Okonomi Sushi

TDog and I met up for a much needed girl date, and we went for sushi lunch at Okonomi Sushi in Uptown New Westminster.

Okonomi Sushi is a Korean-run Japanese restaurant.  It’s spacious and clean, but the service is a bit slow and sometimes it feels like there’s a language barrier.  Extremely polite though.

Okonomi Sushi - Lunchbox DI rarely make it for the lunchbox special deals at Japanese restaurants, this time I made it!  I chose the sashimi box combo and that includes 3 pieces of salmon and 2 pieces of tuna.  Like most Korean-run establishments I’ve been to, the pieces of sashimi are thickly cut.

The chicken karaage were also better than I expected!!  They were crispy, juicy morsels of tender meat.  The tempura were equally impressive.  The amount of batter was appropriate and overall crispy and light.  The sashimi dipping sauce was a tad too sweet though.  Beef teriyaki was dryish, which I find the is the norm.

Okonomi Sushi - Lunchbox ETDog had Lunchbox E which was a vegetarian combo.  It had tofu teriyaki (agedashi tofu with teriyaki sauce) and avocado roll.  They made a mistake and gave her both the veggie udon AND inari tempura (supposedly you get a choice of one).  The udon was chewy, a very nice texture.

I was quite impressed with Okonomi Sushi and I would gladly come back for another lunch date.  Or dinner date.  Or whatever.

Okonomi Sushi Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Highlights from CHFA West 2015

CHFA West 2015 ShowcaseHot off the heels of the Healthy Family Expo comes the trades-only Canadian Health Food Association‘s Conference and Tradeshow CHFA West and it was with pleasure and excitement that I was able to attend.  It’s always interesting to see what the upcoming trends are in the food world, and this year, it seems like anything coconut is still all the rage, along with kale, nut milks, and of course, anything organic/non-GMO/whole-grain/ancient-grain.

Even though the convention was organized by the Canadian Health Food Association, there were more than just food products on show.  Labellers, cleaners, and body products, etc, were also on display.  But again, since Eat ‘n About is a food blog, I will focus on things that can go inside the tummy.

This year, chocolate products really topped my list.  Flavored dark chocolates of course, at least 72% and up.  And there was just so much to see and taste, this “Healthy Picks” list from the CHFA is my largest one to date.  Let’s get to it!

Highlights from CHFA West 2015

#1: Giddy Yoyo Raw Chocolates

Giddy Yoyo Raw ChocolatesGiddy Yoyo‘s chocolate bars were hands-down my favorite item to have tasted at CHFA West, and it’s not just because it’s chocolate.  It’s much more than that.  What really impressed me about Giddy Yoyo‘s chocolate bars is that they are raw, which greatly differentiates them from the rest of the chocolate bars out there.

I asked how this is accomplished, and in layman’s terms they told me while the chocolate does go through a tempering process, it never reaches the temperature of usual “cooked” chocolate so it does retain it’s “raw” quality.  This results in less oxidization of the cacao’s nutritional properties.

The “important” stuff aside, Giddy Yoyo raw chocolate bars just taste darn yummy!  They have so many different flavors to choose from and they ONLY do dark chocolate!  From regular dark (60%) to VERY dark….

Giddy Yoyo Raw ChocolatesJust how dark you ask??  Behold the 100% unsweetened dark cacao!  I braved it and tried a piece.  A pretty big piece actually.  It was intensely chocolatey and that really is all you get- chocolatey goodness!  To be honest this was quite difficult to swallow as is but I’m pretty certain that when it’s used as an ingredient in perhaps baking or homemade hot chocolate, this would be divine, and a little would most certainly go a long way.

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It’s Possible! We can bring Trader Joe’s Thai “Dry” Chili Paste back!!

Trader-joes-thai-dry-chili-paste-jarI reviewed Trader Joe’s Thai “Dry” Chili Paste a while back and a few readers have commented how they couldn’t find it in their local store.  So we just figured it was a seasonal item or discontinued.  Then today I got a comment from a reader Eugenie and she told us this:

I just used the Trader Joes Product Information form on Contact Us asking about this product. They said sales didn’t meet quota but if there was adequate outcry fro customers, they’d consider bringing it back. So fill in the form! You never know…

That’s so great to know!  You betcha I filled it out right away.  You can find the form here.  If you feel as strongly about the Thai “Dry” Chili Paste as I do, please fill it out!!

