Wednesday, November 30, 2016

so fast

Hard to believe that there is only a month left for this year.

We're supposed to get more rain tomorrow.

Was nice seeing some of the yellow gingko leaves today.

Hope your November was a nice one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

coffee uta

There is a tiny cafe we stumbled upon...Coffee Uta.

From the outside, it looks like someone's house, but if you look carefully, you'll see a sign and realize they are a cafe.

It was a nice space with lots of natural light coming in from a skylight.

I had their orange toast plate with coffee 1050 yen...this came with a small salad and some orange pieces.

I loved their toast, speckled with orange peel and slathered with butter.

Satoshi had their sandwich plate with coffee 1150 yen...his plate also came with salad and lots of fruit (apple and persimmon).

A bit pricey but we loved the different pottery items they had displayed (I think most are for sale) and they also don't allow smoking!

We'll be back.

Coffee Uta
1-8-28 Minoo
Minoo, Osaka
Phone: 072.721.8033
Hours: 11:00-17:00
Closed Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays

Monday, November 28, 2016


Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.

It isn't a holiday here, but Black Friday is slowly catching on here.

Since Satoshi went out on a drinking thingy on Tuesday, which was Ii Fufu no Hi (literally good couple day), we went out for dinner at Menu the next day which was a national holiday (Kinro Kansha no Hi, like a combination of Labor Day and Thanksgiving).

Dinner started out with a plate each of their appetizers...salad, proscuitto, dragon fruit, purple sweet potato terrine, sweet potato frittata, clam rice croquette (arancino), tako (octopus) with a broccoli puree.

Soup: Daikon potage topped with cacao nibs

Pasta: mushroom pepperoncino and gingko nut ras el hanout chicken cream pasta (both to share)

Main: sea bream stuffed with mushroom puree wrapped with bacon, cooked saltimbocca style and chicken piccata

Dessert: dark cherry brownie

Coffee or Tea

Satoshi also had a glass of wine with dinner.

We love this place because their servings are just right, their food is delicious too, they serve reasonable servings of wine and their prices are quite reasonable too.

7050 yen for our dinner.

We'll definitely be back.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

inari gyoza

There is a new recipe that is getting quite a bit of attention here...Inari Gyoza.

Instead of using gyoza wrappers, you stuff the gyoza filling into an aburage pocket.

The recipe was super easy, so I had to try.

Inari Gyoza by Yanagisawa Hideko : 2 servings

150 grams minced pork
2 handfuls of minced chives
4 thin aburage (fried tofu)

Cut each aburage in half so that you have a total of 8 pockets.

Carefully open each pocket.

Mix the pork with salt, pepper & chives.

Divide your pork mixture into 8 and stuff each pocket.

In an unoiled pan, fry until the outsides turn a light brown.

NOTES: This recipe was so easy!

The hardest part was opening up the pockets to fill.

Since my packets were quite bulgy, I added some water to the pan, to steam the insides.

It took me about 10 minutes (with flipping every 3 minutes) for it to cook.

I would recommend flattening your packets when frying so that it cooks quickly and evenly.

I would serve this with shoyu or your choice of sauce.

This is a great recipe to cut carbs because you aren't using wrappers.

I'm making these again.

p.s. Today it snowed in Tokyo, it was 54 years ago that it snowed in Tokyo in November! Krazy weather...

p.p.s. Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for family, friends and you, the readers of our blog...have a delicious one!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


If you've been reading this blog for awhile, I think you know how much I love MUJI.

I recently saw this "make your own gift" can on television.

They come in 3 sizes.

The top is sealed.

You need to fill the can from the bottom.

It holds quite a bit.

They recommend not putting in anything too fragile and not over stuffing it.

Then pop the bottom on.

I decorated the can with masking tape.

Then I wrapped the plastic box with craft paper so that I could write the address on it...and sent it off.

Cool, yeah?!

p.s. Today is a National Holiday Kinro Kansha no Hi

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ii fufu

(photo taken on Sunday in Osaka)

Today is Ii Fufu (good couple) day in Japan.

I've written about this before here.

Sadly, the Tohoku area had another big one (earthquake) this morning.

They were told to evacuate and are on tsunami watch.

Hoping there won't be too much damage this time.

Sending hugs to Tohoku and the surrounding areas.

Monday, November 21, 2016

foodie friday in kyoto

We've been having rain off and on. Kinda gloomy.

