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Monday, August 31, 2009

Blogging in Maui; Takamiya Markets Delicious Ribs

There is a little shop in Wailuku Maui that is listed in almost every Japanese Brochure for Maui but not so many American brochures. My wife told me they are known for their teriyaki and its hugely popular for visiting asians. Ironically, I was going to go here on my last trip to maui but when we made it to the shop it happened to be on a sunday which happened to coincide with the day the market is closed.

This time however I made it one of our musts on our list of things we absolutely had to do and I was not disappointed. Located in a part of maui that looks like its not the best, most attractive part of the island by far lies this little shop that's a dream come true for us foodies. With real cuts of meat, it could be called a butcher shop by Maui standards but not really like a butcher shop by Beef Palace Standards.

They had prepacked steaks but do some specialty cuts as well though I was really just content with getting some of the Kalbi style ribs prepacked/pre-marinated and ready to grill. My we also picked up some Shoyu Ahi Poke(raw fresh tuna cubes marinated), Kim Chee Tako(Octopus marinated in Kim Chee seasoning), mac salad(every meal in Hawaii comes with mac salad...when in rome!), and a thick delicious Maui onion we also bought. They also had a hot lamp filled with Bento and Spam Masubi and other stuff but time was semi-limited. One thing that they had that I truly have never seen was two types of marinated beef...grade B and grade C. I can honestly say that of the numerous butcher shops I have been to I am semi sure I have never seen any Grade B beef...much less Grade C. I couldnt help but think after eating the Ribs that one of my old sneakers marinated overnight would have been palatable.

I took the meat back to the condo's grill, poured myself a big plastic glass of Lindeman's Cawarra I bought a few days earlier at Costco and went about fulfilling my dream of drinking wine on the beach while BBQing in Hawaii.

Hawaiian Style Kalbi Ribs...this teriyaki was almost like a candy style glaze. The ribs themselves are cut thicker then the ribs we get in So Cal. Next time I get back I will request them to be cut thinner. Not that I am knocking up, I am just used to the more traditional style korean cut.

The Shoyu Ahi Poke and Kim Chee Tako.

Some other pics of the meal.

All in All the hoopla of this place is completely warranted. Much like the proverbial needle in the haystack, in a town that looks like time has passed it by and the time that has kept has treated it none too kindly, this place will forever be on my list of must things to do in Maui. Probably the best sweet Teriyaki I have ever had with some of the freshest, most authentic Hawaiian dishes I have ever had...of course I have only been in Maui twice so take it for what its worth. We also ate at the Gazebo, not bad for the pancakes and the Fried Rice so popular on Yelp but by that same token not in the same class as Egg's and Things in Honolulu.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicken, Fish, and the Worlds Greatest Mac N Cheese

Had some of my hockey friends over during the weekend in LGK's Homer Simpson and his beautiful wife Marge(ok her real name is Kelly but how can I not use such an obvious set up?) We enjoyed a bottle of the Ghost Pines Merlot, my wife's signature Miso Garlic Tuna, my seasoned Dorado on Cedar Plank, Lemon Pepper Chicken and Homer World Famous Mac n Cheese.

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Roasted Corn. Got the chicken from the Beef Palace in Huntington Beach. You will never find a better, plumper, juicier chicken then at this place. They're old school though-they don't take Credit Cards and don't have a website. I can't stress enough to click on the pics for a better view of the food items. The Chicken in particular looks fantastic.

Here is a picture of one of my favorite summer side dishes, sliced tomatoes topped with onion slices that my wife manages to tame down a bit by soaking in water and rice vinegar, and then tops the whole thing with a drizzle of some japanese style dressing that I have no idea what it or what the brand is as its all in japanese characters. Apparently its not available here in the states, we get it sent in the occasional care package sent from Hayama Japan.

Slices of the Miso-Garlic Tuna. One day I will try this with fresh Ahi tuna and keep the middle rare. The Miso makes a fantastic glaze.

Another shot of the two....

Here is the chicken, once again you just simply cant go wrong with Chicken from the Beef Palace.

Homer helps out with manning the BBQ and savors the wine. Truth be told I thought the Ghost Pines Cab was better then the Merlot. It was still very very good especially for the price but if the Cab was a home run we'll call the Merlot a double. I would still go with the Chateau St Michelle for Merlot.

Alex overlooks the spread. He has had Homer mac N Cheese in the past and was very very happy to get more of it on this night. His night got better as we not only had peach pie after wards-but he got to play his new favorite game...Blackjack. Homers Mac n Cheese is fantastic...I would give the recipe here but Im sworn to secrecy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sauvignon Blanc and Nectarines

Myself and some of my culinary based hockey pals have all been raving about this years crop of Nectarines. Its literally impossible to get a bad one this season. Yellow or White Nectarines are a cant miss with a sweetness that's almost over the top.

