Cafe Salvador in Marunouchi

 

I am very excited to hear about this new cafe that opened today in Marunouchi. Cafe Salvador will have magazines, both Japanese and foreign, for customers to peruse while drinking their java. Titles include Vanity Fair, GQ, The New Yorker, Conde Naste Traveller, and more. The cafe collaboration with Conde Naste and the Cafe Company is a brilliant idea. As it just opened today I haven’t been but look forward to going there soon.

Cafe Salvador

Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 3-2-3, Fuji Building 1F

Monday – Friday 7:00〜23:00; Saturday 10:00〜23:00; Sunday and holidays 10:00〜20:00; open daily

03-5220-6466

 

Gontran Cherrier Bakery in Tokyo

Gontran Cherrier’s Tiong Bahru Bakery in Singapore

Boulanger Gontran Cherrier‘s Singapore outpost is very popular. As a baker I find his offerings very interesting. A dense red miso bread  and an intense squid ink baguette (see photo below). I love his croissant with visible, crispy layers. I would show a photo but I can never hold myself back from digging in as soon as I get it.

His Singapore outpost has some indoor and outdoor seating and is often full. He’s known for creating unique breads so I am very curious to see what he will make once he starts working with Japanese ingredients.

The media in Singapore has been covering his store here and several have reported that a Tokyo outpost will be opening in August. I hear that it will be near Shibuya station but this has yet to be confirmed.

 

 

Okinawa Food Fair at Shinjuku Isetan


Photos are from the Shinjuku Isetan website.

Now through Monday, July 30th, at Shinjuku Isetan is an Okinawa Food Fair. Highlights include the rooftop Orion Beer Garden which includes live performances of local bands. Orion is locally brewed beer in Okinawa found at almost every in the southern city.

For food at the Food Fair, look for local seafood (whole fish and sashimi platters), Sōki soba (the preferred noodle), and dishes made with umi budo (a sea vegetable) and gōya (bitter gourd).

Shinjuku Isetan

through Monday, July 30th.

Note that the event closes at 6 p.m. on the Monday.

Orion Beer Garden hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. closing at 4 p.m. on Monday.

Click here for a list of my favorite depachika in Tokyo. (including contact information for Shinuku Isetan).

Gyokueido in Ningyocho 人形町の玉英堂

Gyokueidou 玉英堂

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-3-2 中央区日本橋人形町2-3-2

03-3666-2625

9:30 – 21:00 (Monday – Saturday), until 17:00 (Sunday and holidays)

closed the last Sunday of each month

www.ningyocho.or.jp/shop/a28.html (Japanese)

Commanding the corner, this branch of a Kyoto shop dates back 400 years. Gyokueidou is famous for two sweets, its dorayaki of pancakes stuffed with azuki paste and gyokuman. The gyokuman is a large sweet manju that is several layers around a chestnut of azuki paste, pink an, white an, and the manju cake dough, made from sticky yamaimo that encompasses it all.

Toukai in Ningyocho  人形町の東海

 

Toukai 東海

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 1-16-12 中央区日本橋人形町1-16-12

03-3666-7063

9:00 – 19:00, closed Sunday and holidays

no website

For almost 100 years Toukai has been a popular wagashi shop in Ningyocho. Be sure to pick up their signature Japanese-style waffles. There is a small selection of other wagashi confectionaries. Across the street is a well-stocked sake shop.

Tsukushi in Ningyocho 人形町のつくし

 

Tsukushi つくし

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-1-12 中央区日本橋人形町2-1-12

03-3664-7357

8:00 – 20:00

www.ntv.co.jp/burari/030329/info02.html  (Japanese)

Tsukushi is a kanmidokoro (sweets café) that offers the classics of anmitsu and its many variations. There are sweets to go, but the real reason to come here is to sit and in the café to indulge in their signature purin, a dense, rich egg custard with an intense caramel sauce. Have it on its own, or try it in an anmitsu with azuki beans and canned fruits.

Yasaiya Mei at Omotesando Hills やさい家めい


When I am craving Japanese vegetables one of the first restaurants that comes to mind is Yasaiya Mei in Omotesando Hills. While the restaurant specializes in produce it also serves meat and seafood. While classified as a “washoku” or Japanese restaurant, the menu often includes Western-style dishes like bagna cauda or a cheese fondue.

The lunch menu is filled with photos of the set lunches so no worries if you don’t speak Japanese. The dinner menu is bilingual – English and Japanese.

