Tag Archives: japanese

The Ramen Joint (Westchester, Los Angeles)

Ramen in LA is as common as concrete in K-town. It’s everywhere, and every single place, claims to be the best. Every single place has a cult following of people who will tell you the same. This happened when I went down to visit a friend who worked in Westchester and wanted to go to The Ramen Joint and I told her… this better be good.

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Tsujita (Yelp Review)

3 stars given on Yelp

Having worked a few buildings over for two and a half years, I saw the lines outside of Tsujita, a ramen eatery on Sawtelle. I knew it was heavily hyped because of its presence on Gold’s 101 List multiple times. I think he even claimed it was the best ramen in LA. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case the only time I visited.

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Top Ten Manga of 2015

In 2014, we saw the end of Kenichi (12 years) and Claymore (13 years) with 2015 having a colossal ending with Naruto (15 years). With One Punch Man and Attack on Titan finally grabbing some attention in the United States after six years, the scene is certainly changing. With some very questionable anime adaptations of great manga, such as Toriko, I’ve become even more excited for my manga releases and less for most anime.

Dragon Ball Z is making a resurgence with some major motion picture releases, but nothing sets the scene like some good old-fashioned, black and white panels full of unique artwork and storylines. Here are the ten manga that I am currently enjoying the most, in no particular order. Of course, I realize Hunter x Hunter isn’t on my list. I’ve also neglected any one-shots released in 2015, or adaptations of series such as Star Wars, as well as spin-offs because Fairy Tail has too many to be counted right now. 


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Bar Hayama Restaurant Review (Los Angeles)

On Sawtelle, away from the long lines and commotion of popular spots like Tsujita LA and others, is Bar Hayama. Highlighted by a beautiful outdoor seating area, this bar offers four seating options and multiple menus worth of food. As a result, being seated and served takes far less time than eateries closer to Olympic. Still, as Hungry & Fit, the most important dining aspect is the food, but let’s take about what makes this fiery location worth a visit.

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Restaurant Review: Sushi Hana (Longmont, CO)

Being fanatics of Japanese food, Chris and I are always looking for new and yummy places. We have high standards for fish, we both come from coastal cities, so don’t blame us! One day at work, my boss took me out to Sushi Hana in Longmont (where I work…about 15 miles from Boulder) for a lunch meeting to get some work done. It’s this little place that would be extremely easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it. Luckily, I wasn’t driving.

We get seated immediately, after all we were there just around 11am–an early lunch. We get a hot pot of green tea to share which was perfect for a sunless, cold day. After much mulling over the lunch menu, I decide for a “sushi box” which is basically a bento box, but with sushi instead of tempura or a teriyaki dish. Overall, the fish was good (I got tuna) and the meal as a whole was very enjoyable. I got a lot of food for just $11. There was a maki roll on top of that, pork dumplings (didn’t eat), big thing of delicious rice, salad, soup, and an orange. Like I’m saying, ridiculous amount of food. The atmosphere is delightful: quiet, cultural, and peaceful. We stayed there for a while after we finished our food, and the polite, friendly server continued to fill our green tea cups. I left very full.

My delicious lunch

My delicious lunch

Usually when we do reviews, it’s of places Chris and I have both gone to. So what did that mean? After work, one Friday, I take him to Sushi Hana. This is a good sign–means I like the place enough to go back! Similar to the last experience, we were seated right away. I took the initiative to get us some green tea. This time, I ordered the salmon teriyaki box and Chris ordered the una-don (eel over rice). The salmon was cooked very well, and again, I couldn’t finish all my food (good thing I had Hungry with me). I also got the tuna-avocado maki roll which was really delicious and I preferred it without the soy sauce, another good sign. Chris said the una-don was good, but a little small. Good thing he had to finish mine!

