Tuesday, April 30, 2013

bellocq teas

IMG_3691 I'm not too sure when I heard about Bellocq teas, but have been wanting to try them for awhile now.

Luckily, Dean & Deluca Japan started selling samplers online.

I picked up the Bellocq Blends line. 8 different teas, 10 grams each.

DSC03912 On the inside cover of the box, they note optimal brewing times and water temperatures for each tea.

DSC03902 I like the packaging.

DSC03903 They also give you these unbleached tea bags to brew your tea in.

DSC03911 We first tried No 01, Bellocq Breakfast.

Nothing out of the ordinary.

DSC03906 Next No 20, Kikuya.

A green tea base with rose petals and a rose essence. The rose essence is delicate and doesn't overpower the green tea, a nice combination.

DSC03910 No 35, The Earl Grey was no different from other Earl Greys I've tried.

DSC03909 No. 47 The Queen's Guard, had a delicate floral fragrance.

And when brewed the lavender stands out the most. A good tea when you want to sit and relax.

DSC03907 No. 52, Etoile de l'Inde, is made with Dragonwell (a pan fried green), Jasmine silver needles, flower petals and a natural essence.

To me it had a bit too much floral fragrance when first brewed, but by the second brewing the flavor reminded me more of a Yunnan tea.

DSC03908 Majorelle Mint, No 38, is perfect after dinner.

It combines Chinese gunpowder, green tea, mint, marigold petals and citrus essence.

DSC03905 No 29 White Nixon, white tea, lavender, flower petals and natural essence.

Is also a nice blend to sit and relax with.

DSC03904 And lastly, we tried No 12, Le Hammeau, a blend of lemongrass, lemon verbena, chamomile, lavender, rose petal, mint, sage, and a natural essence. This is also perfect after dinner.

I'm glad we got to try these teas and now that Dean & Deluca has opened a shop in Osaka, it should be easier to get.

Are you enjoying any teas lately?

Monday, April 29, 2013

cafe dona

IMG_3769 Satoshi and I tried Cafe Dona the other day.

This cafe is quite small, only 3 tables and some seating along a counter.

I like that the owner makes siphon coffee, but dislike that she allows smoking.

The cheesecake and nut tarte that we tried were a bit overdone.

And at 780 yen a piece for the sweets and coffee...a bit pricey.

I don't think we'll go back unless they get rid of smoking there.

Cafe Dona
3-6-13 Fukushima
Fukushima, Osaka
No phone number given, no info on hours or days off

Sunday, April 28, 2013

sanku

IMG_3765 The other day Satoshi had an appointment so we grabbed a quick bite at Sanku.

Satoshi went with the large udon (380 yen) topped with aburage (100 yen)...look at the size of that thing! Satoshi chose to have hot soup poured over his.

IMG_3766 I chose the small udon (280 yen) topped with meat (100 yen). I chose to have my noodles cold (no soup) and drizzled a little shoyu on top.

The meat was simmered in a sweet-salty sauce and it was also served with grated daikon and half a sudachi (a type of lime).

The food was good and the price was quite nice on the pocket too.

This place is open really early, so if you're ever in this area, check them out for breakfast!

We'll be back.

Sanku
2-150-1 Fukushima
Fukushima, Osaka
Phone: 06.6455.6613
Hours: 7:00-10:00, 11:00-14:00
Closed Sundays & Holidays

Saturday, April 27, 2013

anne shirley

IMG_3756 While on my way to an appointment, there was a tiny bakery I happened to pass by called Anne Shirley.

Satoshi and I shared the milk bread...so soft! A brioche type dough, so good.

IMG_3757 We also halved this an france. Baguette outside filled with sweet bean paste. Toasted, the baguette got crispy and also warmed up the sweet bean paste, heavenly!

IMG_3758 I had this one for lunch, a chorizo cheese and curry bread...meh! This one was dry! There was also too much bread.

Two out of three isn't bad, I'll be back.

Anne Shirley
8-8-11 Uehonmachi
Tennoji, Osaka
Phone: 06.6773.4850
Closed Sundays & Holidays
Hours: 7:30-19:00

p.s. It's the start of Golden Week, we're laying low and trying to avoid any crowds...

