Miya's Sushi

Back at Miya's Sushi, this time at chef Bun Lai's invitation. He put out a spread for us and a few other friends, who quickly became our friends, too.

Started with invasive Japanese knotweed three ways - sake, quick-pickled on rice, and tempura.

Then traditional 'ball' sushi with mugwort, and quick pickled dandelion leaf wrapped on another. And of course the rice is super-healthy brown rice mixed with other grains, tastier than regular sushi rice by far.

In the foreground is venison, yes venison sushi, with wild ramp sauce, and the wild ramps themselves in the background.

Jonah crab claws and invasive snails that we cracked with real Native American tools and dipped in a honey vinegar ginger sauce.

Tilapia dipped in beets, salted, and served nearly frozen, "Inuit style."

Bun is serving us fermented kelp, which is not ready yet...but still tasted surprisingly good. Salty and seaweedy, like a powerful super-dashi.

This is Bun's "Persian roll" with spices and ingredients from the Middle East.

And this is a sweet potato roll (you can eat all vegetarian at Miya's if you like) with a homemade wasabi.

This is the famous invasive Asian shore crab on a potato roll with a creamy dill dressing that is absolutely one of the best things I've ever tasted.

And this is pressure-cooked and then baked salmon bones (use the whole animal!) and broccoli. None of these really needed to be dipped in soy sauce, by the way. All were perfect as is.

And this is a twist on fried chicken...amaranth peas and soy, with curry dip. We also had his chocolate and ice cream sushi at the end, but I missed getting a photo because we all ate them too quickly. All this was spaced over about four hours, with plenty of firecracker sake, beer, and conversation. A fantastic meal, a fantastic gift. We are proud to call Bun Lai a friend - he is one of the geniuses making food better for the rest of us, and one of Connecticut's true revolutionaries.

Mecha Noodle, Fairfield

Best new restaurant in Connecticut? Mecha Noodle in Fairfield is not high-end, but their amazing dishes, reminiscent of Momofuku in NYC, are consistent and delicious.

We have been there twice - this time we had a selection of appetizers. Last time we tried their ramen - which was awesome.

Their pork buns are nearly as good as Momofuku - only the quality of the bun is a little better at the latter (I think its the bacon fat they put in there).

Ssam, mushroom dumplings, duck bao, charred octopus...all good.

I will be back soon - probably for the pho or the banh mi sandwich. But pretty much everything on the menu sounds delicious, and so far nothing has not lived up to the hype.

Philly's Cheesesteaks, Norwich, Connecticut

Stopped by Philly's Cheesesteaks in Norwich the other day. Recommended by the Travel Channel and many other outlets, Philly's is acknowledged as the best cheesesteak east of the Hudson River. 

I can say that it probably is. The place itself is charming and the owners are delightful.

The steak is the best part of these sandwiches - super tender and delicious. The cheez whiz is solid, but I liked the one on the right, which had both cheez whiz and regular cheese. The other elements were all excellent. The only part where they fall short of the great cheesesteaks of Philadelphia is the roll. They need to import a firmer, more toastable roll. If they had that...well, I think they might be BETTER than the cheesesteaks I've had back in my original home state.

One more note. We had the barbecue chicken fries (see below) and they were fantastic. The reason was that the chicken pieces you can see there were absolutely tender and melt in your mouth good. They care about the quality of the meat at Philly's, and it shows. Keep up the good work, guys!

Beach Donuts in Clinton

This is one of the best places to get donuts (or doughnuts) in Connecticut. The glazed are particularly tempting, and I like the chocolate frosting, as well. The one cookies and cream donut pictured here is almost too decadent! With a place like this, I'm not sure why anyone would go to...what's the name of that chain again?