Thursday, January 31, 2013

smile

today's cappuccino @ caffera The weather's been cold, we had flurries the other day and one morning the rooftops were covered in white.

Today the weather is a bit dreary and grey.

Hopefully this smiling bunny will brighten up your day as it did mine.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

a terre

IMG_3138 While on one of my walks, towards the end of 2012, I noticed this tiny sweet shop called A Terre.

Well, I finally went to check them out.

Since I was in the middle of my walk and wasn't going straight home, I bought a selection of their baked goods.

The madeleine and galette bretonne were both buttery. The galette nice and flaky.

IMG_3142 The slices of their cake orange, cake figue and cake chocolat were nice too.

Bit of dried fruit here and there.

The cake chocolat also had bits of apricot and orange in it.

IMG_3155 And their boules de neige (snowballs) were buttery with a nice amount of nuts.

I wouldn't mind trying their cakes, I'll be back.

A Terre
2-4-11 Ue-ikeda
Ikeda, Osaka
Phone: 072.748.1010
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 10:00-19:00

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

sol

chicken curry, naan & chai @ sol It had been awhile since I visited SOL.

For one, the owner opens at noon, and it is rare that I am walking around his shop at that time.

Another thing was that he was renovating, taking over the kitschy knick-knack shop boasting "Hawaiian plate lunch" (which we were too afraid to try) next door.

By taking over the next door's space, he was able to increase the number of seats to eat on and also open up his kitchen.

I usually order the keema curry but it isn't back on his menu (yet), instead I ordered the chicken curry...300 yen.

The naan is definitely getting bigger...200 yen.

And the cup of chai had just the right amount of sweetness...100 yen.

It was nice to see a good amount of foot traffic while I was there.

There is no parking, though everyone just puts their hazards on and parks in front of the shop (typical Japan!)

He's kept his prices the same and I hope he can keep up with the orders, his curry is definitely worth going back for.

Monday, January 28, 2013

sangmi

IMG_3145 We tried another veggie place for lunch called Sangmi.

It's not totally vegetarian, but they use a lot of vegetables and serve brown rice.

I tried their Japanese style curry with tofu, besides the tofu they also used minced chicken. Their curry is spicy but not "burn your mouth" spicy.

This also came with a salad and 2 sides: komatsuna (Japanese mustard greens) & kiriboshi daikon (shredded and dried long white radish) goma-ae and pumpkin coconut milk salad...904 yen.

Satoshi tried their daily lunch which was shrimp and vegetable simmered in a tomato cream sauce.

His sides were a koyadofu (freeze dried tofu) "katsu" with an amakara onion sauce plus the same two sides that I had.

His lunch also came with some miso soup and a salad...970 yen.

We enjoyed the different dishes...we'll be back.

Sangmi
3-10 Tsuruno-cho
Kita, Osaka
Phone: 06.6375.3531
Closed Sundays, Hours: 11:00-21:00

Sunday, January 27, 2013

genmian

IMG_3109 We tried Genmian the other week for lunch.

They use lots of veggies in their dishes. This place is popular with women, so there is always a line to get in.

I tried their veggie curry, it was very spicy and had lots of delicious grilled veggies.

Besides the curry there were also 3 kobachi (side dishes) komatsuna (Japanese mustard greens) with egg and aburage (fried tofu), daikon sauteed with tomato sauce and myoga (young ginger) pickled with kinoko (mushroom)...900 yen.

Satoshi tried their teishoku which used 39 different ingredients...945 yen.

Satoshi's main dish was chicken meatballs and veggies stewed in soy milk. He also had the same 3 sides that I received.

He enjoyed this and was happy that they also gave seconds of rice and miso soup. He didn't have seconds of the soup, since he is watching his salt, but did have more rice.

Both of our meals ended with a little bowl of their soy milk pudding, which was rich and creamy.

They also have donburi (bowls) which seemed interesting too, we'll be back.

