Friday, March 20, 2009


Hey there citizens! Hows spring treating you? Everyone thawing out OK?

I'm gonna do something new here on this bloggie, so bear with me.

If you've grown suspicious from the title of this post & you're wondering if I'm gonna give you too much information about some aspect of my personal life that you don't want to know about, rest assured there will be no such unveiling tonight. The only "Hump" in this post is the name of the restaurant that DH & I went to the other evening.

And I'm gonna give you a review of it whether you like it or not, because I'm still floating from the sheer bliss of the experience.

First of all I must give props to a friend who graciously provided Josh & I with the opportunity to experience this lovely restaurant in all of it's splendor & my fantastic sisters in law & Tom who held down the fort while went off to act like adults for the evening.

I assure you, this was harder than I thought it would be, as every couple seconds I wanted to scream at all my fellow train riders, like an idiot, "BEHOLD ME....I AM AL......and I'm an ADULT, YO!!!!.....I'm FREEEEEEEeeeee!" whilst swinging carelessly from round train handle bars to handle bars & that would just ruin the whole delightful facade of being an adult individual, wouldn't it?

So here's my first restaurant review, don't worry fellas at the rate that I eat out, these reviews will be coming out as often as I give birth (Occasionally but not too infrequently to forget all together) I took pics w/ DH's Iphone & as the sun went down the dim light didn't make for very good shots so sorry bout that.

Well now on w/ the show ..........The Hump, is a LA style sushi restaurant located near Tokyo eki, with it's sister resturant of the same name in Santa Monica

First off, the decor was great, modern, classy & chic. Our booth had a full window view of the Imperial palace moat & grounds. And I was desperately trying to control my instinctive desire to grove like a lunatic to the happy-making but odd combo of gospel/trance music in the background.

We started off with cocktails. And DH insisted we try something so he got a tequila based cocktail called "Teqtonic" never heard of it, I got a vodka/cointreau based cocktail called "Balalaika". Personally I liked his better. (Should've gone w/ my instincts & gone w/ Tequila?)

KAMPAIIIII (this is right before I start raving to the empty restaurant about how ...."I'm a GROWN UP, on a DATE!" like a moron who is obviously not grown up nor on a date)

I went ahead & ordered the Chef's Choice 8 course set. And my DH, being slightly less adventurous with seafood, choose out his own course individually.(with a little help from me!)

Mr. Husband's edamame was nearly enough for me to ask for a nama beer to go with it, but I decided to save my stomach for the goodness to come.
My starter was a sora-mame & prawn salad with a delicate sesame dressing. Along with a very unique tasting sea snail (I forgot the name). It tasted salty & somewhat bitter but the texture was very soft & palatable and the broth in the shell was quite a pleasant little kick. Kinda hard to describe really.

Mr. Husband ordered his own sushi plates one plate of hon-maguro (black tuna) & one plate of this Bluefin tuna Otoro. (fatty belly cut of bluefin tuna) Bluefin is considered to be the KING of tuna, And if you've never tasted otoro, let me just say there's only one way to describe it....Sushi-gasm! (FOR REAL!!! TOTAL SUSHI-GASM!)

Imagine, if you will, the softest creamiest sushi with white fat marbled into it & around the edges that melts like butter in your mouth. MELTS!! There's practically no way to chew it because it just disolves like cream. Stop me already I could go on about this forever!

2 seconds before OTORO-GASM!!

Here's my sashimi plate. Maguro, ika & red sea bream. First impressions.....fresh wasabi is most obviously fantastic & mind-blasting (or should I say, nose blasting?). I still don't care for squid, there is no unpleasentness in the taste but the texture is just too muddy for me.

Here's his salad course, mix of grilled veggies: baby corn, mastutake mushroom, paprika, okra & shishito peper with a very light cheese dressing that I just couldn't place but it was something blue....lighter than Roquefort or Gorgonzola. It was creamy & delicate. Surprisingly my mushroom hating man-of-love tried the matsutake & found that it's meatier taste was a not entirely unpleasant.

My salad was awesome. Mixed greens with chicken & tiny squid (see them laying on the potato like it's a little pillow, awww!) they were grilled I think, and were surprisingly good. And the French mustard & balsamic vinegar dressing is something that I'm going to try at home for sure.

I had some tempura with a few veggies, one of which was baby artichoke heart. I LOVED IT, bitter but just really right up my alley. Te fish was wrapped in some kind of wrap or batter & sandwiched in with a sweetish soft egg-like batter filling as well. This was the most mysterious thing I ate, I wish I would've asked what kind of fish it was & what the filling was made of, I assume it was made with a fish stock as well.

DH had a seared Kobe beef sashimi with a daikon oroshi/ponzu dressing. This too was fantastic (though I was only rationed 1 slice) the goma sprinkled on the beef & the yuzu in the dressing was the clincher as far as I was concerned.

The picture is a bit fuzzy but this was the much loved spicy tuna roll & California roll. Sadly my only California roll involved a lame food-court experience in Texas (not to be repeated EVER!) but this California roll was positively overflowing with soft & creamy goodness -- everything from the avocado to the crab meat to the tarako & the mayo garnishing it was a win-win situation for me.

DH quite obviously lost his mind right about the time this spicy tuna roll came to the table (along with his 2nd Tequila cocktail & my Champagne.) According to my sister in law this is basic "spicy tuna roll" in LA but it was all new too me. The maguro-tataki was spicy enough & wonderfully creamy and with little bits of tempura it had a crunch that made it all the more fun. The slivers of dried red pepper garnishing it are supposedly the norm with spicy tuna rolls. would I know, I'm just a little gaijin. We went ahead & ordered another plate of these babies.

