Mika Soleimanpour opens the door to her Brooklyn apartment and is quickly pushed aside by her rambunctious daughter Reika who shows me into the kitchen. Reika is wearing a bright floral dress and steps up onto the dining table bench to help her mother organize all of the ingredients to make her favorite snack- “Onigiri”. The Japanese rice balls are simple and organic and have earned Mika a spot at the popular Brooklyn Flea. Her stand- Rice and Miso Everyday, is a hit amongst the Brooklyn set who have a natural affinity for all things healthy and local.
“I started changing my diet completely to Japanese food (which I grew up with, but had been away from since I moved to New York) when I got pregnant. When I was modeling in my 20′s I smoked more than a pack a day and spent days traveling for shows and shoots fueled on only coffee and snacks.” Mika admits.
“But when I got pregnant in my late 30′s , I changed my diet and had my baby naturally without any problems and I finally began to appreciate so much the way my mother raised me by choosing to cook organic, sustainable and completely safe Japanese food. I started to believe strongly how important it is for children to nourish their bodies with natural foods. This type of food sets a good foundation for them to grow and helps reduce problems like children’s diabetes. It transfers over into adulthood as well.
My goal is to introduce tasty Japanese cooking to all people and help them live healthier lives.
Mika Hatsushima Soleimanpour
A: Los Gatos, CA
M: Reika’s momma/owner of Rice & Miso Everyday (www.riceandmisoeveryday.com)
A: Creative Strategist in Marketing
What are you making? :
M: Onigiri (Rice Ball)
What are you wearing? :
M: Levi’s jeans and Uniqlo shirt
A: Khakis, blue button down, and cap from my high school, Bellarmine College Prep
Taste you couldn’t live without:
M: My mom’s food
A: Nutella. Sempre Nutella!
Favorite food date :
M: Bacaro in LES
A: Bacaro here in NYC; very tasty and well thought out menu in a relaxed environment. Lot’s of great wine too.
Sweet or Salty? :
M: Used to prefer Salty, after having my baby, changed to Sweet
Favorite Recipe? :
M: My mother in law’s “Borsch”
A: Mika’s Ton-katsu
Favorite Rice Ball? :
M: Umeboshi (Sour Plum) rice ball my mother makes
A: Rice & Miso Original, which has a miso paste that includes garlic and jalapeno
Reika’s Favorite part of eating the Rice Balls? :
M: Eating the sesame seeds
Reika’s Favorite Japanese Word? :
M: ”Mite!” (“Look!”)
Reika’s Favorite Assyrian Word? :
A: Tohmma, which means (“there”)
What would you choose for your Last Meal? :
M: My mom’s Tempura
A: Nutella on an airy Casareccio bread with milk
What is the one food you would eat for the rest of your life? :
M: Umeboshi Rice Ball with Black sesame and sea salt around wrapped with seaweed
Go to kitchen tool? :
M: Giant chopstick (“Sae Bashi”)
A: Cork screw
Breakfast lunch or dinner? :
Cook or Delivery? :
What will you not eat? :
M: Pizza at the movie theater
Favorite Flavors? :
A: Chocolate, Vinegar, and…is bread a flavor?
Guilty Pleasure? :
M: French Fries from anywhere
A: Croissant’s from Ceci Cela on Spring Street, NYC/Taco Bell on the West Coast.
What’s your specialty? :
M: Hijiki (seaweed) salad
A: Roast chicken with butternut squash
Favorite person to cook for? :
M: My daughter, Reika
A: My wife
Craziest food you have eaten :
M: Tasting course at WD50
A: Raw horse meat
Favorite Childhood Food :
M: Karaage (Japanese Fried Chiken)
A: Spaghetti with sage and butter, which was very easy to find growing up in Italy
Favorite Food Memory of all time :
M: Persian cuisine my husband took me for the first date
A: Waking up on the Indian Ocean and having a lazy breakfast each morning on our honeymoon. Breakfast was really good, but the environment and our state of mind we were in made it great.
3 Favorite Dishes/Eateries :
1:”ROKURINSHA” dipping ramen noodle, Tokyo
2: Peter Luger’s Porterhouse Steak
3: Pho, Chinatown
1: Black Ramen at Gogyo, Tokyo
2: Bo Ssam Pork at Momofuku Ssam, NYC
3: Panzerotti at Luini, Milan