July 7th, 2014

新型ファーマーズマーケット

7月4日はアメリカ独立記念日。昼間は町中でパレードがあったり、家族や友達と集まってバーベキューをして夜になって花火を見る、という のが一般の過ごし方だ。ロサンゼルスではそれに加え毎年北米最大級のアニメコンベンション、アニメエキスポ(日本アニメーション振興会)がこの週末に行わ れている。今年はそれに加え、もう一つ大きなイベントがこの独立記念日に始まった。アニメエキスポが行われているダウンタウンからおよそ8キロ離れたボイルハイツというエリアでロサンゼルス初の医療大麻のファーマーズマーケットが行われた。医療大麻の許可を持っている患者に良い品を届けたい、という願いから生まれた新型のファーマーズマーケットだ。普通のファーマーズマーケットとの違いは入場者は医療大麻使用の許可書をもっている人だけに限られている、というところだ。ファーマーズマーケット好きな私は数日前に新聞で読んでから興味を持ち、見てみたい、と思ったものの医療大麻の患者ではない。

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

待ち時間は1時間を超える

独立記念日、だめは元々、雰囲気だけでもみてみようと出かけてみた。会場のあるボイルハイツはイーストロサンゼルスの一部でメキシコ移民が多いことで知られている。使われてない工場跡も多く、あまり治安のよい場所ではない。車で午前11時頃着いてみると遠くから既に列ができているのが見える。遠路はるばる来た人も多いのか路上駐車のスペースもいっぱい、なかにはベンツやBMW等の高級車も止めてある。数ブロック先に車を止め、会場に向かうと会場のあるブロックをぐるりと人が囲んでいる。ざっとみて300人以上並んでいる。圧倒的に男性が多い。18歳以上でないと入場できないので、その位の年齢から60、70歳位の人まで白人、黒人、ラテン人、多種多様だ。アジア人は数人のみだった。列の先頭にいた50歳過ぎの黒人の女性に声をかけてみると1時間ほど炎天下待っているという。医療大麻を買いにきているのだから皆何かしらの病気もちであろう、こんな暑い中で待ってて大丈夫なのかと聞くと、笑顔で「安く買えるんだったら1時間くらい大丈夫よ!」といたって明るい。失礼だがどんな治療に必要なのか、と聞くと「腰痛」とのこと。外に立っていた警備員は「午前10時のオープンに、7時頃には人が並び始めてたよ」と。中に入って様子を見たいのだけれど、と頼んでみると医療大麻使用許可を持っているか、と聞かれた。持っていないと答えると、無理だよ、それは違法になるから、と断れた。買うつもりも、試すつもりもないのだけれど、と押してみてもだめ。その時、パトカーがやってきたので何があったのか、と見てみるとただチェックに来ただけのようだ。医療大麻を売るには学校から約300メートル(1000フィート)、公園から約180メートル(600フィート)以上離れていなければならないという条件があるので近所からクレームがくる事も多い。警備員の方が、警察官たちと話している若い女性を指差し、彼女がこのファーマーズマーケットの発足人だから彼女に聞いてみろ、と言ったので早速話してみた。ペイズリー・ブラッドビュリーさん(22歳)に、日本のフリーのライターなのですが、とお願いしたところその場でオッケー。「何も買えないわよ」と念を押され、プレスの印である赤い腕バンドをくれた。

元工場であった平方メートルの会場

元工場の1,400平方メートルの会場

一歩中に入ってみるとそこは大きな空きガレージのようなスペースでDJがヒップホップやダンスミュージックをかけ、若い女性がビラを配ったりしてる中でたくさんのブースがもうけてある。雰囲気は大学祭のようだ。屋外であるが多少屋根もついているのでエアコンがなくても過ごしやすい。約1,400平方メートルのエリアに、50店ほどの農家直営の大麻、大麻を使った食品や化粧品等のブースが出ており、どこもにぎわっている。主催者のペイズリーさんは「予想の倍以上の人が集まってるわ」と少しびっくりしているようだ。最も人気があるのは入り口からすぐの大麻の葉を売っている店。常に50人以上が列をなしている。セールスの女性、シンディーさん(20歳)は「うちが一番安いから」と言う。どのくらい安いのかというと一般に患者が購入する値段より7割ほど安い上、新鮮であるらしい。「香りもいいし、ほら、水滴のようなものが見えるでしょ」とルーペを通して見せてくれる。ちょっとした薬局へ来ているようだ。「患者さんと大麻を作っている人が直接売買して手数料を省き、安く医療大麻を提供する場所を作りたいと思ったの。そして成分や効果など両者が勉強しあい、コミュニケーションのとれるできる場を提供できたらいいな、って」と主催者のペイズリーさんは語る。医療大麻を購入するには患者はまず、医者に行き、治療の一環として使用を許す、という許可証をもらう。そしてその許可証カードをメディカルディスペンサリーと呼ばれる医療大麻を販売薬局のような場所へ行き、必要である分購入する、というシステムになっている。医者に処方箋を書いてもらい薬局に持っていくのに似ている。

