Tuesday, October 12, 2010

tokyo

Satoshi had mileage that he wanted to transfer to another credit card, but the airlines no longer is associated with the credit card that he wanted to transfer his mileage to.

So, since he was going to lose some of his mileage at the end of September, he asked me to check online to see if there were seats available for the 3-day weekend in October.

There were, so we booked our flights to Tokyo. We also checked online for a hotel. Our first choice was sold out, so looking around, we found something in Nihonbashi.

Satoshi planned to watch his university's baseball team play at Jingu Stadium.

Since I didn't want to do that for 2 days, I planned a cafe crawl as well as shopping adventure for myself.

It seems that every time we go to Tokyo, it is raining. This time was no different.

Saturday was raining in Osaka when we left and by the time we reached Tokyo, it was raining too.

Satoshi's game was cancelled so at first he said he would follow me around all day.

He changed his mind and said he was going to check out Sengakuji.

Recently he's been on a Japanese history kick and is interested in samurai movies as well as historical soap operas.

Sengakuji is where the 47 Ronin are buried.

While he went to Sengakuji, I headed off to Jiyugaoka.

I killed some time at the Bakshop located in the IDEE shop, while I waited for Le Palais des Thes to open at 11:00 a.m. (I notice shops open later in Tokyo than in Osaka)

I had a banana muffin and a cappuccino...so good since I hadn't had breakfast. Banana, pecan and topped with chocolate.

After refueling, I headed to Le Palais des Thes.

I've bought teas from here and I love their Earl Grey blends. This time I bought 50 grams each of their Blue of London, Earl Grey Darjeeling and Montagne Bleu.

(UPDATE: the Earl Grey Darjeeling is very fragrant and the Blue of London, a chinese black tea is also very nice. Two very good Earl Greys.)

Walking back to the station, I stopped in at Barbero, a chocolaterie from Piemonte, it is their first shop in Japan and I think they just opened last month.

I really wanted to try their gelato in brioche, but since I was meeting Satoshi for lunch, I just bought a bottle of their Crema di Cacao (dark chocolate cream). I hope it is good, it looks delicious.

(UPDATE: this chocolate spread is good, hazelnut with dark chocolate really smooth, not too sweet)

A couple of doors down from Barbero is TWG, a tea shop from Singapore. I've seen their teas being sold at Dean & Deluca and was interested in trying them.

Their Tokyo-Singapore tea seemed like the thing to try but not for 3000 yen (about US$30), instead I purchased their Miraculous Mandarin Tea...1900 yen (about US$19).

It sounded delicious. A black based tea with tart fruits. (UPDATE: this tea is a little tart but delicious)

2 years ago, Eataly opened in Daikanyama. I had read about it in a Japanese magazine and recently online saw the Eataly that opened in New York.

I was really excited about checking this place out.

The store was tiny. I thought this was supposed to be the largest store of Italian products?? They did have lots of pasta, a cheese area as well as charcuterie area, but I was disappointed...very tiny.

Satoshi and I decided to have lunch here since it was still raining.

We sat down and ordered a pizza...it came out within 10 minutes...a little too fast we thought.

The tomato sauce that was used on top was watery...everything slid off the piece that you took.

Not good.

The crust, was soggy from the watery tomato sauce...blah. I can't believe they charge 2000 yen (about US$20) for this.

Next came the pasta we ordered, a tomato sauce with shrimp pasta.

Bland!

Satoshi, who will eat almost everything and anything without complaint, complained. This was tasteless and not worth the 1300 yen (about US$13).

On top of this, they charged us a cover charge 400 yen (about US$4) per person and we didn't even drink any alcohol.

I purchased a torrone (nougat) and some espresso, I hope these are worth the 1680 yen (about US$16.80).

(UPDATE: the torrone is on the soft side but love that it has lots of nuts in it.)

After lunch, we headed to Akasaka to check out Neyn Doughnuts, which I heard about from Mary's blog.

I tried the Berry Rouge, a cake doughnut with a raspberry glaze, while Satoshi tried their Gateau Chocolat, a chocolate cake doughnut with a chocolate frosting.

These doughnuts were expensive, about 260 yen (about US$2.60) each, but delicious and it was nice to get out of the rain and away from the crowds.

It was nearing 4 o'clock so we went to check-in at the Villa Fontaine Nihonbashi.

I had heard about the Villa Fontaine Hotel group from Jalna's friend's blog.

The rooms are small, but if you only plan to sleep there then it is just right.

After putting down our things we decided to look for dinner.

We checked out a near-by shopping area, Coredo but since nothing appealed to us, we decided to head up to Oshiage.

This is where the new Sky Tree, the replacement to the Tokyo Tower is being built.

When we got out of the train station, the rain was coming down in sheets.

This was the best shot I could take of the tower behind of a tall condo/office building.

