Ahh Sushi

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Funky Vegas

So Cort and I have a bad habit of going downtown on Sundays. Which in this Mormon controlled city means most places are closed. All we wanted was to go to a café and chill for a while. Instead we walked for 20  minutes before we could even pick a place to sit down!

Eventually we settled on a Starbucks and had a lovely little rest. By then, though, we were starving! So we looked to see what was open around the area. Being Sunday, our options were limited, but we decided on the sushi place across the street.

Turns out Ahh Sushi is a really neat and delicious restaurant. Located on the underground level of a building and connected to a pub. They were playing old jazzy music and the atmosphere was cozy.

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Gyoza

We sat at the sushi bar and ordered two rolls and a “tapa.” There was only one other person there, but it took a while for our food to come out. Besides that it was fresh and delicious. Nice mellow flavours blended together into distinct styles for each roll. The fish was nice and fresh. The gyoza can be cooked either steamed or fried. We choose steamed and it came in the absolute most delicious spicy/sweet sauce!!! I could not get enough of it and I dipped everything in it. =)

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Playboy

The restaurant was really cool and offered some great specials including $3 beers on Wednesday and half price sushi for happy hour. We are definitely going back to check out these specials and to explore the connecting bar – O’Shucks.

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!

 

Kabuki

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Kabuki is a ritzy sushi restaurant located on the West Wing of the Tempe Marketplace. Well, ritzy for a college student hangout. It is very Asian Chic inside, with red and black color scheme and minimalist kabuki mask and flower decorations.

Inside the lights are low and the red lampshades cast an aura of Feudal Japan and the Kabuki theater across everyone’s face.

It’s quite fun for a group outing and can equally be a nice place for a date!

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The food selection is pretty diverse. There is a large offering  of appetizers and most any kind of sushi your heart could desire. I also discovered a page that lists some soups and rice dishes.

In my personal experience here, the food is alright. It looks and sounds better than it actually is. I once ordered the dragon roll and it came out with seaweed shaping a dragon head! It was so much fun. But the flavors were mellow and it just didn’t leave a tasty memory.

This time I decided to try something besides sushi and ordered the Spicy Miso Ramen. It came with a side of soup or salad. Having my main course be soup I opted for the salad. As is common at Asian themed restaurants the dressing on the salad was a delightfully pungent ginger dressing. It always amazes me how it can transform a simple bowl of lettuce leaves into a delicious salad.

After the appetizer, my ramen came out. It smelled great and was a decent size (though I’ve had more for a lesser price). The seaweed was nice and tender, the bean sprouts crisp, there was some corn but it mostly sank to the bottom, and the noodles were a nice chewy texture. The broth itself, however, failed to impress. It was alright. Spicy, a hint of miso. But it simply failed to wow. I honestly enjoyed the salad dressing more than the soup.

I think this is going to be one of my last visits to Kabuki. For the price range (a check on the low end usually being $15-20 per person), the quality of food does not match. I can get a much more flavorful bowl of ramen at Republic Ramen (big enough to split with two people) for less than $8.

If you are in the area and have the money to spend, it is a decent restaurant. But I am going to start exploring the other options at Tempe Marketplace from now on.

Sushi on Oracle

Sushi on Oracle is, well, a sushi restaurant. On Oracle road. Creative name, non? Though the name is quite generic, the restaurant is anything but. From the service to the food, it is a welcoming and fun experience.

The servers are always prompt to seat you and friendly while serving you. I have never wanted for any of their delicious green (with brown rice) tea, they are always quick to refill your cup. And they are equally quick on checking on you for your order.

My friends and I always order sushi, so I can’t say how their cooked plates are, but the sushi is fresh tasting and excellently prepared. As soon as you are sat and your drink orders taken, a hot bowl of miso soup and a dish of edamame are placed before you to enjoy for appetizers. This more than makes up for the splurge that is a dinner on raw fish. Then, whether you sit at the sushi bar or at a table, you are quickly presented with your sushi orders (excellently prepared by the jolly Japanese sushi chefs.)

Pictured above are the Las Vegas Roll (in front and center), the Caterpillar Roll (top right and green), and the Spicy Yellowtail Roll (top left). Each roll was delicious and distinct in flavour and texture. The Yellowtail was a delightful texture of minced fish and the Las Vegas Roll was perfectly fried without being greasy. The Caterpillar Roll, though, is always my favorite – consisting of fresh water eel, cucumber, and avocado and eel sauce – it has a lovely combination of flavours and feels on the tongue.