Friday, November 30, 2018

aaloo masala

Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback on yesterday's post.

After I work on re-pasting the photos on the posts that are connected to Flickr, I will work on rotating the ones in the albums...

Changing subjects...Tried a new recipe recently called Aaloo Masala.

Apparently Aaloo is the Hindi word for potato and Masala is spices.

This is kind of like middle eastern potato salad.

Adapted from "Spice Cafe" by Kazushiro Ito, makes about 4 servings
2 potatoes (about 300 grams total)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed
5 curry leaves
2 heaping tablespoons minced onion
2 heaping tablespoons minced carrot
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt

Peel and slice potatoes into cubes then boil until soft (about 15 minutes)
Drain and set aside
In a pan, heat oil on high and add mustard seeds
When you hear the seed start to pop, turn off the heat and cover the pan until the seeds stop popping.
Turn the heat back on to medium and tear up the curry leaves and add
Add the onion and carrots.
Cook until the onions are transparent
Add the turmeric and salt and mix well.
Add the spice veggies mixture to the potato, mashing the potato while stirring and leaving some chunks as well.
Serve warm.

NOTES: This was delicious and different. I served this with some tandoori chicken and would make this again.

Oh and with the other half, I made shepard's a baking dish, I put some steamed broccoli, cut up the tandoori chicken then topped it with the aaloo masala and then baked it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


I have a small favor to ask...

If you look at the side bar of this blog, there is a label "photo gallery"

Please click it and then click a destination to see if you can see if it takes you to Google Photos where I have loaded photos for the destination that you clicked.

These are the albums from Flickr.

FYI: It is just the photos, there aren’t captions/notes.

I still need to rotate some of the photos in each album, but I think I downloaded everything...

Anyway, in the comments area of this post, please let me know if you can view them.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

vending machine

More cool finds in a vending machine.

From left to right...corn potage, onion soup, fukahire (shark fin) soup & shijimi (type of clam).

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


There is an area called Jimbocho.

There are tons of bookstores in this area for all sorts of consumers and collectors, as well as publishing companies.

While I was waiting for Satoshi, I walked around this area and noticed this objet.

Apparently it is the site where Japanese baseball got its start.

I thought it was cool that the ball was a globe.

Lunch was at a place called Kitchen Calorie (cool name yeah?!)

I had their omurice (fluffy omelette topped chicken "fried" rice). This also came with a salad.

I thought their ketchup would be sweet and overpowering but I think it was mixed with some of their demiglace sauce so the sauce was just right.

Satoshi had their jumbo fried shrimp plate.

This also came with a hamburger, fried onions, pasta, corn AND rice.

Their portions are quite large, but everything is reasonably priced and the food comes out quite quickly.

Satoshi is already planning a re-visit...ahem!

Coffee with cheesecake at Dix Ans.

Camembert and marscapone cheeses were used to make this...delicious.

Satoshi had their roll cake which was really sweet.

This place is pricey but super quiet and laid back.

I'd come back for the coffee and just hang out reading or something.

The wind was fahreezing but at least the sun was out.

Kitchen Calorie
3-10 Kandaogawa
Chiyoda, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3291.3266
Hours: 11:00-21:00

Dix Ans (Jimbocho) : 2022 out of business
1-24 KandaJimbocho
Chiyoda, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5244.5618
Hours: 8:00-19:00 (Mondays-Fridays), 11:00-17:00 (Saturdays & Sundays)

Monday, November 26, 2018

au bon vieux temps

My host brother's wife first introduced me to this shop's baked items.

I went to check them out this past Saturday picking up their Galette Bretonne (buttery and flaky "cookie"), Galette Dauphinoise (walnut "pie") and their Nougat Montelimar (nougat filled with nuts)

I enjoyed them and want to go back to try their cakes in their tea salon.

Au Bon Vieux Temps
2-1-3 Todoroki
Setagaya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3703.8428
Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays
Hours: 9:00-18:00

Sunday, November 25, 2018


Friday was a holiday.

Satoshi had plans so I went on my own adventure.

I started out by getting off the train at Ontakesan Station and taking a picture of Mount Fuji from the platform.

Then walking around Senzokuike Park.

The maple leaves are brownish this year.

Lunch at Santino with Satoshi because it turned out he had some time before his adventure.

I had their Napolitan.

Made with their fresh pasta the noodles were very chewy, the flavors were so-so.

Satoshi had their eggplant with bacon pasta which was kind of soupy.

We may be back the next time we are here.

The weather was beautiful and it was nice to be out and about.

2-30-1 Kamiikedai
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3728.5188
Hours: 11:00-22:00

Saturday, November 24, 2018

thursday with v & k

Thursday, I spent most of the day with blog reader V and her husband K.

We started out early, "fighting" the salarymen (businessmen) "ocean" at Shinagawa Station, then finding our way to Tsukiji.

Since we moved to Tokyo in April, we have not been around here, so it was hard for me to remember what everything was like before.

It seemed to me that a lot has changed.

After going row by row in the market, I'm glad we found the furikake that V wanted to get.

