Kate Oliver

Izakaya Japanese Tasting at The SafeHouse

Kate Oliver

I know you love North Park.  Who doesn't with the Diversionary Theatre hosting a variety of shows.
I know you walk up and down University Avenue, stopping at Claire De Lune for foffee and maybe a sweet.  Or maybe you are at West Coast Tavern  having one of their signature bloody marys.  What ever the case may be.  
Let me tell you about a little Asian Invasion that entered eight months ago, at 2930 University Avenue.  You can miss it, if you are not paying attention.  I witnessed people literally walking by when their GPS says "Arrived".
Yes, you have arrived to The SafeHouse.  The ONLY Izakaya in North Park.  
Let me define Izakaya for those of you who do not know what it means:

Izakaya (per wikipedia)
An izakaya (居酒屋?) is a type of informal Japanese drinking establishment that serves food to accompany the drinks. They are casual places for after-work drinking.

So, basically, it's a bar, with food.  My interpretation: A Japanese Pub- if you will. 

I know you have seen many events that I have attended, courtesy of +GOGOBOT, the San Diego team of ladies: Tiffany, Becky and Jamie.  They are so much fun. My foodie events postings have increased greatly this year, compared to the two years I have been blogging.  All I did was download the app, upload some reviews and I get to attend events that Gogobot hosts (as long as I meet review minimum)! Easy!

Who does Izakaya tastings on Taco Tuesday?  Gogobotters do!  Yea, I said it.

We were Welcomed!!
So, we had the right half of the restaurant (when you enter) reserved. Basically three tables and two television screens with 2 Nintendo game consoles (SCORE!!). Yes, some of us played Super Mario and Golden Eye on the Nintendo.  YOU know you want to do this too!
So, the steam buns we ordered were: pork, shrimp and duck. I had the shrimp.  I would recommend braised pork or duck. I sure would have liked to try The Piggy Steamed bun because it is just pork - pulled pork, pork belly and bacon with bbq sauce.  Where was that?

We were able to taste some signature cocktails (that are not listed on their website), but here are some photos:
Vodka Champagne

This was the Pink Geisha

Grapefruit Cocktail
 The cocktails were delicious!!  That is all I have to say about that!

More on appetizers - were were "winged out" with: Honey bbq wings, maple sriracha, spicy garlic, and I can't event remember the name of the non-saucy wings that came out after the honey bbq. Shame on me!  We did get plate after plate of wings. 

Spicy Garlic Wings
The next thing - that I have been looking forward to all night:

I LOVE RAMEN!!!  Not the packaged stuff that you buy at the grocery store for maybe $0.10 or $0.90(yea, I had that while on deployments in my active duty days).  Real Ramen, with the base, noodles, and meat or seaweed or vegetables. The way you are supposed to eat it.  
We tried: Miso base, Tonkotsu base and Shoyu Base. Now, when I was in New Jersey, my team took me to a place near the office.  BEST TONKOTSU RAMEN I have had.  So, I have been on a mission since I have been back from New Jersey, to find me Tonkotsu Ramen here in San Diego. I am going to need this in a  large bowl to be certain.
Okay here are the tastings...in order:
Miso Ramen

Tonkotsu Ramen

Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ramen
Okay.  I am not a fan of Miso base Ramen.  I also don't eat miso soup.  However, it was good.  I think the crispy pork belly did it for me. I thought that the base was too bland for me, but again, it is a preference. Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning that is widely used, which comes from soybeans fermented with salt and koji.
Tonkotsu, is a thick, cloudy broth made from boiling pork bones, fat and collagen over high heat for hours. I know...I like that flavor.  It's so delicious!!
Soy base is (Shoyu) a chicken or vegetable broth with the MOST soy sauce which results in a tangy, salty flavor, though light on the palate.

Well, I can tell you that everyone was pretty much tapped out until they brought out green tea mochi.  FIRST OF ALL, this foodie never liked mochi.  Like EVER!! It's weird tasting to me.  I do, however, like green tea ice cream.  What is a girl to do? Say screw it and eat it.  So, I did.  SURPRISE!!
I am pretty sure that I have had bad experiences with mochi, so this was a HUGE surprise for me.  Yes, I ate it.  It was freaking good.  I'll probably not eat it any were else again, but here.  Damn. Ruined by The SafeHouse.  I am okay with this though.

Despite some hiccups, this was a pretty cool tasting.  I mean, there is so much to do after eating at The SafeHouse - True North is nearby and Seven Grand Whiskey Bar.  Heaven Sent for dessert and coffee.  I would personally just sit at The SafeHouse and let my stomach shrink.

The SafeHouse also offers brunch on the weekends from 10am - 3pm with: wait for it: BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS.  Yea, you know you are coming here if you live in the area.  If you don't, you're coming anyway.
Click here for their brunch menu (click on brunch when you get to the site!).

You have to live to know.  It never hurts to try something once, even if you had a bad experience before (i.e. mochi), try it again.  You never know.

Thank you, #GogobotSD for the pretty cool tasting.