Food: Home Cookin’

Food: Asia and Food: Home Cookin' and japan and simple japanese pleasures16 Jul 2011 01:16 pm


The words “wagyu” and “Kobe” incite many reactions in people. For some, it is the epitome of fine food. Expensive protein that is hand massaged, fed beer and lives a life of luxury so that it has the highest fat marble content around, all to make it better to melt in your mouth. For yet others, it is a waste of time and money – moment on the lips, forever on the credit card slips?

Diners are cautious because the high prices of this cattle have spawned many imitators and expensive but not legit knock-offs. Luckily, this does not happen as much in Japan. The Japanese dining crowd is extremely discerning and demanding, and there are a series of pieces of evidence that can be used to show a piece of wagyu’s legitimacy, including chips and barcodes.

Wagyu is a name applied to a wide range of about 130+ breeds of cattle, most of them named after the area they come from, such as Kobe wagyu. Wagyu just translates to “beef from Japan” but it is a title that is only bestowed upon cows that are 100% born from wagyu cattle and raised in Japan. That is why some beef in the States is “wagyu style” or “Kobe style” – it may be from a Japanese breed and raised in the same style, but it was raised outside of Japan. Very little of this beef is actual proper wagyu shipped from Japan. There are a number of other breeds that are not as well marketed in the west that some people say are better than Kobe. One of them comes from a little island not far from where we live, very close to Taiwan. It is called Ishigaki, and it looks idyllic.


Here, the cattle eat very mineral rich grass (Ishigaki is very famous for salt, as well) and live lives of beachy luxury until their number comes up and they are served to mainland Japanese tourists eager to try some fine beef. I cannot state enough how huge food tourism is in Japan. Every area has a famous sweet, famous noodle style, even a very specific food item. So it is big business…a cash cow, if you will.

Mike had been craving a big old steak for a week or two now. We recently bought a grill to do chicken sticks and veggies on but he was eager to give beef a try. Normally I would think it ridiculous to home grill a piece of meat of wagyu caliber at home, but here it is actually feasible because the prices are okay instead of insane. However, the biggest problem was finding it. Most super markets sell very fine beef in very thin slices suitable for beef bowls, sukiyaki or at home yakiniku grilling, but very little is available in big American sized chunks. And if you do find it, it is most likely going to be Australian.

So I took to Google to find a butcher willing to help us out, and found a video posted on YouTube of a local butcher in a very touristy market in downtown Naha, Okinawa.

This gave me pause, since we had eaten at this market and it was, unfortunately, a real tourist trap. But, the meat looked like what we wanted and I had no other leads, so we gave it a try.

Maruichi turned out to be intimidating. They had huge chunks of meat that looked like they might be able to be cut to order, but we still lack the language skills to ask for that. Dejected, we wandered to the nearby Makishi Market to see what they had. Makishi is kind of a place people go to take photos at. They eat upstairs at the terrible restaurants, take a photo with a pickled pigs head and go back to their hotel.

Things seemed over priced and it just was not the same as other Asian markets I have been to. When we arrived most of the fish stalls were cleaning up for the day, but in the corner we found a meat stall. There, pre wrapped hunks of well marbled meat labeled with prices and Ishigaki tags. Cha-CHING!

I am not sure if the meat was frozen or not, and we did not ask on this trip. Chances of it being frozen are about 50/50…Japanese transport companies are amazing, and able to ship both frozen and chilled items to arrive the same day, so it could also have just been chilled since Ishigaki is a short plane ride away from mainland Okinawa. It came from a supplier called Yaeyama / 八重山 and they seem to be a big supplier of beef from Ishigaki.

We picked out some steaks and the guy shot the shit with us the best we could in our Japanese. He said he was surprised we were taking the steak home – most people eat it upstairs (at the restaurants who cook items from the market) he said.

