A Ginza Afternoon

There are so many small shops at Ginza alleyways to visit. One very popular ramen shop is Kagari. We got there 30 minutes before their opening time yet there were already 5 people in front of us. A few minutes later though, a soft spoken chef came out to inform us that we (meaning Little A) cannot go in their tiny shop. Boooo Kagari. What difference does it make to have a sleeping baby with us? We are still people…people who are hungry..people who wanted ramen! Booooo!

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Disheartened, we went to Torigin instead. I didn’t want to go to the same restaurant we’ve been to, so…. we went to the *new* Torigin instead! Apparently, they parted ways some 50 years ago and opened shop just beside the old one.

It’s more cramp than the original but the food is the same! Exactly the same!

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The sticks

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The chicken kamameshi that was good enough for Little A to eat!

Remember how sad I was to be turned away? So DrG said we could have dessert at Pierre Marcolini! *grin* Okay….if you insist! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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They were out of waffles so that’s something to go back for.

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Chocolate Parfait

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Marcolini Chocolate Gateau

Being turned away wasn’t all that bad afterall.

Website here
5-5-8 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061
03-5537-0015

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Val Day at Haru and Haru

We don’t celebrate valentine’s day but it seems like a wonderful day to go out. We wanted to try this tonkatsu place we saw on tv (marketing susceptible!) but woaaaah! The lines were so long! The shop was in Tsukiji- where fish are auctioned and sold. I didn’t think there would be a line at the tonkatsu place at all. It was even longer than the line for Sushi Daiwa! So, we just headed to our favorite sushi kaiten place Sushisanmai. Fast and cheap (relative to Sushi Daiwa anyway).

And then we traveled all the way to Midorigaoka to find this adorable shop specializing in french toasts.

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Quaint little shop called Haru and Haru

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Trinkets and stuff

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Fun little corner

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The kitchen!

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Handwritten menu!

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My french toast with ice cream, marron caramel syrup and banana

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The toast was smallish but tasted great!

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DrG’s quiche with salad. Real good with large chunks of ham and mushrooms.

Cheese fondue starts at 3pm. They also have a long list of teas to choose from!

Great for a weekend hangout place or Val day celebration…if only it’s not too far out (of my comfort zone) 🙂

Website here
Address
Yubinbango152-0034
Meguro-ku, Tokyo Midorigaoka 3-1-6 Google Map
Nearest station 1 minute walk from Tokyu Oimachi Line Midorigaoka Station

Phone 03-3718-2188
Hours OPEN 10:00 ~ 19: 00 (18:30 LO)

A Spontaneous Day in Tokyo (Last Part)

After having the sweet treats, we chanced upon the police museum. A couple of kids were having their photos taken with the mascot and motorcycle.

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We joined in!

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We only put on the jacket and cap. Police uniform are from size 100 to 140cm

We were supposed to have steak sando lunch at Shima Steakhouse but they were closed. Sigh.

On the way there though, we passed by Thr Bridgestone Musuem of Art.

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We figured we might as well see the exhibition before they close for renovations.

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Works of Monet, Manet, Renoir, Picasso and handful of Japanese artists were displayed. Mostly minor pieces were shown though.

After soaking up some culture, we headed towards Tokyo Midtown because our tummies were grumbling.

We wanted to try the Narisawa kitchen car. The food truck is by the renowed chef Narisawa with 2 michelin stars and his restaurant is ranked first in Asia and number 14 in the world (2014).

I was afraid the lines would be crazy long but lookie….

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Hiroshima kaki fry. The oysters were so plump and juicy.

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Hokkaido Ishikari Nabe. Salmon with vegetables in miso soup. I’m not sure if it was just cold but it was sooooo good we ordered a second bowl.

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Grilled teriyaki chicken sandwich in multiple grained bread.

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Meat sandwich. Akita Pork marinated in rice malt. They don’t look much, but they tasted so good!

The kitchen car will be open until March 8. They change the menu so be sure to go back to try the other offerings.

A Spontaneous Day in Tokyo (Part 2)

After Bills, DrG decided we could go to Kyobashi to check out Hidemi Sugino’s ultra popular patisserie. We got there 1015am and there was already a line! Gasp! They open at 11am!

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There’s just that signage. No glittery banners or huge canopies.

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Hidemi Sugino
There are so many cakes to choose from! Can’t take pictures though! Here are some stolen shots.

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The Ambroisie

It was shiny and sparkly! Little A made a grab for it before a proper photo could be taken. Her fingers went straight to her mouth, too! Lips and chin were covered in chocolate! A chocolate monster in the making!

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This entremet was so worth the wait. No wonder the lines are long! They only serve limited quantities of this flavor and you could only eat this at the shop.

There are about 6 to 8 flavors that aren’t allowed to be carried out because the cakes are too delicate and temperature sensitive to be transported. Hidemi Sugino is said to use limited amounts of gelatin in his mousses so the cakes would break down if they aren’t refrgerated.

Ambroisie is a chocolate mousse with chocolate biscuit base, raspberry jam, a thin layer pistachio cake and pistachio mousse in the middle, then glazed with dark ganache. A speck of gold leaf adorns the center and thin chocolate leaves on the sides for the extra oomph.

