Sushi’s Doomsday

To raise awareness about climate change, Kyubey Ginza and a Japanese bio health firm Euglena teamed up for a campaign: The Last Day of Sushi (well, the direct translation is the day sushi disappears) and it kinda made me depressed.

Along with top researchers, they calculated the last days select neta can be served. Kyubey opened advanced reservations to book the last day you can eat x.

Here is a partial list of the neta and the last years they can be served that they published:

  • Ika イカ (cuttlefish) last year it can be served = 2035 (16 years left).
    Last booking date: Saturday, June 30th, 2035
  • Shako しゃこ (mantis shrimp) = 2041(22 years left)
    Last booking date: Saturday, November 30th, 2041
  • Ikura and salmon いくら= 2049(30 years left)
    Last booking date: Friday, December 17th, 2049
  • Scallops ほたて = 2068(49 years left)
    Last booking date: Friday, August 31st, 2068
  • Uni うに (sea urchin) 2073(54 years left)
    Last booking date: Thursday, August 31st, 2073
  • Awabi あわび (abalone) 2080(61 years left)
    Last booking date: Tuesday, October 1st, 2080
  • Hirame ヒラメ (Flounder) 2089 (70 years left)
    Last booking date: March 31st, 2089

Bleak shit.

There is an English version of the site (run through Google Translate so the descriptions may be weird lololol) which goes a little more into detail about their research, impact, etc., and they’re also doing a Twitter campaign. First prize is a 30,000 yen voucher for Kyubey. 

visit the English site here: https://www.euglena.jp/sushi/

🚨🍣New Sushi Spot Alert 🍣🚨

Found this place that just opened through a wonderful food friend… and oh my god it was seriously one of the best meals I’ve had in Japan.

From the attention he pays to every single detail in his shop (design, hand towels, and even specialty toilet paper), to ceramics, his choice of staff all reflects in his stunning food.

His shari (sushi rice) was literally perfection. His otsumami (small plates) surpasses any of the places I’ve eaten before.

Above are only a few of the photos and the notes, not as extensive as I’d like (too preoccupied enjoying my meal).

6 hour steamed abalone in its juices
Hokkaido shishamo caught only in October served two ways (nigiri and gunkan)
Ankimo with mizunomi (ankimo steamed with the mizunomi omg the texture!!!)
Of course nodoguro

…and the sushi was 100%. Not a fan of cured neta that is pungent, or shari that is too sour (I can name a handful of super famous spots that are aggressively flavored)

On and on I can keep going but honestly, I only remember being blown away. Asking trillions of questions like I always do. And not retaining most of the information… hashtag OLD.

So, I will leave this post with my friend Ash’s succinct – but vulgar – description (and this guy knows. his. shit.)

Because Japan


If the Michelin barometer dictates your eating,  it’s no secret Japan is the best place to visit. (We boast the most Starred restaurants on the planet.) 

I’m not a Michelin chaser, I just like things that are delicious. But, it’s nice to know a guide which influences diners world wide acknowledges Japan’s food culture. 

The above place is most likely Bib Gourmand but it’s pretty neat how such an affordable place is included in the guide 😊

I love Japan! 

You can see all the Bib Gourmand (as well as the Starred establishments) here

Tokyo Taste

I know this is a tough one, but can you define the Tokyo “flavor” in a word or phrase?” he nonchalantly writes.

Tokyo… flavor? How am I supposed to sum the tastes of Tokyo in one phrase. More or less one word??

Tokyo. Is. Massive.

There are more than 200,000 soba, ramen and sushi restaurants. 45k bakeries. 10k produce (fruit and vegetable) stores. Over 5k butcher shops and 4k fish markets.

…just in Central Tokyo (meaning this doesn’t count all of Tokyo, so for the sake of a simple comparison, these are stats only for Manhattan minus Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, etc.)

And to add, these stats are from the 70s. 70’s! Meaning in 2015, there are probably double that?

That is a lot of darn choices.

The best answer I could come up with, was: think of Tokyo like a Las Vegas buffet.

There is everything from high end to low end from all regions of Japan and the world. There are millions of choices and just like the Vegas buffets: you get what you pay for and can custom cater your meals to fit your palate. Do you like Italian? French? American? Asian? One can easily find that on any of the spreads. Prefer seafood? Stick to the raw bar of the buffet. Love meat? Beeline to the carving table. Vegetarian? There’s another bar for that!

Then there is the distance issue. If I’m staying all the way at the Wynn, I will not Uber or cab it down the strip just for the Bacchanal at the Caesar and instead, settle for the buffet inside of the Wynn (which if I recall correctly, has Wagyu beef and Alaskan crab legs).

