Saturday, April 27, 2019

reconnect

Reconnected with J on Thursday.

When we first moved to Japan back in 2001 (pre-blog), J and her family also lived in the same company housing complex as we did.

Over the years, we've kept in touch through new years cards.

There was lots to catch up on since we hadn't seen each other since 2001.

Lunch was pepperoni pizza, bolognese pasta and house green salad at CPK and dessert at Eggs'n Things...my first time eating at these places in Japan.

Monster whipped cream topping on the pancakes! (and very lightly sweetened!)

The memory I have of eating at Eggs'n Things at their very first location (and at the time only location) on Kalakaua one Sunday morning has no whipped cream whatsoever...

(I think Japan has 10+ locations in various prefectures.)

Chocolate sauce on the side to drizzle and a little coconut syrup (there was also maple syrup & guava syrup that you could use too)...so good!

It was nice catching up and reconnecting, I hope we can do it again soon.

CPK (California Pizza Kitchen)
Lazona Kawasaki 4F
Kawasaki, Kanagawa

Eggs'n Things
Lazona Kawasaki 4F
Kawasaki, Kanagawa

p.s. Golden Week (GW) starts today, we'll be off the grid for the most part (though I may update on Instagram)...I'll update here after GW ends on May 7...be well everyone!

Friday, April 26, 2019

ume takikomi gohan

Tried an easy recipe the other day, Ume Takikomi Gohan.

Takikomi Gohan is a style of cooking rice (gohan) with dashi (stock), soy sauce, veggies, and sometimes proteins.

Since I had leftover dashi after making oyakodon, I wanted to use some of it and found this recipe...on Sirogohan.

Serves about 4
2 cups rice, washed
2 or 3 umeboshi (with seed)
300 mililiters dashi (stock) (about 2.5 cups)
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon shoyu (soy sauce)

After the rice is washed, let the rice soak in water for about 30 minutes.
Drain the water and add the rest of the ingredients.
Cook your rice using the "takikomi" mode (sorry I'm not sure what it is called on rice cookers in other countries)
After the rice is done cooking, remove the ume seeds and mix the rice gently, breaking up the ume flesh.
Serve and enjoy!

NOTES: this was so good! I didn't add the salt, if you are watching your salt, you might want to omit it too depending how salty your ume is.

I also served the ume seeds so we could "suck" on the flesh that was stuck on the seeds.

Definitely making this again.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

oyakodon

The other night for dinner I made some oyakodon (literally parent-child bowl because it uses chicken and egg) to use up some rice that I had in the freezer.

I adapated a recipe from sirogohan...makes 2 servings

160 grams chicken thigh, deboned and cut into bite sized pieces.
sliced onion
4 tablespoons dashi (liquid stock)
4 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
2.5 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 eggs
milk

In a non-stick pan, put the chicken and onions
Add the liquid ingredient and sugar and turn the heat on to medium
Cover and cook for about 3 minutes
Scramble the eggs with a little milk and pour half over the chicken and onions
Cover and cook for about a minute
Then add the other half of the scrambled egg
Cover and cook for about a minute
When the egg is cooked to your liking, spoon over rice
Serve with your favorite greens.

NOTES: this was super easy and delicious.

I served this with some sugar snap peas and a salad.

It was a nice way to use up rice that I had in freezer...I'd make this again.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

kameido tenjin

Back in March, we visited Kameido Tenjin.

I bookmarked this area and waited for the fuji (wisteria) to bloom.

Tuesday was forecast for the last sunny day for the week, so I went to check it out.

Unfortunately with all the temperature ups and downs they haven't bloomed fully (the first photo is of one of the longest wisteria vines when I went)

We have other things planned for GW (Golden Week), so I'm not sure if I'll be able to go back and check it out again.

Still it was nice to see.

If you'd like to see some of the other photos I took, please look here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

tofu poke

If you don't eat raw fish or can't get your hands on fresh raw fish, using tofu in poke is a nice substitution.

I used 150 grams of firm tofu, half a packet of the NOH poke mix (a teaspoon of the Hawaiian salt and chili peppers), a teaspoon of sesame oil and added some green onions.

Mix well.

Make this ahead of time, so that the Hawaiian salt will melt.

NOTES: super easy and tasty. I plan to make this more often this summer.

Monday, April 22, 2019

pizza olive

A new kiosk opened up in the JR Kamata Station recently called Pizza Olive.

