Grand Ole Wasabi?

Was in Nashville recently and had to visit the Grand Ole Opry. Before the show started, there was time to roam around the Opryland Hotel and enjoy some dinner. After looking over the menu at the many restaurants the venue offers, we decided on Wasabi’s.


When our waiter came over to take our drink orders, at a Japanese restaurant, we asked what they had to offer. He mentioned the traditional stuff, along with the local offering — the Gaylord Opryland 77 APA by Blackstone Brewing Company. Why not go local? Nice amber beer with a good history, so had to pair it with asian food, right?


They have a traditional Japanese menu so deciding what to eat was sort of hard but sort of easy, in the sense that we knew what was on the menu. Ended up starting with some Seaweed Salad. Very nice taste to it.


For the main course, we went with the Wasabi’s Sushi Sampler:
California Roll (6 Pcs)
Tuna Sashimi (3 Pcs)
Nigiri (3 Pcs): Tuna, Salmon, Shrimp

It was a very nice size and very well presented. Quite tasty, too. Now, since two of us were splitting this, we weren’t really full at the end. So, come the end, we opted to get one more bite to eat, which was/were some edamame. Perfect.

And after dinner, the fun truly started…



Non-Chickpea Hummus

I try a lot to vary hummus when I make it, as in different spices, and then different beans — black, cannellini, kidney, etc.

Then I had some edamame that I wanted to use so checked out some recipes for that to see if there was anything different about it. I finally ended up with one from FoodTV that did not use chickpeas, which was perfect.



1/2 pound frozen shelled edamame (green soy beans), about 1 1/2 cups
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons), juiced
1 clove garlic, smashed
3/4 teaspooon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Boil the beans in salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or microwave, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.

In a food processor, puree the edamame, tahini, water, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until absorbed.

Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the parsley and drizzle with remaining oil. Serve with the suggested vegetables, or refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day.


When I was making this, I was at this great place where I dogsit that has a beautiful, amazing kitchen but lack of ‘stuff.’ As in, no food processor. There is a mini prep and antiquated blender. It was quite a process to make this, or shall I say — entertaining.

The end result was ok. It was just missing something — I added more salt and lemon juice, then some garlic, thinking maybe that would do it. Nothing great. Now, it did get a better after sitting for a bit. But, nothing overly fancy or exciting, but a decent alternative to ‘normal’ hummus.



Grace’s Mandarin

Was at National Harbor, MD for a week-long event so had the opportunity to check out several restaurants in the area. One evening oriental food sounded good so a couple of us went to Grace’s Mandarin.  The restaurant provides ‘a variety of Asian inspired dishes with a modern flair in an elegant ambiance.’


The reservation was for 6pm so not an overly crazy hour and it was mid-week. The restaurant was not packed. Opted to start with some edamame as an appetizer as we looked over the menus.


We asked the waitress several questions and she did not speak very good English. Considering National Harbor is a high traffic area with tourists, this isn’t great. She didn’t understand a lot of our questions. One of them was about the Sashimi Taco, which was labeled as — Sashimi Taco Tuna, salmon, yellowtail, white tuna, cilantro, avocado. Sounded delicious! I wondered what made it a taco, though. She told me that it was only fish, nothing else. I inquired a few more times, however, about why it was considered it taco. She kept assuring me it was only fish, nothing else in the dish.

So, I went ahead and ordered that, along with a Mandarin Green Salad Organic baby greens, tomato, carrot, goat cheese, low-cal sesame soy vinaigrette. My friend ordered Singapore Rice Noodle — shrimp, chicken, egg, onion, scallion, bean sprout, carrot, curry.

The salad came out nice & quick. Good tastes all around.


Then came out the other two. The rice noodles were just as they were described, and a huge serving. Tasty is what I was told.


Then my tacos. Not what I was expecting per the waitress’ comments, but they did fit the description. They were indeed tacos. They has cream in them. It could have been aioli but nobody seemed sure. We asked several restaurant staff and after, honestly, about 10 minutes, we still didn’t have an answer. I had to send them back in case it was dairy. At this point I was frustrated because when I had asked before ordering if these were tacos the waitress said no and now that they were, she could not identify what all was in the tacos.


She asked what else I would like and I opted for the safe bet of simple sashimi. I went for salmon, tuna and some whitefish (I can never remember what it is but it’s good).

Yes, it was dinner time and the restaurant was getting a bit busier at this point, but it took over 20 minutes to get simple cuts of sashimi, after there was an error with an initial dish. Don’t you think they might hurry a bit? And all it takes is cutting the fish… It was quite good (as I should hope for this type of dish or I would be quite concerned).


So, overall, though the food ended up being decent, not at all impressed with the service at Grace’s. Not a place I would recommend on that level. Not sure if they expect they’ll get business because they are in a tourist location, not sure if we just hit the wrong place at the wrong time, but there are definitely places I would rather enjoy a dinner out.

Sushi’s a Wrap

The final night in NOLA some of us decided to head to a sushi place – Sake Café Uptown.


Huge menu. After reading and reading, I noticed some grilled squid. I love it when I can find that, because I don’t enjoy the (fried) calamari. So I opted for it. Ok, that could be a meal. It came out on a fajita-like platter and it was amazing. It might have been the simplest thing but I could eat that stuff all the time. I need to figure out where I can get that stuff in DC.


Then at the table next to us, I ask this woman what she ordered because I was just trying to get one other thing (this was before the squid came out). She told us about this edamame that’s not on the menu – garlic edamame. They do the ‘normal’ edamame then do something with some form or garlic – I don’t know if it’s roasted or something else but this stuff just makes you melt. This is another one that I need to find out who in the DC area has. Way too good.



So glad we checked this place out and it’s another place to check out if you’re in New Orleans.