Headspace 2: The Search for Something

Headspace 2: The Search for Something
Just a Blog Post, nothing to see here.

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JoshWillTravel

HELLO. HOW ARE YOU?
When you are asked “How are you?”
DO YOU REALLY ANSWER TRUTHFULLY?

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DON’T WORRY. BE HAPPY.

Good (Monday) morning!
One year. Missing my father.
Rough weekend for me.

Dad 1

Lee Weisel RIP

May 1st is May Day!
Laugh, Dance and Sing, it’s May Day!
Celebrate Springtime!ūüĆ∑ūüĆ∑ūüĆ∑ūüĆ∑

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REAL QUOTES FROM CONFUCIUS:
“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”
“Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”
‚ÄúEverything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.‚ÄĚ

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Happy Birthday to the Little Boy!

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Such a Good Dog, Big Boy!

The Little Boy had his first birthday last week.
He is so full of energy and a fireball of Love.
The Big Boy is getting older and is such a good dog.
And The Little Girls are just the sweetest creatures.

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And the two Little Girls make four!

MAKE SOME ART!
CREATE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL!

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WOOF! A Dog Doodle (ink on paper)

ART: (noun) the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power

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ART: something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings

Happy Cinco de Mayo! (Fifth of Tequila May)

tequila shots

TEQUILA SHOTS FOR EVERYONE!

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The Battle of Puebla during the Second French intervention in Mexico (the French-Mexican War 1861-1867), took place on May 5th, 1862, near Puebla City, Mexico. The outnumbered Mexican Army of Benito Juárez defeated the invading French forces of Napoleon III. France controlled Mexico until 1867, until Mexican troops overthrew the government. The Mexican victory at Puebla is celebrated every year on the fifth of May.

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RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”>
FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES!
FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES 2
FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES 3
MORE TIKI COCKTAIL RECIPES!

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The Soup du Jour!

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!
HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER!

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Jose Cuervo, you are no friend of feline!

AND NOW SOME PICTURES OF SUSHI!

Pickup some Sushi and your Monday will be better.

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Rainbow Roll and a Spicy Tuna cut roll for dinner

Sushi cut rolls yum!
Pick it up, eat it at home.
Thursday night dinner

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California¬†and Spicy Tuna cut rolls “To Go” for dinner

Ahi Tuna Poké (hybrid Hawaiian style)
Recipe: Ahi tuna (cut into cubes), chopped onion, chopped celery, avocado, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic powder, red pepper, and red pepper flakes
Mix ingredients together in a bowl, adding avocado last. Enjoy!

And Tuna Sashimi too

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Tuna Sashimi, rice, avocado, carrots and celery for dinner

And Look, Funny Cutting Boards:
A Kitchen Tribute to Lionel Ritchie, Jessie from “Breaking Bad”,
“The Guardians of the Galaxy”, and “The Walking Dead”

DO YOU NEED HELP?
I’ll just leave these numbers here just in case.

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And in the very near future…
HBO’s “Deadwood”¬†The Movie premieres on May 31st!

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From W Earl Brown: “You might own playing cards, but I know damned well you don‚Äôt own a set of Deadwood cards signed by the cast because there is only one of those in existence. And it could be YOURS if you bid enough.”

Support burbankarts4all (Right Click and “Open in New Window”)>
https://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/item-detail.cfm?auctionID=17891&ItemID=691259&viewType=1&style=52&font=0&catName=TV+and+Movies

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‚ÄúArt is what you can get away with.‚ÄĚ
Read the Blog Post> Warhol Wednesday!
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/warhol-wednesday

Read the Blog Post> Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s May the 5th! Celebrate!
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/happy-cinco-de-mayo-its-may-the-5th/

BE HAPPY NOW!

hiatus

WE’LL BE RIGHT BACK!

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute,
the man who does not ask is a fool for life.‚ÄĚ
– Confucius

Mirage_las_vegas

The Mirage Hotel and Volcano – Las Vegas, Nevada

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I want to party in Vegas with THIS GUY!

Happy Birthday Sushi Time!

Happy Birthday Sushi Time! Great Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan!

Saturday night! Time to celebrate! Happy Birthday to me! It’s Sushi time!

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We love Sushi Ichiban Kan!
Our friend Hiro-san runs the best Japanese restaurant in the valley!

