Friday, January 31, 2020

oh em gee

Mother Nature has been slamming us around dropping the temps to fahreezing rain one day...blazing the next.

Because it was so warm, I tried Who's Tea Japan's chocolate milk tea boba the other day.

I loved it, you could still taste the tea without the chocolate overpowering everything.

On the other hand, look how teeny the patty was in my teriyaki burger at Burger King.

Where's the beef?!

So...there are 15 confirmed with this corona virus thingy in Japan...

There were 2 who came back from Wuhan and REFUSED to be checked and went home! (gasp!)

After much bashing from the media (and the fact that there were 2 others in the same group that came back from Wuhan that had the virus without showing any symptoms)...the 2 that went without being checked now want to be checked out...grr!

I was hoping that Japan would have closed the country to those from China before their Chinese New Year holiday (I was also hoping that China would stop their residents from travel too)...but that didn't happen...

So now, I am hoping the Japanese government will be able to control this from getting too krazy...stay safe everyone.

Have a nice weekend.

Who's Tea Japan
Tokyu Plaza Kamata 1F
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6424.7957
Hours: 10:00-21:00
Open when Tokyu Plaza is

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

tamago onigiri

Not really a recipe but this is a really easy idea from the "Kenmin Show".

On the island of Amamioshima, they make these tamago onigiri to take with them for lunch.

The original version is just rice, salt and egg.

I think the original is kind of plain because they eat these with other okazu (dishes).

I made these for breakfast so I added some okaka konbu (seasoned bonito with kelp)

For one tamago onigiri
1 egg
a little milk
a little olive oil

cooked rice about 120 grams

your favorite condiment

On medium heat, put a little olive oil into a non-stick pan
Beat one egg with a little milk
Pour the beaten egg into the pan and swirl to make a thin "crepe"
Turn heat to low and cook thoroughly
On a piece of plastic, place the cooked egg "crepe"
Put the rice onto crepe
Add your condiment
Pull up the edges of the plastic wrap and mold into a ball
NOTES: super easy and tasty...will definitely make this again

Monday, January 27, 2020

happy lunar new year

Happy Lunar New Year!

We went to Yokohama's Chinatown on Saturday to celebrate.

It is only a 30 minute ride by train from where we live.

We started off with some happo tea and snacks at Gokuchaso (which apparently tranlates to Monkey Magic Tea House).

Happo tea has eight different dried items like goji berries, chrysanthemum as well as some tea too.

It was pretty nice to sit and leisurely drink tea without too much chattering going on in the cafe.

I ordered an amanikuman which was a bun filled with housemade char siu.

Not too sweet and the steamed bun was really soft!

I would definitely get this again.

Satoshi ordered the char siu with white scallion bowl.

I've notice this combination is popular in the Kanto (East Japan) area.

Top the bowl with a raw egg and add more seasoning if you wish with soy sauce or chili sauce.

Satoshi said he enjoyed this.

After several pots of tea, we went kitty corner to the Masobyo Temple which in Chinese is the Ma Zhu Miao Temple.

Apparently this is the temple for the Sea Goddess Mazu.

We didn't realize we need to pay to visit this temple, so after looking around a bit, we left.

Lunch was at Ryuhoshuka.

Satoshi ordered these shrimp gyoza which turned out to be har gow.

They were delicious.

We also ordered this zuwaigani (snow crab) fried rice.

This was rich and delicious!

Lots of douchi (black bean) sauce.

I wanted to order the paiko fried rice...paiko is written páigǔ in Chinese and is a kind of spare rib, but they had run out of it, so instead I ordered the short rib donabe gohan which was a garlicky rice dish cooked with short ribs in a clay pot.

This was delicious, especially the parts that were stuck to the pot.

We ate a lot of rice that day but everything had different flavors and were delicious.

There are other places we want to check out so we'll be back to Yokohama's Chinatown.

Gokuchaso
130 Yamashitacho
Naka-ku, Yokohama
Phone: 045.681.7776
Hours: Mondays-Fridays 11:30-20:00, Saturdays 11:00-21:00, Sundays 11:00-20:00

Ryuhoshuka
152 Yamashitacho
Naka-ku, Yokohama
Phone: 045.662.9201
Closed Tuesdays
Hours: 11:30-14:30 (lunch), 17:30-21:00 (dinner)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

komeda ogura an

The other day I was looking for some sweet bean paste and came across this one by Komeda Coffee, a coffee shop chain from Nagoya.

Komeda Coffee is one of the original shops that serves ogura toast...toast topped with butter and sweet bean paste.

I love the packaging which says to put it on toast, pancakes and ice cream.

We tried it the yesterday for breakfast.

