Tag Archives: japan

Magnum Dinners

Next week (April 17-19) my friends David Haskell and Joseph Mahon are popping up at Royal T Cafe in Culver City. The dynamic “Magnum” duo will offer five, seven and ten course pairings with restaurateur /sommelier Haskell “pimping” each of Mahon’s exquisite dishes personally.

Magnum @ Pal CabronI’ve been to both of the previous Magnum dinners and had so much fun eating some of my best bites ever! Haskell’s wine pairings are exciting and SO unpretentious (he even likes pairing junk food)! And since each pop-up is in a casual space, it makes for a relaxed atmosphere to learn more about wine.

This next Magnum pop-up will include a fundraiser for Japan. David and Joseph will be donating a portion of dinner proceeds to the Japan Sake Brewers Association in hopes of helping the sake industry, which was devastated by the recent quake and tsunami. PLUS they are donating 100% of proceeds from a silent auction that will feature vintage wines, cooking classes and a private dinner by Chef Mahon.

Haskell asked if I would participate in the silent auction by donating a lunch (with me) at Jitlada, my favorite Thai restaurant. In case you missed the L.A. Times piece, I’ve been eating through the entire menu (over 300 items) and will soon be up to dish 200. Whoever bids highest on the auction will join me for a 10-course lunch (200-210) of Southern Thailand delights. I still have distant relatives in Japan, so I’m honored to help in any way I can.

Note: You can bid on the auction by email or phone (info below) and do NOT need to be at the Magnum dinners. Final bids by 4/19 at 11:30 p.m.

Magnum at BiergartenThe Feast LA writes (about the upcoming dinner):

…a multi-course menu that includes dishes like braised baby octopus with leek risotto, pine nuts and pancetta vinaigrette; and miso-cured hangar steak with creamed spinach, shitake mushroom tempura, sesame seeds and ponzu sauce. On April 19 – Haskell’s birthday – Magnum’s offering an eight-course uni menu with separate wine pairings. This menu requires advance notice.

PREVIEW: Sunflower seed crusted crispy tofu is just one dish that will be at Royal/T

Hope you can join us next week at RoyalT!
For reservations call 323-798-4648
or email magnumdh@gmail.com
(they always sell out!)

Photos below from the last Magnum dinner @ Pal Cabron (2/15/11)

Pozole, Magnum @Pal Cabron
Pozole Pork Soup: Romain, Mint, Radish Lime. Paired with 2008 Favati: Fiano di Avellino, Italy: Fiano

Roasted Beet Salad, Magnum @ Pal Cabron
Roasted Beet Salad: Crispy Veal Tongue, Wild Arugula, Pumpkin Seeds, Creamy Feta Dressing. Paired with 2009 Luigi Giusti “Le Rose de Settembre: Marche, Italy: Lacrima di Morro d’Alba

Scallop, Magnum @ Pal Cabron
Scallop: Crushed Avocado, Chickpeas, Spicy Tomato Mussel Broth, Cilantro. Paired with NV Drusian: Valdobbiadene, Italy: Prosecco.

Poached Shrimp, Magnum @ Pal Cabron
Chilled Poached Shrimp: Cabbage, Grated horseradish, Ketchup, Oranges, Peanuts. Paired with 2009 Valle Isarco “Suditrol-Eisacktaler”: Alto Adige, Italy: Pinot Grigio

Foie Gras Cemita, Magnum @ Pal Cabron
Foie Gras Ceminta “por My Last Bite: Jo Stougaard” by chef Joseph Mahon (so honored to have this created for me!). Paired with Oaxacan Mezcal.

Poached Egg w Pig Ears, Magnum @ Pal Cabron
Poached Egg: Fried Pig Ears, Black Beans, Scallion Creme. Paired with Francesco Rinaldi: Grignolino d’Asti, Italy, Grignolino

Squid w Chorizo, Magnum @ Pal Cabron
Squid: Chorizo, Cucumber, Jicama, Sesame Seeds. Paired with 2005 Tenuta Badia di Morrona “Vinsanto”: Terricciola, Italy: Trebbiano, Malvasia Bianca, Columbana

Flank Steak, Magnum @ Pal Cabron
Flank Steak: Cactus salad, Chilies, Grilled Corn Sauce. Paired with Valle Dell’Acate “Il Moro”: Sicily, Italy: Nero d’Avola

Pineapple Flan, Magnum @ Pal Cabron
Pineapple Flan with Vanilla Caramel Sauce. Paired with Hakutsuru Brewing Company Sayuri”: Nigori Sake

Magnum @ Pal Cabron dinner shared with: Peter, Brent, Camron, Jennee, Cody, Lindsay, Julian 2/15/11

Again, the next Magnum pop-up is April 17-19 2011

Royal-T Cafe
8910 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

For reservations please call 323-798-4648 or email magnumdh@gmail.com

Magnum @ Pal CabronMagnum website

About the Sake Charity

David Haskell, Wine Pimp

More about Haskell

Follow David Haskell on Twitter

About Chef Joseph Mahon

Follow chef Joseph Mahon on Twitter

Follow Royal T Cafe on Twitter

The Feast L.A.