So early Tonight, I am drinking a low grade Sauvignon Blanc along with the aforementioned Nectarines....and what a combo.

The sweetness of the nectarines is not only bringing out the lighter citrus notes of the wine but also bringing out hints of honey. Honest to god this is like drinking honey nectar. Then after drinking the wine and getting the semi tartness it brings-the sweetness of the nectarines is totally enhanced to the 10th degree. Almost tastes like a mango. Making all the better is I am by no means drinking some high end wine. This is literally something I picked up on a whim from World Market....Sea Cliff 2006 to be exact. I think it cost 5 bucks or something close to it. This probably reflects on my inexperience with white wine more then anything else but as far as whites go this is the best pairing I have ever experienced.

For you white wine fans- this is a fantastic pairing. I am not a big enough connoisseur to recommend a cheese with this but I would think a soft brie or maybe a mild white cheddar would pair incredibly.

Would love for someone to put this to the test. Please feel free to comment.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bernardus Chard, Ghost Pines Cab

Had 2 fantastic wines sunday in Bernardus Chardonnay and Ghost Pines Cabernet. Picked up both bottles at Total Wine in Tustin under 15 bucks a bottle. The Bernardus was recomended by a former co-worker while the Ghost Pines was the 2006 vintage. I reviewed the 2005 vintage previously with good results and was interested in seeing the consistency.

Both of these wines are fantastic values for the price. The Bernardus is one of the smoothest Chardonnays I have ever had with a finish that was very very clean and uber-smooth. Buoyed by apple and grapefruit overtones with just a touch of wood. I much prefer reds to whites but this was a fantastic wine.

The Ghost Pines Cab is a great example of the varietal with a deep dark color and an unmistakable essence of dark berries and deep wood. Usually the Ghost Pines will run around 20 bucks so to get this at 15 is a great deal. If you are accustomed to sub 10 dollar wines by all means spend the extra 5 to pick up a bottle of this. I think you would be hard pressed to find a better bottle for that price.

As for the some of the culinary accompaniment, I picked up some meats and cheeses from Claro's in Tustin. In particular the Garlic Salami was a textural masterpiece as was the Baby Swiss. We also had some Brie but must admit this was a Trader Joes offering. I also must admit that I have become accustomed to eating the rind. In this case with the TJs brie you really dont have much choice as its a smaller casing that makes cherry picking the brie a bit more difficult then when eating the wedge style brie.

All in all a wonderful evening with 2 great wines.

My Wife examining the color and doing the swirl test on the Bernardus.

The Spread...the blueberries look very big here but the fact is the grapes were just very small. I should mention as well the Parmigian Focacia Toast Points and balsamic/olive oil dipping sauce. A perfect pairing!

Sliced Meats-The Garlic Salami is in the middle with the Sopressata on the far right.

A couple of looks at the bottles.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Zenko Sushi Mission Viejo

For 22.95 it may be the best bargain in town. The servers are very very helpful and friendly and unlike some other AYCE sushi bars, their selection is very very good. Someone mentioned the huge ice cold waters, I should also mention they keep the place well chilled as the AC seemed to be going full bore. Hey, with sushi this good they gotta find a few creative ways to get people full and out the door.

The portion sizes are very nice, really-exactly what you would see at your normal sushi place which is nice because for an AYCE you tend to expect much less.

Th Green Dragon roll was very good, the stuffed Jalapeno was amazing...spicy but not overwhelming. Im a sucker for spicy tuna handrolls and these did not disappoint nor did the spicy scallop roll which I simply ordered because I could. And the Baked Mussels were incredible...I am sure I could have eaten 20 given the chance.

Their selection of Gourmet/Fancy/Americanized rolls was very very impressive. Me and the wife always have an ongoing joke that there are some items at Sushi Bars that if you dare order in Japan, the chef and the dishwasher pull you into the back alley and administer a beating simply for the having the nerve to order. If you have ever been to any MakiYaki you probably know what Im talking about. I have the ongoing joke that if you order something in Japan where the chef and the dishwasher come from the back and start to beat you have most likely ordered some bastardized california type sushi. Hell my ongoing follow up joke is in Japan if you order rice with your sushi you are a pussy.

Overall this place was great, I will certainly be back. When you think of your run of the mill Chinese AYCE that goes for roughly 12-13 bucks a pop and consider you can go to this place for 10 bucks more....its a complete no brainer.

Oh Yeah, did I mention they actually have a lobster roll as well?

We order 3 big beers(1 Sapporo 2 Kirin )and with 2 adults the tab with tip came to roughly 80 bucks. Not too shabby and the thrill of being able to order whatever the hell you want makes it worth it.