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Sushi Ichiban Kan in Tarzana/Woodland Hills, California

A FANTASTIC FISH!
ANOTHER WONDERFUL DISH!
SUSHI TIME YOU WISH!

We’ve written a few Blogs about Sushi Ichiban Kan (use the search box ^^^^^^) and read our previous Blogs (links below too).

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ON THE MENU: Tekka don dinner (tuna bowl with miso soup and small salad), stuffed squid, volcano, albacore sashimi, baked scallop california roll, yellowtail/salmon/bluefin tuna sushi, sunomono, blue crab cut roll, spicy tuna hand roll, spicy yellowtail cut roll, green tea ice cream, iced green tea and a large hot sake!

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

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Happy Birthday! Green Tea Ice Cream

NOTE: It was great dinner and I am truly thankful. However, the circumstances of the weekend made it impossible to actually enjoy the party in my honor. In case you missed the previous blogs, two of our dogs were killed Thursday night by coyotes in our fenced backyard. Pretty much everything related to dogs is a “trigger” for a wave of hard emotion (sadness, guilt, grief & anger) and my dinner companions kept talking about dogs, the tragedy, coyotes and wolf urine…. it was extremely uncomfortable from start to finish and not a happy distraction.

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So full of sushi. No Dessert! So birthday cake for dessert the next night!
One of my favorites: Boston Cream Pie from Bea’s Bakery!

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Boston Cream Pie from Bea’s Bakery

 

 

Wednesday Night Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

Wednesday Night Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

We went to my favorite sushi place: Sushi Ichiban Kan

Sushi Time!

Our friend Master Sushi Chef Hiro-san previously owned Sushi Hirosuke in Encino and Kabuki Sushi in Northridge, and now he operates Sushi Ichiban Kan, located on Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills (actually it’s in Tarzana between Corbin and Winnetka).

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

The dining room is large, spacious and warm. The sushi bar has about 14 seats. There is a waiting area/lobby by the front door and host desk. Street parking (metered 8am-8pm) and free parking in a small lot off the alley in the rear is available.

Sushi Bar or Table? In addition to the regular menu, they have Monthly and Daily Specials, a Special Roll Menu and a Sushi Menu. They also do food “to go” and catering for parties.

Beer, wine and (hot & cold) sake are available with lunch or dinner.

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

ON THE MENU: Spicy tuna & spicy yellowtail cut rolls, baked scallop California roll, yellowtail-albacore-freshwater eel sushi, an order of “volcano”, a nigiri (mixed) sushi plate: albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, octopus, shrimp, tomago (egg), California roll, tuna and cucumber cut rolls and a coke.

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Nigiri (mixed) sushi plate: albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, octopus, shrimp, tomago (egg), California roll, tuna and cucumber cut rolls

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

My opinion is that this is the best sushi place in the San Fernando Valley and one of the best in Los Angeles. Hiro-san is a Master Chef and he gets the choice fish at the market. Everything they serve is wonderful, flavorful and super-fresh! It’s a little more expensive than most of the sushi restaurants in the valley, but it’s less expensive than most of the Westside and Hollywood places, and better quality than almost all others.

Sushi Ichiban Kan19723 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364
818-883-8288 http://www.sushiichiban-kan.com

NOTE: There are previous Blogs about Sushi Ichiban Kan (with more pics)
SEARCH: Sushi Ichiban Kan (Search Box at the top of the page) ^^^^^^^^^^^^

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Sushi Ichiban Kan

 

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San!

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San in Encino!

Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, so let’s have some sushi!

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – Sushi Bar!

On The Menu: Yellowtail slam (yellowtail & avocado over spicy tuna) cut roll, tempura vegetables, shrimp doubleshot roll, California roll with real crab, spicy tuna roll, “rock-n-roll” scallop cut roll and an iced green tea.

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – Tempura Vegetables

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – California roll w/real crab and spicy tuna cut roll

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San- Shrimp doubleshot roll and avocado cut roll

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – “rock-n-roll” scallop cut roll and hand roll

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – Yellowtail slam (yellowtail & avocado over spicy tuna)

We’ve been here before, and it’s always good fresh food. It wasn’t busy when we arrived, but by the time we finished it was. We enjoyed our dinner and I left the restaurant happy.

