Friday, December 10, 2010

My Maui Favorites...

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I've been asked for my Maui grindz recommendations. It's been a couple of years since I visited the homeland, here's my favorites:



Sam Sato - Wailuku

* dry noodles
* manju


Tasaka Guri Guri - Kahului

* Strawberry
* Pineapple
(cross between sherbet and ice cream)


Komoda Bakery - Makawao

* cream puffs


Aloha Mixed Plate - Lahaina

* plate lunch


Da Kitchen - Kihei

* plate lunch


Roy's Kahana

* nightly special
* chocolate souffle (must order 45 mins in advance)


Sansei Seafood and Sushi Bar - Kapalua & Kihei

* small plates
* sushi


Star Noodle** - Lahaina

* garlic noodles
* steamed pork buns
* mini-malasadas


Hula Grill - Kaanapali Beach

* lunch
* pupus
* drinks on the beach


Nobu's Lunchwagon** - Lahaina

* plate lunch


Mala Ocean Tavern - Lahaina

* great ocean view
* Dessert - Caramel Miranda


Old Lahaina Luau - Lahaina

* one of the best in the islands


Honokowai Okazuya - Lahaina

* plate lunch


Merriman's Kapalua - Kapalua

* great ocean view
* daily specials


Pineapple Grill - Kapalua

* great ocean view
* daily specials


Hali'imaile General Store - Hali'imaile

* crab dip


A Saigon Cafe - Wailuku

* Buddha rolls
* lemongrass curry


Mama's Fish House - Ku'au

* fish of the day


Ferraro's Bar e Ristorante - Wailea

* romantic Italian


** - New Restaurant (or fairly new) and I haven't been yet. My food expert friends have given this place high marks and look forward to going on my next trip to Maui.


Maui no ka 'oi

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm Addicted!

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I'm Jay Terauchi and I'm addicted to Betty's Best Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies...

Geez, it's been maybe 15 years now since I've been addicted to these cookies... My auntie in Honolulu would always get cookies for me to bring back to my family here. She wouldn't tell where she got these cookies, since she knew what I liked. It wasn't until a friend took me to Wholesale Unlimited and the first words out of my mouth, "Ahhh, this is where my auntie gets them..." I know everyone in the store heard me loud and clear.

My friend Teri recently returned from Hawaii and picked up some cookies for me. I knew they'd be gone in a heartbeat, so I had to put them out of sight. I've had them for almost a week and still have half a bag, I did share some with my friend Jeff (No Twitter name yet).




One Week
Still have some left...

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie
I know what you're saying, I don't like oatmeal either,
but these cookies don't have a lot of oatmeal and are very addicting

Mahalo Teri
Most people know I love chocolate chip cookies. So, what's the fasination with this hard cookie? I won't say what I think the "addicting" factor is, but to me it's the same principle as why people are addicted to sushi. There is a very subtle taste that only one person, besides me, has picked up on. That's all I'll say...
Wonder how long I can keep from finishing off the bag?


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Burger Epilogue

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Monday, November 1st was Sushi Day in Japan and I was all set for a sushi lunch. Massive phone calls and project deadlines didn't allow me to leave my desk. While on the phone, I happened to see a picture posted on "Burgers on the Edge" Facebook page and it looked so good... Right @jlieu?

Avocado Burger
If you missed it...I asked my interim assistant to pick up lunch on her way back from FedEx. She returned with a California Roll and tried to convince me that "The LA Sushi Guys" should eat sushi today... The real truth was that she had no clue where to get a burger that I had described, this is why she's an interim assistant, j/k...
It was good and satisfied my need for a good burger, but was NO "Burgers on the Edge" and the fries were overcooked... It was close, but we aren't playing horseshoes... BOO!
So, I'm still in search for a great burger and have to thank "Burgers on the Edge" for setting the bar so high...

Monday, November 1, 2010

What? No burger today...