Aaand the salmon teriyaki

Aaand the salmon teriyaki

Overall, Sushi Hana is a good spot, at least for lunch. It isn’t our favorite (see Kho’s or Korea House), but is definitely on our good list. If you’re in Longmont, hit up this spot for a great lunch special! Eat Japanese food to stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

What I wish my every day was

What I wish my every day was

Jazz Up Your Ramen

Chris has a serious ramen obsession, and I mean with all kinds. Since we don’t have a usual ramen place here in Boulder, we usually go with the packaged stuff. Now I rarely ever eat that packaged stuff, because it’s not the best for you. However, I did get him off the Top Ramen crap and now he eats the stuff that actually gets imported from Japan (a little more expensive, but worth it). Most people who have ramen have just that–just the noodles with hot water. I, however, dare you to jazz it up a little! Make it healthier! There are many ways to do this, but this is how we did it.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
  • Serving Size: 2
Finished product...oh so good

Finished product…oh so good

Ingredients

  • 2 packets of Sapporo Ichiban ramen 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 cups spinach
  • 1/3 block firm tofu
  • 2-3 eggs

Directions

  • First, fill up a pot with water, about 4 inches of water. Start on high heat, aiming for a boil. Put the soy sauce in the water
  • Cut up the tofu into squares or thin strips
  • Wait for it to start boiling, and then put in the tofu
  • Turn down the heat slightly and let the tofu boil for about 20 or so minutes (I went and took a shower during this time)
  • Now it’s time to add the spinach or whatever kind of greens you want. Stir them around so they get submerged
Boiling boiling boiling

Boiling boiling boiling

  • When you’re two minutes out, go ahead and crack the eggs into the boiling pot
  • Get out the ramen packets. You can use the flavoring if you want. Put into large bowls so that you have room for all the other fun stuff

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  • Now slowly start to pour the contents of the pot into the bowls, you want to try to get the liquid out first and pour as evenly as you can. Then the other stuff will come plopping out too. And that’s basically it! Make sure to let the ramen sit a little bit so the noodles can expand
Not as appetizing as it tasted, but this is what it might look like when you first pour it

Not as appetizing as it tasted, but this is what it might look like when you first pour it

This is a quick meal with carbs, proteins, and fats in it to make it well-rounded. Yes, it’s still ramen from a package, but it certainly didn’t taste or feel that way after jazzing it up. Again, this is just one way of doing it. Next time I might add ground turkey for Chris’, more greens, and play with it! Add nutrients to food to stay hungry and fit!

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Chris ended up finishing mine too...no surprises here

Chris ended up finishing mine too…no surprises here

BONUS KITTY PIC 

The cats FINALLY realized Dovah exists last night. They were so curious and interested they didn't want to sleep

The cats FINALLY realized Dovah exists last night. They were so curious and interested they didn’t want to sleep

Fit’s Movie Review: The Wolverine

For once, (Alana aka “Fit“) am writing the movie review for the superhero movie. I personally don’t think I’m qualified because I’ve never read the X-Men comic books (although I really want to *ahem*). So let me just say, if you haven’t read the comic books, you will enjoy this movie. At least I did. A few reasons include Hugh Jackman’s performance (duh), awesome battle scenes, and interesting plot. And I love anything Japanese too.

Let me doubly preface this by saying I didn’t watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I heard it was great–haha, just kidding, heard it was terrible. So I haven’t seen Wolverine’s past, but I did watch all the “X-Men” movies with the whole cast and all. So this movie is set after those X-Men movies. Jean is dead, but reappears constantly to talk to him and goad him into death so that they can finally be together. She gets pretty annoying, kinda creeps me out. But it was interesting, kind of letting the audience see what was going on in Wolverine’s head during this whole movie.

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To make a long story short, Wolverine goes to Japan to visit someone he saved long ago. There are a few famous Japanese actors here such as Tao Okamoto, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Will Yun Lee which were a pleasure to see. They delivered excellent acting, creating believable roles whom you actually felt for. Hugh Jackman always steals the show, though. In any movie I’ve seen him in, he gives his all, emotion and body. It was great to see Wolverine be his badass self with the softie inside, always “playing the hero” as Jean taunts.

This movie really kicked butt in the action, battle scenes. They were fun, fast-paced, and exciting with settings like on top of a bullet train and in a huge laboratory with tons of stories. It didn’t leave you seasick like many jerky-camera action scenes in other movies, but stayed to the point and hit it where it hurt. It left me gripping Chris’ hand, hoping that she escaped, or that he didn’t get his head ripped off by a cable.

