Ramen at Koko Kitchen

koko ramen

What a dreary day I was having. Just one of those what-is-the-point-of-getting-out-of-bed days full of mopes and sighs. And then one of the blogs I was reading through talked about homemade ramen. I thought, what a brilliant idea? Is there any better food for lifting one’s spirits than hot Asian soup? I think not.

So I did a quick google search, and praise the gods that be, there was a ramen shop right down the street from me.

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Phoenix Adventures

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So I went up to Phoenix this last weekend. Again. Can’t resist the delicious food…erm I mean amazing friends that are in the city just North of me. While up there I got to see some friends who have gone off to the East Coast for grad school, hike South Mountain and try new restaurants!

This was actually my first time hiking in Phoenix. Though I’ve meant to explore the trails for the last several years it just never worked out timing wise. XP But I have done it now! And it was… interesting. Much different from the hiking trails I’m used to in Tucson.  First of all, South Mountain is more of a large hill than an actual mountain. I could easily reach the peak of this “mountain” whereas I’ve never been able to scale to the top of any mountain in Tucson (without the aid of a car.) The first third of the path was paved. Which is abominable. If you want somewhere paved go to a PARK not a hiking trail, jeesh. After that it starts to get rather steep and rocky, but the trail is so short it isn’t terribly exhausting. I only needed one rest and then just some breathers.

The interesting bit about the South Mountain trails is that there is actually one trail that is 14 miles long!!! It goes around the range in a mostly flat and even trail. That just happens to be on the very outside middle part of a small mountain.
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After hiking we went to SUSHI. Our usual place is Teharu the revolving sushi bar but we decided to mix it up and try someplace new. Mido Sushi on Ray and Kyrene. We got there for happy hour and BOY was it DELICIOUS.  We all got full on under $10. On fresh and good quality sushi! Elizabeth and I split four rolls – to have the greatest variety of flavours. There was a spicy tuna, a gyoza roll (a sushi roll with gyoza inside. BRILLIANT!), jalapeño tuna, and the pancho roll (which has shrimp tempura and avocado). They were all delicious. I don’t even care much for shrimp and I loved the pancho roll. Since then one of us has gone back 3 times. I am incredibly jealous and can’t wait to go back up and enjoy the happy hour again.

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Then we had BOBA TEA. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH. I don’t actually care much for traditional boba balls. But I love milk tea, I love mini boba and I love popping boba/fruit caviar. I try a different combination almost everytime I enjoy a tea. This time it was a coconut taro tea (the purple one in the back) with mini bobas (yay Boba Tea House for having mini boba). Taro is such an interesting flavor and I am obsessed with the beautiful color it creates. If you have been wary to try something so exotic, don’t be. It’s a mild flavour, slightly sweet and it tastes… opaque? or ever so slightly chalky? It’s extremely unique. Please, give it a try!

 

 

IMG_2696 (2)And then for dinner one night we tried a local Italian place – Floridino’s. I split a steak sandwich and was pleased at the dinner. The steak was not dry, the peppers were still crisp and not overcooked, the bread was nice and toasty… but it lacked something. It was dry (and even marinara sauce wouldn’t have added much to it) and not very flavourful. It tasted like something I would throw together from  leftovers, honestly. The pasta salad was rather nice… again extremely simple to the point of being bland. It was pasta and oil and vinegar and some herbs. I won’t be going back there again. The price just does not reflect the quality of the food. If it were 5 dollars for one of their sandwiches I’d be game, but even 7.50 seemed excessive for something so terribly bland. I also have to admit that I was thoroughly let down by the lack of veggie dishes. I just was not in the mood for something entirely bread and sauce and cheese. I have come to expect something more layered. Is it really so much to add some broccoli or zucchini to the pasta at least? GIMME VARIETY and nutrients.

However their calzones did look promising. They are ginormous and worth two meals. If I do ever end up there again, that is what I’ll try.

And so we have our third post of the new year. I’ll try to add some more life anecdotes with my recipes and reviews. If you have any comments on what you’d like me to make, bake or suggestions of restaurants in Tucson or Phoenix areas, lemme know!

Hope your new year is going splendidly!

 

JiST Café

In Downtown Little Korea there is a brand new and very trendy café. The menu is very simple and Japanese inspired, and you can tell the ingredients are local and caringly picked. JiST is the name of the game.

The menu ranged from Oatmeal with quinoa to the fluffiest pancakes ever to Chashu with 6 minute eggs.

I ordered the The Hangover Cure – an omelet with tender and easily shredded beef short ribs, a rich gravy-like sauce, and a cheddar cheese, with a side of breakfast potatoes perfectly seasoned and cooked with sautéed peppers and onions and a coffee cake.

You can sit inside or outside on the patio and enjoy the view. And they have a self-serve water service right next to the register. The inside was really neat – one wall red brick, the facing wall a geometrical puzzle design of wood pieces, and plants everywhere. On the ceiling are those jointed desk lamps attached to the posts

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!).