Restaurant Review: Izakaya Sozai – San Francisco

Mark made a wonderful choice for his special birthday dinner this weekend and we all went into the city (San Francisco) for some Japanese Tapas at Izakaya Sozai.

Going into the city is always fun, but it’s definitely better when we’re going for food. It was super windy and we had some trouble with our Lyft, but the restaurant was super understanding and still seated us even though we were about 20 minutes late for our reservation.
I wouldn’t suggest making lateness a habit here though; we had a very early reservation, this place is small and fills up very fast, especially later in the evening.

The service was really friendly, fairly quick, and the food was so so delicious!

Tapas is a style of cuisine with small plates of appetizer type food, beautifully made, interesting flavors, easy to eat.

We ordered (and devoured):

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States

Tuna Tartare: wasabi guacamole, lotus root chips photo by Yelp user Ari W.

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. Spicy tuna over crispy rice, huge pieces this time

Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice with Teriyaki Balsamic photo by Yelp user Doris K.

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. Takoyaki

Takoyaki: battered octopus ball tonkatsu sauce Photo by Yelp user Janice C.

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. Garlic edamame, $3.50/happy hour price

Garlic Soy Edamame photo by Yelp user Natasha S.

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. butter corn

Sweet Butter Corn Kernels photo by Yelp user L C.

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. Garlic blossom

Garlic Blossom Bulb with sweet miso paste photo by Yelp user Nina S.

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. Albacore Carpaccio

Albacore Carpaccio with crispy onion, yuzu garlic ponzu photo by Yelp user Hugh H.

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. Braised pork belly

Buta Kakuni: Braised Pork Belly photo by Yelp user Kwan L.

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. Chicken skin and bacon wrapped mochi

Bacon-Wrapped Mochi and Chicken Skin Skewers photo by Yelp user Zoe H.

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. Ritsu Tonkotsu Ramen.

Ritsu Tonkotsu Ramen in Pork Broth with Fried Braised Pork Belly, and Garlic Chips

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. Carmelized bananas

Caramelized Salted Bananas photo by Yelp user Anh T.

Izakaya Sozai - San Francisco, CA, United States. Fried Banana Dessert

Tempura Fried Bananas a la mode photo by Yelp user Chelsea M.

This food was so incredibly delicious. The ramen was especially tasty with a really rich broth and flavorful noodles.

I was surprised by the tuna tartare in that it was just so darn good! Although I really try to broaden my tastes, I’m still so often hindered by the ideas of “weird” food, but the tartare was so smooth, and lotus chips were so crisp. Amazing!

I was only slightly disappointed by the sweet butter corn as there wasn’t anything unique or different about it. It was just sweet corn with a little seasoning; easily something I’ve produced at home.

This place absolutely gets top marks and we will be returning.

5 Stars (5 / 5)
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

To wrap up my lemon frenzy this last month, here’s a quick recipe for a simple and easy lemonade.

This lemonade is perfectly tart and sweet without giving you a toothache; just the drink for a hot summer day which we’ll have plenty of coming up.

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (around 5 lemons)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 8 cups water
Instructions
  1. In a small pot boil 1 cup of water and add the sugar, stirring, until completely dissolved.
  2. Place sugar-water and lemon juice in a quart jug or pitcher and stir in the remaining water.
  3. Taste and adjust to your preference if needed.
  4. Place in the refrigerator and chill (I recommend for at least four hours) before serving.
  5. Serve over ice and enjoy!

 

Thursday Link Rodeo

Forget a roundup – this here is a link rodeo! It’s a collection of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Yeehaw. Or something. 

Hosted by a to-mah-to.

sausagestew

1. The Best Way to Store Tomatoes from The Kitchn.
2. The Best Tomato Soup Ever from Food Network.
3. The Bloody Mary: The History and Science of an Oddball Classic from Serious Eats.
4. Tomato Tart from Green Valley Kitchen.
5. Sausage Bean and Tomato Stew from me!

Organizing Recipes

There’s still some time left to get your spring cleaning done this year – why not dive into getting your recipes organized?

Apps

dance

I live near Silicon Valley, so it’s not unusual to overhear people at parties talking about some app or another (seriously, they all have apps. APP APP APP.). There are several recipe organizing apps out there – some people use Paprika, others Evernote, and others Pepperplate. I’m sure there are more out there than I can count. Frankly, I’ve only tried one — and I didn’t like it.

Pinterest

giphy

This is my favorite form of saving recipes, but it’s not the be-all, end-all. You can see everything at a glance and organize by whatever categories you’d like. It’s actually pretty common to use Pinterest precisely for organizing and sorting recipes and it does a great job of it.

