Tag Archives: Fish

The Playground: Omakase

Michelle and I were fortunate enough to get to check out The Playground’s  Omakase-Style Seafood Dinner. Some pretty unique dishes were in the lineup, and we were excited.

They had some Japanese brews that aren’t very common in the states available to pair with the meal. Hitachino’s Real Ginger Brew is very light and refreshing.

Tai. This dish was inspired by the ocean with sand, surf, and even some seaweed.

Albacore. The mint and tangerine with the fish was a great flavor combination, fresh and sweet.

Mackerel. Fried soba noodle gave this dish an awesome texture contrast.

Pork belly. The only land animal in the meal, with a root vegetable sauce of carrot and soil. Get it?

Skip jack. Pretty lean piece of fish here compared to tuna, complimented with some fat from an egg sauce, done like an aioli.

This torch came out a couple of times in the meal.

Octopus. The broth it’s sitting on is a broth made from Doritos. You heard me. It tastes like ranchero sauce with a faint taste of corn at the end. Combined with the octopus, apple slices, and avocado, this dish had huge texture and flavor.

Watermelon. Combine that with carbonated pineberries, powdered condense milk, and a sprinkle of pop rocks. This dessert was a literal flavor explosion in my mouth.

The Playground is doing some pretty great things with food, but the fact that the chefs are given liberty to produce special meals like this in addition to that is fantastic. Compliments to Chef Frank DeLoach on a fantastic meal.

Time for Thai

Thai food was always something I ordered when I went to UCLA and was too lazy to go out to get my own food. It was delivered, inexpensive, and it satisfied my need for something greasy. Today that taste for Thai carries on, but I will go to get it, and I hope it’s not nearly as greasy as my college days. That’s what brought me to Renu Nakorn Restaurant in Norwalk.

Crispy rice salad. This dish is awesome. It’s very light but with full flavor and a great crunchy texture from the onions and rice.

Eggplant and tofu.

Pineapple Fried Rice. This is always a classic from my college days.

Duck Curry. I really enjoy Thai curries, much more so than Japanese or Indian style curries. Add duck to the mix, and I am a happy camper. When the fat makes its way into the already creamy sauce, it’s fantastic.

Whole fried fish.

Drunken Noodle Seafood. I never know why they call noodles drunken. Perhaps it is because you have to be inebriated to consume them. To be safe I had a couple beers while enjoying this dish.

Barbecued pork. I went to town on this dish. There is very little done to the pork and rightly so. A meat’s own fat is flavor enough, and this pork had plenty of flavor.

Inside the Wolvesden.

If you haven’t heard of Wolvesmouth yet, get ready to be educated. I had heard about Wolvesmouth through my various food-loving Twitter friends, but I never took much notice of it. For whatever reason, Michelle decided recently that she wanted to go. She signed up for the mailing list and we wished and hoped we could get a chance to experience the meal. Lo and behold, we were two of the twelve lucky people that got to partake in a unique dining experience, courtesy of The Wolf, Craig.

The table that would serve as our battlefield for ten courses of awesome.

Before I get into the delicious dishes that were served, let me point out one thing. The entire meal is prepared in a home kitchen.

The use of the limited space is quite impressive.

The planning, preparation, and precise execution of the timing is incredible. Each course is lined up and brought out with military-like precision.

Why, yes that is a half pig’s head.

Don’t forget the trotters.

Course 1: Potato, Scallop, Chive, & Flower Creme Fraiche. I could probably drink a pitcher of this. It’s creamy but light. The scallop in this dish is incredible too, perfectly seared.

Course 2: Ocean Trout, Braised Leek, and Red Currant. Nice little hint of sour to accompany the fresh sweetness of the fish and leek.

Course 3: King Crab, Pimento Cheese, Sourdough. I found out I was allergic to crab when I was in my early teenage years. I figured it wasn’t life or death, so I ate it. That was a decision I do not regret. The dish was fantastic, and I still haven’t broken out in a rash! Double win!

Course 4: Haricot Verts, Apricot Peach Yogurt, Horseradish Meringue, Smoked Almond Granola.

Course 5: Rabbit, Glazed Carrot, Radish, Celery,  Pie Dough, Raw Peas, Sage. This got everyone talking about single portion, microwavable pot pies for nights alone. For someone like me, who is married I don’t have those nights anymore. It’s pot pie for two!

Course 6: Verjus, Lemon Verbena. This was a refreshing break before we went into the heaviest dish of the night.

Craig, working away at the head.

Lord of the Flies!

Course 7: Pork, Green Onion, Bok Choy, Pork Sauce. Steamed Bun on the side. The sauce was very rich, and there was so much texture from the skin of the trotter to the meat from the face.

