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  1. Real Wasabi

    September 27, 2014 by admin

    220px-Wasabi_by_EverJean_in_Nishiki-ichiba,_KyotoI am still surprised, but should not be, that most sushi goers still think that artificially colored green paste on your plate is wasabi. In fact what is served in even most of the best sushi restaurants in the U.S. is a crappy mixture of horseradish and food coloring.

    The American palate has become accustomed to this, and here we mistakenly call this Wasabi.

    Real wasabi is a root, that is almost impossible to grow. It naturally grows in cool, shallow stream beds with gravel bottoms. Until about 10 years ago, no-one had been able to get it to grow in the U.S.

    Today I find about half of better Japanese restaurants now in Urban areas have it in the kitchen, but inevitably you have to ask for it. It tastes very, very different than the mashed powder you are used to. It has a bit of a more sweet taste to it, and a texture similar to cactus paddles if you have ever had that, but less slimy.

    To be 100% honest, even though I feel better eating “real” Wasabi, and somehow think of it as more authentic, and “cooler”, I still sometimes prefer the crappy horseradish powder as that is what I grew up eating. It is a bit like sushi comfort food for me.

    While we are at it, that bright pink color of the ginger? Artificial food coloring. Real pickled ginger with food coloring looks very pale and not really pink. Red food coloring has consistently won the ranks as being the most carcinogenic class of food colorings. Not sure why this is.

    As a passing fact, the red coloring in bar cherries definitely has been shown to cause cancer. The rationale is that no one eats too many of these. I guarantee there is a lifetime bartender laying on his back somewhere in an ICU who has no idea that his fondness for these sugar pickled cherries cost him his life.

     

     


  2. Thousand Wok in Thousand Oaks

    September 27, 2014 by admin

    phoThousand walk in Thousand Oaks is kind of a comical name. This place is become a staple of our family because it has something for everyone. We started going there because they had pho. The only other place that has fine the Conejo Valley shall remain nameless.

    As I’ve gotten to be friends with the owners of learned a lot about the restaurant that makes it very unique. If I understand correctly they have a chef there that is Chinese, another one that is Vietnamese, and a Japanese sushi chef.

    This allows them to do with many other restaurants of tried to do and failed out, which is to create a pan Asian restaurant.

    We’ve become particularly fond of their peppered fried tofu as well as the pho. For restaurant that is not exclusively Japanese sushi is surprisingly good and sushi chef there is very capable and able.

    One thing that is particularly remarkable at this restaurant dessert chili sauce. Most Asian or Chinese restaurants will have a fried chili sauce that they keep on the table, which is fried chili flakes in oil.

    Most restaurants of the same brand which is rather tasteless and you’ll find it almost every Chinese restaurant.

    sashimiAt thousand walk they make theirs from scratch from an old family recipe. I find it absolutely amazing and spoon fillet heavily on all of my food.

    The prices they’re quite amazing also we recently had dinner for four adults and two children and the total came to $45 before tip. I don’t think you could go to McDonald’s for that price.


  3. Mariscos Alex A Spicey Adventure

    September 27, 2014 by admin

    I have lived in San Diego for most of the past 20 years.

    It is a spicy town on many levels.

    I have never moved into the world of mariscos taco trucks, as fresh fish and permanently parked trucks just don’t seem to match up very well.

    We went to Mariscos Alex to see why they had reached number one in yelp for mariscos.

    If you don’t know, Mariscos is spanish, and in this case more appropriately Mexican, for sea food.

    You are not going to get flounder on parchment, or sauteed Sand Dabs.

    What you get are a small variety of items in that particular restaurants local flavor.

    They are:

    fish tacos – no explanation needed

    Cocktail – The mexican version of the shrimp cocktail

    Ceviche – chopped fish with possibly some cilantro or tomatoe marinated in citrus

    and that is about it.

    I will point out the parts about Mariscos Alex that make it unique.

    First off, it is in a neighborhood of San Diego that unless you live there, you would probably not go out of your way to visit. Not dangerous, as nowhere in San Diego really is, but still the kind of place you would have second thoughts about leaving your fancy car over night on the street while you traveled out of town.

