Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Friday, February 27, 2015

Going Back to Fish Tacos at Amigos Tacos

 I have a lot of photos from a lot of places I have dined at. I did that for two reasons, to remember places that I liked and because I was going to blog about them. However the second didn't happen for some so I've decided to dip back into the past and write about a few of them. Like this yummy plate of fish tacos from 2011 at Amigos Tacos in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

If there is one other food besides Japanese that I've eaten more than the norm, it's fish tacos. The ones at Amigos Tacos were battered, topped with creme fresh, lettuce, tomatoes and served on corn tortillas. I prefer corn because the flavor combined with the fish increases the umami of the dish. Plus corn tortillas hold up better than flour which tends to get soggy and tear. Not so sure about cheese on fish tacos but I remember the flavor of the cheese did not overwhelm everything else.  I have to say this was a really good plate of fish tacos with a big serving of rice and beans, both cooked just right.

While eating I appreciated the colorful decor. It's pretty standard for Southern California Mexican food places but still the mural was bright and gave a little openness to the restaurant.

My companion enjoyed his chicken burrito and added salsas and pickled carrots on everything.

It's been a few years since I ate there but Amigos Tacos is still open and is located at 1221 Artesia Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Visit to Alameda Brewhouse

 One day last March I needed to stop at Pips Donuts, which is something everyone who likes donuts should do. But I wanted lunch first so I chose to check out the Alameda Brewhouse which is next door.

Inside is a big space that could have felt overwhelming but details like the banners on the wall and the color coordinated decor helped bring it down to scale visually.

Up first was choosing something to drink. I don't remember what I had but if I guessed now it might have been the Black Bear XX Stout. I remember more the server trying to get me to buy a case of beer than what I drank that day.

Lunch came with a side salad, fries, chips and so on. I went with the salad.

Seeing a fish sandwich on the menu I decided to try it. Their Okanogan Steelhead Gyros topped with tatziki sauce.

Not sure if they changed their menu since it now lists feta cheese and red chard as part of this dish. Also not sure if this was salmon or trout since it's not noted either. While the fish, tatziki and flat bread were good, the fact that the cucumber and tomato were sliced too thick was a problem for me when eating this. I hope they changed that.

I did not get a chance to see other dishes they served so I can't speak to how the rest of the food is there.

I haven't been back due to there being so many places in Portland to eat. I'm sure if one is in the area along Fremont and wants something a little stronger than what is served at Pips, it's not a bad place to have some beer.

They are located at 4765 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97213

Monday, February 23, 2015

Temptation from Blue Star Donuts in Portland

Portland is an experimental laboratory for food. Someone is always trying to find a different way of doing things. Such as using brioche dough for making donuts and displaying them like French pastries.

 In case you aren't sure, when you are in Portland and you see one of these signs you can stop in.

 And end up with a box like this.

 Inside you might have Valrhona Chocolate Crunch with a cream filling and Raspberry Buttermilk Old Fashion.

 Or a Passion Fruit donut with Cocoa Nibs.

 The Pistachio Cake with raspberry hibiscus was rather tasty.

 I was especially fond of the Green Tea one. I liked how the green tea sugar stayed on the donut.

But for a chocolate lover like me I had to have the Chocolate Almond Ganache.

My findings from my research is that these are delicious donuts and more of a special treat due to the price and limited number of locations. Personally I like them but since there are many donut shops around that are pretty good I've only visited Blue Star three or four times.

I must note that these donuts are the result of a few stops over a year or two at Blue Star Donuts and not eaten all on the same day.

Blue Star Donuts website is here with temptations and three locations.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Magnolia is Starting to Bloom

Someone was looking for Spring.

It won't be long little cat.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Twin Peaks Nodoguro Style

 Diane, I've been on the road trying to reach that place called Twin Peaks. For some odd reason the GPS I have led me to Portland, Oregon.

 Since I was told to investigate the strange happenings in Twin Peaks, I decided to check out this restaurant here. It's called Nodoguro. I'm not sure what to make of the strange hieroglyphics on the black board. I remember Agent Cooper's report mentioned something like this on a cave wall.

 At least it seems there are plenty of donuts and coffee cups here.

 And there is a map of Twin Peaks so I should be in the right place. Rather interesting looking restaurant. Someone has an eye for decor. Seems her name is Elena Roadhouse.

 These two fellows invited me to sit down and eat a little food. One calls himself Chef Ryan Roadhouse and the other is a sou chef at this place, Mark Wooten. Dressed like locals it seems.

 I noticed in front of me a list of what looks like drinks. I wonder which of these local constables wrote this up and if it has anything to do with the strange happenings.

 There's also a small file titled Laura Palmer. Isn't this the case Agent Cooper was investigating?

Inside was a photo of Laura Palmer and a few other things. Including a menu? Odd.

 I noticed a paper someone seems to have dropped.

 It sure looks like Agent Cooper was here. I wonder if he found out what was in the pie. Perhaps I need to also investigate that pie.

 I was offered a drink. Slightly sweet with a bit of fizz and a cherry. I noticed a face in the distance that looked familiar. 

