Restaurants »I Love Sushi

love1001 Fairview Ave. N, Seattle, WA

How very lucky we are. While I thought good food delivery was a thing in our NYC past, we found that Seattle has a service called Eat24 that delivers from restaurants in the area all through an online system. Even better? We found some incredible sushi our first order out from I Love Sushi. It is the kind of sushi people always brag about on the Pacific Coast, the kind of sushi I have been aching for since we got here, the kind I want to take photos of each and every piece.

While I can’t tell you anything about the actual restaurant, I can say that I Love Sushi is excellent. Not only are the basics covered and amazing (tuna rolls? fantastic. California rolls? a step above the usual) but the specials are always impressive. Take the Sushi Train Roll (pictured): pressed sushi w/ scallop, crab, flying fish roe, topped w/ seared salmon, sprinkled w/ sea salt, squeeze of lemon or the Northwest Samplers that feature nigiri made of fresh local fish.

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Posted on May 12, 2013

Restaurants »Ramen Yebisu

126 N 6th, Brooklyn

Finally, finally, finally..

After the false hope brought to us by this mysterious and never opened Ichiran, ramen has come to the Williamsburg/Greenpoint area.

I’ve enjoyed Yebisu at the smorgasburg events, but am thrilled to have a brick a mortar location – albeit a tiny, stools only one – to warm chilled bones with (quite possibly) the worlds greatest dish.

Is it perfect? No. Most notably the pork is a bit dry and tough where it should but tender. The noodles, though were perfectly toothsome. I tried the shoyu and while it was good the one that will have me running back as soon as I can book a sitter, is the miso ramen. Its broth had flavor and depth and even though I only had a few sips of my friends – its taste lingers in my mind.

The staff is friendly, the house sake above average, and the price is right. While it may not be Ippudo (but that’s an unfair comparison) I am very happy to welcome the long awaited Yebisu to the neighborhood.

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Posted on December 28, 2012

Restaurants »Yebisu Ramen

at Smorgasburg

The brick and mortar ramen shop Yebisu has been eagerly awaited and delayed but if their cold ramen dish at Smorgasburg is any indication, it will be worth it.

Toothsome noodles, with a delicate and refreshing splash of sauce, a perfectly semi cooked egg, and flavorful pork.

This is a dynamite dish. I could eat it everyday.

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Posted on July 10, 2012

Web Sites »Miroco Machiko

Japanese Illustrator

The work of Japanese artist Miroco Machiko has to be some of the most charming I’ve seen.

I found the whimsical childlike illustrations through a friend on Pinterest and can’t stop admiring at them.

I find them very inspiring and want to just let go with paints, markers and crayons one afternoon not over thinking the end result.

Just lovely.

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Posted on May 1, 2012

Restaurants »Men Kui Tei

60 W 56th St

I was glad that part of Sunday bordered on chilly because I had ramen on the brain. And you can’t really do ramen when it’s 65 degrees. Men Kui Tei is a hole in the wall midtown staple, but a clean, friendly hole in the wall that fills up quickly and has slurping ramen lovers coming in and out all day.

Since the downtown ramen explosion it’s hard to call Men Kui Tei the best but it’s a hearty yummy bowl. I enjoyed rich tonkastsu broth and perfectly toothsome noodles and liked customizing with the chili oil and vinegar. Mike had the spicy ramen that wasn’t mouth numbing but gave a kick in the back of your throat with each bite.

Yes, broth and noodles were excellent, the only thing bringing it down were the toppings. I may have become spoiled by Ippudo’s perfectly roasted pork, but here it was a touch tough and bland and the veggies didn’t taste fresh.

Still, my ramen thirst was nicely quenched and it was a perfect filler before braving crowds at the Cindy Sherman show.

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Posted on March 12, 2012

Movies »Perfect Blue

directed by by Satoshi Kon (1997)

The bizarre anime Perfect Blue just kind of explodes in front of you. It’s startling, disorienting and rapid. It never allows you to get too comfortable wrapping your head around it. Even the pop songs get truncated suddenly.

While the experience is jolting and one you just have to let take you with it, afterwards the effect is lasting and unsettling. I feel like I’m still not done thinking about it.