I’m going to post a complaint about the service tonight: We sat at a table, not at the sushi bar, and halfway through the meal our server told us she was going on break without really having someone pickup our table. We had to flag down other restaurant staff to get drink refills, tempura sauce and the check. And we still left her a nice tip.

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – the sign changes colors!

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

Cho Cho San – Ventura Blvd (at Balboa Blvd) in Encino

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Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino

UPDATE! Thursday 10 March 2016:

We had a Wednesday night Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino:

ON THE MENU: Salmon and albacore nigiri sushi, spicy tuna cut roll, spicy yellowtail cut roll, California cut roll, cucumber salad and a large hot sake

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Large Hot Sake at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant

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Nigiri Sushi and Cut Rolls at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant

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California and Spicy Tuna Cut Rolls at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant

Everything was pretty good. I was hungry and made quick work of the sushi and cut rolls. The service was much better this time. And the large hot sake really helped a lot today. #winewednesday

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UPDATED Friday, January 15, 2017:
Good Shabbos y’all! So, the puppies had their “lady parts” surgery on Tuesday and we’ve been babysitting them during the recovery. One of the pups had a bad reaction and is kinda freaked out, so we’ve been really stressed trying to keep her calm and not catatonic…

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Puppies Resting Comfortably After “Lady Parts” Surgery

Well, we had luke warm Indian food last night and didn’t really eat anything today, so we went out a little before 11pm to Cho Cho San, the sushi place down the street that’s open until midnight. They told me I had to get my order in by 11:10, so I did and then I ate at the sushi bar, paid and came home. The pups are resting comfortably and I’m full and happy.

On the menu: Shrimp&vegetable tempura, Firefly roll (spicy tuna inside, albacore on top with ancho paper and chili oil), Baked Scallop California roll with eel sauce, a large hot sake and an iced green tea. Happy weekend!

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY



 

Dinner at Sushi 2 U in Encino

Dinner at Sushi 2 U in Encino

There’s a new sushi restaurant in town and we decided to try it out. Sushi 2 U has “soft-opened” in the space formerly occupied by Sushi Hirosuke in the Plaza de Oro shopping center on Ventura Blvd in Encino. Welcome to the neighborhood and good luck!

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

RIGHT CLICK and OPEN IN NEW WINDOW to view larger photo!

The DISCLAIMER on the window (enter at your own risk):

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The space has been renovated and remodeled. The sushi bar is smaller and more central, the prep area and kitchen are “hidden”, the booths have been removed and there are many flat-screen televisions in the dining room. They also have the ability to play music (which was kind of a problem at the previous incarnation in this space).

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dining Room – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

New Sushi Bar (and prep area) – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi time! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Old Sushi Hirosuke sushi bar & grill

ON THE MENU: Encino roll (spicy tuna, salmon and crab with avocado), Sushi2u roll (shrimp, soft-shell crab and salmon), California roll, spicy tuna hand roll, edamame, yellowtail/spanish mackerel/albacore sushi and a coke.

NOTE: We wanted to order a small hot sake, but they didn’t have their liquor license yet.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Edamame – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The Encino and Sushi2U special cut rolls were both very good!

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Encino Roll & sushi – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

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Sushi 2 U Roll – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The spicy tuna was spice just right with chili oil.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy Tuna Hand Roll – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Imitation crab (as noted in the disclaimer) California rolls:

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

California Rolls – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

It was only their fourth day being open for business, so they were still working out the dinner procedures and routines. Also, it seemed the one waiter was still being trained so service was a little staggered. Everything was fine and we got everything we ordered or asked for, but it was because we asked him or the owner/managers for something.

They have a big menu of sushi, rolls, grilled items and drinks. We ate pretty tame stuff. There’s a lot of different things to choose from and the orders are large.

The space is very nice and there was a steady stream of customers while we were there. There are six other sushi restaurants (Okumura, Gyoro Gyoro, Yamato, Midori, Cho Cho San and Sushi Stop within 3 blocks on either side, and many more in the nearby vicinity (4to6, Katsu-ya, Crazy Tokyo, Octopus, and Sushi Ik√©) so we’ll see if they can compete.

They were very nice, the food was good, the price was very reasonable and I enjoyed my dinner. I might wait until they get the service routine worked out and their liquor license before going back, but I’m sure I’ll be back again soon.

RIGHT CLICK and OPEN IN NEW WINDOW to view larger photo!