Friday, April 26, 2013

circo d'oro

IMG_3754 On Tanimachi-suji is a tiny gelato shop called Circo D'oro.

Their menu is quite extensive not flavor-wise but with various ways of enjoying gelato.

I chose their Sicilian pistachio and chocolate gelato which was named Amore della Luna...700 yen.

This also came with a little taste of their Amaou strawberry sorbet. Amaou is a type of strawberry here in Japan that is sweet, the berries are quite large and are also quite expensive.

The sorbet was refreshing.

The pistachio was just that, pistachio...delicious! And the chocolate was rich and creamy.

It doesn't look like a lot of gelato but it was quite filling.

I'll be back.

Circo D'oro
7-3-4 Tanimachi
Chuo, Osaka
Phone: 06.6767.0515
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 11:00-19:00

p.s. hope you have a nice weekend!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

kyu yamutei

IMG_3753 There is a retro-style cafe in the Karahori Shopping Arcade that I pass by often.

I finally got a chance to try their curry zen (set)...800 yen.

From 3 types of curry, you choose 2 and it comes with some pickles, 2 other veggie dishes and some yogurt.

IMG_3750 I chose their chicken okra curry and their tomato cheese curry. You can also choose what kind of rice you want, jasmine or brown. I chose brown.

The chicken okra curry was soupy with lots of spice and flavor. The tomato cheese was a thick curry. The cheese was cottage cheese, different but both were delicious.

The pickles were onions and these were sweet and balanced out the spicy curry.

IMG_3751 It was a nice place, lots of foot traffic but relatively laid back.

I'll be back.

Kyu Yamutei
6-4-23 Tanimachi (inside Karahori Shopping Arcade)
Chuo, Osaka
Phone: 06.6762.8619
Closed Mondays & 2nd Tuesdays
Lunch: 11:30-14:00, Dinner 18:00-22:00

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

culture shock

IMG_3728 The first time I saw this, I was kinda shocked (in a good way).

The nursery schools here put kids into these carts to take them outside.

I think most of them are too young to walk yet.

And sometimes I think the schools use the cart because they don't have enough adults to supervise all the walkers.

In this picture above, there are about 4 children in the cart, but they were squatting down.

IMG_3755 The other day, I got a close up of one of these carts.

They even have hand brakes on these, I guess it is handy when going down a slope or hill.

Do nursery schools have carts like these where you live or is this just a Japanese thing?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

buzz cafe

IMG_3744 Went to check out Buzz Cafe for lunch the other day. I had heard about them from FoodPorn.Osaka's post.

Satoshi and I had their plate lunch...1200 yen each. This came with a boneless pork chop topped with tomato sauce, lots of colored bell peppers and some mozzarella cheese. The lunch also came with a salad and great fries.

I think they were called Belgian fries, these seemed to be fried twice.

IMG_3745 Satoshi also had coffee with his lunch.

I liked how the cup reflected the design of the saucer.

We'll be back.

Buzz Cafe
2-4 Komatsubara-cho, Osaka Fukoku Seimei Bldg. 1F
Kita, Osaka
Phone: 06.6363.2411
Hours: 11:00-23:30

Monday, April 22, 2013

happy earth day

seen today fuji (wisteria) Happy Earth Day!

Just wanted to share with you some of the fuji (wisteria) that I've been seeing...like this one I saw on a walk.

The tree wasn't too tall, in fact, I think it was the same height as me (short).

IMG_3737 This one I saw from a bridge.

IMG_3738 And this tree was huge! The flowers were like a waterfall.

Our weather has since gone back to cold...Hope this week will be a good one.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

cashew chicken curry

IMG_3670 Made this curry last week.

It was good because it used cashews, one of my favorite nuts.

Cashew Chicken Curry adapted from "Hajimete no Spice Curry" makes 2 servings
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 nub of ginger, grated
2 small green bell peppers, cleaned and chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
150 grams canned diced tomatoes
50 grams cashews, unsalted
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
200 mililiters hot water
1 piece of grilled chicken thigh, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup skim milk

Puree tomatoes and cashews in a mixer to make a paste
In a frying pan, add the oil and on a medium high heat cook the onions and ginger.
Add the bell peppers and cook until the color changes.
Add the garlic.
Add the cashew paste and cook until the liquid evaporates.
Then add the turmeric, cayenne and coriander and cook for 30 seconds.
Then add the hot water and bring back to a boil.
Cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes.
Add the chicken to heat
And add the milk and heat through.
Serve over rice.