And finally my sushi, at last! From right to left: Dashi-maki, ikura (come to mama) ebi, akagai (blood clam, whatta name and looking suspiciously like a part of the reproductive, hamachi (yellowtail), I dunno what the white one was?? Sea bream?, chutoro & otoro. By this time I'm like, holding back the tears of joy & quietly yet earnestly singing "I LOVE JAPAN".

Not a very good picture at all of the most awesome miso ever with a huge chunk of some kind of fish (again...sorry, couldn't place it) it was steaming hot, just like it should be...too hot to drink right from the start. Someone give the miso guy in the back a huge hug for me. Wonderful wonderful!

Lastly there was my dessert of sakura cheese cake. I loved how this was not very sweet at all, so you could taste a very subtle floral taste of what I assume was sakura blossom water? Maybe not, but I like to imagine it was something baby pink & delicate. Look at that strategically placed sakura petal.

Dinner ended with two hot cups of ocha & much nodding & silly smiles of satisfaction which continued all the way home as you can see.

Awww, as you can see Mr. Daddy is busy checking in with home base to make sure all the tyrants are under control & getting into their tyrant PJ's. And I tell you my friendly friend as Gene Kelly says:


Saturday, March 14, 2009

What's UP?

Hey ho, strangers! I've been busy as can be with my sisters in law & little niece visiting from LA. And before that my long lost friend visiting from Aussie-land. As you can imagine I've turned on all 3 burners full blast & have pretended that laundry is simply a bad re-occuring dream (that will soon burst out of my closet like some kind of stinky alien child with no form)

I've found myself making more Japanese food than I've made in a long time. I've realized that Japanese food is not particularly complicated or interesting to make, it just seems so basic, you know? But I do enjoy having a lot of great ingredients at my fingertips to put all the "authentic" touches to the meal. I'll tell you one thing though, there's nothing like having your fridge stuffed with a never ending supply of kimchi, umeboshi & pickles.

I don't think I'll be getting to post any recipes but I may throw up (doesn't sound right, does it?) a few pics from our visit when I get the chance. ENJOY yourself on this fine spring day, mate!

Going to the Airport.....
Off to the Zoo!
Night 2# Kimchi Nabe

Cousins Charlotte & Ban-tan

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Miss Erika-the-berika

Some one made it painfully obvious that I had forgotten to make a "birthday post" for my Little Miss #5! Come on now, really......that's just awful. (Sigh) How could I do that.

So, these are some pics of my littlest 3 year old girl. I thought of how best to describe her personality but thought I'd better not. Let's just say say she's a January girl in serious control of her world. Everything about her from when she was little was about doing it on her own.

After an active #4, her calm, organized & efficient manner is a life-saver (no really, it's a REAL life saver!!) Getting dressed, doing school, helping with chores, things I usually had to "pull teeth" to teach my other kids she would figure it out & would scarcely consider it work.

To be honest I find it easier to talk to her like an adult than a kid. Of course in spite of the oftentimes controlling & bossy future as a power-monger-CEO-lady there is a "girly girl" who believes she is a princess (though she's gonna probably be the one scooping up her prince onto her steed). And strangely, as assertive as she is she's hopelessly shy and I have to bribe her to interact with strangers. ("I'll only let you pay for the item if you'll say thank you to the clerk after you get the change")

As I write she's reported a water spill by her little brother & told me "it's OK, I'll mop it up", (she did) she's gone through her school books to find one of her favorite ones & asked me to choose which page I want her to do. And launched into a monologue about why if she was Joseph she would've probably gotten thrown into a pit too (I pretty sure she would've actually) I betcha Joseph was a Capricorn.

I really do love this little lady & pray to God she'll grow up to find a man strong enough to handle her. :)

10 days
8 months

1 1/2 years
1 & 8 mo.

2 1/2

2 & 9 mo.
3 years old.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Over the Moon!

I'm not going to try to play this one cool because the truth is I'm totally "out of my gourd" happy about it. Thanks to those handsome, strong, January mates of mine (that's in the Aussie sence of the word, Ok?) DH & I were able to take a day off.

A whole day!


I'm not even gonna explain why this makes me so happy on so many levels. Several reasons, 1) the last time we had a day off it was 6 months ago, 2) I wasn't quite able to make it to a certain Seminar that I had wanted to go to, 3) I really, really wanted to get out of the house! 4) I haven't NOT cooked a meal ever day for I don't know how long.

So, to be honest, I don't really care if you don't want to hear about my boring day, because the fact that it was boring is proof of it's sucessfulness. I'm gonna go ahead & tell you anyway.

There was some serious yakiniku eats at Akamon with "Karubi-beef-gasms". (you have no idea how good that was!) an hour at the library picking up a MASSIVE stack of english cookbooks (French Bistro, Italian home, Greek & Japanese Buddhist etc...) could the day get any better? Apparently! A trip to the Onsen with all the frills including getting snowed on in a steaming hot outdoor bath. Grabbed a set of new espresso cups at a 2nd hand store & ended with a cute little sundae & espresso at a totally bizzare looking resturant taking hysterical pictures of my DH which I will not be posting.

Back home there seems to have been no tramatic pranks, bodily fluid catastrophes or that tragic "Trash Mom's stuff" routine. And frankly, I'm too happy to look around & find out what mightv'e gone wrong. So, Cheers to you guys for a really great freezing day. And I'm going to have to end my post here, because I really have no words!


PS. Don't think I won't actually USE those cookbook, because I will! Nya ha ha!