Since Satoshi didn't need dinner on Friday, I tried their seafood pizza...750 yen (tax included)

I like that they sell their pizzas in half sizes.

The thin crust was a little too hard for my liking.

But, there was various seafood (squid, shrimp, clams) and some veggies (bell pepper, mushroom) on the pizza.

I want to try their regular crust to compare...I'll be back.

Pizza Olive
JR Kamata Station, 2F
Ota, Tokyo

Saturday, April 20, 2019

foodie friday

Yesterday I met up with friend, M, she no longer teaches the rugby players Japanese, but has been keeping busy with other projects.

We waited in line for seats at Pelican Cafe. The cafe that is run by the bakery Pelican.

I ordered their keema curry cheese toast.

The crust was crisp and the curry had just the right amount of spices.

They also used some dal (split pulses) in their curry.

But, I also felt their cafe is overhyped.

920 yen (tax included) for the toast and it didn't come with a beverage or even salad...

M chose their shrimp avo sandwich which was 960 yen (tax included)...I think they could've at least had a little salad on the side for the price.

I'm glad we tried this place though I don't know that I'll be back.

We then walked down the street to Dandelion Chocolate where I had their nib scone and their cacao nib cold brew.

The weather has turned a bit summery...I'm glad M had some time to catch up for lunch and some walking.

Thanks M!

Pelican Cafe
3-9-11 Kotobuki
Taito, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6231.7636
Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed Sundays

Friday, April 19, 2019

that time of year again...

Apparently it is election time for our ward.

There are 70 something candidates running for council and 6 candidates running for mayor.

Of course, most of them have campaign cars running around with loud speakers...

It was krazy seeing all these campaign cars pass each other on the street (of course they were all on their loud speakers too).

Very noisy especially during "my nap time"...ahem!

As for the photo, on the way back from the market, I found a man looking at all the candidates kind of in awe.

At least the election will end on Sunday (it will be Satoshi's first time voting since we moved)...if you can go and vote, do so.

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

out and about

Saturday was forecast for sun while Sunday was forecast for rain.

So...we tried to get everything done on Saturday...starting at Todoroki Valley.

The trail is only a kilometer (.62 miles) and it will make you feel like you are not in a big city like Tokyo.

Lots of trees, birds and quiet.

There are several temples too.

WARNING: Just do not go after the rains or while it is raining, very dangerous & slippery.

Lunch was at Sushi Zanmai.

The owner is known to spend millions of yen on whole tuna and performs many tuna carving shows.

Meh, over-hyped...we felt some of the fish that was served was kind of "dry" in texture.

After lunch, we went up to Sarue Onshi Park.

They were having a tulip festival...but disappointing...only a little patch of tulips...(I guess when you've been to Keukenhof (pre-blog), nothing compares)

On the other hand, I will check this place out next year for cherry blossoms.

So many bridges in this area...

Clover Bridge...

Will need to check out Kiba Park for cherry blossoms too, next year.

And then we found ourselves near Kiyosumi Gardens.

The double type of cherry blossoms were blooming, so we paid for admission to check them out.

And the azaleas...

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

Sushi Zanmai
1-13-7 Jiyugaoka
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5731.3211
Open 24 hours

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

sending virtual hugs

Sending virtual hugs to Paris...so so sad seeing Notre Dame Cathedral in flames yesterday morning on the news.

These were some photos of the cathedral from our Paris trip in 2011.

I know it will take time, but I hope they will be able to restore the damaged areas.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

things I'm liking

Some foods eaten but not blogged about...

There are times when Satoshi goes out after work with co-workers or baseball alumni...or times when he has two German classes (one in the morning and one in the afternoon), on these days, I usually go holo-holo (galavanting) and try places that probably Satoshi wouldn't enjoy.

It was my 1st time trying lamb biriyani which to me was like Indian fried rice.

Super flavorful with lots of different spices, huge cubes of lamb that were tender.

This also came with a curry of your choice, which I chose palak paneer (a spicy spinach curry with fresh cheese cubes) and a yogurt sauce to cool your mouth down while eating.

This was quite filling but I'm glad I tried it and will be back.

Himmel's tuna sandwich...loved the sunflower seed bun! forgot to add this one when I did the last liking (disliking) post.

When I went to Inokashira Park, I tried Dans Dix Ans' cigar chocolat...a chocolate baguette filled with ice cold chocolate ganache to be eaten right away.

I sat on the bench outside their shop and enjoyed this.