NOTES: this recipe was fairly easy. I used pre-cooked chicken but you could use raw, just add it after the hot water and simmer for 15 minutes. I was also supposed to use a half cup of cream, but didn't have any, so used milk instead. The recipe also called for hard boiled eggs, but I omitted that part.

I thought the cashews would make this curry a little sweeter but it didn't. It was quite spicy, which was a good thing. I'm making this one again.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

culture shock

gmh3 I gotta share with you this funny story.

I've talked about how "on it" our delivery system is here in Japan.

Well, recently, I had scheduled something to be delivered between 14:00-16:00 and the delivery guy came at noon!

I opened the door and while I was signing the paperwork, I told him, "I thought you were supposed to come at 14:00?" He looks at the invoice and says, "No way, you're right! I didn't look at the time just thought it was supposed to be at noon"

I told him, "no prob, you're here already."

He profusely apologized and then handed me the package.

As I closed the door, I could hear him saying to himself out loud, "No way" several times.

One more funny story...the other day, Satoshi was giving me his reasonings why I should let him have a beer everyday.
S: "Kat, you know what would be good?"
K: "What?"
S: "If you let me drink 1 beer a day"
K: "I don't think so!"
S: "Kat, you don't understand how hot summer in Japan is..."
K: "Did the doctor say you could drink everyday?"
S: "No she said I should have some non-drinking days"
K: "Well..."
S: "But you haven't been in Japan during the summer, so you've forgotten how hot it gets"
K: "So, when you go to your baseball alumni functions you're only gonna have 1 beer?"
S: "That's different"
K: "I don't think you should be drinking everyday"
S: "But it is so hot in summer"
K: "So, drink ice water..." (end of convo)

Funny, yeah?!


Friday, April 19, 2013

tuesday

IMG_3717 Tuesday the weather was "hot"...summer-like even.

When I went to the market, guess what I found from Southern Japan...watermelon. It's only April, right?!

I wanted to make Ayun's Salad....but there was no basil to be found, so I used mint from my lanai.

The feta cheese that I usually buy was outrageously expensive, so I used mozzarella.

Since I didn't have the marinated feta, I used a basil vinaigrette instead. I also sprinkled some mixed pink pepper.

It wasn't bad...I could get used to this version.

The weather dude has since said that we're gonna have another cold snap over the weekend...oh joy!

freesia from the lanai...whoo on a happier note...the freesia from the lanai bloomed...whoo!

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

pain de caz

IMG_3711 Sometimes when I go walking, I take turns to take me down streets I've never been on, change it up a bit.

The other day, while doing just that, I happened upon Pain de Caz a tiny bakery in Ikeda.

I picked up their teriyaki hamburger...250 yen. The hamburger itself wasn't homemade but the bun was and it was so soft!

The sauce had just the right amount of sweetness.

IMG_3712 And their baked curry pan...150 yen.

Usually curry pan is deep fried, so whenever I see baked types I try to pick them up to try. This one was soft and the curry inside had just the right amount of spices.

I'll be back (I just hope I can find them again).

Pain de Caz
9-19 Masumi-cho
Ikeda, Osaka
Phone: 072.751.9830

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

virtual hugs

thanks for today! I woke up yesterday to something sad.

A bombing at the Boston Marathon. Senseless loss of lives.

My thoughts and prayers to everyone in Boston.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

sundays

IMG_3700 Before I talk about Sundays, I need to tell you about the earthquake we had on Saturday. 5:30 a.m...you could hear the rumble come up the road and then we shook, at least a good 20 seconds, though at that point it seemed W-A-Y longer.

Turns out Awaji Island had a magnitude 6 earthquake. I didn't know this, but this was near the spot where the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake started too.

Luckily our area wasn't damaged, but there were many people on Awaji Island that were injured.

So much for the app that was supposed to warn me that an earthquake was coming, didn't even beep...boo!