Genmian
Osaka Eki-mae Dai-ichi Building 1F
Phone: 06.4795.2215
Hours: 11:30-22:00
Closed Sundays

Saturday, January 26, 2013

barumiche

IMG_3112 Sometimes Satoshi and I try new places and they just aren't what we envision.

I won't tell you the name of the place we tried last Saturday, though I will tell you that they charged us 900 yen each for barely a 1/4 of a glass of wine and 1500 yen for a cheese plate that was so skimpy, it seemed like someone's leftovers...

I will tell you about the place we went to afterwards because we were starving...Barumiche.

We had anchovy sauteed cabbage, tai carpaccio, baby leaf salad and this char siu miso negi pizza (pictured above) which was really tasty. The pizza reminded me of the chinese meat pizza I made before.

And guess what?!... with all of this food, 3 glasses of wine it was a little less than that first place we went into.

We're still talking about being ripped off by that first place, but we'll definitely be back to Barumiche.

Barumiche
1-6-14 Shibata
Kita, Osaka
Phone: 050.5796.2425
Open from 17:00 on weekdays and from 11:30 on weekends

Friday, January 25, 2013

coconut sablé ice cream sandwich

le goûter: sablés à la noix de coco et mariages frères ruschka thé The other day while Satoshi and I were at the grocery store, we noticed these coconut sablé ice cream sandwiches in their freezer section.

Since I had bought a package of coconut sablés a couple of days prior, we just bought a 120 mililiter mini cup of Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream.

By the way, the sablés I bought were the same type used in the ice cream sandwiches we saw.

DSC03082 Place 4 cookies on a plate, divide the ice cream between them then cover them with 4 more cookies.

Delicious. The sablés are crisp and coconutty, matching perfectly with the vanilla ice cream.

It's Friday here, hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

kamaboko dip

DSC03077 After making the spam wonton, I set aside 5 water chestnuts to make some kamaboko dip before freezing the rest of the can of water chestnuts.

This recipe is really easy to make, just throw the first 3 ingredients and the water chestnuts into a food processor and pulse then mix with some mayo.

Enjoy on Ritz crackers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

omi gyu

DSC03078 The last item left in our fukubukuro from the mystery tour was the Omi gyu (beef from Omi). About 100 grams each.

I didn't read the instructions that came with the beef, apparently it had been soaked in their homemade sauce...

So, I served it with some sauteed brussels sprouts & dried cherries, garlic mashed potatoes and some mango chutney.

After cooking the beef and sitting down to dinner on Sunday, we realized the beef was teriyaki flavored...

Oh well, it was still delicious, really tender.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

el zocalo.burrito

chili beans fries @ el zocalo.burrito Last Tuesday, I had an appointment and had to go to the west side of Osaka. I had wanted to eat lunch at a cafe I had read about, but they were closed.

Luckily, El Zocalo.Burrito was open.

I ordered the chili beans fries. This was similar to the nachos we tried previously, except this time around it was spicy. They even placed a bottle of hot sauce on the table when the served it, just in case I wanted to spice it up even more.

(Most times, shops do not offer extra spices or even salt, yup, they are THAT confident of their cooking...)

Anyway, it was filling and perfect for the slight hail we had that day.

Monday, January 21, 2013

boulangerie p & b

DSC03068 It had been awhile since I checked out Boulangerie P & B, luckily the day I went, they were open.

I tried their olive foccacia which was studded with green and black olives.

DSC03069 And their cumin cheese bread.

Heated in the oven, both were very tasty.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

teeny

teeny beets! The other day I harvested the last of my beets.

They were still teeny.

I have a feeling the soil I have in the pot is too hard.

After peeling them, yes I peeled them, we ate them raw, they tasted like carrots.

The greens I chopped up and wilted them in a non-stick fry pan and then added 1 tablespoon of basil olive oil dressing.

I guess I'll try planting some again in a month or two.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

culture shock

IMG_3091 Saw this on a walk recently.

A local pre-school had made this chigiri-e (picture made by tearing colored paper) mural, which had the story of how the 12 Chinese zodiac signs came to be.

