Friday, March 30, 2007

J's all-time favorite: KING TACO

Ahhhh, King Taco. I'd heard the stories of the carne asada, pollo and red hot salsa for years from J, who, ironically was a veggie when I met him. No, he wasn't a carrot - he was a 10-year vegetarian until I lead him away from his misguided ways. Oh now now- before you animal activists start blasting me, that was just an affectionate joke. Of course I respect the vegans and vegetarians of the world- heck, I tried the vegan thing in college (read: lots of bean and rice burritos with guacamole or french fries) and actually do cook vegetarian meals often. It's just that, being a true lover of all things food, I couldn't possibly resist the urge to try anything once I get the chance to.

J's love of King Taco started way before he even thought about vegetables. He was living with friends in East L.A. and would often visit the original King Taco on Cypress for his burrito fix. He'd told me about the burrito over and over again, and did take me once right after I met him but I remember the chile being way too hot for me....and not really much else. I think, at the time he took me, he still hadn't converted back to meat eating and settled for a non-meat item. Anyway, he did always profess his love for King Taco (and pepperoni pizzas with beer- a combo that he claims is better than life itself) even when he was a veggie.

Now that he's a few years back in the Land of Meat, we made the long-awaited return visit to the Original King Taco the other day. We were starving.......we got 2 asada burritos (mine sans salsa), 1 quesadilla and an order of chips. There's a nice, efficient system at King Taco, and only a few menu items, so it goes quickly. Line up at Window #1 and place your order, wait to hear your number and pick up at Window #2. Find a seat, then grub away.

When I saw the quesadilla, I immediately thought, "Want a little tortilla with your queso?" The plate was a lake of melted cheese and somewhere in there, I saw the flour tortilla gasping for air as it drowned in the off-white goo. Oh wait- this will be a good place for my disclaimer: although J is Mexican, I am not, nor will I ever claim to be, an authority on Mexican cuisine. Ok, phew. Anyway, I'm looking at it thinking "????" but we parked ourselves on a bench inside and dug in.

Help me, I'm downing in queso!

J started in on his asada burrito with vigor, but after two Godzilla-sized bites he says "Wait- this is YOUR burrito!" since I'd gotten mine sans beans and salsa. We swapped out and enjoyed our own burritos- mine was good, but it just didn't blow my socks off. The meat was slightly gristle-y but the rice was well seasoned but again, nothing spectacular. I know King Taco is famous....maybe I'm missing something? J, meanwhile, was as happy as Paula Deen standing next to a 1000 lb BUTTER sculture of Yoda, exclaiming, "This is the %$#!!" The both agreed that the quesadilla was ridiculous as we tried to peel the now-hardened cheese off of the tortilla. The chips were no different than store-bought, bagged chips. Overall, King Taco just isn't my cup of salsa verde, ya know?

Asada burrito

Anyway, we'll keep returning to King Taco as long as J has the craving for it. Next time I'd like to try their roasted pollo and see if I fare any better. In the meantime, I think I'll be hittin' one of the many taco trucks in our neighborhood to get my taco fix.

The Original King Taco
1118 Cypress Ave.
Los Angeles,Ca 90065

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Everyone Deserves a Third Chance: Mike and Anne's, South Pasadena

J and I get excited every time a new restaurant opens around our neighborhood. As avid dining-outers (isn't that what you call them?) we do have several favorites in regular rotation like Z Sushi, Briganti and Cafe Beaujloais, but it's nice when a new candidate moves in. Nothing wrong with adding a few more good restaurants into the mix.

Unfortunately, more often than not the new restaurant doesn't really impress and we're left to make repeat visits to our favorites that always please. I know- you should give each new dining establishment at least three of even four tries before giving up, but it's difficult to plunk down the dough when the crust just doesn't cut it. Er, wait- well you know what I mean. Why go back when you can be guaranteed a good meal at one of your regular joints? Because everyone deserves a second, third or even fourth chance, don't they? Especially a restaurant, which can go through several evolutions before finally hitting a stride that will put them in the running to become Someone's Favorite Restaurant.

