Curry Review: Sei Sushi, San Diego

The last curry I reviewed came from a sushi restaurant. I found it a bit lacking, and I chalked this up to the restaurant’s focus being sushi rather than curry. This time, I’m very pleased to share that a sushi restaurant can have an exceptional curry.

This week, my partner and I got delivery from Sei Sushi in San Diego. I was surprised to learn that Sei is located in a shopping center I pass by often, though I had never seen the restaurant itself.

We ordered delivery, and I’m glad to note that Sei packages their curry just like Zen does, with the sauce separate. While this does create a little more packaging waste, this is a super way to make sure the fried chicken cutlet doesn’t get soggy on the way to the customer! My only gripe was that this hot curry was in the same bag as the sushi. Given that it was a short trip to our location, though, I’m willing to overlook it.

The curry from Sei Sushi, before the sauce is added.

Sei Sushi’s curry is the first one in which I’ve had potatoes, carrots, and chicken katsu all together at once. This is something I’ve been hoping to see since the beginning, and I’m rather fond of it! Curry without vegetables can still be good but it’s extremely pleasant to have them along for this katsu curry. The carrots were extremely tender and flavorful, but the potatoes were a bit on the large side and not soft enough for my liking.

Sei’s katsu is also very good and crisp. Maybe not the absolute best I’ve ever had, but still up there for sure. It came with lemon, which is nice, but I found I didn’t really want it for curry.

The complete curry.

The sauce is very similar in taste and texture to the sauce from Zen Curry, being bold and slightly spicy but with noticeable sweetness. The curry sauce is thick, at the perfect consistency to my taste. I think to most people, it would be difficult to taste the difference between Sei and Zen’s sauce, though Zen’s is still better.

Sei Sushi’s curry gets a 9.8/10 for me. It’s almost nearly perfect, but it can’t replace Zen Curry as my favorite just yet. But given that Sei is much closer to me than Zen, I can imagine myself becoming a repeat customer very easily.


Curry Review: Ami Sushi, El Cajon

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a curry review! I actually have a couple others that I need to do as well, so please look forward to those as I start to catch up.

The past couple weeks had been so busy for me that I’ve been a little more open to ordering delivery recently than usual. Normally, I’d rather save the money and cook at home, but after having gotten paid and the stimulus on the way I decided that getting some curry delivered would be nice.

Today, we got delivery from Ami Sushi in El Cajon for lunch. Ami Sushi is the first place I ever ate with my partner when I visited him in California for the first time, and we had made plans well in advance to go there to eat takoyaki. That was the first time I had ever eaten takoyaki too, and this past year I started making it around once a week.

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I Got An iPhone, And I’m Not Going Back

Back in October, a coworker of mine managed to smash my old phone. I’m over it now, but in the moment I was genuinely enraged. I had been thinking about replacing it already at that point, but I wasn’t ready to let it go when it was damaged. Up until that point, all my smartphones had been Android phones.

Then, I was blessed with an opportunity. My partner’s carrier had an offer for an iPhone 11 and service on his account for only $10 more each month than I was paying for service. This was an offer too good to pass up, so we ordered the iPhone mere hours after the first one, a Galaxy S7 Edge, had been damaged. My experience after a few months could be summed up like this: An iPhone is what a cell phone is like if it was deliberately made to suck less.

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Curry Review: Zen Curry in Kearny Mesa

During this pandemic, a lot of people are ordering takeout and delivery to support their local restaurants. If you’re in San Diego, I strongly recommend that Zen Curry is one you order from.

After planning on visiting for quite a while, I finally got to try the curry at Zen Curry and found I was blown away by how delightful their curry is. They have quite the selection on the menu, with familiar selections like pork and chicken katsu to some more interesting curries that feature fried gyoza, kurobuta sausage, and spam.

Pork katsu curry after sauce has been added.

I chose the pork katsu curry because it was the special of the day. The meat was very thick and generous. It was perfectly crisp outside and tender within. I couldn’t imagine better pork katsu if I tried. The sauce was rich and velvety in texture. It is somewhat sweet, which I find that I enjoyed quite a lot. Typically, I’ll make a curry that isn’t sweet in my own home, but this was extremely pleasant.

Chicken, pork, and shrimp curry before the sauce is added
Chicken, pork, and shrimp curry before the sauce is added.

A thing I never expected to address in one of my reviews: the takeout packaging at Zen Curry is genius. By keeping the curry sauce separate from the meat and rice, nothing gets soggy on the way home. I’ve never had to order out curry before so this might be standard, but I still appreciate the thought and care that is put into this.

The rice was perfect in texture, in a way that I think exceeds any rice that I’ve had alongside curry anywhere else. This is quite the accomplishment.

Zen Curry offers spice levels from one to ten, also offering jalapeƱos and habaneros as extras. I ordered a ten and found it was at about how hot I make it at home with Thai chilis. For people like me who enjoy a very spicy curry, this is quite satisfying. For those who need something more mild, I would suggest caution.