We then walked to Ginza/Yurakucho to have unagi for lunch.

On a previous trip V tried the Osaka shop and wanted to have unagi again at their Tokyo shop.

I liked how "crispy" the unagi was...thank you for lunch!

We then went to Kyu-Shibarikyu Garden and walked around.

Not too much fall colors, but at least they were able to experience a Japanese garden.

V gave us lots of snacks.

I'm glad we were able to meet up and it was nice to meet K too.

It was overcast and a bit drizzly, still I hope they had fun and enjoy the rest of their trip.

Thank you V & K!

Hitsumabushi Nagoya Bincho
2-2-14 Ginza, Marronier Gate 12F
Chuo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5159.0231
Lunch: 11:00-15:30, Dinner: 17:00-23:00
Closed when Marronier Gate is

Friday, November 23, 2018


Been enjoying these snacks...

This version of arare with peanuts by Sanko Seika is flavored with ume (pickled apricot), sprinkled with coarse sugar and then there are the peanuts...sweet, salty and a little sour.

And these peanuts by Inaba.

The left side is sprinkled with Jane's Krazy Salt and the one on the right is sprinkled with aonori (green laver).

The one with aonori reminds me of hurricane popcorn.

What are you snacking on these days?

Thursday, November 22, 2018


It's Thanksgiving in the States soon.

We don't celebrate it here (in fact, Japan is in Christmas mode already!)

I am thankful for family and friends...

That we have enough to eat and have insurance to take care of medical costs.

So many natural disasters around the world this year, I’m thankful we have a roof over our heads.

If you are celebrating today, have a safe and delicious holiday.

Thank you for always being a part of our adventures.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Found some nice sized kabu (turnips) at the market.

I used a little more than half of one for our dinner the other night.

I sauteed some pork belly and diced potato in olive oil.

Added 300 milliliters of dashi, 3/4 of the kabu (thinly sliced) and cooked for about 5 minutes.

Turned off the heat then I added 50 grams of kim chee and 2 teaspoons of miso.

Dinner was served.

It is definitely soup season.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

lake kawaguchi (day 2)

We woke up early the next morning but Mount Fuji was still "sleeping".

Breakfast was quite heavy (for me) omelette, ham, sausage, some lettuce....yogurt, orange juice, toast, coffee.

After checking out, we walked from our hotel back to Lake Kawaguchi.

This is what the Momiji Kairo (Fall Foliage Corridor) looks like in morning lighting.

Can you believe the leaves were more plentiful and more colorful last week?!

Satoshi wanted to check out the Itchiku Kubota Museum, and since Mount Fuji was still "sleeping", we decided to check this museum out.

Itchiku Kubota was a textile artist who apparently revived a lost art technique called "tsujigahana" which is a method of dyeing and decorating cloth.

The kimono collection (on display) that he created were beautiful.

And the grounds that his museum is on is also beautiful, so be sure to walk around.

Admission is 1300 yen but worth it to see the hillsides behind the buildings especially since the leaves had changed.

Lunch was at Momiji-tei, which is famous for houtou.

Houtou is a local dish that is similar to miso soup with flat noodles in it.

Satoshi had the kinoko (mushroom) version while I ordered the kabocha (pumpkin).

Huge pieces of kabocha, daikon (radish) as well as other veggies and was a very hardy dish.

After lunch, Mount Fuji decided to show herself, so we decided to check her out...

We went to Shimoyoshida and climbed up to see the view of Mount Fuji at the Arakurayama Sengen Park.

This is where many people, maybe even Lonely Planet has taken many shots of Mount Fuji.

At this time of day though, the backlight was pretty harsh so the photos we took were mostly shadowy.

If you are interested in seeing a short video, click the link here.

I hope you enjoyed our short adventure as much as we did.

We were lucky to see Mount Fuji for two days in a row.

3067-1 Kawaguchi, Minamitsuru-ward
Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi
Phone: 0555.76.8200
Hours 10:30-21:00

Arakurayama Sengen Park
From Fujikyu Shimoyoshida station about 10 minutes plus 398 stairs.
3353-1 Arakura, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi

Monday, November 19, 2018

lake kawaguchi

From Shinjuku, it is about 2 hours by train to Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture.

We've visited this area quite a few times over the years, most times being able to see Mount Fuji.

Click on the link to see a short video of Mount Fuji as seen from the Fujikyu train.

The train engineer was nice and drove slowly, so we all could get photos and such.

The photo above was taken near the Momiji Kairo (Fall Foliage Corridor)

Sadly, most of the trees in this area were past their peak.

Still, it was nice to be able to visit this area.

We walked along the lake and stopped in to Cafe Mimi for something to eat.

I ordered this gateau chocolat (chocolate cake) which came with tons of fruit! (cantaloupe, dragon fruit, strawberry, blueberry, banana, grapefruit, kaki (persimmon), nashi (asian pear), kiwi, and orange (and a scoop of vanilla ice cream))...Satoshi agreed it was worth the 1500 yen (about $15)....