We paid about $30 for 200g, and took our carefully cold packed meat home with us after stopping at a grocery store for some vegetables. On the label you can see the code used to identify the company and perhaps even the very cow the cut came from. They take this stuff seriously.

Mike did all the prep and grilling, which I appreciate. Perhaps he will chime in on his technique in the comments.

He coated the steak in salt using a new method he read about online. Luckily the butcher had given us some omiyage, or a gift, of Ishigaki salt. It was very fine and powdery.

Ishigaki salt

After the grilling came the hard part – the resting. Finally, I sliced into the steak with a butter knife and sat and savoured in silence. I could barely speak. It was tender, buttery, meaty… wonderful. I found the fat rind around the edge a bit overwhelming, but I did eat most of it in a gluttonous way.

The veins of fat throughout the meat had dissolved into the protein, and it was light and buttery, not heavy and greasy. I have found Kobe to be overwhelmingly fatty sometimes, but not so with Ishigaki. Maybe it is Okinawa pride speaking, but I do think it is the superior meat. I have had it at restaurants and at home now, and it is wonderful.

Looks kind of grainy and maybe even tough in this shot, huh? It wasn’t. The fat rind is closest to the camera in this photo.

Sauteed some mushrooms and grilled some zucchini, okra and eggplant on the grill after.

Here is a video cut I made of us slicing through the meat. Meat porn!

We grilled some of the remaining fat up on the grill afterwards to char it a bit more. Fat popsicle, anyone?



Food and Food: Asia and Food: Home Cookin' and japan10 Jul 2011 02:36 pm


We tend to eat sushi out once a week at our favourite easy kaiten (belt) sushi chain restaurant, and it is excellent for the old favourites and some maki choices, but sometimes you like to eat your own creations full of your favourite ingredients. Also, maki sushi is quite different from the nigiri sushi that is often at these restaurants, as it combines many ingredients.

One of the best things about the local supermarket is the fish section. It is stocked with various cuts and preparations of the many kinds of fish, from classic favourites to seasonal varieties. There are packages of pre cut slices for sashimi or nigiri sushi, long pieces for grilling… you can really go to town.

On this occasion, I bought a few things:

  • two kinds of nori seaweed, one for hand rolls and one for the longer maki rolls
  • premade rice (almost as fresh as homemade, but more convenient)
  • salmon, crab and maguro
  • burdock root, and some vegetables

Crab sticks. Not imitation, although that is also available.

Burdock root, or gobo

This mixed pack of sushi grade maguro tuna and salmon was about $5.50

At home I already had what I needed to flavour the rice, as well as cream cheese and various kinds of pickles and other fillings to put in the rolls.


As I have mentioned before, I think the rice is one of the best things about living in Japan. My favourite is sushi rice with a lightly flavoured taste of vinegar, sake and sugar. It is tangy and delicious.

I made my own sushi vinegar to add to the rice by combining these items:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (you can use rice vinegar too)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 table spoon of mirin or sake/nihon shu
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt

Combine these in a small pot on the stove until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Will flavour about 4 cups of rice.

Combine into warm rice by folding it in, being careful to not crush the rice.

Buying rice is a bit of a cheat since the flavour is better when the rice is turned into sushi rice when it is warm and fresh.
You cannot substitute any other kind of rice, or turn arborio or Thai sticky rice into sushi rice by making it gooey and mushy, so please do not do this.


Assembly is easy. I did not want the rolls to be too filling because we wanted to try many different combinations, so I did not push the rice to the edge of the nori. Normally you would, otherwise you get…

…sad looking rolls like this. These deflated looking things were really good though.

You can mix and match each rolls. Here, toro chopped and mixed with soy, negi or green onions, crunchy Niigata Prefecture miso daikon pickles that were a present from our Japanese tutor, burdock root dipped in the same sushi vinegar mix I made for the rice and a cucumber. You want to combine the things you like, thinking about taste, smell, texture (crunch!) and color.

