WastED NY with Brooks Headley

I was treated to an extraordinary experience last weekend.

Well, I treated myself to it. After all, I do know best what I would like.

I was lucky enough to snag 2 seats to WastED, a pop up by Dan Barber. His goal was to show diners how much food we waste and how it is all so delicious. And boy did he succeed.

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He transformed Blue Hill into a different restaurant – the walls were covered with paper that farmers use to prevent crops from inclimate weather and the tables were actually grown from the ground up. It was surreal!

But then, so was the dinner.

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Beef tallow candles

These candles, actually made of beef tallow, turned into the world’s greatest shchmaltz when warm! To say nothing of the spent grain bread, made from leftover brewing grains.

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The bread was slightly sweet and very soft, served with whipped lardo alongside the beef tallow. When the tallow congealed it was even better. ACTUAL beefy butter.

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Dumpster dive salad

Pistachio, damaged storage apples and pears, whipped chickpea water

Stop it, Dan Barber. Don’t make me start hitting on you. This was the best salad of my or my husband’s lives – and we have eaten a lot of Caesar between us. This is…amazing. Sweet and bright and deeply savory and herbaceous. The chickpea water is just the liquid from a can of chickpeas, whipped and whipped until it is lighter than air and just a little earthy to counteract the vibrant flavors of the vegetables. How can this be REFUSE?

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Blue Hill Farm Egg from table scrap fed hens

Old bresaola, outer layer onions, cheese broth from Mateo’s 3%

This would be at home at any haute dining table in Paris. A softly poached egg so rich and buttery that it might have stopped my heart then and there. The bresaola is softer than most, and has a mild flavor. The outer layer onions are especially sharp, perfect for cutting through the egg’s richness. The cheese broth is perfect – not too heavy or salty, more like a teensy, tiny bit of tang. Delicious.

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Juice pulp cheeseburger

Let’s dissect this:

Repurposed bread buns – leftover bread from Balthazar soaked until soft and then repurposed into entirely new buns. Soft but crusty, not too dense, and pleasantly sour.

Juice pulp patty – made from leftover veggie pulp from Liquiteria. Spiked with harissa and chock full of hearty, spicy flavors. Doesn’t taste like beef. Does taste like heaven.

Reconsider cheese – pungent, tangy, sharp, and salty.

Bruised beet ketchup  – sweet and piquant.

We fought over this one. Sharing was difficult. 

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Dog food with wasted potatoes and gravy

Actual dog food, made from Dickson’s Farm Strand’s recipe. I actually ate dog food. And…I loved it. Filled with liver, sweet potatoes, and a myriad of spices; this is like country pate meets meatloaf. Add in some soft, mayo-dressed potatoes and a girl could get used to eating with the dogs.

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Brooks Headley Special Dessert

Filone crust pavlova with candied leftover fruit peel, expiring ricotta, and leftover verjus-vinegar sobet

Fresh, sweet creamy. Chewy, sugary bits of candied peel and that super refreshing sorbet. I can’t believe that this is made from “trash,” and yet…I can. Brooks Headley isn’t a Del Posto superstar for nothing.

This meal was…beyond. It made me rethink how I view food and feel ashamed about how much I waste. I can’t wait to save the scraps of potatoes the next time that I make latkes and to use the peach peels from my summer pies for some infused vodka.

I really preach eating the whole animal and it’s time that I started practicing that.

After all, a fish bone/apple peel/heel of bread is a terrible thing to waste.

Buvette Doesn’t Ring my Breakfast Bell

I have wanted to try Buvette for a long time. I have heard that it’s so Parisian. That the food is wonderful. That the space is cramped but comfortable. That it’s SO SO AMAZING.

Let’s see how it measures up.

First, the pros:

20150228_090414 1. Adorable.

