Spicy Noodles & A Good Book

The other day I had lunch with two friends at a delicious spicy noodle restaurant called Tan Tan and we discussed a bit of “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett.  Both of these ladies are much further along than me in this almost one thousand page book and were afraid of letting out any spoilers for me.  I got very excited about their passion for the book and how much they love reading it as I do.  We’ll see what kind of dent I can cause over the weekend before heading up to Kyoto on Mainland Japan for a long Valentine weekend starting on Wednesday. 

I am happy to announce that my TBR shelf has some new books on it.  I received a gift certificate from one of my best friends here in Oki (Thanks Angie) to Borders and my box arrived yesterday.  In it were the following titles:

The Golden Compass, Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition (His Dark Materials, Book 1)Writings on Politics, Family, and Fate

Love and MurderA Novel

Three flights, Snow and Clean Clothes

Well, we made it.  That’s more than I can say about our luggage though.  We landed at O’Hare from Tokyo with less than an hour to get luggage, go through immigration, customs, re-check luggage, take a train to the last terminal, get through security and hop on our flight to D.C. so of course our luggage didn’t make it.  The snow was coming down when we landed in the Windy City and we thought we were definitely sleeping with a deep dish pizza.  As we were taxiing down the runway, one of the pilots came out into the cabin and checked the wings out the window.  I thought for sure we were turning around but no, we took off and were out of there. 

So today, our travel clothes are clean again, the air is crisp and my tummy can’t wait to get to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch with my folks.  It is pretty strange to be here again in the in-law’s house and to know that our home is literally on the other side of the planet.  I’m happy to be here and I know that Rocky is safe and have even spoken to him twice on the phone this weekend.  MB says he perks up when he hears my voice. 

I will be back here probably sooner than later and will have an update on our frozen luggage.  XOXO-K

UPDATE:  All our luggage arrived safely and unopened on the doorstep this afternoon.  Whew!  Went to Borders with my folks and was a bit overwhelmed but in hog heaven.

Change of Plans

Well, Thanksgiving plans have changed and now the hubby and I are having Thanksgiving dinner at the house.  The turkey is defrosting in a tub of water on the front porch and the pumpkin pie is in the oven so I don’t have to worry about it.  It’s the Paula Deen Pumpkin Pie  recipe and it is sooooo damn good and if you are looking for a pumpkin pie recipe I highly recommend it.  Back in the late 90’s I worked at The Cheesecake Factory in Denver, CO and this pumpkin pie is comparable to the seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake at the restaurant.

                                 Pumpkin Pie

So, while reading “Garlic & Sapphires” I was very interested in Ruth Reichl’s restaurant expereinces and then seeing what details actually made it into her NY Times restaurant reviews.  I wondered what the diners who shared the meal (unknowingly or willingly) with Ruth thought of her reviews and which points she chose to focus on.  What funny things did happen that the editors may have cut out while copy editing?  Which review made you want to go to the restaurant for dinner this weekend (if we all could vacation or even live in NYC)?

The three star review that made me want to eat something that I am surrounded by here in Okinawa but don’t eat, was for “KURUMAZUSHI” (found on page 76).  I may have written about this already because it was while reading this part of the book at 4:30 am while I was sick a couple of weeks ago, that I became so hungry I had to go downstairs and eat a small bowl of cereal. 

Here is the excerpt that really got me:  “I showed my friend how to mix the hot wasabi with soy sauce and dip the edge of her fish into the mixture.  She picked up a slice of the fatty tuna and put it in her mouth.  She gasped, “I never imagined that a piece of fish could taste like this,” she said.  “It is so soft and luxurious.”  She liked the rich, cream-colored yellowtail almost as well.  Then Mr. Uezu put slices of fluke on our boards; we dipped them into a citrus-scented ponzu sauce, admiring the clean, lean flavor of the fish.”

Here in central Okinawa there is a famous and extremely popular restaurant with both Americans/foreigners and Okinawans/Japanese called Yoshihachi.  They have over two hundred items on their menu including the American favorite California rolls, sashimi, teriyaki dishes, yakisoba among many others.  Personally I am not a fan of raw fish so I stick to the rolls and cooked items but the restaurant itself is just so cool.  Hachi-san is the owner/head sushi chef and the man is a huge golfer.  You learn this while glancing at the walls throughout the space.  They are covered by pictures of the chef with famous golfers from all over the world but the most recognizable one is Tiger Woods.  There are pictures that span Tiger’s life from when he was a young boy just starting out in the sport of gentlemen to a few years ago.  There are also pictures of celebrities from film and sports that make you feel like you are in a pretty cool place. 

My favorite sushi places though are the sushi-go-rounds at both American Village and here in Awase near my house.  You can read my friend Kelly’s review of the American Village sushi-go-round HERE

Do you have a restaurant that you would write a review for?  Someplace that a review in “Garlic & Sapphires” reminded you of?  If you do, please tell us about it and maybe try your hand at reviewing it.