About a year ago, J and I were in South Pasadena (only a stone's throw away from our 'hood) getting sandwiches at Buster's when we noticed a new restaurant opening a few doors down. The next week, we made our first visit to Mike and Anne's. As you can see by this post, it didn't impress and we left, disappointed. Of course we did take into consideration that it had just opened, but the space was so open and beautifully decorated that I suppose we expected more. About a month later we returned, only to be disappointed once again. There wasn't anything "wrong" with the food; it just didn't jump out at us in any way. The menu seemed incomplete and didn't offer many choices so we pretty much gave up on it.

Fast forward to last week. We wanted to go out to eat, stay close to home and I, in particular, wanted onion rings. That craving was put aside, however, since we didn't feel like going to a fast food joint and didn't want to make a second trip to The Coffee Table that weekend (we had been for brunch earlier). I suppose I always crave onion rings but don't eat them so I was used to being without. After vetoing Firefly (never had a good evening meal there- only brunch), Bistro De La Gare (wasn't in the mood) and Beaujolais (we go too often) we decided to give Mike and Anne's another shot........if just for the simple reason that we wanted to go somewhere different!

We were surprised (the first of several surprises, my friends) upon our arrival to see the place packed - on a Sunday evening no less. We managed to get a two-top inside (the patio was crowded as well) regardless and once again remarked at how lovely the space was. It's all wood and minimal touches- very clean. Our very friendly waitress informed us of the new Spring menu, took our wine order and left us to figure out what to order.

And what to my wandering eyes did appear......but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny.....wait, no......ONION RINGS! The second fabulous surprise of the night! I didn't need to review the list of tasty-sounding appetizers any longer as I knew I'd start with a side order of my favorite fried veggie! I know I may sound waaaay too excited - I mean after all, this is a common food- but in a fine dining establishment that had twice disappointed me? Hooray! I quickly forgot about the past and focused on my new future with Mike and Anne's. J decided to get the Asparagus Bisque w/ Brioche Croutons and Extra Virgin Olive Oil to start and the Jidori Organic Chicken Breast w/ Fingerling Potato, Mushrooms, Green Beans and Bacon, With Red Wine Sauce. Although I was ecstatic about my onion ring find, I was secretly hoping to try the soup so I was glad he ordered it. I opted for the Basil Risotto with Baby Spring Vegetables and Parmesan after spying the gorgeous green dish being devoured by someone at a nearby table.

Onion rings= fried rings of onion= true love

The appetizers came first, and they certainly didn't disappoint. Actually, they knocked our socks off. The onion rings were piping hot, and although I prefer my rings extra, EXTRA burnt/crispy, these certainly kicked the craving. The coating was substantial enough but not bready, and had a nice crunch to them. I wasn't too crazy about the accompanying Apricot Mustard but the Cranberry Ketchup was delicious. J's asparagus bisque was, well, Spring in a bowl and full of bright yet creamy flavor. The croutons and light drizzle of olive oil completed the perfect execution of this simple but refined soup.

Asparagus soup.....light yet creamy, and very green

The mains were just as delightful. J's chicken was perfectly tender and the mushrooms and potatoes were meaty and satisfying. Once again, the flavor and seasoning were spot on. If J's asparagus bisque was Spring in a bowl, then my basil risotto was Spring on a plate. Each al dente grain of rice was coated in the vibrant green of aromatic basil, and each baby carrot, turnip, summer squash zucchini and tomato were tender and succulent. J and I ate and just looked at each other like "Why didn't we return here sooner?!" The bread pudding we shared for dessert was a bit too dense for my taste but then again- it was warm, topped with cool vanilla gelato and drizzled with chocolate sauce, so who can really complain?

