Reviewing Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit

Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit

A few weeks ago I went bananas at my local Marukai and purchased this Okonomiyaki Kit by Otafuku. I’ve had Okonomiyaki once, maybe twice, but always felt it’s something I can easily make at home. The completely from scratch recipes are well over an hour in cooking time, and for a Spoonie like me, that is sometimes not an option…especially when I have a friend over and we just want to cook something super quick and weeb out with some damn anime. Which is what my friend and I did when I used this kit. We’re watching Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun and it’s hilarious. If you like self-aware slice of life, go for it.

High school student Chiyo Sakura has a crush on schoolmate Umetarō Nozaki, but when she confesses her love to him, he mistakes her for a fan and gives her an autograph. When she says that she always wants to be with him, he invites her to his house and has her help on some drawings. Chiyo discovers that Nozaki is actually a renowned shōjo manga artist named Sakiko Yumeno. She then agrees to be his assistant in order to get closer to him. As they work on his manga Let’s Fall in Love (恋しよっ) they encounter other schoolmates who assist them or serve as inspirations for characters in the stories. – Wikipedia

I decided to film the process of making the Okonomiyaki,and you can watch that video:

I could have left it just as a video, but I wanted to provide photos of some of the steps, and include a recipe for homemade Okonomiyaki sauce. Japanese food companies use a LOT of high fructose corn syrup and I could not find a single commercially available Okonomiyaki sauce that did not include HFC. So, I chose to make it myself.

So, here are (most!) of the step by step instructions.

Step One: Prep the ingredients

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
1/2 head cabbage + 4 smallish scallions

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
Thinly sliced meat.

Note: I used shabu shabu pork and did not have to prep beyond opening the package and having it at the ready.

Step Two: Mix Your Ingredients

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit

In order: yam powder + 5.4 fl oz water (mix); Okonomiyaki batter (mix to combine); cabbage, green onion, tempura flakes, 2 eggs (fold in these items gently; do not over mix!)

Step Three: Grease & Griddle it up

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit

I used a large nonstick pan, but if you’re going to use a griddle or skillet, be sure to grease it well before spooning the first pancake. You’ll want to try to divide the batter up evenly and ladle it onto the hot pan, taking care to keep it in a circular shape and no more than an inch in thickness.

Step Four: Cook for 3-5 minutes, then lay on the MEAT!

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
I used 4 slices per okonomiyaki

Step Five: After meat is secure, FLIP!

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
Flip #1

Step Six: Cover & Cook the meat 3-5 minutes, then FLIP! Uncover & cook for 1-2 min

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit
Make sure your pork is cooked through!

Step Seven: Remove from heat, transfer to a plate, garnish as you please & enjoy!

Cooking Okonomiyaki with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit

The whole process takes less than a half hour, and I not only recommend the Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit, I plan to purchase more in the very near future to have on hand when I find myself at home with a plus one – or just exceptionally hungry for modern Japanese comfort food.

  • Quick ‘n’ Easy Okonomi Sauce Recipe:
  • Mix 3 tbs of ketchup + 1 tbs of Worcestershire sauce + 1 tsp of Soy Sauce.

    There are a variety of other Okonomiyaki sauce recipes floating around there on the internet, and I will be experimenting with them as well as food to toss in and garnish Okonomiyaki with.

    Have you eaten or cooked okonomiyaki? What variation did you eat?

    Osawa Celebrates Two Years in Pasadena

    It’s always a happy day when a restaurant marks another successful year on the calendar, as is the case with Osawa Shabu Shabu & Sushi, which celebrated its second anniversary in Old Town Pasadena last week. I have blogged about Osawa before, so you can check out their day-to-day menu from that post. However, this was a party, so I showed up in video mode and filmed a quick one-minute Tastemade vlog. Check out the highlights from the anniversary celebration:

    Owner Sayuri Tachibe employs Omotenashi, the Japanese art of hospitality, where customers are honored guests and eating at Osawa Shabu Shabu + Sushi becomes more than just a meal, but an an elevated experience in traditional Japanese dining. おめでとうございます~! (Congratulations!)

