Archive for January, 2009

Jun-i dinner

As a belated birthday treat for Yusuke, we indulged again at Jun-i, this time for dinner. I’m going to borrow a post from Yusuke’s blog for the occasion. To quote:

“Best Sushi in Montreal”

So many North American people misunderstand what “sushi” is. Especially, seeing restaurants selling sushi-ish stuff in North America really makes me sad… In addition, North Americans believe they are eating sushi, but they are not.

OK. This is the best place to taste “real” sushi or sashimi in Montreal. The restaurant is called “jun i.” Both taste and presentation are excellent.

モントリオールには日本食(or 寿司)っぽいレストランがたくさんあるけれども、あくまでも「ぽい」ので全く味はお話にならない。そもそも寿司を正しく理解していないのだから、無理もない。何件かモントリオールのレストランを試したが、今のところjun iが一番のお気に入り。味・盛りつけともすばらしい・・・。

Ikura

Ikura

To start, we chose the fabulous miso soup and kaiso salad—several types of seaweed with a shiso vinaigrette. We also had warm sake served in chic square glasses and a square pitcher. Not quite as smooth as the sake that I had in Japan, but it still had the intended effect. Next was the sashimi appetizer, with each piece accompanied by a different sauce. The salmon went with umeboshi (pickled plum) and maple syrup, the hamachi had ginger and yuzu, the scallop had green tea, etc. And then we had more sushi: ikura (salmon roe), kani maki (spicy crab rolls), unagi (eel), and salmon. I selected the unagi and ikura, both of which I had for the first time in Japan. Both were (nearly) as good at Jun-i. I love how the ikura bubbles explode into liquid in your mouth… For dessert, we picked the linguistically confused “ringo tartatin”: apples sautéed in cinnamon and ginger, served with foamy cream and a sable cookie. Yup. Splurge. More pictures from our last visit are here

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Mushrooms

Being part hobbit (though sans hairy feet), one of my most loved foods is mushrooms. And I got to experience many delicious varieties of the fungal delicacy in Japan.

My mother-in-law knows of my particular predilection for mushrooms and prepared a tasty mélange of enoki (long, thin mushrooms), white button mushrooms, and shitake for our arrival.

Baked mushrooms

Baked mushrooms

A couple times, too, she prepared thick, flavourful shitake by grilling them in her oven’s special fish broiler slot.

Shitake

Shitake

Another shitake treat was a simple stir fry with green onions (the stalks of which are about five times larger in Japan than in North America).

Shitake stir fry

Shitake stir fry

On several occasions, I got to have nametake—Yusuke usually describes them as “slippery mushrooms”— which are very difficult to find in North America. They are often served in miso soup, but in this dish, they were served over mashed daikon. Mushrooms of various types, especially nametake, were included in the cuisine of the mountain area of Hakone.

Nametake

Nametake

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Coming soon-ish

I’ve reached the end of my prepared posts, and although I still have a healthy stockpile of photos, I don’t envision many write-ups happening this month. January seems to have suddenly filled up with six-day work weeks and one-day weekends (admittedly self-induced).

However, I do have a lovely set of food photos from our trip to Japan, and I plan to upload them to this blog. As promised (hi Mom!), I will include actual descriptions of the food as well.

New Year's food on display

New Year's food on display

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Korean-style crêpes

Korean-style crêpes

Korean-style crêpes

These Korean-style crêpes are sort of similar to Japanese okonomyaki, only flatter. Yusuke used the same type of batter, but instead of cabbage, their crunchiness comes from bean sprouts and green onions. The sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds really made the dish fabulous.

Our accompanying miso soup was rather exotic, with okra and firm tofu. I’ve found that I really love okra in soup. I think the fact that I now use the adjective “slippery” as an attractive attribute of food is further evidence that I’m turning Japanese…

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Bok choy and pork

Bok choy and pork

Bok choy and pork

This stir fry, wonder of wonders, doesn’t have soy sauce. The seasoning is just garlic, chicken broth, and potato starch. I stuck with just the bok choy and onions, but Yusuke does enjoy meat from time to time, so I let him cook it! And of course, we also had miso soup with meal, the “hearty” version with carrots, potatoes, and white onions.

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Okra yudofu redux

Okra yudofu

Okra yudofu

I wrote about yudofu with okra before, but it’s so tasty that I thought it deserved a photo update. The dish is all about texture, and this photo demonstrates that much more tangibly. Silken tofu is required (not firm!) for yudofu, and the toppings here are soy sauce, bonito flakes, minced ginger, and finely chopped okra. I hadn’t seen okra in the markets for ages, so I had to buy some when it was there!

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