Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cocktails by the beach

You've come for the food but have you seen the selection of fun and vibrant cocktails Bamboo Izakaya is also offering? Made to pair with our dishes and to be shared and sampled between friends, these cocktails will make your taste buds dance with glee!

The smoking rosemary

Ilegal Mezcal, prickly pear nectar, shaken and served with a freshly cut rosemary sprig.

The Tokyo Manhattan

Classic Manhattan made with Yamazaki 12 years Japanese whisky, pressed brandied cherries and oranges.

The Karita

Cazadores Blanco tequila, Domain Canton ginger liqueur, shishito peppers, fresh lime, jalapeno Tabasco, served on the rocks with togarashi salted rim.

The Natsukaze

Tsukasabotan organic mountain yuzu sake, Thai basil, tall on the rocks with tapioca pearls and basil garnish.

The Giddy Geisha

Ketel One vodka martini shaken with lychee juice and passion fruit purée.

The Sumokaze

Grey Goose vodka and muddled shiso leaf, shaken with Japanese yuzu juice, served up with a shiso leaf garnish.

The Monica

Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, grapefruit juice and rose water, served on the rocks.

The Ronin

Makers Mark bourbon, ginger purée, blood orange juice, ginger ale and housemade candied ginger stick, on the rocks.

The Suzushi

Nolet’s gin with muddled cucumber, fresh lime juice, served on the rocks with housemade basil syrup and lime zest.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sashimi - first order of your izakaya feast

You are comfortably seated at your table and ready to order a feast for everyone to share. So what is the proper way to order at an izakaya?

Is there an order to all these options?


Sashimi comes first.

Why you ask?

Because of its delicacy. Order sashimi first so your palate can fully enjoying the delicate and natural sweetness of the fish. Since most izakaya menu items are quite savory, we recommend you start with the most delicate items first and gradually move on to more savory dishes.

The cut of the sashimi is also important - the chef will decide what cut is appropriate for what fish. For example, chu toro, or fatty tuna is usually served in blocks so you can enjoy a hearty melt in your mouth bite, for full effect. Squid is served in strips because it's tougher, so a smaller and easier way to eat it is encouraged.

Don't ignore the garnishes!

Garnishes served with sashimi or sushi are there to be eaten. The most common garnishes are wasabi, shiso leaves, daikon and micro greens. Add a little on top of your fish to brighten up the flavors.

To soak or not to soak?

Do NOT soak your sashimi and sushi, that is considered a cardinal sin in the world of sushi masters!! The proper way to eat sushi is not to dip the rice, but rather flip the piece over and only dip the tip of the fish in soy sauce. The same is expected of sashimi.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cherry blossom festival

Who doesn't like looking at the beautiful cherry blossoms! They are such a big part of Japanese culture as they celebrate the arrival of spring time and symbolize the extreme beauty and fleeting nature of life (cherry blossoms quickly bloom and die), which comes from Buddhism.

Hanami, which literally means flower viewing, is a popular activity all across Japan. Families and friends will bring a picnic and settle under a fully bloomed cherry blossom tree, spending the day enjoying the weather, eating bento style food and drinking sake. There are also hanami festivals and foods created specifically for this event. Kit kat makes a special cherry blossom green tea flavor only available during that time as well as Starbucks with a special cherry blossom and white chocolate frappuccino. In fact, it is such a popular practice that meteorological agencies track the sakura zensen (cherry blossom front) to alert the population of the arrival of hanami.

Cherry blosson green tea Kit Kat only sold during hanami season.

Nowadays, cherry blossom trees and festival have become popular in the United States and other countries too. You can usually find a hanami festivals where there's a large population of Japanese immigrants, such as CaliforniaNew York City and Washington D.C, which has the largest amount of cherry blossom trees in the country.

Hanami usually happens between March and May, so this is the time to go for a picnic and enjoy the beauty of spring with its bright pink flowers adorning our parks and streets.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cucumber and seaweed salad

cucumber and seaweed

This is a very delicious and healthy seaweed salad recipe perfect for a side dish or to snack on.

Seaweed (or kelp) has more minerals like calcium and zinc than any terrestrial vegetation! This makes seaweed exceptionally high in nutrients and vitamin A, B, C and E, essential for hair growth and stimulation. This includes the nori, or dried black seaweed wrapped around sushi rolls, seaweed in soups (like miso or osuimono), dried nori snacks now found in many supermarkets, salads, etc..

A little seaweed goes a long way - You only need to eat about 1/3 of a cup a day to reap the benefits, so make a habit to include a little seaweed in your daily diet for strong hair and nails.

Note: For dried seaweed, don't let the seaweed sit in water for too long - 5 minutes should do it, otherwise it will get slimy.

Cucumber and seaweed salad recipe
Serves 4

For the dressing:

4 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 tbsp dashi stock
2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp mirin


1 English cucumber, cut into sticks
1/4 cup dried seaweed


Put cucumber stick in a tupperware and sprinkle generously with salt. Mix with your fingers and let sit for about 20 minutes. Quickly rinse in cold water and dry with paper towel Set aside.

Soak the dried seaweed in cold water for about 5 minutes, no longer than that. Drain well, transfer to a cutting board and chop into bite size. Divide among 4 bowls and do the same for the cucumber sticks.

Put all the ingredients for the dressing into a bowl and mix well. Pour evenly among 4 bowls and serve cold.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Make Japanese rice at home

Japanese rice is essential to Japanese cooking. It's used in dishes or served as a side, or at the end of a meal.

