Saturday, August 29, 2009

Posting More Gundam And Some Random..

I'm happy to announce my second unofficial photo content contributors to my humble unofficial food blog of sorts, Team Pocky.

These particular photos were from the mister half of the life team who happens to also be a Gundam fanatic (Gun-Ota). His YouTube page that I've referenced before in past posts here.



The email I received just yesterday with the attached photos read something along, "I thought you'd be interested in these..". :)
A few behind-the-scene shots of a food vendor in preparation of the recent full scale Gundam reveal in Odaiba. The photos are much more impressive when clicked and viewed larger.



I love the framing of the statue with all the details of the kitchen in the foreground.



Here looks like they would be serving Esunikku ("Ethnic food") with several types of kebabs and curries.



The trash from the previous day will need to make way for the replenishment of new supplies..

And at least from this perspective the huge stacks of cased beverages and the even bigger tower of Suntory Premium Malts seems to over shadow the 1:1, 18-meter tall Gundam.



All this totally brought me back memories of when I worked a Takoyaki stall one particular hot and humid Natsumatsuri (Japanese summer carnival) during my early teens. Anyway, my sincere thanks to the awesome photos Team Pocky!

Somewhat related to Takoyaki, I came across some cool triple-nozzled squeeze bottles at Daiso the other day for your even distribution of Okonomi sauce and creamy mayo pleasure.



Somehow I refrained from actually purchasing one.. Oh yeah, I'm trying to get back in shape!

Which brings me to my second SUP outing one early morning last week before work. La Jolla Shores (or any beach for that matter) at dawn is really something. Maybe I'm a morning person after all.. haha. Below the board that I rent. A yellow twelve-footer river barge sometimes also known as the taxi.



This day I was able to do a full minute(!) of actual stand up paddling over some mild rollers. At this point every fraction of a second is consumed by the pure focus of keeping balance, but I had my first taste of actual SUP Surfing and it's truly addicting. Need to look into inexpensive waterproof cameras!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lunching @ Golden City

I've been swamped and slowly working my way through this post off and on. Gosh has it been three weeks already?? Thankfully CAB at CAB Cooks recently had posted on the lunch at Golden City but since I have never written about GC I thought it'd be good to share what I took as well and add a few more while I'm at it from a previous visit about a year ago.. Kirk and Cathy from mmm-yoso and Sawyer from Mother May I completed the lunch group.

Below is my "after" to my "before" photo teaser a week ago.



Peking Duck was the first main to arrive and although I can't remember the exact price, I was told for lunch you get the two course meal for a great deal. I looked through GC's online menu but couldn't find it there. Anyway, everything listed on this post reflects this special lunch price.



The lovely lovely almost peanut brittle like crackly crispy duck skin.. Sweet, savory and delicious.



It's been a very long while since I had this (which I think then was my first). CAB and Kirk both showed me how it was typically done but it was Kirk that suggested doing the double "Big Mac" version with two pieces of the duck skin. Sounds good to me!



A small Henderson Muppet like steamed bun is smeared with hoisin sauce while you then add some scallions and finally the crispy duck skin to create a small sandwich. My memory is coming back now and I think I had my first Peking Duck with a translucent white tortilla like wrap.. But either way I don't think it's hard for anyone to imagine how good this can be. And there would still be the second course part of the meal coming later.

I kinda jumped ahead but the starter fried egg rolls (shown behind the fried wonton skins) I really enjoyed. It had the nice pillowy air pocket that I like that let's them stay extra crispy.



The hot sour soup had a nice extra tartness kick for me and I enjoyed it a lot too.
The individual bowl of steamed rice for some reason I had to snap a pic of but that's nothing new for me. I liked the almost cartoon like perfect mound it was. :)



The Kwai Fei Chicken ($6.25) won my heart immediately in a big way. A cold chicken dish with a lightly gingery spice flavor. It was good enough to be eaten by itself..



..but was definitely even better with the grated ginger type dressing. I'm pretty sure I'll be having this again very soon.



Below the awesome rice complementing pork meal. Referencing back to the online menu I think it was the Roast Pork ($6.95). (Correction, it was the Steamed Pork with Preserved Vegetable with the same price.)



It was quite up there in the guilty scale but in a very manageable way where the fat was rendered very well. Fall apart tender. My mouth is seriously starting to water at the moment..