    Osawa Shabu Shabu + Sushi
    77 North Raymond Avenue
    Pasadena, California 91103
    Phone: 626.683.1150

    Shiki – Beverly Hills

    SHIKI - Beverly Hills

    Shiki Beverly Hills

    Last month, I was invited to the premiere of what promises to be one of the optimum sushi restaurants in all of Los Angeles.

    Located in the space formerly occupied by Enoteca Drago, Shiki Beverly Hills, prepares authentic Washoku cuisine using time-honored, traditional Japanese cooking methods and techniques, bringing out the natural essence of the freshest, wildest, most seasonal flavors sourced locally and from Japan. Washoku respects the natural beauty of the changing seasons by highlighting seasonable wild ingredients. At the helm of Shiki is Tokyo educated Chef Shigenori Fujimoto, previously of Matsuhisa and two Michelin Star Asanebo.

    I cannot even begin to explain what an utter joy attending the Shiki premiere night was. It goes without saying that the food is incomparable; I cannot even properly “review” it because everything, from the sake to the fresh ginger to every little sushi piece was utterly perfection. Shiki is the kind of place one patronizes when one yearns for a luxurious, authentic Japanese dining experience.

    Enough waxing poetic, though, and on with the fishes!

    Continue reading

    Fat Spoon (Downtown Los Angeles)

    Fat Spoon - Little Tokyo

    NOTE: Fat Spoon no longer exists. Boohoo!

    This post is rather late, as I recently learned that dear Fat Spoon closed its doors at the end of November. How did I find this out, you ask? Hankering for some delectable tonkatsu curry, I merrily ventured off to Little Tokyo after an early morning doctor appointment in downtown Los Angeles, did a little shopping in Marukai, and walked over to Fat Spoon…where I came face to face with a sign declaring the sad news that they had closed. In my most Shatner-esque moment, I flung my arms akimbo, groceries hanging heavily in each hand, threw my head back and cried, “Nooooooooooo!”

    The note told of re-opening, however, and having a sister restaurant, Toranoko, that I have yet to patronize and therefore cannot comment on. I was lying in wait for another visit to Fat Spoon so I could have more dishes to comment on, but alas, who knows when that will be. My hope now is that this post will encourage others to give the gang at Fat Spoon another go if and when they re-open elsewhere. I just hope wherever, whenever they reopen, the restaurant remains close (or closer) to me!

    I first came across Fat Spoon at the L.A. Street Food Festival this summer, where their beef tongue curry woke up my worn out tastebuds and reminded me of a love I once had for Japanese curry. Over the years, I have grown disenchanted with J-style curry, though, as I increasingly found it to be a salty, gloppy mess covering up poorly executed tonkatsu or chicken-katsu. So when the Fat Spoon curry crossed my path, I made quite a fuss over them in person and they rewarded my enthusiasm with a $20.00 gift certificate. Sweet.

    Fat Spoon - Little Tokyo
    Daikon Condiments

    Flash forward a month or so when I decided to meet up with one of my ‘net pals and I suggested Fat Spoon. Only problem? Totally forgot my gift card. D’oh. Still, the prices weren’t overwhelmingly awful, so we stuck with Fat Spoon for lunch.

    Fat Spoon - Little Tokyo
    Tarako ($10)
    Salted cod roe, cream, dried seaweed & chopped green onion

    Fat Spoon - Little Tokyo

    I was waffling between this, the uni pasta and the tonkatsu curry ever sine my companion agreed to dining at Fat Spoon. Figuring I would use my gift certificate for the Uni Pasta another day, I went with the Tarako. The perfect blend of salty and creamy, this dish was comfort incarnate. When I was a kid, Fettuccine Alfredo was my favorite, FAVORITE dish and had I grown up in a home with Japanese flavors, I like to think this dish is what I would have called my favorite, FAVORITE!

    Fat Spoon - Little Tokyo
    Pork Cutlet (Tonkatsu) Curry ($10)

    Fat Spoon - Little Tokyo
    Curry Sauce

    My friend Ana ordered this signature dish (I credit my non-too-subtle brainwashing attempts, including quoting previous reviews claiming this to be the most moist pork cutlet ever) and happily tucked in. We both admired the plating of this dish, keeping the meat, rice and sauce separate to let the diner measure out how much of what they want. This curry is very authentic; the hint of natural sweetness from a fruit such as an apple was subtly evident under the mildly spiced earthy curry. Oh, and the pork? Totally lived up to the hype.

