Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Best Thai Food ... Found In A Costa RicanTown

I was staying in the beach-resort town of Jaco, on the western Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Our hotel was not a fully all-inclusive one, and provided just breakfast. But Jaco was a touristy town, and had a number of restaurants, from Chinese to Pizzerias.
My usual jaunt was to a local restaurant that offered cheap Costa Rican food. But after a while, I heard about a Thai restaurant that had just opened up, and visited for dinner. I have never been to Thailand, but love Thai food, as it always conjures up images of fresh ingredients and spices, all mixed and cooked in street-side stands. Besides, I come from Asia and as much as I consider myself a lover of all good dishes, nothing comes closer than Asian cooking.
As soon as I entered the restaurant expecting some good Thai food a wave of disappointment hit me. Because there was not a Thai or a Chinese to be seen; instead the owner/cook was a Caucasian. A Canadian citizen.
So, a Canadian cooking Thai food in Costa Rica. Yeah right.
Well, we had already entered and sat, so I did not have the stomach to get up.
The restaurant had just opened up, and the kitchen was basically a long table behind the counter and I could see all the cooking being done.
And then I felt it; The aroma wafting through the sultry air. It was the aroma that I had conjured up in my dreams of good Thai food.
I don’t remember what I had, but it was one of the best Thai meals I had ever had: Very spicy with the owner growing some of the ingredients such as lemongrass at her home.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Trying Omakase At Omi Sushi, Toronto

Last year I had written (read here ) about my first visit to Omi, on the Parliament-Carlton intersection in Toronto, and had mentioned about my desire to test the omakase the next time.
Well, I recently got the opportunity to just experiment my first ever Omakase. According to Wikipedia, the philosophy behind Omakase is all about trust; that is, placing the trust on the chef to provide something exquisite and creative. And it is also not supposed to be just raw food (sushi/sashimi), but include dishes made by simmering, grilling etc.
I had reserved beforehand, and arrived pretty late in the evening. There were close to ten people which I thought was good for that time of the day.
We were seated with our backs facing the wall, and just across us, on the other side of the aisle was the counter and behind it was the rather serious-looking chef at work.
I ordered sake, and green tea. For the sake, they offer a box full of cups for us to select one. I like cups that come with a tinge of roughness one attributes to ceramic, but this time for a change I decided to go for a smooth, shiny white cup.
The waitress informed us that there will be seven courses.
Course 1
Miso soup. The friendly waitress informed me that the soup was made with organic products. I could not detect any of the usual small cubes of soft tofu, but there were green onion rings and sea weed. The soup was moderately warm, and had an  exquisite dash of sourness.