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Friday, March 27, 2015

Back to Italy but not really....

The last time I went to Italy was probably about 5 years ago and boy do I need to go there again! It brought many memories and epic Italian food! I recently came across a place that brought back a glimpse of what I missed! The entire staff all seemed to have a thick Italian accent so it definitely felt very authentic! I have gone there twice now and I am convinced it's one if not the best Italian restaurant you can get in San Diego. I give to you Buona Forchetta! Everything I ordered so far have been very delicious, perfectly seasoned, and very authentic to what you would expect if you went to Italy for food. I don't praise many Italian restaurants but this one is without a doubt worth mentioning and sharing! I might regret doing this though because then I'll have to wait longer before I get seated =)
Store Front
Name: Buona Forchetta
Yelp: Click Here!
Google Maps: Click Here!

Here are items I have tried; sometimes pictures will speak volumes of how good it is so I'll just leave the photos for you to drool on!

Wild Boar Ragu Polenta Cake
Pork Shoulder Mushroom Risotto
Lobster Fettuccine
Salmon Arugula Ravioli with Saffron Sauce
Lamb Shank Risotto
Margarita Pizza

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hainanese Chicken Rice at Home!

Not going to lie, I'm pretty sure I just made the best if not one of the best Hainanese Chicken in San Diego and maybe perhaps all of SoCal. The white meat was so tender and juicy that you could get confused that you were eating dark meat! It was that good! I don't think I'll be craving to eat out for Hainanese Chicken Rice anytime soon. Here's what I did! Share if you love Hainan Chicken Rice!


Ingredients:

4 lb fresh whole Chicken
Salt
3 Green Onions branches
Ginger slices
Water
3 Garlic cloves
1.5 cups of Rice
Chicken Broth
Sesame Oil

Instructions:

Chicken:

1) Rinse the whole chicken with running cold water
2) Clean the chicken by pouring generously salt all over the chicken as well as on the inside
3) Now rub the salt against the skin and on the inside with some pressure (should sound sandy when rubbing)


4) Now rinse the chicken with running cold water again and pat it super dry with paper towels
5) Sprinkle salt again all around the chicken (inside as well) for seasoning
6) Cut green onions into 2" lengths
7) Slice ginger into 4" length (1/4 " thickness)
8) Stuff the green onions and ginger inside the chicken


9) Place the whole chicken (breast side up) into a pot and fill it up with cold water with ~ 1" above the chicken and cover


10) Set temperature to HIGH to bring the water to a boil
11) Once it has started boiling, lower the heat to LOW/SIMMER and set timer to 34 minutes (8.5 min/ lb)
12) They'll be some foams of bubbles surfacing on the top layer and be sure to sift them away!



13) Once time has elapsed, quickly pick up the whole chicken and dunk it in a pot of cold water to stop the cooking process and firm up the chicken


14) Before you commence portioning the chicken, pour 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil all over the skin.


Rice:

1) Mince the garlic cloves and ginger and heat them on a pan with cooking oil to bring out the aromas for the rice


2) Cook the rice in your rice cooker and use chicken broth (or broth from cooked chicken) and water (70-30 ratio), throw in the minced cloves and ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil into the mixture.


Soup:

Simply filter out the fat from the chicken broth and serve as soup! Salt if required. Mine turned out just fine without any modifications.



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Anthony Bourdain Approved Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

In my recent visit to Singapore, it was all about the Hawker centers (food courts). Inside the Maxwell Food center, there was a little shop that got Anthony Bourdain's attention so there was a pretty decent line to get their infamous Hainanese Chicken Rice when I was there. I could confidently say the people at Tian Tian know what they are doing and this place has one of the better Hainan Chicken Rice dishes I've had. Chicken was poached to perfection and all the natural flavors come through and through. It was very tender and juicy. The rice was flavored very well. Only minor complaint I had was that the sauce they poured all over the chicken was kind of slimy and personally unnecessary I think.

Don't get confused at which place to go as there are many other food vendors in this food center that have basically copied their sign (blue background white font) to look identical and confuse the uninformed.

Store Front
Name: Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Yelp: Click Here!
Google Maps: Click Here!

Menu
Anthony Bourdain

Infamous Chicken
Takes your order and move on!

Half a Chicken

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Perfect Golden Crispy Pork Tonkatsu in Kyoto

Japan is not like many train stations around the world. Not only are the trains bullet trains and not only are they super on-schedule all the time but they also serve great tasting meals. There was a whole floor dedicated to dining and I came across a place that had a pretty long line so I decided to try it out. They are renowned for their perfect golden crispy Pork Tonkatsu.  For those that don't know what is Pork Tonkatsu is, it is a pork chop that has been breaded with flour, egg and Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) that is deep fried. The sauce you dip the pork in tastes like a thicker version of the Worcestershire sauce (BBQ sauce). My meal was served with barley rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables, and thinly sliced cabbage. I got the Sangen Premium Tenderloin Cutlet set. Please Share if you love Pork!

