Friday, October 28, 2011

A Quick Lunch @ Okan And Few Sneak Peek Randomness

Thought it was due for a catching up type post. I'll have to see how much I can get done tonight as I'm recovering from a Firefox crash and having to rewrite everything really sucks. But anyway we had grilled some Sanma at friends last month. Might've smoked up the neighborhood a little but these were plump and was delicious had with grated daikon oroshi and drizzle of shoyu.

Dropped by Okan today for a quick lunch since it had been a while. My last Part Five collection of lunch meals can be found here. Come to think I didn't notice the free grated Tororo this time around, bummer. But I did instead a bunch of newer offerings. So much so that I went a little over my lunch budget ordering up, ha.

Your bowl of rice can now be upgraded to several mini-donburi's. This day a choice from Chashu pork to even Ikura salmon roe but I went for some Mabo-don status the Mapo Doufu lover that I am ($6.50 + $3).

Was very satisfying for a person craving a Japanese style Mabo. More savory than spicy, also nice and meaty. Buri Daikon was listed as one of six sides on the week's menu ($6.50). Have to say trying out an Okan's version was hard to turn down.

It must not be quite Buri (Yellowtail / Amberjack) season yet as the fish was still very lean (I had a similar experience at Sakura not so long ago). But the seasoning was spot on, an umami laden savory-sweet with a hint of ginger. I can't wait until the fish fattens up for a richer and tender experience going into the Winter season as I'm a big fan of Buri Daikon.

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

I've had a slew of documented lunches from Okan's sister restaurant Oton for some time now. Been meaning to share sooner. (My first Oton post since they started serving lunch at the beginning of the year here.)

While their lunch menu is still centered around accessible Donburi's, it's been expanded a little along with an additional weekly changing special. (Shown just the half portion soba side.)

Oton, 5447 Kearny Villa Rd # D, San Diego, CA 92123

I haven't been the super regular as I once were at Sakura but the place still makes it to my lunch rotation time to time. (In fact I just ran into The Kirk and the Missus not so long ago!)

Shown the Ika Somen. A more Summer dish of very fresh raw Squid thinly sliced to resemble noodles and had with Soba Tsuyu. At $5 the three-bite sized crucible is on the high side but for me worth every penny. My last longer organized Lunching@Sakura series post was February of this year. I'm way past due for an update here as well.

Izakaya Sakura, 3904 Convoy St #121, San Diego, CA 92111

Speaking of Summer, back in July a group of SD food bloggers got together for a BBQ crawl. Need to thank Carol of CAB Cooks again for organizing the fun day. Was neat to meet also Canine Cologne (again), Kirbie, Mary, Marie, Leanne and their significant others. Hope I didn't miss anyone, there were a few last minute cancellations.

We visited four joints if I remember right. Criteria was that they had to actually smoke their meats with wood or wood chips. The best by far was Coop's West Texas Barbeque in Lemon Grove! Drool....

Hope to find the time to write about it in more detail soon, if for the sake of my own documenting process before my memory gets too fuzzy. The owner was such a cool guy, he gave all of us a sampling of his BBQ Spaghetti, made with sauce smoked along with all the other of his lovely meaty creations. (I guess all the cameras snapping away was hard to ignore, haha.)

The dish may have been a bit rich for some but this was right up my alley. The brisket and (oh) the ribs were fantastic.

Coop's BBQ, 2625 Lemon Grove Ave, Lemon Grove, CA 91945

The most fun I had during the crawl though had to have been at The Babecue Pit in National City. There are a few around but this locale was totally a step back in time. The photo below isn't even of my own meal (of course have those too). It just looked too pretty and took a snap.

The Barbecue Pit, 920 E Plaza Blvd, National City, CA 91950

Back in March there was an article on Serious Eats about Ramen Hacks (the instant kind) by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and many readers commented with theirs. Was a fun read. I remember adding a little milk and/or a half packet of gelatin to my instant Tonkotsu (usually Umakatchan brand) for some added richness and viscosity. The latter gave some body to the soup which most packaged ramen needs for a better mouth feel. But anyway I've tried a few of my own with real ramen, specifically Santouka.

As much as I love Santouka's creamy rich Asahikawa style Tonkotsu, I always thought the flavors they offered (with the exception of the spicy Kara Miso) didn't have enough differentiation. As a regular this means you start to wish for changing it up some. Don't look too hard at the Chibi Shio Ramen above because I haven't done anything to it but looking forward in sharing my finds as it was a fun experiment.

Santouka Ramen, 4240 Kearny Mesa Rd (Mitsuwa Market Food Court), San Diego, CA 92111

I went through a bit of a Vietnamese Com Tam broken rice dish phase last Summer as well and collected enough to do a fun comparison. This one plated below resembling the size of a rugby ball was one of the better deals in town in quality and quantity. I think it was only around $7.50 too. No wonder I can't lose any weight!

I think I'm going to call the series "Let's Get Fat Together."

Finally I still have many more food related photos from my last trip back home.

Shared already what I thought would be of interest to actual foodies, so what are most left are probably fast/junk foods. Still all things I sentimentally hold close to my heart and was happy to be able to photo-document for the blog during the Winter break. Stay tuned...


K and S said...

after reading this, craving bbq now :)

caninecologne said...

liked this post and how it went all over the place! :) plus i really want to go to hinotez now after reading your latest post!

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KirkK said...

Nice round up Dennis! It's so funny, we've run into you twice now at Sakura....I guess I must eat there too often.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kat, I'll be traveling this week and hope to have some soon!

Hi CC! New places are always fun to check out. Prices seem reasonable. I'm looking forward to when they finally start grilling.

Hi Kirk! Thanks. I've been having more fun with the shorter formats these days. I don't seem to be enjoying composing my lengthy marathon posts as much as I used to, haha.

kirbie said...

Hmm, I think that tray was my food from BBQ Pit, but it's been so long I'm not sure. I need to go back to Okan, excited about the upgrade option.