Wasabi, a London-based Japanese fast food chain, will open its first U.S. location in Times Square at Seventh Avenue and West 40th Street on Monday, February 24, 2014.
From the English site, Wasabi looks like a fun place to get Japanese favorites like sushi, bento boxes and noodle soups. Everything is made in-house every day. They use sustainably sourced yellowfin tuna and salmon. There are at least 50 types of sushi to choose from in the form of hosomaki(thin rolls), futomaki (fat rolls), nigiri (thinly sliced fish over rice), gunkan (torpedo-shaped pieces), hand-rolls and onigiri (triangles of rice wrapped around a choice of savory filling). Also, the sushi is individually wrapped.
Not sure what fast-food ramen would be like (isn’t that an oxymoron?), but Wasabi has ramen as well as soumen, made with super-thin rice noodles, and tanmen, made with thick rice noodles.
I really wanted to try the ramen at Umami Shoppu in the West Village, but when I went here for lunch, I was craving sushi. So I ordered a lunch special of two rolls and salad for $9. A great deal in NYC!
My sushi: a Philly roll and a salmon avocado roll. A great value for lunch. I do want to return to try the ramen some time, as it sounds delish!
It’s not easy finding a restaurant with a short wait on a Saturday night in the Theatre District, but we did at Sushi Zen. The friendly and welcoming hostesses sat us within 15 minutes. The main dining area is comfortable with a zen-like feel to it.
We ordered appetizers from the streamlined menu: asari clam miso soup and fresh corn tempura to start.
My friend enjoyed the soup, and I really liked the corn tempura. I don’t order tempura, but the fresh corn sounded good.
For sushi, we got the salmon avocado roll–salmon roe, avocado and kaiware sprouts; negi toro pickles–fatty tuna, scallion and pickled daikon radish; yellowtail with scallion; and futomaki–snow crab, egg custard, gourd, spinach and pickles with bonito flakes. We enjoyed the sushi, but we also thought it was a bit expensive.
For the price, service was also a bit slow and not as attentive as it could’ve been.
Makana brings Hawaiian and Japanese barbecue to the Upper West Side with its new location. I recently drove by this area, and when I saw the name and the sign, I knew I had to try it. I didn’t realize it was a small, mostly-takeout spot, though, so there aren’t many seats here. But my friend and I got the cozy table by the window and shared some delicious food. I got the Kalua pork, smoked slowly roasted for hours with cabbage. The plates come with macaroni salad, white rice and garden salad. I didn’t understand why it was served with rice when it had macaroni salad. I don’t usually double up on my carbs, so I didn’t eat the rice. But I really enjoyed the pork and the macaroni salad. Really yummy!
I couldn’t resist getting the Spam avocado roll, even though I don’t eat Spam, and it was good too. My friend got a spider roll.
My friend also got one of the noodle soups, and he loved it.
Posted in Asian, New York, Restaurant
Tagged barbecue, BBQ, Hawaiian, Japanese, Kalua, macaroni salad, Makana, Spam, Upper West Side
Halloween is not a gift-giving holiday, but it can be if you want to give a gift to someone special or to yourself! I found some cool Halloween- and fall-related gift items.
The first is this adorable pumpkin-shaped cookbook of pumpkin recipes I saw at Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore in Manhattan. (They even have ones on potatoes, eggs and pasta too.)
If you want something a little more eerie, opt for the chocolate skull at Fika, a Scandinavian coffee shop in Manhattan.
Posted in Chocolate, Cookbook, Holiday
Tagged chocolate, cookbook, Fika, Halloween, Japanese, Kinokuniya, pumpkin, Scandinavian, skull
Interesting article on luxury fruit in Japan! Apparently, the Japanese give these hundred- and thousand-dollar fruits as gifts. I have a memory of the best-tasting peaches I’ve ever had. I didn’t pick them myself or get them from a roadside stand in Georgia or South Carolina. No, I got them from a street stand on a corner near Union Square. And they were cheap!
Morinaga & Co., the makers of candy Hi-Chew, is opening a plant in Mebane, North Carolina.
I’ve seen shirataki noodles in women’s magazines touted as the zero-calorie noodle for pasta lovers. I figured I had to try it. I found it at the Japanese grocery Sunrise Mart. It is made from yam flour. (There are versions made from tofu, but shirataki is made from yam flour.) One of these brands says it is 0 calories, 0 fat and 0 carbs. However, other brands say there are 10 calories per serving and 3 grams of carbs per serving (2 of those fiber). In one bag, there are two servings, so that would be about 20 calories and 6 grams of carbs (4 of fiber). If you look at the nutritional value of various spaghetti brands, you will see that 2 ounces of dry spaghetti is 210 calories and 42 grams of carbs (only 2 of those fiber).
These noodles do have a fishy-type smell, but that goes away once they are rinsed in water. Boil them for about 3 minutes in boiling water. I served them like spaghetti with tomato sauce and pecorino Romano cheese. I thought they tasted good–almost like I was eating a plate of spaghetti. The only difference was the texture of the noodle. It’s a hard-squish al dente, not sure how else to describe it. It reminded me of making spaghetti squash spaghetti, but it’s definitely a noodle not thin strands like the spaghetti squash.
I do think it’s filling, and I also think it’s a great substitute for pasta/noodles if you are counting carbs, cutting back or trying to avoid gluten or wheat.
I got my Love with Food January 2013 box. What a surprise since I’m home sick. The theme is international, and the products have international flair. Inside–gluten-free shortbread cookies in brown rice, matcha green tea and black sesame from Kyotofu, a restaurant right here in Hell’s Kitchen that makes modern Japanese desserts; firecracker ChocoPod mini chocolate bar from Chuao Chocolatier (a Venezuelan chocolatier based in the U.S.) with sea salt, chipotle and popping candy in dark chocolate; dark chocolate in speculoos and cannelle flavors from NewTree in Belgium; David Rio tiger spice chai mix of the U.S.; GoGo Squeez (my new favorite applesauce) apple strawberry sauce from France; Turbana plantain chips from Colombia; and almond anise biscotti from Biscotti di Suzy.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged applesauce, Biscotti di Suzy, box, chai tea, chocolate, Chuao Chocolatier, David Rio, GoGo squeeZ, January 2013, Japanese, Kyotofu, Love with Food, plantain chips, Turbana
Posted in Cake, Holiday
Tagged Argentinian, Australian, bibingka, British, cake, Chilean, Christmas, English, Filipino, fruitcake, Japanese, Julekake, Kerala, Norwegian, pan de pascua, pan dulce, Polish, poppy seed, strudel