主催者のペイズリー・ブラッドビュリーさん

主催者のペイズリー・ブラッドビュリーさん

このイベント当日、患者たちはこの許可証をもっていない限り入場はさせてもらえない。1時間ちょっと炎天下の中で待ち、中に入るとまず医者の受付のような窓口があり、そこで証明書を渡す。受け取ったスタッフがコンピューターでその証明書が本物であるか、きちんとした医者から発行されているものか、期限は切れていないか、等チェックをする。スタッフは常時3−5人。条件をすべてクリアにしていないと会場へは入れない。中には期限が切れていた若者もいて、明日もう一度新しい証明書をもってくるから、と懇願していたがルールはルールだ、とスタッフに言われ渋々会場を出て行った。このチェックをしている間患者たちは中にある椅子に座って約5−10分ほど待っている。この風景は病院の待合室と全く同じだ。雰囲気も少し重い。しかし、一旦許可が出るとアメリカの国旗をモチーフにしたような腕バンドをもらい(独立記念日だから)、笑顔で会場に行く事ができる。

受付で証明書を渡す

受付で証明書を渡す

日 本で生まれ育った私にとって大麻は怖い薬物、とニュースの中での存在でしかなかった。しかし、アメリカに大学留学した時、パーティに行くと必ずといっていいほ ど「ジョイント」と呼ばれる大麻を紙で撒いてタバコの様に吸うものが回ってくる。一回吸っては次に回し、皆で一緒に吸うのが習慣だ。しかし、私はタバコもお酒も飲 めないので、一回吸ってはみたものの、クリントン元大統領とは違い本当に「吸い込なかった」。オバマ大統領も子供の頃吸ってしまった経験があると認めている。ただ大統領自身、大麻がいいものであるとは言っておらず、国として大麻を合法にする方向はないと表明している一方、医療大麻の研究費を上げたりと医療機関としての大麻への関心があることは伺える。嗜好品として合法であるのはコロラド州とワシントン州のみであるが、私の住むカリフォルニアは1996年、全米で初めて医療大麻が合法になった州だ。その他、ワシントンD.C.、マサチューセッツ、ニュージャージーなど23州が医療大麻を 使用を認めている。ハリウッド映画で「ストーナー・コメディ」(Stonerとは大麻 愛好者をさす)といったジャンルが一般化しているほどアメリカでは大麻が割と身近なコンセプトとしてあったりする(映画の例はここをクリックください。見たことあるものが一本はあるはず)。見ているとだいたい愛好者たちはちょっと抜けているが基本的にはよい奴ら、として描かれて好感さえもてる。日本ではどうなのかとネットで調べてみたところ、私が覚えている通り、麻薬は恐ろしい薬物である、と言った口調で書かれており、吸ってみようものならすぐに中毒になり、神経や肉体に以上をきたす悪魔のような存在の様だ。医療使用に関しては全く開発されてはいないようだ。日米この温度差は激しい。(次回に続く)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

腕バンド

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

まるで海に行くような雰囲気の「患者」たち

 

 

 

March 25th, 2013

Spaghetti Napolitan

「今夜はスパゲティ!」と夫からのリクエスト。そういえば最近パスタパスタと言ってたなあ、と思いつつソースの作り置きがない事に気づいた。かといってスーパーで売ってるパスタソースを使うのはちょっと…。一昔前に色々買って試してみたがどうも酸っぱすぎたり味がなさ過ぎたりで有名なシェフの名前がついていようが何だろうが、以来私はパスタソースを購入していない。スパゲティ〜と浮かれている彼を横目に短時間、材料最小限で出来るのは、と思いついたのはスパゲッティ・ナポリタン!