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In Japan, today is Sushi Day. This morning, I was all set to have sushi for lunch in celebration of sushi day. Somehow, I got stuck on the phone all morning. While on the phone, I was checking Facebook and saw a picture of an awesome burger combo with fries from Honolulu's Burgers on the Edge. That's all I could think of...

Since I was stuck on the phone, I had to scramble to get a few things done today. Now it's 3 pm and didn't have a chance to grab lunch yet. I described the awesome burger to my interim assistant and asked her to pick up lunch for me on the way back from FedEx.

This is what she picked up for my lunch today...


No burger combo for me today...She said that I would probably regret not having sushi on sushi day, since Jeff Nitta and I are launching "The LA Sushi Guys" site today. She then told me that she had no idea where to get the kind of burger that I described and didn't want to disappoint me.

Solution: I just have to get on a plane and go to Burgers on the Edge in Hawaii...

Join us at http://www.thelasushiguys.blogspot.com/ for the launch of our new sushi site.

You can find out more information on Burgers on the Edge at http://www.burgersontheedge.com/




Friday, October 29, 2010

Old Skool Way...

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One of my favorite places to eat growing up was a small teriyaki hut just outside of Downtown LA. Spending lots of summers in Hawaii, I was used to eating plate lunch. But at home, there wasn't anything close, except for Bernie's Teriyaki.


Bernie's Teriyaki
Closed on Sundays



The interior really hasn't changed since I was in the 9th Grade

Bernie's is one of those places where the food/recipes hasn't changed in years. It tastes the same as it did back in the late 1970's. The taste and smell reminds me of the church fundraisers in Hawaii selling Huli Huli Chicken, but can't find anything close to it these days.


My Favorite Menu Item

Chicken and Beef Combo

$5.25


Other things on the menu: teri burgers, teri chicken, wonton soup, and taquitos. But, everyone orders the combo plates. The last time I was there, there was a young couple who read the Yelp review and knew what to order. Guess they didn't know it came with fried rice, because they ordered two sides of the fried rice. It's good, but not that good...


There aren't too many places that you can get Old Skool food anymore. They either don't know how to cook or have no idea how it should be done. Everyone is looking for that type of comfort food. I'm glad that somethings never change and Bernie's Teriyaki is still around...


Bernie's Teriyaki
318 Glendale Blvd
(Between Temple Street and 2nd Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 250-8413



Photos by Jay Terauchi

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Taco in a Bun

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Took a break from all of the gourmet food that I've had in the last week. So today, Jeff Nitta (not on Twitter) and I had our weekly meeting at "Rick's Drive In" in Pasadena. We tried the "Taco in a Bun" and Spuderito (a burrito with French Fries).


Taco in a Bun
Both had promise and with a bit more seasoning, they would both be something really good. It was a good lunch and meeting. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Noodle Inspiration

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I was reading Nonstop Honolulu the other day and came across Mari Taketa's (@nonstopmari) "What is it about saimin?" Saimin is a noodle soup unique to Hawaii with Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino ingredients. Spending a lot of summers in Hawaii with my grandparents, I grew up with saimin and still love it many years later. Although there aren't really good saimin places in Southern California, I had to look for a noodle place that would satisfy my urge for this local favorite.

A few months ago, my friend introduced me to Foo Foo Tei in Hacienda Heights. Foo Foo Tei is a unique place that serves 31 different types of ramen or at least that is the base. My friend happened to read postings from http://www.goramen.com/ . OK, this is a small world, I know Keizo (@GoRamen) who heads the site and is the ramen master in my book. Keizo tried the 31 different ramens each day for a month, you can read about his ramen adventure on his site. I don't think I could eat that much ramen, would have to have a few carne asada taco breaks...

