Review: Tokyo Sushi Bar

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There is something wonderfully 90s about this place. This might be because that’s when it opened, and it did not really change that much in the last decade in any way but the amount of customers: A small sushi bar, with one of these nice, kitschy service systems: small boats go by in circles and you are supposed to get the right one from there at the right time. Increasingly frustrating if one does not manage to get it the first time, and then misses it the next few times as well.
It obviously was built for better times. So far I never saw these boats in proper action. We only ever got served in that boring, normal, safe way… on the other hand the sushi chef IS making the sushi right in front of you. Which adds quite a lot to the atmosphere.

Tokyo Bar has been upstaged the last few years by more high end Hana Sushi a few hundred meters further down the road, and by the newly opened Miko and House of Sushi, but it still remains one of the best (and cheaper) places to get your fix of nori and raw fish. The owners won awards for their sushi over time and it often has been called one of the best places for Japanese food in Poland. And that it still is. The prices are reasonable, the sushi is good and quick and tastes exactly how it should taste.

On the other hand we do not go back there for sushi alone. Sushi lately has been more of a secondary thing of this place, the real treat being something else on the menu: Okonomiyaki. Unfortunately quite unknown in the West this particular piece of Japanese cuisine tends to mystify both translators and recipients of Japanese media. Often simplified to be something like pizza-like “pancakes” these cabbage concoctions are what gets me back there every single time. Sometimes we would go over half the city just to have a plate of those in the evening and be happy. There is just nothing comparable to having a plate of maki before and then getting a still sizzling plate of these, bonito flakes shivering on top, and then washing it down with some cool beer afterwards. Yes I know, it should be sake, but if it fits so perfect, shouldn’t that be alright?
In any case, Tokyo Bar might not be the fanciest place to eat Japanese at in this city, but it is one of these places where I feel comfortable, and a place where a customer can get some really good food with that. It also is, quite noticeable, a perfect place for a romantic dinner by the way…

Location: TOKYO sushi-bar, Łódź, ul. Piotrkowska 126

Telephone: +48-42 636 26 66

Written by krrrk

October 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Posted in Food Review

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Mixed Pickles III

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Archaeological documentary about this fantastic, ancient group: The Beatles. Damn, the onion nails it again. Archaeology, that is…

Boing Boing shows a Lego printer
, a machine made of Lego, that can build Lego models, and an fascinatingly weird typewriter design, the Malling-Hansen: as so often maybe superior but a commercial failure

This short was commissioned in 1959 highlighting the benefits of
polymorphic (meaning: distributed) computing. In awesome wood and paper
aesthetics it shows what people were thinking of even in the 50s

Remember chatroulette? Yeah. Lots of dick.
Maybe a bit too much.

Written by krrrk

October 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Instant Indie Cred

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This weekend I indulged myself again in the wonderful world of music. Readers might have noticed. This list is no result of that. These are the things I never got around posting before, but I still love these bands. And I think some other people might as well.
I present: ten bands you most likely never heard of before.

But you should have. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by krrrk

October 18, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Review: Da Grasso

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Note: This post is the first one of a series. I was ordering out a lot, and trying new restaurants whenever I had the chance. After all I am now living in a big city (Łódż, Poland), and I want to know where I do enjoy food the best. On the other hand I hardly am the best food critic, a lot of the articles I wrote so far are about those typical places where we ordered food for work. But if you are an expat working here this might actually help you find something to eat. God, I feel so altruistic right now…

Poles love restaurant chains. The reason for that is simple: They trust them.
It’s easier to estimate the quality of the food if you know the chain already, or if the franchise is so successful they actually do have more than one location. Small, single restaurants might be good, they might provide the perfect delight for your tongue, but they also might be horrible cheapskates with bad sanitation and appropriate taste. Many Poles have been burned by restaurants like that and, like the proverbial child, now are unwilling to try new places. The problem isn’t there as much nowadays as it was in the 90s when new restaurants sprouted like mushrooms through Poland, but the mindset still lingers around.
In communist times there were hardly any at all. Most in Łódż actually got pushed into ulica Piotrkowska. The street was supposed to become the bad part of town due to this, a sort of entertainment ghetto, but just ended up concentrating all the restaurants and pubs (both good and bad) into one place. Albeit a very long one. And after communism fell, well, why open places in other parts when everybody was going to Piotrkowska anyway?

One pizzeria that obviously was good and successful enough to open up more restaurants was Da Grasso, a fact that is evidenced by their delivery-time even outside the main hours. Even if the place is just across the street waiting times at any time can be up to 2 hours. 