NOTE: The entrance “lobby” and bar upstairs on Ventura isn’t finished yet. It looks like it will be a nice space for waiting/drinking when it’s finished.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: The second time we ate there it was not good and we never went back.

Sushi 2 U –¬†CLOSED in early 2016! Sushi Ganzo has opened in the same space.
READ THE BLOG “Sushi Ganzo and Donutella” >¬†http://wp.me/p3dhVM-54p

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Tokyo Sushi – Dinner in San Jose, California

Tokyo Sushi – Dinner in San Jose, California

Road trippin’ back down to Los Angeles, I arrived in San Jose at dinner time. My friends were still at the graduation ceremony, so I found a shopping plaza with many kinds of asian cuisine restaurants and went looking for food.

Tokyo Sushi in San Jose, California

Tokyo Sushi in San Jose, California

There was Pho, Hot Pots, Hot Wings, Chinese, Thai, and “Tokyo Sushi”. I settled on sushi, and sat at the sushi bar. I ordered a three item Bento Box dinner with teriyaki chicken, tempura mix (shrimp & vegetables), and a California roll. I also added a spicy tuna cut roll, and 2 orders of nigiri sushi (salmon and albacore). The dinner included miso soup, green salad, rice, a pot sticker and fruit. They brought me teriyaki salmon by mistake, so I let them take it back, and they brought me chicken.

Tokyo Sushi - San Jose, CA

Tokyo Sushi – 3 item Bento Box with teriyaki salmon, tempura mix & California roll

Tokyo Sushi - San Jose, CA

Tokyo Sushi –¬†Sushi! Spicy tuna cut roll, salmon and albacore sushi

Tokyo Sushi - San Jose, CA

Tokyo Sushi – Spicy tuna cut roll, salmon and albacore sushi

Tokyo Sushi in San Jose, California

Tokyo Sushi in San Jose, California

The Golden State Warriors were playing basketball and the game was televised, so the restaurant was almost empty. I was alone at the sushi bar for the entire time I was there. The food was good, if not great and I really enjoyed the tempura. The damage was only $40 (with tip included) and I took most of the chicken teriyaki and cut rolls with me and shared the food with my friends at the graduation party later.

The Graduation Party in San Jose

The Graduation Party in San Jose later!

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel.

Tokyo Sushi1715 Lundy Ave #156 San Jose, CA 

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FOODGASM! OMG Dinner Party at n/naka!

FOODGASM! OMG Dinner Party at n/naka!

One of the most amazing meals I’ve ever eaten.¬†We did the full 13 course dinner with wine and sake pairings.¬†Each dish was a work of art both visually and culinary! BRAVA! BRAVA!

There’s no sign, just the address, on the front of the restaurant. Located on Overland between National and Palms, they have street parking (when available) and valet parking for $7 behind the building.

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N/Naka - 3455 Overland Ave, in Palms (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

n/naka – 3455 Overland Ave, Palms, L.A. (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Inside, the space is clean, quiet and intimate. The focus is all about the fine food and drink.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The episodic documentary “Chef’s Table” recently released on Netflix features Chef Niki Nakayama “applying the artistic and technical notions of kaiseki to create an ever-evolving seasonal narrative within each meal.”

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chef Niki Nakayama began her career at Takao. She previously owned Azami Sushi Cafe and Inaka, before opening n/naka four years ago.

“Through a meaningful balance of both traditional and modern techniques, Chef Niki Nakayama is committed to creating a meal that will engage your attention. It’s about enjoying the moment, the current offerings of the season, and ultimately, the food in front of you.”

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n/naka’s Sous Chef and Chef Niki Nakayama prepare fresh uni.

Modern Kaiseki ($165 thirteen course ‚Äď $85 optional wine pairing) per person

A deep exploration of traditional Kaiseki service with modern accents in technique and flavor pairings.¬†Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course meal consisting of a sequence of dishes, each often small and artistically arranged. It’s a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food.¬†It¬†also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals.

There is also a vegetarian menu available for $150, but they are not vegan.¬†Ingredients vary based on season and everything is organic and “farm to table” fresh.¬† Each menu is planned specifically. Guests are consulted on their “Likes & Dislikes” and the menu is confirmed a few days before the reservation.