"Long ago, God gathered all the animals and said, "On the first morning of the New Year, I will give a greeting so please come to my house."

"The first twelve animals to pass through the gate to his house, will be given a year equal to the position they finished the race in."

IMG_3092 "The cat forgot what day they were supposed to meet so he went to ask the rat."

"The rat told the cat to go on January 2nd."

IMG_3093 "The ox who knew he walked slowly, left his house before dawn."

"The rat spotted the ox and quickly ran after him and jumping on the ox's back to catch a ride. The ox didn't even notice."

IMG_3094 "In the morning, the gate opened."

"The ox was first in line and just as he was about to enter the gate, the rat jumped off the ox's back and ran to God's house."

"The other animals behind the ox, quickly ran, stumbling along the way."

IMG_3095 "So this was the order of the finishers..."

"Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Boar"

"On January 2nd, the cat turned up at God's house. The gate was closed and the cat realized that he had been tricked by the rat."

Not only was the story cute, but the murals too.

Friday, January 18, 2013

chocolate finds

IMG_3051 After seeing this bar on Cybele's blog, I had been on the lookout for it.

Well, it finally turned up at Sony Plaza.

30% cacao with a mix of macadamia, cashew and almonds.

IMG_3052 They also had some of the new Winter creations...like Coconut Macaroon (milk chocolate coconut cream and rice flakes)

IMG_3053 and Caramelized Almonds.

Though all were milk chocolate, I enjoyed the creaminess and the generous amount of nuts.

The coconut macaroon was also nicely flavored.

It's Friday here, hope you have a nice weekend.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

spam wonton

DSC03073 While I was in Hawaii last year, my BFF, Wen, told me about spam wonton.

She also shared the recipe with me.

I had a can of water chestnuts that needed using and I also had some SPAM leftover from making corn chowder, so I tried the recipe.

Actually, the friend who gave it to her, just gave an "estimated recipe" because said friend just went "by feel" to make them.

So, I just ad-libbed too.

I used this for 30 wontons:
1/4 can SPAM (less salt)
6 water chestnuts
a handful of chopped green onion
1/4 yellow onion
1/2 kamaboko
30 wonton wrappers
water to seal wrappers
oil to fry

Throw first 5 ingredients into a food processor and pulse until minced.
Wrap wontons.
Fry.
Drain on paper towel.
Enjoy with your favorite sauce.

DSC03074 NOTES: This was delicious. We ate them with sweet chili sauce.

A couple of my wonton opened up, but most stayed shut.

I also had some wrappers that ripped while I was making the wonton, probably because I put too much filling.

In the end, I still had a couple of teaspoons of filling left, I'll probably add it to some scrambled eggs for breakfast another day.

I am thinking to freeze some wonton so we can have these again another time. I am also going to freeze the bulk of the can of water chestnuts, since I don't think I will be able to use it up in the next couple of days.

Oh, and my blog friend, Genki had an interesting experience making spam wonton, which you may want to read about here.

Thanks for the recipe, Wen!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

tajimaya grill

DSC03065 Luxe Tajimaya, which we visited back in 2009, opened a little counter inside the JR Osaka Ekimarche.

We recently tried their kurogewagyu sushi. Sweet and salty thin pieces of kurogewagyu (black hair Japanese beef), thick omelette, cucumber, a little lettuce.

Delicious.

Tajimaya Grill : UPDATE 12/2013 the shop is no longer here
JR Osaka Ekimarche
Phone: 06.4797.1129
Hours: 10:00-22:00
Take-out only

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

zuwaigani

DSC02735 Yesterday, it rained all.day.long.

We stayed indoors, and had our zuwaigani (snow crab) which we received from the mystery tour for dinner.

I think I told you I don't have something proper to heat sake in, well, I don't have a proper clay pot to make nabe (hot pot) either.

DSC02734 Anyway, we made do with what pots I do have.

The veggies (hakusai (chinese cabbage), shungiku (garland chrysanthemum), maitake and carrots, I cooked in my frying pan with a couple of ladlefuls of dashi with a cover.