On the other hand they are cheap. At least if I compare them to Germany. “Welcome to Poland” my colleague commented that revelation. The typical Polish duże (large) pizza will be a bit over 20PLN (ca. 4€) and certainly be too much for a single person. My girlfried and me often order just one and still have leftovers for breakfast. The mało (small) one is of nearly similar size and price. In other countries it actually would be considered a fairly generous “large”.

This actually are the usual prices. In most cases it only gets lower than that.

One of my colleagues criticizes even the large DaGrasso ones for being too small. He prefers another place that delivers 50-60cm wide wagon wheel-like ones… 

So what do we get when ordering there? A rather large pizza, with comparatively few of the selected toppings, but tastefully arranged. The dough is softer and thicker than I normally like it, with a rather large rim. This is, as it turns out, not a bug but a feature. We also get two sauces, garlic and tomato, because when one orders pizza in Poland there always are sauces.
“I’m eating pizza, not any goddamn sauces.” foreigners quip nearly every single time they notice that. but then they still learn to love it. Sauces provide some extra flavor to the large pie, and something to dip the rim in once the topped part is gone. Which makes up for the lack of sauce and spices one sometimes encounters on the pie.

Anyway, Da Grasso makes hardly the best pizza I have ever eaten, but a very decent one. It basically is what I would describe as the most common denominator of pizza in this country. For the times one really wants pizza and one wants a lot of it, and one wants to be sure it won’t suck.

Location: multiple locations
Telephone: various numbers

Written by krrrk

October 18, 2010 at 8:58 pm

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The Cinematics – Love and Terror

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How did I miss this Scottish band for a whole year? Slick video they got there.

Written by krrrk

October 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Music

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Mixed Pickles II

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  • “It is impossible to read Dirty, Sexy Politics and come away with the impression that you have read anything other than the completely unedited ramblings of an idiot.  This being a professional website for which I have a great deal of respect, I searched for a more eloquent or gentle way to accurately phrase the previous sentence – but could not find one.”The New Ledger on Megan McCain’s Dirty, Sexy Politics

Written by krrrk

October 17, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Posted in Miscellany


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a prodiż in full gloryThe first time it came up the immigrant and his Beloved were on the way to a party.
“Oh, and yes, we will have something to eat. She told me she was making some stew in her prodiż.”
“In her what?”
“In her prodiż” she repeated. Was he never listening?
“And what, exactly, is a prodiż?” he inquired.
She looked at him unbelieving, then she realized it might be called different in other countries.
“You know, this think you can bake stuff in.”
“Oh, an oven.”
“No, that small thing you can use to make stew, or bake in. I always use it to make great cake!”
“eh…” he considered this information. Not an oven, but small. And you could make cake in it.
“Do you mean something like a microwave? Or some sort of toaster oven?”
“No! Not some oven. It’s a prodiż! Ah, just wait, you’ll see it in a few minutes and then you will see what I mean.”
He did see it a few minutes later, but he indeed did not see what she meant.
“What on earth is that thing?” he asked.
The people present stared at him, unbelieving. “It’s a prodiż.” They said. “How come you don’t know that?”

It is funny in a way that there are some things that just can’t be translated, because they do not exist in the languages one uses to describe these things. The Prodiż (say PRAW-dish) is something completely ubiquitous in Polish households. A big metal dish with it’s own heating system. Not unlike a slow cooker (another thing most Germans never heard off before), but instead of cooking stuff slow it is supposed to be a proper small oven.
Perfect for times when space is limited, apartments (like student dorms) have no proper oven, or when the main oven is in use and you want to make something on the side.
And it’s completely unknown in other parts of the world. A small investigation into Wikipedia brings up exactly two entries, one in the Polish version, and one in the Czech one (here called a Remoska). Besides this the device is nearly unknown.

I would have loved to have something like that when I started studying. My apartment back then lacked an oven, a fact that I was lamenting over for years. How are you supposed to live healthy and have some variety in your food when all you have are two cooking plates? Dorm life basically forced me to live off pasta and sauce alone! Or something like that.

But the situation is quite funny: there they are, young people versed in the world, many actually spend time abroad, lived there, cooked there, and talked the language. And yet the idea that something completely normal was missing never came up. And why would it? They just assumed it was there, somewhere, hidden is some kitchen cupboard. People just were not using it right now. And people would surely know it when they saw it.

I notice this rather often lately. From my perspective some things are missing here very badly, but people don’t notice them. Because how are you supposed to notice something you never knew was missing?

Written by krrrk

October 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Cooking, Missing things

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