This place is super cute – great for a breakfast with your love, a coffee at the bar, or an indulgent lunch all on your own. 
20150228_091838 2. The food

Downright delicious. Fresh, seasonal, well portioned. You get up feeling satiated but not stuffed. You can try several dishes, because you don’t feel overloaded with sodium or carbs. The beets are excellent – sweet, earthy, and toothsome against the tangy, cool yogurt.  20150228_091848 Avocado toast

A special that day, and clearly my favorite dish in my current rotation. This is a thick, nutty piece of brown bread topped with buttery avocado, a swath of vegetal celery yogurt, and more than a few pepper flakes. The radishes and dressed watercress, highlighting the fruity olive oil and the avocado. Certainly recommended.  20150228_092005 Bloody Mary

Delicious! Well balanced, none too alcoholic, freshly grated horseradish, and good enough to stand on its .own without any insane garnishes 20150228_093937 3. The service.

Excellent – friendly, prompt, professional.

Now, for the sad part – the cons:

1. Cramped.

I knew this going in and didn’t mind at all, but you won’t want to come here with more than 4 people MAX. I couldn’t imagine being comfortable with more than 2 people, honestly.

2. No reservations.

One of my biggest pet peeves. I hate showing up to a place  starving and then having to wait 45 minutes to get seated. I also hate having to wake up super early to beat the crowds because…dude…it’s the weekend. Luckily, we arrived right at opening time and had no wait, but this is a major downer in my book.

3. Expensive.

Like, way way expensive. This little meal was STUPIDLY pricey. I actually wouldn’t come back because the cost is – in my opinion – over the top.

Buvette is adorable, the food is delicious, and the service is great. But no reservations and lots of $$$ translates to me heading elsewhere for my Saturday morning avocado toast.

Gradisca – Ideal for the Thin and Rich

I haven’t always been a food blogger, but I’ve always been a foodie. One of my favorite things is to go back to restaurants that I haven’t visited for many years to see if my fond memories are because I always had good taste or because the past is always seen through rose colored glasses. Let’s see how Gradisca fared:

20150207_191513 The small Greenwich Village restaurant oozes charm. It’s all exposed brick and cozy tables with a small bar in the middle of the restaurant. It’s loud and buzzy, but can feel a little cramped. It’s really only good for 4 people or fewer – any more than that and you might start to feel a wee bit like sardines.
20150207_194158 Bread

Sadly, unremarkable. Okay at best – don’t waste stomach space here.  20150207_194900 Caprese salad

Excellent! The mozz must be homemade or well sourced, because it has the thick, bouncy texture of mozzarella with the creamy, fatty richness of burrata. Truth be told, I prefer this mozzarella to some lesser, weaker burratas that I have eaten. The pesto is garlicky but sparingly applied so that it compliments the tart, juicy tomatoes. For the middle of winter, this is a damned good caprese salad and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again.
20150207_194906 Meatballs

Surprisingly good. They are expensive and very small, but wow – the flavor is there. It’s flavor packed and bold in a really bright, herbaceous tomato sauce. Nothing about this is soft or muted. This dish is bold, in your face, and filled with flavor. I just think it’s a little too pricey for the serving size.

20150207_202737 Spaghetti carbonara

My all time favorite pasta dish. I just love carbonara. It’s rich and bacony and peppery and everything wonderful. This is a fantastic version. The homemade pasta is chewy and the bacon is crispy and thick. The eggs are rich but not at all gooey or cloying, and the pepper is freshly ground. It cuts right thought the fat and the salt, making the dish sharp and vibrant. This is a craveable rendition of my favorite pasta – the portion is just so damned tiny.

20150207_210228 Berry panna cotta

Not necessary. The jiggy, lightly vanilla scented panna cotta is served in a puddle of jammy blackberries and raspberries. It’s light and sweet but still indulgent. We mostly ordered it because we were still hungry.

I remembered Gradisca as charming and delicious, which it is. But did I used to be a lot richer and a lot thinner? I mean…how much more money could I have had that I didn’t see how expensive this was? How tiny could I have been that I didn’t think that the portion sizes were positively toddler sized? The vibe is neighborhood date night, but the prices and portion sizes are more model-appropriate fashion week. Though, to be fair, we did enjoy a few very nice drinks. Next time I would come for just a soda and that carbonara.