J's chicken= succulent= flavorful= he nuked the leftovers the next day in the plastic container which melted all over the chicken = darn!!!

Basil risotto= fresh= delicious= love the mini veggies

It's clear that the owners work extremely hard- it's obvious in the nature of their servers, the cleanliness and organization of the space and the quality of the food. We saw one of the owners (Mike?) meticulously wiping down wine glasses and checking for spots before hanging them from the rack. Watching him work in such a focused manner actually made me feel badly that I had once deemed the place unworthy of another visit, but made me happy that I did eventually find my way back. It was a good learning experience to try and try again when it comes to newer restaurants. Getting surprised by a restaurant is such a rare thing these days, but Mike and Anne's handed us many pleasant ones that night.

Bread pudding = sweet, but not too sweet, ending to our meal

I'll be returning!

Mike and Anne's
1040 mission street, suite 102
South Pasadena, CA

Monday, March 26, 2007


Today is my dad's birthday- and I just wanted to give a nice, big shout out. Out of anyone, I'd have to say he's been my biggest cooking inspiration and influence. He always cooked dinner on weeknights since he would come home earlier than my mom, and whether it was tuna casserole or chicken with cashews, it was always delicious. His lobster bisque is a Christmas tradition, and the one time he tried to swap it out for a different kind of soup, all of our guests were crushed that they didn't get their yearly lobster bisque fix! So thanks, Papa, for being such a culinary mentor!

I did manage to make him a cake, but it was more of a breakfast item than a birthday cake. Once I saw a photo of this Lemon Upside Down Cake in the LA Times, I knew I had to make it- it was so beautiful. It was a cinch to make but next time I will put more lemons at the bottom of the pan to create a prettier top. Since my parents loaded me up with blood oranges from their tree, I think I will try an orange version as well. You probably have all of the ingredients to make this cake in your pantry (you can certainly substitute vanilla extract for vanilla bean) so it's a great cake to whip together at the last minute.

I don't know how it tasted since I didn't try it, but hopefully it was good.

You can find the recipe here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cheddar Jalapeno Bread

I have a gazillion cooking magazines. I'm not sure if a gazillion is an official number, but that's the number that J would probably say if you asked him how many Gourmets, Bon Appetites and Food & Wine issues I have. Every time a new issue comes in the mail, I get so excited like a kid on Christmas Day. I'll save it until I know I have enough time to sit and really relish each and every beautiful photograph and carefully read every recipe. Sunday mornings are best spent with a big pot of coffee and one, or even better, two, new cooking magazines.

Now actually trying out each and every recipe is something I have yet to accomplish, and will probably not even live long enough to actually do. Of course when I see the gorgeous layout of daikon cakes and spicy noodles, I daydream of having an Asian-themed dinner party.......until I see the spread on Spring's Most Gorgeous Cakes which takes me to the next fantasy of piping a perfect row of icing onto a cake for a tea party. I've bemoaned this fact before and I'll whine about it once again- but there are simply too many recipes and too little time. Now I'd be dishonest if I didn't admit that yes, I could certainly devote more time to making a dent into my arsenal of's a promise I've made to myself again and again but life's distractions often get in the way.

There are some recipes, however, that demand your immediate attention, and I came across one the other day. Cheddar Jalapeno Bread. Let's take a second here. I love cheese. I love jalapenos. I LOVE bread. This is one recipe that had to be tackled now! It also reminded me of all the wonderful savory breads I'd buy at the many lovely bakeries in Japan. You see- here in the U.S. you think of a bakery, you picture cupcakes, donuts and other sweets filling the shelves. In Japan, there are equal rows of savory goodies like kare-pan (deep fried curry bread), rolls filled with ham and mayo (it's GOOD, trust me), shiny hot dog buns filled with warm potato salad and fluffy buns stuffed with yakisoba. Cheese bread comes in various flavors and shapes, and it was always one of my favorites. The crusty cheddar crown in the photo in Gourmet magazine reminded me of that, so I knew I had to make it right away.

