Tag Archives: japanese

Nijiya Market (San Diego, CA)

On our third day in Southern California, we decided to take a morning and head down to San Diego and check out a few sights off the beaten path. We ended up hiking most of the length of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, which was a pleasantly quiet and nice canyon, considering that it’s nestled in between dense subdivisions to both the north and south. I still recommend it if you are looking for a nice urban-area hike. After our hike, however, we were a little hungry. We already had dinner plans back up in Temecula that involves copious amount of food and wine, so we were looking for something light. Luckily, I actually follow several other blogs that cover San Diego, including mmm-Yoso!!! (several contributors of which were my companions on the Yuma taco crawl a few years back) and A Radiused Corner (whose owner Dennis and I have been trading recommendations, and occasionally visiting the same places, for a few years now). Both blogs recommended stopping by Nijiya Market, one of San Diego’s best Japanese grocery stores, as a good place for both Japanese groceries and light meals.

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Love Balls Japanese Street Food (Austin, TX)

After a second day of driving about the Austin area sampling barbecue, and then washing down that barbecue with more Blizzards from the Lockhart, TX Dairy Queen, we again decided that, after a modest afternoon siesta, it was time to go seek out more food carts in Austin. After checking out the nice map on Austinfoodcarts.com, we decided to check out some of the trailers along South Congress. So we piled into the cars and headed out. Alas, while we saw our desired street carts, the traffic was intractable due to the LoneStar Roundup Car and Custom show. So we ended up heading over the river, and then east of I-35, eventually finding what’s known as the “Eastside Drive-In” court of food carts, with eight or nine trailers all clustered around a central courtyard of tables…

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Oga’s Japanese Cuisine (Natick, MA)

This week, several different client meeting in Massachusetts resulting in my having a free evening in Natick. Natick is an interesting little town, there’s an old-style downtown that has a few decent restaurants, and then there is the Rt 9 strip. There’s no shortage of places to eat on the strip, but it’s mostly major chains. Oga’s Japanese Cuisine is the sort of place you drive by a lot of times and don’t think of checking out, since it looks little different than, say, a low-grade Chinese place or an office supply sort, at the end of a somewhat dismal strip mall with one of those annoyingly small one-way parking lots. But several online sources gave the place good reviews, and I’ve been in a mood for Japanese food, so I decided to check it out…

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Matsu Chan (Canton, MI)

What does the word “ramen” mean to you? Unfortunately, for 95% of American diners, “ramen” means those 5-for-a-dollar cheap noodle packages at the grocery store. That’s really, really unfortunate, since true, fresh ramen noodles are a classic example of good Japanese food, and they are serve as a wonderful foundation for ramen soup. Unfortunately, outside of California, there aren’t many good ramen shops out there. One notable exception to this I’ve found is Matsu Chan in Canton, MI. Having been in existence well over 15 years, Matsu Chan is nestled into a small storefront in one of those mostly-vacant strip malls you see all over the Detroit area, and has a very humble storefront. However, once you pass through the doors, Matsu Chan is pure ramen shop.

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Sushi Ran (Sausalito, CA)

Once my friend Steve’s wedding was over, we still had another day to check out more of Marin County. After considering a lot of day trips, we ended up taking the ferry to Angel Island for a day of hiking, and afterward we drove around to Sausalito again to check out one of the top-rated sushi places in the Bay area: Sushi Ran. I’m rather glad we did.

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Shabu-Zen (Boston, MA)

Several years ago, when I first starting watching Iron Chef (of which I’ve tired), there were frequent references to serving items shabu shabu style , in which thinly sliced meat and veggies are served along with simmering broth, and you prepare your meal by swishing the meat in the broth. Basically, making your own soup at the table. It sounded intriguing, but, until recently, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to try it out. However, after a recent BeerAdvocate event in Boston, a group of us were looking for some interesting dining in Chinatown, and I recalled hearing of a Shabu-shabu joint that had decent reviews. And, indeed, at 16 Tyler Street (across the parking lot from the Bao Bao Bakery where we always get our post-beer-festival bubble tea), was Shabu Zen.

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