Friday, August 26, 2005

Yakitori at Naka-meguro

I'm in Japan at the moment - it's a crazy old place. Not much has changed since I was here last year. Same old bustling downtowns with croquette and curry places all over downtown.

I'm staying with my good friend L and tonight we ate yakitori at Kushiwakamaru (03 3715 9292). This is a gaijin friendly yakitori place in Naka-meguro, i.e. the menu is also in English. They really know how to eat here; yakitori is all about tasty grilled bits on a stick, we had tonight: chicken wings, beef balls, chicken gizzards, chicken and leek, capsicum and cheese, eringi mushroom, eggplant and bonito shavings, chicken and perilla leaf, chicken skin and a few more that I can't remember.

I even washed it all down with a small serve of Japanese beer.

We finished with a small bowl of rice in a fish broth with shredded nori and bits of salmon: the most delicious rice broth that I've ever tasted.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bad places I've eaten lately

At the risk of turning this blog into a bitch-fest...oh what the heck, here goes.

Toss'n'turn, next to the Capitol Sq light rail stop, is a crêperie that is truly crâpe. I ordered a crepe with seafood, mornay sauce and parmesan cheese and what I got was a nice enough crepe, but filled with tasteless frozen seafood half-heartedly heated through with some pasty grey sauce. The parmesan was not noticeable at all.

Golden Fang Malaysia (sic) and Chinese Restaurant is located on City Road, Chippendale, next to the University of Sydney. This place has always intrigued me because Malaysian cuisine is very rare in Sydney. It also always seems packed on Friday nights, so I figured it might be worth giving a go for a late dinner on a Monday night.

Alas alack, what a disappointment - they had run out of Hokkien noodles, so my first choice of Hokkien fried noodles was unavailable. My second choice of salted fish fried rice arrived within a minute of me ordering it: highly suspicious if you ask me, but nice quick service.

The neurotic and megalomaniacal manageress bossed her down-trodden waitress around as she showed me to my seat. I bet she couldn't wait to go to the Ball.

The fried rice was incredibly oily, soft and the salted fish of poor quality: very salty without a lot of flavour. The rice grains were squishy and overcooked, liberally coated with oil: yuk.

The roast pork with belachan sauce caught my eye so I ordered it for takeaway. It arrived before I finished the fried rice, so I sampled a bit. I like a bit of stinky belachan - I think it smells delicious.

But this is where I was wrong. This dish assaulted me with it's poor execution and lack of thought. The belachan was not roasted, nor was the onion base given enough time to reduce and caramelise. The whole dish stunk of wet and raw onion. I was nearly tempted to leave it on the table as a message that it was incredibly unapalatable. I took it home, nevertheless, as I hate to waste food. Perhaps I can push this onto the bf, pair it with some rice or noodles. Perhaps I can improve it...who knows.

After leaving the restaurant I was accosted by a strange Asian man who held a small card up for me to read: Can you give me $10 for some food and a ticket to Melbourne, all written in the Chinese cursive roman script. How odd, to beg with a note. I rudely sniffed at him and turned away, but had an after thought that I should have given him that awful belachan roast pork. Oh well, perhaps it was for the best; I wouldn't have wanted to subject him to that offensive dish either.

A Romantic Evening

The complaints of neglect were reaching danger level - dull warning beeps were now wailing sirens, but I only realised at the last minute.

I found myself in a romantic emergency: something needed to be done fast. I pulled out all stops and created a Romantic Sunday Night for the two of us.

I made a quiet-ish dinner for the two of us; well, as quiet as living with three other people can be. I kept it simple because the main event was not the dinner:
Goats' Cheese Salad with Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing
Prawn skewers grilled with Thai Sweet Chilli sauce
Turkish bruschetta with King Island blue cheese and basil
Blue swimmer crab and prawn ravioli with spicy capsicum and tomato sauce (not shown)

Then afterwards, while I prepared Part II of the Evening, he listened to a special playlist I compiled for him:
Especially for You (Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan)
Forever Love (Wang Lee Hom)
One of Those Days (Whitney Houston)
I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do (ABBA)
Make No Mistake, He's Mine (Barbra Streisand and Kim Carnes)
Nature Boy (Nat King Cole, sung by Natalie Cole)
Stay (Paul Mac)
What Sound (Lamb)
Another Chance, Acoustic remix (Robert Sanchez)

I had previously taken out the mud mask from the fridge so it would be at a nice room temperature. I used Wow wow from Lush because he'd always wanted to try something from their Fresh range. He'd expressed some comment on the winter dryness, so that's
why I chose it. So he sat patiently with an improvised towel over the hairline, cucumber slices soothing his eyes and a thick coating of mud pack on his face whilst
Chillout Sessions Vol 3 played quietly in the background.

I lit some tealight candles and a few rose scented ones, then drew the bathroom curtain/door closed as he waited for the magic to begin.

I scattered a box of rose petals I had previously ordered from Pearson's florist all over the bed, the bedroom and the floor.

After a quick shower, he dried off and stepped out into the bedroom. I don't he quite believed that I did all of this. Well, I think I needed to; but I can't claim
complete credit for the inspiration. A mutual friend has compiled a list of Romantic Things to do one day and I springboarded off one of his ideas.

I gave him a full back and leg massage with cold-pressed macadamia oil. I used to go out with a masseur who drilled me in Swedish techniques and how to read muscle knots. I also attended a Shiatsu course once, so my technique is a little combination of both. I don't claim to be therapeutic, but I think it works for him.

After a thorough massage where I managed to work up quite a sweat, I brought out a little box of handmade chocolates, pairs of: strawberry ganache balls, penguins, praline baskets.

He seemed quite pleased - I'll end the story here, kiddies.