Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dinner review: Ajisen Japanese Casual Dining

Ajisen is in the extreme NW corner of the self-titled "DFW China Town" strip mall on Greenville.

Decidedly more upscale than most of the unprentious shops and eateries in the mall. Modern interior, lovely view of a glassed-in kitchen.

It is noteworthy that there were actual Asian (not Mexican) folks in the kitchen. I say this not to denigrate our Hispanic brethren, but rather because it breaks the tradition that all kitchen staff in Dallas is Mexican regardless of the ethnic food type.

I had a scallop sushi, sea eel sushi, hot green cha, a bowl of edamame ($3.25), and a lacquerbox of kimchi-salmon fried rice ($8.95) off the Specials board that sounded too bizarre to pass up. It was decent, but I think I like my fried rice and kimchi seperate from now on. The lacquerbox presentation was perfect, my crappy pic above notwithstanding.

Every one on the staff (except my waitress) was omnipresent and attentive without being intrusive. Bad luck of the draw.

Win: Lovely interior. Good food (including $1/$2 sushi pieces), excellent presentation. Really nice to see the glassed-in kitchen.
Lose: Hit and miss service. Attentive ownership, attentive but socially clumsy waitress (first waiting job?). Strange 60s lounge music, thankfully not too loud.

Ajisen Japanese Casual Dining
400 N. Greenville Ave Ste 26
Richardson, Tx 75252
972 792 8888

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Zituna World Food Market

In case you've been thinking about exploring one of the neat international markets in Richardson but were worried/nervous/embarrassed/confused, here is your chance to get your adventure on.

Zituna is an international market looks and feels like an American market except that the shelves are stocked with Mediterranean and Eastern European goods. It's a an easy entry into seeing how other folks eat. Check it out. Grab some interesting looking food and see how you like it.

If it was fun for you then you can start thinking about some of the other places with more "flava".

Zituna World Food Market
970 N. Coit #3025 (SE corner of Coit & Arapaho)
Richardson, 75080

Richardson to recycle Allied Waste?

Two interesting things in this article:

  1. current recycling level is about 25% of single-family dwellings.
  2. City of Richardson suspects they can save $$$ by picking up the blue bags themselves instead of outsourcing to Allied Waste

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dinner review, Venezia I Italian Cafe

Smallish place built into the east side of the stripmall in the Kroger parking lot.

Wife got a small, decent pizza which was big enough that she ate it that night, and we shared it for dinner the next night. Actually improved in flavor when reheated at 400F. I had a linguini with white clam sauce (generous portion) and a nice 'rustica' salad, heavy on onions. Garlic rolls were of the type that are common and not to my liking.

Table service from two different service was quite good and of Old World style. I don't quite know how to explain this. But good European waiters approach service as a calling, profession. Good American waiters are naturally good at it and see it as stepping stone to a better job.

Example: I was eating at a large table in a villa outside Florence. I had a bit of the local chianto classico (or had a bit of nerves) and dropped my fork on the (fortunately carpeted) floor. An attendant came out of no-where, leaned in as if to whisper someone discreetly into my ear or take a request. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that as part of the same fluid motion he had subtly placed a new fork next to my plate.

This is perhaps an overstatement of the kind of service I am trying to explain, but it illustrates the point.

Ok, back to the review. The waiters at Venezia had light accents that suggested eastern Europe. I couldn't place them until one presented the cheesecake and said "Enjoy, da?" :-)

Win: presentable food, quiet/appropriate music, appears to be BYOB, seating available, dine-in and take-out clientele appears to be 100% regulars. Gracious service; I overtipped.

Lose: not inspiring in any way. Cheesecake had a good flavor but appeared to be an industrial product created elsewhere. 'Thin crust' pizza was not thin.

Capable but not a standout. We were hoping to find a go-to restaurant nearby, but I am not convinced this is it. Maybe we need to go again and re-assess.

Venezia I Italian Cafe
908 Audelia Rd Suite 500
Richardson, Tx 75081

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Simple pleasures

Two small things which have been joyful experiences lately.

1. We made some ice cream out on the deck. Let it grind away until the motor stopped. Ate a little that night, but it really came alive once it "ripened" overnight in the freezer. I think we will also try ice milk and some sorbet. Sub-pleasure: got to use ice from the icemaker to do the ice cream. We've never had an icemaker before.

2. My old coffeemaker bit the dust after about 15yrs of loyal service. I bought a replacement at SuperTarget (luvs me some Target) and it has a timer feature. So coffee is made when I get up in the morning. Again, it's a tiny thing but it's lots of fun getting up and stumbling over for some of that black elixir.

Monday, January 7, 2008


It appears we are joining the crowd of folks who do not have a landline in the house. Before we moved the phone sat there and kept the answering machine company.

Every once in a while we'd get phonecalls from telemarketers but that was about it. Both the wife and I carry cellphones everywhere and generally only call each other. So when we are at home no one is calling anyone. Even then I only had a landline because at that time it was difficult to get a naked DSL circuit.

So now I'm running TW cable broadband through a tasty-hacked WRT54GL linux-based router running OpenWRT. Functional Quality of Service manipulation in a $50 router. Awesome and geeky. Awesomely geeky. Which I've tuned for VoIP.

Which brings me to the current topic. I'm a latecomer to Skype, but it loaded and runs fine on my 1ghz linux box. I sprung the $3 for the upgraded version that lets you call US/Canada numbers for free. Neat.

Since the Dear Wife luvs her some old-style phones, I ordered a box off Amazon that appears to let you jack a normal phone into your Skype feed. I've got a cordless phone that we'll press back into duty. I'll let you know how it goes.


Ok, let's be clear what I mean by bum. I mean a panhandler, a hustler. I do not mean homeless person in any generic sense.

Got panhandled at the 7-11 on the SW corner of 75/Beltline. Could I spare any change? No. Could I have spared a hotdog and a cup of coffee? Sure. I'm human.

I think people do like to help others; I do not think they like to be hustled. I know I don't. I am also conflicted about bums hanging around places of business. I am not for curtailing liberty of homeless folk, and I am not for curtailing the liberty of the business owner who might not want bums panhandling the business' customers.