But today, it was all about noodles, so I went to Foo Foo Tei for lunch and ordered #11 - Ebi Wantan Men (shrimp wonton noodle soup)


Foo Foo Tei in Hacienda Heights


The Ebi Wantan Men (Shrimp Wonton Noodles)
Very hot steaming bowl

Served with shrimp, baby bok choy, egg noodles, and wontons.
A few minutes after I ordered, it arrived at the table steaming hot, the picture didn't come out too clear with all of the steam. A steaming bowl is a sign of a good Japanese bowl of noodles. Not sure why other ramen shops take so long, when they just serve noodles in different broths. Foo Foo Tei is really fast, especially with all of the components that were in my #11.

Ebi wantans with shrimp roe
The roe made the wantans POP!


Gyoza
One of the Best I've Had!
Murakami san is a Genius! Using the soup broth to flavor the gyozas is AMAZING! The bottoms are really crunchy, but the filling is well cooked and served with grated daikon (giant white radish).

I love eating at Foo Foo Tei, there's so many different ramen varieties, in addition to a great kitchen menu.  They do get crazy busy for lunch, so be prepared to wait.

I had lunch with Melissa Chang (@Melissa808) yesterday and she mentioned that people had sent their saimin stories to Mari and she posted another article "Saimin: I get it." So Mari, sometimes food like saimin doesn't make sense and there's a few out there that I don't get either. But for me, saimin is a part of growing up in Hawaii and spending time with my grandparents. I'll always remember that time in my life, because when you can't have saimin...that's when you REALLY want it...



Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Tuna Good for the Environment?

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A few of you have asked for additional information on Kindai Bluefin Tuna as mentioned on an earlier post.

My friend Jeff Nitta introduced me to Kindai Tuna at an event a few years ago. After hearing about the plight of the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, I knew that I had to stop eating wild bluefin tuna while the tuna population regenerates. I haven't had any wild bluefin tuna in years.



Kindai Tuna was well represented
at the FILManthropy Festival


The FILManthropy Festival educates, inspires, motivates, and raises the awareness to forgotten or unknown issues, such as wild bluefin tuna, through a variety of films. Thank you to the Sirens Society for helping to educate at the festival.


Chef Makoto Okuwa verifies that it's the real deal


Each Certified Kindai Bluefin Tuna comes with a certificate, so you know it wasn't a wild catch. The certificate states where the tuna was born, where it was raised, what it was fed, etc. Each certified tuna was spawned at the Kinki University's aqua farms in Japan, which is an industry world leader.

This certified bluefin tuna meets his high standards
and is served at Sashi in Manhattan Beach


3 Different Bluefin Tuna Cuts
Akami (Red Meat), Chutoro (Medium Fatty Belly), and Otoro (Fatty Belly)


Most people don't like farm raised fish. Ahh, salmon comes to mind. The coloring is in this tuna is vibrant and the flavor is rich, not like farm raised at all.


A Certified Kindai Bluefin Tuna dish by Chef Makoto


Kindai Bluefin Tuna isn't the answer to overfishing, but it's an alternative to wild bluefins and not tapping into the current population. Until there is a better solution, we have this great tasting option.

Stay current with the bluefin tuna news
Follow "Friends and Family of the Bluefin Tuna"
on Facebook: FFBluefinTuna

video

A Very Special Thank You to Rand Gamble & Tricia Ting



Photos by Amy Cusack, Dave Kuo, Jay Terauchi

Arigato to Chef Makoto Okuwa and Sashi Restaurant

For more information:

http://www.filmanthropyfestival.com/

http://www.sashimb.com/

www.facebook.com/ffbluefintuna

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Helping Others and Tuna too...

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A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I started my career working for a major Hollywood studio. While there, I was fortunate to screen a lot of films during my 10 years in the industry. I still love films and filmmaking, so when my friend Jeff Nitta introduced me to the Sirens Society and heard about their festival and giving back, I knew I had to attend. You see, the Sirens Society promotes philanthropic activities within the community and their FILManthropy Festival actually "OPEN YOUR EYES" to some great films but also to raise awareness to unknown issues.

I saw some great films, met some AWESOME people, had some wonderful food, and made a difference in many lives too. I know the money raised will help a lot of people.




