Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ramen of Santa Barbara and a Breakfast Buffet

After enjoying a Japanese Izakaya (bar/grill) experience in SF, I wanted more and figured I'd see what Santa Barbara has to offer.  It was really good, as most Japanese places are, but not as good as the best in SF.  I ordered almost all the same dishes!

 This place was super authentic and had a little market area with tons of rare Japanese foods (I got some Mirin to cook with)! I tried one of these Bean Cakes after being impressed with the ingredients. Red Bean paste is yummy!
Shoyu Ramen
My main was Shoyu (soy sauce) Ramen, which took an extra 20 minutes but was definitely worth it! Less hearty and creamy than Tonkatsu (pork bone), good in totally different ways. The bamboo shoots were delicious, but as far as the toppings I wish there was way more Nori and some egg rather than spinach and wakame seaweed. The broth was very salty and sweet and delicious, ESPECIALLY after I added the Togarashi (assorted chili powder mix) they brought out, which was a very good one.  The noodles were good, pretty al denti, definitely a solid slurping experience.
Soba Noodle Salad
 Not sure how Japanese this really was, but it had a Miso Vinaigrette which I am inspired to experiment with.  It was cool that it had soba noodles, pine nuts, and sun dried tomato just like the basil pesto soba noodle dish I created! Yummy avocado too none the less.
 Nasu Dengaku
After falling in love with Japanese Eggplant w/ Sweet Miso on Friday, I had to try it somewhere else to see if it was just as good. It was (not as good but still really good).  This was more broiled than grilled, but was still sweet and tender! And didn't have the favorable lemony or sake leanings.  #1 Officially now on my list of epic dishes you can't screw up (and will be cooking soon).
Uni Shooter!
this was wild and rightfully reccomended by the waitress, a shot glass with ponzu sauce, uni (sea urchin), a quail egg, and mozuku (my favorite) sea weed. You take it all at once like a shot and it's a delicious combination of tangy citrus (ponzu), salty vinegar (seaweed/probably rice wine vinegar), egg, and fish.  It's got some chew/crunch to it from the seaweed, you really just have to go for it to understand! Also had a basic seaweed salad (behind) which was basic but always a requirement for me with eating Japanese food.
Eating Right at a Breakfast Buffet:
Getting Creative with a Bit of Everything
Of course I had to go with oatmeal, but how would I get my usual nutrition with standard choices for toppings? No soy milk, spices, agave nectar, nuts, stevia... #2 I went with fresh fruit (pineapples and blueberries for low glycemic and anti inflammatory), plain egg whites from the omelette guy, and granola for some crunch and healthy fat from sunflower seeds, almonds, and coconut. Turned out nicely! The oatmeal wasn't quite as good as at home, because they don't use extra thick rolled oats, and I could taste the bit of butter used to make the eggs, but I can't really complain (I just don't like the smell of butter on my lips after eating it and it doesn't go down as easily).
-Oatmeal, Egg Whites
-Blueberries, Raspberries, Pineapple
-House Cinnamon Granola (for the almonds/coconut/sunflower seeds)

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