 I decided to check a few more things out. Seems they like wine here.

 And sake. I need to ask that Sheriff Truman if this is evidence.

 As I sat back down a bowl was set down in front of me. Someone mentioned there was cod in the percolator. That would not be a good thing but this bowl of fish? Definitely was good. Flash fried black cod in dashi with mustard greens, green onion, ginger, and crispy parsnip.

Chef Roadhouse mentioned Pete Martell had passed away. Pete who loved fishing for trout. So he put together this pressed ocean trout sashimi cured with soy and sesame and finished with aged soy hon wasabi and shimonita negi. The addition of the sesame flavor definitely one upped prior incarnations of any ocean trout I've had.

Finally handed a cup of joe. Black coffee. Coop said the coffee was damn fine in Twin Peaks. But what are these three pieces of corn doing on top? Were the guys dishing up the food trying to give me a clue? And why three? Does that mean something?

I remember Agent Cooper saying something about an experience where his coffee was solid and smelt of burnt oil. This looks like it could be the same thing. But it smells rather pleasant.

Using my spoon I can see this isn't coffee at all. I take a bite. Crikey, it tastes great! One of the fellows tells me it's called coffee cup custard. Chawanmushi topped with a black trumpet mushroom gel and freeze dried corn.

I'm starting to wonder if any of the food will be what it seems. At least this is a Turnip Waldorf salad.
Made with Japanese turnips with saikyo miso sauce, natsu rakuten komatsuna with walnut dressing, dried cranberries and fresh apple. Good enough for a celebratory family dinner when you want to impress them.

Next I'm given a bowl of what they call Smoked Cheese Pig. Fresh mozzarella cheese. Smoky dashi. Shaved ham. Olive oil. It seems a couple of the locals were taken with a brie and butter sandwich so the proprietor of this place decided to spin that into this bowl of deliciousness.

I'm overwhelmed by the flavor of the food being served up. Clearly this is another realm beyond ours. One where people are served dish after dish of tempting food. Like this seared duck breast with huckleberry sauce and potatoes gently cooked in saikyo miso and butter. Damn this is a fine plate of food.

Or perhaps this is a form of torture since I know I will have to eat again and it's going to be hard to find food this good. Even what looks like a simple dish of porridge turned out to be amazing. Japanese rice cooked in dashi, finished with uni butter. Fresh uni. Topped with aged soy sauce and finely ground expresso coffee. I noticed the young woman beside me was getting up every last drop of this Japanese risotto with her fingers. Can't blame her.

 I know this one. Tamagoyaki. A very fine egg omelet indeed.

One last bowl. Ice cream and a donut. Not your average Ben and Jerry's ice cream either. Toasted soba ice cream made by Nodoguro topped with roasted soy bean powder and black sugar syrup. Accompanied by a fresh and airy donut dusted with cinnamon and sugar. What a pairing!

You know Diane, if you are ever in the area you have to try this Nodoguro place out. Their food was fantastic! Not the usual fare one gets at a diner but heck, who wants to eat only diner food?

 And if I was still hungry after all that food there were still donuts available.

Diane, I'd like to leave but I seem to be stuck in this room with a short dancing guy.
 If you get this recording, please forward it to Bureau Chief Gordon Cole and anyone else who you think can use this information.

Here are the particulars:  

Nodoguro located at 3735 SE Hawthorne in Portland, Oregon.
Reservations can be made on website here with advance payment since they do sell out in advance and this is a small restaurant with personal service.


「のどぐろ」は3735 SE Hawthorne ブルバードにあり、皆様のお越しをお待ちしております。座席数が限られております。ご予約はhttp://nodoguropdx.com/からどうぞ。皆様のお越しをお待ち申し上げます。

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Chefs' Week PDX 2015 Gets Sweet

 One of the things that Chefs Week Portland does is bring together different people and companies to create new things. At the end of the West Coast Modern dinner we were able to experience a little of that. Chef Gregory Gourdet and Chef Jose Chesa worked with local candy makers and the lucky diners were able to experience the results.

 Chef Jose Chesa met up with Quin Candy to produce two sweets. One was a yogurt caramel with pimento which had a nice smoky flavor and a hint of the yogurt afterwards. The other was a chocolate olive oil lollipop with a hint of salt. I could taste the olive oil which blended really well with the chocolate flavor. I wish I could have more of these. It was really good.

The third sweet was from Chef Gregory Gourdet who teamed up with Woodblock Chocolate to make this treat. He put together chocolate with puffed rice, hazelnut brittle and sea salt with tandoori spice. Very interesting flavor with a slight salty sweet topping mixing with the dark bitterness of the chocolate in a really good way. Underneath it all was the tandoori spice taste making this a complex little chocolate. I enjoyed all three of these candies and wish I could get more, especially the lollipops.

Quin Candies website is here and they have a shop in Portland and sell in stores in the US and Canada and online. I have their Woodblock Chocolate Caramels which I purchased at Pastaworks.

Woodblock Chocolate also sells in stores in the US and Canada and even in Japan. Here is there website.