Thursday, December 11, 2008

Halu Makes Good Kushi Katsu

Is it kushikatsu? Or is it kushi katsu? As The Kid and I were coming back from Green Apple Books, there was a restaurant right next to the parking lot that caught my attention. Halu restaurant does ramen and if you have ever lived near a Japantown, you've probably had ramen. But have you had kushi katsu or yakitori?
I'm still trying to figure out if "kushikatsu" is one word, or two. "Kushi" is the skewer and "katsu" is the deep-fried chunk of meat. The Halu menu has it listed as two separate words and regardless, it is just insanely delicious. Dipped in panko flour and brushed with tasty sauces... we have in order: salmon, ground chicken (which was the best of them all, sauce-wise) and flat steak. The sublime smokiness that permeates throughout the food, adds the most wonderful layer of flavor and it is better than the smoky flavor of American barbecue. Note, The Missus put the forks on the table because she didn't know what we were bringing home for dinner...I know how to use chopsticks.

The grilled eggplant was more to the liking of The Missus, along with the grated ginger.

Of course fans of the film Tampopo or ramen will tell you that the soup will make the dish, regardless of the quality of the noodles...

...Halu has both down pat. What Halu does better than any other Japanese restaurant I have been to, is win me over with their unusual decor. We are talking Beatles, Beatles and the Beatles. There is Beatles posters, photos, memorabilia, and even Beatles shot glasses. There are also posters of Hendrix and a Fender Stratocaster done up like a Hendrix guitar.
There are also surf music posters and gratuitous Beatles music playing while the smell of the food makes you dizzy with anticipation.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

One Restaurant Closing In San Francisco That Will Not Be Publicized

If you look at the Eater SF site, you will see both the temporary and permanent closings of restaurants in San Francisco. Yet there is one joint that you won't read about, except for here and quite frankly, I might be the only human that even knew about it. Do you see this house?

Now you say, "what restaurant?" No, there was a restaurant there, honest. The seating was atrocious and so was the service...reservations were out of the questions also...hell, they were non-existent. Come to think of it, so was the human clientele.

You see, it wasn't a human restaurant, but a fast food joint for crows. If you look at the "square" in the middle of the picture below, where the gray roof meets the cream-colored wall just above the rain gutter...

...there was a piece of metal that ran parallel to the lower gray roof. Some pigeons lived in there and every day, some crows would drop by to see if the pigeons laid eggs. I had tried to take pictures of this on several occasions, but by the time I got my camera out and the shade up, the crows would be gone.
At any rate, they re-roofed that house and closed off the hole, so no more pigeons and no more crows. I'm sure the crows have mixed feelings about this, knowing the ambiance and service sucked, but I believe they found the food was exceptional.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Who's Up For Crepes?

As I have stated in the previous post, my traveling will be greatly reduced in the coming months. However, that doesn't mean that I can't have a nearby vacation. Who's up for crepes? The Kid and I hit Genki Crepes on Clement Street with a vengeance.

If you've never been to Clement St. in San Francisco, I pity you because you don't know what you're missing. It is like Chinatown, only you can actually get a parking place within a fortnight. You also have fine restaurants and take out places that feature Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Persian, and Russian cuisines.

It was so dark and cloudy yesterday, that I had to put the camera on its "night" setting. Note the difference between these two shots of the store's front.

The couple that are seated there, started to get pissed off at me. Either they thought I was spying on them, or that I was going stalkerrazzi. I was just trying to get a clean shot without a vehicle or a bicycle not going by. Then someone had to get in their car and I lost my photo roost. Then a truck pulled up to unload food. This shot took four tries and a bunch of glares from those two.

First, note the crepe grills. Second, note the two parking places across the street. See? I told you there is parking on Clement St. and you'll never see two parking places in Chinatown.
Good gravy, look at all that Nutella goodness!

The cook layered lots of cheddar on my crepe. As you can guess from the name, Genki doesn't make crepes exclusively in the French-style. There is a Japanese and Chinese influence too. Their sweet crepes are slightly better than their savory ones, though temper that with the fact that I tend to prefer most of their savory crepes without the cheese.

Their selection of drinks is unbeatable. A dozen different kinds of Japanese cold teas, sodas, energy drinks, coffees, chais, etc... I always go with the San Pellegrino Aranciata.

He had a #11 which is a ham & cheese and I had a # 18 which is a chicken with sweet chili sauce and cheese. The chicken is excellent and it really doesn't need cheese at all, as it distracts from the Lingham-like chili sauce.

And afterwards?

Books for dessert. I used to think that Green Apple treated crime fiction like a stepchild, but in retrospect, it's better to have it at the Annex. There is more space for it and you won't get run over by angry people looking for the self-help section.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Offiicial Slogan Of This Blog Is...

Well, according to the poll, the official slogan of this blog is "while the world unravels, Cormac travels." Though I don't forsee a lot of traveling in my near future, this doesn't mean I won't any material to post about. A big thanks to everyone that voted.

RachellB has a good Bourdain post from a year ago, when Anthony visited the Google campus and among the tidbits was this gem-

Bourdain enjoys cooking competitions on tv, although he’s suspect of some of the “stars” like Cat Cora and he really hates on Rachel Ray. The only competition show he doesn’t like is Hells Kitchen, even though Gordon Ramsay is a friend of his. He thinks that the show is pointlessly cruel, and this coming from Bourdain, who is known to not sugar coat anything. He also thinks the contestants on that show have the technical abilities of mollusks.

He also added that he loves Top Chef. No surprise, since he appears on the show often. And he says Huang deserved to win, that his cooking was the best, and it doesn’t matter if he was mean or spilled truffle oil or whatever else he was accused of.