Sopping wet (even with umbrellas), we were hungry, but there weren't many choices available.

So we popped into this hole-in-the-wall shop, which is actually listed on Tabelog (Japan's Yelp, if you can read Japanese, it is a really useful site)....Oshiage Shokudo.

You take the items you want to eat from the counter and the lady "throws" it into the microwave to heat up, which kinda shocked me.

Most items cost 200 yen (about US$2).

I loved the salmon, it had a nice smoky char on it. Satoshi tried their grilled fish (sorry I don't remember what type he chose).

We also shared a grilled tofu topped with ginger and green onions.

With rice, miso soup and beer our bill was 1780 yen (about US$17.80)...probably the best meal on this day.

Long day, lots of rain, lots of walking.

Jiyugaoka Bakeshop
2-16-29 Jiyugaoka, IDEE shop 4F
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3723.2040

Le Palais des Thes
5-24-2 Okusawa
Setagaya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5701.8750
Closed Wednesdays, Open 11:00-19:00 UPDATE: 4/2012, this shop has moved to Akihabara

Barbero
1-31-7 Jiyugaoka
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3718.2266
Closed Wednesdays, Open 11:00-19:00

TWG
1-9-8 Jiyugaoka
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3718.1588
Open 11:00-21:00

Eataly (UPDATE: 2016 this location no longer in business)
20-23 Daikanyamacho
Shibuya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5784.2736
Cafeteria: 8:00-22:00
Eat-in: 11:30-15:30
Market: 10:00-22:30

Neyn Doughnuts
5-4-8 Akasaka
Minato, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6459.1150

Oshiage Shokudo
1-12-7 Oshiage
Sumida, Tokyo
No phone number

Villa Fontaine Nihonbashi
1-7-6 Nihonbashi-honcho
Chuo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3242.3370

15 comments:

Jude said...

Wow! So many goodies :) It's too bad about that bland pizza, but most everything else sounded lovely. I love Earl Grey tea & it's exciting to hear of new blends (so hard to find, actually! I have a hard time even getting decent Lady Grey.) Glad you had a very full trip!

Dennis K. said...

Oshiage Shokudo sounds like my kinda place! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, too bad about the torrential rain and not so inspired Italian food. :(But was your banana muffin topped with a thin layer of chocolate? It kind of looks that way (and yummy). Hopefully your teas and other treats will be good, too.

sarah said...

looks like you had a good time. shame about the pizza tho, have you been to cafe Italian Tomato Jr? I really liked their pasta, very cheap and tasty.

Rowena... said...

A shame to hear about the bad weather but I have to say that I hadn't even heard of Barbero chocolates. Imo, Eataly is overrated. Shame on them for gouging you for sh*tty pizza. I wish I could have been there to go shopping with you!

Tamakikat said...

Hi Kat.

The rain on Saturday was amazing in the sheer amount that fell.

Looks like you had a delicious time bar lunch. Look forward to hearing about Day 2.

I used to live 50 m up the road from Sengakuji back in 1992! Lots of good memories.

K and S said...

thanks Jude, I love Earl Grey too, so whenever I find one, I usually pick one up to try :)

I think you would like Oshiage Shokudo too Dennis :)

I will try them the next time I am in Shinsaibashi Sarah :)

Barbero has apparently been around since 1883 Rowena, bummed about Eataly, if ever we go to NYC, I want to check out theirs, just to see.

Interesting how small the world is TK :)

Take care everyone.
Kat

K and S said...

sorry I missed your comment Anon, yes it was a glaze of chocolate on the muffin :)

Take care.
Kat

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi I came here via Rowena's blog .. Rubber Slippers. Such a shame about the rain and the not so good pizza and pasta.

My husband is returning from Tokyo today. He works for formula 1 and has been there for a week, but before flying home they had to spend a night in Tokyo to return home today...

Yes they got absolutely soaked on Saturday and the qualifying had to be delayed until Sunday morning .. a long long weekend for them.

K said...

I hope your next trip to Tokyo isn't so rainy!

K and S said...

OM! your husband works for F1?? so exciting Anne! Hope they have a safe flight back.

Me too K :)

Take care you two.
Kat

jalna said...

Sounds like you guys had a great time despite the rain and bad Italian food. I think it's so neat that you and Satoshi can go your separate ways and then meet up again, enjoying your times away from each other and together as well. That's awesome!!

K and S said...

I think if I couldn't get around by myself I would tag along with Satoshi Jalna, but since I can read what is necessary (to eat), I usually do my own thing ;)

Take care.
Kat

Debinhawaii said...

Wow--you got a lot of sighting done--and lots of tea and food consumed. A bummer that Eataly wasn't good--it's had so much hype.

K and S said...

Debinhawaii, I think if Mario Batali or the Bastianichs were in charge of food at the Eataly in Japan, I think things may have been different.

Take care.
Kat