And maybe fit into my skinny jeans the next morning.

Molly’s Cupcakes – Peach Cobbler is the Greatest Cupcake Ever

Because a little Friday cupcake never hurt nobody.

20150210_141632 Molly’s Cupcakes is the cutest little cupcake joint you ever did see – albeit one that has won countless awards and is a Cupcake Wars champ. It’s large and well laid out, with a few tables, a large display of treats, and swings at the counter.

That’s right…you get to eat cupcakes on swings. Your inner 9 year old is very happy.

20150210_141701 I may or may not have added these to my coffee. Don’t judge.

20150210_141746 Chocolate raspberry cupcake

Excellent! Thick, dark chocolate ganache that’s the texture of satin with a very thick, almost chewy texture. The cake itself is moist and sweet, with none of the dusty dryness that chocolate cake sometimes gets. It’s layered with a judicious spread of sweet, tart raspberry filling Chocolate and raspberry is a match made in heaven – don’t you agree? This is also a good sized cupcake – one is enough for a very generous dessert.

20150210_141751 Peach cobbler cupcake

Simply the best cupcake I have ever had. It blows my beloved red velvet out of the water. The cake is almost like cornbread – it’s vanilla-y and sweet but with that sticky, earthy flavor of corn muffins. It’s filled with a thick, syrupy peach pie filling and topped with freshly whipped cream, streusel, and a stewed peach slice. This is as homey and comforting as grandma’s house, and is better than many a fresh peach pie I have made in summer. This is huge and rich, but really delicious.

Molly’s is destination worthy – there, I said it! Relax with one of the many board games and a few friends, with at least one cupcake per person. Maybe 2 if you’re feeling frisky.

And when it comes to cupcakes, it’s easy to feel frisky.

Skip These Dishes at These Excellent Restaurants

I tend to only write about the restaurants I love. Because, unless the errors are really egrigious or a restaurant htat has been lauded is so not worth your time and money and I think that you should actively avoid it.

However, many good restaurants – even great restaurants – have one or two clunker dishes. Dishes that, if you orer them, may color your view of an otherwise excellent restaurant.

So, when visiting these restaurants, you should avoid these dishes:

20140601_182341 Red Farm fried lobster and cheese sticks

To be honest, this whole meal was kinda a disappointing. But these cheese sticks were by FAR the most miserable item that we ordered. Yes, miserable. Fishy lobster. I can’t even remember any other taste, because the lobster was so offensively awful. It tastes fake, rotten, foul…ugh. And maybe that’s why the rest of the meal was disappointing. I need to go back and enjoy a meal without the gross taste of bad shellfish in my mouth.
20140609_192830 Fabrick red snapper ceviche

Loved this meal – hated this dish. Weird, fishy, off taste (in case you can’t guess, anything less than totally pristine seafood is my major gustatory bugaboo) and the fish skin was not crispy enough so it turned rather soggy. By all means, skip this and order the lovely flatbread or the addictive candied bacon.
20140704_184348 Minetta Tavern oxtail and foie gras terrine

High end cat food. Bizarre, slimy texture that is so dense that the meat itself almost gasps for air. The flavors are muddied and it seems like a waste of excellent ingredients. Do yourself a favor and order a different appetizer from the excellent menu.
20140705_114241 Russ and Daughters Cafe new Holland herring

This just tastes like a big ole slimeball with a visually displeasing tail and some rather tickly bones. I so badly wanted to love this. I know that all over Asmterdam this is considered a delicacy and that these particularly tender and mild herring only come in for a few weeks every year. The lines can wrap around the corner of the Russ and Daughters shop when word comes in that this stuff is in stock. And…yet…I just couldn’t get into this. Oh well, more for you.

