Thursday, November 29, 2012

Minako's Organic Japanese Restaurant, Mission District, part 2

The sauce was incredibly yummy! Minako, the owner recognizes me because I've been to her restaurant so many times. This time, she confessed to me and my first-timer friend that she was a little bit frazzled because most of the customers, contrary to the norm, were also first timers; she had to explain the system to them, they didn't get it, and thank you for not being a familiar face, she said. She then chided me for asking if the Hamachi Mint could be made gluten free. "We only have three things on the menu that can't be made gluten free!" She exclaimed.

The twice cooked eggplant is really good! She's a character no doubt, and it was nice to be appreciated as a regular customer. She brought us some yummy snacks-pickled cauliflower and some sort of fermented and spicey noodle like veggie things. Yum!

Are you wondering why do I keep coming back? First of all, she really gets gluten contamination. Also, there's something for everyone- besides being so gluten free and celiac friendly, she uses organic foods, and has many vegan options.

The chicken katsu is at the bottom of the picture. I can't remember what the other thing is. The main reason I go back is for the gluten free Chicken Katsu. I don't know if there is anywhere else you can get that. And her's is damn good. Her mom even makes the Katsu sauce from scratch, so that it is gluten free. This is another reason I love this place. It's a small family business and I love that she knows and appreciates her customers. Additionally this is probably also the only place with gluten free inari (tofu pocket stuffed with rice). They only use gluten free tamari there, that's all you'll find in the bottles on the table. The inari is made with this. While the inari there isn't as stellar as the chicken Katsu, its still great and I get it everytime.

The sushi at Minako's is not my favorite. Some of the rolls are huge, and hard to eat. The rice is brown rice, which, while very healthy, is not my favorite for sushi. However, I usually get the small sized spicy tuna roll - pretty darned good and still a rare treat since gluten contamination at sushi restaurants is such a problem.

I love Minako and her food! This is my favorite gluten-free and celiac friendly restaurant in San Francisco hands down. I will keep coming back over and over just like the majority of her customers!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

GoPicnic - Gluten Free Airport Food

I usually bring my own stash of food on plane trips, and supplement with Kind bars, fruit and various fruit/nut based food items. This ends up being a very sugary journey, ending my trip not only with the typical dehydration, but also sugar toxicity.

This time, I found GoPicnic. These little packages make for a nice mini meal. There are different types, but only one that is gluten free and dairy free, as well as being free of five other common allergens such as nuts.

The package includes the very yummy sunbutter, with certified gluten free crackers in just the right proportions to each other. The tropical fruit snack is delish, and the certified gluten free chocolate chocolate chip cookie was darned good considering. There was also a little pack of seeds and fruit, which was the least exciting in the box.

Upon completing my meal, I found a soduko puzzle. Yay! Gluten free goodness and math in one place? I'm a taker!

Lana Del Ray, Paradise, November 13th 2012

Lana Del Ray's last album Born to Die has such a distinct sound and image, that I thought she could not possibly replicate either without sounding like a cheap stretch on her gangsta Nancy Sinatra image.

Her new album Paradise delivers everything I hoped it would and more; not only is it a collection of great tunes that feed my hunger for the persona that is Lana Del Ray - it deepens that musical lust. While the first song "Ride" opens the album a bit weakly, the tracks after have their own haunting, sultry sounds. The second track "American" definitely satiates my need for the sexy American trailer park glam. "Cola" is a particularly great track, destined to repeat in my brain for days to come. While "Body Electric" falls short, there is still something great about the song - slightly straying from the overall sound in a nice way.

"Blue Velvet" reminisces the swaying era of the 50's, perhaps really bringing home Lana Del Ray's persona on this album. Another slightly different tune, "God & Monsters" also gets a bit crass, only to be followed the very mellow version of the already mellow, previously released tune "Yayo." The album ends with only eight tracks, with the last song "Bel Air" which is hauntingly beautiful and shows Lana Del Ray's more delicate side.

The only downside of this album - it's a bit of a tease with only eight tracks, one of which we've heard before. Definitely worth listening to, especially if you liked Born to Die.

A Sunny Morning After a Night's Rainfall, with Fresh Herbal Tea

I woke up early this morning, after a beautiful night of rain. After my yoga and some bone broth soup, I headed out to Hayes Valley Farm to help harvest vegetables for Project Open Hand, for their meal program.

It was a beautiful sunny morning, and as I arrived at the back gate of the garden, the sun was just shining over the hill that is the old off ramp (pre-1989 earth quake), the many droplets of water shimmering on the greenery.

Instant healing for the soul.

I crossed paths with another volunteer who was there to show me how to do the harvest. We spent over an hour collecting collards, kale, and various greens, trying some along the way that I had never heard of and can't remember their name now. Yum!

At the end of the harvest, I collect some lavender and fennel, also fresh with dewy drops of rain. As I write, I am sipping a tea made with these herbs, as well as mint from my garden. This is a great tea for me, especially since I just ate lunch, as all of these herbs help digestion. At least, the lavender is very soothing. Fennel promotes digestion, as does mint. Both reduce gas and nausea.

Fresh herbal tea reminds me of my grandmother Luna. I read an old journal entry recently, where I explained that it was when she moved in with us, that she introduced us to making tea with fresh garden herbs.