YE OLDE BINDER

lpizza

I may be neither cool nor hip, but I think recipe binders are the bee’s knees. Pinterest is awesome, but fallible – if the author takes down their original post, or the link name gets changed, or someone reports the pin (or any of a gazillion other terrible things), you are SOL on making your favorite artisinal pickle recipe. That’s why, after making and confirming that I adore a recipe, I print it out and shove it in the binder (and I save it as a PDF and save an additional copy to Google Drive). Backups for my backups, because nobody is gonna get between me and my food. No Body.

giphy (1)

What Do You Do?

Do you memorize every recipe you’ve ever made? Have a box full of 800 year-old recipe cards that have been passed down since the beginning of time? How do you keep your recipes organized — and safe?

Slow-Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken

Slow-Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken

When life (Riley) gave us lemons a couple of weeks ago it was like the world was our oyster, so many options, so many things we could make.

We made a G-d Damn Lemon Tart, I squeezed a bunch for some fresh and tart lemonade, and for some reason, the idea of a really lemon-ey chicken sounded really good to me.

As usual, I was right! The chicken was tart and flavorful and moist and a great addition to our plates.

Slow-Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Slow-Cooker
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 lemons
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 6 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice all the lemons into rings, and place enough to cover the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Place your chicken on top of the lemon slices, and then cover with the remaining lemon.
  3. Roughly chop the garlic and throw into the crock pot, sprinkle the pepper over it all.
  4. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 7 hours.
  5. Serve with a side of veggies and a carb of your choice.

We served this over some garlic alfredo pasta with sauteed green beans and the Onion Tart.

onion tart 3

Thursday Link Rodeo

Forget a roundup – this here is a link rodeo! It’s a collection of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Yeehaw. Or something.

This roundup is hosted by kale.

IMG_1402-1024x768

1. Charred Kale Pizza with Garlic from Serious Eats.
2. Smokey Creamed Kale from The Kitchn.
3. Garlic Parmesan Kale Pizza from Budget Bytes.
4. Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad from Epicurious.
5. Sweet Potato Rissoto with Chicken and Kale from Brie.

Sauteed Kale

It’s no secret that the majority of our recipes here count as “treat” food. The dishes are mostly meant to be served to a crowd for special occasions or diet “cheat” days. That being said, some of the things that are fresh and delicious also happen to be surprisingly healthy.

For example, low-carb folks tend to love Adam’s kielbasa and cabbage recipe. There’s also Brie’s Cold Couscous salad and my Thai Steak Salad. I’ve had the pleasure of trying all of them and they are definitely tasty without compromise.

Kale, however, still has to catch me in just the right mood to enjoy it. I keep trying it, despite that. This quiche was better than I expected, but I still had to be up for the kale portion. I figured that perhaps making it simpler would help. Maybe. Possibly.

kale

That’s where sauteing it came into the picture. Frankly, this recipe tasted great, but was still kale. I enjoyed it, but still have to be in the right mood. If you’re a reluctant kale eater and are up for some of the lovely green stuff, this version is quick, easy, and relatively tasty.

kale2

If you’re in the same boat, let us know what kale recipes have worked well for you in the comments! I’m always looking for suggestions. :)

Sauteed Kale
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Healthy green kale sauteed in garlic for a quick and flavorful side dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Healthy
Serves: 2 small servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound coarsely chopped kale
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons squeeze bottle garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Cook the garlic over medium heat in a medium pan for about two minutes.
  2. Toss in the kale, sprinkle on onion powder, and add water, then turn heat up to high.
  3. Cover and keep cooking for five minutes.
  4. Remove cover and stir until liquid evaporates.
  5. Season with salt (to taste) and stir in vinegar.
  6. Enjoy!

 

Onion Tart

Onion Tart

I’m a big fan of onions and obviously got very excited about this recipe.

onion tart 1
I would say it’s a bit like a quiche, but no cheese, and no crust.

onion tart 2
It’s just smooth and flavorful and delicious.

Onion Tart
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • ½ cup butter plus 2 teaspoons
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 385 degrees, and grease a 9" tart pan or pie pan.
  2. Place your chopped onion in a large pan with 2 teaspoons of butter and saute over medium-high heat until translucent.
  3. While your onions are sauteing, whisk your eggs and sour cream and spices together in a medium sized bowl until smooth and completely blended.
  4. Stir in the flour and baking powder until combined, some lumps are okay, just don't over mix.
  5. Melt the remaining half cup of butter, and stir into the batter until mixed thoroughly.
  6. Mix in your sauteed onions, pour into your tart pan, and place in the oven to cook for about 30 minutes until the center is no longer jiggly, and it's golden on top.
  7. Serve warm or room temperature.

I served this with a Slow-Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken Breast (recipe forthcoming) over an alfredo pasta, with a side of sauteed green beans.

onion tart 3

Highly recommend.