FILManthropy Festival 2010
Cinespace in Hollywood
October 2 -3, 2010



Hollie Stenson (Left) Festival Director, Jodi Fung: Festival Founder &
Exec. Director, Anne Archer: FILManthropist of the Year 2010


Jodi Fung with Chef Makoto Okuwa from Sashi in Manhattan Beach

Kindai Tuna Presentation at the awards ceremony
Chef Makoto Okuwa, Nick Sakagami: Kindai Tuna importer, and
George Gray: the evening's MC
Wild bluefin tunas have been overfished and Kindai Bluefin Tuna was introduced as an alternative, spawned at the Kinki University's aqua farms in Japan. Not only is it good for the bluefin population, but great tasting too...
Chef Makoto Okuwa demonstrated
Shikai Maki with Kindai Bluefin Tuna


Chef Makoto Okuwa also served
Kindai Tuna Tartare on Crispy Rice


I even jumped in to help...
As I write this entry, I'm drinking my Matcha Matcha Green Tea, something I became aware of at the FILManthropy Festival. It was very nice meeting Tricia Ting and giving me all of the information that I needed and also where to find it. http://www.matchamonk.com/
Many have asked about more information on the wild bluefin tunas, find out more at "Friends and Family of the Bluefin Tuna" on Facebook: FFBluefinTuna
Kindai Bluefin Tuna is served exclusively at Sashi in Manhattan Beach. Say Hello to Chef Makoto Okuwa. Thanks to Sashi's Amy Cusack. http://www.sashimb.com/
For more information on the Sirens Society: http://www.sirenssociety.org/

Thank you Sirens Society! It was a great event and
See You Next Year...


The End!
Curtain closes...House lights come up



Photos by Dave Kuo
Written by Jay Terauchi

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Street Food - Southern Cal Style

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Last Saturday was the Long Beach Street Food Festival. Wanted to try a couple of the trucks that I haven't been yet, so I got up early and headed to Long Beach.

Gogi Balls from Great Balls of Fire on Tires
Enjoyed the short lines when we got there

Can't decide what to try...

Longest line we waited, ordered the Gogi Balls (Korean marinated beef)

Tried a new sushi roll truck...

Cream Cheese Explosion from the Yatta truck

If you don't cut the meat correctly, it's stringy, but the taste was great
From Ahn Joo truck

Probably the best Korean short rib tacos that I've had...From Bool BBQ

Just a quarter of the line for Nom Nom, they had the longest line
I spent about 3 hours and we hit 4 trucks, considering I wasn't that hungry, not bad. The food was pretty much what I had thought, but I'll have to go back for the Korean short rib tacos at Bool BBQ. It was a nice way to spend a Saturday lunch!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Missing The Garnishes...

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On a recent trip to the Bay Area, my friend Curtis suggested that I try this pho place. Pho is a Vietnamese rice noodle soup, with either beef or chicken, and served with garnishes and a variety of sauces.




Curtis mentioned that the place he wanted me to try is a Northern Vietnamese style pho place in San Francisco called Turtle Tower, which really intrigued me. I was wondering what the difference was between this Northern style and the style that I was familiar with? I asked around and not many knew the difference, hence this blog entry.


Southern Vietnamese Style with Garnishes


The style of pho that I'm most familiar with is the Saigon style (Southern Vietnam). This style uses a noodle similar to the size of linguine and served with a variety of garnishes: bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, sliced jalapenos, limes, chili sauce, hoisin sauce, etc.


Northern Vietnamese Style with Garnishes


The style that I tried at Turtle Tower is Hanoi style (Northern Vietnam) which uses a lighter soup base with a wider noodle and topped with just green onions. The garnishes include limes and slice jalapenos. These jalapenos are seeded and the ribs removed, used more for texture than as a spicy flavor enhancer.

I did notice that the Hanoi style broth has more of a citrus flavor to it, maybe its because I love citrus and that's why I enjoyed it so much. But, I have to admit that I missed the garnishes.

