Tag Archives: Japanese food

Shuei-Do Manju Shop

7 Jan

When we were in San Jose’s Japantown three years ago, we looked for the grocery store I used to go to when I lived in Downtown San Jose, near “J Town”, as an undergrad college senior.  All I knew was that the store was along Jackson St.  The reason for the grocery hunt was that I wanted daifuku.   Continue reading

Kikka Sushi

1 Jan

The Hubby and I spent the holidays in both Central Coast and Northern California regions, per our custom, to spend time with families and friends.  Thanksgiving may be the day of gluttony for many people but Christmas at my family’s, especially when the whole clan is afoot, is Thanksgiving times two.  This past Christmastime, the parade of food rivaled Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and I wish I had Kobayashi’s talent of eating enormous amounts of food at one seating.  Oh wait.  I kind of do.  Except maybe only a quarter-enormous.  We had a Noche Buena late lunch at my parents’, Christmas Eve dinner at The Hubby’s parents’, Christmas morning breakfast at The Hubby’s again, and then followed by Christmas brunch at my parents’.

Before we left, our parents gave us going away goodies in the form of leftovers from the Christmas meals.  I’m a veritable noodle fanatic, but I passed on the palabok (Filipino “spaghetti”, as my family would describe it) when my Mom asked me if I wanted to bring back leftovers.  However, I did ask for over a pound of ham and some tuna salad.  I couldn’t pass those up.  For good measure, my mother gave me a package of palabok noodles so I could cook palabok at my own time.

Back in the Evergreen State, and with the Christmas bonanza behind us, yet benevolently haunted by the food packed by our mothers, we decided that for New Year, we’d break our normal tradition of having New Year’s Rice (a savory sticky rice dish I learned from my paternal grandmother) and long-life noodles, and have sushi instead.  We wanted something light after all the good but heavy foods we’ve had.

Kikka Sushi

We went with Kikka Sushi Catering in Whole Foods Redmond to cater our New Year’s Eve dinner since we were already familiar with their service for we occasionally pick up impromptu dinners from their Whole Foods Redmond booth.  Kikka Sushi is not exclusive to Whole Foods Redmond, and can be found in other Whole Foods and Ralph’s stores.  At least 24 hours notice is required for all orders, and make sure to ask about their prices because they’re subject to change due to seasonal variety.  I’m only reiterating (almost verbatim) the specification in small print on the catering menu.

Kikka Catering Menu

Kikka Catering Menu2

Kikka Sushi provides a nice selection of sushi platters and customers can even choose to build their own.  We went with their Cherry Blossom Platter which consists of Rainbow Roll, Spicy Tuna Avocado Roll, Spicy Salmon Avocado Roll, Spicy Shrimp Avocado Roll, and an assortment of nigiri.  The folks at Kikka Sushi in Whole Foods Redmond are attentive and courteous, much more so than some of the grocery store employees.

Kikka Sushi Catering Cherry Blossom Platter

The menu doesn’t say how many people each platter would adequately serve, but based on your own and your fellow diners’ appetite, you should be able to make a guess.  The Hubby and I had half of the Cherry Blossom Platter for our New Year’s Eve dinner, and the leftovers for our lunch on New Year’s Day.  Hence, I can guesstimate based from experience that the CB platter should be good for four adults.  Or one Kobayashi.  Hah.

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday season and wishing everyone a fun 2014!

*Photos courtesy of The Hubby and our swell Canon EOS 20D.

Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill

18 Jul

Sometimes, don’t you just feel like the White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland… “”Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”  It’s one week from the last Thursday of this month and I meant to make this post no later than the first of this month (July) since the last Thursday of last month (June), my friend, Norita and I went to one of my favorite haunts in Seattle.

Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill

Tucked in between the corner of 1st Ave and Spring St., Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill is not exactly located on the busiest corner of downtown Seattle.  I probably find myself in Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill about twice a year.  Given that there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, any sit-down restaurant that anyone goes to at least twice a year has got to be a favorite.  So I admit that Nijo falls in my favorite list.  It may not be in yours, but it’s definitely in mine.

Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill

It’s Norita’s first happy hour experience and what better place to take her to than Nijo.  I have not had a bad dining experience at Nijo, and when I do, my visits will decline.  Losing customers is inevitable for any restaurants who do not give their customers the expected food and dining experience they come for.  Anyhow, so far at Nijo, all’s well.

Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill

My friend ordered a non-alcoholic Passion Flower cocktail, while I ordered Ty-Ku soju, but my drink order got mixed up and I was given Ty-Ku Citrus Liqueur instead.  Our server gladly corrected the error and even gave me the liqueur on the house.  But I didn’t take it.  (Yeah, I know. *Groan*, huh,)  The soju is more than enough for me, thanks.

Nijo - drinks

The tamago sushi is always a good start.  We each had a share of one.  I wish we just ordered our own for this.

Nijo - Tamago sushi

I am on a takoyaki whirl for some reason.  I’ve had takoyaki for lunch at Nijo before and it was just right.  Crispy on the outside and soft inside.  This time though the takoyaki was too doughy.  It was okay but I’ve had it better.


Agedashi tofu has become a must for me when I’m in a Japanese restaurant.  Sometimes I forget and it makes me the opposite of happy.  Then I get over it.

