Category Archives: Japanese

Damo Desu Ne

Sushi Damo Tuna Roll

Sushi Damo Tuna Roll

Sushi Damo, home of “cutting edge” Japanese cuisine and its “modern-zen” decor has already conquered New York City and more recently opened an outpost in Rockville — I mean, obviously, the next step from NYC is always the RV. Or something.

Anyway, Mrs. Me is a big sushi fan and I like various Japanese foods, so we figured we would try it.  And it’s good!  Not necessarily any better than, say, Moby Dick right here in Wheaton, which we haven’t visited for far too long.  Certainly a hipper vibe, more seating, and a bigger menu.

Mrs. Me went for the $17 three-course lunch special, including (in her case) fine but somewhat watery miso soup and a delicious (and attractively plated) tuna roll.  She also got a single piece of tuna sushi on the side, for $3.50.  It was good, but that’s the price for just one piece, not a pair.  No bargains here.

Sushi Damo bento box

Sushi Damo bento box

My chicken teriyaki bento box, on the other hand, was solid value at $11.  The teriyaki was fine, a little oversweet for my taste but that’s just me. I liked the California roll, the fried tofu, and the citrus-dressed salad, while the shrimp dumplings were too dry, as though sitting under a heat lamp for a while.

Overall pretty good but not cheap, and more of a hip-fancy restaurant atmosphere than the usual understated sushi dive.  Different strokes.  If we lived in Rockville I’m sure we would be repeat customers, but I think we’re more likely to stick with Moby Dick, or a few other places in Silver Spring or DC, for future sushi needs.

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Richmond, BC (Not Alaska)

After floating down the Alaskan coast we disembarked for the last time, in Vancouver BC (Canada!).  We love Vancouver and always wish we could spend more time there, but with less than 24 hours this time and crazy early flight the next morning, we stayed in an airport hotel and stuck to Richmond, Vancouver’s southern suburb.

Food-wise, Richmond is notable for its density of Asian restaurants, “the best Chinese restaurants outside China” according to one possibly hyperbolic local guidebook.  That point is arguable, and moot; they don’t need to be “best” they just need to be good, and they are.  One local food blogger, 365 Days of Dining, spent a year visiting and reviewing one Richmond restaurant (mostly Asian spots) per day for an entire year, and local food bloggers always know everything, OMG they are so awesome, so of course we tried a couple of her recommendations.

Richmond’s main Asian (about equal parts Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese) drag is Alexandra Road, and our hotel was conveniently on that strip too. For lunch we hit Seto Japanese Restaurant (#155-8460 Alexandra Road), which looks like nothing from the outside or even in the lobby, but then you walk through a little arch into the dining room and it’s like passing into a Tokyo izakaya or something.  Each booth has high paper walls, so it feels secluded even with high decibel levels overall.  Instead of the usual teapot, big individual mugs of piping hot green tea materialize right away.  On 365 Day’s recommendation we tried the spicy tuna rolls, boasting a better than average filling to rice ratio and whose interior is a smooth pate of tuna and who knows what else: delicious.   We devoured perfect gyoza, light dough melting away in our mouths to reveal savory pork filling.  Shoyu ramen was excellent, similar in size, quantity, and ingredients to Ren’s Ramen in Wheaton, but only $8, a steaming bargain.  I think Ren’s broth is even more savory and flavorful, but Seto’s is great too.   We also got some sushi, all good.  Wonderful lunch spot, and we were lucky to get in without a reservation even after the main lunch rush.

For dinner we hit the Cattle Cafe (8580 Alexandra Road), right next door to our hotel.  Aka Cattle Hot Pot, this is a local fast-casual chain specializing in soups — so naturally I got a curry instead.  The curry was nose-runningly spicy, just how I like it, but otherwise kind of boring, just a yellow curry sauce over some beef, potatoes, and rice.  Mrs. Me and others ordered soups, which you can customize or just pick one of nearly 100 (at least it seemed that way – big menu for a little restaurant) prepackaged options.  The soups were as good as advertised, big bowls, flavorful broths, fresh noodles; the Malay Laksa soup was even spicier than my curry plate, evident just from the slick oily red-orange patina floating on the surface.  If I ever go back, I’m totally getting the Malay soup, although they also have a Szechuan soup option that I bet offers equal pizzazz.   Everyone else in the mostly-full dining room looked Asian, and many were ordering more adventurously than we were; there was a lot of baked-seafood-in-cheese going on, which isn’t really my thing but seemed quite popular.  The place is authentic, in a very modern way (sleek orange-brown-steel decor reminded me of Panas). And also a lot of soup ordering, which was clearly the way to go.  365 Days’ review of Cattle Cafe is here.

Thus endeth our culinary tour of the Great White North and the uber-continent.  I guess that means we’ll get back to Wheaton one of these days?  Or DC, at least.  Let’s not get too crazy…

This One’s For Carl

Does this blog thing still work? *poke* Hmmm.

My friend Carl sent me foil-packed Japanese snacky delicacies from Narita and the QBB Smoked Cheese (or should I say “Smoked” “Cheese”) has apparently reignited my blogging fires.  Or something.

Perfect for relaxation time

Perfect for relaxation time

The foil packet contained five little Vienna sausage-sized-and-shaped “smoked cheese” bites. Ingredients are written in hiragana/kanji-only so who knows what’s in there but I tried the cheeses anyway and they’re not bad.  They taste just like the smoked cheese I remember my parents serving at dinner parties when I was a kid.  A bit peppery.  The packet says “Rich taste of QBB’s smoked cheese is perfect for your relaxation time.” I do feel relaxed! – probably more than I should given what I am ingesting. “Rich” may be a little overboard. Texture is a little softer than a candy corn, but not much.  I will probably not eat all five (safety first) but I do not anticipate regretting eating between one and four.  Although the over/under is 1.5…

I also will not eat or microwave the “oxygen absorber” packet that I guess was helping keep the cheese “fresh” — it says “DO NOT EAT DO NOT MICROWAVE” and you don’t need to tell me stuff like that twice.  The allcaps were unnecessary.

Several other QBB “cheese” products are reviewed on the Japanese Snack Reviews blog.  I’ll see what H Mart’s QBB selection is next time I’m there (surely soon).  I wonder* if the soon-to-open Wheaton Safeway (!!!) will carry OBB products?

* I do not wonder