There are sushi mats you can use to roll up rolls, like inside out California rolls, but I just hand rolled these nori wrapped rolls. The sushi mats help the rice from sticking and keep a uniform size and look, if presentation is important. But we are rustic here at the ZeeCall household, and we are not so picky.

I also made some salmon, negi, cream cheese, sesame seed and cucumber rolls.

Finally, even more customizable, the hand rolls. You just stuff and fill the little squares of nori with rice, then the fillings you want, roll up and eat.

Crab, cucumber, negi and cream cheese.

Fun and easy!



Food: Asia and Food: Home Cookin' and japan and simple japanese pleasures09 Jul 2011 03:07 pm


I have decided to start a new series of posts on simple pleasures I find here in Japan. Most are food related, but not all. There are just so many interesting somewhat single use experiences that are relaxing, enjoyable and often delicious in their own right, so I thought I might expose a few of them to you.

First up is a food item often found at yakitori restaurants. Yakitori is almost always completely protein based – there are very few vegetable or rice dishes, so they are more of a drinking place with meat on sticks as opposed to a dinner location. Although we have definitely turned our stops at these places into meals, for sure.

To balance this out, there is usual a token item on the menu – yakisoba for instance, or fried rice. But my favourite is the simple grilled onigiri, or yaki onigiri. Onigiri are pressed cooked rice balls – round, triangular, square – they come in all shapes and sizes. They sometimes have fillings, or a nori seaweed wrap. They are a quick and easy snack if you need something while on the go.

Yaki onigiri are a plain pressed clump of rice, grilled over dry heat til it gets a crispy shell, then it is brushed with tare (sauce, usually thick and kind of sweet) or butter and salt. We recently got a grill for at home (more on that later) and we can now make these babies on our own.

I often thing about the food thing I will miss most when I leave Japan, and I think the answer is easy – the rice. Even prepared in such a simple manner, it really stands out. Especially in yaki onigiri.

Click for more from the Simple Japanese Pleasures series

Food: Home Cookin' and japan01 Jul 2011 10:10 am


Generally, because it is so accessible, we often just eat Japanese food while we are out. However, because I have such seriously easy to access to some Japanese ingredients I may never see again in my life, I have decided to try cooking more Japanese food at home.

I already have a good yakiudon recipe and Mike knows how to make gyoza, or potsticker dumplings, but beyond that the choice is overwhelming. So I started with an ingredient that I want to use more, but am not sure how to.

Shirataki noodles are made of konjac, a very starchy plant. They are really low calorie and high fibre, so they are a popular diet food here. I remember a source referring them to “stomach brooms” for their ability to, ahem, “clean.”

Konjac does not taste like much however, so you have to use seasoning to help it out.

The noodles come in a big bag, and are available in many different diameters. They kind of smell funny when you open them, and they should be blanched to take away the bitter taste that may exist. They are super slippery and kind of get tangled, but do not really break down when you boil them.

They just look like any other kind of noodle, right?

I wanted to make a variation of a healthy Japanese dish called chirashisushi, or “scattered sushi bowl.” It is basically raw ingredients on top of rice. Pretty easy. I picked up this really nice looking salmon specifically made for chirashisushi at the supermarket for a few bucks. It is a little thinner cut than most sashimi you can get.

I also made a citrus soy ginger dressing with some new soy sauce. I let the noodles soak in this before we ate, to give them some flavour.

I added some shiso sprouts for peppery flavour, various vegetables (cucumber, avocado, cabbage and grated daikon) and we ate. A super fresh light summer meal, and healthier than the same dish made with just rice.

Food: Home Cookin' and japan26 Jun 2011 10:25 am

Alright, another weekend ruined by another typhoon. This one was not quite as bad as the last one that rolled through, but I welcome the chance to work on cooking, which is something I seem to find myself doing when we are housebound during these storms.