I hope you learned something from my pho experience, please share your experience with us.

I'm not the pho expert, but I know someone who is... Checkout http://www.lovingpho.com/

Thank you for stopping by...


Pass the Siracha!



Photos by Jay Terauchi
(c) Kahuna of the Kitchen




Monday, October 4, 2010

Anaheim Certified Farmers' Market

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For all of you who attended my demo, Thank You! Although it was a hot afternoon, we were able to have some fun and answer a lot of sushi questions. Would like to Thank the Anaheim Certified Farmers Market for having me come down to cook for everyone...

Here is the CORRECTED Spicy Tuna Recipe:
1 lb chopped sashimi grade tuna (chop with a knife)
2 TBS mayonnaise (a good quality one)
1 TBS togarashi (Japanese chili pepper)
1 TBS sesame chili oil
1 TBS Siracha (Asian hot sauce)
1 TBS Sambal
1 TBS soy sauce (low salt)
Taste salt
chopped green onions (optional)
Have fun making handrolls for your next party.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ahi Poke

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Spending lots of summers in Hawaii, one of the dishes that I most looked forward to was Poke. Everyone has their own special recipe, but I like the simple ones that highlight ahi, esp since my grandmother knew I love tuna.

Here's a quick Ahi Poke recipe that I use:

2 lbs. Sashimi Grade Yellowfin or Bigeye Tuna
1 pc Octopus
1/4 Maui Onion (or any sweet onion)
3 stalks Green Onions
4 TBS Soy Sauce
Dash chili oil
Hawaiian Salt to taste



Cube tuna and octopus into bite size pieces and add to bowl. Slice Maui Onion and chop green onions and add to bowl. Add soy sauce, chili oil, and Hawaiian Salt.



Refrigerate before serving. If too dry, add more soy sauce.
Remember to keep it cold and enjoy...


Please Note: Wild Bluefin Tuna was NOT used in this dish.




Photos and recipe by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats Worldwide
©Jay Terauchi

Saturday, August 28, 2010

By Popular Demand

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Linguine with Sausage

This simple recipe is my nieces' favorite pasta dish and easy to make.

1 lb bulk pork sausage (I like to use Italian Sausage, but can use any)
2 leeks (thinly sliced)
1 Cup whipping cream
linguine pasta



In skillet, cook sausage (break into pieces) until brown. Add leeks and cook until tender. Drain fat, depending on the sausage usually not much to drain off. Add cream to sausage mixture; heat through. Serve sausage mixture over linguine and top with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Not So Easy…

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Recently, I got a call from a restaurant owner in need of someone to run his kitchen. He runs his restaurant and considers his staff as family. His chef, who had only been there for 9 months, was in the process of changing the menu to reflect the more economical desires of their customers. The owner didn’t like the look of a couple of the dishes and got in the kitchen to show the chef how he wanted the cabbage to be cut. RED FLAG on the play! You might consider the guy family, but you don’t go in to his domain and show him how to do it, especially if he’s the expert.

I guess that was the straw that broke the camel’s back; he couldn’t take the micro-managing anymore and gave his notice. If this owner goes into the kitchen to demonstrate how to cut cabbage, why does he need someone to run his kitchen? Not so easy… I see this often, management doesn’t educate their philosophy and then when the staff gets mixed messages, the system fails.

Roy’s Restaurants, headed by Chef Roy Yamaguchi, does this really well. His chefs are trained in his philosophy before they’re sent out to their restaurants. I believe there are only 5 signature dishes on every menu, the other selections are created by the location’s executive chef and kept regional. By knowing the philosophy, the food is an extension of Roy Yamaguchi vs just a copy.

Often the easy road is taken, “I don’t know what I want, but after I see it can tell you that’s not what I want.” What kind of leadership is that?

Be a leader or get out of the way.