napolitan

ナポリタンって聞くといかにもイタリアから来た料理の様に思えるが、アメリカ人には馴染みがない。なぜなら、お察しの通り、戦後に作られた日本の洋食だからだ。喫茶店やデパートの食堂でおなじみのこの一品、発祥は港町横浜、ノスタルジックな雰囲気の漂うホテルニューグランドにあると言われている。第2次世界大戦後、そこに駐留していたアメリカ軍の兵隊たちがスパゲッティにケチャップを食べていたの見て、ホテルのシェフたちはアイディアを得たらしい。 いいアイディアだ!ときっとシェフたちは思ったに違いない。ケチャップ好きなアメリカ人の夫の事だから絶対気に入るだろう!なんてグッドアイディア!と私も勇んでタマネギをスライスし始めた。

しかし、ホテルニューグランドのシェフの成功とは異なり、ナポリタンは私の旦那の口には合わなかった…。ケチャップ味のスパゲッティという観念がどうも理解できないらしい。「でも!」と私。「ケチャップ好きでしょ?」夫「スパゲティには合わないよお」「でも、オムライス好きじゃない。似た様な物だと思うんだけどなあ」という私の意見に答える事なく彼は、巨匠、マーティン・スコセッシのグッドフェローズのエンディングを引用し始めた。”I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce and I got egg noodles and ketchup.” 「マリナラソースのスパゲティをオーダーしたら卵麺にケチャップかけたのが来た。」美味しいトマトソースを期待していた所、ケチャップが来たら、それはちょっと違うだろう。イタリアンマフィアのVIPな生活を離れた主人公が証人保護プログラムのため、ニューヨークから郊外の辺鄙な町に引っ越した所、今までの特別扱いをされていた立場を失い、つまらない「一般人」となった哀しみを表すこのエンディングのモノローグを出して来るとは旦那も賢い。 名作には私も口を閉ざすしかないが、日本人の子供たちの大好物のひとつなんだ!だだのケチャップと卵麺とは違うんだ!とは無駄な抵抗。

その上、「ケチャップスパゲティ食べるんだったら市販のスパゲッティソースで食べる」と言い張る夫。さすがに市販ソースを出したらそれはそれで嫌がるのは目に見えているが、「スパゲッティ」と彼がイメージしていたのはオリーブオイル、トマトソース、クリームソース等の本場イタリアンな一品。イメージ違いと文化の違いだったのだろう。アメリカ生まれのケチャップと日本生まれのナポリタン。日本とアメリカのパーフェクトなフュージョン料理であるはずなのに…と少し皮肉な感も残る。料理から学ぶ事はまだまだありそうだ。

追伸:嫌だとは言いつつ、一人分はぺろっと平らげていた。

April 18th, 2012

Breakfast in America

Could we have kippers for breakfast

Mummy dear, Mummy dear Supertramp may have inspired me to try kippers, but my husband’s love of deli breakfasts made it all possible…

You have no idea of my joy and excitement when I found out what kippers were and how frequently they were on the menu at local Jewish delis.  You see, I grew up eating kippers.  My mother cooks a really good kipper dish, which I always asks her to make when I go home to visit. In Japanese, kippers are called nishin.  My absolute favorite way to have it is by soaking dried kippers in water overnight, then cooking them in a soy sauce based broth until they’re tender.

When you travel to Japan, check the menu for migaki nishin.  It’s not as popular as sushi, still, I highly recommend that you try it. It’s usually served on warm soba noodles, but at home, I just eat it with rice.
“Boy, you are courageous”.  a veteran waitress told me when I ordered kippers.  I guess it’s not the most popular item for breakfast in America, but those like me, who do enjoy them, experience a delicious buttery, salty sensation.

My kippers were served alongside sauteed onions, potatoes, and eggs.   If they had come with a side of rice, I may had experienced the perfect breakfast.  Finally, it pays off to be married to a Jewish guy with an unhealthy obsession with breakfast.

April 16th, 2012

Jewish Deli

My father-in-law always asks me if there’s still a Jewish deli in Tokyo.  Apparently, he saw one when he visited back in the 90′s, and that surprising image has stuck with him.  To give him an answer, I couldn’t rely on experience, I had to trust Google. Growing up in Tokyo, I had never seen or heard of a Jewish deli.  In fact, I didn’t even know what the heck a Jewish deli was until I moved to NYC after graduating from college in Boston.  Come to think of it, did I ever even try a bagel back then?  Luckily, I’ve made up for it since, thanks to my Jewish American husband.