    Fat Spoon - Little Tokyo
    Baked Sweet Potato (compliments of the chef)
    vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce

    The chef sent this out for us to gorge out on. Gorge we did, too, after securing our eyes back into their sockets (too gross? Sorry; wanted to illustrate how surprised we were by the gesture and the simple genius of the dish itself). Sweet, but not sugary, this dessert had our spoons competing for another scoop. Yum.

    Ah, Fat Spoon. I had an incredible time visiting you and only snagged but a sampling of your delicious fare. My Christmas wish is that you will reopen in 2013 (somewhere easily attainable for me, She Who Does Not Drive) and serve up your flavorful, moderately priced albeit powerfully addictive food once more.

    Stay Updated on Fat Spoon news:
    Fat Spoon on Facebook

    Mashiko Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Seattle)

    Mashiko - West Seattle

    I’ll take a brief moment out of this post to let you know I’m hanging in there after my surgery. I developed complications brought on by a separate issue shortly after my release, putting me back into the hospital for an additional 6 days. I’ve been slowly but surely healing. Thanks to all of my friends for providing guests posts, I really appreciate it.

    Now – onto Mashiko. My friend Liz has been talking up this little West Seattle joint for a while now; it’s a favorite for her and her husband. The bar that separates Mashiko from any regular old sushi joint is the fact that owner Hajime Sato has worked very diligently to make Mashiko Seattle’s first sustainable sushi restaurant. You’re not going to find some of your favorite sushi here – either because its numbers are depleting or because fishing methods are less than humane. Fear not though – there is plenty of skillfully prepared seafood to go around.
    Bonus points for a well put together website that includes basic and in-depth information as well as an up to date menu.

    Liz was careful to make reservations for the sushi bar – and reservations overall are a must as this place fills up fast. Though Hajime-san was not there we were catered to by Chef Mariah, whose deft hands could rival any Japanese-born sushi master.

    Pour the Sake!

    Art and Liz started the evening off by ordered a large drink of mu sake. It came in this adorable (pine? cedar?) box on a saucer and…that’s what you drink it out of. I had a sip; it was the most amazing sake I’ve ever tasted. I had to order my own box.

    Between Art, Liz and Tori they ordered an array of sashimi and sushi rolls.

    Skipjack Tuna - Mashiko
    Skipjack Tuna

    Temptation Island Roll - Mashiko
    Temptation Island Roll albacore, tempura onions, scallions, and garlic sauce

    Rainbow Roll - Mashiko
    Rainbow Roll crab, cucumber, and avocado topped with assorted fish

    Dragon Roll - Mashiko
    Dragon Roll tempura namagi and cucumber topped with avocado & dynamite sauce

    Goldeneye Roll
    Goldeneye Roll (unsure what’s in it)

    Glutton that I am, I of course took any opportunity to taste whatever was offered to me. I must say, that Dragon Roll is lethally delicious. Order two or three, you won’t regret it.
    Now, of course I had to go big because, well, who else was going to? With egging on from my companions, I ordered the Honkaku omakase course meal. Two hours of miniature courses until I am so full I beg for mercy. All chef’s choice, all a surprise. Here is what was given to me:

    Kinki Kobujime
    Kinki Kobujime rock fish sashmi

    Notes: Light and dainty, a very refreshing way to kick off the omakase.

    Kumomoto Oyster
    Kumomoto Oyster

    Note: Heaven in a half shell. Oysters really do need their own food group.

    Cherrystone Clam
    Cherrystone Clam

    Note: Not my favorite. In fact, I’ll never eat a raw clam again.

    Geoduck - Mashiko

    Note: I wouldn’t go out of my way for geoduck in the future, but the pink salt and masago helped.

    Oregon Bay Shrimp Salad - Mashiko
    Oregon Bay Shrimp Salad with sprouts and cherry tomatoes, ponzu & shio oil

    Note: Very refreshing and light.

    Sake Poached Oyster
    Sake Poached Oyster with red onions

    Note: Really amazing. I have limited experience with cooked oysters but this was absolutely delicious. The onions and sprouts really gave the oyster a tender depth I wouldn’t have conceived of on my own. I’m pleased to say you can order this solo.

