AYCE Sushi FTW

This week I was a guest of the fine people at Onami, an all-you-can-eat Japanese seafood and sushi in the Mission Valley mall. I’ve seen this place a hundred times as I walk past on my way to the movie theater, but this was my first time eating there. And what an amazing meal it was!

Right when you walk in, you’re greeted with friendly service and a huge buffet table covered with salad fixings and every type of sushi roll you can imagine.

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I don’t know about you, but one of my least favorite things about sushi dinners are trying to decide what to order. Every selection means you get 6-10 pieces of whatever roll you choose. But AYCE sushi is the best because you can just grab a bite of whatever you feel like, and you don’t have to commit yourself to an entire roll.

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My favorite was the tuna tempura roll. Super spicy and stuffed with two kinds of tuna!

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Onami also has an amazing selection of hot food, like miso soup, tempura, stuffed mushrooms, teriyaki chicken, sautéed vegetables, and a delicious spicy tofu with eggplant.

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The seafood was also impeccable … try some crawfish, some crab legs, or some icy oysters on the half-shell!

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And don’t forget dessert!

Onami has a full fruit and dessert bar, with traditional Japanese flavors as well as good old American chocolate cake.

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All of this amazing food is also surprisingly reasonably priced … I don’t think I’ve ever spent less than $20-25 for a sushi dinner, and they definitely weren’t customized and all-you-can-eat. This can all be yours for $15.99 for lunch, $22.99 for weekend lunch, and $26.99 for dinner.

Onami is located at 1640 Camino del Rio North, in the Westfield Mission Valley mall.

I am told that Onami will soon be adding a “Lobster Day” special all weekend long. Be sure to check back with Starbright’s Kitchen for updates.

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Breakfast, dinner, snacks: Recipes starring Bacon Jam

Bacon Jam is a fantastic recipe and a welcome gift in its many variations … I myself have made at least three variations on the same recipe, like chocolate-chipotle bacon jam, bourbon bacon jam and the regular recipe. People are happy to get a jar … but then they always ask me, what is it good for?

Here are a few ideas:

Any egg dish:

  • smear it on the english muffin when you make a benedict;
  • add it to your egg mix when you make a quiche;
  • toss a spoonful into your scrambled eggs or omelette;

Any potato dish:

  • toss some with frozen tater tots or scalloped potatoes before baking;
  • use it to top a loaded baked potato or add to your warm potato salads;
  • mix with mashed potatoes or use it to make a gravy for your potatoes;

Any sandwich:

  • use it to top a tuna melt or grilled cheese;
  • mix it with ground meat for a meatloaf;
  • spread it (warmed) on a cold turkey or ham sandwich;

Any vegetable:

  • toss a couple spoonfuls into steamed corn, asparagus, green beans, etc., right before serving;
  • add to savory holiday dishes using sweet potatoes or yams;
  • add to soups and savory dishes featuring beans (like bean soups and chilis).

The answer, honestly, is that there are very few recipes that would not be made better with bacon jam; but it’s hard to just give someone a jar of it and say “I dare you to find something that ISN’T good with this jam!”

Here are two favorites of mine.

First, a delicious dinner. It’s easy to find a way to toss a spoonful of bacon jam into your scrambled eggs, but what about for later in the day? I got the idea for this one while I was enjoying a San Diego Restaurant Week three-course meal at the Brooklyn Girl Eatery in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego. One of the appetizer choices was their Bacon -Wrapped Vietnamese Meatballs appetizer, which was delicious and spicy and smoky and a taste-bomb on several different levels. This is my version of their masterpiece.

Bacon Jam Vietnamese Meatballs

(This dish is a perfect complement to the depth of multiple flavors already in regular bacon jam … and the spice just makes it better.)

  • 1 bag of frozen, pre-cooked meatballs (about a dozen individual meatballs);
  • 2-3 tablespoons bacon jam (any of the variations would work);
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of Thai chili paste (or more if you want it spicier);
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar;
  • generous squirt of sriracha;
  • about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce;
  • 1 lb cooked spaghetti or angel hair noodles;
  • 1 pack of extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced into about 8-10 slices (1/4 inch thick);
  • 2-3 tablespoons kimchi, preferably homemade;
  • 1 large carrot, grated;
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, torn into bits;
  • olive oil;
  • sesame oil

Place the pre-made and frozen meatballs into a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet coated with olive oil and sesame oil, and brown the meatballs slightly over high heat. Reduce heat, add the bacon jam, chili paste, brown sugar, sriracha and soy sauce, and mix all of the ingredients together until it forms a bubbly sauce and coats all of the meatballs (you may need to add a little more soy sauce). Cover and let it simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20-30 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare and drain the cooked noodles. In a separate skillet, coat the pan in sesame and olive oil, and gently lay down the slices of tofu. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on either side over medium high heat, and drizzle a little soy sauce on each slice of tofu as well. Remove from heat and set to the side.

When the meatballs have been cooked thoroughly (make sure they are coated with the bacon/chili/sugar sauce), toss with the cooked noodles.

To serve, add the cooked slices of tofu and the pre-made kimchi, and top it with grated carrot and fresh basil. Serve immediately.

BJV meatballs recipe card

Next, an appetizer. There are also no shortage of easy dips you can make with bacon jam, although you will definitely want to heat it before adding it to most dips. My favorite so far is this easy sriracha and white bean dip, made even deeper and more delectable with the addition of delicious bacon jam.

Spicy Bacon Jam Bean Dip

(Try this with a few crispy pita chips next time you get the munchies. This is super-easy, uses what you probably have, and takes hardly any time to prepare.)

  • 1 can of white beans, rinsed;
  • 2-3 tablespoons of bacon jam (any variety), warmed up slightly in the microwave;
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil;
  • 1 teaspoons soy sauce;
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce;
  • salt and pepper

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Check the taste and add more sriracha if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately with chips or bread.

bacon jam bean dip recipe card