Obviously I’ve changed, because now, Jewish delis are some of my favorite places.  Don’t believe me?  Visit one to experience the excitement for yourself.  As you walk in, every sense is engaged.  You hear veteran servers shouting out orders.  You see black and white cookies and hearty, doughy bagels waiting to be taken to a good home.  You smell succulent pastrami as it’s being sliced, AND if you ask nicely, you can taste a sample.  Finally, at your table, your sense of touch grabs that dill pickle to stave off the hunger pangs you’ve just acquired.  You may only recognize half of the menu and display case items, but you know they must be good as it’s always crowded– ALWAYS.

I’ve come a long way in my appreciation of the Jewish deli.  Before I met my Jewish American husband, only things I ever ordered were items in my comfort zone, like pastrami sandwiches and cheese cake.  To be honest, I was just scared to venture into the unknown, never setting foot into the foreign lands of matzo bowl soup and knishes.  Even when I conquered that fear, one hurdle remained–pronunciation.  How in the world is a Japanese person supposed to order kasha varnishkas or matzo-brie?  Thank goodness I’m long past just pointing to many shades of beige items on the next table, when telling the server what I want.

Now with experience, I can proudly say (and pronounce) “Although I like matzo ball soup, I prefer kreplach soup”.

And no, I still haven’t found a Jewish deli in Tokyo.  While there are many delicatessens which sell cured meats and European delicacies, sadly, there’s not a matzo ball to be found in Tokyo.  Any investors out there?  Give my husband a call.

April 5th, 2012

Bruschetta

They say all married couples start to look like each other.  Is it true?  Today, my husband said, “You are turning into me.”  Why?  After eating my homemade bruschetta with a fresh baguette, I said, “I could eat all of this bread by myself.”

In my single days, bread was my least favorite carb.  Did I ever even buy a baguette?  Sure, I like bread, but if I’m going to consume lots of guilty calories, I’d rather it be something nutritious and versatile.  Bread is pretty much the least nutritious and the least versatile of all carbs compared to Japanese rice or pasta/noodles.  I firmly believe that I’m right, but I married a bread snob, who claims he could eat a dozen of bagels if I leave him alone for the day.  On top of that, he doesn’t like rice, so I have to find interesting ways to use less-than-nutritious bread.  One of which, is bruschetta.

My recipe is quick and simple.  Dice tomato, chop garlic & onion, chiffonade basil leaves add olive oil, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and good salt to taste.  Leave in a tightly lid container for a few hours to overnight in the fridge.  Spread on a nice piece of bread and you’ll feel like you are biting into a little of Italy; bright, fresh and delicious  It’s so good that it may change your opinion of that evil white bread.  It surely changed mine.  At least I found a way to include fresh vegetables so that I don’t feel guilty reaching for that third piece.  Maybe I am turning into my husband.

 

April 2nd, 2012

The Tofu Switcheroo

Lasagne is a great comfort food.  How could it miss with hearty meat sauce, noodles, and melted cheese all in the same bite!  I have nothing against beef, but recent news items have made me rethink my desire to eat burgers and steaks everyday.  With that in mind, don’t tell my husband, but I occasionally substitute the beef in my lasagne with turkey.

The result?  I think the text he sent me after his first bite, said it all: “Damn, that’s good lasagne!”

Am I being greedy to think I know how to make this healthy lasagne even healthier without sacrificing taste?

How, you ask?  Tofu.  Tofu is an essential part of the Japanese diet.  We eat it everyday with most of our meals.  It can be consumed many, many ways, as is, in soup, a steak or in a casserole.  It’s popularity is simple: it’s delicious, nutritious and versatile.

Even with all its selling points, my Asian food-phobic husband doesn’t approve of this particular item.  Why?  He thinks it looks too cubic–too futuristic; something from a not too far off time where we eat capsules instead of savor meals.  To get him to eat it  I have to be sneaky creative.  Regular lasagne recipes often use a mixture of ricotta cheese, egg, and parsley.  Instead, I use a mixture of crumbled tofu, egg whites and chopped kale.  I also added layers of mushroom and spinach.  Delicious! The tofu switcheroo turned out to be the perfect April Fool’s Day hoax!