    Poached Abalone
    Poached Abalone

    Note: I thought it was going to be a lot chewier than it was. Still not my favorite, but good to have tried anyway.

    Albacore liver
    Albacore liver (?)

    Note: I didn’t write down what part of the albacore this is, if it’s part of the albacore at all. A liver? I don’t recall, but it was pretty good.

    Mu Sake
    Sake in a Box

    Note: Not part of the omakase but worth showing you. Delicious.

    Uni - Mashiko

    Note: I’ve only ever had good uni, but this uni takes the cake. Silky temptress of the sea…

    Hawaiian Albacore Poke Salad
    Hawaiian Albacore Poke Salad seaweed, sweet onions, garlic, and sesame oil

    Note: This was good but I was happier to share it with Liz than eat it all myself.

    Sashimi - Mashiko

    Note: From far right to back left – Kibinago (blue sprat) with ume (least favorite), Washington coast ocean smelt, White King Salmon (favorite), Northwest albacore toro, spotted mackerel, seared black cod.

    Chawamushi - Mashiko
    Chawanmushi steamed egg custard with mushrooms

    Note: I took one bite and handed this to Liz. I couldn’t get into a hot, eggy custard dish with overly earthy fungi. Just not my thing.

    Sauteed Geoduck
    Sauteed Geoduck with matsutake mushrooms

    Now this I like! I can eat geoduck better when sauteed. Very tasty in a bath of garlic and butter, I believe.

    Tuna Tartare - Mashiko
    Tuna Tartare

    Note: I was ready for one more course…and this is what Chef Mariah pulled out to finally keep my tummy still. Holy shit, I’m sorry this blurry picture does not do this piece justice. I had to share it with my friends because of the density and immense tuna-ness of it all. Amazing.

    Green Tea Ice Cream - Mashiko
    Coco-a-GoGo Bakery Nouveau brownie coated in panko & coconut, deep fried & topped with green tea ice cream

    Note: I liked the green tea ice cream more than the deep fried brownie, but perhaps that is because I was up my eyeballs in food at this point. Shared by all.

    Would I recommend Mashiko? Absolutely. Whether you’re a daredevil glutton like me or perfectly content for a few rolls, this is a fantastic culinary experience that I’d encourage all visitors and residents of Seattle to enjoy.

    Mashiko Japanese Restaurant + Sushi Bar
    4725 California SW
    Seattle WA 98116

    Sunday – Thursday: 5:03pm-9:00pm
    Friday & Saturday: 5:03pm-10:00pm

    Guu saka bar (Toronto)


    Guu Saka Bar

    Ask around for the best Japanese restaurant in all of Toronto and many Toronto residents will point you at Guu saka bar – either from personal experience or word of mouth. Guu saka bar is a bizarre mix of hyper-fusion and rigid traditional Japanese izakaya (tapas), located in the West Annex neighborhood. The menu is ever changing (as Spicy had to find out the hard way, having her heart set on fried macaroni and cheese balls) and sharing is encouraged (though very hard to see through). There are three dining areas to pick from: a common, family style area with long tables and benches, the sushi bar or the very traditional area which requires customers to remove their shoes before sitting level with their table.


    Spicy was very wary about leaving her Fluevog shoes in a cubby, so she was permitted to take her shoes with her so long as they were off. The menu was extensive, with staples and specials. We were a little overwhelmed, unsure of what was what, but decided to just go for whatever sounded the tastiest.

    Kimchi Udon
    Kimchi Udon

    Udon with spicy roe, kimchi, nori, scallion. I was intrigued by this odd dish. Ingredients I wouldn’t think to put together but that blend so beautifully I was kind of wishing I had more. Deliciously spicy with a mixture of textures to compliment one another. I must try this at home one day.

    Negi Toro
    Negi Toro

    Chopped spicy tuna, nori to wrap it up. Pretty straight forward. It was spicy and tuna-y, what more could I want? Yum! Oh, and I didn’t need to bother with the soy (and definitely not the wasabi). My tuna was perfect just the way it was.

