Pardon my crappy Japanese. I studied Japanese for just one year as a freshman and I gotta say, you forget pretty much everything once memorization isn't necessary to make your transcript not suck. I can still read hiragana and katakana, although it doesn't matter that much considering I can't understand what I'm reading.
Despite that, I know a gabillion percent more Japanese than Mandarin. My Chinese is so bad! Heehee, I'm a disgrace.
Anyhoo, I'm gonna forget even more Japanese. Why? Cos I GOT INTO THAT PARIS STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM, HUZZAAAH, HERE I COME, GONNA EAT PARIS AND BE PAINFULLY AMERICAN AS I DO IT, PARISIANS WILL HATE ME. If you live in France (the entire landmass!), you must show me the good eats. (There wasn't really any question to whether or not I'd be accepted, as all the program seemed to require was that I didn't fail anything, but it took a while for my transcript to get updated.)
But I'm still in America. And as I'm here, I'll be chowing down on...Japanese food. (For a breakdown of the title, "nihon" means "Japan", "no" is kind of like "of", "ryori" means "food", "wo" is...uh, the thing you need to connect nouns and verbs, and "tabetai" is "to want to eat", which is made by taking off the ending of the full verb "tabemasu" and adding "tai". Or something. Um. You get used to it after a while. Or not. That was your crappy Japanese lesson of the day.)
As you may or may know, Japanese establishments tend to have plastic food displays that are surprisingly close to the real thing in appearance (although hopefully not in taste). I don't know the history of this plastic food phenomenom, nor do I have the patience to research it for you, but you'll find it a lot in Japan, or Mitsuwa in my case. Japan is something like 20 years ahead of the rest of the world though, so maybe one day they'll just have holographic menus or find a way to implant food visualization chips in your brain so that...um...wait, that doesn't work.
Mitsuwa is a ginormous Japanese shopping complex in Edgewater, close to the George Washington Bridge and accesible from Manhattan by NJ transit buses, car, or floation device. To me, Mitsuwa is the best thing about NJ. And NJ kinda bores me otherwise. It's pretty damn spiffy and due to the Japanese habit of keeping things new, gets remodeled every now and then. The latest round of "tearing things down and rebuilding them" that started sometime last year (and perhaps the end of a lot of leases) is finally over. TRANSFORMATION: COMPLETE.
If that isn't one of the craziest pancakes you've ever seen, then you must show me the crazier one. That's pretty damn crazy, right? Trust me, for the good of the world I shall order the pancake and see how the real thing stands up to this fake stack that more resembles an un-frosted double-layered vanilla butter cake than two hemorrhagic pancakes. (Yes, I finally used the word "hemorrhagic" in a post! And it's not even 5 PM yet.)
UCC Cafessa is one of the new eateries at Mitsuwa that tookover the old pharmacy and florist. If you want flowers or drugs, you'll just have to go somewhere else. Sarah got a milk tea that tasted kind of weak, but the food looks enticing. Go back, I shall!
We went to the Kayaba counter to stare at the plastic noods and rice bowls. Which is what any sane person would do. The soup glistens!
I ended up getting a meal set from Katsuhana consisting of fried things, fruity things, soupy things, and the central element of Japanese meal-ness—rice. Without rice, the meal is nothing. The rice was especially good; sticky with just the right amount of moistness. Most rice is perfectly fine, but maybe a smidge too dry. You wouldn't usually think much about how good the rice rice since it's...well, rice, but you'll know good rice when you eat it.
The "fried things" portion consisted of elongated shrimp, pork cutlet chunks, and what might officially be "crab cream croquette", but I prefer to call "fried ambiguous creamy substance". Deep fried Japanese food have always been my favorite kind of fried food (as opposed to Italian or American) because to me it feels lighter. Deep fried translates into "dunked in a vat of burninating hot oil" no matter what, but the airy crispiness of Japanese fried foods rules over everything else. Admittedly, they won't make crispified fried chicken with the deliciousness of Blue Ribbon Bakery, but I'd prefer to eat good pork katsu over good fried chicken. Maybe. Especially if there's curry sauce involved.
Overall, thumbs up for Katsuhaha. "Thumbs up"? I need a better rating system. Considering that I've eaten from Katsuhana three times by now and I don't go to Mitsuwa that often, you can probably figure out where my taste buds lie. (Vat of oil.)
Sarah got a kakiage (mixed tempura) soba noodle bowl from Kayaba. However, it possessed too much noodly power and Sarah couldn't finish it all.
Mitsuwa is pretty freakin' huge; there's no place that large in NYC. They carry just about any Japanese thing you could find in a grocery store (as in no videogames or electronics), such as...
SO MUCH PANCAKE MIX! WHYYY?! They really do like their pancakes.
They sell healthy stuff like fruit and vegetables, but you know you just want the cute, limited edition snacks. I tried the banana-cream filled pseudo fish-shaped chocolate cookie Pucca. Conclusion: good, but not so good that I'd buy it again. Part of the satisfaction is just eating something so cute. WHO CARES WHAT IT TASTES LIKE?
I've been eating obanyaki (or oobanyaki; I'm not sure which one it is), or red bean paste-filled pancake-ish batter cake things (yeah, that was an awful description) every since I was little. We'd by them in packs of five (which I recall would come in a styrofoam container with holes poked into the top so the steam wouldn't condense and result in soggy obanyaki) so my whole family could eat them. Or mainly my mum and I. I dunno, my memory's hazy. Anyhoo, for some reason it's difficult to find a place that makes these babies fresh out of the molded giddle mathinger. A Japanese place. And I'm not talking dorayaki, which while similar to a obanyaki is very much not the same thing.
This too can be yours for just $1.25. Sarah and I shared a fresh, "ow my skin just died"-hot obanyaki while walking outside and staring at the Hudson River from the Jersey angle. The outside was just a little crispy, while the inside was soft, dense and fluffy all at once. I don't know what else to compare obanyaki to besides itself, which isn't much of a comparison. ("What's a spoon?" "A spoon." "Thanks...thanks a lot.") If you're not familiar with red bean paste, it's just pureed adzuki beans and sugar (and maybe oil). The carb and carb combination (carb squared) is pretty easy to like.
Ah, NYC...so close, yet so very far. Well, too far for me to walk it.
Too lazy to use google? FINE!
This is a new feature! Hot damn!
random food related stuff
The Fast Food Nation movie trailer is up!
If you haven't read the book, you should.
Nothing rhymes with orange. However, I don't think Montana rhymes with banana.
comments are people too
Nick reminds us that fasting is bad, although overeating is bad too. I do both. Not in extreme manners, but still. Double whammy—I'm gonna die.
[eats a bag of aspartame]