Sunday, February 22, 2009


No, that's not a typo or a misspelling.

Last week, the coworkers and I headed to the Japanese restaurant in Smyrna to celebrate the addition of a new coworker. As far as I know, none of us had been there since my first day at work last April. My impression wasn't that great last year, but some things have changed (including their lunch boxes and much of the menu, it appears...or maybe my memory is bad).

Anyhoo, it's one of those hibachi restaurants. I don't really care for hibachi. For one thing, I don't love plain ol' vegetable stirfry but the main reason is that it's not a great set-up for conversation. So we chose a table and four of us got the lunch specials and two of us ordered from the menu. Guess what I did...yeah, you know it. I got miso (of course), an avocado salad and tempura sweet potatoes.

The salad? Was like the typical salad but covered in sliced avocado after a decent helping of ginger dressing. Avocado and ginger dressing. Yum. And the tempura...usually when I order tempura, I suffer through the broccoli and completely ignore the onion and savor as much of the sweet potato as I can. But this serving had just what I love...and enough to share. A++++ would buy again.

After we were finished eating and just chatting, I noticed that the people who ordered the lunch special all had these three yellow-orange orbs on their trays. None of them had ventured to try the dessert. So I stabbed my fork into the closest one and sucked it in. Hmm. What was this? An apricot? Noooo. It looked like an apricot--it was the right size and the middle was hollow where a stone should be. So the boss tried one and being a woman of the world said she thought it was akin to what they call in Spain a nispero. Unfortunately, all the propietor could tell us was that it was a Japanese fruit he bought canned because you could not buy it fresh here and he did not know an English word for it.

I could think of an English word for it...tasty. The boss and I proceeded to slurp down (between the two of us, but it was mostly me) upwards of ten of these fruits. She has an excuse (she's pregnant). Me, not so much. It didn't hurt until I tried to get up. That's a lot of fruit.

So back at the office, I whip out the Google and type in Japanese canned fruit yellow and within a minute or so, I discover that we were eating loquats. Which are, indeed, the same as nisperos. The boss, she is smart. And my new favorite word? Loquat.

Friday night, the SO and I went to the newly-remodled Miss Saigon on Charlotte Pike (very nice, though the vegetarian food is no longer segregated on the menu, which is a wee annoying and they also haven't replaced the vermicelli dish that had tofu that went away when they no longer got the shredded tofu). So you know I had to go into the K&S International Market to see if I could find loquats. And, dear readers, I braved the smell of dying-but-not-yet-dead sea critters and came out victorious. One can of loquats in syrup and one can of fruit salad made with other exotic fruits as well. Yummers. They await the appropriate occasion to serve them.

And while I'm being loquacious here, let me point out two new blogs I've added to the blogroll in the last week:
--Cooking School Confidential: The Almost Vegetarian goes to culinary school and gives us all the gory details!
--Tofu and Cupcakes: Even better than it sounds and photography that makes me ashamed to own a camera.

Check them out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I'm way overdue for a post here. The end of January was a bit crazy and February has just been busy. The short story is that we ended postponing the wedding but went on the honeymoon anyway. That's one less thing we have to worry about when we actually do get married.

We spent the first week of January in Cancun at an all-inclusive resort called Sun Palace. It's in the southernmost section of the hotel zone, which is quieter than other parts and the hotel itself is smaller than some of the mega resorts. It's also couples- and adults-only. All that combined makes for the perfect honeymoon spot.

One might think that an all-inclusive resort might not have the best quality food, but this one is on the upper end of the scale and they really try hard to provide a good variety. But the authentic Mexican food is some of my favorite. Though I was pleasantly surprised by a noodle dish and spring rolls in their Asian restaurant.

So, what did I enjoy? Mmmm...empanadas and torrejas* and fresh guava and mango and mounds of the best and freshest guacamole** ever and fresh tortillas and goat's milk yogurt and soy milk smoothies and Pepsi with actual sugar and watermelon goat cheese salad and spring rolls and avocado and banana sushi rolls and quesadillas and squash blossom soup and flan made from a fruit I can't remember and sangria. Lots and lots of sangria. And red wine. Lots and lots of red wine.

As you can imagine, we ate ourselves silly. Here's a little proof:

I want to go back. Right now. Coming back home after a week there was a shock. Having to actually prepare and wait for food to prepare when you're hungry is a real bummer when you've had it at your fingertips 24 hours a day. And I'm pretty sure the SO misses having bacon for breakfast every morning. And fresh paella for lunch. Hrm, maybe we should wait to get married long enough to earn another honeymoon...

*Holy cow, torrejas are slices of bread (a baguette), dipped in batter that is milk, eggs, and honey and then deep fried. Oh wow. Deep fried French toast. Yes, please. Recipe here.

**I ate guacamole on French fries every day and I miss it terribly. Don't knock it till you try it.