Moving onto today's post...

Sundays, Satoshi has his German language class.

It's been only two weeks since his class started.

While he's at class (which is 3 and a half hours) I usually sit at a cafe, run errands, window shop, walk, walk, walk to pass the time.

This past Sunday, I started off at Starbucks. A cup of coffee and their salad wrap with 15 different items in there. I liked that it had a mexican avocado sauce and enjoyed all the veggies in it.

Then I walked around--running errands and window shopping.

IMG_3702 At about 2-ish, Satoshi's class finished and we had a late lunch.

This week we checked out the Shikoku Fair at the Hankyu Department Store.

One of the vendors was Aji Gekijo Chika, from the Shimanto-area of Kochi prefecture.

They were serving katsuo (skipjack tuna a.k.a. bonito a.k.a. aku). I had the katsuo-zuke don (pictured above) and Satoshi had the katsuo tataki don. These were delicious...950 yen each.

IMG_3703 After lunch we stood in line for the Tosa Jiro Vanilla soft serve...300 yen each.

Tosa Jiro is a type of chicken from the area, they use the eggs in the soft serve making it a little richer than the norm.

IMG_3705 And then we went for coffee at Cafe Corridor, though I chose a seasonal berry soda instead...350 yen.

It was nearing 4, so we decided to head home all the while trying to figure out what to have for dinner.

How was your Sunday?

Monday, April 15, 2013

wake ari

DSC03915 I talked about the wake-ari corner before. Well the other day I found this bunch of asparagus there.

It looked perfectly fine. The price 120 yen! what a steal. Not to mention it was grown in Japan.

Usually the price is 198 yen for like 5 stalks.

DSC03918 And this container of blueberries from Mexico. Granted they weren't "local" but they were 30% off.

Got them for 250 yen.

DSC03913 These radishes weren't in the wake-ari area, but it was the first time for me to see locally grown radishes, so I picked them up. Only 98 yen.

DSC03916 With the tops of the radishes I used this recipe for Daikon tops. Perfect to top rice with.

Have the Spring veggies started to appear in your markets?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

happy birthday!

DSC01716 I think most families have "tough women" in them.

The ones that hold families together.

Inspire us to move forward towards our goals.

I think my grandma is that person.

She's turning 97 today.

Happy Birthday Grandma!

We love you.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

boulangerie iena

DSC03899 Two shops down from Any's Burger is this tiny bakery called Boulangerie Iena.

This one is called An Butter (sweet bean paste with butter).

The baguette is crisp when toasted, the butter gets all melty and with the sweet bean paste, a great combination.

(Similarly, the combination reminded me that my mom likes to heat up mochi that is filled with sweet bean paste with butter. The outside gets a bit crisp from the butter. The inside mochi gets a bit oozy.)

DSC03898 They have lots of hard type breads too.

Like this one filled with figs. Fruit in every bite.

DSC03896 And these cookies...they reminded me of the punitions we had in Paris. These had bits of orange in them but the texture was the same.

I'll be back.

Boulangerie Iena
7-1-39 Tanimachi, Shin-Tanimachi Dai-ni Building 1F
Chuo, Osaka
Phone: 06.4304.1215
Hours: 8:00-19:00
Closed Sundays & Holidays

Friday, April 12, 2013

coq blanc

DSC03785 Whenever I am in the Momodani area, I've passed this tiny chocolate & cake shop called Coq Blanc. In the shop window there are many hollow chocolate animals as well as really huge chocolate sculptures.

Finally, I went in to check it out.

On my first visit, I picked up some orangette to try.

DSC03786 These aren't cut like match sticks but into triangles, I liked the tartness of the peel. The chocolate is semi-sweet.

A nice balance.

DSC03889 I went back again recently and the owner has started getting ready for Boy's Day with these kabuto (samurai helmets)

Check out the detail!

DSC03895 I also tried this chocolate stick. When I asked what was in the chocolate, the wife said "chocolate"...then added, "nuts"...actually there was a chewy nougat center with nuts and chocolate in it....so good!

I'll be back.

Coq Blanc
7-1 Shinpoincho
Tennoji, Osaka
Phone: 06.6779.8468