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This is the Everest
This wasn’t part of our original order (of three cakes). DrG decided we have to try this one, too! It is a very light cheesecake that looks quite ordinary on the outside but the innards….

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…had so many layers! So, there’s the cake base, the raspberry pockets, the actual cheesecake, a thin layer of sweet jelly then capped with cream then almond slivers are placed gingerly and topped the whole cake with raspeberry then sprinkled with icing sugar. Whew!

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The Marie

One of the popular ones, too!

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Raspberry and Pistachio mousse with pistachio cake base. Not my favorite but I like how there’s a spray of citrus in every bite.

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The Diplomate
This fruity entremet was very eye catching, what with the colored dried fruits on top. The chantilly quenelle is exquisite and light with flakes of vanilla (?). The main part is a flan with more fruits inside. This cake is dense compared to the others.

I first heard of Hidemi Sugino 4 years ago but I do not like mousse cakes so I didn’t seek out his shop. After trying these though, I think I just didn’t know what good mousse tastes like! It’s yummy! I found the best way to enjoy Hidemi Sugino’s cakes is to eat all the parts together (versus eating it by component). The flavors meld well. Then, the textures give you the extra kick!

Worth the hype. Line up, everyone!

3-7-17, Kyobashi 1F, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03 3538 6780

A Spontaneous Day in Tokyo (Part 1)

A holiday right smack in the middle of the week! How exciting!

DrG woke up Little A and we all got dressed to go to breakfast at Bills, Omotesando.

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At the 7th floor of Tokyu Plaza

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Books you can browse or at least we thought we could. Nobody else were.

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Posters and prints on the wall

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Sunrise Smoothie. Yogurt based drink with banana, orange and berries

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Valrhona hot chocolate.

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Homemade Lemonade Soda.

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DrG ordered the full Aussie (1900 yen)
The scrambled organic eggs were creamy and very butter-y. The gravlax was a bit too toasted on the edges but still good and chewy. The dish has crunchy bacon, tasty pork and fennel sausages and herbed button mushrooms and a roast sweet tomato. Why is it called a Full Aussie? Cause you’re going to be sooo full after eating everything on the plate!

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The Ricotta pancakes that led us to Bills (1350yen)

Three very fluffy pancakes came out many minutes after the other dish (they did say it takes a while) but it was worth the wait! They came out warm and soft- like clouds with slowly melting honeycomb butter on each layer. The pancakes weren’t sweet at all which surprised me because I’ve always had sweetened pancakes. Nothing a drizzle, a dallop, or drench of syrup wouldn’t solve! Pockets of ricotta gave a creamier bite.

The place was totally packed and a line formed quickly after we were seated.

If you find yourself up early in the morning *and* craving for pancakes, go to Bills.

You can always reserve seats for dinner. The full lunch and dinner menus are on their site. The pancakes are available the whole day.

Website here
Opens at 830am
Access: Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku 7F
4-30-3 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
TEL +81 3-5772-1133

A Slow Cooker

Growing up in a household with 4 sisters, I never got assigned to cook. I would bake cakes and pastries (shameless plug: see Quintbelles) but never be the “best chef” of the house. That title belonged to my eldest sister; coined by my nephew as he really thinks she is the best and yes, even better than his own mom.

With minimal and considerably survival-level cooking skills, I only get to feed DrG and Little A random food I make in the kitchen! I have never received any complaints, if that’s any indication! Although, come to think of it, Little A might be holding silent protests all these time (she eats oh so little).

Anyway, of course I feel I need to improve my skill somehow. Even I get bored with my own cooking.

Soooooo… i bought myself a slow cooker! I’ve been eyeing one for the longest time. I’ve always hesistated because Japanese kitchens are so tiny! But, I went ahead and bought one because it was on sale (1944yen!)

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It’s by Twinbird (made where everything is made now but it seems to be working fine). It has a 3 liter capacity so I think it’s big enough for all the slow cooking experiments I would like to do!

As I’ve never cooked anything in one before, I searched the internet for the best or the easiest or quickest crockpot recipes. Most call for packaged sauces though so I figured I might as well try a marinade I’ve used before rather than randomly choosing one off the internet.

And this is what I came up with:

750 grams of chicken fillet
3T calamansi juice
5T tomato paste
3T soy sauce
1 cup water
Pepper to taste
2 cloves of garlic

The result
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Very tender and flavorful shredded chicken meat!

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Served with baby spinach

I tried making chicken wings too!
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They were so tender the meat fell off the bones.

Little A ate more than usual…so, hooray!

Steak at Satou

I haven’t seen Albert in ages. He came to Tokyo for a short visit and wanted steak so off we went for steak!

There are many places that serve good/great steak but we ended up in Satou- a mid-price, semi-popular to both locals and tourists.

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They present the steak to you.

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Closer look

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The fatty parts are grilled separately so they’d be crispy!

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Garlic on the side for added flavor. These are thrown away after cooking.

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Here is my steak. It was sooo good- tender and juicy. The course came with tabehodai white rice but we saw the couple on our right eating garlic rice which smelled and looked irresistable. Meal envy! I’m sure there’s a corresponding german term for this.

Website here
Address
武蔵野市吉祥寺本町1-1-8
1F 0422-22-3130 (for the beef croquette)
2F 0422-21-6464

Cash only!