Archive for July, 2010

Colorado Trip: Adam’s Mountain Cafe

A gustatory highlights of our recent trip to Colorado was a dinner at Adam’s Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs. I had never been there before, and alas, I learned that I missed out on a fabulous restaurant for 22 years of life in Colorado Springs. Sad.

The occasion of the dinner was my parents’ 28th anniversary. We were lucky to get a spot on the patio to enjoy the lovely mountain air and the interesting folks strolling through Manitou.

We started the meal by ordering a nice Colorado wine, Two Rivers merlot, if I recall correctly. The waitress checked everyone’s IDs. I guess my parents could pass for a very mature 20?

hot and sour soup

Yusuke and Mom started with an interesting hot and sour soup that had shitake mushrooms.

Laoation lettuce wraps

Next came Laoation lettuce wraps, which we assembled at the table: “curried peanuts, rice noodles, fresh mint, fresh cilantro, carrots, lemongrass, bean sprouts and cooked tofu marinated in garlic, ginger, shallots and tamari and tamarind.” The sauce was quite spicy, and I rather overloaded Dad’s. Oops. He nearly had smoke coming out his ears.

Maki and Japanese salad

For the main course, Mom chose vegetable maki rolls and a Japanese salad. I can’t remember the exact components and it doesn’t seem to be listed on the online menu, but it also included shitake.

Senegalese veggies

Dad and Yusuke both ordered the Senegalese vegetables, though the former had brown rice and the latter had udon. The veggies (“snow peas, carrots, onions, celery, cauliflower and potatoes, finished with currants, scallions and toasted almonds”) had a rich ginger-peanut sauce. They both chose the option of sesame-encrusted tofu as well, which I doubt is typical in Senegal but tasty nonetheless.

Tibetan veggies

I selected the Tibetan vegetables: “Sauteed Snow Peas, Carrots, Celery, Onions, Broccoli, Red Cabbage, Cauliflower, fresh Ginger and Garlic served over choice of brown Rice or Udon Noodles finished with tamari roasted cashews and pea shoots.” I chose brown rice and added tempeh. The dish was fabulously wonderful, although they went too heavy on the cashews.

Peach and bing cherry cobbler

Last was a dessert shared four ways: peach and bing cherry cobbler.

So: if you’re ever in Manitou Springs, go to Adam’s Mountain Cafe.

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Courgettes and aubergines

This domburi combines courgettes and aubergines (or zucchini and eggplants or なす と ズッキーニ, whichever you prefer).

First, Yusuke scored the skin of the eggplant, cut it into large pieces, and sautéed them in canola oil. After removing them from the pan, he set them on paper towels to remove some of the oil. Separately, he simmered white onions and cubed zucchini in a broth of water, dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sake.

He assembled a domburi by serving the veggies over rice, adding a sprinkle of sesame seeds, minced ginger, and shichimi.

Zucchini factoids: summer squash was first cultivated in Mexico/Guatemala and taken to Europe by Christopher Columbus. Excellent source of magnesium and vitamin C.

Eggplant: first cultivated in China in the 5th century B.C. Good source of dietary fiber and potassium.

(To help with my search results: domburi is also transliterated as donburi. Easier: 丼 or どんぶり)

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Razbanero ice cream

The razbanero jar and website have a rather radical suggestion: putting the sweet-hot pepper spread on ice cream. Hmm. Yusuke decided to try it out with the remainder of his Häagen-Dazs matcha ice cream. It turned out to be quite tasty. Who knew that habenero pepper, raspberries, and green tea would be complimentary flavours? The world is a marvelous place.

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This meal was similar to the izakaya vegetables that I wrote about before, but the sauce was quite different this time.

Yusuke grilled okra, sliced zucchini, and whole crimini mushrooms directly on the rack of a hot oven (or rather on tin foil on the rack) since we don’t have a barbecue or griddle. He also toasted white onion slices in a dry frying pan, with the rings held together by toothpicks.

He wanted to use orange or apple juice as a yakitori sauce base, but we didn’t have any. Instead, he peeled and then grated apples and sautéed them in a sauce pan. He then added soy sauce, white wine, lemon juice, mirin, brown sugar (white sugar would also work), ginger and garlic. He simmered the entire mixture on the stove for 30 minutes or so.

To eat, we dipped the veggies into the sauce, adding in addition a sprinkle of shichimi and sesame seeds. Yusuke also added sesame oil to his bowl: an option according to personal preference, he says.

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Razbacado tilapia

The razbanero fun continues. This time, Yusuke selected tilapia as a vessel for the tasty sauce.

He started by smashing an avocado and mixing it with half a package of silken tofu. He seasoned it with a pinch each of salt and pepper and 1 or 2 tsp of lime juice. He spread the avocado mixture over the fish and added a few dollops of razbanero, which we mixed after the picture was taken. The result was creamy, sweet, spicy, and very much delicious.

With this meal, we also had a salad of alfalfa sprouts, halved cherry tomatoes, and raw white onions. We used the leftover avocado-tofu mixture as a dressing. Highly recommended.

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Kazu lunch

In a previous post, I mentioned Kazu, a new Japanese izakaya (pub-style restaurant) near our apartment.

We tried to go again for lunch a few weeks ago, but to our great disappointment, they are closed on Tuesdays. We were very, very depressed. But we went again last Monday and happily filled our bellies.

It feels like a Japanese Cheers to me in terms of friendly atmosphere (I swear there was a Norm at the bar). Several other Japanese people arrived just after they opened for lunch at noon, and the tiny space quickly filled up with other downtown lunch folks.

The menu appears mostly on hand-written paper taped to the wall, but there is also a special lunch menu each day.

Yusuke selected the ramen, which is only available at lunchtime.

I chose a delicious tofu and vegetable hotpot. Which was excellent. I want to know where they get their tofu (maybe they make it?).

Other lunch options were chirashizushi, shrimp burgers, and chicken curry rice. I should note that as an izakaya, some of the foods tends toward the salty and/or oily side, but it is honest and filling. The waitress also talked Yusuke into having homemade matcha ice cream for dessert…and she really didn’t have to try very hard.

Yes, indeedy, we’ll be back to Kazu before too long.

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Razbanero salmon

Yes, we are loving the razbanero. Yusuke has been brainstorming all kinds of creative uses, so I expect it will be popping up chez nous rather often.

This dish is very straightforward, though, in terms of razbanero deployment. The salmon fillet was simply grilled in a pan and then adorned with chopped raw green onions, sesame seeds, and razbanero, which we spread out over the surface of the fish before eating. Incredibly easy, but so, so yummy.

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