I copied something I saw on social media...putting strawberries, sweet bean paste, cream cheese and blueberries on toast...

I'm glad we tried this sweet bean paste and I will try to use it up making anpan or again on ogura toast.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

sea luck

Back at the end of December, we tried this fantastic katsuo chip snack.

Well, I looked online and found their website and ordered all sorts of things.

Packets of dashi (stock), different types of furikake and the katsuo chip snack.

One type of furikake has the katsuo chip bits, dried shirasu (tiny sardines), nori cut into different shapes and tororo konbu.

Each package is triangular shaped and labeled with 8 popular views of Mount Fuji.

Hamanako (Lake Hamana), Hamamatsu, Oigawa, Yaizu, Nihondaira, Mihon no Matsubara, Fuji and Izu...so cute!

The nori is cut into 20 different shapes that represent the specialty items to Shizuoka as well as some of Katsuokun's friends...(Katsuokun is the character of this brand.)

Shizuoka prefecture, Mount Fuji, mikan (tangerine), tea, wasabi, unagi (eel), strawberry, sakura ebi (Lucensosergia lucens), gyoza, sakura (cherry blossoms), castle, oden, melon, steam engine, katsuokun character, katsuochan character, magucchi character, hazesokun character, tororo konbukun character and shirasu taro character.

The katsuo chip bits are crisp and the nori shapes are fun to see.

I'm glad we ordered from them and will definitely order again when we run out of these snacks and condiments.

Monday, January 20, 2020

kobuta

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you'll know that Saturday we had snow!

Actually more like sleet.

Everything melted quickly, but it was still fun to see!

Sunday, the sun was out and so we ran some errands.

Afterwards we tried a (new to us) place for lunch...Kobuta.

Kobuta literally means piglet.

The interior of this shop is dark but cozy with its wooden tables and leather chairs.

Lots of horse photos too.

Kind of like you were having lunch at a ranch or lodge.

Satoshi had their mixed fry set...this came with all sorts of fried items, a bowl of tonjiru, rice and pickles.

Not sure of all the different fried items he had (he ate too fast), but he said everything was cooked perfectly.

I had their napolitan.

This had a little meat, lots of onions and a non-cloying tomato sauce.

My dish also came with a small salad.

This shop has been around for 50 years! The original owner passed away but the lady who also was cooking the food, said that she's been running the place for a "long long time".

We'll be back to try other items on their menu.

As we were walking home, we stumbled upon a shop that was "giving" things away.

We picked up this ceramic tokkuri (bottle) for warm sake as well as a small ochoko (cup).

Hope you have a great week!

Kobuta
3-33-3 Ikegami
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3751.1384
Hours: 11:30-14:30 (lunch), 17:00-21:30 (dinner)
Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays

Sunday, January 19, 2020

daisaku

I love the local cable channel because they have a show that shares info on restaurants and events in our area.

One restaurant that was featured was Daisaku.

A tiny udon shop that opened in 2017 apparently the owner studied under a well known (but unfamiliar to me) shop in Kanagawa.

I ordered the hiyashi tomato udon.

A cold dish served with lots of tomato sauce, shiso, green onions and a little eggplant and some tsuyu (udon sauce).

The dish is also served with two pieces of toriten (fried chicken).

I liked that you could squeeze some lemon and you could also add some chili flakes.

Satoshi ordered the Daisaku udon which came with a fried tofu filled with mochi, shrimp tempura, kamaboko, ume, shiso and I'm not sure what else because Satoshi ate it so fast! and drank all the soup!

We'll be back to try the other items on their menu.

Daisaku
1-18-7 Kamata
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 050.1185.2015
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 11:30-14:00 (lunch), 17:30-21:00 (dinner)

Saturday, January 18, 2020

ginza sky lounge

When Satoshi and I had lunch at Pyonpyonsha, we were sitting near the window and were able to look out at Tokyo.

We noticed a revolving restaurant and afterwards I looked online to see what it was...Ginza Sky Lounge.

Wednesday, we went to celebrate our anniversary there.

Lunch comes with one free drink...I chose sparkling wine.

The first course said marinated mushrooms with proscuitto...but it was a smoked chicken with garbanzos.

Lunch came with a roll and baguette. (too bad the baguette wasn't toasted just nuked)

Madai (red snapper) Grenoble style...mushroom butter sauce.

The fish was moist and the skin crispy.

Pork with a chaliapin sauce.

Chaliapin is apparently a Japanese creation and is an onion sauce.

And according to "Cooking with Dog", was devised to tenderize steak.

Loved this sauce.

Photo by Satoshi

Dessert was panna cotta.

