Saturday, September 22, 2007

Stale Coffee and Donuts

by Xani

So yeah, we've been slacking on the posts lately, leaving our readers with just stale coffee and donuts. Yuck. Sorry about that! Travel and general busy-ness have kept us from our favorite past-time! But don't worry-- even if we've been too busy to post, or not had internet access, or both, we've still been cooking, eating, and taking pictures. So we've got plenty of material ready and waiting. Let's begin!

A couple of weeks ago the BCD family took its annual vacation to the Delaware shore. BCD Mom and Dad rent a lovely town home in the South Shore Marina, which is located in the Indian River Inlet (just south of Dewey Beach, DE, for those of you familiar with the area). Erin and I show up and freeload for as long as our schedules permit. And of course, we eat plenty of good meals.

One of the first nights of my vacation we visited The Cultured Pearl, an upscale sushi joint in Rehoboth Beach, DE. While we had dined at Cultured Pearl in previous years, this was our first visit to their new, expanded location. We were seated promptly in the dining room (it was a little too chilly to enjoy the outdoor patio) and got down to ordering...

First, a bottle of sake (cold) and a couple of appetizers. The salad sampler included traditional wakame (seaweed) salad, squid salad, octopus salad, and an edamame (soybean) salad. These were all delicious, and I especially liked the edamame salad, because its something I think i could recreate at home! Our other appetizer was one of my favorites, Grilled Yellowtail Cheek, known at Cultured Pearl as Hamachi Kama, and served with eel sauce, scallion and sesame seeds. The yellowtail cheek has some of the sweetest, richest meal of the whole fish! It was also one of the few cooked things we ate all night...

Salad Sampler

Grilled Hamachi Cheek

For the main course we ordered a big sashimi platter, a few sushi rolls, and some a la carte pieces of sushi that sounded interesting.

The sashimi platter included generous portions of all the standards: tuna, salmon, octopus, hamachi. It also had some very good unagi (eel) and a special we requested, both salmon and hamachi toro, which is the fatty belly piece of the fish. Tuna toro is something I see fairly often on menus, but the salmon and hamachi toros were new to us, and very delicious-- buttery, melt in your mouth, extremely fresh-tasting.

For sushi we ordered a soft-shell crab roll, a baby octopus special, and a live scallop special.

Softshell Crab Roll

Baby Octopus Sushi

Live Scallop Sushi

Sadly they were out of Uni and Am Ebi (well, they had the Am Ebi, but without the deep-fried heads, so we passed). The soft-shell crab roll was very good-- I love the crunch of the crab, but it strangely had lettuce in it! After my first piece I took to surgically removing the lettuce from the roll before eating, which made it even better. The baby octopus was something new for me, so of course I had to try it! I thought it was great-- the octopus was cooked, and it had an interesting sauce on it-- something like eel sauce, but not as sweet. Finally, the live scallop sushi, which was very fresh and tasted great. I am not a big scallop fan unless its raw, so this was a perfect dish for me. But, no meal could really be complete without dessert:

Tempura Bananas

Ginger Ice Cream

Espresso (um, wait, espresso at an Asian Restaurant?! Well, I'm not complaining.)

The tempura Bananas were rolled in coconut, then tempura battered, then fried. OMG. If that weren't enough, they were served with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. This dish was pretty decadent and sweet. The ginger ice cream was a better dessert for me-- light, slightly sweet, plus I absolutely love ginger. If I had an ice cream maker at home (hint HINT generous [and, might I add, attractive] readers out there who might want to buy me presents ), I would definitely try to make this at home.

What a great meal! Even better, after a short drive home, I went to sleep with the sounds of waves lapping against the shore. That's what I call vacation.



  1. wow, live sushi... I have a question, sake - it should always be cold yes? I got sniffed out of a resto because I tried to order it warm.

  2. Oh no! That's terrible! I prefer it warm but have had it both ways. I thought warm was traditional??

  3. I've had the pleasure of enjoying sushi from The Cultured Pearl. Not only is their food incredible, their sushi chefs are friendly, talkative, and knowledgeable. I really enjoyed my meal. I'm glad you guys had a wonderful experience as well!

  4. wow..what a great vacation... :)


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