Satoshi ordered the shrimp pasta, which came with a salad and drink for 2000 yen but thought his order should've been priced at 1500 while mine at 2000.

It was nice to gaze at Mount Fuji and listen to jazz while we ate.

Dinner was at the hotel we stayed at.

A beef herb terrine (more like pâté), marinated salmon and chicken cacciatora.

Amatriciana...too bad the garlic was burnt and bitter.

Filet steak with balsamic sauce...tender!

Raspberry mousse and kaki (persimmon).

It was a delicious meal, despite the bitter garlic...though I wished they had served more veggies.

Found this picture in the cute!

We were lucky to have such great weather.

Hotel Saint Village
1666-1 Funatsu, Minamitsuru-ward
Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi
Phone: 0555.72.3453

Sunday, November 18, 2018


There is a variety of kaki (persimmon) called Okesa from Niigata Prefecture.

They are huge!

We tried the anpogaki (semi-dried) version and the inside is like jelly.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

sky berry

We recently tried a variety of strawberry called Sky Berry from Tochigi Prefecture.

It is very early in the season and these were not too sweet.

The berries were of good size.

Hopefully I'll be able to find sweeter berries in the coming weeks.

Friday, November 16, 2018


Before going to Hawaii back in June, I found beets at the market, roasted them, then stuck them in the freezer.

Then recently, our train line which has a free monthly magazine/pamphlet had a feature on European recipes and borscht was one of them.

The weather was a bit nippy, so I adapted the recipe and made us a batch.

Borscht adapted from "Salus" November 2018 (makes 2 servings)

1/2 carrot, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 onion, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large potato, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 roasted beet, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large leaf kale, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups water
1 cube vegetable bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons yogurt, measure then placed onto paper towel to remove water
dry dill, optional

Put the carrot, zucchini, onion and potato into a pot/pan and saute in olive oil until onion is transparent.
Add the water, bouillon cube and tomato paste, cook on medium high for about 5 minutes.
When potato is soft, lower heat to simmer and add the beet and kale.
Cook for another 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
When serving, add half the yogurt and sprinkle dill.

NOTES: This recipe actually had another one to make your own beef stock to add to the soup, but I didn't use it because I wanted to use the vegetable bouillon that I had in my pantry. This was still tasty (and easy) plus I still have more beets and one more vegetable bouillon cube, so I will make this again.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

asagaya & kichijoji

Sunday, we went to visit Satoshi's friends at their cafe called Taizankan.

Lunch was their curry rice.

Just the right amount of spice and it was great catching up with them.

From Asagaya, we walked one station over to Koenji.

The area under the train tracks have been cleaned up and there are cool event spaces for everything anime (animation) related.

Another area we saw was the Koenji Apartment with hipster eateries and shops on the bottom (I want to go back to try the coffee shop and craft beer shops).

We caught the train to Kichijoji and walked through Inokashira Park to have crepes at Cafe de Lievre.

Lots of the leaves have fallen without even changing!

Though there was still some with color...hope to come across some reddish ones soon...

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


There is an area called Oimachi nearby, if you remember, this is where we had pizza at Pizza Man.

Satoshi passes through here on his daily commute, so he said to meet him after his German class at Oimachi for dinner, so he could show me the Christmas lights that were up.

Dinner was at a Gyutan (beef tongue) restaurant called Iroha.

The place is tiny and they make you sit really close to other tables.

So close, we had to "second hand chain smoke" with the women at the next table...*gag*

We had their grilled gyutan cut thick and we also had calf tongue.

I liked the calf tongue better because it was more tender.

We also had moyashi (bean sprouts) namul and cabbage topped with garlic and konbu.

Their inarizushi wasn't anything too special.

Their shiitake skewers with butter and garlic were good but their beef tongue skewers with raw egg was gross.

We were pretty sure they didn't use tongue for these skewers, the texture was mushy like liver...

Kinda hit or miss at this place, there are so many eateries in this area, so next time we'll try somewhere else.

5-3-13 Higashi-Oi
Shinagawa, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6712.8366
Hours: 16:00-24:00

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


I've passed Asahizushi many times and we finally checked them out.

This family run shop is very friendly and laid back.

We started out with some sashimi...fresh & delicious.

I ordered a sushi set while Satoshi had the owner make sushi by the piece.

These photos are from my set.

There are a few pieces missing because we were too busy eating and chatting with the owner and his family.

Definitely different from those conveyor belt sushi places.

The quality of the fish was excellent and the rapport and atmosphere of the place was priceless.

We'll be back.

8-2-20 Chuo
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3751.2346
Closed Mondays
Hours: 11:30-14:00 (lunch), 17:00-22:00

Monday, November 12, 2018


We recently tried this sirloin wagyu from Yamagata.

I was impressed because it had a number.

The number certifies that it is truly wagyu (Japanese beef).

It was our first time trying wagyu like this.

Luckily, it was tasty and wasn't krazy expensive.

p.s. I've started to re-do my posts that have photos on Flickr, I hope the re-posts are not overflowing your RSS feeds, sorry for any inconvenience.