FOR MARIN RESIDENTS, the name Comforts brings to mind one thing: Chinese chicken salad. The San Anselmo eatery that supplies this much-loved dish is housed in what was once a French restaurant — until the Miwa family stepped in. Glenn and his wife, Laura (along with their daughter, Erin), gave up a life in Los Angeles in favor of Marin after Glenn realized he was having more fun catering than at his day job as a graphic designer. In 1986, the family opened the doors to Comforts and began a new life as restaurateurs. “I’ve always loved cooking (and eating!) and knew I wanted to do something that would allow me to share my passion with others,” says Glenn. “Melding the comfort foods that I grew up with together with the wide variety of ingredients we can get here in Northern California has been such a thrill.” In addition to a menu of salads, soups, pastas, sandwiches and pastries, Comforts offers wine and sells gift items and bottles of its famous Chinese chicken salad dressing. The Miwas also donate food and funds to local schools and nonprofits in support of the community they call home. “My wife and I opened Comforts almost 30 years ago, when food was on the cusp of exploding into an entirely new world,” says Glenn. “It’s a real pleasure to see the foods that I love become our customers’ favorites as well.” Here, the Miwas share a recipe for one such hit: donburi. comfortscafe.com
- 3 ounces cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon instant dashi (or substitute chicken stock)
- 2 teaspoons Japanese soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ¼ yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 medium carrot, thinly sliced
- ¼ green onion (green portion only), thinly sliced on a bias
- 1 shiitake or button mushroom, sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup packed spinach leaves, chopped coarse
- 2 eggs, whisked lightly and seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1½ cups cooked Japanese short-grain rice
- 1 tablespoon green onion (green portion only), thinly sliced for garnish
- 1 teaspoon furikake for garnish
- Shred chicken.
- Combine chicken stock, dashi, soy sauce, sugar and mirin in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in a small sauté pan. Add shredded chicken and heat for about a minute. Add onions, carrots, green onion and mushroom and cook until onion is translucent and carrot and mushroom begin to soften.
- Season with a dash of salt and pepper.
- Add spinach leaves and stir.
- Pour in chicken stock and dashi mixture and bring to a simmer.
- Pour in whisked egg and — without stirring — cover pan with lid. Cook for one minute or until egg is cooked to your liking.
- Remove from heat and serve over a bowl of hot Japanese rice.
- Garnish with sliced green onion and furikake.