[Vancouver, BC] Nouveau Kokomo! Soba & Ramen in one place!

Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba
Seymour St,
Vancouver, BC

Hours: 11a.m.–10p.m.
Phone: (604) 559-8872

When Japanese tradition gets nouveau, it’s time to hit the Kokomo! Japanese Chef Takuma Ishikawa invented the mazesoba dish and has expanded the franchise out to Vancouver. I’ve been busy of late with my other preoccupation (fandom/comic conventions) and when hunger strikes, I still pay attention to my foodie desires. This large diner has been the talk of the town since it opened two years ago. When I heard fellow Fan Expo Vancouver attendees talking about where to go for ramen, my ears perked. A hop, skip and jump of about four blocks had me faced with the difficult choice of which one of the three dishes should I have? Should I have ramen, a don or mazesoba?

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia, er Chiba! Vying more Sushi back in Victoria, BC

Chiba Sushi
2706 Government St
Victoria, BC

Hours:
Mon.-Tue., Thu. 11:30a.m.–2:30p.m.
and 4:30–9:30p.m. (Sat & Sun only)

Phone: (250) 383-9886

ES: For most of my life when challenging Victoria, BC’s crazy 7 point intersection and figuring out which way am I going, I always see Chiba Sushi. The thought of going into this operation crossed my mind and at least that decision is easier to make. This restaurant is cozy and blends a bit of the traditional–dining in a booth (shoes are taken off before entering)–with the modern. The atmosphere is better than that of  a wayfarer station. This place is almost overlooked because of its location. It’s been around for as long as I can remember. It may be older than me!

DK: I was 19 the last time I went to Chiba Sushi. New to town, and a tad naïve. I brought along a co-worker. I hoped it might be a date. She forgot her wallet. Her boyfriend picked her up. It was not a date. Ed, however, showed up with a cash card in hand and promised me his popcorn refill at a movie later. True love comes to those who wait, or popcorn and a friend at least.

Let’s continue to focus on the positive: Chiba makes a number of unique special rolls that are surprisingly satisfying. We sampled four rolls; the Mango and the Phoenix being clear winners. Both options are constructed similarly: something sweet, something tempura, something from the sea and some avocado. A winning flavour combo in both instances.

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[Seattle, WA] Surfing Over to Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill

83 Spring St
Seattle, WA 98104

Hours: 11 am to 11 pm
Phone: (206) 340-8880

I should not be surprised that Seattle is becoming much more like Victoria, BC at every new visit I make. Yes, I’ve been spending my holidays here and that’s because this city is easy to reach, and not all that expensive to get there. The food can be pricey at times, but the less I spend on transportation, the more can be explored with various operations here. I feel more Japanese eateries exists in this city per square block than any other. Competition is stiff, and I don’t feel the need to return my go to places when there’s more to discover every visit.

Nijo is a comfortable place to have something old and something new. I had dishes which were not the staples for many a meal. Yes, I can get tired of tuna and salmon fast.

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[Seattle, WA] Katsu on a Feeling

Katsu Burger
Multiple Locations
Seattle, Washington

Hours: 11:00 am to 10:00pm

Hamburger patties can flame grilled, air-cooked or microwaved (for those in a rush). Frying it in a vat of oil is not altogether strange. That’s what make certain innovations interesting. Katsu Burger is a Seattle-based chain offering deep fried hamburgers. It’s supposed to be one of the latest things coming out of Japan, but one look online shows they are lightyears ahead with other innovations–like adding lotus root, fried noodles or using rice-based buns to a classic fast food dish.

The idea using fried bread is not above me. The thought of a protein patty sandwiched in between Indigenous style bannock is going to have me experimenting.

In what makes a Katsu katsu is with breading the meat before getting deep fried. With pork or chicken, the meat is pounded until it’s suitably flat. Though with ground meat, that’d be tough to do. Slabs of beef can be buffeted with honey to have a shine, and it’d certainly change the flavour profile.

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[Seattle, WA] Come Sail Away with me at Sushi Kashiba

Sushi Kashiba
86 Pine St #1
Seattle, WA

Phone: (206) 441-8844
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

During the busy holiday weekends in Seattle, my advise is to make reservations if you want to insure getting a seat to dine at Sushi Kashiba. This port city is known for many things, and despite what anyone says about Pike Place Market, it’s home to many secret delights. I’ve known about this particular dining establishment for a while and keep on getting sidetracked when I discover something new. Even though I had a special fund just to dine here, it can get spent fast on other delights.

When considering Chef Kashiba trained under Jiro, a sushi master, I knew I’d be in for a treat.

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Not Quite Kissing the Fish With Ki Sushi in New West

Ki Sushi Restaurant
45 8th Street
New Westminster, BC

Phone: (604) 521-1833
Hours: 11a.m.–9:30p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11a.m.–10p.m.

Even when I’m in a different part of the Lower Mainland, I gravitate to my dietary staple, fish. If only I was in Japan, I’d find most of it bought from tsukiji market, or caught right from the river and cut up for consumption. If only that was the case out in New Westminster, since it’s by the Fraser River.

Ki Sushi is voted as the best sushi restaurant 14 years in a row by some reader’s choice awards. Of course, that means by mostly locals. After travelling far and wide, just where they rank in the bigger leaderboard is not all that high. Their tuna is mid to lower grade in taste; I could tell by the colour. My recall of what I tasted at Sushi Kashiba (Seattle’s very best) and Fūdo’s when compared to this place told me there’s a huge difference and you get what you pay for, especially when concerning tuna. The BC salmon was far better.

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