Speaking of gripping, this movie had a plot that had me guessing. I kept thinking I had it (obviously that Viper girl is evil), but then another twist would appear and throw me through a loop! I really appreciated that, it makes movie-going a more active activity, if you will, for me. The movie combined the perfect mix of suspenseful plot action in the middle of huge battle scenes, giving the audience the feel of anxiety and curiosity and even some sense of emotion for these characters.

All in all, if you aren’t picky about the background of X-Men comics, I believe you’ll enjoy this movie. Sure it’s not going to win the Best Picture at the Oscars, but it was worth the $7 ticket we paid for. I’d even get it on DVD, though I’m not sure Chris would. Fit gives this movie a definitely thumbs up. Watch “The Wolverine” to stay hungry and fit (seriously, it made me want to do some beastly workouts and learn martial arts)!

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Product Review: Marukome Miso Soup

I’ve been wanting to buy some take-home miso soup powder from the store for a while. However, it’s usually expensive or has horrid ingredients. Both things I stray away from. And even ones that I have found before haven’t been good, I know my friends can attest to this. Guys…I’ve found it! I’ve found one that’s worth the money (though it wasn’t that expensive) and tastes just like from a restaurant. It may help that it’s directly from Japan too.

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The brand is called MarukomeIts ingredients are exactly what you would expect (or hope) a miso soup powder to be: powdered miso, rice, dried tofu, dried green onion, powdered yeast, bonito powder, etc. This was the first good sign (besides the price that stopped me to look at it). The next good sign was that it’s a “Product of Japan.” If I’m eating an “ethnic food” (I hate that phrase), then I want it right from where it was created. Miso soup should come Japan or a great chef. So being a product of Japan (and having a cool Japanese address too ^_^) gave it a huge plus. It also has a freaking awesome mascot, who wouldn’t want some miso soup from that guy?!

Perfect texture

Perfect texture

The directions are really simple. Pour powder into bowl, pour 1 cup of boiling water into bowl, stir and serve! That’s it! Dinner was awesome last night because it took all of 5 minutes to get everything on the table. And for the big package, you get 3 miso packet servings, so we have one left over! As you can see, I’m all about this product, and they’re not even paying me to say this! They also have a great “miso secret” about miso and your health (look at pic below). I found this at our standard grocery (no special, local, or organic grocery–just the plain main one) so you have no excuse. Use this product to stay hungry and fit!

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BONUS KITTY PIC 

Sajah enjoying the view

Sajah enjoying the view

Peruvian in Downtown LA: Mo Chica (Hungry’s Food Reviews)

This is another one of my “should just be a Yelp review” because it could be short and it’s going to be negative but I want to talk about the subject more than usual because it’s Peruvian food. As a whole food culture, it has to be one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. It’s generally a mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish food. The diversity in the dishes is unbelievable and the development of flavors is unparalleled. One of my go to dishes when in Peru was lomo saltado and I’ve had gallons on gallons of Inca Kola so now let’s talk about Mo Chica.

A few months ago, the LA Times published its list of 100 or so best restaurants in Los Angeles for the year. We were conveniently in Santa Monica for the long weekend at the time. To our dismay, many of the locations listed were very expensive and not places we frequented. Therefore, I arrogantly thought the list was garbage, a mere compilation of advertisements and favors. But how could I be a fair judge without trying the other places? I had to try one and conveniently that ended up being Mo Chica for a second late lunch on a Sunday afternoon. We had Sugarfish (sushi) and I was NOT full. Kai told us that Mo Chica was on the newly formed list and when I saw it was Peruvian, I did not hesitate.

Inside

Inside

Mo Chica actually reminded me of other New York City Peruvian restaurants that actually were not very good. It didn’t remind me of the good places in the Jersey ghettos and in Peru itself. Nevertheless, I ordered the lomo saltado for takeout. Orders come with two sides but the host informed me that they couldn’t give me sides since it was takeout and the price remained. I was so excited that I had no problem with that (I would regret that). While we were waiting, I saw an employee carrying a six-pack of Inca Kola to the bar. Inca Kola is the drink of Peru, literally, that is what the can says. It tastes like golden bubblegum soda. I told the host to throw that on the take out order so Alana could try some. Then I got the food and bill, so it was time to pay and eat.