Nijo - Agedashi tofu

Here’s what I have to say about the fried calamari… where are the tentacles?  I want more tentacles. (I’m omitting the exclamation point because “I want more tentacles!” just sounds so demanding and I don’t want to sound that demanding. I want more tentacles! Oops.)

Nijo - fried calamari

I like egg rolls even with non-traditional filling.  In the case of Nijo’s egg rolls, it’s avocado.  What can I say, but “avocado is yummo!”.

Nijo - avocado eggroll

I grew up eating fried sweet potatoes as a kid.  I wish someone thought up to cut up the sweet potatoes into fries then fried them.  But nope.  That didn’t happen until many years in the future.  Yummy yam fries.  Crispy and slightly sweet.

Nijo - sweet potato fries

Need a good place to go to for happy hour? Do you want a good reason for happy hour?  Go to Nijo.

Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Maneki Japanese Restaurant

30 May

Are you: visiting Seattle?  new to Seattle?  a Seattlelite who loves Japanese cuisine?  Eat at Maneki for a taste of Seattle history.  Located in the International District, a go-to hub for many Seattlelite Asian Americans and a must-see for Seattle tourists, Maneki offers good Japanese food at reasonable prices.  Japanese restaurants in DT area tend to be hip and modern, and serve fusion cuisine.  Maneki, in the ID, offers simple and well-known Japanese fare.  The restaurant can get really busy and thanks to an advice from a Japanese-Hawaiian-Seattlelite friend, named Chris, I made a reservation.

My family lives both in Central Coast and the Bay Area (both are regions in California, for those unfamiliar), so seafood is a favorite.  Thanks to the Puget Sound, Seattle gets its fair share of fresh seafood and I didn’t have to hunt high and low for a seafood joint to take my family to.  I wanted their first impression of Seattle to be on the tasty side.

Out of all the orders, my Mom and Kat (youngest sis), chose the best ones which were the mackerel sakana dinner and salmon sakana dinner.  Their dinner came with sashimi, and lucky me, my mother doesn’t like raw seafood and passed hers to me.  Yay!  My father and The Hubby, on the other hand, ordered the steak dinner.

It felt like a maki sushi night for me so I got the spicy tuna roll, durkee roll, and the big mouth roll which earned me raised eyebrows from our hostess.  And truly, the big mouth deserves its name.

Maneki serves generous portions and we all left with leftovers.  The hosts and servers are friendly, and the food is good and simple.  I do wish that the tatami rooms get a good cleaning.  The management ought to consider changing the mats.  Aside from that, Maneki is worth a try.

I want to end with three words: age dashi tofu.

Maneki Japanese Restaurant
304 6th Avenue South
Seattle WA 98104
(206) 622-2631
Maneki Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kazoo Restaurant

22 Dec

North of Downtown San Jose is Japantown.  “J Town”, for short, is perfectly walkable with only eight blocks from east to west, and three blocks from north to south.  My first introduction to Japantown happened during my senior year as an undergrad living somewhere on 2nd (maybe 3rd St.?) and John (St. John St).  It was my roommate who told me about Japantown being a walking distance from our apartment. With that knowledge, “J Town” became my go-to place for arare and senbei, and for grocery pit stops.  For such a meager stretch of space, Japantown’s small area is maximized with both Japanese and non-Japanese shops being part of the historic community.

Kazoo became my favorite Bay Area Japanese restaurant on December 2008.  Tired and in need of grub after a day at the Tech Museum, my parents, sisters: Claire and Kat, and Claire’s boyfriend: Laurent, came to a harmonious decision that Kazoo is the one, which was preceded by a discordant talk of where to go for dinner, that was effectively put to halt by my Dad.  Kazoo’s fine comfort food dishes sated everyone’s appetite that night.

Three years later on December 21st 2011, I returned with The Hubby.  It was well into dinnertime when we arrived and I was afraid we’d have a long wait, but the servers were quick and the tables turned over fast.

Because we were expected for dinner at my in-laws’ home, The Hubby and I curbed our enthusiasm and had a “snack” which was comprised of agedashi tofu, wakame su, inari sushi, tekka maki, and spicy San Diego roll.  Between the two of us, it was a small order.  I could certainly have used seconds and maybe thirds.  But dinner awaited us; therefore, abstinence was crucial.

And so on December 22nd, we returned.  We arrived about 15 minutes before dinner service began and used our time wisely by walking around J Town.

We had no dinner obligations this time around so we chose items from the menu that we know would fill us.  I was torn between tempura udon and ramen.  It was a hard choice but I eventually chose the tempura udon and made peace with myself.  The Hubby chose the Beef Teriyaki Happy Boat which consisted of beef teriyaki, California roll, along with one piece of each sushi: tuna, yellowtail, salmon, and shrimp.  As always with noodle dishes, I finished mine in record time.  I’m not normally a fast eater unless I’m cheerfully slurping noodles.  Yes, I’m a noodle slurper and I’m in great company.  As for The Hubby, he was happy with the contents of his Happy Boat, and so was I.

We’ll be back Kazoo!  Because we love you!

250 Jackson St
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 288-9611
Kazoo on Urbanspoon