Monday, September 27, 2010

Kiki's: The Second Round

Friday after work we needed to relax with some good food. Japanese sprung to mind and since we had things to do on South Colorado, we were happy to follow-up with Kiki's Japanese Restaurant.

We had visited this place a couple of months ago when I was on a Japanese kick. Last time we were there we had the Unadon Supreme; basically a rice bowl with avocado, masago, nori, and lots of unagi. We also tried an amazing katsudon; again, a rice bowl with chicken, onion, soy dressing, and a very undercooked egg.

This time we started with miso soup and pickles. We also ordered nigiri-zushi: unagi and hamachi (young yellowtail tuna). From previous experience, we knew the unagi would be delicious; but the hamachi was also very nice. These starters with our Kirin Ichiban, were perfect.

For our entrees we chose the beef yakisoba. This hot mess of stir-fried noodles, beef and vegetables, included rice. That was perfect! As we learned in Oishinbo, the mouth-feel of noodles with a "rice chaser" is amazing! Just slurp in the noodles, chew a couple of times, then shovel in some rice and chew some more. You must resist saying "ga-ga-ga" as you scoop the rice in; also resist screaming, "this is GREAT!" until you chew your food.

Our other entree was a combo plate. I have serious trouble making choices when it comes to new foods. I had the combination of chicken teriyaki and the tonkatsu (breaded and fried pork cutlet). I had had my first tonkatsu just a week ago at the Tokyo Express. Although I liked Tokyo's tonkatsu, Kiki's was so much more tender and juicy. Also the chicken teriyaki was wonderful. A very thin slice of breast very lightly grilled; VERY lightly grilled. Kiki's has a very light touch with their food; what could have been a dry, rubbery chicken covered in gobs of sticky sauce, was instead moist and tender...just barely cooked through.

There is so much more to try at Kiki's, I can't wait to go back. I will keep comparing Japanese restaurants in Denver. Though I'm not an expert; I hope to figure it out well enough to give you some solid recommendations. Any help and tips are greatly appreciated!
2440 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80222

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Neighborhood, New Lunch Options

Well, today is the second day at my new job and I had to make a choice. For the last six years I've been working in the LoDo area of Denver. I had lunch down pat; I knew where on the street to find the best tacos, burritos and tamales. I knew where to have an expenses account lunch as well.

But I've moved, downtown to the land of the hi-rise. I've been a bit stumped as to where to go for lunch. Yesterday when my new colleagues treated me to a welcome lunch, I couldn't think of anyplace to go. The name of Earl's came up; since I hadn't been there yet, that's where lunch was.

Hmm, it was different. Maybe Hooter's with better design and a fancier menu? Ok, well thanks girls. No, not the Earl's Girls (do I have to follow that with a "TM"?); but to the ones that took me out for lunch.

Today, I was on my own and lost. I strolled out of the building and saw that Noodle's is opening a new spot down here. The staff was having a tasting. A block over, the Yard House is working on a new location. It kind of feels like the mall over on this side of town. Oh well, I thought, "when in Rome". So I jumped right into the food court of Republic Plaza...what a place! I looked around a bit, then was surprised to find a place called Tokyo Express. I've not seen a Japanese place in a food mall before so I had to try. The menu is actually very interesting: sushi, rice bowls, tempuras, and udons. I saw tonkatsu on the menu and had to order it; I was not disappointed. I started on with the 99 cent bowl of miso, it was rich and full of tofu and seaweed. The tonkatsu is a breaded and fried pork cutlet, served over rice with a huge side of steamed teriyaki vegetables. It takes about 5-6 minutes to prepare and is just right; crunchy on the outside and moist and flavourful inside.
I hope not to eat out everyday, but it's nice to have a place like Tokyo Express to fall back on.

(I almost finished the miso before I remembered to break out the camera, sorry!)