Wa Dining Okan

Wa Dining Okan is an intimate Japanese restaurant that specializes in home-style cooking. “Okan” means mother in Japanese slang, and every time I dine here, I do get a sense of coming home. It’s been a favorite of ours throughout the years, but it’s been a while since our last visit. Recently, we had friends visiting from out of town and decided to have dinner there.

In addition to a diverse regular menu, they also offer nightly specials, including several tapas. The tapas are already pre-made ahead of time and aren’t the prettiest dishes, but they are often the star of our dinners, so we always make sure to order a few.

Stir Fried Lotus Roots

Served chilled, this might actually have been everyone’s favorite dish of the night. This is one of my favorite tapas. I detected hints of sesame, soy sauce and sugar, but am not quite sure what else is in here.

Stir Fried Mild Pepper with Ground Beef Sauce

I wish they had heated this one up for us a little more. I did enjoy the flavors though, almost like a mapo-tofu dish but with soft peppers replacing the tofu.

Mackerel with Ponzu


If you love zucchini bread, check out my single serving zucchini mug cake. It’s super soft, fluffy, with bits of zucchini mixed throughout.

I am very much in love with this new mug cake creation. I love the light texture of this cake and the zucchini keeps the cake very moist. It’s not too sweet and just hits the spot.


Breadcrumb-free crispy baked chicken is drizzled with bang bang sauce for a delicious weeknight meal.

I’ve made so many bang bang recipes now, but no one in our house is sick of it yet, so I’m going to keep making them. This time I decided to pair the sauce with crunchy baked chicken. My current favorite way to bake chicken is to coat bite-sized pieces in egg and then cornstarch. The chicken develops a thick crispy coating when baked. Almost as good as fried. Almost.