Halibut carpaccio at Oki Doki in Tustin, CA.
Since it's been slow for competitive eating events during the winter months, I find myself taking more time to enjoy food in smaller portions and at a much slower pace. There is such a pleasure derived from carefully analyzing each bite you take to discover all the nuances of flavor in the food you are enjoying. Tastes that you really can't enjoy when swallowing pounds of soggy hamburgers and corn dogs.
Though I don't really consider myself a foodie. I lack the discerning quality that elite yelpers possess. The quality that tells them when they are eating superior versions of food they have sampled elsewhere. Truthfully, I take as much enjoyment eating a carefully prepared plate of fresh halibut carpaccio at a nice restaurant as I do scarfing down fast food from Del Taco. So I won't bother rating the places I visit because attempting to assign some sort of numeric scale to the restaurants would be arbitrary at best. So rather, I'll surmise eating experiences that I have enjoyed on this blog.
The halibut carpaccio I described was from Oki Doki in Tustin, Ca. I randomly went there with my girlfriend and a few others one night in search for unique Japanese food near by. There is something to be said about how good company and drink make dining experiences better. Although we had to wait an hour to be seated, I had a generally positive experience at this restaurant. This was partially due to the fact that we finished two 64oz pitchers of Kirin lager, but also because the courses of grilled meats and seafood were very delicious. The items I enjoyed there included the grilled squid, liver yakitori and the halibut carpaccio.
Green tea mousse cake paired with Louis Jadot pinot noir 2009.
Some items that were only decent tasting included the octopus salad and generic vanilla and green tea mochi for dessert. They weren't awful, just not very memorable. The Kirin served in one of those platsic pitchers with the cooling device in the center on the other-hand was great. There's a certain magic to cold beer, though I should be giving Kirin as much credit as the restaurant for serving it that way. This place was good for yakitori and beer and not so good for service.
I also had a fruitless hunt for a green tea cheesecake recently. In contacting the local gourmet Asian bakeries, it turned out that no one sells proper green tea cheese cake in Orange County any more. So we settled for a fluffy green tea mousse cake with red beans that my friend found at a local Korean market. It paired nicely with my favorite pinot noir for some after dinner drinks and dessert.
It's pleasant to go to sleep not feeling stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey. In regularly consuming large amounts of food, it's refreshing to rediscover modest portions of well made food again. It's like the opposite of binging to just eat slowly, considering how things taste in your mouth. And I find it silly that this concept seems so alien to me. Especially after a terrible experience eating sodium laden chicken for half an hour last weekend, I guess it's no surprise that I'm finding so much pleasure in eating how you're not suppose to in competition, slowly and in small amounts. Unlike contests, when you eat well with others, everyone wins.