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Great Road-Side Eats: Kawamata Seafood, California

12 Jun

Our drive down the Pacific Coast Highway included a stop in Dana Point to enjoy the view over the marina. As the time ticked past lunchtime, our stomachs began to grumble, and we wanted to find a nice spot to enjoy some seafood. Of course, there are several overpriced options near the marina. But we were looking for good value, not just a view.

Dana Point


If you’re willing to drive a few miles away, you’ll find Kawamata Seafood near Capistrano Beach. Come here for fresh poke bowls – salmon, tuna and octopus sashimi over a bed of seasoned sushi rice, topped with goodies like wakame salad, avocado, raw scallops, ginger, and tobiko. 

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This is a pretty bare-bones place – just a few stools indoors, and a couple of tables outside. But it’s the perfect place for a filling lunch.

Above: My regular box with salmon, tuna, and wakame over brown rice.

Above: Hubby’s large box, with salmon, tuna, scallops, and wakame over white rice. We both chose the “original blend” rice, seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and lemon juice.

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Regular box stacked on top of the large box.

All together, our two poke boxes came to a little over $20. Not bad for poke! (Keep in mind that Kawamata is cash only, so be prepared).

Info: Kawamata Seafood, 26881 Camino De Estrella, Dana Point, CA 92624

Kawamata Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I Miss Boston’s Aji Sushi Bar!

10 Apr

Before leaving Boston, hubby and I had been coming here somewhat regularly. I haven’t been able to find a sushi place quite like it here in my new home (Chicago), so I’ve been thinking back to our old haunt – Aji Sushi Bar in Newton, just outside Boston.  The first time we came, the place was completely empty… was that a bad sign? Then we realized that it was Super Bowl Sunday. I guess we were the only people in town who didn’t follow football.  

Aji Sushi

We shocked the staff with the sheer amount of sushi we ordered…and devoured. Everything was great – good quality fish, reasonably priced. Yum. Aji Sushi quickly became our go-to sushi spot. 


The last time we went, the place was packed! We managed to grab the last two-seater table available. This time, the waitress didn’t flinch at the long list of sushi rolls we ordered. We sipped our green tea as we waited for our food. I looked over at the couple at the table next to ours. You can always tell when a couple is still in the awkward, early stages of dating. She orders one maki roll, and perhaps a miso soup. Maybe she wants to look like a dainty eater. He orders two rolls and perhaps the seaweed salad. Come on, guys. Don’t tell me you’re not still hungry after what really amounts to a snack. Aji Sushi is fantastic – so go ahead and order another maki roll!

A few minutes later, our waitress returned to ask if we would like to move to a larger table that had just become available, because our current table would not be able to accommodate our entire order. Yes, please! My guy and I quickly relocated to the table meant for four. We glanced at the other couples. Amateurs.

Depending on how busy the place is, the presentation of the sushi can be quite artistic:


When the restaurant is packed however, the beautiful flowers become a preschooler’s scribble. But the sushi still tastes great.

One time, our order was arranged on a big sushi boat!


Yes, maybe the sushi chefs have a fondness for tempura bits..But this mango roll is one of my favourites:


Boy do we miss this place. For those of you in the Newton, Massachusetts area, consider yourselves lucky to have this spot around!

Info: Aji Sushi Bar, 340 Walnut St, Newton, MA 02460 USA

Aji Sushi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sarasota Strip Mall Sushi

6 Dec

You can find some pretty tasty sushi in a cookie cutter Florida strip mall, if you don’t mind some pretty bland decor. Actually, “bland” might be a nice way of putting it – I can just imagine Gordon Ramsay trying to redecorate a place like Ahi Sushi: “damn, what a shame, what a shame….”  Such great food, but such horrendous decor. It’s like suburban banquet hall meets roadside discount store, with a sad aquarium and plenty of fake plants. (The squeaky-clean bathrooms had more character).


Luckily, the food made up for the ambiance. My husband and I showed up for a very late weekday lunch, and ordered a ton of sushi, including salmon, fatty salmon, tuna, and yellowtail nigiri sushi, and the namesake Ahi maki roll (middle roll at the top). The Ahi roll was my favorite of the maki rolls we ordered, but they were all fresh, and yummy.

Great fish-to-rice ratio!

I’m guessing most couples don’t drop about $90 on a lunch for two (Ahi offers $10 lunch specials….) so the chef brought us some complimentary blue fin tuna sushi!Blue fin tuna sushi

All in all Ahi Sushi is a nice spot for a meal if you’re craving good-quality sushi. Keep your eyes on the food and try to ignore the drab scenery around you  – this is not a date-night place! 4 stars for food, 2 stars for ambiance.

 Info: Ahi Sushi, 3440 Clark Road, Sarasota, FL,32431 USA
Ahi Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Great Quality Sushi: Fish Market, Boston

21 Sep

My husband and I have been in search of good, affordable sushi from the moment we first moved to Boston. A new favorite is the Fish Market Sushi Bar in the Allston area of Boston.

Fish Market - avocado ballThe Avocado Ball appetizer won a “most memorable dish” award in 2010. Thin slices of avocado are wrapped around chunks of red and white tuna and diced cucumber, then drizzled with a light wasabi mayo and topped with flying fish roe. It comes with two mini spoons, making it a cute sharing dish for date night.

Fish Market SushiSalmon and maguro sushi above. The fish is terrific, and melts in your mouth. The rice is also good, and not packed too tightly. I really like their scallop sushi – two large rounds of scallop slices overhang the sushi rice. I could eat these all day long.

IMAG1572From left to right: kappa sashimi maki (wrapped in thinly sliced cucumber), spicy scallop maki, eel and avocado maki, spicy tuna maki topped with tempura bits, jalapeno twister maki, and rainbow roll.

Fish Market - White Tiger MakiWhite Tiger maki – tuna, cucumber and avocado wrapped in white seaweed. Unique and beautiful!

The sushi at Fish Market is a bit more expensive than at other restaurants, and the setting is definitely very casual. It would be difficult to seat a group larger than four people. Parking can be tough in the Allston area, so taking public transit is recommended. Nevertheless, Fish Market’s sushi is worth the drive!

Food: 5/5 | Atmosphere: 3.5/5 | Value: 4/5

Info: Fish Market Sushi Bar, 170 Brighton Avenue, Boston, MA 02134, USA

Fish Market on Urbanspoon

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