This time, pancakes. Or as they call them in Japan, hotto-keki (ホットケーキ). The recipe is a McCall family secret so I am not able to share it with you, but trust me – these pancakes were delicious. I experienced some humidity related problems, but all turned out well. Double baking powder and sifting the flour were key. I have only sifted flour once for a recipe and that was macarons, which demand it, so it felt weird doing it for such a basic recipe.

A little whipped cream spun up, some sweetened blackcurrants and bam – I predict a heavy downpour of delicious pancakes.

Food: Asia and Food: Home Cookin' and japan24 Jun 2011 09:01 pm

I knew one of the best things about moving to Japan would be the food. And my weight gain in the past year has shown that to be true.

I also knew that one of the hardest things about moving to Japan would be the food. I knew I would miss so many things – experimenting with baking, farmer’s market foods and the treats from back home that I liked to indulge in. (Elm Cafe lattes or nachos from Hudson’s, anyone?)

Luckily there are ways to adapt here. There are many import food services which we have used a few times. It is otherworldly to order cheese and other cold products and have them arrive at your door fresh and cold via a delivery man in a refrigerated truck. The prices are high, but you will pay. Yes, you will.

Okinawa is a bit of an odd beast since the American influence has brought a few products to grocery stores that might be hard to find in other parts of Japan. While we do not have access to on-base (military) food, it is also there. It is a bit complicated and I seriously could not be bothered to ask someone to go through that for me, although parents of one of my students have offered. You need US cash, you need someone to shop with you, escort you in…it is like bringing someone into Costco, only harder.

So, I rely on the local grocers, and big suitcase allowances when I come home from vacation in other cities. Luckily there is a selection of stores that offer up some amazing finds. I am trying to cook with more Japanese ingredients at home, but sometimes you just want chili or a plate of nachos, dammit.

First up is Jimmy’s. There are a few different locations of this Okinawan chain around the island. The first few I went to were just tiny bakeries, with stale “American Taste” cookies and tasteless pies. However my birthday cake was from Jimmy’s, so it is not all bad. I just thought every location was as sad as the one nearest my home.

But when we got a car and my mom came to visit, we stopped in at a larger location – one with a grocery and cafe on top  of the bakery. I was blown away.


This is the Jimmy’s just north of Naha on the 58. Very easy to find, even by bus. Just take any bus going from the Naha bus terminal to Chatan, and look for Jimmy’s on the right about 20 minutes out of Naha.

While I tend to order tortilla chips from aforementioned foreign food supplier, it is nice to have expensive emergency chips if I need some guacamole dippers. Most of these bags run $3-7.

I shudder to think of eating such MSG salt laden fat popsicles, but I cannot deny that being overseas does weird things to people, and there may come a day when I crave these Johnsonville “sausages.” These are about $8.50

Lots of baking ingredients. When I made nanaimo bars at Christmas it took me a few weeks to source and buy the products. If we had a car at that time, I could have been done in about 15 minutes.

Everyone will tell you how hard it is to find pit stick in Japan. EVERYONE. However, I have been seeing it everywhere recently, although not all places have as good a selection as Jimmy’s.

Huge bags of baking soda for cleaning and deodorizing.

TimTams. Oh god, TimTams.

It is weird to say this, but maybe I can because I once worked in a grocery store – but the store is merchandised in a more western way which is oddly comforting. It is a little cramped and busy on the eyes. Maybe because they have so many products.

Some okay pies from the bakery. They are good, but missing the zazz my mom’s pies have, in the form of cinnamon and other spices. It is weird to eat an exclusively all fruit apple pie.

There is also Mitsukoshi My Kitchen. Mitsukoshi is a well known and respected department store in Japan. It got started in 1673 selling kimonos. They know their shit. In Okinawa they have a formerly glitzy department store with a smallish depachika (basement food hall) in downtown Naha and this really nice grocery store called My Kitchen, on a manmade island.

Hahahaha! I wonder how many Canadian JETs wasted their baggage allowance on bottles of maple syrup as gifts. (Not me, I just brought maple candy. Score!)