 

 

February 13th, 2012

Love, February

Are you outraged that my husband won’t take me out to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day?  Drinkers always refer to St. Patrick’s Day as ‘Amateur Night’ and we think the same about Valentine’s Day. Why go out to eat an overpriced prix fixe menu that most likely will be full of dishes he won’t like?  Why buy bad quality, mass produced chocolate that I won’t like or want to work off?   It’s not that we don’t love each other, we just both feel like there are other ways of expressing your love for each other without a side order of commercialism.  Maybe we’re just lucky that February is full of real occasions for us, leaving no need for an invented holiday.  What real occasions?  Besides our wedding anniversary, our first date was on a special day as well…leap day.  With those events on the calendar, a generic Valentine’s day doesn’t make our celebration list.

American men seem to work a lot harder on Valentine’s Day than their Japanese counterparts.  On Valentine’s Day in Japan, women give MEN chocolates.  Sometimes, the gift means love, and other times it may be just something to cheer up a lonely friend.  If the gift is not for a love connection, it’s called, giri choko, “obligatory chocolate”.  Nice, huh?

Giving chocolate has another meaning in Japan–confessing your affection for someone. Sounds serious, right?  I remember I made sacher torte to a guy I had a crush on when I was a teenager.  I guess it wasn’t that good, because I married someone else!

Seriously, dating in Japan goes way beyond Valentine’s Day trinkets.  Here, you go out on a few dates first to see if you and the other person are a match.  Once you find out that you make a great couple, you finally express your emotions when one person puts an ‘I love you’ out there and hopes for a return.

In Japan, you first “confess” that you really like someone and ask them to be in a relationship before the first date! I really hope I knew this when I moved to this country, but if I didn’t, I’m sure there are a few guys out there still telling the bizarre story of the Japanese woman who confessed her love to him before they were even introduced.  Talk about confusing; I didn’t know I was on dates with guys, because I never heard them “confess.” But hey, it worked out in the end.  I married an awesome guy who surprised me by confessing about other things!

By the way; if you think Japanese men have it easy on Valentine’s Day, guess again… A month later on March 14th, men have to give something back to ladies, and this time, it needs to be something a little more than a cheap box of chocolate.  On March 14th, men typically buy women things like European pastries or designer handbags. Either in America or in Japan, it looks like men can’t get away from Valentine’s Day.

Do you think my husband got off easy because we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day?  Last Valentine’s Day, he put it like this: “We don’t need to celebrate Valentine’s day for the sake of Valentine’s Day, but I do want to honor you,” and gave me a few gifts.  Pretty sweet, huh?  No matter how you spend Valentine’s Day, I hope you make it fun and sweet in your own way!  Happy Valentine’s Day!!

January 26th, 2012

Fish bits

My husband doesn’t like seafood, but at least, he always tries.  He finds a few things here and there that he doesn’t mind , with ‘doesn’t mind’ meaning he wouldn’t go as far as saying he likes it nor would he order it by choice.

I noticed that most American fish dishes are fillets, so not only my husband, but also many of my sushi loving American friends are not big fans of seeing an entire fish on a plate, head and all! For Japanese people, ordering fish and receiving an actual, entire ‘swim ready’ fish is as normal as getting a pizza with pepperoni on it.I have news for you.  If you think an entire fish is disgusting, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Let’s take a look at what I ate lately.
Mentaiko, spicy cod roe, is a Japanese favorite. As a matter of fact this is always on top of our “what do you want to eat with rice?” list.  It’s kind of like cod roe kimchi without the pungent smell, and it makes both a great pasta sauce and fantastic drinking food.We don’t discriminate when it comes to odd fish parts.  Besides eggs, we’ll gladly eat fish milt as well.  Even better is cod milt, shirako grilled on a bamboo leaf.  Its cheese-like, creamy texture melts in your mouth and can be better than foie gras.

Speaking of liver, this is ankimo, which is a monk fish liver, salted, steamed, cut and served in ponzu.  American sushi places started serving this over the last few years or so.  Believe it or not, it’s actually a seasonal thing and best between November and February when water is cold and livers gets fat.  Just like foie gras, it’s basically fat…creamy, delicious fat.

If my husband reads this, I think he’ll dislike seafood even more.  He’s barely past fish and chips.  Oh well, one step forward, ten steps back.

January 24th, 2012

Japanese comfort food

“Eat as much seafood as you can!”  That, and “I love you,” were my husband’s parting words, when I left for Tokyo. What thoughts led to his advice? At least one, but probably all of these: if she eats lots of seafood in the land of seafood,
1) she won’t come home craving more.
2) I don’t have to hear her say “Let’s go for Japanese tonight!”
3) I don’t have to see/smell strange fish products in the house like this;
4) While she’s eating all of her favorites, I’ll eat as much American food as possible!