Follow The Feast on Twitter

Jitlada Thai Restaurant

Eating the Menu at Jitlada

More photos of Magnum on Flickr

Leave a comment

Filed under Eating Out, Little Bites

Shin Okinawa Izakaya

Unfortunately this restaurant has closed.

 

“My Island of Pork”

Pork, for me is not just the “other white meat”. It’s absolutely my favorite meat… be it pork cutlets, pork chops, pork ribs, pork loin, slab bacon, guanciale, pancetta, prosciutto, speck, pig ears, chicharrones,  juicy trotters, pork belly or even SPAM. There is nothing I love more than PIG. 

Dancing with my sister Janet, MyLastBite.comNot surprisingly… my porcine passion is actually a birthright. I was born on Okinawa which is known as the “island of pork” and I don’t remember eating any other meat when I was a child. Fresh fish, yes (my grandmother’s beautiful steamed salmon), but pork was the only “meat” I recall, and when I was hungry and asked my big sister for “RED” meat, I was actually requesting my beloved SPAM*. 

A few weeks ago, my husband Peter and I decided to try Shin Okinawa Izakaya, an Okinawan restaurant in Torrance, CA. I first read about it a few months ago and was hoping to try it with my sister, Janet, and her kids. With everyone’s busy schedules, it hadn’t happened yet.

With my Oba-chan, MyLastBite.comPeter and I had an early evening reservation and as we walked in the door, the smells coming from the kitchen along with the Okinawan music instantly made me feel like I was back in Koza… with my sweet, little Oba-chan (grandma).

In the ladies’ room, there were huge, red hibiscus flowers painted on the wall. I had to take a photo of it for my sister. In Okinawa we had beautiful hibiscus trees on the side of our house and our mother used to wear the flowers behind her ear. Janet and I loved to pluck out the center stem piece and suck out the sweet juices. I thought the painting in the bathroom was a good start for the evening. “Ok they get it. Hibiscus means ‘Okinawa’.”

Hibiscus in the Benjo! MyLastBite.com

After sitting down at our table, we ordered an Okinawan beer called “Orion”. It’s funny how something as simple as a bottle of beer can make you smile. Three simple words printed on the bottle, “Brewed in Okinawa” meant that maybe I was a little bit closer to my island of pork.

Dinner was wonderful. Of course our table was monopolized by pork, but the best food memory that hit me was when I bit into a purple potato. That really took me back to my Oba-chan’s kitchen. I got  a little teary and wished my sister was there with me, but then I remembered that Janet does NOT like pork. She loves Okinawan purple potatoes, seafood and poultry but she does not share my obsession with pig. I just laughed while I tucked into a bowl of delicious shredded pigs ear. I’ll bring her back next time for some tasty chicken skin or monkfish liver!

Itadakimasu! (Let’s eat!) aka…
What we ordered and LOVED:
Grilled Tebichi, MyLastBite.com  Grilled Tebichi
(Pork Feet) $8

Andansu, MyLastBite.com Andansu
(Pork Meat & Miso) $5.50

Okinawan Kimchi, MyLastBite.com  Okinawa Kimchi
(Shredded Pig’s Ear) $5

Hamachi Kama, MyLastBite.com  Hamachi Kama
(Grilled Yellowtail Collar) $12

Suku Garasu, MyLastBite.com Suku Garasu
(Baby Pickled Fish & Okinawa Tofu) $6

Tori no Kara-age, MyLastBite.com  Tori no Kara-age
(Fried Chicken With Okinawa Ponzu) $7

Takoyaki, MyLastBite.com Takoyaki
(Octopus Balls and Shaved Bonito) $5.50

Fried Mimi Ga (Shredded Pigs Ear) $6.75

So-ki Soba (Pork Ribs) $8.75

Raftei (Simmered Pork Belly) $8

Beni Imo Dango, MyLastBite.com
Beni Imo Dango (Deep-fried purple sweet potato balls rolled in Sesame) $6.75

http://www.ShinOkinawaIzakaya.com

Entrance, MyLastBite.com
1880 W. Carson Street Suite #A
Torrance, California, 90501
(310) 618-8357

Dining date: 11/23/08

About Okinawa

*My Beloved SPAM

For PORK Lovers

6 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me)

The Key to Red Meat

By Jo Stougaard

I love SPAM.

