Cook Food Good

American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Intermediates

Dinches With Knives

Posted on | September 8, 2010 | 4 Comments Print This Post Print This Post

It’s an old question, and oft answered. When you meet for a meal at 3 pm is it lunch or dinner? Unfortunately, the answer is not, as we say in law biz, “well settled.”  In this case, the associations with Kevin Costner’s Sci-Fi efforts, Dinches With Stamps, and Dinches With Fish trump.

So?  So, Dinches With Knives it is.

The knife part came with two of my Labor Day dinch companions, KC and Jon Broida.

If you don’t know KC Ma from his myriad internet appearances as kcma (clever nick, neh?), he’s a talented and forward looking, high-end executive chef.  The guy knows tons of stuff about Japanese western and Asian style Japanese knives, is acquainted with a very large number of brands, and can talk intelligently about them.  What really separates him from the rest of the herd is his skill using them.  He’s also one of the few people on the planet, I’ll readily admit sharpens better than I do.

So?  So, now meet Jon.  Jon Broida used to cook with KC before KC moved up.  Jon is an excellent cutter, and excellent sharpener and knows more about the Japanese aspects of Japanese knives than anyone I’ve ever met.  After all the conversation, I pretty much knew he was at least as good a sharpener as me.  After thumb dragging a few of his western edges, it’s easy to say that compared to me… uhm… well… maybe not that easy to say.  Close call.  Okay, he’s better.

So?  So, we ate well.  KC and I took Jon, one of KC’s roommates, and an old friend of his from college, to Har Lam Kee on Garfield in Monterey Park.

We were shooting for Dumpling Master, but KC got there first and called to tell me it was closed. Damn!  They’d been on the market for so many years, I didn’t believe it would ever happen.  It seems they didn’t sell the business, but someone else has the space.  Damn, damn, and double damn.  There went one of the best restaurants in the world.

Part of the point of the whole exercise was to feed Jon with the sort of food he doesn’t see on the west side – including first class xiaoloon tong bao, so we agreed to meet at Mama’s Lu.

But when we got there, there was a huge crowd – mostly comprised of one extended family – waiting outside for a table and the traditional Labor Day dumplings.  No way Mama’s Lu* could handle a party that big without crashing the kitchen, and there had already been too much schlepping for a trip to Dumplings 10053, so we decided to just go across the street to Har Lam Kee.

If you’re in SoCal and you like Chinese food – no holds barred real Chinese food – you should give it a try.  They’re a bit of a deli, with an extensive menu an eclectic fusion of Hong Kong bar, Hong Kong street, and Hong Kong family restaurant food.  What they aren’t is a Hong Kong dim sum/seafood restaurant – which is something of a relief.

We had blood tofu, abalone which was really conch, fried capelin, jelly-fish salad, fried quail, Budweiser, more Budweiser, and a bunch of other stuff you won’t find without looking for it.

So?  So, if you ever get there, aren’t part of a crowd, my favorites are the Trolley Noodles, and Aberdeen Noodle Soup with crab and flying fish roe in the fish balls.

The five of us ate enough for ten, then moved on to a tea house for dessert. Now that’s dessert.  We had shaved ice with red beans and everyone else shared some other sweet stuff while I ate more than my share of squid balls in pepper.

I know.  Selfish.

So?

270 Konosuke HD wa-gyuto

So,  I learned a lot.  One of the things – probably of no interest to you – is that the handle on the 270mm Konosuke HD gyuto is – as far as I could tell from waving the knife around in a parking lot after lunch – very comfortable, at least if you have a soft grip.

A very soft pinch grip - Doesn't need much handle

Anyway, if you’re shopping for a knife, add Japanese Knife Imports to your list as one of the two best e-tailers of Japanese made knives in the United States.**  The other is Chef Knives To Go.

Jon has a narrow, rather specialized inventory.  He’s an excellent cutter, a cooking toy junkie, and combines a knowledge of cutting with Japanese knives, sharpening Japanese knives, the Japanese knife business and related things Japanese that’s unparalleled in my experience.  If you’re looking for a Japanese made knife with exemplary character, and you want to know what sort of edge you can expect to put on it yourself, Jon’s your man.  If you’re looking for a Japanese made knife with expemplary character,  you should look at his well-edited inventory.

So?  So that’s about all there is to this.  An unsolicited tribute to a store I’ve bought nothing from.  If you’re interested in serious Japanese cutlery, you should definitely check Jon and Japanese Knife Imports out.  Highest Recommendation.

So?  Ah so-des.

