{food} Japanese Lunch at Sakagura

A few weeks ago Bobby’s mom was in here in NYC for a few hours on a layover. We took the opportunity to have lunch at her favorite New York restaurant, Sakagura. Sakagura has lunch specials, so we each got a different one.

I think I got this: “Jewel” Oke Bento ($20.00) – Assorted Appetizers , Fried Tidbits , 5 kinds of Seasonal Sashimi , Grilled Tidbits , Mini Rice Balls and Miso Soup.

There were fried intertwined veggies; a hijiki seaweed salad (the black and orange stuff in the dark brown bowl); rice balls (looks like rice sushi in the middle but really was all rice); the white ball with yellow on top (top left) is satoimo, a Japanese sweet potato; fresh sashimi (tuna, scallop – my favorite, squid, salmon, and one other that I don’t remember – mackerel?), and finally on the bottom was eel with eel sauce, a piece of pork, a piece of potato, and some scrambled egg.

My favorite part? I loved it all.

Bobby got a soba box – it must have been this one: Kaisen Don ($21.00) – Assorted Variety of sliced Fresh Sashimi Served atop of Sushi Rice, with Soba Noodles ( Hot or Cold ). You can see the bowl of rice and sashimi (top), soba sauce (top left), soba (front and center), and a few edamame.

He also enjoyed his very much.

Bobby’s mom also ordered a soba set – I think it was set C – Yakizakana Gozen ($20.00) – Seasonal Grilled Fish, Seasonal Appetizers, A Bowl of Rice, Homemade Soba Noodles (Hot or Cold). It looks like the fish was salmon (front slightly right); there was steamed spinach (middle right); some seaweed, potato, and pork (bottom left); soba (back left) and soba sauce (top middle); and something in the middle there that I can’t quite make out.

We all shared a bowl of black sesame ice cream for dessert. No pic! It looked too good and I forgot to take one before diving in.

Sakagura is always a hit. We have been there a few times before, but I don’t think I have blogged about it.

What is your favorite Japanese dish?

I think mine is anything with hijiki seaweed. I even had some tonight – I had some “Japanese fried rice” from Trader Joe’s that had hijiki in it; then I added 2 scrambled eggs – perfection. When we lived in California I used to LOVE going to a place called Delica. They have a fantastic salad – the “Hijiki and Soybean Salad“. My attempt at recreating it is here.

Hijiki is also a staple in macro plates. Here are my favorite macro plates.

Link Love

Health & Nutrition Links

  • The Hidden Truths About Calories – This article delves into the complicated science of calorie calculation. Though many of us were already suspicious of calorie counts on labels, this article proves that those counts can be wildly inaccurate. The way you prepare a food, the way the food was grown, how processed the food is, AND your various aspects about your body composition – these are four factors that contribute to how many calories your body will actually take away from a food. For example, the more processed a food is, the less “work” (energy) your body expends while digesting it, and thus the more calories your body gets to keep. If you have longer intestines than your spouse, you will get more calories from a food (or vice versa). It’s a really good read, and not that long either.
  • 5 Ways to Make Going Vegan Easy – I am not a vegan, but I like these ideas. The ideas include drinking green juice,  eating quinoa, using almond milk, eating more greens and fruits, and giving up one animal a month. Click through to read more.
  • Chocolate Buckwheat Cake. Need I say more! I haven’t made it yet but it looks awesome.

Yoga, Fitness & Happiness Links

  • 6 Things I Do to Be Consistently Happy – written by a person who does startups. The ideas include 1) waking up early, 2) exercising, 3) disengaging, 4) helping others, and 5) learning new things regularly. Click through to read the last one, and to hear his thoughts on the ones I just listed.
  • Track Your Happiness – a cool app idea for the iPhone (I don’t think it’s for Android yet).
  • Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga – this is a great illustration of them.

NYC Links

  • Broadway Week – 2 for 1 tickets coming up (Sept 4 – 16).
  • All You Need to Know to Compost in Your Apartment – to be honest, I have not started composting yet. There is a compost station at the farmers’ market Sundays (it’s less than half a block from my apartment) so I can drop it off there if/when I do start.

A Baby Shower

This weekend I got to visit one of my best blog friends – Coco – for her baby shower. We got her this (apparently very popular with new moms) California Baby Gift Basket (the “Newborn Tote Bag”).

This baby gift basket contains calendula cream, which I recognize from my mom’s use on me and my siblings when we were young. Calendula is a plant (like a marigold flower); the cream is a natural moisturizer free of synthetic fragrances, sulfates, and other potentially harmful chemicals. It’s a great option if you are trying to be more green and natural. My mom would use it for our dry skin and I know you can also use it for diaper rash and minor cuts and scrapes. I’m tempted to try it for myself! Sounds like it would be useful for everyone, not just babies.