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15 dollars for the lomo, 4 for the soda. Are you kidding? Four dollars for a can of soda? I can buy a six-pack in New Jersey for $2.50. I can get a two-liter bottle for a dollar! It’s even cheaper in Peru. I know you don’t have to import that stuff so how can it be so expensive? Crazy. And 15 for the lomo? Okay, but without the sides? This better be the best lomo that I’ve ever had. Well as you can see in the pictures, which were taken before I ate anything, I think they forgot half my food. It was the smallest portion of that dish I’ve ever gotten. And what I got wasn’t good! It was okay and they gave me very little rice! It felt like I was robbed.

Where's the rest of the rice?

Where’s the rest of the rice?

How can you ruin a dish like this? It’s basically onions, high quality beef, and french fries cooked in a pan with delicious flavors. Even in the bad areas of Lima, for a dollar, I got bigger portions of higher quality product. Safe to say that I have no interest in returning for the other dishes if they can’t get lomo right. And after seeing the portion sizes and prices of the other dishes, I really can’t see what reason I have to return anyways. For other LA locals that don’t know Peruvian food and get caught up in the trend, I hope you enjoy it and keep them in business. They seem like nice people and the service was good. We’ll just leave it at the fact that it doesn’t seem like Grandma and Mom made this food. It seems more like it was the cool son that cared about being trendy and looking fancy, not being authentic and full of flavor.

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Disappointing. Please find a GOOD Peruvian restaurant as in my opinion, it is probably the best ethnic cuisine there is. It has everything you need and want and more. Eating Peruvian food really is a great way to stay hungry and fit!

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Izakaya Den: Denver’s Best Sushi (Hungry’s Food Reviews)

This review is long overdue considering the fact that we went to Izakaya Den back in November. These lists of posts really stack up and we try hard to get them out but it’s not easy! So here you are… a review of what we have so far found to be the HIGHEST QUALITY SUSHI in Colorado. When we went, Sushi Den was closed for construction. Sushi Den is supposedly the more expensive and higher quality of the two but they are one in the same according to what we have heard.

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Here are the many positives and few negatives of our trip to Izakaya Den. The restaurant is in one of the most quaint and quiet communities in Denver. There are not neighborhoods like this in New York City and it’s nice to have such an escape in another busy city. The restaurant itself is pleasant looking on the outside and there is plenty of parking in the suburban-like neighborhood. We did go for a late lunch on a Holiday weekend with Fit’s parents so it was very empty, which meant quick service and the opportunity to explore. There were five of us in total and we were seated in a beautiful sun-room with plenty of table space.

Seating areas

Seating areas

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Nice bathroom

Nice bathroom

The service was again very quick and polite. It was months ago but I can’t think of a single complaint aside from the fact that the waiter was somewhat of a know-it-all and tried giving ME a lesson about sushi. Jiro… of course. Random Caucasian college student from Colorado… no thanks, no offense. The lunch menu was actually not very expensive even though the restaurant is known to be somewhat pricey. For the quality of food, the price was absolutely right.

We had a vegetarian, two spicy food lovers, myself, and someone with very specific and limited dietary needs. Everyone thought their meal was delicious, made them feel great, and most were full. (Me… not so much.) Plus, the bill was reasonable. Instead of talking too much about the food, I will say that everything was VERY good. No major complaints. You can look at the pictures. Oh, and obviously I am picky about eel quality but this was worthy of no complaints and just praise. Everything from the sushi rolls to sashimi to appetizers and dishes were all great. On top of that, the restaurant is spacious, exceptionally decorated and capable of entertaining every group. Whether its large groups, families, couples, or people who want to go to a bar… they have it. Izakaya Den earns our highest quality food stamp for the Denver area in Asian foods. That doesn’t make it our favorite, but it’s so damn good. Feast your eyes on these pictures. We will let you know how Sushi Den is when Alana passes her NASM exam (she doesn’t know about this… well now she does).

Edamame

Edamame

Tuna sashimi salad

Tuna sashimi salad

Beautiful sushi

Beautiful sushi

Unagi

Unagi

Mackerel

Mackerel

Lobster ramen

Lobster ramen

Tuna sashimi

Tuna sashimi

Visit Izakaya Den to stay hungry and fit!

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