Jonathan Gold


Jonathan Gold passed away.

My tribute is late and I don’t have anything profound to add to all the eloquent tributes except he taught America so much and his presence will be missed.

The number one thing we learned, is to appreciate food and cultures in our own backyards and how food isn’t about Michelin stars or lists, but more so, food is a universal language that bonds and the simplest way of showing love towards others.

He also taught me a lot about tacos and burritos

Following the news about Anthony Bourdain, 2018 is one of the worst years in the culinary world.

Rest in light to two legends.



It’s been a while since updating here and I am totally slacking, neglecting my own site. First and foremost I spent a lovely Thanksgiving holiday back home in San Francisco and finally made it to Nashville. Then for my birthday I re-visited Nashville and went to NYC for the first time since leaving (most of the food photos are on my Instagram: @MonaNomura)

So I will leave you with a book photo. Strand in NY has one of the best selections and I spent way too much on used books. Looks of food writing and food books. I was also gifted a bunch of back editions of my favorite food magazine: Lucky Peach.

Carrying all this home was a bitch (I never want to experience it again haha) but so worth it.

Oh. I also had my first piece published on Lucky Peach’s website with few more to follow. It’s not everyday you get to see your name on the landing page! Exciting stuff.

There’s also another big project I’m contributing to and will update when it launches.

2017 is starting off fabulously. Hope all is great with whoever is still reading this. Lol

You can read the LP piece here

Reason No. Bajillion Japan is the best 

As if it’s not already amazing I live in one of the greatest countries on the planet, I get the best texts from friends who visit. 

Exhibit One: “We had the most mediocre gyoza tonight and it broke my heart please only you can fix it.”

Exhibit Two: “Hey Mona, you think theres a chance we can go to a small Japanese rock band concert, just a small venue – I would really like to do that.”

Top is from one of my favorite people on the planet who is visiting from New York. We went to my favorite secret gyoza place last time she was here. 

Bottom is from a super fun chef who lives in Copenhagan. Her and her husband (who is also a world class chef) will be in town later in May. Latter caught me off guard and made me laugh out loud. I thought she’d want to go eat or bar hopping but a Japanese rock concert?? So random! 

I love the people in my life 😊

Epic Week; Tragic Ending

I scoured the Internet for a quote about what I’m feeling right now and nothing came even close to expressing this ultimate bummer. It might be a little dramatic but I lost my phone after an epic week of good food, drinks, laughter and adventures. There were so many once in a lifetime memories documented on my iPhone and to think it’s gone and lost forever makes me really sad.

I can’t believe I lost my phone the week I finally made it to the tuna auction in Tsukiji on a random Monday with endless down pour. Both of us were drenched. The waiting area to be escorted to the auction was jam packed by 3:30am and we barely made the cut to take part. The morning finished off with an incredible sushi breakfast which included a tiger prawn still alive and moving. Visited Gen Yamamoto. Raged in Golden Gai and accidentally opened up a bottle of champagne because we asked for sparkling (as in water) but they thought we asked for sparkling wine. Visited a bunch of quirky fun bars all over Tokyo — B Bar, the Baccarat bar in Tokyo was one of them… on and on the list continues.

I captured a bunch of precious moments so close to my heart, now locked only in my memories. It seriously bums me out. I guess I can try to write as much as I remember but it still really blows how I lost all the photos.

It’s a bit scary how reliant I am on my device. Even if I only take quick snaps I am still devestated I don’t have the photos anymore. Regardless of how mediocre the shots are. I’m writing this off as a reminder to be grateful for the memories I had the opportunity to make with some pretty incredible people.


Thomas Keller on Passion

People talk about passion like it’s an emotion you need to have to be successful. For me, that’s not true. Passion is not something that I look for when I hire someone. Passion is overused and in many cases, misused. ‘You have to be passionate about you do’ – well okay, what does that mean? What I look for is desire because desire is something that’s always there. When the passion epps as it always does in anything that we do, what is going to make you come to work? It’s desire.

It’s very simple: come to work everyday and do a little better than you did the day before. I think if you can do just a little better at something — I don’t care what it is — make an effort every day to do something a little better than the day before. And that shows a strong desire for improvement. We want people to have better skills, we want people to have better knowledge – we want people to have a better life. And so each day you have to try do something better than the day before. If you do that every day, 10 years from now you’ll have a considerable sum.