I’ve been anticipating this dinner since the reservation was confirmed. I watched the “Chef’s Table” episode on Netflix and visited the restaurant’s website. I read the numerous rave reviews and recent interviews with Chef Nakayama regarding her philosophy, style, training and success. After all the hype, I was not disappointed in the least, it was a true “foodie experience”!

The reservation was for Saturday night at 5:30pm (the early seating) and I arrived early, found street parking and waited for the rest of the party to arrive and the restaurant door to open. We were the first guests of the evening and were seated immediately and offered the beer, wine, champagne and sake list.

We chose to add the wine and sake pairings with dinner. If you choose this option, do not plan on driving! Have a designated driver or Uber, Lyft, Taxi or Limosine your way home. In addition to the wine and sake pairings, I ordered a Sapporo beer to enjoy with my food.

Sapporo beer, still water and the “Zen” rock garden centerpiece and place settings:

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Philippe champagne to start the evening and toast the special occasion!

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

First appetizer: oyster with roe, uni, orange and foam sauce.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: Not everyone likes oysters, so a second appetizer was graciously substituted.

Second appetizer: Snow crab with roe and pea puree.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a 2013 white wine

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Seasonal Appetizer course: lobster tempura with spicy aoli, smoky cod on lemon, Tazmanian sea trout sashimi, stuffed squid with crab, quail egg and squid ink.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The lobster in light tempura with the spicy aoli was “melt in your mouth” incredible. And so was the cod, sea trout and stuffed squid.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Seijuro Fujitsu cold sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sashimi course: Bonita sashimi with black mustard flower and shiso paste served with a mini yuzo sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Soup course: Clam with radish & seaweed in clear Japanese water broth.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Alsace Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés 2012 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sashimi course: toro belly, kampachi yellowtail with cucumber, red snapper, uni on lemon and octopus in a daikon radish slice

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a really nice tasting sweet cold sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cooked fish course: Delicious “grilled” Branzino with pickled daikon, ginkgo nut and cooked bamboo. I think it was blowtorched to perfection.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a tasty Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Steamed course: egg, snow crab, shitake mushroom and shiso. Thicker than a soup.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Pazo Se√Īorans Albari√Īo 2013 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Special Pasta course: abalone, truffle & spaghetti with garlic butter cream sauce.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a Sancere 2013 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Wagyu beef (to die for) on a hot stone – cook to taste with vegetables brussel sprout, purple carrot, asparagus and a beet chip in daikon horseradish sauce and sea salt.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: I wanted a whole steak of this A+ Wagyu beef! It was superb.

Paired with a rich Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 red wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sunomono course: firefly squid with cucumber, tomato and seaweed (sorry, pulled it apart before taking the pic) served with a mini yuzo sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi course (6 pieces and soup): Toro, makata, Japanese mackerel, sweet shrimp, squid, uni and shrimp head in white miso broth.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Makata and Toro (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Japanese Mackerel and Sweet Shrimp (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka!  Squid and Uni (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Shrimp head in white miso soup (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Born Gold Junmai¬†Daiginjo cold sake. “Gold has an elegant nose comprised of green apple, sweet rice, plum skin, and peach aromas.”

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert course #1: Melon sorbet with icy rose granita. Served with hot green tea in a bowl.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert course #2: popcorn ice cream with cookies & cream meringue, lemon drop gelee’, chocolate covered raisin, sugared fennel and caramel sauce. Served with a different hot green tea in a cup.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Birthday Dessert (not mine): green tea pudding with whipped cream and a strawberry.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert was paired with an unusual sweet/spicy Hannya cold sake (tasted like a liquer).

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sake and Wine! They have many choices both by the glass and by the bottle/carafe and the prices are not inexpensive. You can also bring your own wine. There’s a $35 corkage fee and a “limit” of one bottle per every two people in the party.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Wine and Sake (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Wine and Sake (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE LARGER IMAGE OF PICS!

FYI – Front page of the Beer, Wine, Champagne and Sake List:

“Without wine, even beautiful cherry blossoms have small attraction”

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

“As to flowers, when half open; as to sake, when a person is half tipsy”

The service was great and the courses were well timed. It’s not a large space and the restaurant is about the food and the dining experience, not the number of people served. Each dish is ART and requires attention to detail in the planning and preparation. Our multi-course dinner from start to finish timed out at about three wonderful hours.

