Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Omnom Chocolate - Reykjavik, Iceland

If you're ever in Reykjavik, Iceland, seek out these chocolates, or better yet go to the factory in which they're made: Omnom Chocolate.

I attended a chocolate class and tour there and learned more about chocolates than I ever wanted to know. Plus I got to sample almost all of their chocolates, including this so-called "gay bar" and a Milk of Nicaragua, a single-source bar that tastes imminently better than Hershey's...duh!

Omnom Chocolate Factory
Hólmaslóð 4
101 Reykjavík

Chaak -Tustin

Monday, October 29, 2018

OC Japan Fair - Costa Mesa

A few weekends ago, I went to the OC Japan Fair. It was as it was last year: a smaller, more intimate version of 626 Night Market. There was a focus on Japanese food, but it wasn’t exclusive—I saw Vietnamese and Korean food there, too.

Since I was going for the purpose of covering it for OC Weekly, some of my expenses were covered. So I enjoyed myself. But in retrospect, I realized as I often do when I attend these kind of events: if I had to pay my own way, I wouldn’t have come.

With an $8 parking and an $8 admission fee, I would’ve been $16 in the hole before I bought a single scrap of food. And the cost of a typical meal at one of these vendors is, at best, the same as it is outside. At worst, it’s more.

So I left with the same thinking as I always do: why do people go to these things when restaurants and food courts provide the same food for the same or less cost with the added benefit of shelter, seating, and service?

The answer is the nostalgia and the novelty, which, I admit, is a good reason to go if you haven’t been. But the more you do, the less it makes sense, especially when you’re sweating in the hot sun, looking for a seat under shade, to eat something you’ve eaten dozens of times before, for which you stood in a long line and paid a premium.

Mrs. Bean - Santa Ana

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sashimi Gozen at Sagami - Irvine

I've said it once; but I'll say it again: Sagami's gozen meals are one of the best Japanese food bargains in Irvine. This one is the sashimi gozen. It's priced at $31.50 and includes all that you see--a veritable kaiseki-type meal that looks like a regular-sized bento box went through cellular mitosis.

Though some of the dishes changes with the seasons, the meal is always filling, always interesting, and always a great deal.

3850 Barranca Pkwy B
Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 857-8030

Higo Chicken - La Habra

Monday, October 08, 2018

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur - Reykjavik, Iceland

This is the hot dog from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. It is arguably Iceland’s most famous hot dog, if not its most famous food. I went to Iceland for these hot dogs. Sure, it was also because the airplane tickets were cheap and The Blue Lagoon is there, but mainly it was because of the hot dog.

I was not disappointed. This hot dog has a lot going on. The sausage itself is made of not just pork and beef, but also Icelandic lamb. And it’s got a snappy skin unlike any I’ve ever experienced.

Bill Clinton made this hot dog famous when he ordered one with just mustard (they now call that dog “The Clinton”), but everyone who lines up at this shack near the harbor in the frigid cold asks for “Ein með öllu” or “One with everything”.

And when I did, a cashier assembled my sandwich. It started with crispy fried onion, raw onion, and a smear of an apple-based ketchup, all of which got tucked into the base of the bun. Then the boiled plysur (that's Icelandic for “hot dog”) went on, which was slathered with a topping of sweet mustard and a mayo-like remoulade.

It's wonderful. Sweet, tangy, savory, with a flavor unique to this hot dog—a hot dog that I flew halfway around the world to eat.

Sure, it didn't hurt that Iceland is also the home of Gullfoss, one of the most breathtaking waterfalls I’ve ever seen—a so-far unrecognized Wonder of the Natural World. But damn, that hot dog!

Tryggvagata 1
101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 511 1566

Parallel Pizzeria - Dana Point