Friday, May 7, 2010

#foodcalendar

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On Twitter, my followers love the daily food holidays that I tweet as #foodcalendar. As a restaurant consultant and chef, marketing is very important to the success or failure of a business. How many restaurants or businesses have you been to and thought that the food or products here are great, but they have no business? It’s an occupational hazard for me and I see it all the time.

One of the fun ways that my restaurant clients love doing is promoting items which they serve on special days. When you sit down at a restaurant and the server rattles off the specials, how many actually listen? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear: “Today is “National Cherry Cheesecake Day so save some room.”

May restaurants promote their daily or weekly specials with a small “s”. Shouldn’t a special come as a Special with a Capital “S”? It’s all about how you promote your product or service. Think about the last salesperson you dealt with, was he/she passionate about their product or service? Did you buy?

Remember: Stories Sell, so have one…

The food calendar I use can be found at:
http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/National_Symbols/American_Hollidays.html

Thanks for stopping by and come again...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Not a Whale Tale: Epilogue

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The restaurant that was caught serving illegal Sei whale meat will be closing its doors in apology. I’m not surprised that “The Hump” in Santa Monica will be closing. I’ve heard that they’ve been a ghost town since they were caught, even during Happy Hour. The Hump has also been plagued by protestors, which hasn’t been good for business either. So, it’s not surprising that they’re closing their doors.

In a statement posted on The Hump’s website, they hope that their closing “will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species. Closing the restaurant is a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court. The owner of The Hump also will be taking additional action to save endangered species.”

What’s sad is that they’re saying all of the right things now after they got caught.
What if they didn’t get caught? Would the owner of The Hump make a substantial contribution to a charity dedicated to the preservation of whales? Probably not…

Restaurants need to be conscious about what’s happening in the world around them. This is what restaurant owners and chefs need to understand, but most of them don’t see or know what’s going on. They’re worried about the food, labor costs, and generating revenue. What they should be concerned with is the “dining experience” which includes the food, service, and atmosphere and not spending their time on gimmicks like illegal whale meat.

We only have one ocean and we can’t screw it up…

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not a Whale Tale

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Whales have been in the news lately, a Killer Whale trainer dies at Sea World in Orlando and a trendy sushi restaurant in LA is caught serving whale meat. The Hump in Santa Monica is being investigated for illegally serving Sei whale, which is endangered. A few people have asked me what I thought about serving whale meat? Besides being illegal in many places in the world, the taste in my opinion is HORRIBLE; I did try piece of whale meat while visiting Japan in 2001. The taste was very gamey, after all it’s a huge wild animal. I didn’t like it at all and even said I would donate money to save the whales when I got home, I did by the way make a donation. I remember it was on the expensive side too, 6 slices for about $15 (retail), I can imagine it would be doubled or tripled in a restaurant.

In my opinion, there’s so much legal exotic seafood out there, it depends on a chef’s skill and experience. The term “sushi chef” is used too often in my opinion. A chef is someone who can create imaginative dishes and who has experience with all kinds of ingredients

My guess is The Hump had pressure to increase revenue by impressing their “Omakase” clients with exotic dishes. At this level, customers would spend in excess of $500 per visit. “Omakase” means chefs choice, the chef serving the very best of the day to his diners. It’s been 10 years since I’ve been to The Hump, they should’ve improved their service to increase revenue. Now, they have a PR nightmare on their hands. Heard the other day that they had protesters in front of their restaurant.

I can understand the many cultures around the world that do things because of the tradition that goes back hundreds of years. I can’t understand why something so cherished and honored, such as whales on the endangered species list, would continued to be hunted. Once they’re gone, they’re gone… HELLO!