Also the drippings (with the preserved vegetables) looked so good that I had to try it over my rice. You can say I felt very comfortable and at home around my lunch companions today. :)

I knew I missed photos of at least two dishes. I forgot the Fish Fillet with Black Bean Sauce ($6.95). A portion I scooped for myself is pictured on the North end of my plate below. (Gosh am I a complete nerd to point that out or what?..)



And the second I think was a Pork with Radish dish (Correction, this was the Beef Stew w/ Daikon Hot Pot, $6.25) shown toward the left. Both were very very good. The second course of the Peking Duck had arrived and looked like so..



A minced duck meat stir-fry with a few other ingredients, I think water chestnuts were one of them.



Nestled in cups of fresh lettuce leaves, I thought to myself in theory a mini salad which helped me ignore some of the unctuous duck fat my plate caught as I bit in. Great texture and flavor. If this were served off of trucks, Kogi beware! ;)

I saved the only dish this day that I didn't fight anyone over to let me have seconds of for last..



The (pork?) intestines. (Update: Kirk says the dish was Pork Intestines with Preserved Vegetable.) Mysteriously also not listed anywhere on the menu, it was prepared the same as the Fish with Black Bean Sauce and wonderful in that sense but the intestines themselves where definitely an acquired taste.. I wonder if grilling helps rid some of the distinctive offal note because I have enjoyed intestine at various BBQ joints in the past..

Since I'm out of pictures that must have been the extent of our feast. And the bill was very reasonable where I think it came up ~$17 per person including tip. Very affordable.

Posting just a few more lunch dishes I had from about a year ago..

The First Class BBQ Chicken ($11.95 for a half).



Looked beautiful but unfortunately the meat was extremely dry and seemed deep fried at one point. The sauce that was ladled over the chicken was great but it wasn't enough to recoup the dryness. Also came with a slice of lemon and what seemed like a type of flavored salt.



The Yang-Chow Fried Rice ($7.95), I must have had a starch craving which isn't unusual.



Shrimp, BBQ Pork and I think also with minced sweet Chinese sausages. It did a good job of hitting the spot.

Pork Pan Fried Dumplings ($6.95). I can't remember much about them which maybe says they were good but fairly standard.



And the last, the lunch's complementary Egg Drop Soup. Had a good amount of veggies including baby corn and I thought a worthy option if not in the mood for the Hot and Sour.

So wasn't the most adventurous choices but I had a good enough meal to want to come back. I just never quite got the chance again until now. I'm really glad I did but especially with a GC veteran like Kirk doing the ordering. If you check out CAB Cooks' post on the lunch you can find all the hyperlinks to the many previous Golden City visits on mmm-yoso.



Ending with my second Peking Duck serving. Yum.
Hope to have something to share again maybe next weekend. Thanks for visiting!

Golden City Restaurant, 5375 Kearny Villa Rd, San Diego, CA 92123

Saturday, August 22, 2009

SUP Guys! And A Cold Soba With Myoga

Hey guys, Stand Up Paddle Surfing is SO Freakn' FUN!!

Despite the theoretically stable as a river barge 12-footer that Mitch (of Mitch's Surf Shop) had let me rent, I was only able to achieve the "Stand Up" part of SUP for maybe five seconds max. Then splash I went, into the sea, Master Jedi Mitch circling around me.. "You're doing great Dennis!" :)
Still, I learned to paddle and maintain balance on my knees (on the forgiving river barge). And oh did I paddle. Paddled, paddled away.. Away from the morning swimmers, across the chatting divers.. waving at fellow SUP'ers (who were actually standing), all while enjoying a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean in the almost surreal gray light.

[La Jolla Shores @ 6AM]


The sky did eventually lighten up more than the photo shown, but anyway the benefits of SUP over traditional surfing (especially for a beginner) are many. A much more buoyant and stable board with the ability to propel yourself despite low or no wave conditions, the high vantage point to be able to see the oncoming waves (while enjoying the great view doesn't hurt) and the stealthy great core workout that it is. As my SUP sensei Mitch says it best, "You're having so much fun, you don't even know you're exercising and burning all those calories.." I'm sold, but you already had me at SUP!

I plan on doing a few more sessions with Mitch - $40 for an hour and a half and it includes all the equipment which he brings to the site. He even had a wetsuit for me which was great but I since purchased my own later the day at his shop. The actual board and paddle will come eventually.

