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Foreign Creatures


We bought a Poke Shop!

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Here's the story of how we bought a poke and boba shop called Snociety Urban Eatery in Little Tokyo and how all of this happened in 3 days! One Friday we found out that our family member was planning to sell the poke shop. They offered it to us but we said no because we had no interest in being restaurant owners nor did we know anything about it. BUT THEN my parents talked to us about how it's a great opportunity and they crunched some numbers for us to see. And on Saturday night, we were like okay maybe we should do this. (Everything also made sense. It wasn't just because my parents that we decided to do this.) Then Sunday we prayed about it and Monday morning we decided YES. We needed to make the decision quick or else the shop would've been sold to someone else. So that Monday I had to tell my boss that that week will have to be my last week with the company.

Here are 3 reasons why we decided to take on a poke shop and call ourselves restaurant owners!

  1. The opportunity was there - the shop's Yelp reviews were good, people liked the food, everything was set in place. We just had to survive. And will we?
  2. It's been hard waiting to adopt and we needed to do something BIG to keep our minds off of kids. We figured owning a shop will definitely help us with that.
  3. We love poke, boba, Little Tokyo, and Japan. The Saturday my parents talked to us about the shop, was the same day Aaron and I had our Japanese Day Date. On those dates, we would go to Little Tokyo to eat ramen for lunch and then pick up sashimi at the Japanese market and eat it for dinner at home while watching a movie, which ends up being a Marvel movie. Was it meant to be?

It's been about 3 months since we owned the shop and a lot of things have changed. I'll be posting before and after photos and many many challenges and joys of being a restaurant owner. So many things to share! Aaron and I could not have done it without our parents, family, and friends support. We've had so many visitors and we feel so loved every time a familiar face opens our door. It's been a joy and I am thrilled to serve our family and friends in this way.

Little Tokyo Market Place

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Aaron and I have been having monthly weekends of ramen for lunch and sashimi for dinner. I think it's a thing get on it! We always liked ramen and sashimi but since Japan, we can't get enough of it. Last time we got fish from Yama Seafood but this time we went to Little Tokyo Market Place where we picked up a bunch of fish...for just us two. It was a lot but we would do it again. We got tuna, scallop, salmon, uni, yellowtail, toro, cuttlefish, and another one I can't remember :( We'll probably go back to this market again. We recommend!

Yama Seafood

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My friend Shannon told me about Yama Seafood last week and it was definitely a must try for Aaron and me. We went over the weekend and it was an amazing experience. It's a market so you pick what fish you like and they prepare and package it for you. We never ate so much variety of sashimi in the comfort of our home.

You enter the place through the backdoor and then head straight the other end of the market. There will probably be a line already so just wait there while you decide on what to get. All the fishes are individually packaged so you'll just need to point to the guy what fish you want and then he'll cut up the fish nicely for you. We got tuna, salmon, yellowtail, squid, and scallop. The price per pound isn't listed anywhere so we just chose what we wanted. Everything ended up to be $28, which was great cause we were satisfied. Our favorites were the scallop and squid.

They package it so nicely for you and they give you ice packs so it stays fresh!

Mushroom Dishes

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Kirstie's mushroom party (Part 1, Part 2) would not be a mushroom party without mushrooms. I used 7 different mushrooms for these dishes. I got all these from the asian market and I didn't think they would carry so many types. I had to stop myself from buying more mushrooms.

I can't say I have a recipe for each dish since I had a general idea of what I wanted to create and then I just put it together. Here's what I made:

  1. Beef wonton noodle soup with enoki
  2. Brown beech mushroom with spinach and fontina
  3. Baked portabella with chopped tomatoes and onions
  4. Baked king trumpet mushroom
  5. Cream of mushroom pasta
  6. Pizza with white beech mushroom
  7. Stuffed white mushroom with ground turkey
  8. Sauteed shiitake with chinese broccoli

Parties are more fun when you have a theme so happy mushroom cooking!

Black Sesame Ice Cream


YUMM!! Okay, this is by far the best ice cream I have made. I made it a bit too sweet but it taste so much like sesame seed! The recipe below is adjusted for a less sweet ice cream.

Recipe adapted from My Second Breakfast

Black Sesame Paste
Makes a bit less than 1 quart

1 cup black sesame seeds
3 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 large egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Roast sesame seeds over medium heat until you can smell the scent and then set the seeds to cool. Then grind the seeds in a blender (Vitamix works great!) and add 1 cup of milk to the paste until it has a paste consistency.

In a pot, heat up the rest of the milk, sugar, salt and paste until the sugar dissolves.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks then add the heated ingredients into the eggs while whisking the whole time. Pour the heated mixture slowly to ensure everything is incorporated well.

Heat the incorporated mixture in a pot over medium heat and stir until it's thick (about 8 minutes).

Pour the mixture into the heavy cream and then add vanilla. Mix until combined and then put it in the fridge to cool overnight.

Put your cooled mixture into your ice cream machine for 30 minutes then freeze for at least 2 hours before consuming!

My mom helped me make the sesame paste so thanks to her! I think I need a vitamix of my own just so I can make this.

Thai Iced Tea Ice Cream

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I made Thai iced tea ice cream a couple of weeks ago with this recipe. I changed the proportion of the milk and heavy cream but I forgot what I did because it was so long ago and because I didn't write it down! I also decided to double the recipe and I used 2 different types of thai tea leaves. And I still had a cornstarch chunks in my ice cream. blegh that was gross. I'll make this ice cream again and I'll share the recipe. But for now you can look at this picture.

Dad's Birthday Dinner


It was my dad's birthday last weekend and we had a hawaiian meal for him. It was my first time making chicken katsu and it was okay. I rarely fry things so it was tough gauging when the chicken was fully cooked. I had to cut each chicken just to make sure :) We also had tuna and salmon poke, macaroni salad, and fries! yummmm.

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My brother plated this tuna poke. We all joked around that no restaurant would give this small portion.

Baked Fries


I know I've been talking about my organics box a lot but that's just what's been cooking in the Lee home lately :)

I baked my own garlic fries and it's yummy! I also baked some broccoli and it's so nice and crispy. It almost taste like kale. I seasoned my fries with garlic salt, cayenne pepper, green onions, basil, and avocado oil. Then put it in the oven at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. Anyone know how to make baked fries crunchy?