Since I live in Central Tokyo, I will not travel out of my way (20 minute train ride) and stand in line for another 1.5 hours, sometimes 2 hours to eat Rokurinsha’s tsukemen beloved by David Chang. (I swear, if someone asks me to go there with them one more time, I will Hulk Smash my screen.)

Instead, I would much rather walk five minutes to Afuri for their yuzu tsukemen that is equally delicious (and the noodles aren’t as fat and gummy).

So you see, my advice – and challenge – to those who are planning visits: make your own Tokyo. Build an experience that is all yours.

Because Tokyo really is, whatever you want it to be — or how I affectionately say: it is Disneyland for food lovers.

Bon appetit!
Mona

 

Gelinaz Shuffle

I am not ashamed to admit I spent most of my early afternoon glued to Instagram, tracking #gelinazshuffle The Grand Gelinaz is a collective of incredible chefs from all over the planet, educating, exploring and collaborating with one another. On July 9th, 37 chefs swapped restaurants and cooked in unfamiliar kitchens, using (of course) the region’s ingredients. Which chef goes where was kept under wraps and revealed today.

I found a spreadsheet someone uploaded onto Instagram:

via here

This person is obviously in the San Francisco Bay Area and eating at Atelier Crenn but holy moly, check out the lineup: Chefs… David Kinch, Daniel Patterson, Magnus Nilsson, René Redzepi, Sean Brock, Yoshiro Narisawa, Ben Shewry, Alain Ducasse, … and not visible on the spreadsheet: Andoni Luis Adruiz of Mugaritz, Alex Atala of D.O.M. and Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana amongst others. Wow!

As I was tracking the hashtag, I suddenly saw all the photos from NY:

Fried oyster with tapioca and salmon roe from Chef Alex Atala at Blanca via here

Hokkaido uni cream and smoked clams from Chef Massimo Bottura cooking at Momofuku Ko. Photo courtesy of here.

Thanks to Instagram I was able to see so many dishes from all over the planet. My absolute favorite, though, was from Chef Jock Zonfrillo, who I had never heard of until seeing his food tonight. He was cooking out of Manresa in Los Gatos. (Manresa and Chef David Kinch’s food is great. I was so fortunate to dine at Manresa a few times since it was only about 20 minutes south from where I was raised).

Chef Zonfrillo’s style is definitely one I would make a dedicated trip to Adelaide, Australia for. Wherever in Australia Adelaide even is. I hope they have koalas. And kangaroos…?  Platypuses? Or is it platypusii? Hmmm note to self: google later. 

I digress. Back to the food. Focus Mona. Take a look at his menu:

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Chef Seamus Mullen’s Blueberry Almond Smoothie

Pardon the ugly phone screen shot but I’m not in front of my computer and just had to blog this *now*. Otherwise I procrastinate. And once I put it off I forget. Which usually means I never ever post it. Okay, I’m done with the justifying.

At any rate, I really love Instagram and every food enthusiast should too, It’s the best source to find recipes, new restaurants, take a peek at the inner workings of restaurants, see private lives of our favorite chefs and other food industry people. I really, really love it when chefs post recipes of what *they* eat.

Back when I lived in NYC, Boqueria was a super popular tapas place. In 2012 (I believe – too lazy to google), the head chef Seamus Mullen opened his own restaurant Tertulia in the West Village down the street from where I lived. I used to go at least once a week.

The other day I downloaded the Google Photos app for my phone, which pulled up all sorts of gems. This Tertulia photo was one of them ↓

I posted it on Insta and since my photos are geo-tagged I was able to pull up other (recent) photos from Tertulia and somehow ended up on Chef Seamus’ Instagram. From there, I noticed a post for a smoothie and when I clicked on the photo, saw he wrote the recipe in the comments.

So here it is:

Chef Seamus Mullen’s Blueberry Almond Smoothie

1 c. frozen wild blueberries
1/4 c. almond butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 avocado
2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1 handful of dark leafy greens or parsley
Pinch of sea salt
Some ice cubes

Throw above in a blender. Done and Done.
Chef Seamus also mentions he preps this the night before.

You’re welcome.
Follow his Instagram here

Tertulia
359 6th b/w W. 4th and Washington Place
NY, NY 10014

It’s next door to Soto and around the corner from Dan Barber’s Blue Hill and Mario Batali’s Babbo. Damn, I lived in an amazing neighborhood and miss NYC so much.

World’s 50 Best: Conclusion 

What a douchebag — who does this blogger guy think he is? The above photo was found on Christian Bau’s Facebook (thanks AJ, for sending!). Christian Bau is a Michelin three star chef and restaurant owner from Germany. Apparently some self important guy who writes a Metro blog sent a name dropping email with absurd requests. Good for Chef Bau for posting this to the public.