MacDougal Street’s Greatest Hits – Mamoun’s and Artichoke Basille’s

You may, someday in the future, find yourself in Greenwich Village, near MacDougal Street.

You may be wearing a shirt that says “The Peach Pit” and carrying your backpack.

And yet , you are not 19.

But you still want to eat with the cool kids.

So you go here:

20140719_175214 Mamoun’s. Where you will hob knob with prepsters visiting from Virginia, tourists from Japan with cameras larger than my bedroom, hospital residents on their 20 minute dinner break, and middle aged New Yorkers just looking for a standing room table and a hot falafel. Don’t miss the sleeper hit – tender, warm spinach pie that is mildly spiced and wrapped in what must be homemade pastry.

This place isn’t my favorite falafel in NYC, but it really does hit the spot and the price can’t be beat.
20140719_175457 Schwarma

Chargrilled with deep, smoky flavors and crispy edges surrounding juicy meat. The meat isn’t as tender as I like it, but when it’s served up with tahini and crunchy veggies in a warm pita, how can you resist? I can’t! The hot sauce her is VERY hot…not a lot of other flavors, but it does liven up the sandwich.  20140719_175509 Falafel

Mmm-mmm good! Soft and wide so it spans the width of the bread – no sad, falafel-less bites in this sandwich! The chickpea patty is gently spiced with fragrant herbs so it blends with the tart radishes and that nutty tahini. I liked this a lot, and for the price -well, it’s sensational.

Also ,these sandwiches are the perfect size – one will fill you up but not make you overstuffed.

That’s why you might want this after a few hours: 20140719_203743 Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

I mean, of course I waited this long to get to this popular pizza joint – that’s how I roll.

And though it’s not my be all-end all pizza  – I totally get the hype. It’s cheesy. It’s creamy. It’s laden with chewy artichokes and slivers of spinach. It’s salty and garlicky and indulgent. The crust is way too thick and stiff for me, but my husband loved it. I guess it’s to hold up to the slippery, uber thick and rich topping, but I like cracker thin pizza crust.

I mean, I still ate it…it was still pretty great.

Add in the 2 drinks I had earlier that night and you can see why I got the hype.

Trust me, when you are on MacDougal street, you will have had at least 2 drinks too. And then these 2 places will taste even better.

Minetta Tavern – Your Everyday 4 Star Neighborhood Joint

I have a habit of visiting hugely popular restaurants 4-5 years after they burst onto the scene. I hate scouring for reservations. I can’t stand a big scene. And I really don’t like to be like everyone else, all clamoring for the same tuna crudo.

That’s why I finally got to Minetta Tavern on July 4 weekend, when I could finally get a reservation. Yes, it’s still super hard to get.

Keith McNally’s American-French bistro is clubby and steakhouse inside – kind of Old Homestead meets Sardi’s. You can feel comfy in jeans and a t-shirt or in a suit and tie. As long as you have a reservation and are prepared to pay the prices, you are a valued customer.

20140704_175307 I embarrassingly have no recollection of what this cocktail was called, but it had sherry, vermouth, Benedictine, and some other delicious spirits in it. It was made expertly by a friendly but professional bartender who directed my husband towards a delicious, rare rye. The wines are varied and fairly priced, but the cocktails are too special to miss.  20140704_181125 Gougeres

Not to the level of Marc Forgione, but puffy, cheesy, and airy. Very appetizing.  20140704_184341 Black label burger

Don’t worry, the excellent salty thin cut pommes frites were served on the side. This $30 burger was the toast of the city when it was premiered. It was called the burger to end all burgers, beefy beyond all beefiness. I couldn’t wait to try it. This is an excellent burger. It’s soft but not mushy and there is an overtly steak-y taste to it. The bun is awesome and the onions are too.  20140704_184439 But for a fancy pants burger? I’ll go here.  For a steak-y burger? I’ll go here. This is good, but not worth its cultish status. It was neither over the top decadent nor cheekily low end-high end. It was worth $18 – not $30. 20140704_190526 Cote de boef for 1