Course 8: Squab, Pickled Cherry. Mushrooms. This makes me want to cook squab. It’d be fun to feel like a giant with the tiny little birds.

Course 9: Blueberry Sherbet, Black Sesame, Kabosu Curd, Green Tea Cake. I’ll be honest. When I saw this dish I saw broccoli and Velveeta.

Course 10: Strawberry, Pound Cake Ice Cream, Wild Strawberry, Strawberry Pop Rocks. It’s still incredible how amusing Pop Rocks are at my age. Excellent choice.

While I believe the dishes speak for themselves, what makes the dinner so unique is that while you sit down to dinner with a bunch of strangers, part of the experience is getting to talk to them instead of minding your own business and keeping your head down.

Not only do you get to mingle with the other guests, getting up and stretching is encouraged. I highly recommend doing this as the meal is a long process. I hit a wall after the pork. You can even walk over to the kitchen and talk to Craig as he works his magic. Just don’t distract him so much that he burns your meal.

While Wolvesmouth is about food, it’s more about the experience. Getting to share a meal with other people who enjoy food is incredible. It’s relaxing and fun. When was the last time you had a meal set to the soundtrack of Eazy-E’s “Boyz-n-the-Hood” followed by Geto Boys’ “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta?”

Good food, while serious, can be a lot of fun too.

Mariscos Chente: Best Staff Ever

I was set on posting every day this week, but my car decided to act up. I ended up not going into the office yesterday to take care of the car, and everyone knows you get your best blogging done when someone else is paying you to do something else. So although this wasn’t the post I originally planned on posting next, I think it’s important. This blog post is dedicated to a great restaurant with the best staff, hands down. Mariscos Chente.

Chips are freshly made every day and the salsa is fresh, maybe a little too fresh. Is that possible? You can taste the raw peppers in this, and that makes it VERY hot. Maybe cooking down some of the heat would help.

Camarones a la Diabla. During the meal I heard phrases from Michelle such as, “I like dishes that are this dark red. It means it’s extra spicy.”

“Tell everyone on the Internet that I love this. It’s like Flaming Hot Cheetos Shrimp.”

My dish was the Pescado Zarandeado. You split a snook in half, grill it, and serve it with some caramelized onions and lime.

You can see just how juicy the fish was even though it was grilled. I don’t know if it was just that day, but this took a while to prepare. Because it took so long to finally make it to the table and I had eaten so many chips and some of Michelle’s shrimp, I only ate one of the two fish. It was delicious though with the cheeks and belly region being soft. In contrast the outer edges were firmer, nicely grilled.

With full bellies Michelle and I made our way to the car, which was parked just outside the restaurant. I knew I had a slow leak in my tire, so the plan was to stop by the gas station and get some air for the tire. When I turned the key to the ignition, we heard a pop and saw a small plume of smoke pour from the crack in the hood. Upon lifting the hood I realized one of the vent caps popped off the battery. I tried to turn the engine over and got nothing. My thought was just to leave it, call a friend to get me (Thanks, Angie), and replace the battery in the morning.

Since the restaurant was winding down, the staff were out back and they were so helpful. They brought out limes and baking soda to clean the battery terminals. They were also going to try to jump my car the “Mexican Way” by taking out their battery and connecting it directly to mine, but when they found their batteries weren’t the same size they called a friend to bring some jumper cables. Alas, the battery was very dead (as opposed to kind of dead).

The next morning I went to install a new battery only to find out the only wrench I’m missing in my set is the 10mm, the one I needed to loosen the bolts to remove the battery. Fortunately for me the staff of the restaurant were there cleaning the grills outside. I was able to borrow a wrench and get my repair done.

Mariscos Chente. Come for the food. Stay for the mechanic work.

Something smells not so Fraiche in here.

That something is your spelling. Michelle and I went to Fraiche in Culver City last week. How that is pronounced “fresh” is beyond me. Fraiche was one of the places within two blocks of our place that we hadn’t checked out yet, because it looked expensive, beyond our normal casual dining standard. Taco trucks are right in our dollar to flavor ratio. We decided to try it out because we had a Groupon.

People watching while we sip on our beers.

Steak Frites. Cooked perfectly and not drowned out by the sauce. I want to taste the meat.

Monkfish “Francaise”, poor man’s lobster. Say what you want about the socioeconomic status of those who eat this dish, but I love it.

The dishes were well balanced without one flavor overpowering any other. I don’t think that I will be eating here regularly without some money saving coupon in the mix, because I don’t think I could take a hit in the wallet from this place regularly.

