Tuesday, June 07, 2016

My very first yakitori experience and before I even had anything, I was already drooling.
Super hole in the wall restaurant
Perhaps I was extremely hungry that day after a day of strolling through warm sand and Golden Gate Park. Or maybe because it smelled so damn good inside the store, especially when you're sitting at the bar seats right in front of the (was it charcoal?) grill.
When you have a shelf of sochu and sake in front of you, you pretty much can't go away with not having one. I had pointed to a random one (I think it was a sweet potato based sochu) on the menu but turns out they just ran out, and instead recommended this sake:
A new one they just stocked
I'm always inclined to go for Asian alcohols (except for China's baijiu which sets my innards on fire) cause I seem to handle them quite well. And it's fitting for an Asian meal. So we had some of this first while they took a while to get our order started. Served chilled and really smooth. Waitress made a hella good recommendation.
Once the first round (beef belly) came by, the others rolled out one by one (pacing was perfect), and we got some edamame on the houseee (No, they don't give it to just anyone cause I'm super nosy and checked out the peoples beside us) 
They have beef belly on the menu and I'm sold. I'm trying to image the fatty layers before it even arrives on my plate and it's hard to not get excited. SO DELICIOUS. Could this be like a wagyu-wannabe? (I don't know cause I haven't had wagyu either) When it first lands into your mouth you taste the grill flavours (you know, the yummy color and flavours from your Maillard reaction) but then the fat hits your tongue and begins to melt. It's juicy, rich, and you think you've reached the peak of your love but then you bite down onto a meatier bit and the beefiness hits you. Yes, I am beef, it reminds you, and you think, wow. You'd think that the fat>meat ratio is too much but no. So then you take another strip of beef belly (they've arranged 5-6 well-portioned pieces of the belly onto the skewer to satisfy your pleasure). Very good
So while the beef belly still lingers in your mouth, the next plate comes by with chicken cartilage (right) that isn't super crispy (I've only eaten it deep fried so I was expecting a similar texture, which was stupid and ignorant of me). A bit on the salty side. Not sure if I would order it again, but I'll have a couple of pieces off your skewer when you order it. Bad

No, eating chicken heart (left) doesn't creep me out, I'm Asian. Actually this was marinated really well, and the texture when grilled was amazing. Nice bite, not chewy. But I was still thinking if we should get another order of the beef belly.... Good
Pork cheek is so delicious grilled - you can't get the same cooked-ness from even pan frying it on high heat. And it sounds good in Japanese too - tontoro. Very fatty, but unlike pork belly you get a nice bite (wow what's with these 'nice bite' descriptions I have today - current count: 2, I promise no more). And salted nicely so they also give you a yellow wasabi mustard which helps you cut through the savoriness. Usually I've had this served with some yuzu salt. But perhaps this wasabi mustard is a better accompaniment. Good
Chicken skin had crispy edges and a soft kind of chewy interior. Nice way to end off the meal. Maybe a bit too salty for my liking (I enjoy the sweet - savoury mix). (My favourite skewered chicken skin still has got to be this satay in Malaysia, specifically, the cart a few steps away from our apartment, whose chicken satay would be  tender chicken thigh meat and chicken skin alternately). Okay

We didn't have dessert here and actually I was reaching a good volume of satisfied. This place is tiny and only fits maybe maximum of 25-30 people? We stayed seated for a bit after our meal but see that there's a crowd outside waiting for seats.
Beatles memorabilia everywhere
The next day we needed to grab something to eat quick and I wanted to come back for only the beef belly. My friend thought that idea was ridiculous. We went to a Japanese place (run by Koreans of course) instead.

Major-ly missing my previously daily cafe and the baristas who were hipster AF, and loved coffee more than anything else.

Waiting for our 'Clever' coffee (pour over)

And because I can never make coffee or espresso like those guys I've now been making my routine batches of cold brew to try and cure the lack of good hot coffee and lack of cali cold brews.