Lost | Kiss : Kiss Seafood Omakase Review

I was feeling a bit lost the other day, so I stumbled into a restaurant in San Francisco’s Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood that I’ve been wanting to try for a while per the suggestion from a serious food-appreciator I know [#acinader]. It’s called Kiss Seafood (1700 Laguna St. (at Sutter), 415-474-2866).

The small 11-ish seat, truly “mom-and-pop”, restaurant is run solely by a husband and wife couple – Takao and Yoko Nakagawa,  where he prepares the food, she serves the clientele.  They’re in their 60s now, cutting back hours from 6 to 4 days a week…  “almost retirement,” I overheard them say in the most modest and genuine way.   The couple moved to the United States after about 30 years in Japan – where Takao had been working in “less ingredient-focused” restaurant atmospheres.  Takao mentioned that he was excited to open a restaurant where he could really focus on the best ingredients – from their produce and tofu to where their fish was sourced from.  The care for the food they served was so apparent with the first appetizer (a small bowl of crisped tiny anchovies tossed with mirin-marinated threads of daikon skin).  I had the “special omakase” – a version of their chef’s tasting with their favorite fish choices for the evening; and I’d have to say that I’d without a doubt give it a 5 of 5 stars.  I dined alone; the entire experience was surprising, enjoyable, and delightful.  I took a few of the following snaps to share my experience and highly encourage not only awesome sushi-appreciators but also those of you looking for unique intimate dining experiences to go by to check them out! (There were only 2 couples there while I dined – one couple on a Tinder date seated at the modest bar and a friend-duo at an adjacent table.)

Here’s the first appetizer course of the special omakase – the crisped tiny anchovies with daikon threads – that I enjoyed with a nice dry Asahi!

Kiss Seafood "Special Omakase" 00

Next was a three part appetizer (left to right), a cold salad of Japanese mustard spinach with tofu (very mild and refreshing), a pickled cucumber salad (also mild and refreshing), and one of THE BEST ankimo (or steamed monkfish liver) with daikon I’ve ever had.Kiss Seafood "Special Omakase" 01

Here’s a zoomed in look at that ankimo with shaved daikon, thinly sliced scallions, and ponzu sauce.Kiss Seafood "Special Omakase" 01.5

 

Following was the sashimi plate – chockful of their best fish of the night!  The toro (fatty tuna) was some of the best I’ve ever had.

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The next dish astounded me with its creative use of ingredients, preparation, and cohesive depth –  a ground fish sausage in a fried tofu skin, with ponzu-marinated radish, seaweed, soy-marinated green onion accoutrements, and a tasty miso dipping sauce:

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Next was a piping hot ceramic crock of chawanmushi – a version of a delicate egg custard flavored by mirin, bamboo shoots and exotic mushroom. Yoko made sure to warn me that there was perfectly cooked halibut at the bottom and to “enjoy scoop by scoop”, not to mix – and oh boy, did I enjoy scoop by scoop :)Kiss Seafood "Special Omakase" 04

The beautiful nigiri plate was next wherein the marinated tuna, abalone, and wild sockeye Alaskan salmon really stood out to me.

Kiss Seafood "Special Omakase" 05

Finally, the cleanest, most delicate yet powerful mushroom soup ended the omakase on a perfect note!

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This was not a part of the omakase, though on the specials menu, a wild uni (sea urchin) fresh from Hokkaido that evening, I just had to try.  It was absolutely perfect.
Kiss Seafood "Special Omakase" 07

The meal ended with a sliver of the perfect melon that I saw Takao delicately select to serve for the evening. So scrumptious!

Kiss Seafood "Special Omakase" 08

I left this meal full, satisfied, and a bit more comfortable with the environmental lost-ness I’d entered the experience with.  I’d highly recommend trying this restaurant before the Kiss Seafood team fully retires :)

xo, Huckleberry Kim

delightful star alignments & dirty drinks

A friend introduced me recently to the wonderful merits of a classic dirty martini. The basic recipe for a dirty martini includes: vodka, olive brine, dry vermouth, and a green olive garnish (see following). dirty martini ingredients
…though I’ve never been the most keen of basic..recipes. So a few days ago I soaked 6 green olives, a slice of pickled jalapeño, and a slice of pickled beet in about 1.5 cups of Hangar1 vodka. It gives the vodka a lovely blush color!
dirty soaked vodka
And this is the recipe I came up with after a few nights of experimentation for my ideal super dirty martini.