The story concerns a pop star turned actress who looses her innocence for stardom and perhaps attracts the murderous attentions of a distraught fan.

People around her start dying (and the movie takes on a Giallo sheen) But to say this is a serial killer movie about a pop star is like saying El Topo is a western.

After lots of twists, Things wrap up neater than expected, I had kind of hoped it would have retained its vagueness- still, this is a wild one and not for the kiddos!

A great companion to the similarly themed Black Swan.

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Posted on December 18, 2011

Restaurants »Koi Sushi

600 Pacific Coast Hwy

Everyone raves about the Sushi in California and every time we go we eat about every kind of food but sushi.

Well this time I was determined and luckily my sister had already found Long Beach’s best spot for the raw stuff.

Koi was everything I dreamed of and we could even get take out when the babies were uncooperative with going out.

Fresh is the word that most comes to mind. After indulging in their tuna belly, eel, sashimi salad and -my favorite- mackerel (two kinds!) I am going to find it very, very difficult to accept my local middle of the road delivery place.


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Posted on December 3, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Yuzu-It

20110930-120520.jpgYamajirushi Brand

Thought I new all that I was reasonably expected to about hot sauce but then I discovered Yuzu-It at Midoriya.

Citrus and spicy and such a new taste explosion. I am psyched!!

Can’t wait to try it on eggs, right? It’s a bit pricy (7 dollars for a 5 ounce bottle) but well worth it.



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Posted on September 30, 2011

Movies »Pale Flower

directed by Masahiro Shinoda (1964)

From the Japanese New Wave movement emerges this hard boiled noir. Pale Flower, of the gambling noir sub genre, is tough, cool, and stylish. Shot in such stark black and white that only slivers of the action are often visible, it takes us on a cold journey to the Tokyo underworld where addiction, desperation, skewed loyalty, and failed redemption run rampant.

It follows yakuza gangster Muraki who has just been released from prison for murder to find his old life changed. His gang’s in a truce with his rivals, he no longer yearns fpr the woman that waited for him, a young man enters his life unexpectedly, as does an strange, beautiful and mesmerizing gambling addict named Saeko.

Muraki is played with calm gravitas who barely registers emotion whether he’s falling in love or some one attempting his assassination. His contorted pain finally reveals itself in a surreal nightmare sequence that will have you wondering if Polanski saw this before making Rosemary’s Baby.

Saeko is equally enigmatic. Wildness and lunacy stir quietly behind her doe eyes. It almost makes you wonder if she were simply perfect casting for her inherent madness or if Mariko Kaga is one fine actress who does more with her vacant eyes than all the smizing in 100 cycles of ANTM (yes, I’ve taken up watching again.)

It’s funny, I usually scoff at remakes, but I often cast them in my head as I watch classics. In this case, I’d move the story to Las Vegas, focusing on rival meth gangs. Titus Welliver would be my lead with Juliette Lewis as his former lover, Joseph Gordon Levitt as his new young friend and, if she can lose the vampiness, Evan Rachel Wood perhaps as the degenerate gambler though I’d consider Amanda Seyfried or Angela Bettis.


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Posted on April 18, 2011

Restaurants »1 or 8

66 S 2nd St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

With Bozu and Zenkichi, I am happy to say that we have some of the very best Japanese restaurants in the city in our area. Well, now you can add 1 or 8 to the list. Each have their purposes and 1 or 8 fits in as a bright, modern spot that’s prefect for a date night.

You enter into a kind of impersonal, quiet bar area that belies the bubbly, inviting, brightly lit dining area around the corner.

Since we only go out for a date night every month of so, we decided to live it up a little and started with an oyster sampler special. My goodness do oysters go well with ponzu! The small, plump and briny ones from Washington State were outstanding.

Next we ordered the Omakase Sushi, a chef selection of the best they have to offer. The fatty tuna and yellowtail belly were buttery. The salmon tasted smoked but was naturally so. The tuna was marinated Tokyo style and was Jim’s very favorite. The catfish from Montauk, while on the chewy side offered the most amazing and surprising spicy after taste.

