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  1. Banana Rol – Anatomy of a perfect sushi roll

    October 31, 2014 by editor

    Hikari sushi is my favorite all you can eat sushi place in the Ventura area.

    This is a primer for a sushi restauranteur reading this on how to make a winning sushi roll for a lower cost restaurant.

    First, start of with fresh fish. No song, dance, poor lighting or sauce is going to make up for this.

    The banana roll has amazing fresh salmon, sliced and laying across the top.

    It then has a thin slice of banana underneath the salmon.

    This is brilliant.

    We all are programmed to love sweet.

    The banana gives it an exotic, dangerous, fun feel.

    The great thing about banana’s is that they can be gotten year round ripe, add a distinctive flavor, and cost nothing.

    There is a cream chile sauce lightly dabbed on top. Just enough fire to feel it, but not enough to hurt.

    Tobiko caviar is sprinkled on top of that.

    Inside the roll is great, fresh, sticky sushi rice.

    It is all spiral wrapped with kelp.

    Then inside is tempura shrimp which gives it a crunch and some chewy substance.

    Then chopped crab with a little mayo like a California roll.

    A little chopped scallion on top gives it a bit of green for contrasting color.

    No ingredient in it is particularly hard to procure or too expensive.

    A generous piece of salmon on top of each piece gives the appearance of luxury, while the other ingredients fill up the customer.

    Perfectly executed in every way.


  2. SubZero IceCream in Simi Valley

    October 25, 2014 by admin

    We went to this place because it was next door to where we had dinner.

    We had no idea what we were walking in to.

    It is a franchise, where you pick your ice cream base, (soy, custard, ice cream and other options), pick your flavors.

    Some of the bases and falvors seemed fairly natural and others absolutely not :)

    Hint to restaurant and all others. If you could label them for me as having artificial flavors/colors/preservatives or not I will be much happier.

    I got the custard base, with tons of caramel added.

    They then put it in a bowl and add liquid nitrogen.

    They stir it up and it turns into a super dense, super flavorful ice cream.

    So why don’t I have a picture of the finished ice cream?

    I was so excited by it that I ate it all up before I could take a picture!

    It was delicious. I highly recommend the place.

    Just mark me some non-artificial options for next time! :)


  3. A tale of two AYCE Sushi Restaurants

    October 25, 2014 by admin

    For a variety of reasons, I end up eating one main meal a day.

    Sushi is my favorite food.

    All you can eat sushi is a perfect combination.

    The economics of all you can eat sushi to start with are a bit ridiculous.

    You are taking an extraordinarily expensive ingredient, and then saying, “Here, eat all you want.”

    In the past week I ate at two of these. One of them is remarkable and the other one, well not.

    I don’t like criticizing, so I will not name the not so great one, but will name the great one.

    Hikari sushi in Simi Valley is amazing. How they are able to server the food they do and stay in business is beyond me. It is super big pieces of fresh fish, served with a festiveness in the air, and a very pleasant decor.

    The only reason Hikari would not be a 5 star restaurant are the modest surroundings in a grocery store parking lot.

    Other than that, everything is first class, perfect and delicious.

    The other place, not to be mentioned, had not as fresh fish. In fact I, who eat everything, spit out the scallops because they tasted old and like amonia.

    Part of the thing that makes these places work or not is a double edged sword. If you are busy, you can buy more fish and keep it moving, and hence serve fresh fish.

    If on the other hand, you miss the mark slightly, the food has to be low quality to be able to serve all you can eat for $25.

    By the way, with some variation that is the standard,  all you can eat sushi for $25.

    To be fair to all places, I sometimes got a bite in before shooting my pic, so keep that in mind.

    These peppers are from the not as great place, but they were still good. I was happy with the roasted peppers but not thrilled.



















    The next sushi image is from the not as great place. It was o.k., but not overly fresh, not overly flavorful, and honestly a little sad in it’s presentation.

    Compare that now to the last 5 pics of sushi from Hikari in Simi Valley. The presentation is amazing, and what you don’t see is the freshness and lightness of the fish. The sauces are good, but not overpowering, and the fish to rice ratio is excellent. Just the colors give away what it tastes like.

    So the warning is, only go to all you can eat sushi places that are doing a booming business. If they are not busy, then the whole thing just spirals down.

    Do go to Hikari in Simi Valley, it is a winner.



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  4. Szechuan Place Agoura Spicy Tofu Fish

    October 11, 2014 by editor

    This one restaurant is a journey in itself. First, ask for the Chinese menu or you will think you are in the wrong place and end up eatimageing Kung Pao chicken.

    The Szechuan peppers are a uique food, either tasting pleasent and spicey to some, or actually electric, like the end of a battery and unpleasant to others. image

    Today am I am trying the spicey tofu fish, also called spicey tofu fish hotpot.



    It arrived.

    None of the peppercorns.

    A little oily but light.

    Spicey, but not unbearable.

    Soft tofu.

    Lots of fish.

    Great rice.


    It has a special seed in it called Xiang liao with a very light and unique flavor.












  5. Dinner at Taco Bell

    October 6, 2014 by editor

    Yep. I went there.

    I go possibly twice a year.

    Why did I eat there?

    how was it? Really?

    Sure the setting was unapealing.

    The customer service was exceptional. Sharp guy behind the counter, who was very nice.

    On to the food.

    Two burrito supremes, no beans, extra meat and then I put lots of mild hot sauce on it.

    Let me pretend I was at a five star on yelp hip place with lots of reviews.

    spicer The first word that comes to mind is juicy. Begins were crisp. Flavor rich. The hot sauce was mildly spicey with a light vinegar.

    Definitely satisfying.

    Would I have eaten there again, sure.

    Now add in the environment and a lot of that disappears. All in all worth the money. There is a reason there are so many of them.





  6. Nitropod organic ice cream

    October 3, 2014 by editor

    imageOrganic. Ice Cream. Food Truck.

    What a perfect combo.

    I was about to walk into whole foods in Encino when I saw their truck parked out front.

    it had all the great keywords to draw me in.


    The reason I was going into whole foods was that I needed something with the little fat in it to take my vitamins. Add five bucks the price point was perfect.

    I met Justin and the other owner of the food truck.

    Great guys who just open the truck two weeks

    I got the chocolate and peanut butter ice cream both of which are fantastic.

    They are hard-to-find so keep your eye out on them because they’re always moving.

    look for them on pod.

  7. 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.



  8. 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.

  9. 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.


    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.





  10. 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.