Maru Sushi: one way of punctuating occasions

Having shed our cameras and other recording devices ( we heard they do not let you take pictures of food or menus) we arrived at Maru Sushi two minutes after the allotted reservation. This was truly a first for me since I am a notorious late-goer to every dinner scene.

At the entrance we were presented with two choices: Valentine menu or Sushi bar menu. I ordered and then consequently shared the Valentine's menu fare. With equal freedom I usurped many an-item from Jeff's sushi menu bounty.
Valentine's menu:
1) Leek soup, -frothy leek soup from an esspresso cup
2) Crab salad with greens and yuzu-coulis like reduction, - The crab was cooked with a to-taste saltines that was just right. The greens were fresh the yuzu reduction was addictive with a sweet and tangy berry-ness to it. I will plant yuzu fruit and eat the reduction of its juice every day!
3) Monkfish with deer-tongue spinach and black truffles shavings- The spinach was so tasty that I think it was my favorite thing on the entire Valentine menu.
4) Squab southern style (I think it meant deepfried) with creamy (do not read mushy) comice pears cut in tiny cubes saturated in a caramel colored hazelnut sauce

5)Lamb confit in a rich zin sauce with fingerling potatoes served in a crème fraiche and chives sauce -I do not eat lamb for reasons of happy childhood memories filled with happy live lambs. They should not die...I will not eat lamb. The fingerling potatoes were roasted as if under the ash of some fire very flavorful. The creme fraiche and chives made them happy indeed.
6)Filet with very young carrots from organic farms and rissoto with mushrooms that had names so exotic (hog’s hoof was one of them) I had to read the menu twice since I thought the filet was that of some wild boar. The rissoto was creamy, and a great company to the bite size pieces of filet.
7)Death chocolate cake - This massive chocolate cake came wrapped in a shiny sheet of dark chocolate. There was a band of swirls of chocolate variations inside came with an even better tasting scoop of mocha ice cream and strawberry coulis. I had the remaining half today for breakfast.

Sushi Bar menu
Nigiri wise:
The sushi was wasabi tasting not much vinegar or fermentation taste.
Yellow tail belly - smooth, fresh, dripping with melt-in-your mouth qualities
Bluefin tuna belly- as robust as smooth and marbled just right. Call me what you will but after this piece in the NY times one piece is enough for me thank you very much
Red Snapper – it was dry though fresh and the soy sauce really complements this one
Salmon belly – my favorite sweet morsel of nigiri; really had to exercise self control to share the other piece
Maki wise:
Sweet Lobster in paperthin soy wrap – delicious, very fresh
California rolls with true soft-shell crab – I tried crab filled California rolls in Hawaii earlier this year. But there is more crab in Maru Sushi’s rolls and I could tell the difference. Definitely coming back to have these again
Cruch roll –with spikes like dragons on the back it was good. But Jeff likes this better than me.

I liked dining at Maru Sushi for the very well cooked ingredients, for the suprising presentation of the food and the generous makizushi portions. If it weren't for those last ones we would have been really famished waiting for our very odd waitress to apear with our Valentine’s menu items. Yes, I know it takes time to cook each item but a barely warm filet really does not tell about a slow chef, it tells ofdisorganized service pattern.

Oh good chef of Maru Sushi please hire a good manager! That way we can gladly say the experience- as the food- is like no other in Santa Clarita. We want to say it... we really do.

Yaki-kui: the fun part of paying for food

Yaki-kui is the first place where I have ever cooked my own meat and paid somebody to let me do it. It was worth it! I went last Friday and between 6 people had more meat than should be allowed. But I also tried most of the other items on the menu.

My favorite appetizer item: the grilled/spicy/creamy mussels appetizers with a hot smooth sake shot.

My favorite meat to grill: Japanese marinade chicken (although the miso marinaded beef was very tasty too)

My favorite part of the meal: forcing my friends to eat as they insisted I should try their cooking with equal determination.

Yaki-kui is located in the Canyon Country part of Santa Clarita. The restaurant's name is Japanese -Korean and means grill-grill. As my Japanese friends explain, these type of restaurants/eating experiences in Japan are called yakiniku and elsewhere are called "Japanese bbq"

Sunday's farmer's market

Sleeping-in on days off is one of my favoritte treats to myself. So even though this Sunday I really wanted to go to the farmers market and check out what Ventura county farmers have to sell, I woke up late and was only able to finally roll into the COC's parking lot after 10:30 am. The pickings were indeed slim. Still undeterred I made my way through the mini labyrinth of empty or emptying stands to find a couple of ladies selling some very sweet and crisp Fuji apples. As the ladies mentioned to an inquisitve buyer, the apples weren't freshly picked but instead came from their storage facility in Santa Paula, no matter because their fruit was delicious and the perfect size too.
The next produce stand featured some very fresh cauliflower, broccoli and artichoke. Matchmaking thoughts kicked in immediately, I knew that the Comte cheese in my fridge would find the 1lb cauliflower I picked the perfect mate for a warm au gratin.
Another 10 minutes of walking around and I was ready to bring my finds home and show off my late-morning-market-run finds:

Tart and yet sweet blood oranges $2/pound
Marjoram -for some chicken thighs waiting in my freezer $1.50/ bunch
Purple potatoes $1/lb
Natural flame raisins. $2/ 1/2lb-these were truly delicious and unlike their shrivelled supermarket relatives they still had some of the grapes original plumpness.

SCV feedbag

"SCV" is for Santa Clarita Valley and "feedbag" is catch-all for the hole-in-the-walls, chain, franchise, mom'n'pop restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets and all the valley's places (hot dog carts not excluded) where Santa Claritians get their "daily bread" so to speak.

A nod to the valley's western past, the unshorn name is the background for this attempt to record my SCV food- find experiences: flash frozen or homemade as they may be.