Next on the plate were my two favorites: a house mackerel chopped with spices and scallions and a bold sardine that glistened beautifully on the plate. The following shrimp – served raw with a creamy texture and a subtly sweetened eel rounded out an incredible sushi experience.

They offer cocktails, wine and beer but I couldn’t have such a meal without some great sake, which they offer quite an assortment of. Many are offered by the bottle, but a nice list is also offered by sample size, glass, and carafe. The sample size is great for finding the one that suits your taste the most. We were fond of the unfiltered Kamoizumi but I wasn’t totally in love with the Chikurin. To finish the meal off, we tried the White Sesame Tart with black sesame ice cream, a none too sweet dessert that grows on you with each bite.

The staff is very friendly and informative, seeming just as excited about serving the food as we were about eating it. Plus, while we spent more than we might usually this time, the menu is varied and you could easily go a la carte and spend more or less depending on your mood and budget and still walk away with a special dining experience.

Now just over a year old (though I’ve been so out of the loop, I only just read about it) it seems to have quite a following. The place was packed Friday night, so I recommend reservations which can be made easily on Opentable. If you’re a sushi lover and had your fill of the mediocre stuff you can find on any street in the country, you’ll want to make a date night out of it soon.

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Posted on February 19, 2011

Books »The Elephant Vanishes

by Haruki Murakami (1993)

Murakami’s short story collection The Elephant Vanishes opens with what would become the first chapter of The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, a book that consumed and mesmerized me like only few great novels can. I tried to repeat that spell with his other works, but only came as close with Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

After finishing the second story, I was worried that this would be another miss for me and Murakami – though a miss from him is still guaranteed to be more curious and interesting than many authors’ best so I kept reading.

I was finally drawn in completely by the story Sleep, a subtly creepy story of a woman who lives two lives when she suddenly no longer sleeps. It’s a masterful study of inexplicable fears come to life, fears that sit dormant below the surface of the toil and small joys of everyday living.

Other notable favorites are Barn Burning, Family Affair, TV People, The Dancing Dwarf, and The Last Lawn of the Afternoon. Of course, every reader will have their own opinions depending on their tolerance for the bizarre surrealism that peppers his writing with such dark grace.

The best stories here have his hallmark gift for mood. You feel the people and places in essence if not in detail and are transported to strange territories that are both very near and very far from our own lives.

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Posted on February 11, 2011

Style Icons: Male »Kansai Yamamoto

Bold Designer

I’ve learned while going through photos of Kansai Yamamoto‘s awesome work that it is indeed possible to salivate over amazing costume! He’s the man responsible for the wardrobe for David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust Tour and currently produces something called Super Show that is at once fascinating, inscrutable and over the top. I am dying to attend.

There have been two retrospectives in Tokyo and Philadelphia so heres to hoping one comes to New York. Oh, and wouldn’t a chain store collaboration be simply amazing?! I’d do just about anything for one of his patchwork kimono dresses.

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Posted on January 11, 2011

Movies »Ninja Scroll

directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (1993)

The words “Ninja Scroll” echoed in the halls of my freshman dorm. Nerds coming from all corners of the country and globe were getting introduced to anime with this bloody action packed oddity, all thanks, if I remember correctly, to one Hal Lee who passed a well worn VHS around Nickerson Hall. With explicit sex scenes, demon monsters, and arm ripping/blood soaked fights, well, needless to say the dudes were INTO it. I  however, never saw it til last night (thank you Netflix + AppleTV).

Like most things Japanese, Ninja Scroll is somewhat inscrutable, but that hardly matters. Whether you follow the story about a secret gold mine, an old man spy, and a bisexual who plays a deadly game of telephone or not, there’s just so much good stuff to look at. From rape minded rock monsters to ninja birds, from vagina snakes to magic bee swarms, the movie hits the ground running and never stops.

In short, though, Jubei is a ninja for hire who talks with the insensitive staccato of a teenage boy that just learned the word ‘shit” as in “Shit! A cast off skin!!”. He meets up with a girl ninja Kagero who is poison to any man that sleeps with her. Together they reluctantly (since they are fiercely independent, of course) join forces with a sneaky old man to defeat a team of demons with strange abilities who want nothing more than world domination through destruction and a pirate ship full of gold.

