No. 45: Umeboshi Ochazuke at Kappo Suzumaru
We're now halfway through the Long March known as 100 Favorite Dishes (INSERT YEAR). YEAH!!!
Hey, don't ding us for listicles: Weekly DataLab studies show ustedes love this gimmick, launched in honor of our coming Best Of issue. Besides, it is rather fun to do this for us Forkers--an opportunity to highlight dishes from restaurants we'll never fully review, or secrets from old standbys. Anyhoo, let the march continue...
Other Japanese restaurants get more buzz, get more crowds, and are even better, but Kappo Suzumaru will always hold a place in my gut and heart. It was the setting for the first date between my chica and I, a place where I took friends to educate them on Japanese food that wasn't MOS 2, where I met sources for many a merry story. It's like a worn pair of Chuck's--not flashy, but beloved, and always getting the job done. And that's how I feel about the ochazuke, their rice soup that consists of rice, dashi-spiked broth, dried seaweed, a smear of wasabi and a topping of your choice.
I've always gone with the plum, a fruit I have no love for for reasons I've long forgotten. But in the ochazuke at Suzumaru, the purple fruit achieves levels it can never hope to attain in its normal life as a plump, purple blob--maybe because ume isn't really a plum? Probably. Anyhoo, its intensely salty-sour innards spill into the ochazuke upon piercing its wrinkled skin, spiking the hearty broth with verve. I always order this dish when taking friends here, and they always scarf it up as if they were tacos. And even if you're not into the idea of plum-based soup, go to Suzumaru for its great sushi, spectacular green mussels, and the greatest cat mascot of any OC restaurant--that's all I'll say for now...
46. Soft Tofu Soup at DooRei 47. Hitsumabushi at Sagami 48. The Fireball at Cortina's 49. Paint It Black Pie at Rebel Bite 50. Pidan Doufu at I-Tea Cafe 51. The Happy Hour Specials at Ahi Ahi Sushi Bar & Grill 52. Free Happy Hour Food at Gulliver's 53. Banh Tom at Van's Restaurant 54. Dinner at Marrakesh 55. Congee at Capital Seafood 56. Taquito Burrito at Cuca's Mexican Food 57. Clam Chowder at Billy's at the Beach 58. Volcan at Tacos Ruben y Mulitas 59. The Burger at ARC 60. Chocolate Chip Cookie at Crave 61. Lime Curd At Playground 62. Every Damn Thing at Mochi Cream 63. Most Things at Devilicious Donuts 64. Robiola Bosina at Provisions Market 65. Bite-Sized Stinky Tofu at Tofu King 66. Tacos Dorados at Tortas Ahogadas Los Primos 67. Tlacoyo at El Rincon Chilango 68. Whole Pig Roast at Haven Gastropub 69. Chingaderas at Smoqued BBQ 70. The Continuous Ramen Chronicles at The Playground 71. Shrimp & Grits at Slapfish 72. Bacon Cotton Candy at Biggy's Meat Market 73. Urban 3b at Urban Seoul 74. Waffles & Chicken from The Slummin' Gourmet & Waffles de Liege 75. Ahi Tuna Tartar at Nieuport 17 76. Chicken Wings at Hashigo Korean Kitchen 77. Brussels Sprouts Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza 78. Breakfast Sausage Hash at Thasos Greek Island Grille 79. Chocolate Doughnut with Jacobsen Sea Salt at Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee 80. Loco Moco Dog at Dogzilla 81. Fruit Tart at Le Croissant Dore 82. Daing Na Bangus (Marinated Milkfish) Silog Breakfast at Chowking 83. Strawberry Basil Lemonade at Mick's Karma Bar 84. Lemongrass Chicken Salad at Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop 85. Tofu Soup at Tasty Thai 86. Take-Out Dim Sum at Capital B.B.Q. and Dim Sum Express 87. Hodo Gwaja at Cocohodo 88. Popcorn Chicken Salad at Guppy House 89. Fried Okra at Memphis Soul Cafe & Bar 90. Salted Egg With Bitter Melon & Scrambled Egg at Tasty Noodle House 91. Boysenberry Lemonade from Bautista Creek Local Produce at SOCO Farmers' Market 92. Scallop Carpaccio with Curry Oil and Yuzu Vinaigrette from Cafe Hiro 93. White Board Specials at Taco Adobe 94. Coney Dog at LinX 95. Halal Pizzas from San Giovanni Pizzas 96. Clayuda at El Fortín 97. Lunch Buffet at Dosa Express 98. The Meats at Darya in Orange 99. Panocha at Taquería Zamora 100. Bean-and-Cheese Burrito from Del Taco
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