Sangen Premium Tenderloin Cutlet Set
What I love about Japanese foods is that it requires some work to eat your food. We were provided a Mortar to grind the fresh sesame seeds into a powder form to mix with your BBQ sauce which is then used to dip your pork to consume.

Grinding Sesame Seeds



This has a special place in my heart or shall I say stomach! Would come here again in I'm in the area!

The Lineup
Front Entrance
Name: Katsukura Kyotoekibiru the Cube
Address: 901 Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyoku | TheCUBE 11F, Kyoto 600-8216, Kyoto Prefecture

Google Maps: Click Here!
Website: Click Here!

Store Sign

Menu
Sauces!
Miso Soup!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Epic Tsukemen Ramen at Rokurinsha

Situated somewhere on the basement floor of the busy Tokyo station lies one of the best Tsukemen Ramen I've ever had so far. Tsukemen is a Japanese noodle dish consisting of ramen that is consumed after first dipping it in a separate bowl of soup. There seems to always have a lineup regardless of how late or how early you arrive; it's honestly that good. Just when you thought you could beat the system, there's a ton of other locals and foreigners alike that are trying to do the same thing as what you're doing.

Tokusei Tsuken
I ended up ordering the most expensive item on the machine since I didn't want to settle for anything less after waiting for over 30 minutes. It was the one that was priced at 1050 YEN which has the addition of shredded pork in the broth. The noodles were cooked perfectly "Al Dente" - nice and chewy. I don't usually praise much with how noodles are cooked but boy it was perfection. I don't know if anyone could master what they did to it. The broth was made of both chicken and pork bones with many dried fish flakes (bonito, mackerel, sardines). It also had green onions, fish cake, a slice of Chasu (fatty braised pork) and seaweed. There was also what I believed to be some sort of dry fish powder which gives it a very fishy flavor to the broth that I never had tasted ever before and it surprisingly works very well together.Without hesitation, I would come here to eat my Tsukemen when I'm in the area.

Ramen Vending Machine
Egg soft-boiled to Perfection!
Store Front
Name: Rokurinsha Tokyo Tokyo Ramen Street
Address: Tokyo Station Ichibangai B1, Tokyo Ramen Street, 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan
Google Maps: Click Here!
Website: Click Here!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Abalone Awesomeness in under 1 hour!

Did I mention already how much I love my pressure cooker? I'll say it again! I LOVE MY PRESSURE COOKER! Today I decided to try something new and pressure cook Abalone! If you don't know what it is, it's one of the best tasting mollusk you'll ever have. I consider Abalone to have a very similar strong natural flavor to Conch! This is a very simple recipe but full of flavor and it's very fool proof! It will not be chewy or mushy at all; just perfection. Here's what I did. Share if you like it! =)

Voila!
Ingredients:

Chicken Stock
Fresh Abalone
Cooking Oil (used Avocado oil)
Carrots
Green Onions

Instructions:

1)  Rinse the Abalone with running cold water


2) Shuck your fresh Abalone from the shell; simply treat it like scooping ice cream and you want to apply force on the shell as you scoop the Abalone.

Scoop it out!
Tada!
2) Heat your pressure cooker on HIGH  and splash cooking oil and chicken stock high enough such that it covers at least half of Abalone when it's submerged


3) Now dice some green onions and carrots when the broth has started boiling



4) Gently place the shucked Abalone foot side down and pressurize!

Abalone just chilling away
5) Set timer for 1 hour


6) Once 1 hour has elapsed, serve and enjoy!


Friday, March 6, 2015

Pressure Cooked Five-Spiced "Lo Shui" Duck in 30 minutes!

Move along chicken, time for a new poultry in town! I decided to buy a whole duck at my nearest supermarket and take advantage of my awesome pressure cooker.The results were pretty good and I'd make it again for sure! Here's what I did!


Ingredients:

~4 lb Whole Duck
Five Spice Powder
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Cooking Wine (Shiao Xing Rice Wine)
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Light Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Sugar
Salt
4-5 cloves of Garlic
5 slices of Ginger
3 sticks whole Green Onion


Instructions:

1) Poke many holes and slits throughout the duck's skin; this allows the marinade to seep into the duck better as well as allow the duck fat to release as duck is pretty fatty naturally


2) Mix all the ingredients aside from the duck and pour it all over the duck in some pan


3) Ladle the marinade often all over the duck and also on the inside.

4) Optional: Let it marinade overnight in the refrigerator

5) Now before you commence cooking the duck, rub the inside of the duck with salt

6) Get your pressure cooker out and set the heat to medium-high

7) Sear the duck on both sides to brown the skin and to seal the juices


8) Once searing of the duck is complete, pour in the remaining marinade from the duck into the pressure cooker and let it pressurize!


9) Once pressurized, set timer to ~ 25 - 30 minutes (3 - 4lb)

10) Voila, delicious fully infused five-spiced whole duck!


Let me know what you think and please share if you like it! =)