It takes about 80 minutes for the restaurant to make a full circle...too bad the day we went it was raining, so there wasn't much to see.

Still, it was a nice way to celebrate.

We want to try their dinner and see the lights of Tokyo, we'll be back when there is a special occasion.

Ginza Sky Lounge
Tokyo Kaikan 15F
Chiyoda, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3212.2775
Hours: 11:00-22:00

Friday, January 17, 2020

setagaya boroichi

I've been wanting to check out the Setagaya Boroichi for awhile now and finally got to do so yesterday.

From where we live it took me about an hour (and three transfers) to get to Setagaya.

Since it was a weekday, it wasn't krazy crowded (though I did get banged around by older ladies not paying attention where they were walking!)

This boroichi (literally rag market...flea market) has been around since 1578!

It is held every December 15th & 16th and January 15th and 16th from 9:00-20:00.

It used to be a place where fabrics were traded but these days it is more like a flea market where there are vendors selling old and new things.

The specialty of the market is the Daikanmochi.

The line can be short or very long.

I overheard a man telling another man that at last month's boroichi, the line for mochi was a 5 hour wait!

Thank goodness I only had to wait an hour...still, it was fahreezing, but I guess it is better than it being gross humid (or raining)....

You could choose between 3 types...karami mochi, anko (sweet bean paste) and kinako (soy bean powder).

I purchased the karami mochi (karami means spicy), because it was something I don't see too often.

The mochi is covered with a "spicy" grated daikon, a little shoyu, nori, some chili and katsuobushi (shaved bonito).

We had this for dinner with some veggies.

Before heading home, I picked up some nikuman from Lu Gang, which makes Taiwan style steamed meat buns.

They do have different flavors, but during the boroichi they were only selling their original meat bun.

I loved how the outside was a little sweet and the pork inside was just that, no fillers.

I am glad I checked out this flea market and look forward to going back to Lu Gang.

Have a nice weekend.

Lu Gang
3-1-12 Setagaya
Setagaya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5799.3031
Hours: 9:00 until sold out
Closed Wednesdays & Thursdays

Thursday, January 16, 2020

kagawa obara beniwase

I found these super orange-y mikan at the supermarket recently.

They are called Kagawa Obara Beniawase..."beni" is the Japanese word for red.

I picked them up because I thought they might be similar to blood oranges.

Well, they weren't they were just really dark orange on the outside.

I've put them next to the other mikan I had to show how dark orange these were.

I'm glad we tried them.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

happy anniversary

Today is our 20th! so fast...

Thankful for Satoshi always putting up with me through the good and not so good times.

Love you.

(peonies at Tsuruoka Hachimangu, Kamakura)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

family sunday

Sunday, Satoshi had plans, so I spent the day with my Aunty and cousins and went to Kamakura.

The last time I was in Kamakura was pre-blog, maybe 15 years ago?!

Now that we live in Tokyo, it is only about an hour to Kamakura by train.

We started out at the Kotoku-in Temple where the Great Buddha is.

Have you been inside the Great Buddha?

I don't remember going in the first time I visited, so we each paid the 20 yen fee and went inside.

Amazing to see the construction details...can you believe this was made over 750 years ago?!

Then we went down the street to Hasedera (Hase Temple).

The property is HUGE with beautiful hydrangea dotting the hillside (called Prospect Path) above the temple during the summer.

Don't forget to check out Bentenkutsu Cave...you have to crouch a little to make your way through the cave to give prayers to Benzaiten, goddess of things that flow (like water and music) and where Kobo Daishi, a saint, is said to have practiced in seclusion.

From Hasedera we walked back to the Kamakura station area in search of lunch.

It was about 11:30 and there were lines in front of many shops...we popped into Ambigram since there was no line.

This shop's lunch menu is various galette...crepes made from buckwheat flour.

Our lunch started off with some corn potage (corn soup) and foccacia with lots of butter.

Cousin D and I tried their épinard (spinach in French)...while Aunty and cousin P tried their printanière which was topped with a salad.

Everything was delicious, the crepe a little crispy on the edges.

Everyone's lunch came with a cake from the showcase....

I tried the Alexander...a pistachio mousse with strawberry and raspberry mousse topped with some coconut frosting "puffs"....mmm!

And then we walked to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu to check out the peonies.

Beautiful but most looked like they had reached their peak and were fully bloomed.

It was overcast for most of the day and cold, but we got to see and do all that they wanted so I think they enjoyed themselves.

They are heading back home today, it was nice catching up and spending time with them.

Ambigram
7-7 Onarimachi
Kamakura, Kanagawa
Phone: 0467.25.0327
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 11:00-20:00