Popin’Cookin’ Gummy Sushi Kit

My roomie received this for a present weeks ago. We decided to play with it today and see what it was all about.

Basically, it’s a kit to mix and make two kinds of nigiri and a sushi roll. The set mixes into gummy tomago (sweet eggs), tuna, roe, rice and comes with a gummy seaweed wrapper (picture a really thick fruit by the foot).

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Since it was all in Japanese, we looked up the instructions online and found this video tutorial.

After figuring out what everything was supposed to be and giggling at the ridiculousness of it all we commenced.

We used our “water picker upper” and mixed the packets in their individual sections in the provided plastic mold. It was a lot of fun mixing it together and playing with the weird textured rice. Though we never planned on actually eating the candy, we figured we might as well try some. It was all super sweet and oddly flavoured and the rice turned into the strangest texture – like gummy styrofoam beads!

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Once the gummy eggs and fish had set (more or less xp) we put together our nigiri and sushi roll. It was fun and ridiculous, and we couldn’t make sense of the magic “seasoning” packet. We sprinkled it over everything and it looked like salt and pepper…but tasted like sugar.

These little cuties were entirely unedible and thus still reside on our counter. Waiting to be cooed over and dreading the day of reckoning (aka trash time!).

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Fogo de Chão

All you can eat MEAT. Delicious, tender, juicy beef, lamb, chicken and pork. It was a dream come true. With endless side dishes of caramelized bananas, polenta fries, mashed potatoes, and cheesy bread puffs.

That was the dream I was treated to after my University Graduation. My friends’ parents were nice enough to invite me along to the celebratory dinner to stuff our stomachs as full as our heads were (theoretically) stuffed with knowledge.

The way this particular Brazilian Steakhouse functioned was this:

There was a coaster at your place setting – one side red (stop! I’m chewing!), one side green (load up the plate!) – to signal the ever rotating servers whether you wanted meat or not.

We started with a first course at their large salad bar. It had the usual run of mixed greens and dressings, but also cold cuts and cheeses, and a variety of pickled and cooked vegetables to nibble on.

Having satisfied my nutrition-focused conscience with a small helping of leafy things, I turned my card green side up and was promptly accosted by a server catering a huge pike of meat from table to table. I was served slices of top sirloin, top and bottom cut flank steak, garlic infused beef, ribs, bacon wrapped chicken, tender cuts of lamb, and juicy sausages.

I made sure to try a little of everything and found most of it to my liking. The sirloin and flank steaks were my favorite. The lamb was tender but I couldn’t come to terms with the strong and unique flavor of the meat – I’m still not sure if I liked it or disliked it.

But it was all so delicious that I forced myself to ingest more than I previously thought was possible. Then, to put a cherry on top of a 20 scoop, whipped cream, caramel, butterscotch, fudge, strawberry, sprinkles and nuts and bananas and strawberries mile high sunday of a meal, we had desserts.

After a quick glance at the menu and a digestive grumble of protestation we had initially decided against a final sweet course. But the waiter was nice enough to comp my friend and I each with a dessert of our choice… 

We couldn’t be rude so she picked Flan and I asked to be surprised. The Chocolate Lava Cake and the Flan were both good, but lack luster and ordinary. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone to purchase.

But I will definitely come back for the parade of tantalizing meats.

Salut Kitchn Bar – A heavenly experience

I’ve been enchanted by the gourmet food scene – local produce, seasonal ingredients, inspired and unique recipes – for as long as I’ve been watching Foodnetwork (which has been a bonding channel for my mom and I for as long as I can remember.) It makes sense to adapt menus to the ingredients’ unique properties rather than forcing ingredients to make the normal expected platters of the masses.

So of course I fell in love with the new Salut Kitchen Bar in Tempe. It’s got an upscale recycle kitsch feel to it that seemed very classy yet casual, perfect for the University environment. The one page menu offered a mouth-watering selection of appetizers, salads, burgers and entrées at a decent price. The back of the menu listed their extensive selection of wines and beers. And then they had yet another menu for their creative and unusual cocktails (they range on the more expensive side, but believe me they are worth the splurge!)

My friends and I decided to share several of the tapas: the Chef’s plate (smoked gouda, honey white cheddar, brie, 3 meats, home brined black, green and purple olives, goat cheese stuffed papadew peppers, chipotle sauce, figs, and seasoned nuts with 4 slices of toast), the Grilled Halloumi Cheese with microgreens and capers, and the Hummus Nachos (fried pita with hummus, balsamic reduction, and the pièce de la résistance – pomegranate seeds.)

Needless to say it was a religious experience. The meats were exactly what sliced beef and cured pork should taste and chew like, the cheeses complimented the olives, figs and meats. The olives were so juicy and perfectly salty. The papadew peppers had a delightful tang and bite to them that the creamy goat cheese smoothed out.

The Hummus Nachos were so divinely created that I ate most of them with my eyes closed, slowly chewing the crispy and doughy pita, savoring the complex combination of tangy hummus and sweet balsamic. The bright burst of pomegranate juice was the epitome of harmony (I was so disappointed that there was only one seed per pita nacho.)

Top off this amazing meal with an unending supply of mimosas (a Sunday special,) and it was one of the best food experiences I have enjoyed here in the states.