Friday, January 31, 2014

canelé du japon

IMG_5044 After having my latte at Streamers, I went to Canelé du Japon, as they are just down the street.

For winter they have two flavors, hazelnut (top) and secchu-carrot (right). Secchu is literally "in the snow". So this flavor is "carrots in the snow".

It's a good thing when you can actually taste what is supposed to be in there like carrots and hazelnuts.

I also got anzu (apricot(bottom)) and kurozato kurumi (black sugar walnut (left)), from their regular line-up of flavors.

I'm glad I got to try them again they didn't disappoint.

p.s. it's Chinese New Years today, "Kung Hee Fat Choy", if you're celebrating! and have a nice weekend.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

atarikisharikido

IMG_5040 I stumbled across this cute little delivery truck that looked like a wind-up toy.

Turns out it was part of Atarikisharikido, a doughnut shop in the southern part of Osaka. Try saying the name 3 times fast...

They also have a tiny shop near Utsubo Park.

IMG_5042 We tried their plain...70 yen each.

A bargain, but their doughnuts are a bit on the oily side.

I don't know that I would go back but I'm glad we got to try them.

Atarikisharikido (UPDATE: 2016 no longer in business)
1-3-22 Kyomachibori
Nishi-ku, Osaka
Phone: 06.6623.1890
Closed Saturdays, Sundays & Holidays
Hours: 11:30-18:00

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

steamy's sweet chili brussels sprouts

DSC05021 So what did I do with the brussels sprouts that I got from Crazy Pantry?!

I used Steamy's recipe for roasted brussels sprouts with sweet chili sauce, here.

Only thing I didn't roast them, just sauteed them in a pan with olive oil and added the garlic, sweet chili sauce and fish sauce at the end.

Since I didn't take a photo of them the first time, I took one this time around.

So good with beer...I'm making this again.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

inaba gapao

DSC04730 I talked about Inaba's curries here, here, and here.

Well, they also have gapao...minced chicken with basil and spices.

IMG_4995 We had this for dinner one night and I served this with some spinach, rice and a sunny-side up egg.

I liked this. It was really spicy and I like saying the name too...gapao.

Monday, January 27, 2014

sammy pooh

IMG_5033 Friday was such a beautiful day, the temps went all the way up to 13C (55F).

I went to Sammy Pooh! for lunch. It was my first time eating there.

I ordered the pâté lunch...800 yen.

This came with a salad, a soup (pumpkin), and LOTS of bread!

IMG_5034

IMG_5035 Luckily, they said I could bring home whatever breads I couldn't finish...

IMG_5038 The owner also secretly gave me a cup of kombu-cha (kelp tea)...he said, "shh...only today..."

IMG_5039 Their cat was also enjoying the warm temps.

I'll be back.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

streamers coffee

IMG_5031 I had been wanting to try Streamers Coffee ever since seeing them in a magazine.

My only problem was that they were in Tokyo...and then I read something online that they had a shop in Osaka...

It is more of a takeout rather than sit down type of shop. In fact, it is located at the entrace to a clothing store.

They have one leather couch for you to sip your coffee at, still, it was one great cup.

I'll definitely be back when I'm in the area.

Streamers Coffee
1-25-12 Minamihorie (inside of Maxx Department Store)
Nishi-ku, Osaka
Phone: 06.6110.7007
Monday-Friday 8:00-20:00, Weekends & Holidays 11:00-20:00

UPDATE: 8/2014 this coffee shop & the department store closed

Saturday, January 25, 2014

mille cafe

DSC04973 Mille cafe is a Denmark coffee filter made of polypropylene.

Supposedly you can use it for 1000 times, so it is supposed to be good for the environment.

Before using, you need to "season" it by pouring hot water onto it for at least a minute.

Then after brewing the coffee, you pour more hot water down the filter to wash out the coffee grains.

I also washed it with a little detergent after using it the first time because the coffee tasted a little "plastic-y".

DSC04974 I wonder if it will really last about 1000 times?!

