Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Flowers

I usually take photos when I am out so thought I would post a few of the petaled ones that were blooming in May. Blackberry flowers came out even when the skies were grey.

Nearby a hedge of roses highlighted a sunnier day.

They added a bit of color to my walk.

Some were almost cloud-like.

I could not pass up this crowd of violas. I'm contemplating some kind of sweets that they could grace.

I was very happy to find cosmos again.

 Besides these lavender pink blooms I also have white and a darker lavender pink color. I can't say they are just pink. In person they are a lovely lavender color.

Not all my flowers are showy. Both of my tomato plants have little yellow blossoms which I hope will grow into delicious tomatoes.

My mints and basil are also doing well plus there are a few shiso plants that are slowly growing.

And because someone mentioned I should post cats, here is Tashi doing her thing out in the plants.
(That's bird and creature watching btw)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Flashback to Sakura Sushi in Long Beach California

 Going through my photos and I don't think I ever mentioned one of the local sushi places we would go to. Sakura Sushi in Long Beach, California was one of those small unpretentious places where the chefs got to know and appreciate you.

I don't remember how many times we ate there but each time I would order the usual like tamago yaki which was good.

And the boyfriend would order something unusual like this spicy tuna creation.

Nice touch with the lemon slice. Little things like this can make a place stand out from the generic sushi joint.

Of course I would order yellowtail nigiri.

While the boyfriend had to try other inventions like the melon and tuna plate.

This was actually really good.

Most likely hotate (scallop) gunkan. It's been a few years since I took these photos.

Of course farmed salmon. Back then trying to find a place that served wild salmon was not an easy task.

Unagi (fresh water eel) wasn't so endangered as it is today. At least more places are serving anago (sea eel) in a similar manner so that is good.

So this is my little flash back to a sushi restaurant that didn't obsess about sushi rolls and we thought it was pretty good for the times. Sakura Sushi is no more. It's changed names and management and probably ownership. But I do have fond memories of eating there prior to that.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Fish Taco Expedition to Santeria

One of the things I did after moving to Oregon was try to find restaurants that made decent fish tacos. Sometimes the search led me to interesting places.

One of the most unusual was Santeria in Portland. Without the wall art it would sub in for many Southern California taco joints.

But the rather unusual and eclectic decor and hand drawn symbols give it more of a Portland feel to the place. That do it yourself handmade vibe that one can find more often on the East Side of town.

Rather well made drawings taped up to the wall add to the air of roughness.

I like that there are places like this around the city. It has a feel of realness.

I checked out more of the art while waiting for my food. Along with listening to very loud music. I don't know if that is standard for them.

The other interesting thing about Santeria is that they share a bathroom with Mary's Club which is a strip club. I don't know if they now have a sign stating this. They didn't when I was there. I know also recently they no longer allow minors into the the restaurant because of sharing the bathroom.

So what did I eat and how was it? I started with some chips and a good salsa along with a berry margarita which was pretty good.

As for the fish tacos, they were definitely worth having. Corn tortillas, lettuce, salsa fresca and a little creme fresh for the nicely batter fried fish.

I'm pretty sure Santeria has take out which I need to remember when I am in that area, hungry and wanting some food to take home. This is also good to know if you have young ones with you and still want something to eat from Santeria. I can't say they will take orders outside their door but I'd guess they may since I did see them also bringing food to tables across the street when I was there a couple years ago. They are located at 703 SW Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97205. It's an odd little street there but not impossible to find. The website for Santeria is located here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Can You Zenbu?

 If you end up in SE Portland you could Zenbu. One day I went for a drive and made a stop in Sellwood. A nice little Portland neighborhood with it's own little food cart culture.

 Zenbu is located about a block away from the main food truck pod. But worth the extra block if you are into sushi, especially sushi rolls which is the main portion of their menu. They also have katsu, a couple chicken dishes, and fish tacos which I need to try.

This trip I went with the chef's choice nigiri combo. While they have a lot of rolls, I find going simpler is a better way to see if a place is quality in their fish and sushi rice. For the price this was a pretty darn good set of nigiri. I might be wrong but from left to right it was most likely snapper, probably escolar (no problems so might have been something else), farmed salmon, yellow tail and lastly maguro tuna.

I'm going to make at least one trip back this summer not just to try their fish tacos but there is also a Ukranian food cart near by called Russian Horse which I want to check out.

