{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.

Veggie Sushi and Resolutions 2012

I wanted to pop in and share part of a delicious lunch I had on Saturday at Whole Foods. My husband is bored of eating at WF; we probably grab dinner there at least twice a week and sometimes visit on the weekends too. But I have yet to tire of their prepared foods bar. I am tired of it being $8.99/pound, but not of the scrumptious salads and innovative hearty dishes. I also discovered recently that they have rice-less sushi, which is what I’m about to show you.

There. That is seaweed swaddling shredded carrot, avocado, soft tofu, cucumber, and roasted red pepper*. Dip it in soy sauce and wasabi. Not enough for a meal on its own, but certainly a healthy and yummy component. The rest of my meal was a seaweed salad and chunky chicken salad (from the prepared foods bar). Filling, and a perfect reward after a Yin Yang yoga class taught by Tanya B herself. Wait, you’re not supposed to reward yourself with food? Oops.

*This sushi reminded me of my “fushi” – nearly raw, riceless sushi.

Some words on new year’s resolutions.

One resolution that I think everyone should have, not just at the start of the year, but always, is to take care of yourself. This could mean going to the dentist even though you really hate it, or giving yourself that 15 minute break in the afternoon even if you’re busy at work.

I’ve been struggling with my resolution to quit diet soda – I did not realize what a hard habit it would be to break. I have been following through on reading more.

A new resolution for the rest of January and beyond – more flossing! (At least once a day.)

I have many questions for you today:

  1. Do you do crosswords?
  2. Do you like to read (and if so what are you reading)?
  3. When was the last time you went to the dentist?
  4. Do you drink diet soda?

Melissa: Make Your Own Sushi (on the cheap!)

Today’s guest post is dedicated to my wonderful husband, Bobby. Bobby is half-Japanese and has a passion for sushi. Sometimes we make it ourselves (make your own sushi) and sometimes we go out searching for great rolls! Thanks again Melissa for your post. Melissa was one of the first bloggers I started reading regularly. I’ve been enjoying her “side notes” recently. So without further ado…


So, I know you probably go out for sushi and cringe at the sight of the bill after enjoying your meal…but have no fear! I’m here to teach you how you can make your own rolls at home and spend probably half the amount you would at a restaurant! And you can make them anyway you want!

I made a simple vegetable roll to demonstrate (and I apologize beforehand for the pictures, color and angles, since my kitchen lighting is horrible and I had to photograph my own demo) but I’ll provide some nice add-ins you can use that won’t be too foreign!


  • Rice (long grain/Japanese Botan Rice)
  • Nori (dried seaweed, large squares)
  • 1/2 Avocado, cut into strips
  • 1 Carrot, sliced into long strips (I use a peeler to make it easier to handle!)
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced into long strips
  • Small glass/bowl of water to dip your hands in periodically


  1. Cook rice according to directions either on the stovetop or in the rice maker. For mine I used 1/2C of rice for two servings with 1.5C of water, all in the rice maker.
  2. While the rice is cooking, take this time to cut up all the veggies.
  3. After the rice is done, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then remove it to let it cool (it being hot will cause the nori to cinch up and get rubbery).
  4. Lay out the nori piece on a DRY cutting board (I’ve found this to be the best surface where stuff doesn’t stick).
  5. Place about a 1/2C of rice onto the center on the nori.
  6. Wetting your hands, spread the rice out thinly leaving about a 1/2-1 inch gap at the top and bottom.
  7. Stack all the contents you want inside your roll at the bottom of the nori sheet where there is no rice. I normally start with the cucumber on the bottom to help make rolling easier, then cucumber, other vegetables then the meats/avocado/tofu and such.
  8. Now comes the part everyone is so afraid of: the rolling. This isn’t as hard as you think and can be done the first time without a bamboo roller. The easiest way to roll the sushi is to get your thumbs underneath the nori and use your other fingers to tuck and push everything together. Keep the insides as smashed together as possible without causing them to shoot out the side, and keep rolling over the rice layer until the opposite empty side of the nori.
  9. When you reach the other end dab your fingers in the water and apply some to the end of the nori to help it all stick together. Lay the roll on the seem to help it seal.
  10. The next hard part comes with cutting the sushi. This is where many have a hard time and it causes their sushi to get smashed and fall apart. The key thing is a WET knife and quick, concise strokes. I like to put my hands around the roll like a claw and cut very quickly with the knife. I use a wet towel between slices to remove all the gluten and rice to ensure easy cutting.
  11. Then voila! You have homemade sushi!

Of course this is a very simple variety of sushi, but you can also add a variety of other ingredients too.

For veggie rolls I also like to add:

  • Bean Sprouts
  • Steamed Zucchini
  • Green Beans
  • Bell Pepper Slices
  • Asparagus
  • Daikon
  • Eggplant (cooked of course!)
  • and anything else you might like!

For protein you can add:

  • Egg (pan fried like an omlette and cut into strips)
  • Tofu (baked/pan fried)
  • Any kind of meat (chicken, port, steak), cut into small strips
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Octopus

Other add-ins include:

  • Cream Cheese
  • Japanese Mayo
  • Dressings
  • Peanut Sauces
  • Sweet Potato Puree

The world is your oyster when it comes to the variety of rolls you can make for sushi rolls! And it doesn’t take long to make either; the hardest most time consuming part is chopping up all the ingredients for the inside of it!

I hope this was easy enough to understand but if you have any questions, feel free to email me (trying dot to dot heal at gmail dot com). You can view my other three sushi tutorials here, here and here.



Thanks again Melissa! I hope to use your tutorial as soon as we get back 🙂

What’s your favorite sushi?

Souen Again: The Best Dinner Ever

Remember Sunday’s best lunch ever? I went to Souen with Bobby and I loved the food. Well, now I’ve had the Best Dinner Ever. We went to Souen last night (the Union Square location) and it was really awesome (again).

Last time Bobby didn’t like his meal much (I think he ordered the wrong thing), but last night was so different. He started out with a natto roll (fermented soy beans, brown rice, seaweed, and wasabi and ginger) ($4.00).

Then our main dishes came out. I got the Planet Platter ($8.50! great deal), which is very similar to my brunch last week. It’s a huge plate of brown rice, beans, steamed kabocha squash (!), steamed kale, hijiki seaweed, steamed daikon, and steamed carrots.

Ahh, it was heavenly. I got the miso tahini dressing (again). I am a creature of habit, yes. I finished almost all of this at the restaurant; brought home some of the rice for later but caved and had it as a midnight snack.

Bobby got the Chick Pea Croquette (3 pieces of deep-fried chick pea croquette with curry carrot sauce; served with yam and mesclun salad) ($13). It came with veggies and brown rice.

I tried a piece of a croquette at dinner and we took the 3rd croquette home (he was full from the sushi)… which I had with my midnight rice snack. Yum! These were really good but really garlicky – my mouth was so gross this morning, even though I brushed my teeth really well.

I am actually off to Souen again (Soho location this time) to meet a blogger – I have not decided what to get yet. I think the menus are different at each location. I also want to get my nails done today! I haven’t gotten a mani or pedi in ages.

What are you doing this weekend?