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Of the many ways to translate the flavor of sputtering hardwood into meat, the Japanese art of kushiyaki is perhaps the most efficient, a straightforward gesture of toasting skewers of marinated protein over a hot, fragrant charcoal fire until the surfaces brown, the smoke insinuates its way into the flesh, and the chicken tails, or bacon-wrapped asparagus, or bits of beef tongue cook to a luscious medium-rare: the center barely touched by the heat and the outside brown and crisp. As practiced at Shin-Sen-Gumi, a mini-mall kushiyaki bar on the southern edge of Gardena, the process is extraordinarily precise, with each delicate meatball, each chunk of chicken thigh, cooked just enough and no more, and with an entire busy restaurant being fed from a grill that looks not much bigger than two or three steel shoeboxes welded end-to-end. Recommended dishes: gyoza, hakata ramen.
Dear Mr. Gold: I'm a raw vegan who eats nothing but purple foods starting with the letter Q. Can you recommend a good steak house for me? —Robyn Brown, via Facebook Dear Ms. Brown: A lot of quinoa is purple, or at least a passable purplish... More »
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