The crab, we removed the legs and put them in a pot along with some dashi (stock) and heated them for about 5 minutes.

Since the crab was par-boiled, it didn't need to be cooked too long, just heated through.

By the way, the 2nd photo is the way Satoshi wanted to show you the crab...beady eyes and all.

DSC02736 For the dashi, put 4 cups of water and a 10 centimeter (3.9 inch) piece of konbu in a pot and heat until just before boiling.

Remove the konbu and add 2 tablespoons sake (rice wine) and 1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce).

Cook for about 5 minutes to burn off alcohol of sake.

This was delicious, the crab had a slight sweetness to it, though we thought there could've been a bit more "meat".

Still, was a great dinner and a nice way to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

Monday, January 14, 2013

pink

dinner : corn chowder jazzed up with more veg, turned pink w/chard lol The other night I made corn chowder, I added more veggies even some chard and guess what? ...it turned pink!

It was still delicious though...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

things I'm liking (disliking)

IMG_2592 Disliking this...John Altman's Sour Cherry & Chocolate Cookies.

Fake cherry flavor, no cherry bits (as far as I could tell). BUT it was the flakiest cookie ever, kind of reminded me of some of the almond cookies we have in Hawaii.

IMG_3024 Kinda in the middle on this drink.

Yogurt, fig, strawberry and raspberry...I think it would've been better with only fig. The other two fruits kinda overpower the whole thing...

IMG_2593 Love this bar...Raw Bite's coconut made by a Czechoslovakian company.

Only fruits and nuts (dates, cashew, coconut, almond), no extra added sugar and a little coconut oil.

What are you enjoying?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

shiga koshihikari

IMG_3022 Recently used 1 of the 300 grams of Shiga koshihikari rice which we received from the mystery tour.

By the way, 300 grams is about 2 rice cooker cups of uncooked rice.

IMG_3021 I served it with some brussels sprouts sauteed in a little canola oil and dressed with a lemon-olive oil dressing and some dried cherries.

For the main dish I made some hamburger patties.

I'm not an expert on rice but this looked kinda shiny when cooked, which I think is a good thing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

the first couple of days

supposed to eat "toshi-koshi soba" at midnight, but we may be Zzzz then...lol #lunch #japan Reader Alan had wrote to me about not posting about ozoni.

I've posted about it several times, and didn't want to bore you and post about it again, but since he asked, I'm posting...

Let's reverse a bit...On December 31st, we had toshikoshi soba for lunch, in Japan, you are actually supposed to have this at midnight, but we didn't know whether we would be awake at that time or not, plus, eating that late is a no-no for us these days.

Untitled You know, I have many dishes, but nothing proper to warm sake in...sad, yeah?!

osechi Our osechi was store bought, the only thing I made was dashimaki egg (which wasn't traditional)...my kind of cooking.

Click on the photo to see what kinds of foods we had, I was missing some items from a traditional osechi but we got to eat some of those missing items when we visited MIL.

leftovers & ozoni This year's ozoni was "lazy" style.

A packet of instant o-suimono, some mochi, some daikon slices and hot water.

Heat your mochi and daikon in a pot with water so that they soften, and then pour over the dry o-suimono in a bowl.

I actually saw a version of this on a TV commercial, their version only had the mochi and the o-suimono.

You could probably "jazz" it up with some kamaboko and carrots too.

1st sushi 2013 January 1st, we visited MIL.

Besides osechi, we also had sushi. She said it was her first time ordering from this sushi place, but we thought it was pretty good.

IMG_2941 On the 2nd, we did our hatsumode.

We went to a couple of our "usual" places to pray but also went to the Toyonaka Inari Shrine. We were amazed at how big this shrine was, I think we're adding this to our list of places to pray at.

IMG_2947 And we had some Japanese sweets, uguisu mochi (which is coated in a green soy bean powder) and shogatsu mochi from Kagetsudo.

So there you go...If you're interested, you can also read a detailed post about Japan's New Year here.

