Last meal in Dublin for the Parents

Posted from Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland.

OMG.. there are no words… one Michelin star restaurant.. with wine pairings… 

feast your eyes on the following menu…

Yum is all we can say for Chapter One…Homer! Don’t fill up on bread!!! But the onion brioche was soooo good! Oh and that Irish butter…

Pig tail – braised 18 hours, deboned, meat mixed with other meats i.e. bacon, rolled back into a sausage and topped with cooking sauce reduced from 30 liters to one…Lamb three ways. Loin, sweetbread and pressed shoulder. I was not a fan of the pressed shoulder encrusted with mint but the loin was perfectly cooked.

Dessert #1. Not on the menu. Banana ice cream with chocolate sponge cake and Earl Grey ice.

Dessert #2. 

Petite Four and coffee.

The look of pure joy…

Wagamama with Mama

Seven years later, we ate at Wagamama again.  It is just as tasty as I remembered. 

Mom, dad and I split three items: the cha hun, chicken ramen and yasai ramen.

Mom and I agreed that the best was the fried rice.  It is especially fragrant with the fresh spring onions.  Chicken ramen and veggie ramen were ok, both with the typical over cooked top ramen style noodles, just with different proteins.

Anthony ordered the pork ramen, also with over cooked noodles but with a miso broth and Korean style pork belly.

Although not like Los Angeles ramen great, it does a decent job in satisfying the salty craving that only ramen can quench.

Dinner and a Show

Landed in Dublin after 14 hours of traveling. We were so exhausted but can’t sleep yet or else we will take a few days to adjust to GMT.

So we wandered a bit while waiting for my parents to arrive as well – their flight from London was a few hours after ours.

About a mile from our hotel is an open air shopping street like Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. We walked by an old church converted to a restaurant -and recommended by Rick Steve’s Ireland book, and decided that is where we will have dinner.

We managed to snag four seats at the bar since we didn’t make a reservation. Mom got a pineapple juice and dad ordered a glass of Guinness.

I’ve never been a fan of Guinness so I stuck with one of my favs.. Erdinger Dunkel.

Anthony got the beer flight. You can read his reviews on Beer Untappd.

For food, parents got the seafood sampler and the special which was Thai green coconut curry… in a pub… calamari was super bland. Absolutely no flavor in the breading or the squid itself. It felt like eating a rubber band.

Anthony got the fillet sandwich and fries. Fries were great. I didn’t like the sandwich all that much, esp not the dipping sauce.

I went for the beef and Guinness stew. It could go either way as the other foods we ordered didn’t meet expectations but I was gladly surprised. Great beefy flavor.. tough meat. Needed to be braised longer. Puff pastry was nice and flakey. But overall good.

But what we absolutely did not expect were the couple of dancers touring with River Dance! They were aaaaamazing!!!!

WordPress wouldn’t let me upload the video and I don’t have time to figure it out so you can see it here.


Finding a Midwest late night secret

Posted from Cleveland, Ohio, United States.

Dining options on a Sunday evening in a quiet Midwest downtown can be quite limited. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find Ontario Street Cafe in Cleveland stashed in the ground floor of a parking garage. Open late, and reviews claim it to be one of the best sandwiches in Cleveland; why not give it a whirl?. $2.50 for a bottle of Bud ($1.50 for the generic on tap) and a $7 hot pastrami. Top-shelf Jonnie Walker Black at $4.50. Hard to argue with those prices. Not everything needs to be haute cuisine.

  A dark wood interior makes this place a clear watering hole with locals. This is the kind of cash-only place where regulars have tabs pinned up over the register. Late on a Sunday night, patrons filter out chatting with the bartenders about what days or shifts they’ll see them next. Everyone’s decked out in Cleveland Cavaliers gear and discussing the game.

 Smoked pastrami piled high on fall-apart-rye with tomatoes, lettuce, sourkraut, grilled onions, and smothered with melted Swiss and a hint of mustard.

The pastrami is nice and peppery, with a great smokey char and piping hot. The grilled onions greatly enhance the savory. The lettuce and tomato add a simple freshness that make this sandwich simultaneously rich and light.

This sandwich is so good, I’ll forgive the beer. And that’s saying a lot for an admitted beer snob.


So, the origin of ramen has always been unclear… Is it Chinese? Or Japanese? I don’t think we will ever know… 

 But seeing that ramen is one of my go to foods in the states and it’s usually dirt cheap, we decided to go to Kyoto Gogyo for dinner – a well recommended place by the Nishiki Market.  (Side note: Nishiki Market is celebrating their 400 year anniversary!!) We arrived about half hour after the restaurant opened for the night as I read that the later you go the longer you wait. And it’s definitely a plus that it’s walking distance from our hotel.   

The restaurant is pretty modern – clean lines with a semi-live edge bar next to the open kitchen. But apparently its location comes with an interesting history.   

 Gogyo sits in what was once the former home of a Gion geisha named O-Yuki. She met George Morgan, the nephew of JP Morgan. He was so captivated by O-Yuki that he proposed to her multiple times over two years and she said no every time.  Her heart belonged to someone else.  Jokingly, she told Morgan she would marry him if he gave her ¥400,000. He said done…. So O-Yuki kept her promise, gave the money to her love and left Kyoto to marry Morgan. After Morgan’s death, she returned to Kyoto and lived here in this house with her sister.

Anywho, why am I talking history when this blog is about food?! On to the orders!! 

 Staff didn’t speak English well so it was a point and nod place.  Somehow the big beer we each got added up to equal to drinking a pitcher between the two of us. 

 Apparent we were also required to get appetizers. It was some chicken dish with some vegetables on the side.  It was either this or “tomato with beans” which sounded disgusting.  I later found out the beans were edamame… But I’m not sure if I would have changed my choice even knowing what it was… 

 For the main event, Anthony ordered the tonkotsu char siu ramen.  It had thicker noodles with a rich garlicky pork based broth. But we think Jonathan Gold’s recommended Tsujita Annex in West LA is still better.

  I was a bit skeptical about the kogashi ramen – which they translated to “burnt”. But since that’s what they were known for, I had to try it.  I chose the miso version over the shoyu due to various comments that the shoyu was too burnt/salty/oily/etc.

So going back to the debate of origin of ramen, I think this particular kogashi miso ramen tasted as if Korean BBQ had joined the party.   

 The miso broth is so flavorful, super dark/almost black and infused with the smell and taste of Korean BBQ. And to get that smoky umami flavor, for each bowl of charred (closer than burnt) ramen, a couple of ladlefuls of lard and broth are heated up in a wok and then ignited, filling the kitchen with a giant flash of fire and then smoke permeated the air, hair and clothes, just like KBBQ.  Clarification: only the broth is smoked, the noodles, egg and meat are cooked like normal ramen. 

Would we come back if we could? Yes. Are we? Probably not. But if you are in central Kyoto (or apparently Tokyo) area and craving cheap good ramen (880¥), this is your place.