Tags: beef tataki, chicken, duck, Japanese, miso soup, photography, sablefish, sushi, Vancouver
During the winter holidays, Kim invited me to attend a food photography workshop during the first week of January. At the time, I was in the process of purchasing my first dSLR and was kind of in a tizzy in figuring out the logistics of the camera prior to the workshop. Before New Years, my new toy arrived! YAY!!! Fresh out of the box, I quickly assembled it and got ready in taking test shots and took it to one awesome restaurant in the north shore on New Year’s to take some food pics. (Which I will post sometime later)
Once the day of the workshop arrived, I was joined by Sherman, Kim, and Victoria. The photography workshop was taught by Jackie Connelly and was held at Irashai Grill. Let’s just say that that day, I learned a lot about photography techniques and styles. I just need more time to practice as I am still learning!
After the workshop was completed, we were given the option of staying at Irashai Grill for lunch or to go else where if we wanted to. Since I haven’t been to the restaurant and have heard some talks about this restaurant and wanted to practice our photography techniques we learned in the workshop, we decided to stay for lunch.
The first dish we ordered was the Beef Tataki Carpaccio ($12).
This dish was thinly sliced seared beef on top a bed of daikon, greens and carrot and was drizzled with herb olive oil and citrus ponzu sauce. When presented a beautiful dish like this, you’d expect the beef to be tender. Let me tell you that it was not, it was rather chewy and made me wonder what cut of beef it was because it tasted like a big chunk of steak seared lightly and cut into thin slices. I could not taste the “beef” meat taste and the citrus taste. It seemed like all I could taste was the oil, no citrus, even when I tried dipping the beef into the dressing.
The next dish we ordered was the Summer Roll. ($13.50)
The Summer Roll consists of prawn tempura, cucumber, mayo, masago with marinated tuna and avocado on top with sweet soya drizzled all over. The rolls were aesthetically pleasing and it was tasty. After taking a bite into one of them I could taste was the creaminess of the avocado and sriracha kick (see the red dot on the avocado?) complimented the tuna and the shrimp. What I found lacking is the contrast of textures for this roll. Even though it has prawn tempura in it, it didn’t have a crunch to it. The rolls held up well but I found that it was too much rice for a roll.
When the Oyako Don was served, it came with a miso soup. Since I was still in the mood for taking even the most mundane pictures of food, I took the picture of the miso soup and thought out loud how I would make miso soup look “sexy”. Now, making the food “sexy” and “work it” are part of our conversations in food photography.
Oyako Don is comprised of chicken, egg and onions on top of rice ($9).
To be honest, this dish was disappointing as I felt that it was lacking an element to this dish. I would expect the rice to have at least some kind of flavoring such as a touch of mirin, dashi and soy or sauce from the chicken and onions. This dish can easily be replicated at home.
The next dish to arrive was Aigamo Duck ($16).
The Aigamo duck was grilled tataki style duck breast with chef’s secret sauce. OMG, this is one tough duck. I’ve never had a duck that was tough and chewy like a piece of overcooked steak. Mind you, the duck was cooked to how we wanted, medium rare. We were all wondering why such a piece of duck that is tender be so tough? We pondered if it was the way it was cooked or the way it was cut. It still remains a mystery to us.
The last and best dish to arrive was Grilled Sablefish served with yuzu miso sauce ($14).
The sablefish was tender, flaky and moist. The skin was nice and crispy and the fish had a slight caramelization to the surface. I’d say I’ve never had a bad sablefish ever. You can’t really mess up sablefish.
Overall, I had a great time at the photography class and learned a lot from Jackie Connelly. In terms of the food at Irashai Grill, it was aesthetically pleasing, but the food didn’t live up to it. To be honest, it was alright, nothing special. The items on the menu were a bit pricey for what you get. Ther are several other Japanese/izakaya places in town that I’ve frequented and would prefer over it.
Value: Not worth it. Some items are hit and miss in terms of quality.
Ambience: Sports bar style izakaya in Coal Harbour.
Tags: hot dog, japadog, oroshi, terimayo, ubc
Yeah you heard right! Japa Dog was at UBC! What a pleasant surprise on a cold but sunny day at UBC!
Not knowing that Japa Dog was at UBC, I decided to get something light to eat for lunch so I ordered a chopped scallop sushi and a miso soup from the Honor Roll. After finishing my so-called “light lunch” I decided to stroll towards the bookstore to look for some gifts. As I walked down the stairs of the Student Union Building towards the grassy knoll I saw a crowd of students and an oh-so-familiar looking cart:
Let’s just say that I was ecstatic! Part of me kind of regretted eating the sushi lunch and was thinking of whether to get the Japa Dog or not. In the end, I thought to myself “oh what the hell” and decided to get a Japa Dog. So which one did I get? I’ve tried the Oroshi, Misomayo, and the Okonomi. Which one did I end up choosing? Terimayo! The one that Japa Dog is well known for.
So what is all the hype for these street meat? Simply put, Japa Dogs are hot dogs with a Japanese flair to it. These hot dogs are flavored with Japanese sauces and toppings and kinda feels like a mini izakaya in your mouth. Well it was for me, the first time I tried the Oroshi.
What is Terimayo? It’s a 100% beef hot dog topped with fried onions, smothered in teriyaki sauce, drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise and sprinkled with roasted seaweed.
So how was the Terimayo? To be honest, it was good, but not as good as my other favorite Japadog, Oroshi. The only downside was that the teriyaki sauce was a bit too salty for my liking as it overpowered the overall taste of the hotdog. I could only taste tiny hints of the creamy Japanese mayo and the sweetness of the grilled onions. I could definitely taste the roasted seaweed as it was slightly salty and crunchy and kind of flying off my hot dog.
I definitely recommend trying out Japa Dog as it is not your regular street dog. It has very interesting toppings that you won’t normally use such as benito flakes, wasabi mayo and daikon radish. Currently Japa Dog has a few stands in downtown (2 on Burrard and one on West Pender) and eventually will be opening a store near Robson and Seymour.
Value: A bit pricier than what I get in downtown, but the extra dollar was towards a charity.
Ambience: What ambience? You eat wherever you find seating.