Bakeries are abundant in Japan, and Mitsukoshi has some fine vendors. This is a  bamboo charcoal bread loaf.

Some nice looking fresh soba noodles.

They also host cooking lessons, but my Japanese is no where good enough to go yet and not be a burden.

Obviously a great fish selection.

Again, lots of well marked baking products. It was a challenge before I could read to find out what these things were, so I appreciated any bit of English to help decipher the numerous white powders and flours.

How dare you, no I did not. I did kind of love that it was with the legit Italian pastas, though.

Lots of imports – from southeast Asian, Italy, Germany and England. And also some Japanese onigiri kits.

This is the peanut butter we bought before I started ordering in Costco sized jars from the foreign food club.

Mitsukoshi is also a great place to buy cheese and deli meats. One of my favourite memories this winter was coming home from school lunch to have a charcuterie plate instead.

Candy cigarettes!

As if anyone eats potato chips with tongs.

There are also  a few other more common grocers who carry a few different items. You just need to remember where you saw what when the time comes.

You can also check out my post on A-Price, another store that carries western imports, in western sizes.

Mitsukoshi MyKitchen

Tomiton, Okinawa
豊崎ライフスタイルセンターTOMITON 1F
Map and more

locations all over Okinawa

Food: Asia and Food: Home Cookin' and japan21 Jun 2011 08:00 pm

There is a lot of weird candy here in Japan. I have a number of care packages waiting to go out from here full of the weird stuff. I am just waiting on that Canada Post strike to end. I hope it is okay sitting here in the heat and humidity…

However, one of the newest fads in kids candy – one of the weirdest sectors of the Japanese candy market – is “at home cooking.” It is effectively molecular gastronomy for children.

The series of Popin’ Cookin’ candy has a bunch of different items you make at home using water, gelatin and sometimes your microwave. These include ramen, gyoza and even sushi. I found this video recently which gives an absolutely amazing look at the packages.

I did not care to drop $3 on sugar and water that I might not be able to prepare properly because of my illiteracy, but after watching the video I might give it a go. How the ikura or salmon roe is prepared is gobsmacking.

postscript: I just have to revel in my slowly decreasing level of illiteracy actually. I just read the title of the sushi box and it translates to “enjoy mr. sushi” or “tanoshi sushi-ya san”

Food: Asia and Food: Home Cookin' and japan29 May 2011 06:54 pm

Well we made it through the biggest typhoon Okinawa has seen in a number of years last night. It was a strange experience. Originally a super typhoon, the storm was downgraded late Friday night, so people were kind of low key about it. I was out drinking and having a good time with some girlfriends in my rainboots.

Come Saturday, I thought the storm was pretty slow to move in, and was underwhelming at first. People were still out walking their dogs and I could see some students returning home from sports at the school at 7:30pm. But by 9pm, I was white knuckling it and pacing the apartment, worried about windows breaking and the cracking sounds coming from outside the apartment.

When typhoon Songda got to Okinawa it clocked wind gusts at 175-200kph on the bases. Apparently if a storm approaches from the west side of the island, it places more damage on the areas to the northeast corner…which is where Okinawa was last night. Several friends around the island lost power, but we were okay. Our neighbours had something blow into their house and break a window, giving cause for the firefighters to come and help them at about midnight. I finally fell asleep around 1am, and when I woke again at 3, the storm was pretty much blown through. I spent the morning doing laundry and washing the macerated vegetation and other detritus off our windows.

The key thing for these storms is being ready. You often have a few days notice, so I went out and collected the things we might need, from instant noodles to imported beer. Gotta have the essentials! I love being prepared, so I had a full fridge and a few meals planned in case we were housebound a few days.

brothy pinto beans, pre-frying

Early Saturday morning I started some refried beans. I had planned to bring them to a friends party that night, but it was delayed due to the storm. Oh well – gave me time to perfect the recipe for when the party does happen.

