July 26, 2014

Nice Okonomiyaki-chain from Osaka

Okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake containing a lot of ingredients, is a popular B-grade gourmet which everyone likes. I haven't ever met someone (either Japanese or not) who don't like okonomiyaki. One of the popular chain restaurants is "BOTEJYU (ぼてぢゅう)", which started in Osaka in 1946 and nowadays has 82 branches in Japan and other countries. We can taste okonomiyaki in a stylish interior (B-grade gourmet restaurants are not always like this).
Beer (I don't drink!)
Orthodox okonomiyaki
Their orthodox okonomiyaki is quite on average, but the most tasty one is "modernyaki" which contains fried noodle and beef snew with much sliced long green onion. I saw a popular gourmet TV show gave it 5 score in 5. It is convincing! BOTEJYU also offers other dishes making of flour. One of the recommending dishes is "akashiyaki", different type of takoyaki (soft octopus rolls) dipping into clear soup. I liked it very much. Akashiyaki is popular in west Japan, but we can't taste it everywhere in east Japan.

Each dish costs around JPY1000. As B-grade gourmet, it might be a little bit expensive, but considering the atmosphere, it might be acceptable. Actually, we usually cook okonomiyaki at home, and the evaluation might be a bit sever (it means whoever cooks, it is at least tasty!). My rating for BOTEJYU is 3 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

BOTEJYU (ぼてぢゅう) http://www.botejyu.co.jp/group/

July 24, 2014

Fresh cakes of a fruit shop since 1902

Here, it is said that mother who does breastfeeding should not take much milk products such as cheese, fresh cream, etc. cause these clog her milk lines. But I can't give up cakes using much fresh cream at all! I already controlled myself for 10 months for baby's health and weight control. So, I've allowed myself to taste cakes with care. The below fresh cakes which my sister bought to me are of Kazan (果山), a fruit shop in Tokyo since 1902.
Strawberry bavarois 
In spite of their long history, Kazan is not so famous as Senbikiya. Since we have many such historical companies all around Japan, this humble shop may not be so prominent. But their simple cakes using fresh cream and seasonal fruits are not bad. Simpleness is the best. As the taste is light, I ate up in a second:) 

Their main shop is located in Ningyocho (人形町), and other branches are in Takashimaya department stores (高島屋) in Kanto area (関東地方). My rating is 3.3 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!    

Kazan (果山) http://www.fruit-kazan.com/index.html  

July 23, 2014

Reasonable oyster restaurant in Ueno

Just in front of the JR Ueno Station (上野駅) and next to the Ueno 3153 (see the previous visit), a restaurant complex named "Ueno no Mori Sakura Terrace (上野の森さくらテラス)" opened in the end of April 2014. Among many restaurants, we tried "Oyster Table (オイスターテーブル)" with baby. As the atmosphere is casual, baby is accepted.
Oyster Table in Ueno no Mori Sakura Terrace
Raw oysters
Caprese salad with avocado dip 
Deep-fried and grilled oysters
Oyster gratin
Spaghetti with osyter and dried mullet roe
Pineapple ice cream
It was a nice finding as an oyster lover! In spite of the reasonable price, the quality of oyster and the taste of dishes were good. You can enjoy different kind of oyster dishes casually (so far, oyster bars were generally stylish for date). Raw oyster was the best, but crispy deep-fried oyster and creamy gratin were also very tasty. Even ice cream including set meal was very nice.

Lunch is available from JPY980. The above set meal we ordered was JPY3,980 for two persons. One piece of additional raw oyster costs JPY300 at lunch time. Reasonable! (But a friend said dinner was not so value for money. Lunch might be better.) Staff was cheerful and kind. My rating is 3.4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita! 

Oyster Table (オイスターテーブル) http://r.gnavi.co.jp/b3ax902r0000/

June 15, 2014

Season has changed...and baby has come!

It has been a long time since the last update in December. In this six months, season has changed from winter, spring to early summer. In the winter in 2014, Tokyo had the heaviest snowfall in 45 years. In spring, cherry bloomed in the end of March as usual, but gone right away by strong wind. Now, we are in rainy season and early summer with historically much rain. 
Ueno Park and Sky Tree with snow (February)
With cherry blossoms (April)
With green lotus leaves. So bright! (June)
In the same way of season, my situation has also dramatically changed... cause baby has come to me; I had a baby boy! I have been so busy looking after him day and night and had no much time to write and eat out so far. From now on, when I have time, I would like to continue updating this blog on eating, traveling, baby, etc. for a change.  

With my little prince in traditional kimono

December 9, 2013

Italian restaurant and cafe in the Ueno Park

First half of December in Tokyo is the end of Autumn and beginning of Winter. Still, we enjoy beautiful colored leaves here and there. Ueno Park (上野公園), where a lot of museums, music hall, zoo and Tokyo University of the Arts (東京藝術大学) are located is one of the good spots for seeing autumn leaves in Tokyo. In particular on weekday, we can enjoy calm and peaceful atmosphere of the Park thanks to relatively fewer visitors.  