Zen Curry makes easily the best curry I’ve had so far in San Diego county, earning a 10 out of 10. Originally, I had rated this a 9.7, but after some consideration realized there was nothing I didn’t enjoy about Zen Curry. I imagine that I will become a weekly customer. Next week will be gyoza curry for me.


Curry Review: L&L Hawaiian Barbecue in El Cajon

Today’s review is a little different than the rest. Instead of a Japanese restaurant, this curry is from a Hawaiian barbecue chain. That said, I think chicken katsu curry is certainly of interest to me, no matter where it’s served at.

L&L has a lot to offer. There are two other kinds of curry, those being beef and shrimp, and a large barbecue selection. My partner, who took me as a birthday present, had the barbecue plate. It was excellent, and the curry was too.

Curry chicken katsu, served with rice and macaroni salad.

We were the first at the restaurant to order katsu, so I was warned I would have to wait for them to cook the first batch. It was certainly worth the 15 minute wait. The chicken katsu I had was some of the best, most crisp katsu I think I’ve had. I was extremely impressed by the quality of it.

There was also a colossal amount of it. At L&L, you’re offered the choice between a “mini” or “regular” size plate; the regular size here was $10.95 and big enough that I had leftovers to eat for dinner. I’ve eaten myself sick on curry before, so to actually be unable to finish in one go is unheard of. No other curry so far has matched this value.

Another picture of the chicken katsu curry, to better show the size of the meal.

The curry sauce itself was very good. It wasn’t very spicy, but it tasted heavily of what I believe is turmeric compared to other curries I’ve had in San Diego. I thought it was a delightful variation. I saw some extra turmeric curry on sale at the Korean grocery store H Mart, so I’m certainly not the only one that’s a fan.

The rice was different in texture from rice I’ve gotten at Japanese restaurants in the area. I’m not exactly sure how I’d explain it, but I was into it. I didn’t care for the macaroni salad, but I’ve always disliked macaroni salad. It’s certainly better than most macaroni salad I’ve had given that I ate more than one bite of it.

Normally, I like for curry to have the focus be on the sauce and for there to be vegetables, but this curry is one for the meat lovers among us. I’m a meat lover at heart, and this was an exceptional treat. I was hesitant to give such a high score at first, but I think it is deserved. This curry scores a 9.6/10. That’s the highest score so far, and will certainly be a difficult one to beat.


Curry Review: Musashiya in Kearny Mesa

I’m delighted to present another curry review. This time, I tried a place very close to the last review, Marukai. In fact, you can walk between these places in just five minutes!

Musashiya is a restaurant that’s inside of a Japanese market called Mitsuwa. Mitsuwa’s grocery seems larger than Marukai’s, but doesn’t have much in the way of curry selection compared to Marukai. It’s also got several other shops inside, but all in the same building unlike Marukai’s three building structure. Mitsuwa also has curry bento, but that’s for another time.

The pork cutlet curry from Musashiya.

Musashiya has a lot of food for sale, from takoyaki to noodles. There are three different kinds of curry, and also curry udon and soba. I tried a little bit of the curry udon, which a friend of mine got, and enjoyed it, but it will likely have its own review in due time.

Samples of all three curry available at Musashiya, including beef, hamburger steak, and pork cutlet.

There’s a lot to love about this curry. The pork cutlet is exceptional, and extremely crisp. I honestly don’t know that I’ve had better. It’s really the star of the show here, which is both good and bad. I enjoy pork cutlet a great deal, but I think the curry itself took a little bit of a back seat to it in this dish.

The curry itself was a little thinner than the one I had from Marukai, but still a great consistency and very pleasant. It’s a bit spicier, and very aromatic. It’s not quite as good as the reigning champion, but still very good. It also has carrot and onion in it, which I like, but they’re cut so thinly that you can’t even see them until you’ve managed to get a spoonful. They’re honestly too thin to enjoy. Had they been thicker pieces, I think I would have enjoyed this much more.

The sample of the pork cutlet curry. It looks very close to the real thing!

I’ve also had better rice, but it certainly wasn’t bad and didn’t detract from my experience in any way. Compared to the amount of curry I had, I almost had too much rice. It feels a little stingy in that way. The takoyaki I had as a sided was excellent, the best I’ve had so far.

I give this curry an 8.6/10. That means it is the second best Japanese curry in San Diego so far. I feel for the price of $9.80, it was an okay deal. I hope to come back to try the other variations, as well as the curry noodles. I think those will be quite enjoyable. They also have other dishes, like tempura donburi. There’s something for almost everyone.


e-readers: A Display of Contrasts

I’ve always read a great deal. My parents made an effort to make sure I could read and enjoy it. In school, teachers would permit us to read if we finished work early. I usually did finish early and read frequently during the day because of this.

