Tag Archives: okinawan

Kiwami

Katsuya Uechi’s new restaurant is called Kiwami. It’s just a few blocks away from Katsuya (our usual sushi joint on “sushi row”), and it’s also owned by Katsuya Uechi.

For our first visit to Kiwami, my husband Peter and I sat at a table so I could capture photos easier. Well, at least easier than sitting at the intimate sushi bar helmed by Chef Uechi himself! Our charming server, Hugh, explained that Kiwami is more “upscale” then Katsuya restaurant, and this was definitely reflected in the ambiance and decor. I’ve worn flip-flops and shorts to Katsuya, but that would be way too casual for a meal at Kiwami.

We ordered mostly from the “Today’s Specials” menu and loved every bite. Kiwami translated, means “doing something extremely” or “the best degree in Japanese”, and Chef Uechi definitely delivers the kiwami to this soon-to-be super hot sushi spot!

Sayuri Unfiltered Sake at Kiwami, MyLastBite.com
Sayuri, our favorite unfiltered sake.

Kiwami's Blue Fin Tuna, MyLastBite.com
Blue Fin Tuna, flown in from Spain $16

Kiwami's Skip Jack Poki, MyLastBite.com
Skip Jack Poke $9

Kiwami's Yellowtail Jalapeno, MyLastBite.com
Jalapeno Yellowtail $16

Kiwami's Yellowtail Jalapeno, MyLastBite.com

Kiwami's Unagi Shirayaki, MyLastBite.com
Unagi Shirayaki (first steamed, then baked) $10

Kiwami's Trout, MyLastBite.com
Tasmanian Trout in foil, $15

Kiwami's Tempura, MyLastBite.com
Mixed Tempura $16

Kiwami's Baked Roll, MyLastBite.com
Spicy Tuna with Baked Crab Roll $12

Born in Okinawa (like me!), Japan, Chef Katsuya Uechi began his career as a chef at the Harbor View Hotel in Okinawa. He moved to Los Angeles over 20 years ago and opened the Studio City Sushi Katsu-Ya in 1997.

Kiwami
11920 Ventura Boulevard,
Studio City, CA  91604
818-763-3910

Dining date: 1/31/09

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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

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Fusion Sushi 313

by Jo Stougaard

Stripmall sushi joints. Aren’t they always the best finds? Even the original Studio City Katsu-Ya (my regular haunt) is better than the newer, larger outposts.

Yesterday was my sister Janet’s birthday so we went to her favorite sushi place (in Glendora, CA) called “Fusion Sushi 313”. A tiny little place in yet another dreary looking stripmall. Joining us for dinner was my husband Peter and Janet’s three kids; Chace, Kindal and Cody. Her husband is a firefighter and was working at the station.

Janet ordered her favorite sake, Sayuri (smooth & creamy unfiltered sake). I was thrilled to find they imported Orion beer from Okinawa (where Janet & I grew up before moving to California). Not many Japanese restaurants carry Orion beer, so this to me was definitely a good sign.
Fusion Sushi313 OrionBeer SayuriSake
The restaurant looked pretty boring from the outside, and was tastefully simple on the inside… but when the food came the energy completely changed. It was simply awesome!

My nephew Chace is 12 and is the least adventurous eater in the family. There’s nothing wrong with that. He just likes good old Teriyaki steak, and will only go so far as to eat California rolls. His twin sister Kindal and big brother Cody (19) will try ANYTHING. Kindal happily ordered Crunchy Spicy Tuna & Seared Albacore. Cody was in charge of ordering the “fusion” dishes off the extensive three page menu.

We were all so excited to share the multiple plates of rolls & sashimi, reaching over each other, that one delicious piece was dropped into a glass of water (more on that later).

The Salmon Tataki (salmon sashimi, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fried olives, avocado and garlic chips)… this was incredible… so elegant to look at… something you’d see on an Italian Crudo menu. That was my sister & husband’s favorite dish.

Fusion Sushi 313 Salmon Tataki

Cody and I loved the “Heart Attack”. When Cody suggested it I said “I don’t even care what it is… with a name like that I know I’ll need it!” It was just wicked good! A Jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese, spicy tuna and of course… DEEP FRIED.

Fusion Sushi 313 HeartAttack1

The Dynamite baked seafood dish was terrific too. I don’t think I’ve had it with such FRESH clams before.

Fusion Sushi 313 Dynamite

At the end of our meal, I noticed that the dropped sushi roll was still in Chace’s water glass. The ice had melted so it was a bit cloudy and well…. just really gross! I jokingly said to Chace “Twenty bucks if you drink that sushi water”. He didn’t hesitate for a second and just started sucking down the sushi-infused water! Now, this is the kid that ordered Teriyaki Steak because he isn’t really “into” sushi yet! I was shocked at first… then thrilled and handed over the $20! The next time we go to Fusion Sushi 313, I know he’ll be brave enough to try Uni (sea urchin) and I don’t care if it costs me another $20!

Chace drinks Sushi!

Cubaks Fusion Sushi 313 Fusion Sushi 313 is located at
1758 S Grand Ave
Glendora, CA 91740
(626) 335-4033

Lunch: 11:30am-3:00pm (Mon-Fri)
Dinner: 5:00pm-10:00pm (7days)

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