Yume Cafe in Poway

update: Weird. Now the categories are back.

First, my “Poway” category and “Books” category have gone missing (and I can’t re-add them for some reason), although the posts are still in existence. For books, all you need to know is that I read the last Harry Potter solely on the elliptical and some parts of the story were so intriguing I actually did a second workout after the first just to justify continued reading. Also, I read Blaze and Lisey’s Story and I was “meh” and “blech”, respectively. Recently, I finished The Choice by Nicholas Sparks and I kind of wish he would write a book that didn’t just wrench my heart around so much. However, if you want a true heartbreaker, a story that will have you sobbing out loud, then go read The Time Traveler’s Wife. Really. It’s good. You’ll be bawling, but it’s a good read. Don’t take it on a plane trip, though.

As for the “Poway” posts, most of them related to the fire updates that went on last week. Some posts were related to local events and restaurants, and it would be nice if you could just click a category that would tell you what’s good to eat in this little city, but it’s just not going to happen until I figure out how to fix whatever it is that’s broken.

I do have a good place to eat in Poway, though, if you’re interested. It’s a new place called Yume Cafe and it’s located in the LA Fitness shopping center where the Lucky Chinese place was. They call themselves a Japanese Bistro, and I’m inclined to agree with the description. The menu has a very Japanese foundation to it, but there are also dishes that are more mainstream and bistro-like. Menus are on the webpage so you can take a look before heading out.

We went for dinner tonight because I like to go out to eat before leaving on a trip (I don’t know why since we always eat very well when traveling) and I couldn’t face another night of leftovers. Even if they are good leftovers. It was getting late and we were hungry, so we drove all 3 minutes to get there instead of walking like we could have. Whatever. We drove a Prius, which should offset any negative environmental impacts, right? When we got there, one couple was seated and one couple came in after us (and left before us… they must not have eaten much). Because they are so new, I wasn’t too concerned about the very empty restaurant. After looking over the menus (dinner, specials, drinks – one set between the two of us), we had to decide if we wanted to go for the “tapas” arrangement (a selection of small plates, quite varied, some smaller versions of the entrees) or just order an appetizer/tapas plate and entrees. T was set on the Prawns in Chili Sauce, so I settled on Kurobuta Schnitzel, which is a weird way of naming the Tonkatsu. Entrees come with miso soup, rice, and steamed vegetables – T was, surprisingly, able to substitute the house butternut squash apple soup for his miso. We also ordered the gyoza – our server told us they are made individually by hand and would take some time to come out. Oh, it was also emphasized that the menu focuses on fresh ingredients. Personally, I’m getting tired of the food buzzwords – fresh, seasonal, artisanal, sustainable, organic. I don’t argue they mean good things for everyone, I’m just tired of hearing it.

The soups came out first (due to the individual hand crimping of the dumplings, I guess) and they were good. The miso was tasty but not too salty and not watery at all. The butternut soup was creamy and full of flavors while managing not to be too rich. They were served in perfect mugs for sipping or drinking with the provided spoon.

Soon after, the dumplings came out, one side steamed and soft, the other side crispy and golden. I think they are either steamed or boiled and then pan fried until crispy, being inverted onto the serving platter. They are definitely handmade and not from a freezer, but I’m guessing they’re put together ahead of time. Folding up 10-12 gyoza to order seems a bit too time consuming (I didn’t count… I was hungry and they were really good. It seemed like there were a lot, though). The gyoza are small, with tender pork filling and a tasty dipping sauce, but they are worth ordering. The doughy wrapper melts away and ends with a bite of pan-fried crispiness. I’m glad we got those instead of the edamame.

Our dinners arrived and they looked amazing. Presentation is very lovely here, which I appreciate. Both dishes came with a small pyramid of rice, a potato pancake/croquette, a steamed baby bok choy, and some steamed baby squash. My pork had the tonkatsu sauce in a little dish with the cutest tiny ladle. The ends of the pork were a little chewy and the breading was starting to fall off some of the moister middle pieces, but the pork was tender and tasty. Honestly, it wasn’t the best tonkatsu I’ve had, but it was quite good and with everything else on the plate I was more than happy. T’s prawns were in a tangy chili sauce that was just spicy enough to make you sniffle, but just tangy enough to make you eat more. It was addictive in a way. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and had no trace of fishy-shrimpiness. They were good. We polished our plates and were pleasantly full. Yum yum yum. I’m still thinking of that chili sauce, it was so tasty.

The tapas plates are priced very reasonably (prices are on the website, too) and I could see stopping by for an assortment of 3 or 4 for dinner. The entrees are a few dollars more than the typical Japanese restaurant, but I think the quality is worth the extra money. There is also a standard sushi menu – one of the tables ordered some and it looked beautiful. It’s not a cheap dinner, so I don’t know how often we’ll end up at Yume Cafe, but it is good food and I hope they are successful.

The other nice thing about Yume Cafe is that it is just a few doors away from my beloved Golden Spoon. If we are anywhere near Golden Spoon, I don’t even bother looking at a dessert menu. I know we’re going to get a mini cup of Peanut Butter cup frozen yogurt, the tastiest fat-free dessert I know. Except, tonight we walked out with a mini cup of Pumpkin frozen yogurt, something that is almost better than full-fat pumpkin ice cream. Crazy! It’s that good, though, trust me. We may have to take an additional trip there while pumpkin season is still on, just to get another taste.

In other news, Three Dog Bakery is offering opportunities to open a franchise and one of their markets is San Diego. You’ll notice a similarity to the name of this website, which is purely coincidental. While I think running a dog bakery would be a lot of fun, especially since it already has a strong marketing presence (kind of like opening a Nothing Bundt Cakes store), I am well aware that it would be a lot of work and definitely wouldn’t allow me the freedom to take vacations like my present job does. It’s fun to dream, though, especially since it would be a job that would allow dogs in the office!

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