JABISTRO, TORONTO

For my birthday we went to JaBistro...


And ordered ahi tuna, chopped up with spicy mayo, green onions, micro sprouts, salmon roe, uni
Eaten with some crispy seaweed.

This was on the daily special. Was very much like spicy tuna, but made elegant and with the uni and roe. And I just have to comment that the rectangular bamboo board is actually the same one from Dollarama. I don't know about the box though.


Lobster miso. Who knew miso could taste so good. They dislodged most of the lobster claw meat while keeping it pretty in the shell so it was easy to pick out and eat. It's a rather large bowl of soup when you compare it to the ones you typically get from the black-outside-red-inside-with-lid bowls of miso everywhere else. There were probably 2-3 bowls of the small ones in this one large bowl.

There is our pretty platter being made by the very energetic chef

We were debating whether to get the $50 platter or $100 platter. According to our very informative server, the difference is quality and selection. So of course we dived in on the $100 platter, adding also the lobster platter (at market price) (which included the lobster miso soup).


Wagyu skewer and clusters of lobster sashimi up at the very top

Wagyu was all that we had hoped it to be: the well marbling of fat was cooked very slightly, keeping the meat soft and melt-in-the-mouth (when you put it in your mouth).

The lobster was very crisp, and like the shrimp, creamy. We had lobster sashimi at Guu Sakabar, and I liked that one more. It was blanched very slightly, then cold shocked, making the lobster meat so much softer and creamier than just, plain raw.

Salmon, hidden under the swirl of daikon skin, with very distinct near-the-belly layers of fat, was not particularly better than the sashimi grade salmon you can get at the fish market on certain days.

The piece (or was it 2) of geoduck was amazing. Crisp and crunchy, and very creamy as you laid it on the tongue.

The uni was the same uni from most Japanese restaurants (they took it out of the very distinct sectioned white container I had once ordered from the Japanese food wholesaler). Had I expected more? Yes of course. For a 100$ platter I expected a bit more.


We had three types of tuna: lean, medium fatty, and full fatty (left to right, increasing in lightness of pink). We ate them in that order, savouring the fattest for the last. Yes, it really was the best piece of tuna I've ever had.

Above the tuna, underneath the swirl of daikon (which I think serves very little aesthetic purpose) is kanpachi, or amberjack. The entire slice was creamy and full of flavour, especially in the red colored flesh.

The scallop was cut in half lengthwise (semi circle), was not fresh (i.e. previously frozen) and still had the extraneous piece of muscle clinging to the side (which they should have removed). Last week we bought fresh scallops from the fish market to eat raw, and it was better than Jabistro's.

In there somewhere was also a slice of abalone. Abalone is best when raw or very slightly blanched. They served it raw here and it was indeed good.


On the right, is the shrimp head with the creamy delicious head innards, and an extremely sweet and clear tasting raw shrimp meat (not in the picture)

Then is hamachi (translucent and pink) and sea bream (with dark skin still on). Hamachi or yellowtail, was not exceptionally different from other places, but sea bream, what is usually not available at many Japanese restaurants, was delicious here. The chef scored the skin and torched only the skin, contributing to an almost smoky smell. It has a very distinct mild taste and a meaty texture.

What did I not like about this sashimi platter?
The excessive use of cucumbers scattered all throughout and touching my fish.

Ok yes, maybe it makes everything look better (gives the platter more dimension) but I'm not a big fan of having the taste of cucumber on the pieces of fish that are touching it.  


I ordered the JaBistro slipper, which had a cherry that piqued my interest. My friend got the green tea mojito. Both were very refreshing.


The matcha brownie was amazing. I don't even like brownies but this was an exception. Very dense but not too chewy, they gave us 3 or 4? pieces of very strongly concentrated matcha cake. It was not crumbly, and almost creamy in texture. Sitting on top of a bed of a crisp cookie and pistachio crumbs was your typical matcha ice cream (I want to say it is the one and only Hime one), accompanied by blueberries and strawberry quarters (you know, when they cut a strawberry down the tip into 4).

Yes, and that is chocolate sauce and matcha powder circling the edge of the plate. Being a person who doesn't like chocolate that much enjoyed the little bit of chocolate here very much.

Let me borrow your hands for a sec so I can give this *four thumbs up*


Those knives, are so beautiful and could easily cost more than my tuition *drools*


Along with our receipt came a chocolate for each of us. And because you're at JaBistro, you don't just get any after dinner candy but Valrhona dark chocolate. They are famous for being camel-toe-shaped.