This bread was relatively easy to make and requires no kneading. The extra-sticky dough takes a bit of a light touch to handle, but the results are worth it. I started with 3 large jalapenos which I sliced with a mandoline. I wanted to be able to see the round slices of peppers in my bread, although the end result didn't have a strong jalapeno flavor and no heat. Next time I will leave the veins in and slice them a lot thicker. I didn't think about slicing the finished loaf, so I was worried about the bread being too spicy but since you slice the large loaf in order to eat it, you'll never end up with too many jalapenos in your once slice. After grating some cheddar in my Cuisinart, I went ahead and make the dough, added the cheese and peppers and let it rise in a warm place.

I made sure I didn't peek at the dough so it could get it's time to rise......and 90 minutes later it had swelled above the rim of my mixing bowl. I'm going to dork out here for a minute so please forgive me, but there are fewer more satisfying experiences in the kitchen than to see dough that has swelled to double its original size. Why? I can't explain it but it's very exciting. Yup. Me = nerd alert nerd alert!! Anyway, after weeping at the beauty of my puffy dough for a minute, I dumped it out of the bowl, divided it in half (I doubled the recipe to make two loaves) and very gingerly folded each half three times, like a letter. After another rise in the bread pans, the puffy delights were brushed with egg wash, topped with grated cheddar and parmesan and popped in a nice, hot oven.

I don't know if I can even find the words to describe the aromas which floated through the house as the bread baked in the oven. The scent of meat braising in red wine is probably the only other smell that I love as much as that of bread baking. This particular bread warmed the house with scents of rich, sharp cheddar cheese mixed with the yeasty aroma that most breads have. After about 50 minutes, I took the loaves, popped them out of the pans and began the excruciating process of waiting for them to cool. Anyone who's tried to cut into a loaf of bread fresh from the oven knows that your impatience is punished with sticky, doughy and dense slices. You must wait for the bread to cool and dry out a bit before diving in. *sigh*

After a good two hours, I finally cut through the crusty outer layer, revealing a nice, soft bread. After a light toasting and a minimal swipe of butter, I took a bite. It was very cheesy and the olive oil in the recipe really kept the bread nice and moist. There was only a hint of jalapeno, so, as I stated earlier, I will definitely add larger slices to my next batch. I took one loaf to work and sliced the other one up to store in the freezer for J's return this Friday. I think this bread is eaten best by itself with a bit of butter, but I may top a slice with some smoked turkey and tomatoes for a nice tartine. It'd probably be a bit too heavy to make a sandwich with.

Hope you get a chance to try it! I'd highly recommend using a good, sharp cheddar as it will come through in the bread.

You can find the recipe (for a single loaf) here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Refrigerator Supper

What, you say? No, I didn't eat my refrigerator for dinner. I'm talking about those days when you get home from work, you're cooking for one, and therefore you don't feel much like cooking. Thoughts of grabbing a burrito race through your head. "Oh! The corner place has pizza by the slice!" But then you see all of the stuff you purchased last weekend at the grocery store, and you know you should just use what you have. Now what? Hmmmm, I see corn tortillas but no salsa. There are a few stray veggies you have to eat before they go bad, a carton of eggs, Trader Joe's Eggplant Hummus (a constant presence)........"Mmmm, a sandwich would be great" but alas, no lunchmeat! Not even a can of TUNA in the pantry (yes, even Tuna Toast runs out of tuna)!

You start hearing echoes of your mom's voice...."Don't stand there with the refrigerator open!!!" and you know you have to make a decision. Upon inspection of the freezer, I find a bag of Trader Joe's Grilled Chicken Strips. "Ok, that could be the meat in my sandwich." Right next to them lie a few honey-wheat hamburger buns that J must have bought and tossed in the freezer. A peek into my pantry resulted in a can of cannellini beans, and I actually started to feel inspired. I can do this, I think to myself as my cat Cory is just hoping there's a can of cat food in there somewhere.