After the meal, Chef Nakayama came to our table and thanked us for coming. She was incredibly sincere and humble when we praised her and the incredible food she created.

BRAVA! BRAVA!

n/naka's Chef Niki Nakayama

n/naka’s Chef Niki Nakayama

n/naka3455 Overland Ave, Palms (Los Angeles)  www.n-naka.com

Reservations are absolutely required. They are currently booked until July!

 

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Pictures of Sushi.

Su-su-sushi!

Tuna poke' (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Tuna poke’ (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Rainbow roll (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Rainbow roll (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy tuna and Yellowtail jalape√Īo cut rolls (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy tuna and Yellowtail jalape√Īo cut rolls (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Eel and avocado (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Eel and avocado (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy yellowtail and tuna cut rolls

Spicy yellowtail and tuna cut rolls

Albacore and Bluefin Tuna sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore and Bluefin Tuna sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy tuna and California cut rolls

Spicy tuna and California cut rolls

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Baked scallops California roll (BSC)

Baked Scallops California roll (BSC)

Spicy tuna cut roll

Spicy tuna cut roll

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Dinner at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino

Dinner at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino

We were going for dinner tonight at Sushi Hirosuke and instead found this sad news taped to the door:

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Sad News! Sushi Hirosuke RIP (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

My friend Hiro, the sushi chef, opened this place in the early 90s and we used to have dinner here twice a week. He sold it to a nice couple who ran it for a long time. It was a good place, not great, but it was reasonably priced, local, and always good enough.

My friend Hiro-san now owns the amazingly awesome Sushi Ichiban Kan in Tarzana (you can read about it and see the pictures in my previous blogs).

There’s a lot of sushi competition in the neighborhood! On Ventura Boulevard, between Sepulveda and Reseda, there are more than fourteen sushi restaurants: Katsu-ya, Midori, Yamato, Benihana’s, Okamura, Cho Cho San, Dancing Wasabi, Octopus, Four on Six, Sushi Ajito, Crazy Tokyo, Sushi Tsune, Makoto, and¬†our new destination for dinner¬†Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Upstairs in the mall where they shot “The 40 Year Old Virgin” is a new Japanese restaurant. I had heard nice things about it, but this was my very first time dining there. Ride the escalator or elevator to the third floor, enter the restaurant and enjoy the asian food and drink experience.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

The Bar of Tokyo at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise has a great selection of sake and a full bar! They have a Happy Hour menu and specials from 3-6:30pm and after 10:30pm.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo: Great Selection of Sake!(copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo: Beers on draft. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Restaurant!

Tuesday at 7pm, the place was empty. When you enter through the restaurant you are greeted at the Host Desk by the Giant Face seen below. ¬†There’s a glass enclosed covered patio with a nice view of Ventura Blvd, the Sushi Bar area and a Dining Room area. We sat inside in a booth, which was too low for the table, wasn’t very comfortable for my back, and felt very cramped and claustrophobic. I did have a view of the glass enclosed kitchen, but could only see the grill from where I was seated.¬†

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro РWelcome!  (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi Bar (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi Bar (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Patio Dining (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Kitchen & Grill enclosed in glass (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

It’s a very pretty restaurant, done in very modern Japanese design. We were seated, greeted and provided with drinks while we perused the menu and decided on our food choices. They have a massive menu with sushi, salads, rolls, entrees, sides, and desserts….and it’s very confusing. They also have an ala carte sushi and sushi roll menu and a yakitori menu with all kinds of traditional (chicken, beef, vegetables) and weird things (intestines, livers, and other parts) grilled on a skewer. Mark those menus with a pencil.

The prices are VERY REASONABLE!!! You can eat a lot of different things, share them, try stuff you might never try if you feel adventurous, and just have a really big meal Japanese meal for a good price. The drink prices are also GREAT!

ON THE MENU: hot sake, cucumber with sesame sunomono, grilled shishito pepper, avocado & negitoro (spicy tuna), fried calamari, spicy tuna roll, Wisconsin roll (salmon and crab), sushi – salmon, yellowtail and albacore, potstickers, chicken meatball and pork kalbi skewers and an iced green tea. We also ordered the live Uni pasta, roasted eggplant side, and a big Spicy Tuna and Rice bowl (we asked for brown rice, but got steamed white rice instead).

