Disney Themed Decors at Marounochi

I have a confession.


I allow Little A to watch some (sometimes, a lot) of tv. Her first ever was the first 20 minutes of Frozen.  That’s just before Queen Elsa sings “Let It Go.” She loves it. She loves singing and dancing to the songs.


So, when we saw that Maru Biru is displaying a huge ice castle with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna, we decided we have to be there. I know early on that it’ll be crowded and there will be loooong lines. But, still, we went. We lined up. We were told there’s a 90 minute wait and you cannot go out of the line even if you wanted to (As a side note, this doesn’t make sense to me ‘coz of course you can decide not to wait anymore, right?)


We waited less than an hour (an amazing achievement when you have a kid). Took some photos and left. Yey! Little A seemed to have fun and even posed for photos (none of them perfect coz she’s a little kid who doesn’t stand still 🙂 )

Past 5pm, there’s a light show every half hour or so. We were able to catch it after eating at the Marvel Cafe.

The cafe serves expensive stuff and again, the lines are long!


We had Quatro Cheese Pizza.


Shawarma (like the Avengers did at NY). Both were surprisingly tasty. You see, I had very low expectations for this cafe but was surprised that the pizza and shawarma were delicious.


Here’s the watered down Clam Chowder Soup. This one was really not worth ordering. Since it was cold, we thought soup would be great. You’re better off ordering their hot chocolate and coffees that comes with Iron Man foam on top! Kawaii!


The photo op with the life sized super heroes were pretty much worth the trouble (for DrG and other super fans!)


The underground display at the Gyoko Underground Gallery  is also worth a visit. Darth Vader and Master Yoda replicas are on display (behind glass walls though). 5 Iron Man suits are also exhibited along Marvel posters.


Other buildings have Rapunzel, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Mickey and Minnie, Buzz and Lightyear, Winnie the Pooh and friends on display, too!


A walk under the fairy lights on Marounochi Naka-dori is a must!

We walked to the Brick Square hoping that there will still be some shu cream at Echire even that late in the day. Alas! they were all sold out. No croissants, no shu cream. Only madeleines.

Tokyo Station will have a 5 day projection and light display starting December 24.

Happy Holidays!


Leche Flan For Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner! In our household, we have got to have Leche Flan aka プリン. It’s easy to make with just 4 ingredients!

2 to 3 tablespoon of brown sugar for the caramel base. Heat the pan directly and swirl it around until the sugar has caramelized. Remove from heat, set aside and it should harden on its own.


Next, mix 8 egg yolks and 1 can of condensed milk and 1 cup of water. Add lemon zest (optional).

Pour the mixture into the pan and then steam for 25 to 30minutes. Refrigerate and then turn it upside down.


And just like that, you’ll have a reminder of home 🙂

Edit: since it’s just three of us here, I halved the recipe so the photo only shows 4 eggyolks 🙂

Apple and Persimmon Fruit Picking at Yamanashi


Autumn is so much fun! I love how the leaves turn yellow, orange and red. I love how chestnut, sweet potatoes and pumpkin flavors are incorporated in savory and sweet food alike. The weather is also perfect to go out and explore!

DrG found an amazing place in Yamanashi where we could enjoy and experience the rural life this season.


i could sit in this Japanese garden and stare at this all day

But, we had farming (and eating) activities to go through!


Sage the Farmer Volunteer cutting the top portion of persimmons

IMG_9727Peeling the Persimmons


Hanging to dry

IMG_9737All dried up for us to eat! These can be eaten hot or cold. I prefer the heated dried persimmons. It looks all yucky and gross, doesn’t it? But I was told it tastes better than it looks so I bravely ate one and forgot my qualms. They are yummy and sweet. The drying process allows the astringent taste to disappear.


Freshly picked persimmonsIMG_9927

Little A trying out fresh (crunchy) persimmons


We also got to visit the apple orchard and tried some spectacular fuji apples and pears.IMG_9853

So sweet and juicy!IMG_9865

How many can you eat at a single sitting? We were sooooo full!


But, still had lunch at this popular town restaurant that serves really good tofu and Hoto ほうとう– a popular Yamanashi dish of hand made noodles with vegetables and miso soup


You can see the beautiful Fujisan just off the road.

We spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the quiet place. By dinner, we were served this incredible *simple* Japanese dinner (same restaurant though).


Again, handmade tofu was the highlight of the meal.


Tofu with fresh wasabi on top


Daikon (radish) for the tempura


Pickled Daikon


Stewed Daikon with beef


Seaweed and Daikon (refreshing!)


Tofu with soup




Our table looked like this when everything was served. Tofu salad for sharing!

