Monday, July 18, 2011

My $3 Hiyashi Soba Dinner @ Nijiya

Three dollars for either a Hiyashi Soba or Udon at Nijiya Market. The Hot Soba is now down to $2.50.(!)

They were unfortunately out of the $0.50 grated Oroshi Daikon option tonight but I was fine as I piled on the free Tenkasu tempura bits, Wakame seaweed, Katsuobushi bonito flakes, and fine minced Negi scallions to my heart's desire.

Comes with a packet of wasabi and the same mentsuyu pouch that's included in their chilled soba and tempura bentos which I enjoy the flavor of.

The noodles are cooked to order. The rinse wasn't chilling cold but adequate, good enough for the price. Affordable enough in fact that next time I could add a poached onsen tamago or even a tempura and still be under five.

In any case never let anyone tell you what you can or can't put on your Soba/Udon. I think some felt my last addition of potato croquette may have been odd but the link here would prove them wrong. Welcome to blue-collar Japanese working class eating! ;)

Nijiya Market, 3860 Convoy St (# 109), San Diego, CA 92111

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Beeru: 5 Points Brewing Company

I hope I don't fall asleep while typing on the keyboard tonight. A bit woosey from the last couple of days but stopped by 5 Points Brewing Company this evening for their $4 specials. ($7 Growler refills.)

Located in the Mission Brewery Plaza, that neat brick building complex right off the I-5 Southbound Washington exit (the older FedEx location). Only beers on tap are available and imaginably no kitchen to offer any food so best to imagine as a very casual beer tasting opportunity I'd think.

Pint of choice was the day's Islander I.P.A. Had a very clean fruity flavor note of grapefruit, much like a hefeweizen but without any bitter aftertaste. Super nice.

Again, "atmosphere" here is all relative. I personally found it fantastic, like walking into an older brick and copper semi-secret speakeasy. Accommodations are minimal. Pay for your drink (cards are actually accepted), and you go find yourself a cozy spot to have your beer and chill with friends.

Few pictures taken while trekking out to use the bathroom downstairs...

Really enjoyed the completely unpretentious vibe. Definitely will be back.

Street parking...

5 Point Brewing Company, 1765 Hancock, San Diego, CA 92110

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lunching @ Wa Dining Okan - Part Five: とろろ Lovers Rejoice!

Sharing recent lunches I've had at Okan again, these from the past couple weeks. Always a pleasure visiting with fun tasty weekly changing sides and even revolving daily specials. All delicious, more often with a creative twist and these days as important very affordable. And right when I got to think "What more can I ask?", this seems to have been answered too. :)

By now I'm sure most wouldn't need the lunch ordering drill to be re-explained, but just in case you first start with the $6.50 Basic Set and order additional sides as you like. But for the more initiated do you notice something different?

How about now? ;)


Grated tororo yam is now part of the starter basic set with choice of white hakumai or brown hijiki rice (refills up to a half bowl are free). A truly momentous occasion for all tororo lovers where from experience the request can cost up to $2 alone (such as at Sakura). And this if the peculiar embellishment is offered in the first place.

Oh, tororo gohan how I love thee... The slimy mountain root with clean flavor finish was a perfect complement to the oily rich soy sauce braised Mackerel below (+$3.50).

This was excellent stuff. Sweet and unctuous. And of course I poured some of the concentrated braise liquid also on my rice when nobody was looking. ;) The mix tempura happened to be the special of the day and without risking too much hyperbole was also near perfect. A very light crispy batter expertly executed by the chef with centers all at the correct doneness, bravo.

Ok so I love things fried, but the motherly nature of Okan makes sure I still have a nutritionally balanced meal. The arranged chicken karaage ($3) with a nice green onion and sweeter citrusy dressing was plated on a bed of fresh mizuna leaves.

The very light koromo is crispy and the chicken's inner juicy. The sauce which also seemed spiked with a little finely minced ginger was great and started to make my 'regular' karaage seem almost boring.
I love fried but I also love my cold tofu, here with a very tasty miso sauce (+$2.50)..

The miso a sweeter delicious seasoned with a little ginger, spice and everything nice. Stuff that makes me not immediately negate the possibility of ever becoming a vegetarian. If the day comes pigs may also fly but I'd eat these homemade pickles daily with. :)

I always wanted to start my own Nukazuke pickling culture. Maybe this is the year to start.
Most recent visit the special was a green bell pepper stuffed with mashed kabocha pumpkin which was then deep fried with panko.. Hello!

Was quite tasty and the Piman was also the thin-walled Japanese kind. Maybe you can get those at Nijiya?

Finishing with my personal highlight of the visits. This Gyu-suji Stew really hit the spot.

A full-flavored, full-bodied long simmer of very tender beef cartilage with root vegetables and konnyaku. I enjoyed this a lot.

Lunch is cash only and if you'd like to get a better sense of what's offered during, you can check out my past posts - Part Four, Part Three, another here, and first here. Evening meals are sort of scattered throughout the blog.

Until next time and hope you all have a great weekend and a nice 4th of July!

Wa Dining Okan, 3860 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111