Zenbu is located at 7909 SE 13th Ave, Portland, OR, 97202 and their website is here. They also have a Facebook page that lists their daily specials here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Eating at Amelia's in Hillsboro

A while back I was looking for some place in Northwest Oregon that served good fish tacos. It seemed a number of people liked Amelia's in Hillsboro for a cheap lunch. So I thought I would check it out.

I had hoped for a la carte tacos but sadly they only had platters. Which were not that cheap for lunch. But I went with it even though it was more food than I normally eat for lunch.

The beans and rice were tasty and the platters looked very colorful.

The fish tacos were loaded with lettuce and tomato salsa.

They weren't bad but were a bit spicy for me. So I'm afraid Amelia's didn't make it to my short list of places I go to for fish tacos. Although they do look like they have a loyal following and perhaps sometime I may try something else there when I am really hungry for Mexican food.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dining at DaNet

One of the great things about the dining scene in Portland is how pop-ups have thrived. It's a great way for chefs to experiment and to cook food that they really love. One such pop-up is DaNet, Chef Vitaly Paley's homage to Russian cuisine. I decided to check it out last month.

DaNet is held in the Portland Penny Diner. Gone is the diner seating, replaced by barrels, candles and Russian tchotchkes. Upon entering we were offered a choice of three drinks while we waited to be seated.

Waiters brought around trays of hors d'oeuvres like this deviled egg seasoned with anchovies

and little potato blini with smoked salmon, dill and sour cream. As delicious as these were one should limit eating them because the dinner ahead was no small feast.

At the table there were place cards for each reservation and two menus for the night's meal including one which listed the drink pairings. I sat with the family of a guy who was recently hired so I was able to sample a little bit of the wine pairings. I have to say they were innovative and very good. I would recommend this if one wants to drink with the dinner. Thomas Hebenstreit is the wine director for the restaurants and he is very knowledgeable.

First up were plates of pickles including potatoes and mushrooms.

Along with that there were platters of traditional blini with seawater cured salmon caviar, butter and sour cream with dill.

Plus cured meats

and bowls of Salade Olivier and also Ash Roasted Beet Pkhali which is a chopped vegetable dish. Due to taking photos in candle light mine did not turn out that well so no photo of that.

But I do have photos of all the buterbrod they served us.

This is still the first course. While the courses were served Chef Paley spoke about the dishes and his inspirations for the courses.

I tried to limit what I ate in the first course because the second was a Schi Bogatye which was a wildlife soup with sauerkraut along with a Nyanya Rastegai. That was a buckwheat stuffed hand pie filled with mushrooms. We were told to drip some of the broth into the pie and put a bit of the sour cream and onions and herbs on the soup. The pie was delicious and with the soup, since wild game and beef is not something I eat I focused instead on the sauerkraut which was amazing. Chef Paley said they pickle it with cranberries. I have now found another pickled food that I want to try making.

On to the third course which was this beauty. I found out later that Imperial's Chef de Cuisine Doug Adams crafted this Kulebyaka.

Topped with viziga cracklings (sturgeon) the flaky dough surrounded layers of morel mushrooms, king salmon and rice draped in a wonderful butter sauce. This was one of the best things I have ever eaten in my lifetime. It was as if nothing else existed while I enjoyed it's deliciousness. Really was perfection in a dish.

Being totally satiated we all sat around while Chef Paley set up our final course which included tea from this samovar.

Sugars and honey were set out for diners. The glass near this was pickle juice which came with the vodka flight.

Dessert was not lacking either. Plates of rhubarb jam filled donuts and bird's milk cookies

along with bake milk ice cream bon bons and mom's cacoa and sour cream layer torte were set out.

Which we enjoyed with cups of hot tea. I really could not eat another bite but the desserts were so good I did try each one.

Since there were a couple left I was able to take them home. Which was really nice that I could try them again. The donut was so good I think Pips would have a challenger if Chef Paley ever wanted to open a donut shop.

I also had a couple with a cup of Smith Tea Brahmin black tea. Even a day or two later they were still delicious, especially that torte.

Well that was an outstanding meal. I hope some day I can have another DaNet dinner, or at least kulebyaka again. It was truly worth trying.

If you are interested in dining at DaNet, information can be found at Imperial Portland Restaurant's website which is here. Reservations are needed and can be made by calling the Imperial. Right now the dinners are once a month. And if you go, try not to eat too much beforehand.