Most households in Japan use rice cookers because they're convenient and easy to use. For those who don't own a rice cooker, you can use a pot and still yield good results. It may not be as easy as a rice cooker but it's possible to create good, fluffy Japanese rice with just a pot, water and a basic stove top.

Some extra work is required and the cooking process is slightly different:

This will make about 3 cups of Japanese rice.

Rinse 1 1/2 cups of rice, swish it around with your fingers in circular motion until the water becomes really cloudy, changing the water until it runs almost clear. This removes the starch of the grains which, if left unrinsed, could end up sticky and slimy.

Drain with a strainer and leave it for about 15 minutes (in the strainer) to absorb some water.

In a medium size pot or pan (about 2.5 qt/ 2/4 liter) add the rice and 1 1/2 cups of water, and leave another 15 minutes. Tightly cover the pot or pan and bring to a boil (do not lift the lid!)

Cook on high for about 7 minutes. It's important to leave it alone, do not stir! The rice will bubble and steam, that's the way you want it. Lower the heat and cook for another 8-10 minutes. This slowly cooks the center of the rice. Crank up the heat again for about 10 seconds to evaporate what water is left.

Turn off the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes to finish the cooking process.

With a wooden or plastic spatula, fold the rice in big chunks from the bottom (do not stir or knead).

Japanese rice can be frozen in individual sized Tupperware and reheated to eat with pickles or spicy tuna, etc.. You can even make onigiri (rice balls) and freeze them for later. It's a great time saving, pre-made food to have around!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bamboo Izakaya meets world's best sushi

Did you know that Bamboo Izakaya owner Jeremy Umland is one the executive producers of the top Netflix documentary 'JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI'? When the idea of creating a documentary about an old man who's only dream in life is to create the most perfect pieces of sushi, Jeremy couldn't resist and got right on board with it!

The documentary follows the life of Jiro Ono, an 85 year-old sushi master who owns a 3 Michelin star restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo. Though he's already been crowned as the best sushi chef in the world, Jiro continues his quest to perfect the art of sushi. Working every single day with his two sons Takashi (who eventually goes on to open another sushi restaurant in Roppongi Hills) and Yoshikazu, this documentary focuses on the relationship between Jiro and his eldest son, who fails to live up to his father's expectations, and the constant pursuit for perfection.

Nominated at the Tribeca film festival and winner of the Detroit Film Critics Society, this documentary will make you want to hop on a plane to Tokyo for a bite of the world's best sushi.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Who wears short shorts?

Bikini season is upon us and we all feel like it's time to step it up by dropping a few pounds and looking fit for the beach. The best way to lose weight without feeling like you're restricted is to cut out a minimal amount of options and instead focus on eating smaller portions. Japanese call this 'hara hachi bu' - eat until you're 80% full. It's a technique that's being practiced in Okinawa for the past decade and has resulted in a lower BMI (body mass index) and longer life expectancy amongst its population.

Japanese food is known for having much smaller portions than their American and European counterparts, and because of that, have a low percentage of obesity. Fast lunch options are also healthier; instead of hamburger and fries, a Japanese person can walk into a noodle shop and order a hot bowl of soba with seaweed and fish cakes. Tired of soup and sandwiches? Not in Japan; you can buy a delicious bento box made with vegetables, brown rice and a piece of salmon. For dinner, many flock to izakayas to catch up with friends and share an array of small dishes while drinking their favorite beer.

Some izakaya dishes can be high in fat and calories but because the portions are small and usually shared amongst a group of people, create little negative impact on the overall dinner you're eating (as long as you balance heavy with light.) Bamboo izakaya likes to promote healthy living - for us it's finding the perfect balance between work, play, healthy eating and spending time with family and friends. Each element is complemented by the other to create harmony. It's one of the reasons why izakayas have been popular for so many decades in Japan, and why they are quickly becoming the next big thing in food here in America.

Here's a list of our top healthy dishes and recommendations for those looking to shed a few pounds. Toss in a couple of guilty treats in there and you'll still look hot to trot!

Bamboo healthy menu recommendations

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Don't skip the ginger

Photo: Jodi Torpey

Did you ever wonder why sushi always comes with a side of pickled ginger?

Its purpose is to cleanse the palate so people can enjoy the distinct flavors of every piece of sushi served. It's also there to promote good digestion since ginger is very soothing for the stomach.

Here are a few other perks we can all benefit from by eating ginger.


  • Eases digestion, bloating and gas.
  • Is great in reducing motion sickness and morning sickness for pregnant women.
  • Aids in lowering cholesterol.
  • Reduces the production of cancer cells.
  • Reduces inflammation with ailments such as arthritis.
  • Boosts your metabolism and aids in breaking down fats and protein.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Healthy and easy dinner - Yakiniku

Yakiniku means grilled meat. 

It's a mini indoor barbecue that's enjoyed in most Japanese households by using an electric hot plate and grilling meats, vegetables and seafood. The food is served with a barbecue dipping sauce such as Ebara Yakiniku tare.

This is a very easy and healthy meal to prepare - A little chopping and grilling and you're done! If you don't have a hot plate, similar results can be achieved by using a really hot pan with just a little oil.

  •  Thinly chopped vegetables such as carrots, squash, green peppers, onions, shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, cabbage and sprouts.
  •  Meats and seafood such as beef, shrimps, squid, scallops, chicken and pork.

Cooking Directions

Brush hot plate with just a little oil or if you don't have a hot plate, use a frying pan and once the pan is very hot, add just a little oil and fry the vegetables in small batches, until they are a little charred. 

Dip in the sauce as you eat and serve with a small bowl of rice.