UPDATE: 4/2014--it doesn't filter cold-brewed coffee
1/2015: it is quite a p.i.t.a. to clean, very messy as you need to pour hot water over the filter to "drain" the coffee grains into a container (garbage bin)....

Friday, January 24, 2014

a.c. perch thehandel

IMG_5004 A.C. Perch is a Denmark tea brand.

They actually opened a cafe in Osaka last June, but I only I recently learned about it.

So this past Tuesday, since I was in the area, I went to check them out.

Main dishes are mostly tartines (open faced sandwiches) though they also have hot dogs and other items.

I ordered the scallop and shrimp tartine...1260 yen and also added soup and tea for 315 yen more.

The soups they had to choose from were a corn potage, clam chowder or minestrone. I went with minestrone. This was thick and sort of reminded me of portuguese bean soup, a soup we eat in Hawaii.

IMG_5006 My tartine also came with a salad and you could choose between a citrus dressing or an olive dressing. I went with the citrus.

The dressing was really refreshing and went nicely with the seafood tartine.

The tartine also had 3 different cheeses on it (I asked...gorgonzola, parmesan and camembert) and a little broccoli...cheesy good!

IMG_5010 The tea I chose was No. 5...Emperor Tea.

A Keemun, dark and smoky.

I'm glad I tried this place and will definitely be back when I'm in the area.

A.C. Perch TheHandel
Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Department Store 1F
Abeno, Osaka
Phone: 06.6625.2120
Open 10:00-21:00, Closed when Kintetsu Department store is

Thursday, January 23, 2014

snackage

IMG_4870 I don't quite remember when I bought this but had put them into my refrigerator so they wouldn't spoil with the awful heat of Osaka's summer.

These are "tropical" tasting...lots of pineapple and nuts (mac & almond), kind of like a bite-sized chewy granola bar.

A nice thing is that they are "made in Hawaii".

I hope to pick up more varieties the next time I'm in Hawaii.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

sunday

IMG_4978 Sunday we finally got some flurries!

I was so hyped while Satoshi kept rolling his eyes...what can I say, I'm from Hawaii...

IMG_4979 While Satoshi went to his German class, I walked from Umeda to Filter, for breakfast.

I ordered their BLT sandwich set...550 yen, this came with a small salad and coffee.

I think their bacon was actually pastrami, but it was still delicious.

When I got there, a man was just leaving, and after I finished eating, another man stepped in for coffee.

With the place so quiet, it kinda irritated me how he would slurp his coffee.

Anyway, after using their free wifi and reading some of their coffee/cafe magazines, I went to check out Takamura Wine.

A huge warehouse filled with all sorts of wines, coffees and some snacks.

This place is actually owned by Marukai. Yup, that Marukai. For those that don't know what Marukai is, it is a popular Japanese import shop in Hawaii and some areas of California.

I bought two bottles of wine, I'll post about it when we drink them.

IMG_4981 And then I started to walk back to Umeda.

Along the way, the flurries started again and I also stumbled upon this building.

Doesn't it look like it should belong in New York or somewhere like that?!

IMG_4986 And then I stumbled upon the Dallmayr Cafe (inside the cool building), so I stepped in for a little snack...baum kuchen and coffee...1200 yen.

They served the baum kuchen with some whipped cream & apricot jam.

This baum kuchen wasn't sweet, in fact it was quite dry, so the cream & jam really lifted it up.

Don't know if I'll be back to Dallmayr, but I'll definitely be back to Filter & Takamura Wine.

How was your weekend?

Takamura Wine
2-2-18 Edobori
Nishi-ku, Osaka
Phone: 06.6443.3519
Closed: Wednesdays
Hours: 11:00-19:30

Dallmayr Cafe
3-6-32 Nakanoshima
Kita-ku, Osaka
Phone: 06.6479.0202
*call before going, their website says they are closed on Sundays but they were open

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

miyama cafe

IMG_4930 I've been wanting to try this place for some time. They use vegetables grown in Kyoto.

I went once on a Sunday morning because I heard they serve breakfast...um, on the weekdays only (someone should update the tabelog page)...sigh.