    Magu Tata
    Magu tata

    Seared tuna, garlic chips, green onion, ponzu sauce. “The best tune I ever had,” said Spicy, and she knows her tuna. The texture was very nice, with melt in your mouth tenderness, and the tuna was well seasoned.


    Yakisoba, tonkatsu, mayo. My first (I think) official okonomiyaki. It was spicy, sweet and savory. Spice wasn’t fond of the yakisoba’s flavoring and the sauce was a bit too abundant, but it was otherwise tasty. I don’t think I’d go out of my way for okonomiyaki but it was satisfying to finally try it.

    Beef Carpaccio
    Beef Carpaccio

    My first ever beef carpaccio, thanks in part to Pixel, who had to bow out prematurely. Dear mother of meat, this was a treat! I don’t know if I will ever eat another of its likeness. Flavorful, tangy and juicy I just wanted to go behind a screen and have a private moment with this dish.

    Would I recommend and return to to Guu? Hell to the yes. If anything, I wish I had gone back to Guu, with Zuzu and Mr. G in tow so they could experience the Japanese heaven that is Guu. Not only was it one of my best meals in Toronto, but I have yet to find its equal here in Los Angeles. Yet another reason (on my steadily growing list) to return to Toronto!

    Guu Saka Bar
    559 Bloor St W
    Toronto, ON M5S 1Y6
    (647) 343-1101

    Guu Sakabar on Urbanspoon

    Ozumo Contemporary Japanese Cuisine

    Ozumo in Santa Monica

    I don’t know why I even bother to try new places when I’m not on the clock. I suppose, as a food writer, I have an inherent guilt if I don’t give something a go. Something on a whim, that I’ve never heard about from friends, family or Yelp. Sometimes this works out…as it was with the case of Santa Monica based tapas joint Bar Pintxo, which I wrote about in the August issue of The Place Los Angeles.

    So I found myself in the Santa Monica area once again. I was a little woozy with the ninety-five degree weather and decisions about anything, let alone food, were difficult to contemplate. Did I want to eat at Bar Pintxo, some place safe, trusted, and delicious? Or did I want to try something new, perhaps something a little lighter? (Although, in hindsight, what the hell is lighter than tapas?)

    My mum kept hard-selling the gourmet health-conscious food court on the roof of the Santa Monica Place, but when we got up there none of them looked appetizing. Off to the side of the food court was Ozumo and suddenly sushi sounded like just the refreshing food for an unbearably hot day.

    Ozumo Menu

    As soon as we went in we were greeted and sat at the more casual, lounge/bar area. Until I used the restroom I had no idea just how expansive the restaurant actually is. It’s very beautiful and aesthetically pleasing with wood chandeliers, private rooms, and an especially long sushi bar. I was kinda bummed we weren’t sitting in the dining room.

    The Food

    Sekiwake Roll

    Order: Sekiwake: spicy tuna roll with hamachi and salmon, tobiko and tempura flakes.
    Verdict: While good, not wholly worth the $14 price tag. The tuna was minced to bits and tasted rather cheap. The hamachi and salmon was sparingly used. Had it been cheaper, I’d have an easier time paying for it.

    Gindara Bento
    Order: Gindara bento – Ozumo’s famous grilled black cod marinated in saikyo miso with dashi cream sauce. It was accompanied by rice, fresh fruit, pickled radish, broiled Japanese squash and seared burdock root salad. $15

    Verdict: Fairly tasty, but salty as hell and left my mother’s mouth burning for hours.

    Sashimi Bento - Ozumo
    Order: Matsu Bento – 8 piece sashimi with sunomono, miso soup and a mini cheesecake. $14

    Verdict: The sunomono was rubbish, but the sashimi was exactly the refreshing flavor I was seeking and the miso soup was like the soup of the gods. The mini cheesecake was a fun, tasty bonus. If they worked on the sunomono, it would be well worth the $14

    Would I return to Ozumo? Not on my own dime.

    Santa Monica is one of those places in Los Angeles you need treat with a grain of salt. It caters to the nouveau riche, power lunch professionals, Hollywood suits and wealthy tourists that think food can only be good if it has a hefty price tag. This is a regularly featured Southern California scam and I’m ashamed I fell for it.

    395 Santa Monica Pl
    Santa Monica, CA 90401