Aqua Sushi + Juice Bar

Aqua Sushi + Juice Bar - exteriorAqua Sushi + Juice Bar was a last minute dinner decision one night because Six suddenly had to go away for work for 4 weeks, so we only had time for a 30 minute dinner before he had to leave.  In this case, take-out was the way to go.

Aqua Sushi + Juice Bar makes all their sushi with nutritionally superior brown rice instead of white rice.  In fact, when Six was looking at the menu, he commented “Oh….this is one of those healthy places…”  Not sure if he was disappointed or not, but it was a funny comment.

Oh, and as the name says, they’re also a juice bar.  We didn’t get any though, so that’s all I got to say about that.

Aqua Sushi + Juice Bar - interiorI found Aqua’s prices to be quite reasonable, despite being “one of those healthy places“.  Their most expensive sushi roll was $9.  THey also have quinoa sushi cones, low carb no-rice rolls, vegetarian picks, as well as sashimi and some starters.

Aqua Sushi + Juice Bar - Spicy Wild Salmon Roll & Aqua RollWe ended up getting three rolls.  Actually I had two and he had one.  Six picked the Spicy Wild Salmon Roll ($5, left) and it’s made with kale and green bean.  The first of my rolls was the Aqua Roll ($5.50, right) made with wild salmon, avocado, mango, green bean.

Not too sure if I’m fond of the green bean in either rolls.  It does impart a fresh crunch, but the sushi as a whole was quite bland.  I think the rice could’ve been seasoned a bit more with vinegar.  The mango from the Aqua Roll did give a good sweetness to the roll but that’s about it.

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Mercola Sprouting Seeds Review

mercola-products-titleI love gardening.  I really do, so I was especially excited when Mercola contacted me to sponsor a review on their Sprout Doctor Starter Kit (minus the sunflower seeds).  I will note here that I received seeds and products from Mercola for free, however I was not compensated in any way and all opinions are my own.

Mercola Sprout Doctor Starter Kit - Pea and Broccoli seedsI’ve always germinated/sprouted my seeds before I planted them in my balcony garden.  However, I have yet to sprout seeds for consumption.  I’m sure many of you have already heard the claims of the immense nutritional value of sprouting your own seeds.  If you haven’t, Mercola has a good page here to tell you all about it.  Now I can’t attest to the claims but nonetheless I’m sure there’s some truth to it and it’s got to be healthy somehow, just by the fact of how fresh your produce will be.  Plus it’s fun, so it’s a win-win situation!

I was provided with 2 packages of sprouting seeds, one for pea shoots, the other for broccoli sprouts.  I also received sprouting trays top and bottom (top one has drainage holes), plus an 11L bag of Sprout Doctor Soil Enhancement.

The seeds were sourced from High Mowing Organic Seeds as Mercola does not “manufacture” their own seeds.  I actually just bought some tomato seeds from High Mowing too!  For next year though haha.

Seed sprouting soil setupI thought the tray was going to be too large for my use, so I decided to do my project in a clean plastic tray.  I just recycled one from when I bought roasted chicken from Costco.  They’re perfect for all my seed starting needs since it comes complete with a clear vented domed lid.  I have three of those lying around for Spring time.

As you can see, there’s plastic wrap on half the tray.  That’s because the scientist in me wanted to test the Sprout Doctor Soil Enhancement properly, via a “scientific method” of sorts.  The naked half is just potting soil alone.  The wrapped half has the soil enhancement mixed in.  I would like to see if there’s going to be a difference in growth.

I say a “scientific method” of sorts since not all variables were controlled.  I couldn’t be bothered to make sure there’s the same number of seeds on each side (as over or undercrowding could be a factor in growth patterns), nor can I really control the amount of water each side gets.  But temperature and amount of light will be the same.  I even made sure that I washed my hands after handling the amended side before touching the non-amended side.

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