I didn't bring a lunch to work today so I went searching for hidden gems in the area. I'm in South SF so of course I have to go driving. I didn't find a great, but I found a Japanese hole in the wall in a strip mall in San Bruno called Takara. Now there is a Takara in downtown SF that is well regarded in Jtown, but this restaurant and the one in SF have no relation at all.
I probably should have peeked inside before entering, but I boldly pushed the door open to find that there were no customers at all in the small 8 tabletop shop. There was this old couple eating near the kitchen, but I think they were the parents of one of the owners because they were chatting and eating a lot and reading Chinese newspapers. I stood at the entrace for about 10 seconds when the old lady stood up (kind of bent over from a bad back) and handed me a menu. Hm... Then some Asian guy peeked through a partition and let me pick any table in the empty place. The fare at the place was pretty standard Japanese stuff. It was cheap though. So this weird place is looking up. The waitress left a pot of tea at the table and continued to bring food over to the old couple's table and chatted rapidly in Mandarin. I ordered an Oyako-don (chicken and egg donburi, real good if done well) and it was only $5.95 which is pretty cheap. Usually a Japanese place might charge $8.95-9.95. Then I ordered this "deep fried California roll." It was $3.50 and it's probably like a tempura battered roll, but I wanted to try something cheap that wasn't raw fish. There is still no other customers around so I'm kind of bored; I forgot to bring a book to read today. Then the waitress walks quickly out the front door. hm... Then randomly the old woman hobbles out the front door. Oh, then the asian man (who I think is the cook) walks out the front door. Then the old woman and the waitress come back in together. I hear some young Asian guy outside on his cellphone peering at the menu posted in the window and looking in. He never comes in. The cook reenters and goes back in the kitchen.
Meanwhile the waitress brings me a bowl of miso soup and I find mai-fun in it! Interesting, I've never had mai-fun in my miso soup before. The soup is standard and I finish it quickly while I wait for my food. I see the waitress keep bringing the old couple food (how much do the old folks eat really) and she's standing there with a 7-11 cup and sipping from it (there's a 7-11 a few stores down). Now I'm thinking, hm, did she run out the store to buy some coffee from 7-11? In the kitchen I hear a microwave door opening and closing, and a refridgerator opening and closing. A microwave? What is a microwave doing in preparing food? This goes on for a few minutes. I begin to wonder if my okayodon is going to be wholly prepared in the microwave. That would be a great feat. The waitress brings over a small rice bowl and my oyakodon, which is in a big bowl. Clearly I can scoop the oyakodon into the small bowl to easily eat. To describe the oyakodon, basically there is this sauce that I can only describe as being "kind of" like a light syrupy brown sauce that tastes vaguely like light soy sauce, sugar, and some teriyaki sauce. The rice is submerged in the sauce and top is an egg omelet with the chopped up chicken in it. It's very filling. Pretty good for $5.95. The deep fried California roll comes with a sweet and sour sauce, exactly like the red one found in the dipping plates at Chinese restaurants. Not much to say about it except that it tastes like a very hot, crispy CA roll. By the time I'm out the door, it took about an hour. The restaurant is pretty slow when I'm the ONLY customer. As I walked to my car, there were two Caucasian guys walking down the strip mall towards the restaurant. Hm maybe these guys are customers. I walk further down and look back to see if the two guys went into Takara. One of the guys looks briefly at the Takara sign and they walk on.
And that's my adventure for the day.
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