After a few minutes, I had dinner- a chicken and hummus sandwich on a whole wheat bun, a side of Kashi crackers w/ hummus (hey, I like hummus ok?) and a salad of greens, roasted beets, cannellini beans and shaved parmesan. Before you wonder where I had time to roast beets, I'll let you in on one of the best newish products at Trader Joe's- baby steamed beets. Vacuum packed, perfectly round, sweet and tender beets found in the fresh veggie aisle. They're awesome, and turn your everyday salad into something special. If you haven't tried them, I insist you do. They were formerly "Melissa's" brand, but TJ's often buys the product and makes it their own, as in this case and with the steamed lentils, another fantastic product.

I sat down with my sandwich/salad meal, turned on channel 13 to watch repeats of That 70's Show and enjoyed. Definitely better than takeout!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


J and I love our sake. We love it cold, in a glass overflowing into a masu...........especially if it's Shichiken brand. Let's just say that we definitely had a little lovefest with the sake two Fridays ago at Z Sushi. It was fun while the party lasted, but the next day we were both seeing spots and laying in the fetal position, making "uuuuuuuuuuggggggggggggg" sounds. Beloved sake, why must you kick our butts so hard?

The root of all evil......the night before, at Z Sushi......

After we managed to stand upright without wanting to run for the bathroom, we decided that the only cure would be a big, hot bowl of ramen. Funny, since J and I have never gone for ramen in Los Angeles. Never. Seems strange, I know, but I guess it just isn't on the top of our list when it comes to Japanese food (sorry Rameniac!). We're usually sushi, soba or donburi people, but ramen sounded like the perfect medicine for our sake-induced hangover. We jumped into the car and headed to Little Tokyo.

Even though it was 3:00 PM, there was still a line outside of Daikokuya. We waited patiently as the scent of ramen wafted through the air. We started getting impatient, however, when we saw about eight people leave the counter at the same time, but there weren't enough waitresses to clean their messes and seat us. We literally stared at the empty spots for 15 minutes before someone finally wiped them down and seated us. That was frustrating, but where else are two hungover people gonna go at 3:30 in the afternoon?! I was starving and couldn't wait to sink my teeth into anything at that point.'s perfect food.

We decided to order one plate of gyoza and two Daikokuya ramens. I don't know why gyoza is a common accompaniment to ramen, but it just is. In Japan, you almost always order a small plate of the dumplings with ramen.....kind of like curry and coffee. I've never had the latter myself, but you see "Coffee and Curry" signs all over Japan, as if it's some match made in heaven. Personally, the combo does not appeal to me in the least bit. Gyoza with anything, however, is a match that suits me anytime, anywhere. I LOVE gyoza and couldn't wait to try theirs.

We could see everything being made from our counter seats. Even though the vat of boiling tonkotsu (pork bone) soup was right in front of us, we weren't too hot sitting there. It was nice to watch the guys make fried rice, tontaktsu for the donburi and boil the ramen noodles in the individual colanders. Man, were we getting hungry. Just when we couldn't stand it anymore, our waitress brought our gyoza, and they looked fantastic. Browned and crisp on the outside, the filling wasn't nearly as flavorful as Mom's but it did the trick. We were ready for ramen!

Oh - before we get to the ramen, I must say....there was a family of five sitting at a table behind us. Mom, Dad and three if the biggest little annoying spoiled brat boys I have ever seen in my LIFE! The little rats were bothering EVERYONE in the restaurant- playing with balloons that kept landing in people's food, screaming while stuffing their faces at the same time.....and Mom and Dad just sat there, helpless. I had half the mind to go pull them out of the place by their ears. Seriously- it was so friggin' annoying. Don't you hate it when kids are obviously ruining the dining experience of everyone in the restaurants and the parents just SIT THERE? I should have pulled mom and dad out by their ears. Ugh! Sorry, but when I was comin' up, my parents would have never even allowed us to create such a scene. Honestly- have some respect!

