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Posts Tagged ‘salmon’

Happy (belated) Birthday to Me!

A bit over 3 weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday.  It has been the tradition for the last several years that Lindz and I would go out for sushi.  This birthday had an added bonus, it was my last official day doing construction.  And as an extra special bonus, we hit the happy hour pricing at Osaka!

IMG_20130827_200416_2Spiraling in from the top and going clockwise, I got tuna, red snapper, surf clam, flying fish roe, smoked eel, smoked salmon, and mackerel.  Most of these I’ve had before, but I did find a couple of new things to try.  I never the flying fish roe sashimi before.  It is served in a cucumber cup.  It wasn’t bad, but I prefer the sushi version that is served in a nori cup.  The cucumber muted the flavor of the roe IMHO.  The stand out was the smoked salmon.  It had a nice but not over powering smoked flavor.

As a thank you / going away present, my boss gave me a really beautiful smoker.

IMG950785It was a good day!

Decorah Trip No. 2a57fd

Yup.  Just made up a hexadecimal number because I have no idea how many times I’ve written about trips to Decorah and I’m too lazy to figure it out.  Besides, who really reads hexdec anyway?

Anyway, Lindz and I made one of our regular trips to our old stomping grounds.  We stopped by the StoryPeople studio to pick something up and I ran across what I can only assume is one of the limited edition wood paintings.

living_memory

A bit more subdued than Brian’s usual work, but I like it.

For those that are curious, the story printed on here is Living Memory.  Speaking of my old workplace, I just found a new sculpture that I got quite a kick out of:

pertodolist4Web

You can find it here on the StoryPeople website.

What would a trip to Decorah be without eating at La Rana?

IMG_20121020_132618

The smoked salmon salad. All local produce. All awesomeness.

Really not a lot to say.  It’s a fun little bar with a great atmosphere and great food all at a small town price.

A Traditional Birthday Meal

Well, a traditional meal if you are over in East Asia.  Or if you’re me, it’s something that I’ve been doing for the last six-ish years.  That’s right, it’s sushi time!

This year for my birthday meal, Lindz and I went out to Osaka with Matt and Janessa.  Since it was my birthday I got to get whatever I wanted (not sure how that is different from any other time we’ve gone there, but I just rolled with it).  I decided that it was past due on ordering a boat load of sushi.  I mean that quite literally.

A boatload of happy!

Osaka has an item on their menu called the Love Boat.  It contains 10 pieces of sushi, 18 pieces of sashimi, a rainbow roll, and a dragon roll.  All served in a wooden boat.  Hence the name.

All of the pieces were “chef’s choice,” so from the outset I wasn’t expecting anything too lavish as far as selection.

Close up of the bow selection.

Close up of the stern of the boat.

I was right about the selection.  A lot of tuna, salmon, and the like.  Nothing off the beaten path, but all very tasty and a lot of it.

Ever since Matt and Janessa ordered deep fried crab in RI, we’ve been ordering it as a an appetizer.  Been working good so far.

Not quite as good as Enn’s, but then that was the best I’ve ever had.

Since I can put away a lot of sushi, I finished off Lindz’s half and still ordered a couple of extra pieces to cap off the meal.

A bit of octopus and eel as a nice finish to a nice meal.

RI: Enn

When Chef Aaron from the Seminary found out a bunch of us were going to Rhode Island, he gave us some suggestions of places to eat.  He went to culinary school out East so he had the insider knowledge.  Top of his list was a sushi joint called Enn located in Lincoln (north end of RI).  He claimed that it was the best sushi that he had ever eaten.  So naturally, we wanted to go and give it a whirl.

The happy couple and the last blurry photo!

We went there on Thursday and the special was half priced wine and sake.  Matt opted for the sake, Lindz, Janessa, and I split a bottle of malbec.  Dave was the responsible driver and had his Diet Coke.  Lately, my wine of choice has been malbecs.  It is a full bodied red which is not as heavy in tannins as a merlot, and it has a nice bouquet with notes of plum and earth.  (Yeah, I looked up that last part.)

This was a very good year for the vinyard.

Collectively, the group ordered three apps.  Lindz and I got the fried oysters.  They were quite good and the creamy dipping sauce was amazing.  These were much like the clam cakes that we had at Champlin’s.

5 fried oysters, 5 people in our group.  Coincidence?

Matt and Janessa wisely chose the soft shell crab tempura.  Hands down, this was the best app that we had.  Which is saying a lot because this was the best sushi place that I’ve ever been to.

This. This is worth driving 1400 miles for.

Dave opted for the agedashi tofu.  I’m glad that he ordered it because it is something that I never would have even considered.  There always seems to be something else that would catch my eye (and stomach).  It is a firm tofu that is dusted in a starch and then deep fried.  It is served in a tentsuyu broth that consists dashi, mirin, and soy sauce.  It’s definitely worth trying once if you see on the menu.

I’m middle of the road on tofu, but this has me rethinking my opinion.

As for the entree’s, Matt and Janessa decided to split four rolls between them.  Had they known how big the rolls are, I think they would have chosen differently.  One thing that I found impressive was the plating on a couple of these rolls.  The first one to show up was the Summer Tuna Roll.  Inside it has avocado, spicy mayo, tobico (fish roe), and tempura flakes.  And on top it has maguro tuna, jalapeno pieces, and a creamy sauce.

Seriously cool plating.

Next to come was the Craig Roll.  This one has soft shell crap tempura, cucumber, and avocado topped with eel and shrimp.  If I had opted for rolls, this would have definitely been one that I would had chosen.

