetian.

Now, to the good stuff. This was our last big meal in Vegas. We longed for something simple and I had been agitating for Bouchon non-stop since we arrived. I have spent many an hour gazing longingly at the pornlicious pics in the cookbook (only cooked their poulet roti and the most simple moules). I'm not sure that French Laundry really appeals to me (I haven't ascertained how much despised foam Keller uses in those dishes), but I know that the Bouchon food truly satisfies me.

Look. They have Hangar One here! That gets the BrokeDaMouth big ups because nothing satisfies me more than a Hangar One Mandarin with soda. Even when queasy, I can drink this easily. This is modeled by one of the most friendly waitresses I have ever met.

Service is SO important. This place had way better service than the atelier. Unaffected, genuinely friendly. They got huge tips. Chris and I sat at the bar because we hadn't made reservations and we generally like to sit at bars no matter what. I know Chris doesn't like anything remotely verging on stuffy (which attitude one does find at restaurants of every caliber) and we like to strike up relationships with bartenders. It proves valuable. In this case, we got a whole bunch of drinks off of it. FANTASTICO! One of these drinks (off the menu) tasted like a dreamy starburst (made by an equally dreamy bartender). It was made with sloe gin, something that I will have to purchase to try and duplicate.

I didn't want to mess with success so we really had about as classic a meal as one can imagine. We started with Kir Royale.

what a YUMMTY image (in more ways than one!)


Good oysters from all over. I don't remember a single locale anymore. Loved their mignonette, loved the lack of shell debris. How is it possible to get oysters shipped to the desert and still taste as though they were harvested that day?

Chris' Soupe a l'oignon

Sad pic.
This broth was immense. It was so rich it was smoky. Practically a meal in and of itself.

Salade Frisee avec oeuf poche et lardons (LOTSO lardons)

You break the most heartbreakingly, perfectly poached egg into this salad that is already lightly dressed with a lardon vinaigrette and that yolk just coats the frisee in delight. (Sorry tat sounds so dirrty). I don't normally like frisee but this just WORKED. And those brioche slices were the bomb. This is like having breakfast for dinner in a way that's not remotely embarrassing.

Another pic because it's such a pretty dish

This pic says "I am almost as hawt as Chris and his kir royale."

Steak Frites

Not much too say here except those frites were outta control. Shatteringly crisp on the outside, and steamy smooth inside. A salty tangle of potato heaven. The steak here was so much nicer than the onglet I had at the atelier. What's up Joel Robuchon? Can't source like Thomas Keller? Yeah, I guess not.

Sorbet- Mangue et Framboise

Tis pretty, but I don't remember much about it. Chris had most of it.

The other thing I don't remember is the red wine we had. I don't even remember the type. I know it was French (they had some Californians) and I know it was old as we could find for a reasonable price. Chris and I are on an old wine kick and I am even attempting to cellar some. It was a little dusty tasting but went well with all the food post the oysters. We finished the bouteille rather easily. The awesome staff also treated us to two Irish coffees (so not French) and those fantastic starburst sloe gin drinks that the bartender had randomly concocted.

In sum: If you're in Vegas and you want good food, sans pretension, in not wacky environs, I strongly encourage you to try Bouchon.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


We made the fondue I describe below for Ian's bday party. In keeping with the fact that the Shire's inhabitants are food obsessed, this became a massive feast. We started with Lemon Goat Cheese Endive Spoons as hors d'oeuvres. Then the meal launched into Bacon-wrapped Scallops with a port reduction sauce. Then the aforesaid fondue. Then a light as air Julia Child Spinach Souffle (in case you haven't noticed, I am too lazy to place accents everywhere, so technically, I'm constantly misspelling anything French. Deal w/it please...) with lots of butter and eggs. Then a wasabi encrusted roast salmon accompanied by asparagus and shallots sauteed in balsamic and olive oil, with lemon juice finish and lemon zest. Finally a Julia Child chocolate mousse.

That's an obscene picture of the bacon wrapped scallop. I wrapped the bacon around the wrong way so the scallops didn't sear, and for that, I am sorry. It was ugly, but tasty.

This gargantuan feasty was all lubricated with bottles of wine. I remember a sancerre, a beaujolais, the remainder of the champagne and it ended with some other something that I probably couldn't read since my eyes were too blurred by that point in time.

So as an accurate calorie counter, I can say that this meal was about 5000 kabooglian calories. After I consumed the last spoonful of mousse I died. I died, and then I turned away from the light. And guess what? I was resurrected. I was resurrected to write more blog posts! This is my destiny.

If anyone finds this blasphemous, please kiss my booty.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Au Fond de Mon Coeur- Fondue

This is not at all a "traditional" fondue, but quite honestly, traditional fondue always seems better in theory than in reality. Simultaneously too harsh (the kirsch?) and too bland- one cheese and some starch and some bread. Why go through all the trouble of making fondue if I could melt some cheese on bread and have something taste basically the same.

So, I found a delicious fondue recipe on called Three Cheese Fondue with Champagne. It calls for gruyere, emmental and brie with shallots, champagne and lemon juice with corn starch. Since the market I went to had run out of gruyere, since, according to the cheesemonger "everyone's making fondue." So I substituted raclette. I then winged all of the amounts.


Here was the zap, zing, the flavor I dreamed of when I thought of fondue.

Here's a crap picture- We'd been dipping for awhile already.

It'll taste damn good no matter what the amounts are, these ingredients make it awesome.

Here's my approximate recipe.

Medium wedge of Brie, rind removed
Large chunks of Raclette and Emmental, rind removed- grate or small cubes
4 teaspoons of corn starch dissolved in 1 lemon's worth lemon juice
2 cups of champagne
1 large shallot coarse diced
1 small garlic clove smashed and minced
ground nutmeg- optional

1) Bring the shallots to a simmer in the champagne in a saucepan for awhile.
2) Remove pot from heat and add the cheese and lemon juice corn starch.
3) Put it back on the heat (low to medium). Stir and melt the cheese down.
4) Should be all smooth and thick soon!

Pour the fondue into your pot and serve it with whatever you like! We had cubed baguette, watermelon radish (prettier to look at than to eat), briefly steamed broccoli, boiled fingerlings, baby carrots.