Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Kiss For Katsuya

I went this past Saturday night to Katsuya in Brentwood located in Los Angeles. One of the four locations of Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi who creates the most amazing Japanese food I have ever had. The fish was beyond fresh the flavors combined with it were like nothing I have ever had before.
We called 2 weeks ahead to make a reservation but they were totally booked. With the help of my friend Ben, who used to be the Sous Chef there, a phone call was made and we were in.
Thanks Ben! I had no idea we were in for such a culinary treat that excited every single taste bud in my mouth.The restaurant was packed and the crowd ranged from casual families to hipsters dressed to kill of all ages.
The menu which you can see here has so many options. We decided to stick to sushi and not try any of the entrees from the Hot Kitchen but they looked incredible.
We started with Edemame which was served warm and lightly tossed with salt. We also started with Sauteed Shishito Peppers. I got lucky and didn't eat any that were too hot but someone at our table did was just about blowing fire out of her mouth. We had no warning about how hot they could be which was disappointing. We asked our waiter to take them away as they didn't do much for any of us.
Shortly after the peppers disappeared from the table, what was about to be my favorite sushi dish I have ever had appeared...and they kept coming. Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna - This dish was amazing, the most flavorful and what Katsuya is famous for. The spicy tuna is served on rice squares that are crispy on the outside and hot and soft in the inside and topped with a jalapeno slice. Do not pass this dish up! I think I had 5 pieces to myself and could of kept eating them all night.
Yellow Tail Sashimi with Jalapeno
- Fresh Yellow Tail that melts in mouth with ponzu and Jalapeno. This was also a table favorite and it was a very small portion for 6 of us. All you really needed is a little taste though to excite your taste buds. Left me wanting more which is exactly how good sushi should make you feel.Baked Crab Handroll - Baked snow crab lightly kissed with Chefs signature sweet sauce wrapped with rice and soy paper. We each got our own and we each ate every bite.
Spicy Albacore Sashimi with Crispy Onion - The albacore was so fresh but was covered with tiny crispy onions that over powered the fish. I would of liked to really taste the fish more and found myself taking the onions off. I enjoyed it but wouldn't order it again. Next time just Albacore Sashimi for me.
Special Katsuya Roll - I loved this roll. Perfect for a hot summer day and since its November and still summer in California this roll hit the spot. Different types of sashimi, salmon, yellow tail, scallops, tuna and a small amount of rice wrapped in cucumber and served with a ponzu sauce. One word...Refreshing.Last and certainly not least. Rock Shrimp Tempura Roll - By the time this
roll came I was so full but I did get to try one. It was the perfect way to end the meal. We were told to order it with a spicy tuna roll instead of the original version which has rock shrimp inside the roll. So that is what we did and I am sure glad our waiter suggested it. A spicy tuna roll topped with sizzling hot rock shrimp tossed in Chef's dynamite sauce. I really don't needs to say more then that for you to grasp the richness of this dish. It was like dessert.

The next morning when I woke up and before I even thought about breakfast, I decided wanted to go back to Katsuya for lunch. I was planning the dishes I would order again in my head. That's when you know you have had some damn good sushi.
But for now, I will blow a kiss at Katsuya, until my next trip to LA.
11777 san vicente blvd. los angeles ca. 90028

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rancho La Puerta Power Punch

In my Healthy Cuisine class I learned about Spa Cuisine. So you might ask, "What is Spa Cuisine"? Its a method of treating your mind, body & soul. Along with treating the body came the idea of using food to heal the body from the inside out. Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico was one of the first spa's that started "Spa Cuisine".
Among all the recipes I learned, this smoothie is one of my favorites. I am not a huge fan of smoothies as most are not so good for you. This Power Punch is simple to make and I love all the ingredients. You can modify it anyway you like too. Throw in some black berries for some extra antioxidants but don' t overload on the fruit because of all the sugar. The tofu, (yes I said tofu) gives it that creamy texture and you really can't taste it at all.
This is a smoothie to sip when you return from the gym or big work out, a crucial time to replenish spent nutrients. The protein-rich tofu will give your brain a boost as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can guard against some of the negative effects of aging.
I hope you enjoy your weekend. Get outside for some exercise and enjoy your Rancho La Puerta Power Punch. Bring some spa cuisine right to your own home.
Power Punch Ingredients
1/2 cup soft silken tofu
1-1/4 cups pear nectar
1/2 frozen banana, sliced
1/2 frozen diced pineapple
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Combine the tofu and pear nectar in a blender. Add all all the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Makes about 2-1/2 cups, serves 2.
Per Serving: Calories 170; calories from fat 18 (10%); total fat 2 g; saturated fat 0.5 g; cholesterol 0 mg; carbohydrates 38 g; fiber 3 g; protein 3.5 g; vitamin A i.u; beta-carotene 0 mg; vitamin B6 0.2 mg; vitamin B12 0 mg; vitamin C 11 mg; vitamin D 0 i.u; vitamine E 0.2 mg; folate 12 mcg; calcium 30 mg; iron 1mg; magnesium 35 mg; phosphorus 51 mg; potassium 281 mg; selenium 1 mcg; sodium 10 mg; phytochemicals: isoflavones, phenolic acids.