On The Road Again
By Steven Masone
Sweet & Spicy Mango Chicken
The Pacific Coast Highway, from San Diego to Seattle has a thousand eateries and mediocrity is the norm for most of them. Southern California of course has a majority of the best because of the wealthy demographics. So far on the northern California and Oregon coast I have been disappointed more times than not. The problem is that many people who become restaurant owners, do so when they retire from some other career. But then there are those who are passionate about excellent food and see it as an art form rather than the daily grind. With the foody explosion of the nineties and beyond, the average palette has become more sophisticated because fans have learned how to cook and experience culinary adventures at home in their own kitchens with competitive pricing in the down economy making it affordable to eat out more. The Food Channels showcasing international cuisine, and creating Chef Rock Stars has fueled this renaissance sweeping our nation. However, because of hobbyist owners who retired to beach cities and other tourist areas, average fare with average service and overpriced menus is mostly what you will find unless your palette demands more. "Seek and you shall find!"
Exploring the Oregon coast, I have found in Florence Oregon another Restaurant on wheels that has risen above mediocrity to excellence . Aloha Sushi (aka) Taste Of Hawaii, has passionate and friendly owner operators who have successfully taken American, Hawaiian, Japanese, Seafood, Sushi,Vegetarian & Vietnamese styles creating a fusion concept that is delicious and unique.
Located on Highway 101 in the Old School Furniture center, you will find Chef Christian Jakobsen and wife Natasha very serious about their passion. I had heard time and time again I needed to try their cuisine. I finally gave in and am very pleased I tried them out. I would have gone sooner, but I had been given glowing reports on other eateries in the area, and they were disappointing. Their menu looked great with many options to choose from. (see link below)
I ordered the "Sweet & Spicy Mango Chicken" ...This dish is quick fried chicken (boneless) glazed with their unique chili mango sauce, fresh mango, garlic, sweet red pepper, raisins, peanuts, sesame seeds, asian spices, in a bed of fresh tossed garlic sauteed cabbage. The chicken was moist inside and crispy on the outside even though it was smothered in the chili sauce glaze. The batter did not lose the fresh fried crunchy texture. Most of the chicken was hidden underneath so as you brought a piece up, you could decide what part of the medly you wanted in each bite. I experimented with one of each and then mixed the combinations up. The raisins fused great with the peanuts and spicy chili.The cabbage was fresh and crisp. A mound of steamed rice was set next to the entree, which I prefer rather than the dish on top of the rice. The other side was a delicious macaroni salad with very subtle but tasty seasoning.
The main dish was both Tropical and Asian at the same time with undertones of Caribbean influence in layers of contrasting flavors and juxtaposed textures that made the fusion work perfectly. It was excellent! I ordered the small plate which was only $7.00 and had it not been so delicious I would have ordered something else to write about, but alas I was too full, the small order was more than enough. I look forward to going back soon and update this very cool experience...stay tuned!