Setsubun and Sushi Rolls

Today, February 3rd, is Setsubun in Japan. We start the day throwing dried soybeans saying out with the devil, in with good fortune. For dinner we made ehōmaki sushi rolls. The supermarkets are selling ehōmaki – lots of them. We enjoy making rolls at home. Once you practice a few times it becomes second nature….

Nabe Hot Pots

In the cold of winter donabe hot pots keep us warm and nourished. The nabe pot collection includes a variety of designs for sukiyaki, oden fish cakes, yūdōfu tōfu, tagine-style, okayu rice porridge, and earthenware pots in a variety of sizes including for one person. The colorful fish cake oden nabe is made with fishcakes…

Tsukiji Karaage Fried Chicken

Karaagé, Japanese fried chicken, is irresistible – especially here at Tsukiji Toritoh. Toritoh is a chicken-specialty shop that opened in 1907. The retail shop at Tsukiji is always busy, I assume with yakitori chefs. There are two restaurants. The main restaurant, around the corner for the retail shop, is usually packed, but it was a…

Tsukiji Toritoh Chicken Specialty Shop

Toritoh is a chicken-specialty shop at Tsukiji Market. There is a retail shop and two restaurants in the market. This steamed chicken over rice takes me back to Singapore. The menu includes chicken ramen, and karaagé fried chicken. Toritoh has a branch in the newer Uogashi Yokochō building on the third floor shokudō cafeteria space….

Tsubakiya Kissaten Breakfast

Lovely morning set at Roppongi Tsubakiya kissaten. Salad, ham, egg salad, toast, butter and jam, and coffee for 1,250 JPY (about $10 – and no tipping in Japan!). Diners have the option to toast the shokupan and also to select the house siphon coffee or today the special selection Tenkuu Columbia. The coffee is poured…

The Origins of Katsu Curry

Katsu curry, tonkatsu pork cutlet with curry rice, originated at Grill Swiss in Ginza. Lunch starts with a small salad and an asari clam and bacon soup. The dark brown curry is made with minced pork and beef is rich with spices and is topped with tonkatsu (1,540 JPY or about $12). On this day…

Salmon and Ikura Rice at Tsukiji

Delicious start to the day at Tsukiji Tadokoro Shokuhin, a fish roe specialty shop. The eat-in counter has rice and pasta dishes with ikura (salmon roe), tarako and mentaiko (both from pollack roe). There is also onigiri or omusubi rice balls stuffed with roe for take-away. This is rice sauteed in butter and soy sauce…

Yakiniku Like Barbecue

Yakiniku Like’s tagline is Tasty! Quick! Value! It is a chain of yakiniku barbecue with branches throughout Tokyo. Many of the seats are set up for solo diners, each with their own individual barbecues. The set menu includes meat, rice, soup, and kimchi. On the table are five different sauces, grated garlic, and a fun…

Matsumoto Mingei Hotel Kagetsu

Matsumoto has a rich history of mingei, traditional Japanese crafts. The Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu celebrates the mingei philosophy. The hotel opened in Meiji 20 (130 years ago). The older part of the hotel has rooms with some Matsumoto folk craft furniture. This part of Nagano is known for its hot springs waters and the hotel has…

Le Pain Quotidien Roppongi

When I lived in Brussels my local bakery was Le Pain Quotidien. I loved sitting at the wooden communal table sharing jars of jam and nutella with the other diners. The ham and Gruyere cheese omelette with a side salad and bread is a nice start to the day. The bakery has three jams and…

Japanese Pancakes

A popular trend are Japanese pancakes made with whipped egg whites. Fluffy and light. The crème brûlée pancakes included a bitter caramel sauce and was not too sweet. The marshmallow pancakes with ice cream and bananas was too sweet. There was a bacon, egg, and cheese pancake that looks amazing but sadly was sold out…

Kaitenzushi Haneda Ichiba at Tokyo Station

Haneda Ichiba is a kaitenzushi conveyor belt sushi inside of Tokyo Station. The company sends seafood directly from the fisherman to their restaurants. Fresh seafood at a better price as the product does not go through Toyosu Market. It’s a fun shop. Perfect on this day as I was with my kid. https://hanedaichiba.com

Fried Chicken in Matsumoto

Fried chicken at Shizuka near Matsumoto Castle. Sanzokuyaki 山賊焼 fried chicken is a local specialty in Matsumoto, Nagano. I love fried chicken and this one was crispy and juicy. Shizuka is an izakaya traditional Japanese pub. In the evening nihonshu flows and there is a long list of saké-friendly small bites like basashi horse sashimi,…

Matsumoto Kissa Senzu Wagashi

Kissa Senzu serves modern and traditional wagashi sweets inside of the historic Kaiundo confectionary shop, opened in 1884 in Matsumoto. Monaka, a crispy wafer is served with a flight of three types of red beans (smooth, chunky, and whole). A fun way to compare the textures. Dorayaki of two small pancakes stuffed with sweet anko…

Metoba Soba in Matsumoto

Metoba is a soba shop on the Metoba river that flows through Matsumoto in Nagano. Nagano is famous for its harvest of buckwheat grains for soba. I asked if there were any local dishes we could try and was recommended the soba pancake called soba usuyaki (literally thin and grilled). A bit thinner than Western-style…

Tachikawa Rainbow Spice Curry

Rainbow Spice, just one minute from Tachikawa station’s South exit, is sliver of a shop. Seven counter seats overlooking an itsy-bitsy kitchen. Rainbow Spice makes the curries from scratch and doesn’t use flour but yogurt as a thickener. This lunch was a double curry of a pork vindaloo, tart from wine vinegar with tender meat,…

Matsumoto cohiludo Oyaki

We are visiting Matsumoto in Nagano for winter holidays. One of our first stops was at the charming cohiludo café. It is on the main street leading to Matsumoto Castle from the station. Oyaki are stuffed dumplings, a local dish from Nagano prefecture. My favorite is the Nozawana, a mustard green leaf – also a…

Osechi Ryōri New Year’s Cuisine

Osechi ryōri is the traditional New Year’s Cuisine that is rich in symbolism. Over the years I have slimmed down what I prepare to only my favorites and then enjoy these dishes over the first few days of the new year. Here are some of the auspicious dishes: kuri kinton sweet potatoes and chestnuts –…

The Tavern at Andaz Tokyo

Lovely lunch at The Tavern – Grill and Lounge in the Tokyo Andaz hotel in Toranomon. On the 52nd floor and with high ceilings there are some dramatic views of the city overlooking the Imperial Palace and towards Tokyo Sky Tree. The salad Nicoise includes seared tuna, quail eggs, and caviar is a lovely starter….

Nihonbashi Yukari Shōkadō Bentō

The shōkadō bentō at Nihonbashi Yukari is a luxurious lunch. In the evenings the Iron Chef @kimiononaga serves a multi-course kaiseki menu of seasonal dishes. The lunch starts with a savory custard which is chilled in the summer and hot in winter. The bentō box has four sections: a collection of small bites – like…