He’s wrong on 1), 2) and 3), but after seeing a breakfast picture he sent, looks like he’s right on the money for 4).
We all enjoy our comfort foods, but what do you imagine when you hear ‘Japanese comfort food’? It may be ramen, curry rice or macaroni gratins (Google it! It’s the Japanese answer to mac & cheese). Contrary to what you might guess, not all Japanese foods are healthy and based around seafood. Japanese cuisine does include some heartier dishes that people grow up with, that are as delicious as their American counterparts. But today, when looking for my comfort food, I wanted salt, not heavy.  So what was on the menu?Here’s what my mother prepared: from bottom left-counterclockwise: a bowl of perfectly cooked white rice; miso soup with daikon; squid in salted fish guts; spicy cod roe; and Japanese pickles.  It doesn’t look like much, but it’s truly an art to cook rice perfectly. You don’t just throw grains into water and boil.  You have to start with good quality rice that’s washed carefully. Then, the quantity and quality of the water and the method you cook and steam it comes in to play. Granted, the last two parts depend largely on how good your rice cooker is, but I’ve never had rice half good as this in America.

I’ll tell you more about awful sounding fish dishes tomorrow.  Until then, have another bowl of rice!

PS: PS: Do you remember what Iron Chef Morimoto requested for his last supper on episode 15 of Top Chef All-Stars?   If Antonia cooked something like my mother prepared for me, she would have won the competition.

January 7th, 2012

When size meets taste…

A friend of my husband’s sent him this photo.

It’s a hammered pork sandwich from a restaurant in Las Vegas called Hash House a go go.  What made a mere sandwich so noteworthy?  The plate is as big as 3 adult faces!  On a recent trip to Japan, this one picture helped bridge the language gap as my non-Japanese speaking husband was able to ‘wow’ my Japanese friends and family with it, as they marveled at the sandwich’s size.   Both amused and appalled, Japanese people already think American portion sizes are huge, but this picture was beyond their imaginations.  Immediately, they asked if this was something we ate in the States everyday.  I knew the answer they wanted to hear, was ‘yes’, as that pretty much goes in line with how they already picture America–huge EVERYTHING, but the answer, as you could guess is a realistic ‘no’.  Sure, compared to Japanese food, American portions are usually twice as big, but to find truly huge portions like that, you have to do a bit of searching.

When we were in Las Vegas, my husband suggested we go to Hash House a go go, for breakfast.  I was reluctant because usually the best part of a big portioned meal is its size and not its flavor.  Also, call me a snob, but who’d believe a restaurant found in a dingy casino on the strip would be good?  As we walked over, I was thinking, “There are many, many great places to eat in Vegas, but marriage is a give and take.”  Since he took me to a four star restaurant the day before, I should let the next meal choice be his, right?  My stomach clenched in horror as I realized that my next stop would be home to something I’m still learning to appreciate, big portioned, hearty American food.

Talk about surprises!  Oh my goodness.  Fried Chicken with bacon (!!) waffles, where the waffles and chicken were bigger than an adult male’s enlarged heart.  But what about the taste?  The waffles were delicious; very dense, yet fluffy, and not airy at all.  It tasted great with the fried leek garish that came with it.  The fried chicken was delicious, with a moist inside and crispy outside, and as an added plus, it was kindly de-boned!!  Sure, having actual strips of bacon instead of bits, baked into their waffles and preparing well seasoned fried chicken shows that the chefs cook with care, but serving de-boned chicken demonstrates that bit of extra love that’s so often lacking.  Without a doubt, I can say that this is possibly some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.  I’d never thought I’d say this, but I’m so glad my husband took me to that diner in that run-down casino!    Since we got back, I’ve semi-seriously suggested several times, that we drive to Vegas just for one more taste.  I found there’s the original location in San Diego, which is shorter drive from Los Angeles… totally doable.

Sure, they might laugh at a picture of what I’ve just described, but would Japanese people actually like this dish?  The one hurdle to overcome is the combination of sweet and savory, which Japanese people usually don’t like.  In this case, serving fried chicken alongside maple syrup might seem scary at first, but with a dish like this, I’m confident that this huge plate of food will please their senses of taste as much as it dazzles their senses of sight.  Viva America!