BDL

PS. Jon’s going to be in Japan for the next three months meeting with suppliers, speaking to possible new ones, further studying Japanese knife sharpening, and eating some good fish.  So, if you want to talk to him, use the e-mail.

* Mama’s Lu does a very nice xiaoloon bao, better than and not as precious Din Tae Feng; 10053 Dumpling’s is good but not in the same league. Several of their other dumplings kreplach of joy.

** The joke contained within the idea of adding a second name to a list of two is dedicated to Keith De Grau who likes that stuff more than he probably should.

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Comments

4 Responses to “Dinches With Knives”

  1. AJ Huff
    September 8th, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

    I love your writing BDL. I bought a T-I carbon Sab after reading so many of your posts on Chef Talk. Now I will be contacting Jon based on your comments.

    Thanks!

    -AJ

  2. BDL
    September 8th, 2010 @ 10:58 pm

    Thanks AJ. That’s high praise. Say hello to Jon. How’s life with the Sab?

    BDL

  3. AJ Huff
    September 9th, 2010 @ 5:50 am

    I am really liking the Sab. I did make the mistake of not fully heeding your advise and calling the vendor and asking for a defect free knife WRONGLY assuming that good customer service and salesmanship would surely prevent that. Nope. My beautiful knife arrived with a very slight bow in it. :(

    Due to my laziness, instead of returning it and asking for a replacement, I shipped it to the Blade Gallery in Kirkland WA to be straightened and resharpened. I am pleased with their work.

    I have since resharpened it myself. My sharpening skills are bush league compared to yours but I am happy with my results. I find the Sab to be as light as any Japanese knife I have held and equally sharp. Yes I do have to steel it more often, but I don’t really care. I don’t have to sharpen it any more often than my Japanese knives.

    I did not know about the baking soda and forced patina issues until your recent posting. I’ve just been using the knife and wiping it and drying it as soon as I can. It’s rust free but has a much darker and more, um, swirled? patina than your picture shows. I actually really like the look. I’m assuming this patina-soda debate is strictly cosmetic. I can’t think of any negative impact as long as the knife doesn’t rust, so I plan on keeping my darker patina and not worry about it.

    It must be the Lit Minor in me that draws me to your writing style. Thanks again for your exceptional help.

  4. BDL
    September 9th, 2010 @ 8:12 am

    Hi AJ,

    You’re right about the baking soda vs dark patina steel cage match being aesthetic and nothing more.

    Since the knife is a T-I, is it fair to assume the vendor was The Best Things? It’s nice to hear The Blade Gallery aka Epicurean Edge aka Blade Connection took care of it so well. For you of course, but also nice for anyone else who got one which was out of true, to learn that Nogents can be straightened. I hear fantastic things about them. I might as well throw in a plug for A-Frames Tokyo, another American dealer and e-tailer with a great reputation.

    Very good performance as you say, better still when you consider the price, and the most amazingly good handles. But the touch of histroy is what seals the deal, no? A petit peu of extra French niceness every you take the knife out of the block.

    Let me know what I can do to help you sharpen better.

    Very nice of you to say what you did about my writing.

    BDL

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    WHO IS BDL, Boar D. Laze, or whatever the hell his name is?

    A Brief Biography:

    Ex-Navy Seal; Ex-Victoria’s Secret model; Turned down a three-way with Sophia Loren and the young Marlene Dietrich (as in the Blue Angel) because had other plans; Knows who killed everyone in The Big Sleep, and why; Chaired the work-group which invented Time, Space, Gravity, Fire and Holiday Sweaters; Prefers Dickel to Jack.

    What is Cook Food Good?

    What’s this site about? It’s about a lot of things
    Forcing myself to work out issues relating to writing a cookbook: COOK FOOD GOOD: American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Intermediates.
    Getting feedback on my work from you.
    Discussions on basic and not-so-basic techniques. The recipes here are very technique driven. Similarly, the idea behind the book is to be far more about the how than the what – with the goal of teaching you to create your own recipes and tweak other people’s, confidently and successfully.
    How to cook better, as it relates to you (and me too). That is, taking a beginner or advanced beginner to good, restaurant quality. Mostly this will be (more or less) French technique and (more or less) American food. But only mostly, more or less.
    Recipes for this, that and the other.
    Knives and all about sharpening them (which have somehow become a subject on which I frequently get asked for advice): How to choose and how to use.
    The first Cook Food Good Blog was hosted by the website, Chef Talk. However, CT, removed its blog section. If you’re interested in bad writing, poor punctuation and ancient history, you’ll find the old CT posts archived here. One thing about posting on CT, was that it acted as a sort of language and attitude super-ego. Don’t count on it here. This is naked id.

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