In a huge sea of anime, which is daunting to traverse, this one stands out with it’s inventive monsters drawn from folklore, stunningly beautiful artwork and a plot that speaks to my D&D heart.

The movie spawned a sequel series and word has it that Leonardo DiCaprio owns the rights to a planned live action movie coming next year.

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Posted on December 19, 2010

Restaurants »Samurai Mama

205 Grand St, Brooklyn

Makoto Suzuki, the man behind Bozu (one of Brooklyn’s most unsung best restaurants) plus the chewy deliciousness of Udon equals Samurai Mama – the perfect new spot for Jim and my first date night since baby. We arrived early before the crowds and snagged one of the few private two tops – the cozy and simple wood and brick space is dominated by a huge communal table. Udon is the name of the game here and offered in many varieties – in hot soup, dipping style, and bukkake (nothing dirty – just sauce slathered) all with different topping options from veggie to pork belly.

I opted for the traditional soup with the pork, Jim the same but as a dipping dish. Both were great, with thick, perfectly cooked noodles and a nice, sweet broth that I spiced up a bit with the red chili spices. The pork was tender and as good as it is in Bozu’s fabulous pork betty platter.

But there’s more to the menu than noodles, and you should come hungry so you can sample a bit of everything. The sushi comes in a taco form (with the nori acting as shell) and both the tuna avocado and eel avocado were outstanding. The gyoza arrived like in a surprising puffed baked appearance and was miles away from the frozen appetizer we all know so well from most Japanese restaurants. The list of sakes was varied and I opted for a smokey Suehiro glass. They had an unpasteurized bottle available (the drink I most missed while pregnant) but am really not at the point yet where I can drink half a bottle of anything.

Already garnering great local reviews and praise on yelp, Samurai Mama is sure to become another neighborhood fixture and a particularly welcome one as the nights get colder and colder and a steaming bowl of Udon beckons.

(Thanks mom and dad for the babysitting).

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Posted on November 17, 2010

Laughs »Vagina Bubbles From Hell

from The Female Ninja Magic Chronicles

This mind blowing scene from The Female Ninja Magic Chronicles has been making the internet rounds and makes it clear that I have to find a copy of this series.

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Posted on September 26, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters: Japanese Prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

333 East 47th Street

Some art shows that I have been excited about (talking to you Younger Than I’ll Be at BAM) are disappointing in their scope, offering little more than the images released online, the incredible, awe inspiring, amazingly inspiring and exquisitely beautiful Utagawa Kuniyoshi exhibit: Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters at the Japan Society is the exact opposite. Room after room offered more stunning work in this comprehensive exploration of the artist career is almost overwhelming – but in a most excellent way. My dad exclaimed it to be the best art show he’s ever been to, and if these close up images strike your fancy at all (and they are really only poor quality photos from my camera off the exhibit book) you need to see this in person. I walked away so completely inspired and can guarantee you will too.

The museum itself is also worth noting as a pretty neat spot that also features Japanese language classes, sake tastings, and other events including film screenings. Some limited reproduction prints as well as a beautiful book are available for sale on this particular exhibition.

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Posted on May 9, 2010

Restaurants »Soba-ya

229 East 9th Street

Ever end up in a pickle when you crave noodles, but it’s too warm for ramen? Enter Soba-ya where the dishes are offered cold and absolutely delicious. I loved, loved loved, my meal of cold udon, dipping sauce, and tiny shrimp and leaf tempura.

It was the kind of meal (sans tempura) that I could eat any time of the day, any day of the week. I’ve had the dish elsewhere, but there’s something indefinably special about the noodles here, which is probably why there were throngs of people waiting for a table by the time we left.

The authentic spot does unique takes on their appetizers, offering a shrimp ball with soft noodle shell version of shumai and veggie options like fried taro in broth, which was excellent.

The staff is polite and the crowd is hip to the fact that this is a step above some other St Mark’s area eateries. The restaurant also boasts a washlet, which you’ll read more about in this week’s how to spend a couple minutes section.

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Posted on April 11, 2010