So I'm ridiculously behind on posts. Especially feel bad about not having shared yet the multiple outings I've had this year with Kirbie, Canine Cologne, Carol, and Cathy when I've had a great time and even received wonderful gifts. If any of you are reading, wanted to say thanks and that I will get to all of them eventually, I promise!
I do try my best to post in chronological order but since writing has never been my forte and I tend to up things I simply get done first (which usually are topics I don't need to do a lot of research on beforehand) tis the state I find I am in. Above a couple of Gin Tama figures I've purchased (currently available at Nijiya and Mitsuwa, haven't checked Marukai). I don't follow the series closely but I like how many of the characters seem to have addictions to certain foods.
As much as I love to get Hijikata's with bowl of giant Japanese Mayo mound over rice, the mysterious duck character Elizabeth slurping soba was a total win and I probably should stop while I feel I'm ahead. The first two that aren't pictured here were duds (and even duplicates damn it!).
Sharing other random topics like old times with pics mostly taken from my iPhone (helped a lot by Instagram). Got a friendly reminder from Sam (the Cooking Guy) on his Livecast about SD Mitsuwa's 19th Anni Sale. Will be on for another week so check them out if you can. I'm usually pretty good at following these but admit completely missing this one... Thanks Sam.
Our Cooking Guy then goes on to create a delicious looking Okonomiyaki on the show. A nice take with the use of Napa Cabbage which I never tried but sounded like a fantastic idea. There was a question about the meat but it's typically Bara Niku (thinly sliced fatty Pork Belly/Rib meat). Essentially bacon before it's made into bacon... so the substitution perfect and something I've actually done in the past. I'm glad they didn't skip the Aonori (aka, green laver) in the end. To me the dish (along with Takoyaki) isn't what it is without it. Great job Sam! (Also didn't miss the Fernet T-shirt, very cool.)
So took the suggestion and dropped by Mitsuwa today for lunch. Otafuku was there with their booth as they often are at most Mitsuwa Fairs. Otafuku is a company in Japan famous for their squeeze bottled Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki and Yakisoba sauces. And as seen on Sam's livecast they also make set Okonomiyaki packages as well. As much as I love to make it from scratch (as Kirk of Mmm-Yoso has done in the past), I admit relying on the powder version all the time. In fact I've just stocked up on Nijiya's organic brand that happened to be on sale a few weeks back.
Reminded me I've been wanting to share a budget conscious version with mostly cabbage nicknamed the "Economi-Yaki," haha. Mitsuwa also had a variety of Sushi Hand Rolls the day which the display looked really attractive and neat. I thought they should just sell these all the time. Purchased one of each of Natto (with Shiso) and a Negi Toro (minced fatty tuna belly with scallions). $1.50 each.
But as with most my visits to a Mitsuwa sale or fair, I was there to see if SD Santouka would be serving a limited time ramen. Was glad to find they were. A Tonkotsu Shrimp Kimchi Ramen (とんこつえびキムチらーめん).
Many of the limited time offerings seem to be ad hoc creations rather than true scratch made originals and only few I can honestly say I've been genuinely wooed by. The few exceptions early on that could be considered 'permanent menu worthy' were such as the Toromi Shoyu Ramen and Awase Aji Ramen. Their standard melty tender pork Toro-niku combo is probably the best bet when here (though admittedly a tad pricey), but I'm always nerdily curious to see what new things the folks at Santouka
U.S. can come up with and it's been sort of a documentative habit on my
part to try and preserve them as pictures.
I've been asking for extra oil ever since I've found them tend to serve a "healthier option" for us SD folks now and then. That's just my guess of course, but anyway all in all this bowl was a much better creation compared to the similar Kimchi Ramen served a while back at Torrance. The Kimchi used had a lot more flavor and the Namul bean sprout addition was a nice touch. The two larger medium sized shrimps were much more substantial than what was provided in the Hiyashi TanTan Men as well.
But as for nuance, complexity and kanseido (完成度) -- the feeling of when a product comes cohesively together as one, I felt the bowl fell quite short. The delicious Kimchi flavors seemed to simply float on top rather than be part of the experience of the entire bowl, and while all their offerings are always Asahikawa Tonkotsu based, with a name like that I expected a more noticeable shrimp umami present in the broth, or at least shrimp flavor infused oils (ebi abura) drizzled on top. Somehow incorporating their famous pork to play up the kimchi flavors along with shrimp (that was relatively unseasoned) would've been nice as well. It's probably hard to have a truly bad bowl at Santouka, but in the end was nothing I would write to loved ones about here either maybe. As always I look forward in sampling their next limited time creation, so I hope they keep 'em coming. :)
Over at Nijiya, there was a $1 produce sale outside. Not the organic that they've created a niche for but still everything looked great. Unfortunately I've been told will only last today. I know Canine Cologne and her daughter is a fan of Ramune so took this shot. The hot weather was certainly perfect for it!
Inside, some guilty delicious Curry Pan (curry filled fried bread) and a brand new Piroshiki (Pirozhki) offering. Nijiya's Piroshiki interpretation was a fried bread filled with tasty meat and onion filling, not too different than what is typically seen in steamed Nikuman. Can't vouch on authenticity but something I found pretty good as an evening snack nonetheless.
Too many others I could write about but will end it here tonight. Thanks for visiting!