Three years ago today I had the pleasure of taking Alton Brown on a tour in Tokyo. We did a book exchange at the end, he gave me a copy of this newest cookbook and I gave him Food Sake Tokyo. It was such a pleasure to meet him and help him find knives at Tsukiji Market and chopsticks at a chopstick specialty shop.
It’s crazy the times we are now in. Japan has not been affected too much by the coronavirus, not like in the US. But we are behind on the vaccines. Hoping I can get vaccinated in July. Also looking forward to the day when the border reopens and I can return to bringing clients to the food markets of Tokyo.
It’s been a long time since I have updated my blog. While coronavirus cases in Japan are relatively low to the US, we are far behind on getting vaccinated. The Olympic Games start in about a month and the Paralympic Games in about two months.
For now the Food Sake Tokyo market tours have come to a stop as the borders are closed. I am also waiting to get vaccinated before doing food tours with locals here in Tokyo.
Back in November, which seems like yesterday, I interviewed with the lovely Emily Rees Nunn for her Department of Salad. I love this salad newsletter which has changed the way I make salads at home. It has also introduced some new recipes for salads that I’ve made for years, but so much better, like a Greek Salad that takes me back to Athens. I’ve also changed the way I make my daily salad by letting the ingredients and dressing sit together for a while before eating. A small change, but big difference in flavor and texture. I spoke with Emily about Japanese potato salad. The interview and recipe is here:
Potato salad is a classic dish found at most izakaya drinking pubs. It’s comfort food and very different from the potato salads I grew up with in Minnesota.
If you love salads I recommend signing up for Emily’s Department of Salad newsletter. There is a free version and paid subscribers receive an extra newsletter each week.
I hope to update the blog more. For the time being just waiting for the border to reopen so I can resume market tours to Tsukiji, depachika, Nihonbashi, and more. See you in Tokyo2022! Thank you for reading and I hope to update with more blog posts in the future. Welcome back!
Nobu Matsuhisa introduced serving sushi in sake guinomi cups in his sushi cookbook. It’s a quick, easy, and fun way to serve sushi for parties. While we’re not hosting friends in our home we sometimes use this colorful method for ourselves.
Simply put vinegared sushi rice in guinomi sake cups and top with sashimi, roe, kanikama imitation crab meat, and other sushi toppings.
I had the great pleasure of being a member of a team translating Nobu the Sushi Book from Japanese to English. There are many great recipes in the book. Other favorites include a tomato miso soup and a vegetarian pressed sushi made with shiso and myoga ginger bud.
Until it’s safer to dine out, consider having a sushi party at home.
Salmon cooked with rice and topped with ikura. A mother and child dish, oyakodon. Most people will think of a chicken and egg dish. This is the same, just a seafood version.
Grilled salmon (we use salted salmon filets) is added to the rice before it is cooked. Do not put in raw salmon as the flavors are better with cooked salmon. After the rice is steamed remove the bones and skin from the salmon and incorporate into the rice. Top with ikura.
The lacquer dish is from Kyoto. The chopsticks and hashioki chopstick rest is from Hashicho with a branch at Roppongi Midtown.
We hope everyone is well. Look forward to when the border to Japan reopens so we can resume our market tours. Take care. Peace and love.
Food Sake Tokyo has resumed cooking classes out of our home. The private cooking classes are held in a traditional (small) Japanese kitchen. We can host one or two guests. The topic of the class are catered to your needs. Some possible topics include:
Japanese Basics (rice, miso soup, two vegetable dishes and a protein such as tofu or fish)
Bentō Tips (colorful and healthful portable meals for work, picnics, or traveling)
Sake-Friendly Bites with Sake
Supermarket Shopping (introducing items from the Japanese supermarket that may not be on your radar)
Fermented Foods and Pickles
Please email for more details. Our email is under the “Tokyo Food Tours” link on this website above. We look forward to hearing from you!
There is a brand new place to have breakfast at Tsukiji Market that is void of tourists and offering a value priced meal. There is a new facility, Tsukiji Uogashi, with about sixty retail shops for seafood and produce on the first floor. The first floor is open to the general public after 9 a.m. Prior to that it is for trade people only. The second floor is administrative offices and is off limits to visitors.
The third floor is a new shokudō (dining hall) that is run by a non-profit organization to supporting Japanese seafood and produce from Tsukiji Market. The recommended breakfast, only 650 JPY, included a small grilled fish filet, simmered fish with daikon, miso soup, pickles, and rice. The breakfast above was only 800 JPY and was a large serving of yellowtail and daikon simmered until tender in a sweet soy broth.
The dining hall on a recent morning was very quiet, only a handful of customers. The dining hall is so new that many don’t know about it yet. I was seated at a counter overlooking the open kitchen. The staff were very friendly and genki (enthusiastic).
The shokudō is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch prices too are reasonable, with a sashimi donburi for only 1,000 JPY or a sashimi set lunch for 1,200 JPY. I highly recommend starting your morning here if you will be visiting Tsukiji Market.
My go-to brasserie is Girandole at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. The menu includes many classics like Salad Nicoise (2,300 JPY) and Pate de Campagne (2,600 JPY). I love the Japanese twist on the salad which included seared tuna. The pate de campagne is dense without being heavy. There is a nice selection of wines by the glass. Service is professional without being stodgy.
The Petit Lunch is a good value for 2,500 JPY which starts with a soup or salad, main, and dessert. The restaurant is on the 41st floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo in Shinjuku. There are a handful of seats along the window, but I prefer the cozy banquettes. At a recent dinner here there was a family celebrating a baby’s first birthday in a corner semi-private room. We’ve come with our young son and the kid-friendly restaurant made us feel at home.
Girandole at the Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 3-7-1-2, Park Hyatt Tokyo 41st Floor