Saturday, February 14, 2009

otaru and shikotsuko

So it snowed all Saturday night and we woke up on Sunday to tons of snow. Everywhere you looked someone was either shoveling or there was a big bulldozer moving the snow. People were running in the middle of the road because the sidewalks hadn't been shoveled yet.

After breakfast at the hotel, our group headed to Otaru, a port town. The snow was off and on and made walking really difficult.

We checked out the stone warehouses along the river, a famous sight in Otaru. Otaru is also known for glass and seafood. For lunch, we checked out their "sushi street". Here is Satoshi's lunch at Asahizushi 16 pieces(3150 yen about US$31.50). I had a smaller set (2625 yen (about US$26.25)). The fish was really fresh and delicious, we even had abalone sushi.

Of course along the way, I found some chocolate (you knew I would, right?). From Le Tao, I bought their Lausanne set, this set included a citrus center with dark chocolate ganache covered with dark chocolate (the one with white stripes), a millefeuille and dark ganache center covered with milk chocolate (star-ish) and a millefeuille (layers of puff pastry) with milk and white chocolate (pyramid-ish) bon-bons. The chocolatier was Alexandre Pirk, who is with Mojonnier in Switzerland. My favorite was the milk with millefeuille (star shaped). Le Tao is often featured at the Hokkaido fairs in the department stores and is known for their cheesecakes.

Near sushi street was the Hotel Vibrant, and in big bold letters...Chocolat du Nord...I picked up some mendiants with assorted fruits and nuts. These were really good and the dark chocolate was smooth, a little acidic. My favorite was the one with the apricot on it.

Our tour met after lunch and we went to Shikotsu-ko (Lake Shikotsu). There was also an ice festival there and the sculptures were really blue. The water when frozen looks really blue. The locals in this area also built their structures then pumped the water from the lake onto them...again, amazing stuff!

It was a great tour we saw lots of snow and enjoyed many different experiences.

Hope you enjoyed our adventure to Hokkaido, after being in minus temperatures for a couple of days, I was amazed at how "warm" 5C (41F) felt.

1-12-5 Ironai
Otaru, Hokkaido
Phone: 0134.29.0625

Le Tao
7-16 Sakaimachi
Otaru, Hokkaido
Phone: 0134.31.4500

Chocolat du Nord (UPDATE: 2012, this shop has now closed)
1-3-1 Ironai (inside the Hotel Vibrant Otaru)
Otaru, Hokkaido
Phone: 0134.27.2626

p.s. Today is Valentine's Day which means the girls give the guys something, Satoshi keeps asking if I am giving him some chocolate, I told him it is impolite to ask...(though I am giving him these...shhh!) Happy Valentine's Day!!


Anonymous said...

i totally love choclat du nord, i hope you tried their choco drink ms. kat, its heavenly!!
makes you want to grab a big bag of their chocolate to bring back with you!
(though I am not sure if its available the whole year, I tried it last summer..)
good morning to you!

islegrl said...

Chocolate! Yummmm! I didn't know Le Tao made chocolates. The only thing I've tried from them is their yummy purins (the ones in the glass container). I love it so much! And, I kept all of the glass containers, too. :P

Happy Valentine's Day!

genkitummy said...

It looks like you're having a lot of fun on your trip!
I didn't know the girls have to give the guys things on Valentine's day in Japan. When do the guys have to shower the girls with gifts?

KirkK said...

Hi Kat - "Of course along the way, I found some chocolate" LOL! You must be able to sniff out chocolate everywhere!

K and S said...

I saw a sign for chocolat chaud, A, but didn't have time to sit and have one :( Next time for sure! Thanks for delurking!

I've never tried their puddings or cheesecakes, Islegrl, will have to the next time I see them around here.

The girls get their gifts on March 14 on a day called White Day, Genki :)

Thanks Kirkk :)

Take care everyone!

Deb in Hawaii said...

Yum! I never did get to buy good chocolate but I did make a good Trader Joe's run in Portland. I will continue to live vicariously through you!

OkiHwn said...

Got my stash from my admin people plus a few more from other divisions I deal with. So now gotta plan for the other day when I should reciprocate. What day is that Kat?

K and S said...

I am jealous that you got to make a Trader Joe's run, Deb :)

Woo hoo, now you can give back to the people that gave you on March 14, Nate (or the 13th if you don't work on Saturdays).

Take care you two.

Jenster said...

That photo of sushi made my stomach growl. I love nigiri sushi!

I can't tell in the photo what you're giving Satoshi. Are those square-shaped chocolates? Whatever they are, they're awfully cute.

K and S said...

Thanks Jenster, yes those are square shaped chocolates, Happy Valentine's day!!

Take care.

2kamuela47 said...

Another only foodie adventure! Kat you just have a kin sense on finding chocolate anywhere you go. Happy Valentines Day!

K and S said...

Thanks Laura :)

Take care.

Rowena said...

I was particularly wowed by sushi street...oh man, what a place! Just the mention of abalone sushi and I was ready to break down and cry....for want of being able to go there!!!!!

K and S said...

definitely a great street, Rowena, sushi shops on both sides! we were surprised at how high grade the fish was, you gotta spend about a month exploring Japan :)

Take care.

Who ate all the ketchup? said...

Those chocolates are terribly cute!

K and S said...

Thanks WAATK, they were delicious :)

Take care.