Photos: Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion

Sashimi at Roy Yamaguchi'sRoy Yamaguchi opened his first restaurant in Honolulu in 1988. Born in Tokyo, Japan, the master chef graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and invented the trend of “Hawaiian Fusion” cuisine. Today, his restaurants reach the mainland (and even as far as Guam).

While I haven’t been to Hawaii since 1997, I fondly remember touring Waikiki Beach and other landmarks from the Aloha State. On a recent trip to Baltimore, I stopped by Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion in the Inner Harbor district, and enjoyed a quick trip to the islands.

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Review: Sake

Tekka Don at SakeA few weeks ago we got part of the Emerson J-School Mafia back together for a little reunion. Enter: Me, Brett, our friends Jake and Stacey (see our review of The Barking Crab for our other outing with them), as well as Jamie and Jon (Jon’s the only non-Emersonian from the group.)

Stacey and Jamie were doing a little baking. (I hope Stacey will bring her baking expertise to the blog one day soon) So, after we indulged in some really great liquor-ladened sweets we were starting to get the munchies for some more substantial eats. We headed up Route 1 in Saugus, Mass., to a little sushi shack called Sake.

Now, I must apologize in advance that I don’t have more pictures of our dining experience. My camera takes really poor pictures in low lighting so it was acting a little wiggy on me this night. But, please take my word that the food was really good!

The ambience of the restaurant transports you to Japan. Think lots of wood, bamboo and the waitstaff wearing traditional kimonos. I felt like Mr. Miyagi was going to jump out from behind the sushi chefs. However, I felt it was kinda weird that they had a fish tank (full of live fish – not the kind you would eat – more goldfish and guppies) right next to the sushi chefs artistically hacking up their cousins.

While the restaurant had plenty of western-style tables (the standard height table and chairs), we opted to sit on the lower tables with no chairs and on pillows. For me, leaving our shoes and coats near the door was a bit strange. We all thought we had to sit with our legs crossed like pretzels but, surprisingly, there was room under the table where you could comfortably hang your legs down to sit normally. Still, it was hard to get up and down from the table in a graceful manner.

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Budget-friendly sushi lunch at Takara

Everyone is trying to make their wallets go farther these days. Packing your own lunch is a great way to save hundreds of dollars each year, but it can get tedious. I love to find inexpensive, innovative restaurants that help make my dollar last longer. Plus, a place that can get me back to work in an hour or less.

Takara Sushi & Steakhouse, located in Elm Grove, Wis., is one of my fave places to dine at during the lunch hour and to avoid the monotony of the brown bag blues.

Now before you go all, “Sushi…That’s gross. I’m not eating raw fish…” Hear me out. Not all sushi is raw. You can get cooked sushi. Veggie sushi. You name it – it probably can be wrapped in rice and seaweed paper. Or, you could enjoy tempura (fried and battered fish, meat or veggies) or hibachi (the ever-entertaining grilled items like steak, chicken and shrimp and a show). The great thing about lunchtime at Takara – you can get any of the above for a lower price at lunchtime. And, an even lower price on Sundays, Mondays or Tuesdays because of their 30-50% off special.

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