The best part of the trip (apart from all the eating we did) was the *free* tour guide and stories shared by Kazu-san. He speaks English fluently which saved DrG the hardwork of translating everything. Kazu-san is a serious guy and very passionate about farming. You’ve got to listen to him talk (and joke)!

He talked about many things including the difference of Japanese farming versus the western processes. He talked about manual cross pollination and what they do to have really big and juicy peaches (our favorite!)

Book his second home for an overnight stay.


Saying goodbye to this beautiful place. May we meet again (maybe in spring!)

Nakagomi Orchard Farm for farm stay and fruit picking

Lang Li Bai Jiang Xian Guan

We were looking for a place to eat and walked in to this restaurant. The place looks busy so we decided to try it out.IMG_5051

It was just us but we ordered a lot (again!)


Pork so tender and fatty! Oh my god, so good with rice!


Veggies for the day with garlic


Steamed fish drenched in oil


Pork trotter because!


Rice noodles


And this can of coke that reads 听妈妈的话 (literally Listen to Mama’s Words)

Not bad for a random restaurant. Just don’t get turned off by spitting service crew. Ugh!

Lang Lu Bai Jiang Xian Guan 

BaiXiaQu JinLuan Xiang 8Hao Su Ning DianQi Pang De XiangZi Li, Nanjing, China

Twelve at Hengshan

We liked going to hotel buffets back home and have been spoiled with all the buffet spreads available. My expectations were pretty high when my sister said we will have dinner at Twelve.


Grilling station


Seafood diet. I see food, I eat!


Salad and accompaniments


Peking duck rolls


Sushi plate (Tako shown)


Curries and stewsIMG_5133

Various viands. Chicken, vegetables, fish, meats.


Noodle station


Dessert spread with fruits and pastries


More pastries


Fruit platters

Not up to par with buffets we grew up with but since my sister and I haven’t been back home in years, this was enough to remind us of the fun times we had.

They have outdoor seating which you can request for dates (wink wink!)– we wanted to be near the food though so we sat indoors! Teehee!

Twelve at Hengshan

12 Hengshan Road, Shanghai, China, 200031
+86 21 3338 388

TianZiFang Day

We had a day to ourselves so my sister told us we might enjoy Tianzifang. We explored the little alleyways and had fun!


 There were many stores selling photographs, arts, souvenirs, clothes and little knick knacks.


Pots and ceramics


Cheongsams and accessories


Shanghai lady cosmetics and soaps


Art Galleries


restaurants of every kind to cater to tourists


Flowers out of the blue


The stores are houses converted into shops. Some people still live there as evidenced by clothes hung outside.


This is a Durianything store. I was hoping to try their macarons but weren’t available that day. The shop next to it is a nitrogen ice cream bar but either it has closed down or hasn’t opened that day.

My sister recommended we go to Kommune for lunch. Lucky we went early because the place filled up pretty quickly. The service was great and the servers were friendly. Although when we passed by again (around 2pm), a couple of foreigners were pissed about late orders (They were speaking in fluent mandarin!).


We sat outside and enjoyed people watching (and eavesdropping).


Family deciding what to get.


Our order! Mama’s Lasagna set which came with mushroom soup or salad. We chose the soup and it came in this pretty thermos.


Huge order for me and Little A


I miss the cheesy lasagna!IMG_5234

Before we went home, a quick stop at a tea house for milk tea with pearls was needed!

I have one regret though. I didn’t buy several animal hand puppets I thought were cute! I was haggling with the lady and I thought walking away would be a good strategy. I would go back for them if I could!

Tian Zi Fang is at Taikang Road, Luwan District

Aux Jardins Massenet Afternoon Tea

We were in Sinan Lu and figured we could try one of the many places that offer afternoon tea. We were a bit early for afternoon tea though so we waited a bit before our tower came out. Located inside Sinan Mansions, Aux Jardins Massenet looks very luxurious with its with restored colonial era structures.


Cafe Latte


Hot Chocolate. Very Swiss Miss-y. We should’ve ordered teas, yes?


Not so pretty


Cranberry and Raisin Scone with whipped cream and jam


Macaroon hamburger, Lemon Tart, Nameless Cake(official name, not joking!), Chocolate Financier with passion fruit, Coconut Mango Pellet


Sesame Tuna, Shrimp Tail with cocktail sauce, Garlic Herb Beef, Curry Cod Puff and Smoked Salmon with Mango and avocado salsa.


Papaya Tapioca Pudding and Pineapple pastry

This set is good for 2 people at Rmb 298. Maybe try somewhere else next time 🙂 22 Bund offers afternoon tea, too. Next time!

Hotel Massenet,
Sinan Mansions,
51 Sinan Lu,
near Fuxing Lu
近复兴路 Tel 3401 9998