And sure I won't be doing anything remotely close to what's shown in the video below anytime soon..



But aspirations are a good thing and I had a really great time this day and I already can't wait to be back out there again (with my sore triceps, stomach, feet, thighs and buttocks..).



I can remember vividly my first snare and bass drum coordination, the tempo akin to a park bench falling down a flight of stairs. Boxing was just as awkward at first. My early combinations I may as well have been throwing Nerf balls at my trainer's mitts. Slowly but surely..

Posting what I ate today though it's nothing special. I wanted to use that oil from last weekend one last time before throwing it out. Zucchini tempura with a simple cold soba with julienned Myoga (I *heart* myoga btw).



I wanted to also include some Shiso but I was out. The soba noodles were the raw nama type and had a better chew and pull than the dried stuff..



But I wasn't quite sure if it was better to the point to justify the higher price for me personally. I'm still willing to try a different brand while I have another serving left of today's to see if decreasing the suggested cooking time helps.



I then made a small kakiage with the leftover myoga and tempura batter. It was pretty good for an afterthought. The delicate flavors of the subterranean flower bud could've benefited from a lighter batter, but I think I'm over frying for a while.

The protein of the meal tamagoyaki came out worse than my first and I didn't even bother photographing it. Taming the copper pan may prove to be more difficult than that board..(!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another Fish Sandwich And Another New Hobby (Very Soon)

I've been working on this post off and on since Friday night and I think I can't add much more to it.. So double posting today while I can.

I had another quick lunch meal at El Pescador Fish Market. You can read about a few others I had there here. The boring sentimental reflection type intro please feel free to skip. ;)

The Olive Oil & Garlic Snapper ($8.95) was super fresh as usual and also benefited from having a bit more seasoning flavor than other sandwiches I've had. Also asked with Avocado (+$1).



For me the sandwiches here are hard to go wrong whatever species of pisces you happen to choose. Always with crispy veggies, a light tartar sauce and powdery soft moist buns that complements the grilled delicate market fresh fish.



Still I admit dashing a little salt after every other bite but it was very good. I was also happy to find a table edge for myself after committing to eating in this busy day.

Trying again another small cup of Cioppino ($3.95) was hard not to.



Noticed now in a new compostable paper cup. This day the soup was on the light side but the flavors that were there were vibrant and fresh batch tasting (as always). Unlike the previous I've sampled though the particular ladle full had quite a few generous sized chunks of fish. A couple drops of my favorite Tapatio hot sauce also really made it to my liking.



My true mission this clock ticking hour was actually to check out some longboards at Mitch's Surf Shop that is just adjacent to EPFM.



Although I have a few friends that longboard, I personally have never surfed in my life.



I figured maybe it's about time. I need another hobby other than sharing to the world what I ate, but I'll say now that I'm going to somehow incorporate my surfing adventures into this blog. Surfers gotta eat!? And if you're wondering, you can count on a Libra to follow through with a decision they make. So as early as it is, yes I declare it my new hobby! :)



But oh the beautiful beautiful boards. So beautiful.
Some candy tinted, some more retro colored, and even others with pretty cool graphics. I also visited Mitch's Solana Beach store to check out a few more just yesterday.



What spoke to my soul was this Root Beer colored Gato Heroi "Smooth Operator" model.



The name so perfectly fitting for me.. NOT, haha. Judging by the prices (a grand up for certain names) I'll probably be practicing on a used Craig Listingson "Used Operator" model.. Pffff. And I can always listen to Sade on a waterproofed ipod.. I do need to work on my tan a bit before though so I don't blind anyone unintentionally out on the waves.

Then I stopped by Torrey Pines Beach for a stroll before heading home. Had some fun with my compact camera's macro function. It was hard guessing where it would focus but the surprise made some of the photos more interesting I thought.



It's hard to get the full effect without seeing it larger so please feel free to click on the image if you so feel inclined.



A hermit crab eye's view of the beach. You can see the individual sand grains in full resolution.



I almost got the camera (and my feet) wet with this one. Right at the edge where the water came up before receding. I have many more but since this is a food blog first..

Well, hope everyone had a nice weekend. I certainly did. :)

El Pescador Fish Market, 627 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Mitch's La Jolla, 631 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Mitch's Solana Beach, 363 North Hwy 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075