The same fate will happen with Bluefin tuna. Over the years, sushi chefs have taught customers that they need to have the very best tuna and now customers demand it. I haven’t ordered Bluefin tuna in about 3 years now. As someone who has sushi experience and knowledge, I could never understand purchasing expensive tuna, only to see customers use so much wasabi that they couldn’t taste the flavor anyway. I would watch customers in amazement spend $18 for toro sushi and then dunk it in a wasabi and soy sauce paste. How can you taste this fatty piece of tuna while you get a wasabi blast? Give me $20 and I’ll give you a huge bowl of rice, an entire can of tuna, soy sauce and wasabi, it’ll taste the same…

Sushi began with local fish. Edomae sushi (Tokyo style) which is the precursor to today’s nigiri sushi, used all local seafood from Tokyo Bay. Others have told me that traditional sushi is destroying the oceans and depleting the Bluefins. Originally, traditional sushi comes from using local fish. We have to go back to the sushi roots and it all begins with local seafood.

Please share your comments and thanks for stopping by…

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lessons from Toyota

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I’ve been enjoying the late night jokes about Toyota and adding in my own on social media. With my experience in branding and working for one of the best known brands worldwide, I know the importance of branding, marketing, and PR. Toyota did damage to their brand and created a PR nightmare. From what I know about their situation, rather than fixing the problem right away, they waited. Not sure what they were waiting for, but they waited. If the reports are true, they waited many years and saved millions of dollars at the time. My guess is that they thought it would go away. I am glad that they took the blame for the safety issues, but it seems that the “fix” they have may not be the answer.

I’ve seen this many times in the restaurant industry. For example, many people who like to cook think they can set-up or run a restaurant kitchen. They prepare food a certain way and since they haven’t gotten sick, then it’s OK. The health department gives the restaurant a list of items to fix to bring them up to code. Many do nothing with the health department’s list, either they don’t know what to do or not important to take care of right away. Many are small fixable things, but yes some are expensive fixes or changes.

I remember a juice place that was shut down by the health department. I walked up to read the sign on the door, they were closed due to lack of permits. My guess is since it was a small store and they weren’t cooking anything, they didn’t need any permits. I give them the credit to buy two blenders and open up a place, but following health department procedures is important for public safety. Also, didn’t see a food handler’s certificate on the wall.

Not many restaurant owners/managers understand the importance of marketing, branding, and PR. This is the factor that can make or break the restaurant. It’s food, service, value, atmosphere and it’s all a perception coming from the branding, marketing, or PR.

Thank you for stopping by, I’d love to hear your comments.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Honolulu Food Favorites

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Jay Terauchi's Honolulu Food Favorites:

Zippy’s – My #1 Favorite Place growing up and still is.

Yummy’s Korean BBQ
For that quick Korean fix

Rainbow Drive-In
Plate lunch

Lahaina Chicken – InterIsland Terminal & Ala Moana Center

Liliha Bakery
Coco Puffs
Breakfast – sit at the counter
Closed Mondays – otherwise open 24 hours.

Young’s Fish Market
Kalua Pig (traditional imu) One of the best I’ve had – retail.

Palace Saimin
Saimin, won ton mein, teri beef sticks.
Street parking

Uncle’s Fish Market and Grill
Mahi-Mahi tacos
Fish & Chips – local fish daily

Side Street Inn – Sports Bar
Pork Chops – Enough said…
Kim Chee Fried Rice

Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Maui Onion with alae salt

Angelo Pietro
Raw Potato Salad
Create your own Japanese style pasta entree

Gyotaku – Old style Japanese Combinations
Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia
Bento to go

Bar 35 – Chinatown
Lounge with Great pizza, Chef Valentini

Leonard’s Bakery
Malasadas – No other reason to go

Ono Hawaiian Food – Fair Warning: Read the sign and wait outside…
Kailua Pork
Chicken Long Rice

Legends Seafood Restaurant
Dim Sum

Char Hung Sut – Early Morning Take-out, Closed Tuesdays
Char Siu Manapua
Pork Hash

Asahi Grill
Oxtail Soup – Kapiolani Coffee Shop version

Sugoi Bento
Mochiko Chicken
Garlic Chicken

Fort Ruger Market
Poke

Poke Stop – Great poke selection
Poke, duh…

Fukuya Deli – Okazu-ya
Teri beef, chicken, and misoyaki butterfish.