Separately, NYT’s Julia Moskin’s responded to my inquiry (see below image)

World_s_50_Best_Restaurant_Sponsor_List_
I still haven’t figured out how and why:

  • only chefs seem to place so much weight on it Ex: Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Massimo Bottura, Eric Ripert, René Redzepi, et al., inundated Instagram with photos from the venue. Joël Robuchon had an online meltdown and David Chang, who is present at almost all major food events was missing. (Momofuku Ko dropped from the top 50 in 2015 btw)
  • why weren’t food industry veterans and heavy weights like Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl, Alice Waters, Dana Cowin, Andrew Rapoport, Dorothy Cann Hamilton… even Tyler Brûlé who is based in London not present? And why don’t they talk about this list?
  • Paris and Tokyo that dominate Michelin are largely overlooked. There are 516 Michelin 1-3 star restaurants in Japan, 594 in France. Yet the list noticeably includes an imbalanced number of establishments from Spain and “partner countries”: Peru, Mexico, Singapore. I wonder if Thailand is a “partner country” along with some of the Nordic / Western European countries (Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium. Austria, etc.) are too (or lobbied by the sponsors, that are mainly European companies)

Why is it, that the only Japanese restaurant in the top 10 serves French food and the only kaiseki comes in at #29 — and located in Tokyo, when everyone who knows food, knows Kyoto is the king of kaiseki. There also isn’t a single restaurant from France in the top 10.

Along with the list’s obvious problems (arbitrary, subjective, etc., even a jury member of the list is quoted as saying so) it boggles the mind how they invite Internet famous bloggers and “foodies” with close to zero credibility except massive online audiences to participate in voting. Just that alone makes it so strange how this list is so credible.

But, for the life of me, I just cannot understand how this organization is able to receive sponsorship dollars from tourism budgets of random countries without disclosing to the public. How many partner countries are there and what are the exact dollar amounts they are receiving? Why don’t more people involved in the food industry openly question this or am I the only one wondering? Why do certain chefs empower this organization? How and why did this list get to be so powerful? How much advertising dollars are they spending to woo the masses? How much of the ad spend is carried by the sponsors and partner countries? What is the return on investments? Does tourism really increase because of this list? If so, what are the %s?

On and on the questions continue; everything about this list is weird.

Conclusion: to quote my friend AJ who sent the above image, “W50 List is just like F1. People pay to play.” …which makes this list another Yelp: silly and useless but there is a place in the world for it.

Fin

L’AS: the secret is out

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Tomato compote in basil jelly with Pianogrillo olive oil.

Ahhhhh and another lovely Tokyo restaurant is uncovered to the public — I really hope booking will remain reasonable.

Our meal at L’AS kicked off with a creamy spoonful of mozzarella and just kept getting better. The signature crispy foie gras sandwich with orange and caramel cream: imagine a miniature ice cream sandwich with a silky foie gras mousse and an acidic compote that shocks the palate between a thin, firm wafer. Large zucchini cylinder whisps with crumbled freeze dried olives, anchovy powder –amazing and probably my favorite. Pig’s trotter (feet) and belly croquettes with spring napa Japanese cabbage sauerkraut. Mackerel with smoked potato, firefly squid, red wine squid reduction — intense. Roasted Fujidori chicken with two sauces, one made of onesen tamago Japanese poached egg and pepper. Tomato compote with basil jelly and a lovely croustiller chocolate, chestnut and chocolate cream kanafeh made with wheat flour.

We sat at the sister restaurant (Bar Cork) and had an amazing flight of wines with our meal — champagne, Austrian rosé, French white, Italian white, French red and one of my favorites: Barbaresco with the main dish of the roasted chicken.

What a meal.

Hurry and go before L’AS becomes impossible to book! The menu changes every three weeks, make sure to add the Degustation — the sommelier is something else.
L’AS Tokyo, Minami-Aoyama
http://www.las-minamiaoyama.com/en/index.html

More photos:

Phone Food Photography

People constantly ask how I take my photos, the camera equipment situation, the apps I use to edit so I decided to share.

I only use my iPhone.
I never use the flash.
Basic photography knowledge is a must (composition, editing, lighting, angles, etc.)

Nowadays a fancy camera is unnecessary for food photos. I’ve collected random photos from FB and Insta and decided to dump them here to show you. Brace yourselves for food porn overload. NSFHP (Not Safe for Hungry People)

Petto di Pollo al Pangrattato  (Herb panko crusted free range chicken breast with gregola pasta and mushroom carbonara, white truffle oil)
Petto di Pollo al Pangrattato at Basta Pasta, NYC
(Herb panko crusted free range chicken breast with gregola pasta and mushroom carbonara, white truffle oil)

Can you believe that photo was taken by an iPhone? It’s edited with Snapseed (brightness, saturation, contrast, warmth and the blur effect called bokeh, is achieved with tilt shift). Get the app here.

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