Now THIS was worth every pretty penny. I have rarely had steak this good in an actual steakhouse. Juicy, funky, umami heavy ribeye, seared until the outside is charred and the inside is bright red varying to a saturated rose color with nary an ounce of blood – perfect medium rare. It has a beefy chew but is quite tender, and the fat is rendered so it is crispy and irresistible. It comes with 2 huge marrow bones, seasoned with salt and meat drippings. It’s really the perfect accompaniment for bread. I would get this again yesterday – that’s how good it is.  20140704_200307 Berry and lemon cake

Light, creamy, all-American. A whimsical end to a very good meal.

And this was a very good meal.  I didn’t even photograph the excellent stretchy, buttery aligot, the rich crab sauce of the trout Meuniere, or the truly memorable butter and thyme carrots (literally my favorite carrots ever).  The service is unmemorable – a little rushed and somewhat lackadaisical. But this is just a very good, high-end neibhborhood bistro. It isn’t mind altering fare. It isn’t the most special meal ever. It isn’t even the greatest burger ever. It’s just a great meal that is delicious if you can foot the bill (thanks, wedding gift certificate!) and love steak.

Glad that I didn’t break my back to get here earlier, because while it’s delicious, it’s also a lot of hype.

It’s Summertime – Here’s Where You Should be Eating Ice Cream!

It’s summer and it’s hot. I mean shorts wearing-sunscreen slathering-ice cream eating hot.

1. Shorts – cheap ones. So you don’t care if they get grass stains.

2. Sunscreen – at least spf 50 if you are a redhead, like me. Just call me Casper, the skin cancer-free ghost.

3. Ice cream – well, either of these will work:

20140529_145643 Oddfellows

This cult favorite import from Brooklyn has a tiny storefront in the East Village. I don’t think that the ice cream is worth a special trip, but if you are in the ‘hood and want a sweet, cold treat than come here. Though you could go for the very good, very rich chocolate ice cream, I suggest that you go for something a little more out of the ordinary.
20140529_145911 Thai iced tea ice cream

Well, there goes my of Thai iced coffee. This ice cream is so many times better than my favorite southeast Asian drink that I doubt I will ever order another iced coffee with my pad see ew ever again. This is smooth and dense but not hard – easy to eat with the plastic spoon. It’s very creamy and has a rich, buttery taste upfront followed by a light, herbal tea flavor. It’s refreshing but still indulgent and I would definitely get his again.

20140627_123824 Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

Destination worthy. The Salty Pimp is where it’s AT. Soft serve that makes Mr. Softee look like the fraud he is. Deeply chocolaty Magic Shell. And, best of all, a salt flecked drizzle of ducle de leche that is so buttery and sweet that you might propose to it.

20140627_123843 I dare you to share it with someone. You will each need at least 2.

Gotta love summertime. 

Sandwiches – America’s Pride and Joy

Quick break to say…Hi!!! I may be recapping Europe, but I am back in the good ole US of A and am indulging in what we do best:

Sandwiches. 

(and a couple of tacos)

Here is what I have been enjoying lately:

image (1) Al pastor tacos from Taqueria Diana

This East Village isn’t more than a  hole in the wall and the tacos cost less than $5 per, but they are delicious. Greasy and messy in the best way possible. The pork is slowly roasted on a spit with pineapple, then diced into sweet, salty, juicy hunks that fall apart if you look at them the wrong way. Get yours with some of the vibrant, cilantro-y guacamole and you won’t regret it. It’s not as spicy as I could take it, but nothing is, and this is as good sober as it is drunk – NOT true of all tacos!
image (2) Green chile mac and sliders from Mexicue