Amazing how a little piping of sauce can spruce up a plate.

Their last two rolls came together on one plate.  On top, there is the B-52 Maki (at least I’m pretty sure I’ve got it right).  This one has a crab stick, avocado, flying fish roe, and scallion rolled with yellowtail tuna, then it’s deep-fried and layered with rice.  The bottom one looks like a California Roll which has crab, avocado, cucumber, and fish roe.

Your basic sushi presentation. But the food still looks good, so why mess with the basics?

Dave ordered the Sushi / Sashimi platter.  Which is a gamble in my opinion.  It is an assortment of sushi and sashimi which is left up to the chef to decide what you get.  It also comes with a salad and a bowl of miso soup.  Here in the Mid-West, it usually consists of a couple of kinds of tuna, salmon, shrimp, and egg custard.  All of which I like, but it just reeks of being “safe” and cheap.  I was very impressed with the chef’s choice at Enn.  The platter actually consisted of many things that I normally order a la carte.

At the very top is what looks like a tuna roll. The next row has flying fish roe, shrimp, and surf clam sushi. The row of sushi below that has binchou (albacore tuna), mackerel, and fresh-water eel. The sashimi is maguro (red meat tuna), salmon, and, well, honestly, I have no idea what the last one is.
Update: Dave informed me the unknown fish is “yellowtail, sweet delicious yellowtail.” (hamachi)

Lindz ordered a la carte like I did.  We’ve found that it’s cheaper and we get exactly what we want.

Starting far left and going clockwise: a spicy tuna roll, tobiko (flying fish roe), unagi (fresh-water eel), salmon, and a Blaze roll (at least that is what Lindz thinks it is).

I always get a smile on my face when Lindz explains why she orders the flying fish roe: she like the popping in her mouth as she eats them.  Really I have no room to talk because that is definitely a factor as to why I order them all the time too.  I think I’ve said this before, but the unagi (fresh-water eel) is a favorite of both of ours, so it’s no surprise that you see it on every plate that we order.  The Blaze roll has spicy tuna, cream cheese, and avocado on the inside.  Then the roll is deep-fried in tempura batter and finished with a sweet and spicy sauce.

Finally, we get to my plate!  As I said before, this was the best sushi place that I’ve been to.  It had the freshest fish hands down and it’s very reasonable priced.

Starting at the bottom and going widdershins (because I like to be difficult): I got the unagi, octopus, surf clam, and mackerel sashimi.  And two of the flying fish roe (tobiko) sushi, one with and one without a quail egg.

Honestly, I really didn’t notice much of a difference with the quail egg on the tobiko.  Both were good, but I don’t think it was worth the extra $0.75.  The mackerel (saba) was breathtaking.  It had a nice full fish flavor and was oily without being overwhelming.  The surf clam (hokkigai) was good, but wasn’t significantly better than others that I’ve had.  The octopus (tako) was nice and tender with just the right amount of chew to it.  The unagi!  Oh, the unagi.  Words cannot do justice to this oily, fishy, sweet morsel from heaven.  All in all, this was as perfect of a sushi meal as I’ve ever had.

Well almost.  The only thing that could have made it better was if Ringer was there.  We have a longstanding tradition of going way off the beaten path every time that we have sushi.  I love my standard selections, but I do miss going crazy sometimes.

So Chef Aaron was right.  Making a trip to Enn was well worth it.  It will take a really impressive sushi place to even come close to this meal.

So, it’s quarter to one and I’m awake . . .

. . . So I guess I’ll catch up a little on my posts that I’ve been neglecting.  I’m going to do the less involved ones, so don’t pretend there is any actual chronological order here.  It’s just what’s convenient for me, and that’s what’s important right?

We ate out a couple of times at places that are worthy of posting.  The first one is Mac’s Fish and Chips located on the corner of Hamline and Larpenteur in St. Paul.  I cannot speak with any authority about any dishes beyond the cod and chips basket, clam and chips basket, deep fried cheese curds, and salt-water taffy.  I’ve never been able to convince myself to order anything else because this subset of their menu is just that good.  This is a place that I cannot possible recommend enough.  BTW, chips = french fries in the British parlance for those not in the know.  Oh, I should note that Mac’s wraps the baskets in newspaper like they do back in England.  It’s a nice touch.

On the left we have the clam and chips and on the right we have the cod and chips baskets. Also included was a free piece of taffy! (not shown)

The other place of note that we ate at was Muffuletta on Como Ave.  I had never eaten there before so I was interested in going to an alumni dinner that Lindz’s school was throwing.  Ok, I was interested in going for a reason beyond just free food.  Maybe Narren was right, I am just a food whore.  But I think that is a topic for another post.  Anyway, Muffuletta is a bistro style place with a globally inspired menu.  Since the school took over the whole restaurant, there was a limited menu.  I got the salmon wellington and Lindz got the mushroom risotto.  Hers was very tasty but nothing I haven’t eaten / made before.  I have to admit that curiosity drove my decision to have the salmon.  Ever since we honeymooned in Jamaica where I had the most amazing beef wellington, again a topic for another post, I’ve been fascinated with the dish.  The salmon dish was over some roast veggies and some kind of cream sausce that I can’t remember the specifics on.  On the whole, the dish was good and put together well.  My only complaint about it was that the salmon was over cooked.  I don’t know of a solution to the problem, so while it is a critique, it is not a judgmental one.  It is just something I would have liked differently.  If that makes any sense at all.

It looks only slightly better than it tasted. So, all in all, a good dish.