Then I thought Satoshi and I could have lunch here after his German class...their last order is at 14:00 and he usually meets up with me at 14:00...sigh.

Finally, I went on a Tuesday, when I had an appointment in the area.

I was the first to arrive when the doors opened at 11:00 and ordered their vegetable curry...880 yen.

Lots of different vegetables which were roasted or grilled and just the right amount of rice and curry.

The tables filled up quite quickly, so if you plan to go, go early...I'll be back.

Miyama Cafe
Umesankoji
Kita-ku, Osaka
Phone: 06.6348.0831
Breakfast (weekdays) 7:00-11:00, Lunch 11:00-15:00 (last order 14:00), Dinner 17:00-23:00 (last order 22:00)
Open everyday


Monday, January 20, 2014

foodie friday in osaka

IMG_4954 On Friday, I got a chance to meet P of FoodPorn.Osaka.

He is leaving Japan at the end of the month and was nice enough to contact me to meet up.

After exchanging several emails, we decided to have lunch at Il Beccafico.

The restaurant has 2 seatings for lunch (12:00 & 13:00), P got their 1st seating at 12:00.

It is a teeny restaurant located on the 2nd floor of a building that is about 100 years old! (seriously)

The steps were very steep and narrow.

Their lunch menu is pre-set...assorted appetizers & pasta...1000 yen.

If you wanted coffee and/or dessert after lunch or a drink during lunch that would be extra.

Click on the photo to see what types of appetizers we had.

My favorite was the chicken cutlet. The breading was really crispy and had fennel seeds here and there.

IMG_4956 The pasta was an Amatriciana style.

After lunch, we walked to one of P's favorite coffee spots in the area, Filter.

IMG_4957 It is a cozy cafe with sofas and coffee tables (like a living room), perfect for chatting or just "zoning out".

Before walking back to Umeda, we stopped into Boulangerie Takagi.

I picked up these breads, which Satoshi and I had for breakfast the next day. I hope P enjoyed the ones he picked up.

It was fun to finally meet P in person and talk about this and that.

Thanks for a great day P!

Il Beccafico
1-23-30 Edobori, Dakota House 2F
Nishi-ku, Osaka
Phone: 06.6449.9611
Closed: Tuesdays
Hours: 12:00-14:00, 18:00-24:00

Filter UPDATE: 3/2014 closed indefinitely
3-5-20 Nakanoshima
Kita-ku, Osaka
Phone: 06.6447.8550
Closed: Mondays
Hours: 9:00-20:00

Sunday, January 19, 2014

still going

motivator Been using this Nike sensor for 4 years?!

The battery was supposedly only good for 2 years.

930-something miles later (give or take)...Thank you for keeping me motivated!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

cute

IMG_4923 Sometimes Satoshi and I like to hang out at the Itami airport.

It isn't too far from where we live. Satoshi says he likes to go there just to "feel like he's going on a vacation".

Unlike most airports, this one is a great place to hang out because most of the shops and restaurants are outside of the security area.

A large observation deck on the rooftop is a great place to watch the planes land and take off.

There is a large interior shop which we like to ooh and aah over their furniture that will probably never fit into our apartment.

And I loved this cute planter that was outside of a garden shop there too.

Are you able to hang out at your airport?

Friday, January 17, 2014

19 years

DSC04924 Nineteen years has passed since the Kobe Earthquake...while I'm remembering all those who lost their lives on this day, I am also looking ahead.

Experts are talking about the next one within the next 30 years or so...they have it pinned down to winter at 18:00, but won't or can't tell us exactly what day or what year...scary!

Since we have some bookshelves that may block our way out of our apartment, we put up these poles which are supposed to prevent the shelves from toppling over in the event of an earthquake.

They aren't very expensive (under 2000 yen) and must be checked every so often so that the screws are tightly fastened.

Sending thoughts and prayers to those in Kobe today.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

ichigo

IMG_4877 Yesterday was the 15th...apparently it was ichigo (strawberry) day.