They specialize in different types of breads using different yeasts and flours.

I wouldn't mind trying some of their loaves and will be back when I am in the area.

Stumbled upon Mijinco when we walked from Yushima Shrine to Kanda Myojin.

Their lunch menu are different sandwiches.

I tried their oil sardine sandwich...the oil sardine was mixed with red onion, nuts, cheese and some beans...so good!

I'll be back when I am in this area to try their desserts.

Tried Pandayaki which is at the entrance of the JR Okachimachi station.

They had sakura, red bean paste, caramel, chocolate, custard and plain.

Since their smallest size was a set of 14, I got one of each flavor and had them separate them into two bags with 7 each (one of each flavor), so that I could share with Satoshi.

The white panda was made from rice flour and filled with red bean paste, so it was similar to mochi (rice cake)...chewy.

The others had a nice amount of filling and was similar to baby castella but a little softer.

I went to check out the liquor floor of Takeya. They had a rosé for half price! I love this store.

I also got some fabric softener, pumpkin seeds & green tea.

What are you enjoying these days?

Sitaara Grove
Takashimaya Shinjuku 13F
Shibuya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5361.2029
Hours: 11:00-23:00

Dans Dix Ans
2-28-2 Kichijoji Honmachi, B1
Musashino, Tokyo
Phone: 0422.23.2595
Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays
Hours: 10:00-18:00

Mijinco
2-9-10 Yushima
Bunkyo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6240.1429
Hours: Weekdays 11:00-21:00, Weekends & Holidays 10:00-20:00

Monday, April 15, 2019

it's been a year

Can you believe we've been in Tokyo a year now? (can you believe there was a chance we might have been sent back to Osaka?!)

The condo coming up looks like they are on working on the 4th floor (total 6).

If you look closely at the photo, I have put a black arrow where Mount Fuji usually appears...(amazing what the eye can and smartphone lens cannot to see something this far!)

The red lines are the estimated floors (4, 5 and 6).

According to the advertisement that we saw, only the right side of the building will go up to 6 floors...the left side (which would block Mount Fuji, would only go up to 4 floors)

Kinda cutting it close yeah?! Still, I am crossing my fingers that the condo will not block our view of Mount Fuji...send us some good mojo.

Golden Week is coming up soon and we're planning to visit MIL for part of it.

This year with the Emperor "retiring", Golden Week will be about 10 days long for some with the combination of weekends, holidays and taking some days off from work.

There are still many areas of Tokyo that we haven't explored, and look forward to the many adventures ahead and to be able to share them with you.

Thanks for always being a part of our adventures.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

care package

We were happy to receive this care package from MIL...our yearly stash of ikanago kugini (which literally means simmered nails).

Ikanago (Japanese sand lance) is simmered in shoyu (soy sauce), ginger, sugar, mirin (sweet rice wine), sake (rice wine) & mizuame (starch syrup, like corn syrup) until it is caramelized.

This is a famous dish in Kobe and many families have their own recipes and variations of the dish.

This is usually seen in the stores during Spring.

I put 3 of the 4 containers into the freezer, and will slowly take it out for us to eat with rice during the year.

Thank you MIL!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

circus doughnuts

When I visited Kinuta Park, I also picked up some of Circus Doughnuts' doughnut pops for us to try.

I'm glad they had 6 pieces, perfect to divide between Satoshi and I, usually most food items are sold in odd numbers.

I tried the lemon glazed, chocolate coconut & cinnamon...Satoshi tried the strawberry, caramel and honey.

They were perfectly fried and glazed.

I'm glad we got to try these and will be back when we are in the area.

Circus Doughnuts
4-11-2 Yoga
Setagaya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6447.9218
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 10:00-18:00

Friday, April 12, 2019

supermarket finds

Yesterday it rained all day and the temps went all the way down to 3C(37F)! Some areas even got snow! (not ours though)

Anyway, today it is blustery and still very cold.

We enjoyed this orange called "Sun Queen".

The orbs are a little smaller than a tennis ball.

The peel is firm and the flesh super juicy.

The flesh was so juicy that we usually ate our orange slices over the sink.

The juice was sweet with a slight tart finish.

A conversation Satoshi and I had at the sink one morning was about playing with the peel as a "mouthpiece" when we were growing up...saying "cheese" and showing the orange peel in our mouth in place of a smile...did you do this growing up too?!

I think the peel would be nice candied, maybe dipped in dark chocolate...

