Hachi Ju Hachi isn’t just a run-of-the-mill San Jose sushi spot. It’s one of the best sushi restaurants around the city, bar none. Led by Chef Jin Suzuki, the culinary team makes a mean california roll, but that doesn’t even begin to describe their level of skill and artistry. If you’re looking for the best of the best, look no further than Chef Suzuki’s always-changing omakase menu. If “cream of the ocean” was a thing, it would be the cream of the ocean. What is omakase? Omakase translates to “in the chef’s hands” or “chef’s choice.” There’s no set menu—it’s a multi-course meal of whatever the chef thinks tastes the best, freshest, and most unusual that day. As a corollary, there’s no set price, though Hachi Ju Hachi’s omakase is always at least $60 per person. For more information, read our in-depth profile of a Chicago omakase menu. That’s a lot of money for dinner! Maybe, but keep in mind: it’s really tasty, and there are a lot of courses. This is a dinner that takes time—it’s sort of like going to a show that you can eat. Plus, omakase is typically cheaper than ordering each course à la carte, making it the most practical way to experience the very best sushi on the menu. Is omakase just sushi?Not always. Omakase often highlights sushi and sashimi, but the chef cooks fish, too. In fact, omakase features many of the same cooking styles featured on the à la carte menu: stewing, steaming, and frying (though not usually all in one dish). What are some dishes I might find on the omakase menu?There are no guarantees, but past dishes have included grilled black cod with sweet red-bean cake, steamed baby bok choy with peanut sauce, and yellowtail sashimi with housemade salt. (Yes, Chef Suzuki does make his own salt, by boiling sea salt with iodized salt to achieve a mild but unusual flavor.) Why is Hachi Ju Hachi’s omakase special?Chef Suzuki himself often comes out and offers commentary on the dishes, explaining what they are and why he’s selected them. The omakase also comes with optional sake pairings, an extra that enhances pretty much any dish (except barbecue). It all adds up to the best meal at one of the best restaurants in San Jose.Read More
Color Me Mine Of Freemont
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Color Me Mine Of Freemont
Color Me Mine Of Freemont
Color Me Mine Of Freemont
Mani-pedis may be one of life’s simple pleasures, but keeping them looking great is far from easy. For advice on how to keep our hands and feet looking better longer, we looked to two San Jose nail salons for advice. Read on for tips from Elizabeth Nguyen, a manicurist at Vanity SpaSalon, and Katie Grays, owner of Bella Donna Day Spa, on what to do before, during, and after your mani-pedi appointment. Before your appointmentPrep your feet. Both Elizabeth and Katie praised the benefits of the pumice stone. Elizabeth suggests using it to smooth dry or callused skin every other day. You should soak your feet briefly before pumicing, but if you don’t have time for that then just do it after a shower. Brainstorm potential polish colors. Nothing induces more indecision than the polish wall, especially if you’ve given no thought to a hue beforehand. Don’t waste precious pedicure time dawdling over color choice! Scan a magazine or a Pinterest board for inspiration.During your appointmentAsk about popular colors. Still have no idea which polish to choose? Find out what the salon’s most requested colors are. Elizabeth’s clients adore Creekside and Fragrant Freesia by CND, as well as Ibiza by Zoya. At Katie’s salon, the top three colors are Magna Wine and In the Spotlight Pink by OPI and Butler Please by Essie. For pete’s sake, get a Shellac manicure, already. If you’re one of the four people on Earth who have yet to do so, you’re really missing out. Elizabeth swears by them. Besides, if you’re gonna spend all that time deciding on a color, you might as well be able to rock it for awhile. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Elizabeth’s noticed that a lot of her clients are tiring of french manicures. So, you could either try a twist on the classic french, or hit Pinterest for some nail-art inspo. Katie loves recreating nail art found on Pinterest—flowers are a go-to for her and her clients, and she’s really inspired by the new water-marbling trend. After your appointmentPre-book your next visit. Katie recommends scheduling a manicure every two weeks and a pedicure every three to four weeks. “This helps us keep a good pulse on the health of our clients’ nail beds,” Katie said. “If we see something that needs addressing, [regular visits] give us the opportunity to make a suggestion.” Don’t forget to tip. How much exactly? Well, that’s up to you. “I always get this question,” Katie said. “The best answer would be two parts: what the client feels is appropriate, and/or what [percentage a restaurant server] would receive. Also, if more than one person works on you, don’t feel you must double your tip … it will be divided accordingly.” Protect your polish. Obviously, gel polish is your best bet if staying power is a priority. But if you prefer regular polish, there are a few things you can do to help it stick. Elizabeth suggests keeping typing to a minimum. Katie recommends avoiding tight shoes and moisturizing your cuticles. “Remember that your nails are jewels, not tools!”Read More
Fabi Canchola fell in love with the art of the mani-pedi when she was just a kid. “I love the feeling of my hands looking polished,” she said. “As a little girl I told myself I would always keep my nails done.” So it’s hardly surprising that she grew up and found herself working at one of the top San Francisco nail salons—she’s the general manager at the award-winning Cocoon Urban Day Spa (a Groupon Editors’ Pick!). We chatted with Fabi about salon life, including which polish colors locals are lusting after and the one thing clients do that drives nail technicians crazy. Read on for tips on how to be a pro client before, during, and after your appointment. Before your appointmentSave the soaking for the salon. Once you get in the habit of regular mani-pedis, it’s natural to want to take better care of your nails all the time. But there is such a thing as over-primping. “Make sure you don’t over-soak your [hands and feet],” Fabi warned. “It does expand the nail bed when your [nails] are kept under water for a long time and your polish won’t stick.” Let the salon know if you need gel polish removed. Neglecting to do so can be really frustrating for your technician. As anyone who’s had a gel manicure knows, it’s not the easiest to remove. (That’s kind of the whole point, right?) “At times we are finding small windows to squeeze in a last-minute manicure,” Fabi said. “And with gel [or] Shellac polish removal, more time is needed, so it really throws [the techs] off.” Make sure to book extra time for your appointment, or remove your gel polish at home beforehand. During your appointmentAsk about popular colors. If you’re not sure which shade to pick, why not see what others are loving? Fabi says the three most popular colors at Cocoon are Romantique and Creekside, both part of CND’s Vinylux line, and You Can Count on It by OPI. Try more than one polish. You’d be doing a disservice to yourself and millions of Pinterest boards everywhere by not experimenting with some nail art. If your tech has time, see if they can create a multicolored mani for you. “A lot of clients are requesting the blending of color polishes,” Fabi said. “For example, they will start with a nice pink polish and [blend the tips] into a light purple or a gold.” Go for the upgrades. If you get regular mani-pedis, why not add a little something extra every once in awhile? Fabi suggested trying a paraffin dip—Cocoon has a yummy lavender-scented version—as it’ll make your feet even softer. And who couldn’t use that during sandal season? YOLO, baby. After your appointmentPre-book your next visit. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself jetting from yoga to brunch with a chipped nail and no time to get a touchup. Fabi recommends weekly maintenance for manicures and maintenance for pedicures every two to three weeks. (Oh, and if you’re a Shellac addict, she said you should book a regular manicure every once in awhile to let your nail beds breathe.) Remember to tip! At Cocoon, Fabi finds that 20% is pretty standard. And if you did add on that paraffin dip, make sure to factor the extra cost into the calculation of your gratuity. Take it easy with the flip-flops. “Wearing flip-flops daily will dehydrate your feet and can ruin a pedi,” Fabi advised. She suggests moisturizing hands and feet regularly to help your mani-pedi last.Read More
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