Char's perfect food......

Ok, nice rant eh? Like I said, I was hungover, but even if I wasn't I would have kicked their little beehinds if it wouldn't land me behind bars. I mean, who wants to be in jail when they're hungover? Ok, back to the ramen. The two steaming bowls finally came, and we dug right in. The noodles were great- nice and slightly chewy. I loved the char sui....I mean, it's pork with pork fat on it...what's not to like, right? The bamboo shoots were also tasty, but the egg was really dry. I realize it's hard to keep the yolk soft when you're making so many bowls of ramen, but it was way overcooked and just broke into a million pieces. The soup, which many Japanese consider to be the most important part of ramen, was good but needed more.......salt. I know it sounds crazy, since most ramen tends to be on the salty side, but I kept resisting the urge to put some soy sauce in my soup. I later found out that J felt the same way. We both finished it all, nonetheless, and did actually feel better. The ice cold oolong tea was the perfect thing to wash it all down with.

Dry egg in ramen........

I think I'll have to try the donburi on my next visit to Daikokuya. Although it hit the hungover spot, I think I need the soup in my ramen to be a bit more flavorful. I have to admit though, I was transported back to Japan while sitting in that little ramen shop. The vintage Japanese signs and calls of "irahshai!" took me back to my days in Tokyo. The service leaves a LOT to be desired (i.e., they move like a herd of TURTLES!) but the food was pretty good.

"Oriental Curry"

327 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 626-1680

Mata ne!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Restaurant Review: Cube

What's a girl to do when her boyfriend gives her a gift certificate to Cube? Well, have a ladies' night, of course! "Wait," you say, "what about taking the boyfriend to dinner?" Well, the very nice gift-certificate-giving boyfriend doesn't even live here (he's out in Denver) and insisted she take her friends (insert "AWWWWWWWWWWWWW" here). That's my kind of friend's boyfriend, let me tell you. Especially if said girlfriend invites ME, which she did!

I'd been wanting to try Cube since the feedback on the place seems mostly positive. I also liked that they had a large selection of cheese and charge $0 corkage since they do not serve wine. The three of us went armed with our wine for a 7:00 PM reservation on a Friday night. You have to make reservations since there are only a few tables inside and out in the deli-like space. We opted for an inside table since the traffic on La Brea can get pretty loud. The Cube staff mark your reserved table with a little sign that has your name and the number of your party on it- a cute and personal touch, I thought.


We sat down and our friendly waitress gave us a small amuse of Myrtlewood cheese, served with pistachios and dried apricots. I've rarely met a cheese I didn't like, and this was no different. The three of us didn't even have to consult each other on what appetizer we would share- the minute we saw the Black Truffle Pizza, our inner voices started talking to each other and demanding we order it. We each decided on different pasta dishes as our main course, uncorked the first of (number that shall remain a secret) bottles of wine and caught up on work, relationships, food, the meaning of life, which soy milk tastes the best and whatever else girls talk about.

Will you marry me?

Ah, Black Truffle Pizza. You sauntered over to our table like the Darth Vader of Pies in your black and cheesy glory. What on earth is there NOT to LOVE about a crisp crust covered with black truffles and topped with oozing, melted cheese? Who needs money when this Sphere of Delight exists in the world (well, I mean I could always use more money but ya know...)? The earthy aroma of truffles wafted through my nose as I took a bite and, dear readers, it was every bit as good as you can possibly imagine. Washed down with wine, it was the perfect way to start (or continue, or end) a meal. I'll be having many more outings with this pizza, I can assure you.

My friend T's potato gnocchi w/ roasted garlic pesto was very garlicky and VERY good. Some people may find the roasted garlic overpowering, but after awhile it became quite addictive, actually. The gnocchi were perfect- chewy and toothsome but tender at the same time. I kept reaching over and nabbing the little nuggets (sorry T!).


