Entries Tagged 'British Columbia' ↓

Sushi 101 @ The Cordata Community Food Co-op

I participated in a sushi class at the Community Food Co-op and I loved every minute of it! I’ve been making sushi for many years, but the opportunity to participate hands on with a native Japanese restaurateur was a true privilege.

Yukiko Helle was the teacher tonight and is a wonderful lady. She is a native of Kumamoto, Japan where her family members were restaurateurs; she grew up in a restaurant kitchen. Yukiko and her husband also had a restaurant in Georgia before making their way to Bellingham.

She had an ambitious schedule. We were to learn the ins and outs of making sushi rice (very important to vigorously fan while ‘knifing’ the vinegar and salt into the rice) and the prep for some sushi vegetables (spinach, cucumber, avocado). Did you know the Japanese don’t generally eat spinach raw? The spinach is washed VERY well with the roots attached, dried and then quickly blanched. The water is repeatedly squeezed out of the spinach above the cooking pot. Then, the roots are cut off and the spinach used. This is to remove the acid in the spinach, but still retain its nutrients.

She gave detailed instruction on how to make shrimp tempura:

‘Don’t be a cheapskate with the vegetable oil’ so as to maintain the oil’s temperature.

And, of course,we learned  how to assemble and roll different types of sushi:  nigiri, California, big maki, gunboat, inari. There were cutting  boards and sharp knives so you could practice using your ‘qi’ or energy flow, to slice your sushi roll to perfection! She offered very good hands-on instruction:  she walked the room to give assistance, asked the students to the kitchen stove to prepare and cook shrimp tempura. There was so much sushi made, people were taking home leftovers!

First we made nigiri sushi with shrimp, eel, taco (octopus) and tuna. Then we made California rolls with crab, avocado and cucumber. The third dish was called big maki – there was an entire shrimp tempura along with pickled daikon, spinach and cucumber in a roll. We made gunboat sushi which is a special type of nigiri sushi where a strip of nori is wrapped around the perimeter of a small mound of rice creating a cup we filled with spicy crab (imitation crab sliced and pulled apart into matchsticks and mixed with fried tempura batter pieces,  mayonnaise, salt and sriracha). And last, but not least, we made inari which is a credit card sized pouch of fried tofu (comes canned in a syrup) filled with rice. YUM YUM YUM.

Next, I would love to participate in a Japanese breakfast class. I think breakfast options need to be expanded in the American diet. Yukiko?

Cosmos Greek Restaurant in White Rock, BC

Debbie says her VERY favorite restaurant is Cosmos Greek Restaurant in White Rock, BC. It’s food and service and entertainment outdo any other Greek restaurant in the area. By entertainment, she means Friday and Saturday night male and female belly dancing.

Can you here my finger chimes? (a gift from MIL during a stay in Jeddah)

14871 Marine Dr, White Rock BC

604-531-3511

PS MIL is my world traveled mother-in-law.

Arlis’s Restaurant Bellingham

I spent the entire morning playing. It’s hard work, but sometimes school volunteering is tough. And I got to take the 5 year old with me. She was hesitant once she stepped outside to 46 degrees and drizzle (on June 10?), but the trooper in her came out. She, too, believes in the hard work of play. We lucked out and the drizzle abated and she got to play floor hockey as much as she wanted. (It was Play Day at the Carl Cozier Elementary School.)

And then lunch time rolled around. She suggested a restaurant. She and I are going to enjoy being grown-ups together. Off we went to Arlis’s Restaurant where ‘Breakfast Anytime’ is the motto on their sign.

It is a diner in the true old fashioned sense. Simple, clean and good eats. They have lots to pick from on the menu. We ordered the chicken finger and fries and a Mariner Melt: tuna with grilled onions and mushrooms and cheese on grilled sourdough. I also got their homemade baked beans and a side of onion rings.

The kids’ food disappeared after a huge portion of onion rings. We really liked the onion rings (it was her first time). They were fresh with crunch to spare. Her chicken was spicy, just the way she likes it. My tuna melt was really delicious and hot. The homemade baked beans were excellent. They weren’t mushy and they tasted chocolaty and sweet with onions and small firm chunks of bacon. Very good.

Now, the placard next to the front door says ‘homemade pies’. Not going home without a taste of one. We picked cherry pie warmed with vanilla ice cream on the side (wasn’t sure how much would be shared). And, yes, this pie was homemade fantastic! The crust was light, flaky and latticed letting big delicious cherries pop through. It was nice and tart, and only a little sweet. Wonderful.

There was some left for at home sharing (and the takeout container was recyclable cardboard – not foam!). When we got home my partner was just taking a food break. What luck! The container was emptied right there and then. And I quote: ‘I just knew that Arlis’s would be a good place to eat. Are you going to write about it, or keep this one a secret?’ Well, now you know.