    It is in the parking lot of a gas station and is a taco truck.

    mariscos-celerySome of their tacos have cooked celery in them. I have had a lot of authentic mexican food, but had never tried this before. I am not a cooked celery fan, so did not like it very much. It was however extraordinarily unique. The bitterness of the celery, cooked fish which was excellent, and cheese. It is such a strong unique taste, that is loved by so many there.

    I got their Clamatos Preparados. This I also got because it looked so unique. It is basically Clamato juice, with lots of stuff added, which turned it into a spicey, refreshing, tomato and chile drink, with shrimp and oysters. It

    The amazing and funny part was the ceviche. The ceviche was served on a flatish place, handed through the window of the taco truck.

    I looked on the counter and they had a variety of sauces. This always intrigues me. I am a huge lover of sauces.

    I took a little of each sauce. One of the sauces really caught my eye, which was the mango sauce. I put a ton of this on, as I love, love, love mangos. Half of my ceviche was no swimming in mango sauce.

    I started to eat it, and it was quite spicy. The more I ate, the more my mouth burned. The flavor was extraordinary. When I looked in the ceviche, there was no apparent chile. The burning caused me to eat more and more faster and faster thinking it would cool the burn. At some point my mouth was literally exploding on fire.

    I still had not quite recognized what had just happened.

    There was a gas station next door. I went inside and got the only milk they had, Nestle’s Chocolate Milk, and drank it in the gas station to try to stop the burning pain. I never, ever would normally get Nestle’s chocolate milk.

    When I went back to the taco truck, in my broken spanish I tried to ask the woman in the truck where the spice was coming from.

    It turned out that mango sauce I had used was not mango sauce at all. It is as far as my Spanish could figure out, nothing more complicated than fresh, raw, habenero chiles run through a blender. I had eaten roughly two or three entire habenero chiles on my ceviche without realizing what it was.

    mariscos-cocktail-habenero

    Would I go back?

    Absolutely. This place was amazing. I can see how their menu is so different from what I am used to that it is going to take a dozen trips to figure it out.

     

     

     

     


  4. Waring Massage Spa San Diego

    July 27, 2013 by editor

    In San Diego like anywhere else in the world, I never think about fixing my body until it gets late at night. Up until now, there has never been a place to go to get a massage late at night that did quality work.

    The problem with most of the massage places that are open at 10 o’clock at night is that it is the type of massage place you won’t wanna go to. This place was wonderful. I saw Lucy.  I found the place on Yelp.

    They charged me $40 for a one hour massage. Lucy immediately got up on the table and started walking on my back. They have a few sets of bars installed above the table. It’s similar to a Thai massage but Lucy was trained in China.

    It’s different than most of the Chinese massage places in California in that it does not have a bunch of open tables that it is all private rooms. Lucy did such a good job when she was done I gave her a $20 cash tip. I was very happy with the experience and I’m sure I will be back again then next time it is 10:00 at night and my shoulder is killing me.

    The place is a great bargain.

    I am a bit concerned about all of the American trained massage therapists competing against the Chinese places. The Chinese places do an incredible job for about half the price. It is hit or miss as to the quality at a Chinese massage place, but then again the same is true with Americans.

    Capitalism always win! And Waring is proof of that.


  5. Young Americans Just Say No to Credit Cards

    June 14, 2013 by editor

    Parents, maybe we should be taking a page out of our kids’ books! An article I read today reported that since the recession, the amount of younger Americans who are opting not to use credit cards has doubled. These young adults are relying on debit cards and pre-paid cards more these days. It could certainly be from watching their parents and grandparents get blindsided by the recession, that this age group has made a conscious decision to avoid credit card debt and only pay for things with the money they’ve actually got in their bank accounts.

    This great article in CNN Money by Blake Ellis will tell you more:

    “About 16% of consumers ages 18 to 29 didn’t have a single credit card by the end of 2012 — up from 8% in 2007, according to data that credit score provider FICO collected from the credit files of millions of consumers.

    As a result, credit card debt has declined by about a third among this age group — from an average $3,073 to $2,087 per person. After watching older generations — like their parents — get hit hard by the recession, many younger Americans are shying away from credit and opting for debit cards instead, according to FICO.”

