Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eating My Way Through Japan

Bento Box
The typical Japanese lunch. This one had fried rice, two kinds of
shumai, karaage (fried chicken), eggplant salad, and ginger.
Japanese Buffet*
This was my favorite meal of the trip because it had a selection of
all the popular Japanese foods and a dessert bar! There was
salad, tempura, shabu shabu, saba, yakitori, croquette, seafood
casserole, kabocha, tonkatsu, fried noodles, curry, miso soup,
sushi, a few types of Japanese pickles and salads, fruit,
sakura manju, cakes, and ice cream!
*This was an ironic concept for Japan, since everything
is about portion control and it is customary to finish all
of the food you are served on your plate.

Hello Kitty Water Bottles

American products with Japanese text

Never seen Haagen Dazs Macadamia Nut flavor - not even in Hawaii!

Hot Food Vending Machine

Yes, folks you can even get your lunch out of a vending machine
in Japan! They had drink vending machines EVERYWHERE,
but this was the first food one I found!
(It takes about 2 minutes to heat the food.)
Strawberry Flavored Popcorn
At Disney Sea there were multiple food carts that sold different
flavored popcorn like curry, black pepper, milk tea, caramel,
and strawberry.
McDonald's Value Menu
Most of these items can be found on an American value menu,
except for the Bacon Potato Pie and "Shaka Shaka Chicken"
Also, their Apple Pie is deep fried, not baked like it is here.
Teriyaki Burger and Fries
The "burger" patty wasn't 100% ground beef (probably because
meat is hard to come by in Japan) and tasted more like a
veggie patty. The sizes of fries and drinks are much smaller
than the ones in America.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Economic & Culinary Bliss: K'ya Happy Hour

So I know I've blogged about K'ya before, but last week I discovered that their already budget-friendly, high-quality menu has a HAPPY HOUR. Yes, boys and girls that means from 4:30-5:30 PM it is 1/2 off ALL food items!! Drinks are still regular price, but when you're paying $2.50 for truffle risotto, who cares?

They also updated their menu since December and added a few new items (still none over $15!) like the seared scallops. This fun little tapas spot never ceases to amaze me!

My apologies for the dark pictures, the restaurant was dimly lit...

Flash Fired Calamari with Thai Glaze - $2.50 (Reg. $5)
Seared Lamb Chops with Baby Arugula - $5 (Reg. $10)
Black Truffle Risotto - $2.50 (Reg. $5)
Seared Scallops on Spinach and Mushrooms
with Lemon Butter Sauce & Polenta - $5 (Reg. $10)

K'ya Bistro Bar
1287 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, 92651
(949) 376-9718
Reservations highly recommended.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Amazing Breadsticks and Wannabe Carbonara

When eating out, I usually tend to order menu items that are lighter and healthier (for the most part) and won't do too much damage to my waistline. However, for the past month or so I've really been craving a rich, homestyle spaghetti carbonara. Like how an Italian grandmother would make it with tons of crispy bacon bits and freshly shaved parm...Unfortunately, for some reason I just don't see it on many menus these days.

This past Saturday, I found myself at Dominic's (an Italian restaurant in Cypress) for a friend's birthday and low and behold, they had spaghetti carbonara on the menu. Yahoo!
Most dishes here are served with salad and their "famous" garlic breadsticks. "Famous" I'm not too sure, because I've never heard of this place before, but "AMAZING" yes!! Served hot out of the oven and glistening with butter and garlic, the bread was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Really one of the best garlic breadsticks I've tasted!
After devouring the bread, I anticipated the carbonara even more. Sadly, my craving for this dish was not fulfilled because their "carbonara" was actually served in a cream sauce and really was a carbonara at all. They should have called it "fettuccini with bacon." You see, traditional carbonara is simply made with noodles, eggs, bacon, onion, white wine, and parmesan cheese. There is no sauce like there was in this dish. It was still filling, but slightly heavy and not what I was expecting.

Overall, the garlic bread was the real star of Dominic's. They do have an extensive menu with plenty of other options to choose from. I would recommend the lobster ravioli instead, but as long as there's bread around, I'd be pretty happy.