In Christmas 2010, I received my first e-reader, the Kindle Keyboard, and an Amazon gift card. Since then, I’ve read primarily using an e-reader, though not exclusively. I think this has improved my reading experience for the most part, but I have some gripes as well, mostly regarding the industry behind devices and the publishers. That said, today I’m going to chat a bit about what I think about using e-readers, what’s overlooked about them, and ways they can improve.

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Curry Review: Marukai in Kearny Mesa

I’ve only lived in San Diego for a few months now, but I’ve come to appreciate the Kearny Mesa area a great deal. It’s full of Asian stores and restaurants of all types, which makes it enjoyable to visit again and again.

Recently, I had the pleasure of going to Marukai with my partner to do some shopping and look for bento. Marukai in Kearny Mesa is actually three buildings instead of one. There’s a grocery store, another building branded as Tokyo Central that carries miscellaneous Japanese imports, and Marukai Living, which carries mostly household goods and furniture.

We visited all three, but today’s article focuses primarily on what I found at the grocery store: the beef curry and pork cutlet bento.

This bento contains rice, fried pork, and a beef curry accompanied by pickled radish.

Although this is only the second curry I’ve tried in San Diego, I was immediately blown away by this one. This curry was a 9/10, much better than I expected.

At Marukai, there’s a microwave you can use to heat up your bento after paying, so I did so for about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. This was after a little trial and error, but that’s how microwaving things go.

The curry was aromatic, with thin slices of beef enveloped in a rich sauce. I found the consistency of the sauce to be absolutely perfect, and the beef was exceptionally tender.

The rice was also excellent, having a better taste and texture than you’d normally expect from rice that has been microwaved. I also very much enjoyed the pickled radish that was served in this bento.

The fried pork was good, but the breading did become just a bit soggy from having been microwaved. That can’t really be helped, but if you’re dipping it into curry sauce it doesn’t matter all too much.

The reason I didn’t give this curry a perfect score was the lack of vegetables. Between the beef and pork, there was far too much meat. I think the best curry maintains a balance between meat and vegetables, or might not have meat at all.

This curry bento cost $5.99 and was extremely filling. I look forward to having it again in the future, as it is an exceptional curry. There was also a good variety of bento available, from onigiri to noodles, so there’s something for everyone.

If you’re not in San Diego, there are other Marukai locations in LA and Cupertino.


My Favorite Books of 2019

This list is in no particular order. Each title is a link to the book’s listing in WorldCat, which will help you find a library or store that has the book.

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander

This is a book that I think absolutely every American should read. Mass incarceration targeting black and brown people in the United States is no secret, but The New Jim Crow shows how we got where we are today and how large a task dismantling the prison system is. Pick this up at your library as soon as you can.

Liveblog – Megan Boyle

I started reading Liveblog in late 2018 and finished it in January. The book is from a Tumblr blog that Megan maintained for several months in which she blogged all of her actions in great detail. She even includes very personal details, like her relationship with her ex, her drug use, and her emotional struggles. You rarely get to know a person this closely, so reading Liveblog was one of my favorite, most intense reading experiences this year.

Super Pumped – Mike Isaac

Mike Isaac is a technology reporter for NYT who I’ve known for being the reporter on Uber. His book is a tell-all in the style of Bad Blood, one of my favorites from 2018. Uber is known for the exploitation of workers, sexism, and being an unprofitable scam, but the details that Isaac reveals make for a gripping read.

The Collapsing Empire – John Scalzi

I don’t at all recall how I heard about this book, but I read both Collapsing Empire and its sequel, The Consuming Fire, in the same week. The first I picked up and finished in the same day. I’m not sure what it is about space opera that appeals to me so much, but this was exactly what I wanted to read. I’m looking forward to the third installment.

Queen’s Shadow – E. K. Johnston

Speaking of space opera, my favorite character from Star Wars finally got the book she deserved. I’ve always loved Star Wars, but I was hesitant to read any of the books until I saw this one. I haven’t read any since, though.

I think 2018 was a more memorable year of reading for me than 2019 was, but I still very much enjoyed what this year had to offer. I’m looking forward to what I’ll read in 2020, too.


It’s Podcast Hiatus Season, Baby! Here’s More To Listen To When You’re Caught Up.

Around this time of year, you start hearing the familiar advisory on your favorite programs: We’re taking a holiday break and we’ll be back next year. Since Serial got me listening to podcasts again years ago, I’ve gotten used to this yearly break. When I was actually able to keep caught up with everything I listened to, I dreaded podcast hiatus season. Now, it’s an opportunity to catch up and dive into new programs.

Earlier this year, I shared all the podcasts that I have in my aggregator. For the year end, I’m sharing some of my favorite episodes from this year for those of you who have managed to listen to everything they planned to.

Reply All – “The Real Enemy”

Reply All is always a solid show, so solid in fact that I don’t mind the sometimes lengthy gap between episodes. It wasn’t difficult to recommend the most recent episode of the show as the best this year, though. This one is a three episode saga about the struggle for control of Alabama’s Democratic Party.

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