15 in Japanese the number is literally ichi-go...a goro-awase (to use the sound of numbers in Japanese to make words from them) for strawberry.

I actually picked up these berries over the weekend at a fruit & veggie stand, they were bigger than the berries I had seen in the markets and a little pricier, but I loved the ruby red color and they tasted sweet too.

From December we start to see strawberries in the markets, they are grown in hothouses for the strawberry laden cakes at Christmas time.

The price of them slowly starts dropping after the New Year.

Are strawberries in season where you are?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

crazy pantry

IMG_4906 Great finds at Crazy Pantry recently...

Colorful carrots, cherry tomatoes, brussels sprouts and spinach...everything is priced a little higher than in most supermarkets, but I like the variety and freshness of everything there.

I'll be back.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

copycat

IMG_4920 The other morning, I tried the copycat recipe for Boots & Kimo's Macadamia Nut Sauce. Boots & Kimo's is an eatery in Hawaii which I've written about here.

Yesterday was a holiday, I didn't want to feel frazzled in the kitchen, so I made the pancakes Sunday night and then made the sauce just before breakfast Monday morning.

Boots & Kimo Copycat Macadamia Nut Sauce

1 cup macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup each whole milk and heavy (whipping) cream (OR 2 cups half & half)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoons lemon juice

Finely grind nuts in food processor. Dry cook in saucepan over medium-high for 5 minutes, until fragrant.

Lower heat to medium. Add butter; stir until melted. Stir in flour cook 1 minute.

SLOWLY add milk and heavy cream (or half & half), CONSTANTLY whisking. Add sugar, salt, lemon juice and vanilla. Bring just to a boil (or almost to a boil, be careful) and then reduce heat just a little so that it's not boiling. Cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring CONSTANTLY. Serve warm.


NOTES: First off, I cut this recipe to 1/4 (we don't need to be eating that much sauce).
I roasted the nuts in a 150C (300F) oven for 10 minutes, then chopped them by hand, so the nuts were chunky not fine.
I used full cream and skim milk, leaving out the salt and lemon juice.
I did this all on low heat because I was afraid of the sauce boiling, so it took awhile before thickening.
Keep your eye on this, and keep stirring.
To keep the nuts crunchy, I just sprinkled some on before serving.

This was delicious! Satoshi loved it too. I'm definitely making this again.

Monday, January 13, 2014

foodie saturday in kyoto

IMG_4880 Met up with Tamakikat this past Saturday.

We started off by heading out to the farthest part of our adventure, Shinkokan.

This little cafe is located on the grounds of Yoshida Sanso. The main property was the second home of an uncle of the current Emperor and is used as a ryokan (Japanese inn).

Shinkokan is located on the 2nd floor of a tiny cottage and has a nice view. We liked that we were the only ones there.

IMG_4883 We both had the chocolate cake with cafe au lait...1260 yen.

The cake is actually made with cacao mass and tofu and doesn't use eggs or dairy products. This cake was really dense, chocolatey and delicious.

Loved the dishes that they served everything on too.

IMG_4887 After eating, we checked out the garden, I'm sure it is even more beautiful when there are flowers and more greenery.

IMG_4892 We then walked towards Kamogawa (Kamo River) and I spotted this cool objet at the entrance to the Kyoto Education Culture Center.

It was titled Children's Peace...you can see more photos here, and here.

I liked how they had origami (literally folded paper) in the shapes of crane & turtle, symbols of youth & old age.

IMG_4894 Lunch was at Kamogawa Cafe, a spacious and very comfortable place.

My lunch started off with a chicken wing and kabu(turnip) soup. The meat from the chicken wings was fall off the bone tender. Super comforting chicken broth & lots of grated turnip.

IMG_4895 My main dish was an okara (soy lees) and veggie croquette...780 yen.

Tamakikat had their soup set which looked delicious too.

IMG_4902 Then we checked out Wälder, a bakery near Tamakikat's place.

We've actually tried to check them out a couple times previously, but they were closed each time.

I'm glad they were open this time.

