Tuesday, October 4, 2011


If you've been reading this blog for a while then you know of my disdain for seafood.  It's funny - when I first started Greg's Gourmet I crusaded against any and all seafood, but as the site has developed I find myself trying different things that live under the sea and actually enjoying them.  Today's seafood fear that was conquered: Octopus.  What we have here is called Takoyaki, or as I originally called it, Taco Yucky, with all ingredients purchased from Nijiya Market in San Diego, CA and cooked by Chef LandonWhereBrandon and assisted by Josh in Japan:

Taco Yucky grillin'

Seriously - I enjoyed this a lot.  What happens is you take a piece of octopus:

Just the sight of octopus used to creep me out

You chop the octopus into a bunch of small pieces and then mix together a batter that's kind of like a pancake mix.  When that's all done, you pour the batter onto the grill as so:

After the batter is poured, the small chunks of octopus are placed in each little egg-sized-griller.  Topping it with green onion is also popular:

You get something like this as it begins to cook

If all goes well, in the end you'll have something like this:

Topped with a really good steak sauce and Japanese mayo

It's funny - in one of my previous posts I mentioned how "Mayo is one of those foods that you have to be careful with.  Too much can easily overpower the other ingredients and make whatever you're eating taste like the thought of Justin Bieber being successful."  However, as was pointed out to me, Japanese mayo is really, really good.  It serves to enhance the flavor rather than overpower it, kind of like cooking with barbecue sauce.  

Anyway, the goal is to eat the balls pretty much as soon as they come off the grill, so they're hot and, naturally, if you can't take the heat you get made fun of.  At one point I wanted to try just the octopus without the batter around it - conquer one of my fears.  And I gotta say - octopus is pretty good.  It's kind of tough and chewy, but I think the flavors from the batter really enhanced it and it was delicious.  Interesting turn of events.  

Oh, and here's what it looks like as a work in progress:

Those sloppy balls down there are mine

So in order to properly grill these things you have to skillfully flip them halfway through.  It takes practice to master this art that few have been able to achieve since the beginning of time.  

We also ventured to Tapioca Express, which serves, as their websites says, "Exotic coffee and tea drinks, including boba."  I got a Strawberry-Banana Snow Bubble with boba.  It was pretty good:

Snow Bubble with boba

And just to provide a little artery-clogging greasy fun, a cheeseburger from Ruby's in Mission Valley:

Cheeseburger with supposedly "salt produced from ancient underwater deposits" or some mumbo jumbo

So it was a monumental gourmet effort with the octopus.  It's pretty good stuff.  I'd still order steak over it in a restaurant, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it.

Thanks for reading!