Dinner for purists at Ijji Sushi in San Francisco

by foodhoe on November 27, 2016

ijji_entrance

Last week, Mr. K and I were invited to experience the new menu at Ijji Sushi on Divisadero which is now serving a 19-course menu for $135 (there is an ala carte menu but only if you wish to add to the 19 courses).  The restaurant is tiny with only 17 seats, 7 are at the counter, which is the focus of the room.  The decor is minimal but warm and welcoming, everyone greets you enthusiastically with irasshaimase! when you enter.

ijji_interior

Sushi started out as a street food, so it’s perfectly acceptable to eat with your hands, especially if an oshibori (wet heated towel) is provided.  When eaten with your hands, you can feel both the texture and the temperature of the fish and rice.  They provide a small moist white cloth to clean your fingers with during the meal and the chopsticks are for eating sashimi and the ginger.

ijji_tableset

There were three chefs behind the counter, a hostess and one server that took our drink orders and brought food out to the tables.  This is Chef-owner Billy Kong, who also runs Saru in Noe Valley and is formerly of Sushi Sam’s in San Mateo.   We sat at his station and found him to be quite focused but very friendly and took the time to describe the ingredients and preparation to us.

ijji_chef_billy

The sushi counter is unusual because it is not dominated by a refrigerated display case.  Instead, it is a sleek 12 -foot hinoki wood bar top where you have an unobstruced view of the chefs at work.  You can also get a peek inside of the boxes where the fish is stored in the photo below and also of the Hotate or sea scallop which was part of our meal.  Most of the fish served is shipped in from Japan.

ijji_scallop_fishbox

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Lunches at Parada Kitchen in Walnut Creek

by foodhoe on November 12, 2016

7001 Sunne Lane, Walnut Creek |  925.448.8118   | website

parada

The office I work at is located in a business park which is well off the beaten track.  I was so excited when chef Carlos Altamirano opened a Peruvian comfort food restaurant nearby called Parada Kitchen, which is named for a famous food market in Lima, Peru.  He has a couple of restaurants in the City, but I’ve have only been to his stunning La Costanera restaurant with breathtaking views in Montara, which you can read about here.  The chef is dedicated to sharing the flavors of his homeland and even has a local farm where he grows his own rocoto chilies, a fundamental ingredient of Peruvian cuisine.  The restaurant bustles surprisingly because it is a culinary amazement for the area and is a beacon for hipsters, families, and local workers on an expense account (because it is a bit pricey).

pk_interior

Inside the restaurant can get really noisy but they have an outside patio area that is quieter and lovely when the weather is nice (which it usually is).

pk_patio

They will drop off a little cup of Cancha to start with, a popular snack in Peru and Ecuador that is made from a special variety of large-kerneled corn called maíz chulpe or maíz cancha chulpe. The dried kernels are tossed with oil and toasted in a hot skillet until they are browned.  The interior of the kernels do not burst out and puff up like popcorn, but become lightly puffed and toasted and when sprinkled with a little salt are addictive as all get out.

pk_cornnuts

I sat next to a table who all ordered the Lima Mojito sans alcohol ($7), which inspired me to order one too.  It was refreshingly tart and flavorful with lime, simple syrup and lots of mint.  Loved it,  I highly recommend this!

pk_mojito

Tequeños ($9.50) are fried stick shaped wontons filled with shrimp and queso and served with puréed avocado and panela sauce.

pk_empanada

Of course you must order the ceviche, which is the national dish of Peru.  The Cebiche Pescado ($14.50) is fresh fish of the day marinated in leche de tigre, the mixture of lime juice, red onion, aji rocoto chili peppers, salt and pepper which is known as “milk of the tiger” that is believed to have aphrodisiac properties, is a cure for hangovers and is a magical stimulant, so many people drink it after they finish the fish.

pk_ceviche

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Golden chicken sandwich at the Habit

November 6, 2016

I have to tell you about a fabulous sandwich that was recently introduced at the Habit Burger, which was recently rated by Consumer Reports as having the best tasting fast food burger in America based on a reader survey.  Now that is high praise and it’s no secret that they are one of my favorite fast casual burger places in the area, so I […]

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A new spot for Lemonade in Walnut Creek

October 13, 2016

Hey there, it’s been a while hasn’t it?  A recent death in the family had me focused on other matters for a while and I’m sorry that I neglected my site and my few faithful readers…  The verdict is that while it was good to take a breather, I still feel compelled to share my latest eating […]

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Southern Brunch for Dinner

August 29, 2016
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4001 Broadway, Oakland, CA  | 510.547.1446 | website Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and when I saw that Clove and Hoof in Oakland was offering a special southern brunch for dinner earlier this month, I immediately went online and signed up.  I have been hearing really good things about this place (click here […]

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A fantastic tasting menu at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino

August 15, 2016
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19379 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino| 408.446.2222 | website I grew up in the Peninsula and always marvel when I visit the South Bay because it is has gone so upscale with the proliferation of tech companies that is parodied so well in the excellent show Silicon Valley.  We got a close up look at this when we visited Alexander’s Steakhouse last weekend to check out their new location in […]

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The excellent breakfast at Grand Lake Kitchen

August 2, 2016
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576 Grand Ave, Oakland 94610 | 510.922.9582 | website Hours:  9 am – 10 pm everyday but Tuesday (closed) brunch until 3 pm | happy hour 4 – 6 pm | dinner 5 – 10pm Mr. K and I really miss our old stomping grounds at Lake Merritt, and we still love to shop at the fabulous Grand Lake Farmer’s Market on Saturday, then go […]

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