Shinobazu Pond and Sky Tree
Tokyo University of the Arts
Beautiful gingko trees
The Park is dotted with restaurants and cafes and I haven't visited all yet even though I live just in front.  One day, I had a chance to try an Italian restaurant named "Le quatro stagioni (レ クアトロ スタジオーニ)" and a newly opened "PARK SIDE CAFE (パークサイドカフェ)" with a friend. At lunch time, the Italian restaurant offers set meal at JPY1,200 including salad, soup,pasta or pizza and drink.  The portion might not be big enough for men, but as a casual lunch for women, it was good.  Pizza baked by a big oven was a napoli-style and the chewy texture was delicious. My favorite combination, four types of cheese (especially、gorgonzola!) and honey was dainty!    

Exterior of "Le quattro stagioni"
Salad and soup
Pizza margherita
Pizza quatro formaggio
PARK SIDE CAFE is located near the National Museum of Western Arts (国立西洋美術館) and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (東京文化会館), a big hall for music, opera, ballet, etc. A big STARBUCKS is just in front of the cafe, but  I personally recommend this local cafe rather than the global chain for feeling culture and arts of the Ueno Park. 
Cake set and fresh herb tea
PARK SIDE CAFE is a woody and comfortable cafe. Through the big windows, the park view is very nice. The price of drinks is a bit higher than chain cafes, but if you order a cake set around JPY1,000, the total cost might be similar or much cheaper. Fresh herb tea was very impressive with full of herb's aroma. Pair tart and cheese cake were not bad at all. Seating in this good location was value for money. If you come to the Ueno Park, why don't you try?

Le quatro stagioni (レ クアトロ スタジオーニ) http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g490402/
PARK SIDE CAFE (パークサイドカフェ) http://www.create-restaurants.co.jp/shop/index.php?controller=FrontCrShop&action=shop_show&id=648&page=    

November 23, 2013

Lovely donuts of Mister Donut

"Mister Donut (ミスタードナツ)", a donut chain which is originally from U.S. but nowadays is prevalent mainly in Japan, has been recently selling donuts collaborated with Snoopy. Can you see the figure of Snoopy and Woodstock? So lovely, isn't it? The taste was definitely good (though it was a bit difficult to eat as outside chocolate coating easily came to bits..)!
Mister Donut
Woodstock, Snoopy and chocolate pon de ring
Also, if you go to Mister Donut, don't miss new type of donuts called "pon de ring (ポンデリング)" Rice flour might be used for the craft. The chewy texture is very unique and addictive. I love it. This donut is not available in other donut chains. Most items of Mister Donut costs around JPY100 and you can easily try!

Mister Donut (ミスタードナツ) http://www.misterdonut.jp/ 

November 22, 2013

Michelin one star French restaurant in Ginza

On weekend, I went to a French restaurant named "GINZA chez omo (銀座 シェトモ)" with a friend. The restaurant is located on the 11th and 12th floors of POLA building along the Chuo St. of Ginza (銀座), a posh shopping district. Without reservation, we may not have entered. Chez tomo is very popular particularly among women cause they won one star of Michelin Tokyo, they provide light modern cuisine reasonably, one of their specialty, assorted vegetables is popular for health conscious women, etc.  
High ceiling of "GINZA chez tomo"
Starter (quail terrine, mushroom soup and foie gras mousse) 
Bread and butter 
Second starter (assorted vegetables)
Cod cake
Ingredients of dessert
Peach platter (peach juice, peach jelly and peach ice cream)
Interior of chez tomo is sparkling white and clean. Stylish. With vaulted ceiling, the restaurant is filled with sense of release. Basic lunch set meal costs JPY3,200 with 10% service charge. It consists of first starter, second starter, main dish, dessert and coffee. The second starter was fixed as their specialty "assorted 28-30 different vegetables", but we could choose favorite one from many options in other each category.

True to the reputation, the taste and presentation of chez tomo were sophisticated modern French cuisine. The first starter comprised quail terrine, mushroom soup and foie gras mousse was favorable. Good choice for tasting three different tastes in one plate! As for their specialty, assorted vegetables was....fresh but just normal:). Even so, it was true that the vegetables alleviated our guilty feeling of eating much.

The interesting performance was at dessert. Staff showed us four different ingredients of dessert, and explained how they would make. We decided just with inspiration, and got excited what dessert would be served in reality. Peach platter I had ordered was just like my imagination, and the fresh taste was very nice.

All the tables were fully occupied and seemed busy, but the service was tactful. Since the atmosphere is elegant but casual, we could stay long for chatting even after eating. But the restaurant is mostly dominated by women, men may hesitate to enter... My rating is 3.7 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

GINZA chez tomo (銀座 シェトモ)  http://www.chez-tomo.com/