K decided on the lobster ravioli w/ zucchini saffron cream sauce. It was a beautiful dish- bright yellow from the saffron. K was very happy, and I liked it as well, although I must warn you- it isn't for the saffron-faint-at-heart. The herb permeates the entire dish and makes for a lovely sensory experience.

Lobster ravioli

I decided to get the special of duck ragu, but instead of getting it on the gnocchi, I asked to have it on pappardelle instead. The pasta was fine, but I found the ragu a bit was very tomatoey but the flavor was lacking the depth and richness that a slow-cooking ragu usually has. It tasted good.......I guess I was expecting something with a bit more substance. I'm guessing that the thinner ragu would have actually made the perfect accompaniment to the gnocchi, so it serves me right since I decided to tweak my order and not follow what the chef had chosen. Lesson learned!

Pappardelle with duck ragu...

We decided to forego sweets and opted for an assortment of cheeses to finish the meal. We had a manchego, a white cheddar and a goat recommended by the waitress. We all agreed that the goat was our favorite.


Overall, I highly recommend Cube- the food is great, the service is stellar and the $0 corkage seals the deal on any place for me, really. The cozy deli-cafe/like interior is the perfect place to have some wine and catch up with girlfriends.

Leftovers marked so there's no mixup!

615 N. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA

Friday, March 02, 2007

Teriyaki Salmon Bowl

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. This whole Anna Nicole debacle has been eating up all of my energy (I work in media) so I haven't had any time to post! I've actually been cooking a good deal since we had a house guest for awhile, but I haven't been so good at taking photos.

I did, however, remember to take them a few nights ago. I had purchased a nice looking slab of salmon from my newly yuppied-out Vons the other day. I normally am not crazy about the seafood from my local Vons since we never had a fish monger and most of the packaged stuff looked brown and old....yuck. After a facelift, my neighborhood Vons now carries all kinds of stuff- oyster mushrooms, mini cauliflower, whole duck and yes- we now have a fish monger. The salmon was from Chile and looked mighty fine, so I picked it up and took it home (well, I mean I paid for it, of course!).


Recently I can't get enough Japanese food, so I decided to make a teriyaki salmon bowl. I was inspired by a post I saw on this blog, and wanted to make a big ol bowl of goodness. After making a batch of my dad's famous teriyaki sauce (7 parts each of soy sauce, mirin & sake + 1 part sugar and sliced garlic) I marinated the salmon (which I had cut into cubes) for about 30 minutes. 5 minutes in the broiler and they were done.

Salmon swimming in marinade....

To build my bowl, I started with farro, then added soybeans, sautéed asparagus, sautéed onions and the salmon. I reduced the marinade until it got thick, drizzled it over everything and finished it all off with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

Ready for broiler....

I must say- that Chilean salmon was awesome- buttery, rich and not fishy like the salmon of Vons' past. It picked up the teriyaki sauce so well and was a great accompaniment to the farro. The salmon bowl reminded me of some bowls that we'd get at a little Hawaiian joint in Shibuya- except they would always top everything with a fried egg and French fried onions. Maybe I should do that next time.....

Dad's Teriyaki Marinade
I know this sounds simple, but how many times have you had all too sticky and sickly sweet teriyaki?? This is perfect every time, and is great on ANYTHING. We've had it on fish, steak, chicken (especially thighs) and I'm sure it'd be a great marinade for veggies too.

7 parts soy sauce (not low salt)
7 parts mirin
7 parts sake
1 part sugar
thinly sliced garlic

Put everything into a sauce pan and heat until the sugar dissolves and you can smell the garlic. Take off of the stove and let it seep for at least 20 minutes.

If you want to thicken this as a sauce, simply put the marinade in a pot and heat over medium-high heat until it reduces to the desired consistency.

Slather over everything and enjoy!