    Click here to find out how the younger generations’ credit scores are being impacted, and what their parents’ finances look like.

    I’ve gotta tip my hat to the kids–er, young adults, for handling the recession like seasoned pros. It’s smart to only charge to credit what you can pay off each month in full, and it’s even smarter to not charge at ALL if you know that you can’t pay in full, or you fear that you’ll get sucked into a bad cycle of piling debt on. Just make sure you guys have enough credit activity so that you have an established and good credit score. Too little borrowing can actually result in not enough credit–something lenders frown upon. Otherwise, keep up the good work :)


  6. U.S. Credit Rating Betters from Negative to Stable

    June 10, 2013 by editor

    Alriiiight! Good news for the U.S. this week, with Standard & Poor’s (S&P)–an American financial services company–giving the U.S.’ credit rating a boost by determining it “stable” versus the “negative” rating it had before. This change in S&P’s credit outlook for the U.S. basically means that there is less than a third of a chance that it will inch further down over the next couple of years, according to a Reuters article published today, June 10th. So, that’s good news! Check out the below Reuters article for further details on the state of the U.S. economy:

    “Standard & Poor’s on Monday removed the near-term threat of another credit rating downgrade for the United States by revising its outlook to stable from negative, citing an improved economic and fiscal outlook. The change effectively means there is less than a one-third chance of a downgrade in the next two years.

    S&P said a key factor to its revision in the U.S. rating outlook was the agreement reached by the U.S. Congress to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’, which had threatened some $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts.”

    Click here to read more about the U.S.’ fiscal improvement and other companies’ projections.

    Don’t miss the part of the article that reports that the U.S. federal budget deficit is shrinking faster than previously thought. Imagine if you were trying to pay off your debt, and you ended up paying it off faster than you originally anticipated. That would feel AWESOME. So we as citizens of a country that is essentially doing just that with the federal budget, should feel very proud. And good. Which I do, about our economy’s outlook. :)


  7. Cost of Travel Increases as United Rolls Out “Extra Legroom” Package

    June 8, 2013 by editor

    Is it just me, or is the cost of traveling starting to get really ridiculous? United Airlines just announced some new packages where travelers prepay for a year’s worth of either checked baggage fees, or seats with legroom near the front of the plane. I mean, in theory it’s a good idea: pay a chunk of money upfront to save money in the long run, like buying a beach parking pass or a season pass for lift tickets. But in reality, I still think it’s crazy that travelers have to pay for baggage in the first place, so to ask for nearly $500 for an “Economy Plus” pass for a year is just silly to me. United is basically locking you in, ensuring that you’ll fly with them and no other airlines for the next year, and if you don’t fly at least five times you lose money on the package deal. What will airlines come up with next? Melanie Hicken of CNN Money reported on the new packages:

    “United (UAL, Fortune 500) announced two new subscription programs this week where travelers prepay for a year of checked baggage fees or the ability to reserve seats in the so-called “Economy Plus” section near the front of the plane, which boasts extra legroom.

    United says its the only airline to offer the subscription programs, which are priced based on travel destinations and number of travelers. The new programs come as many airlines continue to tack on extra fees and upgrades — from early boarding fees to charging for carry-on baggage.”

    Click here to read more about United’s new pre-pay packages.

    You guys will never see me buying these packages, I can guarantee it. I’m more of a train/drive kind of guy, which might take a little bit longer but saves a ton on airfare and, of course, baggage costs. I will be pretty curious to see how well these packages do though, because my prediction is not so hot–but we’ll see!


  8. U.S. Consumer Credit Climbs with Non-Revolving Loans

    June 8, 2013 by editor

    Here’s a confession, guys. I’m torn while writing this article. See, consumer credit absolutely jumped from March to April when consumers started taking out loans like crazy (we’re not talking going credit card swipe-happy, we’re talking more like auto and student loans.)