I ordered the beans a few weeks ago from an imported food company here in Japan and used some spices I bought in Bangkok. I had never actually made my own refried beans before, so I was a bit nervous at screwing up. But they turned out alright, just like every other Rick Bayless recipe I have ever used.

Although this is very much pork country, I had trouble finding pork fat, and with limited time before the storm arriving I did not waste a lot of time looking. So I got some ground pork and used the drippings from that to add to the beans. Real rendered fat would have made the beans more awesome, I think. It took about two hours to finish the brothy beans, and then another half hour to turn them into refried beans.


Meanwhile I whipped up the taco fillings – guacamole, cilantro lime cream, beef and pork with peppers and fresh tomatoes.

I turned them into double decker tacos – soft tortillas wrapped around crispy corn tortilla shells. Best of all worlds – double the room for fillings, chewy soft tortilla and the crispy corn taco which is held together by the beans and tortilla. Spread the tortilla with beans, wrap around a crisp taco shell and fill the shell with meat and guacamole. Drink with beer, watch the rain fall and wind blow. They were fantastic.



It is hard to show the damage the storm caused in our neighbourhood since I did not take any good before photos the morning of the storm. The closest is the photo with the stuffed bear in it – you can see the field behind him is very green and lush. It was taken around 7pm. After is below, taken 12 hours later. The tender cabbage and corn plants were destroyed, leaving pretty barren fields. The sugar cane fields and banana plantation behind and to the left took a beating too. Poor neighbours. You can click the photos for larger versions.

For a few more details about what it was like enduring the storm on a smaller island, check out fellow JET teacher Zamami Dave’s blog.

Food: Asia and Food: Home Cookin' and japan24 Mar 2011 11:04 pm

Just some items I saw in the grocery store or market this week and used to springboard into meals. This is the way I shopped back home, but it is not really advisable here. Although having a smartphone makes it easier to look up recipes on the go, it can still be an expensive endeavour because I end up buying emotionally and spontaneously this way. So I am trying to be better about it. I am certain I blow at least half my paycheque on food, both eating in and out.

Market item: tomatoes and basil became…

Ina Garten’s Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with cheesy garlic toast. The hand blender was the best thing my mom could have bought us while she was visiting. The gift that keeps on giving!


Market item: cilantro and radishes on sale (UNHEARD OF!) became…

(Unidentified white fish) Tacos with lime-cilantro cream, cabbage, avocado, etc etc.
We may or may not have been made hungry by watching fish at the Churaumi Aquarium all night. The bluefin tuna were, how shall we say… inspiring.

Food: Asia and Food: Home Cookin' and japan02 Jan 2011 10:50 pm

Alright. With the car arriving last week, it has been a stellar week for food in the McZee household. I was able to finally get to the farmer’s markets/co ops, hit some of the harder to get to grocery stores and just generally live it up this week.

I went to two farmer’s markets, one very near to our home and one a bit further away. The one near our house had a little petting zoo with this super cute pot bellied pig.

GREENS! GREENS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE! And cheap, too. Salads at the regular grocery store are not inexpensive, and I do not like buying pre-prepared salads anyhow. You cannot know how excited I was running around this place. Local! Cheap! Fresh!

It was nice to buy more than two sprigs of herbs for $3. I got a huge bundle of cilantro for $1 and a bunch of dill for a buck too.

Not so much on the fruit side of things. I hope this improves when spring rolls around.

There was also a pretty decent fish market. These crabs are about $13?

The farmers markets will undoubtedly get a more detailed post, but that is just a general overview.

This week I successfully made and consumed several things. We ate at home a lot this week, mostly because of uncertainty over what would be open over the New Year holidays. Almost everything, it turns out, but this is the first week we have eaten more at home than out since leaving Canada.

Moussaka. This was my first time making it, EVER, so I was really pleased at how well it turned out. Almost exclusively composed of farmer’s market items, too, even the pork in it.