Huckleberry Kim’s Super Dirty Martini

  • 4 oz. of soaked dirty vodka
  • 2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. olive brine
  • olives to garnish (I like 3 olives in my dirty martini because yum.)

Good tips for mixing your drink:

  • Vigorously shake the ingredients with ice for no more than 45 seconds; if you’re going to stir, use a large hunk of super cold ice so it doesn’t melt too fast; don’t stir for more than 30 seconds.
  • Freeze your martini glass ahead of time to keep it all super cold.
  • Use a fine strainer when pouring the drink from the shaker into your glass; lots of olive/pickley gunk should be filtered out :)

dirtiest martini

New favorite Major Lazer jammy; thanks for the share T.

xx, Huckleberry Kim

east river sunrise

There’s nothing like the stillness of sunrise over the city. You know: before the elders start their in-park tai chi, before your best friend has to wake up to take her dogs out, while everyone’s still snugglin’.

Climbed over into a troll dwelling in the east river for this for-fun shoot…because sometimes it’s nice to adventure doing something that you always do but have never done.

twist

bananna

 

toes

contrapasto

whatever a sun will always sing

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| Helmut Lang blouse (similar) | Birkenstock sandals |

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trolls

Photography by this guy, Mitch Blummer – sunrise & cinema expert, who taught me everything I know about bouncing light and ee cummings.

happy birthday.

bouncingmyself

Power Heels

There is something truly wonderful about wearing high heels.  They make you stand taller (so you can tower over your frienemies), and they generally force better posture.  I came across this wonderful Racked article called, “The Male-Dominated, Power-Hungry History of High Heels”, which goes in depth about the origin of high heels – noting the air of regality, confidence and dominance that presupposed the style.  It was an enjoyable read and really reinforced my sentiments and justifications for wearing primarily-impractical footwear on special days.  Even Louis XIV had days where he needed a little boost in confidence 😉

Some of my colleagues poke fun at me on my high heel days, “Oh! TK’s wearing her super heels again…” Well boys, I doubt any of you have woken up with the confidence that you could make it through a day wearing 5 inch Acne boots with unparalleled grace and tenacity.

I do, on the regular.

#micdrop #manolosforall

xx

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Photography by Red Gaskell

Stuart Weitzman Nudist Sandals | Topshop Boyfriend Jeans | Everlane Ryan Muscle Tank | Zara trenchcoat (similar on sale!, similar, similar) | MAC sheen supreme lip colour in Royal Azalea |

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Some more Stuart Weitzman Nudist Ankle Strap Sandals:

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

Did you know that coffee beans are green? (And turn shades of brown once they’re roasted.)

I learned that this weekend while playing at-home barista.  The following is a little anecdote about my inspiration…

xx

Generally, I don’t like to use over-used quotes, but I’ve been pondering a lot about work-life balances, purpose, and roots of happiness of late, so I’m going to make this exception for that one Confucius jammie: 

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

I’m a very fortunate person in that I have found a job that I really do love. Though since my early years in college, I’ve always asked myself, “But maybe I’d be really happy if I was a barista…” I love coffee (caffeine is probably my greatest vice), although, I have never worked in the industry. There is something that has always drawn me to the idea of being a person who provides a carefully crafted, artisanal dose of enjoyment and daily ritual to a local ecosystem of regular patrons.  Really though, how many people ever make it into being a part of your daily ritual?  To me it seems so simple and powerful, and I’m into that.

In the last three years, there have been three men who’ve made an effect on my simple, mundane daily ritual with the products they’ve crafted: Mike Kreiger & Kevin Systrom (who created this little mobile application called Instagram), and of course my rat-tail barista.  I never knew his name, but he always remembered my order – it was our ritual, “TK USA” in Sharpie on paper cup.

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Since my rat-tailed barista long ago moved on to a new daily ritual, I thought of him this past weekend and wanted to make the perfect cup of coffee. Here are a few things I learned:

i. LEARN SOME ROAST BASICS (mostly will depend on how long and at what temperature you roast your beans at; the following is from Sweet Maria‘s – an Oakland, CA based home green coffee bean purveyor):

For this cup, I chose a Zimbabwe Chipinge.

ii. DON’T OVERFILL YOUR ROASTER; your beans will become aerated and increase in volume when roasting (see before and after below):

Fresh Roast SR500 Home Coffee Roaster

iii. LEARN HOW TO GRIND FOR YOUR BREW METHOD; I like this guide with photos from I Need Coffee:

Porlex Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder

iv. TAKE TIME TO ENJOY your creation! You don’t even need cream or sweetener for a perfect cup of joe like this (though I’ll admit, on indulgent days, I will add a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk to my coffee…#sorrynotsorry)

Nighttime Americano

throwback to yolanda be cool

It was one of those Tuesdays, you know. So I decided to make a special dinner: a hybrid negroni x americano.  Easy peezy orange-squeezy, try it.