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Hot Sake! Large size! (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Cucumber with sesame sunomo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – grilled shishito peppers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – avocado and negitoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – fried calamari (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – chicken meatball and pork kalbi skewers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – potstickers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Wisconsin roll: salmon over crab (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – spicy tuna roll (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi! Salmon, yellowtail and albacore. (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Everything was good! The fish was good quality, fresh and tasty. The cooked stuff was also done right. The fried calamari was excellent! I also enjoyed the spicy tuna dishes quite a bit. The avocado and negitoro was a good choice. Next time I’ll have the pork kalbi salted instead of sauced and forget about the cucumber and sesame sunomono.

They’re open late weeknights, and really late on Fridays and Saturdays, so I might have to go back soon….

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Enjoying my dinner! Tasty Japanese Goodness! (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

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Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Into the Sunset on Ventura Boulevard…Time to Blog This.¬†(copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Р17401 Ventura Blvd., B21, Encino, CA 91316 http://www.otootorestaurant.comhttp://www.ramla.net

 

Sushi and Sake! Dinner at Yoshi’s in San Francisco!

Sushi and Sake! Dinner at Yoshi’s in San Francisco!

Saturday, 21 June 2014 – 6:00pm

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

As part of the weekend road trip to San Francisco and the St. Paul’s Reunion, Pub Crawl and Brunch it was decided by Doug that we would have an early dinner in the Omakase Room at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Our reservation was for six o’clock, so we taxied from the hotel to the restaurant and met our friends there.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Bar at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Our party of 14 was seated right away in a rectangular glass dining room with a long wood table within the larger dining room. It wasn’t private, but it was separated from the rest of the tables and other guests. The dining room is very large and the ceilings are super high. It’s very stylish, with black lacquered furniture and Japanese flourishes, and decorated with large and funky “paper lantern” light fixtures.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And there’s live jazz performed during the dinner service. They also have a jazz club adjacent to the restaurant and bar, and if you have dinner you get preferred seating with your admission ticket for the show. Bobby Caldwell was playing the night we were there and the restaurant was full when we arrived. I took these interior pics after the early dinner crowd had gone into the club.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Live Jazz! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

There’s an Open Kitchen behind glass off the dining room.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Open Kitchen behind glass (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Open Kitchen behind glass (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

On The Menu:

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

We ordered a fancy yuzu cold sake and edamame for the table, and then some appetizers: crab cocktail with avocado mousse, crispy brussel sprouts, and shishito peppers.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Shishito Peppers starter (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Crab cocktail with avocado puree (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Everyone ordered their own dinner and then we shared. The management sent us a complimentary Red Dragon Roll, which was nice. The food presentation was beautiful! We ordered a bunch of different rolls, sushi and sashimi, and a few people had the dinner entrees : Steak Diane, Scallops, Flank Steak and Pork Loin.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. ¬†– Hamachi sushi (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Spider Roll (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I enjoyed the appetizers. The crab cocktail was a WINNER! I ordered the 49er roll: salmon, crab and avocado; and an order of Hamachi (yellowtail) sushi. I also sampled the spider roll, red dragon roll, the three kingdom roll, and the butterfish roll. I love sushi! Everything I ate was super fresh and yummy. Knowing that we had some drinking to do, I didn’t want to stuff myself too much, so we exercised some restraint.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Complimentary Red Dragon Roll (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Salmon and Tuna Sashimi (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Scallop dinner (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Three Kingdom Roll (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Steak Diane dinner (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Pork Loin dinner (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Flank Steak dinner (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And a couple people had dessert: chocolate mousse and gelato and coffee mousse.

I did not.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Chocolate Mousse (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Coffee Mousse! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

A good time was had by all. The food was good. The service was good, but not great. Since I didn’t make the reservation or choose the restaurant, I was just along for the ride. If¬†you have a party of 14 and a “private room” the service should really be GREAT!¬†

8:15pm Our limousine arrived at 8:00pm and was waiting for us outside the restaurant.

Your Limosine is waiting.

Your Limosine is waiting.

Yoshi’s1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco 94115 http://www.yoshis.com

I’m told they have a great “Happy Hour” menu in the bar from 5-7pm daily.

UPDATE March 21, 2015: In October 2014, Yoshi’s changed names to The Addition. In January 2105, The Addition closed. Yoshi’s in Oakland remains open.

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