There… I said it. The salty, mystery meat has been an absolute favorite my entire life.

With my big sister Janet, MyLastBite.comFrom 1964 to 1972 I lived in Okinawa, Japan during the Vietnam War, and our family struggled through the usual war food rationing. We rarely had fresh meat unless we were visiting our Obachan (grandma) in her village. She slaughtered pigs in the same area as she bathed us, which was out back behind her kitchen. Obviously this should have made me uncomfortable eating pork, but it didn’t.

Back at our home near the Navy base, my older sister Janet did a lot of the evening cooking since both our parents worked nights. I used to jump for joy when she would pop off the key from a can of “red meat” (as I called it). I would wait impatiently as she would slowly wind the sharp metal around and around… as gelatinous SPAM juices would squeeze over the top and onto her little fingers.

Sugar cane in the backyard, MyLastBite.comJanet usually fried up thin slices and served them with white sticky rice. Our house was next to a beautiful sugar cane field, and dad had built a little picnic table and chair near the edge of our property. I remember being so happy with my bowl of “red meat” and rice, listening to the workers chopping the cane in the distance. Sometimes, before it got too dark, Janet and I would jump the small concrete fence and steal a sugar cane or two. We would laugh as the workers chased us with their machetes! Out of breath we’d hide in our garden shed and hurriedly slice the ends of the cane, chewing and sucking out the sweetness.

Dinner time wasn’t always so perfect. I remember one evening when Janet wasn’t home and I was left alone. I tried to open a can of SPAM by myself but the little key BROKE. There was nothing to grab the little “starter” tin ribbon. I remember smashing the can against the edge of the kitchen counter, but only the juices escaped. My fingers were cut from the sharp edges. Thank goodness we had our friend Chef Boyardee in the cupboard that night.

Throughout my adulthood, when I felt a little blue or wanted to recall those days in Okinawa… I would simply go to the market and grab a can of SPAM. Not the “light” or low sodium version. It has to be original “classic” SPAM. The problem with this was that I would eat the entire can of SPAM in one or two sittings. I mean heck, it’s opened in front of me (no more darn key!). It’s crispy, greasy and just so tasty!

So along with my Okinawa memories of Moon Beach, Naha and Koza Village, I would also become flush with a sort of sodium overdose, burning eyes and severe bloating. As I got older, of course, I cut back on my beloved SPAM. Maybe eating it once a year, usually with my sister’s kids on a special occasion.

Spam Single!Then a few weeks ago, as I walked up the canned meat aisle…. I stopped dead in my tracks. There next to my beloved cans of classic SPAM were individual portions of my favorite mystery meat! Bless you Hormel for embracing moderation in your packaging! One easy open pouch of a “SPAM Single” has a 3 oz. slice (instead of the 12 oz. can). Just zip off the top and toss into a hot frying pan.

The single portion is just enough for me to savor my childhood… without bloating until my eyes burn.

So is the key to red meat the key to my happiness?

Whatever brings you joy, don’t you think?

==============

My Recipe for Spam Baked Pasta (It’s a family favorite and the kids love it!)

Ingredients:

1 can of Spam, sliced into thin pieces and fried

1 lb of pasta cooked (in unsalted water) and drained

5 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

3 cups milk

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

1 cup chopped red onion

1 teaspoon each hot red pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, pepper

Instructions:

Spam

Slice spam and grill or fry until browned.

Bechamel Sauce
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, heat butter until melted.

Add flour and stir until smooth.

Over medium heat, cook until light golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat milk in separate pan until just about to boil.

Add milk to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth and bring to a boil.

Cook 10 minutes and remove from heat.

Stir in Parmesan cheese.

Season with salt and nutmeg and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mayo Onion Sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped red onion
1 teaspoon each hot red pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, pepper
Mix all ingredients together and place in a pie plate or any baking dish.

Bake until golden brown on top, approximately 30 minutes.

Lower heat to 250

Mix Mayo Sauce with Bechamel sauce and add spam & pasta.

Bake in oven to warm through, then add cheese to top and broil top for a few minutes.


Okinawa – The Island of Pork

http://www.spam.com

http://www.okinawa.com

“The Key to Red Meat.” Written by Jo Stougaard ©MyLastBite.com All Rights Reserved. No usage allowed including copying or sharing without written permission.

12 Comments

Filed under Family Stories, Food Stories (written by me)