Kagetsudo
1-12-24 Honmachi
Toyonaka, Osaka
Phone: 06.6852.6105

p.s. It's Friday here, and a 3-day weekend, enjoy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

update

gmh3 The other day I went to get an explanation of the results from my EGD.

I had asked Satoshi to meet me at the hospital so he could listen with me (because I don't understand all the medical terms in Japanese), but he was running late and by the time he arrived, I was done.

Anyway, the doctor showed me some of the photos taken by the camera, and explained the results.

He had said a couple of words in Japanese that I didn't understand, and when I asked what they meant, he looked at me like "oh yeah, I forgot you were a foreigner"...

Then he decided to speak a little english and said, "do you know b-9?"

When I first heard it, I had thought he was talking about some kind of code because of the way the word was pronounced, but after prodding a bit, I realized he had meant "benign".

Anyway, for now, there is no need for worry, no need to remove any of the polyps either.

I just need to make sure to get physical check-ups regularly.

Relieved about the results.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

honey walnut shrimp

IMG_2950 Have been trying to get back into the cooking "groove". Quite easy to get "lazy" in Japan, with all the pre-made foods that are available.

Anyway, my mom gave me this package of candied walnuts when I was in Hawaii last summer.

IMG_2951 I made some honey walnut shrimp.

Super easy when the walnuts are already candied. I just coated the shrimp with a little cornstarch and fried them in some oil. Then coated the shrimp with the mayonnaise sauce and then sprinkled some of the walnuts.

Dinner is served!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

ise ebi

IMG_3014 Sunday, we "cooked" the two Ise ebi (lobster from Ise), we got from the mystery tour.

After defrosting it, we sort of butterflied it (we had some trouble cutting it). The directions said to put some mayo on it and bake for 5 minutes, but we sauteed some onions and then put some mayo on it and stuck it under the broiler for 5 minutes.

Then we sprinkled some Italian parsley on it.

The "meat" was mostly in the tail part, but it was still delicious.

IMG_3010 For veg, I harvested some chard and a beet from the lanai.

IMG_3011 So far, the beet hasn't gotten bigger than my thumb...boo!

Still, it tasted really sweet.

All in all, a great Sunday dinner.

What have you been eating?

Monday, January 07, 2013

foodie friday

IMG_2993 Friday I met up with Tamakikat.

She wanted to meet up in Osaka but not in Umeda. So I checked online to see what was open.

Since some companies' holidays were up to the 3rd, some shops were open from the 4th, in some other cases though, others decided to take a longer break and wouldn't be starting up until the 5th or even the 7th.

Some of the cafes I wanted to take her to weren't starting up until the 5th, so it made things a bit difficult but in the end we tried Butter.

Pancakes are all the rage now for some reason, if only crispy bacon would hit...

You should know that in Japan, french toast and pancakes are considered desserts and not things for breakfast, though the trend is slowly changing...slowly.

Anyway, since it was lunchtime, we both tried something savory.

I went with the bacon, egg and basil sausage pancakes while she went with the lasagna pancakes.

I enjoyed my dish the pancakes were slightly sweet though I wish the bacon were crispy and I wish I could've specified how I wanted my egg done, still check out the size of that yolk, huge!

I think Tamakikat enjoyed her dish even though she said it looked nothing like the picture in their menu.

After lunch we walked a bit and went into Gokan. I've been here previously but apparently she'd never been.

I tried their tarte tatin, this came with a piece madeleine with kuromame (sweet black beans) and a yuzu granita (palate cleanser).

IMG_2995 Tamakikat didn't have anything for dessert just some flavored tea.

I enjoyed the tarte tatin, it had lots of apple. I also enjoyed the granita and madeleine.

It was a very icy day with some flurries here and there, but it was nice to get out and about. Thanks for a great day, Tamakikat!

Butter
3-5-11 Dosho-machi OME Bldg 1F
Chuo, Osaka
Phone: 06.6226.4411
Hours: 8:00-24:00
Breakfast 8:00-11:00 (on weekends only)
Lunch: 11:30-15:00 (on weekdays only)