Yamaya - Anchorage, AK

We have almost finished my self established goal of playing all 50 states. I believe we only have a couple states left, but I definitely thought Alaska would come a lot later than it did. I'm not sure if it is like this for everyone, but I fell in love with Alaska a lot quicker than I thought it was to fall in love with a place. The horizons all around you are beautiful, everything is an Ansel Adams photograph. It's expansive, wild, romantic, and there is a sense that it's is truly the last frontier.

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Local Eats: Asuka Japanese Restaurant - Morrisville, NC

I'm constantly on the lookout for new noodle soups everywhere. I make it a point to order noodle soups in as many different places as possible from as many different regions as possible. Champong from Korea, boat noodles from Thai Land, ramen noodles from China, and of course, shown above, udon noodles from Japan. The most important components of udon are the broth and consistency of the noodles. The trimmings such as shiitake mushrooms, tempura shrimp, spinach, fish cakes, etc. are secondary. The udon from Asuka had a nice clear broth and a taut noodle. The trimmings were equally amazing. This is a great winter dish so I hope you'll try to find some in your area. If you're in my area though, go check out Asuka.

Joe Kwon

Udon Noodle Soup

I don't know what it is about my program that doesn't post the text when I publish something. Sorry about that.

This was one of the courses from last night. I had every intention of posting throughout the day yesterday but I was so busy getting things ready I didn't have a chance.

I said earlier before it got erased. This udon broth was made with a simple dashi base made of kombu and bonito flakes. Then I augmented the broth with pork rib lets, tamari, garlic, ginger, onion, salt, and shitake mushrooms. To finish it off it's garnished with marinated shitake, wakame, and cilantro.

A super delicious summer noodle soup with a clean broth and complex yet subtle flavor.

--Joe Kwon
PS: So many thanks to Harvest Moon Grille and the amazing staff for showing me such amazing hospitality on my guest chef debut. I had a blast and felt right at home getting to know and cooking along side all of you!

Suzu - San Francisco, CA

I happened upon this spot while we were in San Francisco for The Fillmore show. Playing a couple days in a town always makes for a nice time on the eating front for me. I actually get the time to go explore areas that I would otherwise not have the time to do. My friends Cat and Zack came along on my quest to find a noodle shop and we came across this place, Suzu.

Karaage - Japanese Fried Chicken
I'm a sucker for any sort of fried chicken, karaage happens to be one of my favorite fashions. The japanese really know how to do a nice crispy, light and flakey outside.

Shrimp and Veggie Tempura
Tempura is just any sort of battered veggie or protein usually dusted with panko, a Japanese bread crumb. It's too often that you get tempura that is over cooked, undercooked, soggy, tasteless, cold, or any other number of travesties that can ruin a good tempura. I was pretty shocked at the lightness and clean flavor that I found here. To be honest with you it may have just been luck. A combination of a lot of variables, and the planets lining up for me at that very moment.

Pork Ramen - Japanese noodle soup
The noodle soup exceeded my expectations and fulfilled my itch for noodle satiation. The noodles were nice and chewy and not over cooked and the broth was rich and hot. You can't go wrong with the chicken ramen or the miso ramen here. Make sure to add plenty of hot pepper because it only enhances the flavor!

--Joe Kwon

For more info on this restaurant click here.