It is said the Japanese are attune to ‘umami‘, a sixth sense which apparently makes taste buds keener. There are many studies and articles about umami and I don’t know what is true or false. My parents born and bred in Japan, didn’t teach me of umami. I learned in my adult years. I do know for certain that I pay attention to food because of my fussy mother.

I was raised to appreciate every detail. To be curious, stay aware, continuously hone my knowledge of food, keep an open mind and to always, always pay mind to the little things. Then take the lessons, experiences and mistakes to seek the next thing. To be particular. To know precisely what I want and to hold high expectations. If, for whatever reason I can’t get what I want, either accept it or change myself — but never settle for less. That behavior became a habit and for what it’s worth, I am now the go-to barometer for all food related recommendations.

Recently, I saw ‘Perfect Sense’. A peculiar film about a disease destroying senses, the public coping with losing their senses one by one, combined with a love story between a scientist researching the bacteria killing the senses and a chef. I wouldn’t recommend the movie but it made me think about how human bodies acclimate due to biology but our minds adjust differently.

As more and more of my friends are getting married and starting families, I noticed there are always several who are eternally single. I am one of them. Sometimes, I can’t help but to wonder if my dining habits transgressed to life and relationship habits. That I’ve remained single because I know what I want. I am very particular. Knowledge, experience and mistakes calls for high expectations and if I can’t get what I want, to either accept it or change myself — never settling for less.

Around the time my mother passed, I lost a parent, fell in love, fell out of love and my entire world turned upside down. Everything I thought I was, I didn’t know if I wanted to be — especially my treatment of  loved ones. So I changed. Learned to be more understanding. Empathetic. Less demanding, lowered expectations but most of all, I force taught myself patience. Which hindsight, is from fear of not wanting to be like my mother: selfish, spoiled, high maintenance and hurting everyone she loved and ultimately driving them away.

Lately, I’m questioning that choice. Starting to think I am trying too hard to not end up like my mother. Compromising my heart and who I am, isn’t the answer to a lasting love. That it’s ok to take the lessons, experiences, mistakes and set expectations — reasonable expectations. Just like I refuse to settle for anything less with food… and with life. Change, isn’t always for the better.

Full circle.


My first drink is always rosé bubbly at Quality Meats, NYC.


Stupid me, I always assumed pink colored wine would be sweet, fruity and, well, sweet.

One of my favorite restaurants on the planet Animal, introduced me to rosé.

I took my first sip and was astounded. It was dry with a mild fruitiness and almost zero acidity I dislike in whites. I couldn’t believe that pink wine could taste like that. The manager, Helen, changed my life.

Rosés go beautifully with Pacific Northwest and California cuisines. I’d even go as far as to say with Japanese food as well. Ever since that day in 2008, I was hooked and have been hooked. I love rosé wines and especially rosê bubbly.

The one downside to fancying rosé is that for some peculiar reason, the champagnes are more expensive than regular champagnes. I’ve been curious as to why that is and finally Googled. As usual, I learned more than I wanted to learn…which pretty much sums up my relationship with wines and champagnes.

Since I understand the process, history, regions and such, I just want to retain information I can use in real life situations. Like when I am at a cocktail party or bar and unsure what to order. I realized long ago, I never, ever remember names. It’s also too much effort to attempt memorizing.

So I started this method which has worked really well: asking.

Yes, I ask the sommelier, server or dining companions but here are some memorable points:

  • The darker the wine or champagne is, the more fruity it is. Lighter rosés are drier. (I love dry.)
  • Many champagne houses make two rosés: standard brut (which can be vintage or non-vintage) and a prestige cuvée brut (which is usually vintage)

Recommended food pairings:
– raw fishes
– grilled crustaceans
– fine meats (like prosciutto)
– duck
– lamb
– spiced foods, especially with vinegar bases (like curry)
– creamy cheeses (goat and sheep)
– red fruit desserts

So if you’ve never tried rosé, do not fret. There’s no better time than now. Gosh, I love rosés during the spring and summers!


(Photo by me; I didn’t cook that)

The more I cook eggs, the more I see how complicated they are. Their simple nature allows versatility, too much at times. So much so, I can’t help to think eggs are mocking me when I prepare them in a basic way. If eggs could talk, I am almost certain they would be saying something close to: “Why aren’t you pushing your creative boundaries? You know you can do more with me.”  Continue reading