There are so many times that a young chef ‘I want to do this. I want to do that. Chef, let me do this. Chef, let me do that. When are you going to let me try something different?’ It’s like… you’re a cook. You cook everyday. Enjoy it. It’s not like there’s going to be something new every day. You’re going to roast a piece of meat. Find pleasure in roasting that piece of meat everyday. Find pleasure in sharpening your knife everday. Because if you want something new everyday, you’re not going to find that. Repetition is something that is so important.

— transcribed from Thomas Keller’s episode on Heritage Radio’s Chef’ Story on what he looks for when he hires someone for any role in his organization.

Chef Keller is talking about what he looks for in people he hires but what he says holds true no matter what you do and what field you are in. At least that’s what I’ve learned and seen in my limited experience.

There’s always going to be something we all don’t want to do or even loathe. What motivates us to get up in the morning everyday and be the best we can in order to set us aside from others is desire.

What we all tend to forget when we see successful people, is their roads to that success. In this age of instant gratification, sometimes we all need little reminders and stumbling onto this podcast was a much needed reminder — at least for me.

Such a profound statement and a wise, wise man.
Chef’s Story is a program on Heritage Radio and available to download for free as podcasts. I’ve listened to almost all of them. The image on top is via Epicurious where Chef Keller shares his Thanksgiving turkey recipe here.

Elon Musk’s ex-Wife’s Amazing Insight

I didn’t know where to write about this, so I’m just going to leave this here since I’m updating this blog more than my other ones.

There is a super nerdy Q&A service called Quora and a lot of Silicon Valley people answer questions from random people. And I say people of Silicon Valley lightly, as they are some incredible humans building products that are changing our planet: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Spotify, on and on, you get the picture right?

I stumbled onto an answer by Justine Musk, Elon Musk’s ex-wife. Elon Musk is one of the founders of PayPal and is now founder / CEO of Tesla, Space X and a bunch of other geeky things. Her answer was so on-point, I just had to share.

Question: How can I be as great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Richard Branson?

Answer: “Extreme success results from an extreme personality and comes at the cost of many other things.”

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Science Explains Why Grateful People are Happier

This has nothing to do with food or travel, Fish Markets and Japan but I wanted to get it up on one of my blogs. (Well, I only have two.) Since I’m updating here more than PixelBits (my original blog that’s been around foreverrrrrrr) I’m just going to leave this here.

Apparently it’s common knowledge that grateful people are generally happier — I had no idea. I just assumed grateful people are usually more positive and positivity attracts more positivity, leading to overall happy states. This may sound hokey and almost tree-hugger-hippie-nonsense but it turns out, there are scientific reasons.

First and foremost, it starts with understanding the heart and how it affects others:

  • the heart creates an elctromagnetic field that expands up to five feet from the body
  • this electrical field is 60 times stronger in amplitude that that of the brain source
  • with positive feelings, the heart’s frequency changes
  • with the changes, the waves become smoother and more consistent
  • anxiety and stress causes waves to be shorter and less organized
  • gratitude changes the heart’s rhythm easily and faster than any other feelings

The rhythm and frequency can rub off onto hearts and brains nearby – which is why positivity and happiness are contagious. So neat!

Gratitude, positivity and happiness are becoming – who doesn’t want to be around someone with good energy? – but not only that, a positive attitude and graciousness can change the way others feel too.

I loved this so much, I just had to share.
The original piece (that is extremely well written) is here, so make sure to check it out. A majority of this blog post is taken from that article, hopefully it’s not plagiarizing…

Say No to Bullshit: Hustle Lessons from Anthony Bourdain

Everyone can learn a thing or two.


Long version:

Anthony Bourdain has a foul mouth, likely a drunk, and stirs controversy. But you cannot deny, the man has legit entrepreneurial game. He’s written best selling books. Hosted some pretty damn good shows, and now a household name.

Maybe I can relate to him more as I’ve worked in the food industry. My very first job was as a waitress in a sushi joint — typical — then moved on to bartending. Working in food is where I picked up a lot of hustling skills that consistently help me in my non-food industry life.

In food, it’s about knowing your capabilities and ceasing opportunities. When your salary is minimum wage and you depend on tips, there is no such thing as ‘luck’ — you create your own luck. Not because you want to, but because you have to make the most out of situations in order to make ends meet.

Any business owner, founder, aspiring entrepreneur, and even individuals looking to climb the corporate ladder can learn a thing or two from successful people who have ‘made it’, in an industry as cut throat as food. And Bourdain lays it out best in this Men’s Journal interview.

On actions vs words

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