JaBistro on Urbanspoon
It's on urbanspoon! 


It was dark and you can only see my silhouette, right by the fish's mouth *points*









P/S

At Trader Joe's (during our Washington trip) we found a hybrid fruit:



We were going to buy some (actually it was only me that was going to buy one out of curiosity, but we ended up buying brie instead (again it was just me that wanted to buy the brie.

Dear Readers, where will you be eating for your birthday?

Read more...

RECIPE: PURPLE SWEET POTATO CHIFFON

The Mid-Autumn Festival just passed, and to celebrate we ate lots of food - like any other Chinese holiday.

So soft and fluffy and sweet potato-y

No pictures of the dinner were taken (I believe we were all too eager to get into the braised pork belly, roasted duck, and vinegary potato carrot side dish). 
I can't remember the last time I took photos of each step of a cooking/baking process. Usually I start off with taking pictures of the ingredients then I get so engrossed into making it that I completely forget that I had planned to photograph each step for a very visual recipe on my blog.

However, this is a very exceptional recipe in that I planned to photograph each step and actually did *yay*

~ Ingredients ~

A
200 g purple sweet potato, cooked and mashed
200 ml milk

B
8 egg yolks
70 ml oil
40 g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
120 g flour, sifted

C
8 egg whites
60 g sugar


~ Method ~

Separate your eggs. Which may or may not be at room temperature, but they really should be to yield egg whites beaten to the perfect type of peaks.
Oops see an egg yolk cracked. But that's okay. The cake will turn out fine as long as there's no yolk in the white.
Mix the cooked, mashed sweet potato and milk. This Japanese sweet potato is delicious on its own but makes a chiffon taste so much better.
I used coconut milk. You can substitute all/some with cow milk, almond milk...
 Add the sugar, oil (an is that more milk I see? Yes I decided to put half the milk in the yolks and the other half in the sweet potato but I really doesn't make a difference) in the yolks and mix.
 Voila
 Add the sweet potato
 And mix until so. Clumps of sweet potato are okay. Unless you don't like clumps of delicious sweet potato scattered throughout the fluffy cake, where at this point, you should proceed to pass this all through a sieve.
 Sift the flour in, a third at a time, mixing until incorporated after each third goes in.
It looks like a gray cake but I promise the baked result returns a color otherwise.
 Have the 60 g of sugar ready.
Because now you will start whipping on low until it gets really foamy. 
 Then turn it to medium until soft peaks, where you stop the machine and add the sugar in two separate times.
 Beating on high after each addition of sugar, and beating until the peak wilts a little when you lift the beaters out. Don't over beat here or your cake won't be super soft.
 Mix a third of the beaten whites into the yolk mixture. Then fold the yolk mixture into the yolks until no streaks of whites remain.
 Bake 350F for 35 minutes in an oiled fluted pan, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Flip it upside down when you take it out to cool (30-60 minutes)
Slice and serve









P/S

I don't remember what this building is called already...

They say that after Mid Autumn Festival, the weather starts becoming considerably chillier. This means colder mornings and breezy late afternoons, which I happen to really enjoy. 
We had warm bread but forgot to room-temperature the butter beforehand, and had to deal with the cold butter *dilemmas*

To soak up the last of the warmer nights, we had dinner, al fresco (sounds better than outdoors doesn't it), two weeks back, when I made this sweet potato cake.

I cannot tell you what I will post next because I am particularly bad at keeping those kinds of promises.

Dear Readers, hurry and get those wind-breaking jackets out from your closets!

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WASHINGTON DC: OYAMEL, THE ART GALLERY


The girls and I flew to Washington via Porter, from Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto. As our flight was at 6:45 AM, we decided to be smart and efficient with time and meet the night before to catch the last ferry - then simply wait at the airport for 6-7 hours before the flight. 

 
The Thinker, The Kiss, Cupid on a Dolphin

Nydia, the Blind Girl of Pompeii

Little did we know, "the airport closes from 12 to 5, and you are not allowed to stay during that time," said the ferry attendant to us. 

If I was the swinging girl...
The Swing, Jean Honore Fragonard

So did we have to go back home and then come back to the ferry at 5 AM for the first ferry? Nope. Instead, we spent the 6-7 hours waiting at a Tim Horton's nearby - which had food and Wi-Fi, or the two basic necessities of our lives. 