2006: Stuff Happened

I had no idea how to categorize the things that happened in 2006. It was a lot of travels, a lot of fun with friends, and the beginning of a lot of fish.

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I got my new MacBook. I remember having my friend watch me on iSight on my old PowerBook as I unwrapped it. Yup, nerd.

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Michelle and I took a trip to Hawaii, our first trip together.

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We had too much beer and sake, so we went to Home Depot. I have a lot more pictures of us running around the place.

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Oh the joys of Las Vegas. Scotch and cigars.

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I took a trip to Europe. I took Michelle. This is our second trip together.

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I won goldfish at the state fair. This started an obsession with keeping fish.

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This was my first fish tank I started with, a small 10 gallon unit.

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For Halloween I went as my friend Spencer. That’s me in the back center. I made extra masks so everyone could participate.

Only a couple years left until we’re current. Stay tuned!

Eating Like a King

Alice is back in town, and she wanted to get together for dinner. Since I was out of town earlier this week I told her and Michelle just to count me in and let me know where to show up with my fork. We met up with Jenny at Il Chianti last night for a six course meal. It was the meeting of the Moron Enterprises bloggers. We had michellewoo.com, aisforbigapple.com, and lovethewang.com.

I was powering through, and I thought I was doing pretty well with the pastas until I was informed the main dishes had not even arrived yet. It’s a hard life having to eat six course meals. Sorry about the quality of the photos. The lighting was low, and food doesn’t look as good when you use a flash.

So happy. We have no idea how much food is going to come out.

I’ve never seen one that big before. It’s tremendous.

Everyone has different sized hands. Use your head. Those are all almost the same size.

This reminds me of a movie I saw. It started with a pizza delivery.

It’s lame when everyone is taking pictures of food at the same time. One at a time!

Up yours, iPhone lovers! We’re the Blackberry crew!

Where Have the Fish Gone?

It’s been over a month since I’ve written anything about my fish. No, I haven’t given up on the hobby. Things are just as addicting as ever. I even have some new arrivals showing up in the mail in the next day or two. So if I’m still obsessed with fish keeping, why am I not sharing my joy?

I actually bought another domain dedicated to my fish keeping hobby. I don’t know yet if that means I will spare you my fish stories here. I may just duplicate my entries. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present to you, Box of Water! Although most of you aren’t into fish like I am, let me know what you guys think.

Aquascaping 101

I’ve been inspired to redesign my fish tank. I have decided to set aside a little bit of time to make sure I clean up the look of my tanks. Why the sudden interest again? Practical Fishkeeping published the results to the annual aquascaping competition. These guys are the cool kids in the “It’s still fish keeping and therefore still kind of lame” world. I want to be like these guys, the king of the losers! See my initial tank transformation after the jump.

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Here is my tank with lots of the same plant. It’s a bit too green, kind of boring.

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I received some new plants with a few more colors, shapes, and sizes. I am not sure how I want to finalize the look, so I just planted the plants in various locations for now to watch them grow out.

Happy Bee Day!

After much delay, we finally decided to go out for Fred’s birthday. Korean BBQ was on the agenda. Unfortunately, Fred has lost his wedding planner ways and neglected to make reservations. For an hour some of us went back to Mo’s place, one block away to start celebrating Fred’s birthday, without Fred.

Cheers! Where’s Fred?

We went back to the restaurant and stuffed our fat faces with meat, meat, and more meat. Those Koreans sure know how to prepare a meal. Fred was going to try the “water soju switch-a-roo” he is so famous for, but I kept Andrew filling up his glass with the real stuff. He complained at each shot he took, even though it was a total of four with the meal.

“This is my bottle I brought from home. I filled it with water and resealed it.”

We got him a forty, because damn it feels good to be a gangster.

That is all Fred could muster up to drink. Michelle also says, “Yech!”

Fred made a comment of preferring straight vodka or rum to malt liquor. So we obliged him with a cup of Ketel on the rocks. Soon after, the guys decided to play Halo 3, and we added the rule that every time Fred got killed, he would have to take a shot of his cup of vodka. Fred put the cup up to his lips and tipped the cup, but he never opened his lips. What a wuss!

Spectators engrossed in Halo 3.

Two people that drank more than Fred.

Another person that drank more than Fred.

All in all it was good friends, plentiful food, and good fun.

Before I forget and people wonder why I spelled the title of this post the way I did, this is why. For some odd reason, bees are attracted to my water lettuce in my goldfish barrel. At first it was one or two, but their numbers kept growing. It makes no sense to me, because there is no flower on the plant. Feeding time for the fish is getting dangerous.

Here is a swarm of bees, hanging on to the water lettuce.

Here is a short clip of the little buggers at work.