Today was a beautiful sunny day. After my lesson, I met Satoshi and we walked to a nearby park, Suigetsu park. I had only known about the hanashobu (irises) that are beautifully grown and displayed in June. And only had learned about the ume (plum)grove, recently through a local newsletter. I had walked through the park a week earlier and the buds of the plum trees were just beginning to form. This weekend, there were a few trees that had bloomed. Here they are.
After walking through Suigetsu park, we stopped into MOS burger for a snack. (MOS stands for mountain, ocean and sun. I really like this fast food restaurant because they use vegetables grown in Japan (they have a chalkboard which they list the farms and areas that they got their veggies from). Plus, they make your burger or food item only after they recieve your order. This means it is always fresh and HOT!) They have a new item called, katsu-curry rice burger. Katsu (fried pork) with a curry sauce, shredded cabbage, and a little pasta salad all between two "patties" of rice (sorry no photo). We shared this and it was really good and really hit the spot.
After our little snack, we walked to the Hankyu Ikeda station. It is about 1 km from our station, Hankyu Ishibashi. From Ikeda, we caught the train to a station called Nakayama. At Nakayama, they have a community of temples for different praying purposes, but they also have an ume grove. During our first winter in Japan, we had a picnic breakfast at this grove amongst the ume blossoms. The weather was still very cold, but to be amongst the blooms was still very nice. Unfortunately, they weren't in bloom yet.
We decided to stop in for tea at Factory Nakata. The Aramaki shop is about half-way between the Hankyu Yamamoto station and the Nakayama station. They only have about 10 seats, so if you want to eat your cake there, be prepared to wait.
When you walk in, you see a huge showcase filled with assorted cakes. And as you walk further into the store there are many displays of the awards that the pastry chef/owner, Hiroshi Nakata, has recieved over the years, as well as different boxed gifts for purchase.
I had the Charlotte Chocolat which was a chocolate sponge cake filled with chocolate whipped cream and chopped almonds then covered with sliced almonds and topped with namachoco (chocolate truffle sticks) and an oatmeal cookie (this came free). Satoshi had the Pudding tart which was a yellow sponge cake filled with whipped cream and fruits and topped with a layer of custard flan and a shortbread cookie. The only gripe I have about this cafe is that they allow smoking. I understand that smokers have to have a smoke after eating, but I would like to enjoy my cake and coffee too!! I think the next time we enjoy these sweets would be to take out.
Ikeda city, Osaka Prefecture
Factory Nakata-Main shop
Kawanishi city, Hyogo Prefecture
Aramaki shop : UPDATE this shop moved to another location
Itami city, Hyogo Prefecture
Kawanishi Hankyu counter
Aste Kawanishi Hankyu Department store B1 dessert area
Satoshi is working today, hope you are enjoying your weekend!