Everything I have had here has been excellent. Tofu burgers, eggplant doria of sake kasu (sake lees) and cheese, and the gozen (see photo above) featuring seasonal vegetables. On this day the staff suggested having a glass of freshly squeezed corn juice. Growing up in Minnesota I am spoiled by corn and have to admit that this was one of the most surprisingly delicious things I’ve had here. Many of the vegetables are on display at the restaurant if there is a Japanese vegetable you are not familiar with.

I’ve always gone with friends which is great for sharing. There is also counter seating popular with solo diners. The staff are knowledgeable about the dishes and ingredients. And service, as usual in Japan, is top-notch.

Yasaiya Mei

Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 4-12-10, Omotesando Hills 3F

03-5785-0606

Monday – Saturday and Holidays
11:00~(Last Order 16:00)
17:00~23:30(Last Order 22:30)
Sunday
17:00~22:30(Last Order 21:30)

Closed if Omotesando Hills complex is closed.

Gotta Get – Nama Shichimi 生七味

My latest craving is this great shichimi paste from the Kubara Honke Group. This nama shichimi is a paste of shichimi or seven spice. A little bit in miso soup for breakfast adds just the right spice to the savory soup. I also like it with some roasted chicken or yakitori.

It is a thick paste of red chili pepper, yuzu peel, sea salt, sansho, black sesame seed, ginger, and aonori.

A girlfriend introduced me to the product line. At her house she had some dashi-jio or dashi salt. She uses it for omusubi rice balls. She speaks very highly of everything she has tried from the company. We love the nama shichimi and will definitely try other products.

Sushi on Sunday in Tokyo

As Tsukiji Market is closed on Sundays many sushi restaurants also take the opportunity to give the staff a day off. That doesn’t mean that sushi isn’t eaten on Sundays in Tokyo.

There are several places to look to for sushi on Sunday and national holidays. Check out hotels, department stores, and large train stations. Here is a shortlist of where to go on Sunday for sushi in Tokyo.

すきやばし次郎 Sukiyabashi Jiro at Nihonbashi Takashimaya is a branch of the famous Michelin 3-star Sukiyabashi Jiro in Ginza. Nigiri or chirashi sets start at 3,150 JPY – a bargain compared to what you will pay in Ginza.

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi 2-4-1, Nihonbashi Takashimaya Honkan (Main Bldg.) 4F

03-3211-4111

11:00 – 19:00 (last order at 18:30)

Sukiyabashi Jiro is also at Roppongi Hills.

築地青空三代目 Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime at Ginza Mitsukoshi is a branch of a third generation restaurant from Tsukiji’s outer market.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 4-6-16, Ginza Mitsukoshi 11F

03-3561-7021

11:00 – 23:00 (last order 22:30)

魯山 Rozan at Shinjuku Isetan

Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-14-1, Shinjuku Isetan 7F

03-3226-0115

11:00 – 16:00; 17:00 – 22:00 (last order 21:15)

魚力海鮮寿司 Uoriki Kaisen Sushi at Atre Meguro Station offers value for the price. Uoriki is not only a sushi restaurant but also a retail shop, and therefore purchasing a lot of seafood from Tsukiji Market. Expect good quality for a great price. The popular “ichiba sushi” offers 10 pieces of seasonal seafood with chawanmushi and miso soup for 1,980 JPY.

Shinagawa-ku, Kami-Oosaki 2-16-9, Atre Meguro 1A Bldg. 5F

03-6408-8378

11:00 – 23:00 (last order 22:00)

Demystifying an Udon Menu

How do you like your noodles? Hot or cold? What temperature do you want the broth? Or, perhaps no broth at all? The texture of the noodle changes with the temperature. The umami changes depending on the type of broth or dipping sauce. While some connoisseurs may insist on only eating it a certain way, I suggest ordering what suits your needs that day. If it’s hot outside lean towards dishes like zaru or hiya-hiya. And in winter, go with the standard kake udon.

Here are some Tokyo udon shops you may want to check out.

かけ Kake – the standard hot noodles in a hot broth

ぶっかけ Bukkake – cold noodles with a bit of strong broth, garnished with toppings such as grated daikon, sudachi, and green onions

醤油 Shouyu – cold noodles topped with soy sauce and some garnishes

ざる Zaru – cold noodles served with a small bowl of tsuyu dipping broth (also called tsuyu-dashi)

釜あげ Kama-age – hot udon noodles served in a bowl of hot water and served with a dipping sauce

釜玉 Kama-tama – kama-age noodles that are topped with a raw egg and some soy sauce

The following are based on the temperature of the noodles (the first part) and the temperature of the broth (the second part)

あつあつ Atsu-atsu – hot noodles in a hot broth; basically a kake-udon

ひやあつ Hiya-atsu – cold noodles in a hot broth

ひやひや Hiya-hiya – cold noodles in a cold broth