Diamond Head Market & Grill
Upscale Plate Lunch
Grilled Ahi Wasabi Sandwich
Teri Ribeye Burger

Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory
Manapua: kalua pig is my favorite

Waiola Shave Ice
How to order:
1. Select Size
2. Select Bottom of the Cone Goodies, if any. (ice cream, azuki beans, mochi)
3. Select Flavor(s)
Example: Small, ice cream, Rainbow or Small, Guava

Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop – Closed Mondays
Sweet Dog – Hilo Hot Dog wrapped in sweet bread
Molokai Mud Pie

Yama’s Fish Market
Hawaiian Plate Lunch – lau lau, kalua pig, poi, etc.
Poke
Haupia-covered brownies

Shokudo
Oxtail Ramen
Small dishes from the kitchen


Upscale Favorites

3660 On The Rise – Euro – Island Cuisine

Roy’s (Hawaii Kai) – The restaurant that started it all
Chocolate Soufflé

Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar – Great Fish
Order small plates

Alan Wong’s – One of the best
Tasting Menu

Chef Mavro – Island French

Hoku’s – Love the hotel


Cookies and Island Treats

Wholesale Unlimited – cookies, seeds, etc.
Betty’s Oatmeal & Cranberry Cookies –once you try, you’re hooked…

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Crashed and Burned…

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It’s always sad when I see a business close because the owners had no idea of how to run their business. In the restaurant business, everyone thinks it’s the food. I’ve seen places that the health department has closed because of lack of permits or food handling experience. Just because you like to cook and serve people, doesn’t mean that you’ll make a good restaurant owner.

An acquaintance of mine had a restaurant that he couldn’t run and did a lot of things wrong, though he’s had many years of restaurant experience. In my opinion, he hired the wrong people to manage the front and he oversaw the kitchen & food quality. He spent more time handling all of the restaurant problems and didn’t have time to take care of the food. The kitchen operations went down hill fast, now customers were complaining about the food quality. The managers that he hired didn’t have the experience to handle the front end problems. He recently closed his restaurant and let his staff go.

Looking back, I see two issues that he didn’t handle. First, he hired the wrong people for the front; they didn’t know how to train the servers in suggestive selling techniques or excellent customer service. Next, he didn’t know how to bring people into his restaurant. “If you build it, they will come” only works in the movies and not in the restaurant business. I’ve always told him that he needs to have at least one signature dish on the menu. Restaurant marketing is so important to one’s success or failure.

You might have the best food, the best service, but if no one knows about it, you’ll fail. I hope that this reminder will help someone out and won’t be too late to turnaround your business.

Thank you for stopping by and I would love to hear your comments.
Serve On!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A New Year and a New Outlook…

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Hard to believe that January is almost over. I look forward to a great year and so does the food service industry. Last week in Southern California, it rained the entire week, it’s been awhile since that has happened. Because of the rain, a few restaurant owners told me that they’re worried that business has dropped off for the week. Ahh, Southern Californians don’t go out in the rain… I mentioned to them that business will improve over the weekend and to keep focused, sunny skies forecasted for the weekend. The weather reports were correct and made me look like a genius.

Most restaurant people (OK, business owners too) don’t know what’s happening around them. What’s the weather going to be next week, what other businesses are around that we can cross promote, is there a big movie at the theaters next door that I need to prepare for, or I need to have desserts on my menu but there are so many bakeries in my strip mall. Just take a look around you and see what your environment is, who your customers are, and the product and service that you provide. Does it work in harmony? Is your staff trained to give the best service? Does your staff know your product?

It’s not rocket science, but to most business owners it is. When it rains in Southern California, people don’t go out for lunch, but togo orders increase. Knowing the weather, do you have enough togo containers? To me, its common sense, but I know it happened to 3 restaurant owners. They had to make a quick trip to Smart and Final.

Have a great year and thanks for stopping by…