This Mad Square Eats spot was win and lose. The green chile mac is insipid and lacking in both real chile bite and sharp cheddary tang. The sandwiches, however, were great! The pulled chicken slider with cheese and pickles is juicy and bright with a vinegary, bright BBQ sauce. The brisket burnt ends chili is PHENOMENAL! Burnt ends are those wonderfully charred bits of meat and fat that get incinerated when a large brisket is cooked. They are only improved by the addition of a chipotle-rich sauce, horseradish crema, and some pickled jalapenos. Slap it all on a soft potato bun and y’all are in business.  image (3) Pomme Palais roast beef sandwich

Because trust fund babies want to eat well, too. This isn’t insanely expensive – it’s what you might be spending at a casual sit down place in the East Village, but the shop is cute enough to eat in and the sandwiches are GOOD. The roast beef is juicy and tastes like a great steak sandwich. It sits on bread that is floury and substantial enough to house the nutty Gruyere and horseradish mayo, but still tears apart easily. This is filling but not heavy – I work for the place, but I have gone back here and paid full price to eat it more than once.

image Fish tacos at El Toro Blanco

Shi-shi but really delish. Mild, flaky cod inside a puffy, crispy beer batter. It’s served in warmed flour tortillas with radishes, buttery avocado, and just a smidge of jalapeno aioli. So many places bury their delicious fish under mountains of goopy sauces – not necessary when the ingredients are so fresh and tasty. A squirt of lime is all that’s needed to complete this plate.

Sushi Nakazawa – A Transportive Experience

I talk a big game, but a lot of times – dinner is just dinner. My family is hungry and so we go out for Korean or order in pizza or I make a quick quesadilla with some fresh guacamole. We eat, we chat and laugh, and then the meal is over – we really don’t think about it beyond that.

However, every now and then, when all the stars align perfectly, I eat a dinner that is more than a meal. It’s a total experience. It’s transportive, it’s intoxicating, and it’s something that I think about for days and months to come. Occasionally, it even changes my life.

Such was my dinner at Sushi Nakazawa.

This restaurant, given four stars by Pete Wells, is the hottest restaurant to hit New York in ages. It makes NoMad look like a positive sleeper hit, that’s how hard it is to get a seat. I logged onto the website for days at exactly 12:01 am, trying to get a seat at the sushi bar, only to fail again and again. It’s easier to get a seat in the dining room, but that’s not where you want to be. You really want to be at one of those 10 seats at the sushi bar, where you get your fish mere moments after the chefs prepare it. I happened to get the seat from the kindness of a stranger on an internet forum who wanted to make my fiance’s birthday a special one. That’s right – I posted for help on an internet forum and someone actually gave me his reservation. I can’t imagine anything more kind and unselfish. HM, you are a gentleman and a scholar. I hope that I can one day repay your kindness.

Now, onto the main event.

You might recognize the head chef, Nakazawa-san from Jiro Dreams of Sushi. He is the apprentice who worked for years to make the perfect omelette,a dn when he finally made one fit to his master’s approval, he cried from frustration, joy, and gratitude. It is one of the film’s most moving parts. He is just as sweet and focused in person – not overly chatty, but if you speak a little of your rudimentary Japanese with him, he is so gracious and overjoyed at your efforts that you may feel like you just served him dinner instead of vice versa.

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Much is made of the $40 sake pairing, but take my advice and go up a level for the $80 version. It is filled with so many delicious sakes that are both tasty on their own and paired ideally with the flights of fish. One is effervescent and bubbly, the next tastes oddly medicinal until it is eaten with the aged mackerel – then it becomes woodsy and cinnamon-y. It’s truly an excellent parings with a sommelier who is helpful and knowledgeable without being a know-it-all or overly chatty. In fact, when I mentioned that I liked nigori sake, he changed the entire sushi bar’s pairing to make sure that everyone could try this creamy, coconut-y type of unfiltered sake.

Once you are seated at the sushi bar, take in the serene black and white surroundings and relax into the  comfortable padded chair.

It’s going to be a long and luxurious night.



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Salmon from Hokkaido

The first bite of the evening – the bite that made my fiance look like he had never before used his taste buds. As his lips closed around the soft salmon and the chewy, slightly warm rice, his eyelids fluttered and he had a strange look on his face.