I bought a walnut bleu cheese bread (this one could've been cheesier), cream cheese filled bread (this was delicious, the bread was a french bread and the cream cheese filling was a little sweet), yuzu matcha (a teeny bread block filled with yuzu bits and matcha cream), nut tartlette (a tiny tartlette topped with lots of different nuts).

IMG_4901 Satoshi and I halved everythig and had them for Sunday breakfast...Here is a shot of the inside of the yuzu matcha block.

Another great day, I'm glad we got to meet up Tamakikat!


Shinkokan (Yoshida Sanso)
59-1 Yoshidashimooji-cho
Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.771.6125
Hours: 11:00-18:00* Call before going as they may have special events going on

Kamogawa Cafe
229-1 Kamiikesu-cho
Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.211.4757
Closed Thursdays
Hours: 12:00-23:00

Wälder
452 Sakai-cho, Hi-Mart Fuyacho 1F
Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.256.2850
Closed Thursdays
Hours 9:00-19:00

Sunday, January 12, 2014

thank you

IMG_4874 Part of a foodie care package from my host-brother's wife, Kazumi.

She sent us these pretty rusks. Rusks are hard biscuits or twice baked bread...kinda like melba toast.

These are made by Cafe Ohzan, in Akita prefecture.

They use croissant dough and bake them until they are crisp, then cover them with different chocolates and decorate them.

I really liked the crispiness of these.

Thank you!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

soup weather

IMG_4863 It's definitely soup weather over here.

The other night I made a vegetable bean soup with veggies from my fridge (carrot, daikon), veggies from the pantry (onion, potato, dried beans), some pearl barley.

And then just before serving I julienned some kale from the lanai and sliced some cherry tomatoes.

Spices were an Italian seasoning blend and a consomme cube.

Super simple, and a great way to warm up on an icy night.

Is it soup weather where you are?

Friday, January 10, 2014

salarymen pride

gmh3 Did you know Japanese salarymen (business men) have pride? I call it "stupid pride".

They refuse to wear their coats when they go out for lunch. Hands stuck deep into their pants pockets they run across the streets to eat lunch shivering all the way, no jacket on, just their dress shirts.

When the temperature was changing between Fall and Winter, I suggested to Satoshi that he wear his coat to work.

He said, "it's too early in the season to"...um, who said?

I told him, "but if you're cold, you should wear something, otherwise you'll catch cold"

(and secretly I was also saying, "if you catch a cold then you'll give it to me....")

But nope..."stupid pride"

Right now, he wears thermals over his underwear, which tends to bunch up.

Not very nice when wearing a suit.

And then I told him about these boxers for men that have haramaki attached to them. Haramaki literally means stomach wrap.

I told him, if he got a pair he wouldn't have to wear the thermals over his underwear and it wouldn't feel so bulky under his suit.

He scoffed at me.

Still, I dragged him over the New Years break to the store and convinced him to buy a pair.

He wore it the other day and came home saying...

"Kat, this is the best thing ever!"

Guess who was laughing now...

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

I hope you enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

konbu & okaka tsukudani

DSC04851 Yesterday was rainy all day long.

Perfect for cooking projects.

I've always wanted to find a recipe to use the konbu (kelp) and katsuobushi (shaved bonito) after making dashi (stock)--instead of just throwing it out.

Well, I found a recipe in Masakichi's book.

Super easy and relatively fast too.

Konbu & Okaka Tsukudani adapted from "Bento no hon by Yorino Masami"

Kelp after making dashi, cut into 1 centimeter squares (.39 inches)
Katsuobushi after making dashi
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 teaspoon honey

Put everything into a pot and heat on low and cook for 20-30 minutes
When most of the liquid has evaporated, turn the heat up to high for just a moment to get rid of any liquid*
*be careful as this is when everything can be scorched (burnt) easily

NOTES: this recipe actually calls for 2 teaspoons of kakijyoyu (kah-key-joe-you: oyster soy sauce), but I didn't have this so I just used all shoyu.

For your info, kakijyoyu is a soy sauce that is infused with oyster essence.

This recipe also asks that you use kelp & katsuobushi that has been used 3 times for making dashi.