God, the best BLT I have had in ages. The bacon is not very smokey here, but it does the job. Trying to find some better stuff.

AME (rica) chips from Daiso, the 100 Yen/dollar store. I bought them out the last time I saw them, and I think I may never find them again. They are some of the best chips I have had period, let alone in Japan. LOL at the snack pack size though. Also at being made with “America Round Potato”

Then the crowning glory, fajitas on New Year’s Day. Fresh guac with the bundle of cilantro I got, sour cream, beef and fried onions and bell peppers. The tortillas are not cheap, but everything has trade offs. Trying to source cheaper ones online. Best meal of the year, IMO.

Things are looking up. Which is good. My mom is due to arrive in a week or so, and I do not want her to have to eat out all the time.

Happy New Year, guys. I hope yours started off as well as mine did.

Food: Edmonton and Food: Home Cookin'09 Nov 2010 08:30 am

I have the great fortune of having a father who is extremely talented at BBQ. He has spent much of the last two decades grilling and smoking and basting, and shows no signs of slowing, regardless of which country he ends up living in. He knows of BBQ suppliers in Bangkok and the best places to get wood chips up and down the west coast of North America. I think his skills are safe, even if he does not have Mike and I to scarf down and pretend to critique his delicious dinners.

He (alongside my mom) was very generous in hosting an informal going away BBQ for me and some family friends one last time before I left in July. My mom did the pies, and my dad did the drinks, meat and other little touches.

It was a bitter sweet way to say good bye to the city. Thanks to the friends who were able to attend at the last minute. The food was excellent, but the company really made it special.

I started the last day at the downtown Farmer’s Market. I planned on making a video of it, but… former colleague, my wedding shooter and friend Ryan Jackson recently did a better version than I could have ever hoped to do.

Pretty awesome vid, huh?

I promised to send this photo to Andreas of Greens, Eggs and Ham… and now I finally can. It kind of looks like he is eating a sandwich from Elm Cafe, non?

Okay enough reminiscing. It’s business time.

My dad, at my request, made one of my favourites… smoked brisket. He does excellent ribs and flank steak, but the 12 hour + smoked brisket is really amazing.

He always makes sure to sketch the lie of the land, or the meat grain, so he knows where to cut and how. Note the fat cap.

In case you are in Edmonton and want to know where he gets his meat, he finally settled on Sunterra on the southside. He complains they still do not leave enough fat on it for him, though. One of the great mysteries of Edmonton is why so-called beef country does not have excellent butchers available all over. They are available, just hard to find.

Also note the margaritas. His are killer. In a good way.

Roz and Dan load up.

Cast iron pan cornbread. Crispy, creamy, soft and buttery. Perfect.

Home made beans, probably his best yet, cole slaw and home made bread AND cornbread.

Key Lime pie. I once offended my dad by telling him I thought the key lime pie from Cactus Club Cafe rivalled or maybe even bettered his. In any case, it is a good substitute for when he is not in Canada, which is quite often these days.

Perfect lawn, perfect food, perfect people, perfect day.

Matt and Mike have a post dinner snooze.

On the way to Banff (and onwards to Japan) the next day, Mike and I had brisket sandwiches. Effing perfect.

Food: Asia and Food: Home Cookin' and japan16 Oct 2010 07:54 pm


Everyday I make a mistake here. I make some random gesture that is considered rude. I mix up words and say the wrong thing. I buy the wrong thing at the supermarket. It’s tough.

Today my mistake was going to make almond pudding. The directions are in Japanese but that is not where today’s mistake was made.

I figured out I needed 250ml of milk so I just popped out to get some. This is the part that’s my favorite game. Guessing what is what at the store. This box was right next to other boxes on the shelf with cows and milk written on them in English. So it’s milk right?


It’s some sort of clear milky fruit scented liquid. I tried it before I dumped it. It wasn’t very good. I am too tired and humiliated to go back to the store so the pudding will have to wait another day.

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