Friday was forecast for sun, so I made sure to get out and about.

I started by walking around Tofukuji.

I didn't want to pay admission and fight the crowds, so I just admired the fall colors from afar.

Then I went to Demachi Futaba and queued up for some sweets.

They have been in business for over 100 years...

Love their mame mochi (mochi that is filled with sweet bean paste and studded with black beans).

It's kuri (chestnut) season, so I made sure to get one of their kuri mochi too.

I also got an inaka mochi (yomogi mochi filled with sweet bean paste) for Satoshi.

Afterwards, I went to Matsuhiro Shoten to check out their gamaguchi bags & purses.

I've written about them here.

After trying to decide on a print and style of bag, I got myself this one.

There may have been wine with the duck and fig terrine I had at Le Bac à Sable...the cheese bread they served was good too!

After lunch, I checked out Weekenders Coffee.

They opened a little shop on Tominokoji.

The shop is at the far end of a parking lot, so you may walk past it without noticing it...I almost did! (thank goodness for GPS!)

Their cappuccino was nice, too bad there aren't many places to sit...

Window shopped in Gion at the new Hermes shop.

This area is widely known for geisha and high end places to eat, so this shop totally fits in.

It was a warm autumn day and it was nice to get out.

Demachi Futaba
236 Seiryu-cho
Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.231.1658
Closed: Tuesdays & 4th Wednesday
Hours: 8:30-17:00

Weekenders Coffee Tominokoji
560 Honeyano-cho,
Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.746.2206
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 7:30-18:00

Friday, November 18, 2016

things I'm liking

It's been awhile since I did one of these...

Ika-ten that we brought back from Onomichi...fried, a little fishy (from the squid), sweet & salty...super good with beer. (did notice it has sorbitol in it!)

The holiday cups at Starbucks.

Apparently there are 10 different designs by artists from all over the world, 2 designs per beverage size.

Sparkling green tea with yuzu.

I'm usually not a fan of flavored green teas, but this was nice. I liked that they didn't add any sugar and I also enjoyed the fizz too.

Stollen Cacao by P√Ętisserie Cri de Coq.

1st time trying their stollen. This version was really rich & chocolatey.

Lombard's Matcha & Caramel Popcorn.

Love how the matcha balances out the sweetness of the caramel popcorn.

Objet by Lee Jae-Hyo.

Amazing to see up close.

This one too.

What have you been enjoying these days?

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I recently made a batch of Ellie Krieger's Apple Pecan Muffins.

I added some kanso okara (dry okara) in place of half of the flour amount.

I'm glad that this muffin still turned out very moist.

Though I was bummed that the adjustable element in my oven, decided to adjust itself while the batch of muffins were baking and the muffin papers got a bit scorched.

At least there wasn't a fire (though it kind of smelled like it), and the muffins didn't taste smoky.

How's your week going?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

fishcake tempura

Remember the ikamenchi we had in Tohoku?

Well, when I tasted it, it reminded me of something my mom used to make for parties...

Luckily, the recipe for it was in one of the cookbooks I have...

Fishcake Tempura : "Recipes Please" makes 18-24 more or less depending on how you scoop the mixture

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1/2 cup fishcake (kamaboko), minced
1/4 cup green onion, minced
oil for frying

Combine dry ingredients
Add egg to water and beat until foamy
Mix into dry ingredients, stirring only to moisten dry ingredients
Add kamaboko & green onions
Drop by teaspoonfuls into oil heated to 365F
Fry 1 minute or until delicately brown
Serve with meal or as pupu (appetizer) while hot

NOTES: super close to ikamenchi!
The ikamenchi was on the sweeter side...closer to the flavors mochiko chicken has.

I love how it all came together quickly.

I'm making this again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


The weather was clear, no clouds, just blue sky on Saturday.

Satoshi and I went to check out Sanshikisaido.

The colors were a bit muted, probably from all the ups and downs with the temps.

But it was still nice to get out and about.

Monday, November 14, 2016


I recently tried a new pastry shop in our neighborhood called Rocket.

They make lots of different sweets.

I noticed that they also did some pastry, so I tried their apple pie.

The apple filling was caramelized, not what I was envisioning, but I enjoyed it, especially the flaky pastry.

I'll go back so we can try something for Christmas.

