I don’t want to turn this entry into a forum for anything else other than food-related topics but I feel compelled to mention the devastation that recently occurred in Japan. Having unexpectedly lost a brother 4 years ago, it’s not difficult for me to understand how one’s life can be turned upside down within a matter of minutes. However, the manner in which thousands of lives were lost 2 days ago in Japan is heart-breaking to say the least. My sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected, worldwide.

It’s by pure coincidence that I wanted my next blog entry to be about a Japanese word I heard for the first time only within the past year: umami. A savory flavor brought about by glutamic acid (glutamate) and other ingredients, umami is naturally found in foods such as tuna, shellfish, beef, pork, chicken, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, parmesan cheese and soy sauce. Umami, or the “fifth taste” (sweet, salty, sour & bitter) was actually discovered in 1908 by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda at Tokyo Imperial University. Fast-forward to today, you can experience umami at any one of 5 L.A. restaurants aptly named Umami Burger. I have yet to try it myself but, as a self-proclaimed foodie, it is most certainly at the top of my current list of places to go. Meet me there? http://www.umamiburger.com