    On the one hand, that makes me happy to see, because it shows that the economy is recovering enough so that consumers feel confident in borrowing and spending money again. On the other hand, it makes me nervous, because I don’t want people jumping the gun here. The interest rates are down, so consumers are naturally trying to take advantage of them, but if you’re not in the position to do so, I don’t think you should be pushing it. Here’s what Jeanna Smialek reported for Bloomberg on the topic:

    “Consumer borrowing in the U.S. accelerated in April as Americans took out more education and automobile loans.

    The $11.1 billion increase in credit followed a revised $8.37 billion increase the previous month that was more than initially reported, Federal Reserve figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a $12.9 billion gain in April.”

    Click here to read the entire Bloomberg article about what is happening right now with consumer spending.

    The economy is still in recovery-mode, and unemployment is still down (in fact, down another .01% according to data released by the Labor Department today, according to the above-mentioned Bloomberg article.) Don’t push it guys!! Spend what you can afford, stick to a budget. Otherwise it’s gonna be a tough summer of paying back stuff you can’t afford.


  9. Credit Tips for New College Grads

    June 7, 2013 by editor

    It’s that time of year when the birds are chirping, sun is shining, and ladies’ skirts are, um, shortening.

    June is a great month, housing the longest day of the year, the first beach days of the summer, and for grads, newfound freedom and rejoicing. Being that it is the month of graduations, we figured it’s a good time to focus on some money management and finance tips for new grads. College grads, I’m talking to you guys in particular. You’re about to enter the big bad “real” world, and we thought you could maybe use a hand in figuring out some of the financial stuff. Take it from Jeanne Kelly of the Huffington Post, who dedicated an entire article to covering the biggest credit mistakes that recent grads make and how NOT to make them yourself. Check out Kelly’s rad article:

    “Along with the increasing panic about impending exams, college graduates have the additional weight on their shoulders of thinking about what they’ll do after graduation. For most graduates, that means finding a job and a place to live.

    It’s a new stage in life, which means there are many unknowns and a lot of learning (but this time, it’s not classroom-style learning). If you are a new graduate, you are setting up your life — which doesn’t just include a job and a place to live but also a credit history. The credit history you establish today is something you can build on (and rely on!) for years to come.”

    Click here to check out the rest of Kelly’s article–the good stuff is in the middle of the page.

    Ideally, you’ll learn these types of lessons–credit stuff–without being on the receiving end of a low score. With everything, there’s trial and error, and of course learning from experience. But trust me, one thing you don’t want to learn from experience is a credit lesson, because a low score can take years to repair and actually cost you tons of money–besides making it a pain in the ass to rent a place, qualify for a credit card, or even get hired. Take a lesson in credit this summer in lieu of a summer class, and you’ll thank me later.


  10. Light at End of U.S. Economy’s Tunnel?

    May 31, 2013 by editor

    If you’re wondering where the state of our nation’s economy is headed, you’ve gotta check out this article.

    We’ve all felt it. The economy is picking up speed. People are charging more to their credit cards, but they’re also paying their cards on time, people are vacationing again, getting hired, finding work, getting raises. New businesses are opening up and small ones are growing. It FEELS like it’s springtime after a long, cold winter, and all the buds on the trees and flowers are starting to come out and enjoy the certain warmth that lies in the summertime ahead.

    That is all well and good, however John W. Schoen of NBC News reports that the “headwinds from federal spending cuts are expected to blow harder this year.” In a nutshell, we’ll see how that fares with our blossoming economy. Check out Schoen’s fascinating article:

    “Like a steam engine leaving the station, the American economy is gathering momentum. The wheels are turning, the engine is pumping and the engineers have opened the throttle full bore. If only Washington would get out of the way.

    The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.4 percent annual rate during the first quarter, down a tenth of a point from an initial estimate, according to revised figures from the Commerce Department released on Thursday. Economists had forecast a 2.5 percent gain, the initial reading reported by the government last month.”

    Click here to find out why Washington, DC is hindering the light at the end of the U.S.’s financial tunnel.

    Guys, I’m not sure whether to tell you to buckle up because it’s going to be a bumpy ride, or let the convertible top down because it’s shaping up to be a glorious one. We’ll have to see how everything shakes out, but what I can recommend is keeping your nose to the grind stone–same as always–not getting lazy with finances or your budgets, and you’ll do just fine regardless of how the wind blows.