1-9-3 Iguchido
Ikeda, Osaka
Phone: 072.761.9780
Hours: 10:00-21:00
Days off not set, call before going

Friday, November 11, 2016

fish sauce

Yesterday, I made Grilled Thai Beef Salad for dinner.

I had to marinate the meat ahead of time and had to open a new bottle of fish sauce...

When I opened the cap, I was puzzled because I've never seen anything like this...

I tried to slip a butter knife in between the crevices to pry it open...nope.

Frustrated...I got a pushpin and "stabbed" the nub several times, creating a "shower head" then shaking out the amount of sauce I needed...

Afterwards, I looked online and I apparently was not the first to encounter this problem (whew!).

In the end, everyone suggested snipping the "nub" off.

I'll do that the next time I need to use some fish sauce...

Love the internet!

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Like I mentioned in my previous post, we had picked up some baked items from Koro in Onomichi for our breakfast.

It was nice that the hotel we stayed at had a coffee machine in the lobby, so we picked up some coffees and had breakfast in our room.

I had noticed that the castle was having a chrysanthemum exhibit, so after breakfast, we went to check it out.

We also went in search of lunch to bring onboard for our ride back to Osaka.

We found a kiosk called Morisen that sold made to order musubi and also sold some okazu (side dishes).

I bought a ginger niku miso (meat cooked with soy paste and other seasonings) musubi and a karaage (fried chicken) one. Satoshi had a spicy niku miso and a takana chirimen (mustard green with tiny anchovies). We also had some tamagoyaki (rolled omelette).

I had a kuri daifuku (soft rice cake filled with chestnut and sweet bean paste)

While Satoshi had this yokubari dango (literally greedy rice cakes)...which had everything! yomogi mochi, white mochi, sweet bean paste, sweet shoyu based sauce...

The ride from Fukuyama to Osaka wasn't too bad, just 3 hours.

Reader V, asked if the bus makes stops along the way.

They do stop at parking areas where there are convenience stores, food stalls, as well as restrooms.

When you arrive at the parking area, the driver will tell you what time you need to be back at the bus.

Satoshi and I usually use the restrooms first, because it can take awhile waiting in line, then go in search of snacks or food if we have extra time.

The buses we travel on usually have a toilet onboard but we try not to use it.

Thanks for the question V!

I hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as we did, it was nice way to spend a long weekend.

inside Sun Station Terrace (JR Fukuyama)

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


It had been 10 years since we visited Onomichi.

The last time we visited, we took the cable car up and made our way down.

This time around, we started from the bottom and worked our way up through different alleyways and shrines.

There were lots of cats here and there.

We saw a display of kiku (chrysanthemums) so beautiful!

This particular cat was snoring so loud!

It was the first time for Satoshi and I to actually hear a cat snore!

We shared this pudding by Yamaneko.

It comes with a lemon sauce.

So delicious! and I brought the bottle home because it was so cute.

We also bought some breads from Koro, to eat for breakfast the next morning.

(top row) Garlic, Bacon Bell Pepper Olive, (bottom row) Edamame Bacon, Lotus root & Cheese

Everything was delicious!

Since all the hotels in Onomichi were full, we took the train to Fukuyama.

Dinner was at Craft Heart Dining.

Craft Heart is a craft beer brewery in Fukuyama.

There was a belgian lambic, pale ale, coffee wheat, dry stout, belgian white, scotch ale, smoked porter.

Our favorites were the coffee wheat and pale ale.

This kaki, proscuitto & cream cheese salad was so good, I want to re-create it!

Fried sardines with mushrooms were tasty!

Gorgonzola, honey & walnut pizza...sweet & salty!

fries with anchovy dip.

We ate so much that we took a walk after dinner.

It was another great day filled with lots to see, lots to eat and nice weather.

Oyatsu to Yamaneko
3-1 Higashi Gosho-cho
Onomichi, Hiroshima
Phone: 0848.23.5082
Closed Mondays
Hours: 10:00-19:00

1-3-31 Tsuchido
Onomichi, Hiroshima
PHone: 0848.22.8856
Closed Thursday & Friday
Hours: 7:00-sell out

Craft Heart Dining
2-5-7 Kasumi-cho
Fukuyama, Hiroshima
Phone: 084.983.2391
Closed Sundays & Holidays
Hours: 17:00-23:00

Richmond Hotel
1-1 Higashi Sakura-machi
Fukuyama, Hiroshima
Phone: 084.973.8030