Showing posts from 2011

Foodspotting & Me

As an avid food lover and shutterbug, I had long enjoyed taking photos of my food.  When I got my first camera-phone (a Sony Cybershot), the hobby took off even further.

So it seemed like wonderful happenstance when I stumbled upon the website,  Launched in January of 2010, Foodspotting is a visual food guide for the web that categorizes restaurants by photos of their most popular dishes.  Users can post photos via the website but also interface with their very popular iPhone, Android, and other apps.  It quickly became one of my all-time favorite websites.

But truth be told, I had some help along the way.  A good friend of mine had actually emailed me an invite to the beta launch of their site in 2009 and, given my love of food and photos, I was soon using it religiously.  It seemed like a website had been created for one of my favorite hobbies.

Being an avid and early user had some fantastic perks.  Foodspotting, based in nearby San Francisco, welcomed me with ope…

Ikura Chronicles: Salmon Caviar

Ikura, or marinated salmon roe, is a popular item in Japanese cuisine.  The salmon eggs are most commonly marinated in a soy sauce and sake mixture and served uncooked.  Frequently served as nigiri, they are also a common addition to rice dishes like chirashi or donburis.

As a young boy fishing with my father, we would often use a jar of prepared salmon eggs for fishing.  They would have names like "Balls O Fire" but were essentially the same thing as ikura:  salmon eggs, albeit lower quality, that had been processed to be used as bait.  It took quite some time until I was older and had more experience with Japanese cuisine to truly appreciate the roe as a delicacy and not just "for the fishes."

The name ikura is actually a borrowed word from the Russian word "ikra," which means caviar.  Given how the best caviar often originates from the Russian area, the name seems appropriate.  Whatever the name, marinated salmon eggs are a common delicacy in a wide v…

The Search for the Ultimate Steak (Home Edition)

In this day of $100 steak entrees, premium Kobe and Wagyu, and celebrity chef-run steakhouses, it's hard to see past the hype and to the substance of what really constitutes a quality steak. Alexander's Steakhouse, the Michelin-star and award-winning steakhouse in Cupertino, California, is one of my favorite restaurants and is no stranger to this market, having long offered their Kobe A5 grade steak at their restaurant at prices north of $100.

But despite how much I LOVE Alexander's, I've yet to have the chance to indulge in any of their ultra-premium offerings. Their USDA Prime steaks are so good (along with their sides like Lobster Mac & Cheese and Hamachi Shots) that I've never felt I've been missing anything....and my wallet has always been happier.

Nonetheless, when you hear people rave about grass-fed beef and massaged Wagyu cows resulting in an unmatchable steak, it's hard to not have your curiosity piqued. So for the past year or two, I…

Ode to Chirashi

I was struck recently by how big a fan I am of ordering chirashi. For those unfamiliar with the word, "chirashi" refers to the Japanese word "Chirashizushi," which literally translated means "scattered sushi." Typically it's a bowl of sushi rice topped with a variety of sashimi and garnishes and is thought to be popular because it's filling, easy to make, and can use fish choices that the chef has handy.

I think I'm a fan for several reasons. Primarily, when going into a new Japanese restaurant, I find it a great way to ascertain the quality, skill, and generosity of the sushi chef. Specifically, because chirashi allows the chef to select the fish, it gives some insight by way of seeing what and how much the chef picks. Now some would argue that "omakase" or "chef's choice" is a better way to see the very best a chef can offer. However, omakase is oftentimes an expensive proposition and I prefer to do it when I tr… : A visual food guide to your favorite dishes