Oh great, I have created a giant sushi snob.

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Hay smoked salmon from Hokkaido 

The same soft texture with a slightly earthier, smoky taste.

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Scallop with yuzu and sake sauce

Buttery but clean. The yuzu is slightly spicy, with a heat that keeps deceloping long afte the bite is gone.

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Giant clam seared with soy

The only misstep of the night, and not because it isn’t repreared ideally  -it is! But I do not like the crunchy texture of these large, slightly tough clams.

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Black fin sea bas from Nakasaki with daikon

Mild and clean with a light snap from the daikon

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Golden Eye snapper from Japan

One of my favorites of the night – like a less fishy albacore with the buttery texture of maguro and the light taste of white fish.

photo 3 (11) Spotted knife jaw

Sorry for the lack of notes here…I’m blaming those generous pours of sake.

photo 4 (12) Horse Mackerel

photo 1 (15) Kohara (Shad)

A strong tasting fish – ideal for someone who loves briny, deep, metallic flavors. Notice how it is scored so it is the ideal texture.

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Mackerel, aged 7 days with Japanese mustard

One of the best pieces of this fish that I have ever had. It’s scored so that it is tender, and though it has an oceanic taste it isn’t at all fishy. The Japanese mustard clears your nasal passages and wipes away any muddy residue. Beyond sensational. Worth the ticket price for this piece of fish alone.

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Florida shrimp

Seconds before I ate this, it scampered across the counter in front of me. Then, deftly and without gore, Nagasawa-san and his sous -chefs deftly killed and cleaned the shrimp, ensuring that the taste was soft and sweet.

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Madagascar Prawns

The best tasting shrimp in the world is Madagascar shrimp. The sweetest, the lightest, the most tender. This is the way that all shrimp should taste.

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Yellowtail, aged 10 days

The ageing process is what is most interesting at Nagasawa. I always thought that the best fish was the freshest fish – that isn’t necessarily so! The best fish is sometimes the fish that has been cured, that has had time to develop its flavors and become tender. That’s certainly the case with this yellowtail, which taste deeper and fuller than its unaged counterparts.

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Bonito

Tuna. Good.

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Medium fatty tuna with spicy mustard

Slightly fattier tuna, with some of that spicy mustard to cut through its rich taste. Very good.

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Toro

Exquisite. My fiance’s favorite taste of the night. Simple – fish so fatty that it literally melts upon the heat of your tongue. Served on slightly vinegared rice. No marinades, no garnishes. Just the perfect fatty, clean, singular bite.

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Santa Barbara Uni

The queen of uni. Creamy, soft, with the mineral-y taste of foie gras. Balanced between toasty nori and the bite of the rice.

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Ikura from Japan

Briny little jewels that pop in your mouth and release the taste of the ocean. Not too fishy, with the signature tense, hard bubble that means it’s fresh.

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Anago from Japan

Not quite up to the level of Yasuda, but wonderful all the same. Meaty and rich, with just enough sweet sauce to emphasize its buttery texture and taste.

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Tamago

Perhaps the world’s most famous omelette. Fluffy and very sweet. I have heard that here are yams in here, along with shrimp…who knows? This is the best dessert on the planet – bread putting or egg custard in a fluffy slab. Ask for seconds and you will get it served on some of the expertly made rice. You can taste Nakazawa-san’s blood, sweat, and tears in this omelette. It is a revelation.

This meal is so expensive. It is hard to get a reservation and the dessert is just a sorbet. But its the best meal I have had in oh so long. It made me thing of focus, of passion, of how hard my parents worked to give me the life that I now enjoy. It made me think of my dreams and of how to achieve them. It made me think of how food is not just for filling the belly, it’s for filling the soul.

Oh, and how did it change my life?

Well, the old ball-and-chain and I are currently talking about our first trip to Japan together.

A totally life altering meal.