When making dashi, I usually don't use my konbu/katsuobushi this many times, so I just made this with kelp & katsuobushi that was used once to make dashi.

The konbu was a little tough but still delicious with rice. Next time I think I'll cut the konbu into thin strips.




Wednesday, January 08, 2014

culture shock

IMG_4846 I've told you about the ketchup-mustard squeezy thing at the convenience stores, here.

Well, the other day when I ate lunch at McDonald's, I was surprised at their cheese fries.

The McDonald's here recently came out with an American Vintage Series, the sandwiches they are serving are a honey mustard chicken and a double beef burger.

And their classic fries are served with "cheese and bacon"...

IMG_4847 Well, the real fake cheese comes in a squeezy thing.

Perfect if you are taking out because your fries won't get soggy with the goopy cheese sitting on your fries while you go back home.

They could probably do without the real fake bacon bits though, they were hard.as.rock. and I personally would've preferred a spicy chili instead. I think that chili is more "American" than bacon bits...

And the most funny part were the direction on the inside cover of the box...1) Please drizzle the cheese sauce over all the fries 2) Please sprinkle the bacon flavored topping over everything 3) Please eat them with a fork

Is your McD's serving anything exciting?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

nanakusagayu

IMG_4845 Today is the 7th of January which means we eat nanakusagayu.

This year I almost forgot about making this. Luckily, when I went to the market yesterday they had the nanakusa (7-grass) sets on display.

I hope this year we'll all be healthy and happy.

Monday, January 06, 2014

the past couple of days

IMG_4814 Sorry it's been quiet here.

Satoshi went back to work today, so I'm back blogging...

On the 2nd, we visited MIL, she was in good spirits and was very chatty.

I'm glad we got to have lunch (sushi) with her and spend some time with her.

IMG_4816 On the 3rd, the weather was nice so we went to our neighborhood cafe, Hiro, for breakfast.

This is my favorite at the moment at this cafe...egg toast & salad. The bread they use for this is called "English bread". The slice is quite a long rectangle, the outside crisp, the inside is quite soft.

They add egg salad and toast it with a drizzle of mayo. It isn't overly goopy with mayo, just enough.

IMG_4818 This was how the skies looked on the 3rd.

While walking home, we got to see a Kawasemi (common kingfisher). I found this photo of it on Flickr.

I had often seen posters boasting that they were around near the Minoo river, but never saw one for myself. I'm glad we got a glimpse at one, they are quite teeny! and fast!

IMG_4822 That night we had pizza. We bought the crust and I topped it with salami and lots of onion and cheese.

Before baking the pizza, I sauteed the onions and salami...so good!

IMG_4828 On the 4th, the weather was cold but tolerable.

For dinner we had lemon chicken using my recipe for lemon sauce.

I used pre-made karaage (fried chicken) and served it on some broccoli, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, carrots & onions sauteed in olive oil.

IMG_4833 Yesterday the wind was icy and it was overcast for most of the day.

I wished it would snow or at least have flurries but Mother Nature wasn't listening to me.

For dinner we had beef broccoli.

Can you believe it was the first time I've ever made this?

I found a pretty easy recipe in "Hawaii's Best Local Dishes" by Janet Watanabe Hee.

I steamed my broccoli and set it aside.

And then I marinated my meat in this:
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tablespoon ginger, crushed
2 tablespoons sherry or whiskey
2 tablespoons flour

NOTES: these measurements for the marinade are for 1 pound of meat and 2 pounds of broccoli and is supposed to serve 4.

I think I either marinated the meat too long (6 hours) or using whiskey was too strong or the amount of marinade was too strong for the amount of meat and broccoli I had because it tasted a bit boozy.

Before I cooked the meat, I sauteed some thinly sliced onion in some sesame oil, then added the meat to cook.

Since the meat was quite thick from the flour I kept adding water to keep things "loose".

Then I added the broccoli at the end just to heat through.

I would make this again but cut back the marinade to half.

So that's what we've been up to the past couple of days, how is your 2014 going so far?