Sanuki No Sato Japanese Restaurant

Sanuki No Sato Japanese Restaurant

This week my entire team at the office was treated to lunch at a Japanese restaurant near Torrance, CA. The reason? Our boss was in town! The details are complicated, but the bottom line is that he is a multinational manager who spends most of his time abroad. In fact, I have been working at my startup for almost 5 months, and just now am I meeting our boss — well, my boss’ boss’ boss to be precise.

We went to Sanuki No Sato, an authentic Japanese restaurant where we had the privilege to dine in a private room for which we were required to take off our shoes. We entered the room by stepping over the raised platform that would become our seats. I had never had a dining experience like this. It was comfortable, relaxing, and intimate. It was different, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I especially enjoyed the food — I ordered the Sashimi, which I only even recognized from an episode of Master Chef I had recently watched. It was delicious!

It has been a fantastic few days at work lately! First I received my first present at work, and now I get treated out for lunch! Like most people in the workforce, I am faced with negatives every day, perhaps more so given the nature of my job, and yet my outlook addresses most of these. However, it is nice to have true positives every once in a while.

Tell me, what is the latest positive in your life? Do you eat out for lunch often, or do you pack your own meals? Have you ever tried sashimi?

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

The Pizza Cookery

The Pizza Cookery

After securing the pizza ingredients, it was time to channel my inner Master Chef. I feel confident with this challenge, I have been perfecting this dish for over a decade. That said, you do not win Master Chef by playing it safe, so I decided to try a few new things such as garlic salt to stand out from the competition — I can hear Gordon Ramsay asking me in his British accent “Why on earth would you choose to try something you’ve never done before on such a crucial night?

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately for me, today’s dish will not be evaluated by our standard judges; but rather, by the most important person on earth, my stunning wife. She has flown all the way from the living room to be in this Master Chef kitchen with us tonight. I feel privileged and honored to be cooking for such a distinguished guest tonight.

I am looking at my fresh basil, succulent Roma tomato, and spicy jalapeno, and I feel good about what’s in my metaphorical basket. I am ready when suddenly, in an unprecedented turn of events, a new judge emerges from behind the scenes, right in the middle of the competition — a first in Master Chef. Introducing for the first time, our beloved third member of the family, Bagheera.

Bagheera, or Baggsy as I like to call her, is an even tougher judge. She’s been in the eating business for 3 years, and has an insatiable desire to eat all the cat food worldwide. Now, she’s looking for the one person good enough to become America’s first, Baggsy Chef. Just look at her intently evaluating the freshness of the basil. With 90 minutes on the clock, the competition begins, now!

Graham Elliot approaches my station and asks me why pizza. “As an American of partial Italian descent, pizza is very close to my heart” I reply while focusing on adding the right amount of salt to my flour. “What’s the most important thing to do right now for your dish?” he asks. “The dough, I need to make sure it has enough time to rise” I respond as I begin to knead the dough. “Will you have enough time to let the dough rise?” he follows up. “Yes Chef” I assure him. “Good luck!” he says with skeptical undertones. “Thank you Chef” I conclude the conversation as I move on to the sauce.

With just enough time for the pizza to bake, I place it in the oven and hope that the risks pay off. I stare at my pie through the oven window as the crusts begin to turn golden brown. The clock keeps ticking. I look at the pie, then at the clock, and back to the pie. We are down to the last few minutes. I open the oven door, confirm it is cooked, and take the pie out. “60 seconds remaining,” I hear the judges say. I briefly let the pizza cool down before plating. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, hands up!” they shout.

It came down to the last second, but I did it! Feeling accomplished, the judges ask me to come up. Joe Bastianich makes his way to me, “describe your plate” he commands. I imagine him throwing my plate in the trash, then snap out of it. “Today I present an American rendition of a traditional Margherita pie composed of fresh mozzarella, Roma tomatoes instead of San Marzano, and organic basil, drizzled with garlic-infused olive oil.” He looks at my plate, then at me. We make eye contact when, enter our guest judges, wife and Baggsy.

The wife is pleased and the Baggsy is satisfied just sniffing. I exhale a sigh of relief! That was an intense challenge, one that ultimately was worth it just to see my gorgeous wife smile.

Tell me, have you ever made pizza from scratch? Do you enjoy cooking, or do you prefer take-out? What is your favorite dish to cook?

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

The Pizza Ingredients

The Pizza Ingredients

The wife and I have been watching Master Chef lately — a famous cooking competition show that we had somehow managed to unintentionally evade since its inception a decade ago. It was originally intended to be background noise as we took care of chores such as folding laundry or washing dishes. But with time, we started to pay attention. Before we knew it, we were invested. Now, I am inspired to cook.

I, like most people, have passionately loved pizza since, well, since I can remember. For that reason, 13 years ago I decided to try making my own, from scratch. Long story short, it was disgusting. The dough was under-cooked, the sauce was unbearably salty, and the toppings were sub-par — the memory still haunts me. Over a decade later, through perseverance and multiple, multiple attempts, I have perfected The Ramdolfi Pizza™ (not actually trademarked).

Master Chef in mind and inspiration in heart, we drove to the grocery store to acquire the freshest of ingredients for the freshest of pizzas. Admittedly, Mrs. Ramdolfi is vastly more talented in selecting the perfect fruits, including tomatoes — and yes, they are technically considered fruits. For that reason, the stunning wife pictured above helped me pick the perfect tomato for this pie.

Ready to create the perfect pizza sauce with the perfect tomatoes, I proceeded to inspect the store’s basil for freshness, as pictured above. Satisfied with their selection, we moved on to the garlic, mozzarella, and other secret ingredients. It’s actually a rather simple recipe, but it is one that I’ve been developing since the mid 2000’s.

Fun fact: The wife enjoys riding the ends of shopping carts — up until I decide to take pictures, then she is just unamused. I like to give her a hard time, but the truth is that I think it’s adorable, which is why I also tend to encourage it.

Back to Master Chef. Upon securing the most delicious ingredients, I spotted some items that beckoned me with their tempting convenience…

I entertained them for an instant, and even lifted them just to confirm what I instinctively knew, they were but a mockery of Italian cuisine. Could they make a decent pie? Maybe. But would I have to turn in my Italian card? Absolutely. Unamused by these Americanized ingredients, we headed straight to the self-checkout stations, and on to our Master Chef challenge at home.

Tell me, do you like to have shows playing as background noise? Do you pronounce it tomato or to-mah-to? Would you rather buy premade meals or make your own from scratch?

Thank you so much for visiting our corner of the internet! If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to subscribe and follow us on Instagram for more caffeinated content! Have an awesome day! ☕️️

(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)