5 ingredients you will need:

  1. a lovely gin of your choosing; I used Hendrick’s, a Scottish gin that is infused with rose & cucumber
  2. Campari
  3. a sweet vermouth; I used Martini’s
  4. oranges
  5. club soda

In wee old fashioned glass with a big cube of ice, add 1 oz of gin:

Then add 1 oz of vermouth:

Add 1 oz of of Campari

Add a generous slice and squeeze of orange

Top it off with club soda and enjoy!

May this recipe help prepare you for many solid tomorrows to come.

xx, Huckleberry Kim

#huckleberryeats #huckleberrydrinks

xiao long bao (小籠包) at home

I spent a lot of my day listening to Ginuwine hits from the early 2000s, doing a little vacation-daydreaming, and getting nostalgic about being in Asia on this dreary Sunday; so, I decided to make some soup dumplings (aka 小籠包).  This is my first time making XLBs, and it won’t be the last…

Gotta be compatibleeeeee

The following is my v1 recipe for XLB; overall I thought the filling was perfect, though I’ll be iterating on the dumpling skins and “meat jelly”  sounds gross, right? but that’s the yum that turns in to soup inside the dumplings when you steam them. If this is too crucial for you, I guess: I DON’T THINK YOU’RE READY FOR THIS JELLY.)

HERE IT GOES:

  • In a pot of about 4 cups of boiling water, add a pound of skin-on pork belly for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pork rind, rinse in cool water and cut into small strips.
  • Add back to a clean pot of 4 cups of water, 5 smashed ginger medallions and several green onion ends. Cook for 2 hours on low heat.
  • Using a food processor or emersion blender, pulse the soup for a few seconds and put into a container and refrigerate for at least 5 hours (preferably over night).
  • In another bowl, add about 6 tablespoons of finely minced ginger, 3 tablespoons of minced green onion, 1 pound of ground pork, 2 tablespoons of Maggi seasoning, 2 teaspoons of sea salt, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce. Mix well.
  • Pulse this mixture with your blender/food processor until it becomes like a paste.  Add in the meat jelly.
  • In another bowl, add 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of cold water into a large bowl and knead well until the dough is smooth and stretchy.  Let it rest in a covered bowl for 25 minutes before rolling it out.
  • Roll out your dough and cut into even pieces
  • Roll dough pieces into little balls about 4cm in diameter
  • Roll out the little dough balls into circles a few millimeters thick
  • be firm but delicate when making your dumplings!
  • Add about 1.5 teaspoons of your filling in the center of a dough circle and pleat and pinch around until the dumpling is closed.
  • I steamed my XLBs on porcelain spoons lined with thinly sliced carrots
  • Steam each batch for about 8 minutes
  • Enjoy with some black vinegar and grated ginger!

And of course because I CAN; I made myself a few pork belly buns too. HA!

goodbye.

Elephant Grey

We were joking calling me a “chic monk” in my flowy greyscale outfit while we were shooting some sunrises ago – what can I say, I like to drift around comfortably. Though while looking through some digi & film selects from M, I started listening to Elephant and realized that in everything I do and with everything I wear, I try to be like baby elephants.  No, not just in lovely greys…

Mostly in a dichotomous way of being at once strong yet gentle; I think I’ll add this to my list for 2015.  Similarly, I’d like to meet a baby elephant someday.

| hat @ rag + bone | silk blouse @ everlane | culottes @ zara (tailored; similar) | platforms @ miu miu (others) |

strollin

edgeofthecitybackview  swirls

This is one of my favorite shots of this old Volvo that M captured while I was of course standing in the middle of the street!IMG_0054

tkflare

hydrantmonk   deetsgoozebumps

superhaze

  hatdrop

lightpeeps

and the rap video shot… lol rapvideo

photography: Mitch Blummer

xo, Huckleberry Kim