I've also seen some people online making marmalade from this type of orange.

Do you have something similar where you live?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

vanni

Tried Vanni's chibi-cro.

Chibi means "tiny" and cro is short for croissant.

The croissant was about 3 or 4 inches long.

The croissant itself was firmer and not as flaky than regular sized croissants but I think it needs to be firm to hold all that custard.

Like their cream puffs, I love that the croissant is filled after you order it.

Vanni also has regular sized croissants that can be filled with custard too, I'll be back!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

kaen

We tried Kaen because our first choice was closed and we were hangry (hungry + angry)...

Kaen turned out to be a good choice...they had an otsumami set.

Otsumami means "appetizer" and literally "to pick".

For 1100 yen (tax included), you can choose 2 food items and 1 drink.

The drinks were regular sized and the food items were relatively nice portions to share.

I ordered the tan tan moyashi (spicy bean sprouts) and subuta (sweet sour pork).

Satoshi ordered the gyoza and hoikorou (pork cooked with bell peppers)

The food and drinks came out quickly and everything was flavored nicely.

We hope to try our first choice another time but were glad to try Kaen and will be back.

Kaen
1-3-15 Chidoricho
Ota, Tokyo
Hours: 11:00-24:00
Open Daily

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

soul food

We checked out Soul Food, a teeny shop that I spotted from the train.

A cute couple running the shop, it was quite amazing to see them not get in each other's way since the kitchen area was so teeny.

I ordered the chicken curry...1000 yen (tax included).

This came with a salad and some consomme soup.

The curry had just the right amount of spices so as not to "burn" your mouth off.

The chicken was a little on the dry side, but at least it was cooked through (you'd be surprised at how many eateries do not cook their food all the way through).

Satoshi ordered the steak curry...1200 yen (tax included).

His plate looked good. His meal also came with some consomme soup and his salad was served with his curry.

They cook the steak after you order so be prepared to wait.

There are other items on their menu that we want to try...we'll be back.

Soul Food
2-17-15 Minamiyukigaya
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3726.2176
*no hours or days off noted, call before going

Monday, April 08, 2019

sakura walk (komazawa olympic park)

Komazawa Olympic Park is an area created for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

It is now used as a park with all sorts of sports facilities and even has a dog run.

I made us a small lunch (tamagoyaki (rolled omelette, ichidagaki (dried kaki), purple cabbage pickles, takuan (pickled daikon), ikanago kugini (Japanese sand lance is simmered in shoyu (soy sauce), ginger, sugar, mirin (sweet rice wine), sake (rice wine) & mizuame (starch syrup, like corn syrup) until it is caramelized), musubi filled with takana (mustard cabbage) and sakura (salted cherry blossom flowers).

Luckily we found a bench to sit on in the shade to have our lunch.

After lunch, we walked around the perimeter of the park.

The park is huge!

As you walk around the park you'll notice that there are 3 lanes...one for walkers, one for runners and one for cyclists...try not to get in any ones way!

There is also a gallery (in Japanese) where they explain the different Olympic games and also let you try some out...

It was another great day to be out and about.

If you thought there were more sakura walks than when we were in Osaka, it was because it was our first Spring in Tokyo since moving.

The blooms lasted longer than usual, the weather dude says because of the cold snap we had last week.

I think this may be the last sakura walk for this year so I'll leave a link to my sakura album, check it out if you wish.

Hope you enjoyed this time of year as much as we did!

Sunday, April 07, 2019

sakura walk(s) (akabane iwabuchi & oji)

Since Satoshi had some time before his class yesterday, I took him to see the area I visited near Akabane.

We also picked up some snacks from Meijido (tonkatsu sandwich, yakisoba pan and coffee milk).

Everything from Meijido was so good. We had to control ourselves from buying everything we saw...

Lunch was at a cafe inside of the Tokyo Kita Ward Museum.

We also shared this sakura mont blanc...matcha cake topped with whipped cream, a little strawberry gelee and sakura flavored cream...so good!

It was so warm (22C/71F) that we were glad to get out of the sun for a bit.

There were many people picnic-ing at Asukayama Park, especially since the weather was so nice.

I had spotted this park from the platform as I waited for the train the other day.

Kitty-corner from Asukayama Park is Otonashi Park.

Many people picnic-ing as well.

It was nice to be out and about though the temps have really gone up.

I'm glad Satoshi was able to enjoy some of the cherry blossoms too.