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Archive for April, 2013

Did that get your attention? And it’s not about me, my father. And it’s purely innocent (I swear).

Before your imagination goes wild, let me explain.

This was back in the early 1970’s. Before the concept of nose to tail was popular. My dad worked at a bank as senior cashier. One of the branches he worked at was in an industrial neighborhood, lots of blue-collar workers (car repair, warehouses, construction yards, meat processing warehouses etc.) … and hostess bars.

The hostess bars in that area were not high-class nor high-priced. Just neighborhood bars ruled by mama-sans and “the girls”. By proximity, many of the customers in that branch were the working men and nearby bars.

Here’s where it gets funny. The mama-sans would often come into the bank with their bank statements and question why certain deposits or checks were not on the statement. Needless to say, they would be confused. Because of my father’s mild demeanor, the manager would have him sit down with the mama-sans to help reconcile their accounts (pretty substantial I might add).

To back up a little. Many of these bars would have a cook that made simple but filling food. Many of the customers were young and single. Free food (or very little cost), relatively affordable drinks (mostly beer), and the attentions of female hostesses, a very successful business model.

Typically, the food would be beef stew, or oxtail soup, or pig feet soup, or hamburger curry. Something that was cheap (at that time) or maybe even free (from the meat processors), sturdy enough to stay warm all night, and could be made in big batches.

Anyway, after my dad explained to them their bank statements and helped them reconcile their accounts, the mama-sans would tell him to come over for a drink after work, on  the house. Since my dad was a teetotaler, he always respectfully declined. So after a few days the mama-san would either send one of her “girls” over to the bank with a bowl of oxtail soup or pig feet soup for my dad’s lunch (with rice and macaroni salad), sometimes they would drag him over to the bar for lunch. Sometimes, still small-kid time, when I was waiting for him to finish work, he would send me to the one of the bar’s back door to get some  take out. He always gave me tip money for them but rarely paid (if at all) for the food. I didn’t understand until later.

Funny thing was the mama-sans or the “girls” never treated him in a flirty kind of way, always like an old respected uncle. I guess it was because he never judged them either. Partly because they were customers of the bank and partly because he saw them no differently than everybody else.

Oxtail and pig feet soup were his favorite, seasoned with star anise, ginger, peanuts, and carrots. Mustard greens thrown in just before serving.

One of the mama-sans even offered to my dad to “initiate” me when I became of drinking age, of course he politely declined. He told me about the offer swearing me to secrecy (mother is not so open-minded).

Which brings me to today. Another free lunch. This time at Pho One (1617 Kapiolani Boulevard, Honolulu, Hawaii). Tried the oxtail pho.

Oxtail Pho

Oxtail Pho

Noodles

Noodles

Much simpler than the hostess bar versions. No star anise, a few peanuts, no carrots. Flavor not as complex. Not good or bad, just different. The oxtail was simmered to almost fall off the bone. The viscosity much thinner but tasty.

I have mixed feeling about the nose to tail movement. I like that people are recognizing the value of the whole animal, not just the desired cuts, but in recognizing the other parts, prices have gone up on things like oxtail. Sigh.

Oh well.

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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And Even More Chocolate

This time, from the chocolate shop, some kind of tartlet.

Chocolate Tartlet

Chocolate Tartlet

Cross Section

Cross Section

I thought the topping was toasted almonds, The Cat thought it was macadamia nuts. Not too sweet (by American  standards). The Cat liked it a lot. A little too much nuts for me, I don’t digest nuts too well (sorry TMI). 🙂

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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More Chocolates on a Mission

More chocolates from  Chocolates on a Mission.

Cranberry Orange Dark Chocolate

Cranberry Orange Dark Chocolate

Dried cranberries  and orange peel in dark chocolate. Not made by the chef brothers but still tasty. Socks  off good. And a good deal. Two pieces for less than two dollars. 🙂

Yum. Definitely will purchase again.

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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More Tongue

Part 2.

Pork Tongue, Sliced

Pork Tongue, Sliced

Carrots, Cut Into Matchsticks

Carrots, Cut Into Matchsticks

Celery, Thinly Sliced

Celery, Thinly Sliced

Shiso Leaves, Cut Into Ribbons

Shiso Leaves, Cut Into Ribbons

Throw everything together in a hot pan and hope for the best.

Pork Tongue Chop Suey

Pork Tongue Chop Suey

Serve with rice. 🙂

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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Tongue!

I love beef and pork tongue. Not to fond of duck tongue, probably not fond of chicken tongue either (do chickens have tongues?).

Anyway, while browsing through Yelp, came across these pictures:

XXXX Shiso Gohan

____ Shiso Gohan

Source:http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/wada-honolulu?select=iD9M_-GnkzRUoFnAs37BpA#8uF9SBmzN-d8VCAitBsLrw

____ Shiso Gohan

____ Shiso Gohan

Source: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/wada-honolulu?select=iD9M_-GnkzRUoFnAs37BpA#dd2rmSYXjnaXCe1u0nW7oQ

The on-line menu description is “____ Shiso Gohan: seasoned rice with minced beef tongue and shiso in sizzling pot”. One teeny tiny little problem, the bowl is almost ten dollars.

I decided to create my own semi-proletariat version. I went to Chinatown and picked up a half pound of cooked pork tongue from one of the store fronts that specialize in roasted meats.

Pork Tongue

Pork Tongue

One pork tongue from Chinatown, a little over half pound, $4.05. I should have taken a picture before the vendor sliced it but he was too fast.

Based on the brief description from the menu and the pictures, I thought I had the major components (except for substituting pork tongue for beef tongue.

Note: My “creation” will not look remotely like the restaurants, my philosophy is throw everything together and hope for the best. 🙂

Since “shiso” was in the name of the dish, I guessed that shiso would play prominently in the “recipe”. I had three kinds.

Green and Red Shiso

Green and Red Shiso

Salted Shiso

Salted Shiso

The bottled shiso contains a lot of salt, had to be careful in its use.

The assembly.

Brown Rice and Quinoa

Brown Rice and Quinoa

Not really the texture of “jook” but not steamed rice either. More like thick gruel, but not mushy.

Sprinkled Shiso Fumi Furikake

Sprinkled Shiso Fumi Furikake

Added Pork Tongue, Roughly Diced, Not Minced

Added Pork Tongue, Roughly Diced, Not Minced

At this point, I put the bowl in our steamer to warm everything up (about five minutes).

Added Chopped Shiso Leaves

Added Chopped Shiso Leaves

After the bowl came out of the steamer, I added the chopped shiso leaves. Mixed well and ate (sorry forgot to take a picture of the “mixed” concoction).

The results were very tasty. Definitely not like the restaurant’s.

I still would like to try the restaurant version (have to wait until I’m classified as a bourgeoisie). Hee hee.

I only used about a third of the tongue for this bowl. I have more tongue for tomorrow. Stay tuned. 🙂

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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