Mom can you teach me?

A Painter's Studio, Louis-Leopold Boilly

It was a long night, neither of the four of us got any sleep. But were replenished after the less than 2 hour flight and hour long ride from the Washington Dulles Airport to the place we would be staying at in Washington.

Sire, your bubble blowing is magnificent

Soap Bubbles, Jean Simeon Chardin

On the first day, we hit my favorite sightseeing place - the art gallery. While one girl and I fell in love with the paintings (that seemed it would be impossible to look through even if we were given a day's time), the two other girls took a nice nap on one of the many benches placed in the viewing galleries.

David Triumphant

After several seeing other monumental-like buildings, we finished our long day filled with walking and picture-taking with a dinner at Oyamel.

Yay we're here!

So if you've read my blog before, I was obsessed with watching anything "Anthony Bourdain" for quite some time. And decided it would be a good idea to eat at where he recommended. And it was a very good idea indeed.

One of José Andrés' many restaurants, Oyamel delivers tapas style mexican food. We begin with an almost mandatory dish that everyone orders:

Guacamole: made right before your eyes, with green tomatillo, serrano chile, crumbled queso fresco, and a basket of fresh tortilla chips.

I don't like chips very much, no matter what kind they are, but the guacamole and queso fresco pairing just made the tortilla irresistible. After eating the spicy, tangy, and rich guacamole here, it will be difficult to enjoy it anywhere else. Hands down, this was the perfect start to the rest of the meal.

Cayo en aquachile: bay scallops with a sauce of cucumber, lime and serrano, served with freshno chiles, pickled red onions and mint. 

Though there seems to be chiles sprinkled all throughout, it is pleasant to eat. The mint, cucumber and lime makes this ceviche a great palette cleanser for your next dish:

Col de bruselas estilo San Quintin: crispy brussel sprouts with a chile de arbol sauce, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and lime.

The vegetable dish recommended to us by our server did not fail to please. The sauce again, is spicy, tangy, and sweet all at once. The brussel sprouts are grilled until caramelized with the sauce, and crunchy with the addition of the seeds and nuts. The typically unpleasant taste present in brussel sprouts was nary present even after eating the entire plate.

Quesadilla en chicharonnes: pasture-raised Rock Hollow Farms pork belly fried until crisp and served in a house made tortilla with Chihuahua cheese and a sauce of five chiles.

I would have enjoyed this more if the pork was less crispy because it was nearing the edge of dry, if it weren't for the spicy-sweet sauce, and unique mix of melted cheese. The soft tortilla was definitely a hit though - it was so different from the kinds supermarkets sell prepacked that I'm doubting whether or not I can still refer to the store bought kinds as tortilla. Oh yes and the sauce kept the tortilla nice and warm (the cheese nice and gooey). This was also a recommendation from our server.

Acelgas con nuez de Castilla: Sauté of swiss chard, cabbage, shallots, toasted hazelnuts, dried cranberries and raisins with a spiced apricot purée, topped with pickled swiss chard.

A salad of cooked vegetables made into what almost could pass for dessert because of the sweet sauce and dried fruits. The spiciness is what keeps this dish from floating over under the dessert menu. Having never thought to saute vegetables on the sweet instead of savoury side, I might just have to try this at home the next time I go to the farmer's market and pick up colorful swiss chard and cabbage. 

Gorditas de pato: House-made masa cakes topped with Hudson Valley duck confit and salsa chile árbol and served with a relish of local peaches, habanero and piloncillo 

Delicious. This was our last plate, and we ended up ending this meal on a very spicy note. Staying on this restaurant's sweet and spicy trend, the duck confit did not disappoint. The fruity sweetness was refreshing and a taste that we all appreciated amidst the heat of the chiles. The masa cakes were a bit tough to cut through but the generous portion of duck meat to masa cake, topped with a warm blackberry, really hit the spot.











P/S

I'm missing my school friends already. Spending time with family is great, but I do miss cooking for the girls every night, and how they always like whatever I cook up for dinner.



 The Seine at Giverny, The Japanese Footbridge, Monet

In exchange, I now have plenty of time to bake because I have all my entire baking materials ready in the kitchen *yay*

 
A Game of Horse and Rider, Jean Honore Fragonard

My first bake since co-op was a soft fluffy chiffon cake for a friend's birthday the other day, which will be in a post after Washington, with a recipe!

Come back soon for the rest of our Washington trip!

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