I always like visiting Coco. The party was very international (I think bobby and I were the only native English speakers / American-born people there). But I guess that is pretty typical of DC. While I love New York, DC is a much more international city. New York is a melange of cultures, but it’s a melange that has been in the making for hundreds of years. DC has many more people that were born outside the states and work for international organizations. DC’s vibe has more of an impermanence than NY’s (in my opinion).

The food was great. We had delicious homemade empanadas (I’m hoping for a recipe soon), bread and cheese and meat, desserts, probably other things I am forgetting… a great spread in all. Here is a picture of me and beautiful the mom-to-be:

This morning we woke up fairly early (for a Sunday) and ate a simple breakfast (of shower leftovers – yum) with Coco and her husband. He is so caring and attentive. Such a nice family.

Have you been to a baby shower? Have you visited Washington, DC?

quick and easy summer gazpacho [recipe]

Simple Summer Gazpacho Recipe


  • tomatoes – maybe 7-8 medium
  • 1-2 ears of raw corn (1/2 in blender, 1/2 in straight)
  • lots of basil – 1+ cups
  • 1-2 banana peppers
  • 1 small cucumber (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • sugar
  • vinegar (rice or apple cider) or lemon juice


  1. You will need a blender or food processor. Chop the tomatoes, basil, peppers, and cucumber roughly and then roughly blend/process them in your blender/processor. If you like a very smooth puree, blend more; if you like it chunky, blend less.
  2. I like to add the corn after blending the rest because I like the kernels whole. It’s also good to blend it in.
  3. Add salt and pepper, sugar, and vinegar/lemon juice to taste. This is what makes the flavors come out so add these to your preference.

Do let me know if you try it. Hope you enjoy.

does my yoga teacher care if… [some yoga FAQs]

this is for the lolz but also to be informative. i have definitely wondered all of these things at some point. and now that i have the authority* to answer them, i will share my responses with you.

does my yoga teacher care if i suck at yoga?

no! your teacher thinks it’s awesome that you are doing yoga whether it’s your first class or your 500th class. some teachers prefer teaching beginners the most because visible progress happens so quickly. others might like teaching yogis with more experience. but all yoga teachers love teaching yoga no matter what their students’ levels are.

does my yoga teacher care if i fart?

try not to, for your own sake (you’re the one stuck on your mat), but no – she doesn’t. a fart is just the human body doing its thing! on this general topic, for your own comfort i think it’s a good idea to avoid heavy meals for a good 2-3 hours before class and to avoid eating much at all for the hour preceding class.

does my yoga teacher care if i fart… while she’s giving me an adjustment?

this is probably the most likely and simultaneously the (seemingly) most embarrassing time you could fart in class – but nope, she still doesn’t care. your body is moving and being moved around in class. yoga can stimulate digestion (especially twists) and it’s perfectly normal for the winds in your body to travel around.

does my yoga teacher care if i am too old/young/fat/skinny/ugly/shy/tall/short/etc…?

no one is too old/young/fat/skinny/ugly/shy/tall/short/etc…, so NOPE! she thinks it’s marvelous that you are you and that you’re on your mat. my only precaution – if you have an injury that is healing, a past injury that still gives you trouble (or just makes you nervous), or you are pregnant, you should inform your teacher so she can give you appropriate modifications for the class.

does my yoga teacher care if i am late to class?

she might not care (or she might), but the other students will care (you are distracting them) and the studio will certainly care (you are annoying its patrons). try to be on time or early. if you’re rushing to yoga you might not get all the benefits you can from the practice.

does my yoga teacher care if my phone rings in class?

yes. you are disturbing your fellow students, your teacher, and yourself. please turn the phone off (or at least on silent) and leave it in the lobby of the studio, or, better yet, at home.

does my yoga teacher care if i’m gross?

are you gross because your teacher made you work up a sweat? then NO, certainly not. she thinks you’re awesome and your sweat is awesome too. are you gross because you haven’t showered in a week? then… please go take a shower before you come to class. there are 10 basic ethical guidelines that yogis should follow (5 yamas — how you treat others; 5 niyamas — how you treat yourself). one of the niyamas (self care) is saucha, or cleanliness. keep your body in good condition.

does my yoga teacher care if i’m not a vegetarian?

first, your yoga teacher doesn’t judge you for any decisions you make. and second, your yoga teacher probably isn’t vegetarian herself. according to a yoga journal poll, only ~12 percent of yogis are vegetarian (compared with ~3% of the general population in the US). the reasoning behind vegetarianism for yogis is one of those guidelines i mentioned earlier (a yama called ahimsa, meaning non-violence). sometimes practicing ahimsa means being kind to yourself as well. so eat the diet that is right for you. if being vegetarian is not practicing kindness towards yourself, then don’t be a vegetarian! just try to be mindful of what you are putting in your mouth and in your body.

are there any more yoga FAQs i can help with? have you ever wondered these things?

*i’m a certified 200-hour yoga instructor.