Ok, Japan was interesting. I hated that walking was involved and many stairs. By the time I would get lost, get on the right train and walk down to Ginza to shop, I’d be tired and head home for a 3 pm nap. The shopping was great, but I could do that shopping in New York, Honolulu, Vegas, etc. The Japanese and their toy breed dogs was adorable. I stayed at the Roppongi Hills Residence, and right downstairs on the corner was a Starbucks where many liked to hang out with their dogs. The pet stores that frequent the area had the cutest dogs ever! I couldn’t resist going in.
The Japanese culture is very reserve, and strange to me, but I get it. I got kicked out of a spa for my tattoos, and got a lot of looks, but that’s ok. It annoyed me out how OCD the culture as a whole is, maybe since I don’t give a fuck. Maybe now I understand why my Japanese grandmother is the way she is. Everything is perfect and clean cut and has to be a certain way. Japanese are the perfect micro-managers.
The one thing that I will come back to Japan for is THE FOOD. Oh my god it was amazing! I notice that Japanese like pizza and pasta a lot, mainly carbonara. Pretty much everywhere I went carbonara was on the menu. So I enjoyed trying it. Their bacon and sausage tastes very different, as it is kurubota, but it is delicious and has a unique flavor! Spajiro is a place nearby Kai liked to eat it. It doesn’t taste anything like what the Italians make but it has a nice little Japanese flavor to it.
Oh toro, the fattier and tastier part of the tuna is easily available everywhere, whereas is a delicacy that sells for $35+ a lbs in Honolulu. Downstairs from my apartment was a Lincos, a grocery store so it was yummy to go down there in the evening and get everything 50-70% off from the day time. This tray of oh toro was only $2. You can get tempura, yakitori, among other things.
Downstairs from the back of my apartment if I walk through the garage and up an elevator is Keyakizaki Dori, a shopping complex that connects to Mori Tower and more high end shopping, there is a small fresh udon shop tucked away in the corner called Hashida Honten. It was busy several nights, but I came in early at 5 pm at opening and snuck in. They don’t really speak english. One of the cooks did. The noodles were delicious, but they were kind of rude. Most people in Japan are generally very nice, but I guess everywhere you find rude people. It’s a small restaurant, all light wood and opens to the kitchen so you can see the cooks prepare around a bar like structure
I stole Kai’s goma (sesame) sauce and also had a plain ginger with kaki (tempura flakes.) It was delicious!
We decided to walk up Roppongi one evening and stumbled across a ramen place. It wasn’t very busy but the tonkotsu ramen looked very good, so we gave it a try. The basil gyoza gave it a unique twist. I really liked the gyoza a lot! And the tonkotsu brother was very rich and flavorful, but the basil gyoza, I would return for again. And for desert.. we had almond pudding. Desert is always simple in japan and often a slice of fresh fruit or something simplistic.
I ate at Sarashina Horii. This was also near my apartment. I was so lucky to have such a great location. This is a famous zaru soba restaurant and always has a line outside. I came one afternoon when it was cold for the hot duck udon. But the first time I went, I tried 3 different types of noodles, pork belly and teri chicken. Everything was delicious, but the soba is something you definitely have to come here for! They have several variations of soba, white, buck, green and a flavored noodle.
Ikspiari specializes in Hakata ramen. I found this place inside the shops, outside of disneyland on the 3rd floor. It had a huge line in the evening, as it was a cold night. So I checked out of the Hilton early to get there for lunch. I’m glad I got there when I did because there was no line and I was seated immediately. As I left, there was a line of about 15 people waiting to eat. I don’t think I could get sick of ramen, I think I could eat ramen everyday!
I don’t remember this place’s name, but my host took me here. It is a very small shop on the main drag. After a night of drinking at Oak Door at the Grand Hyatt we came here for ramen at 1 am. This was my favorite gyoza in Japan. It was so simple yet so delicious! I tried so hard to find it again and was unable to 😦 so sad.
Oak Door was my favorite place to order a bottle of wine and listen to music. Affluent clients, Japanese business men, celebrities, high end hookers that look like supermodels and generally a beautiful crowd hang here. I sit at a bar and listen to the live music for the evening. Mr. Mori, the owner of the Mori buildings was sitting right next to me and frequents his own establishment.
Had yakitori with my host one evening. Don’t remember the name of the place, but everything is delicious and simple as always. The whole snapper was my favorite. I especially love snapper as it always has a light flavor and delicate tenderness to it. The crunchy skin on the outside is the best part!
Down the road there was a yakitori spot that had open windows and as often loud with patrons of the drinking sort. This place looked fun but always had a long line. So as usual, I come at opening and sneak in. Bacon wrapped shiso pinwheels and ochazuke were my favorite. I got Kai to try some beef tongue (but I didn’t tell her it was tongue) and she loved it! The crab cream karokke was my favorite that I’ve ever had! It is a potato deep fried with a creamy crab filling with lots of crab on the side. In America they call it a croquette.
Sweet potato pocky sticks? Need I say more?
Japanese candy is the best! For $1.20 ( just as much as a snickers or twix ) you can get dark chocolate with dried strawberries and raspberries on it. This brand is everywhere in every store. I had several of them.
Saizen is located on the 5th or 6th floor of Mori Tower at Roppongi Hills. It was a random stumble upon and I’m glad we ate there TWICE. My host told me the quality of the fish was better than what you can get down at Tsukiji. They had great unique specials too that we were trying left and right. Oh toro is my favorite! For 3 people it was about $200. I can think of some high end places that would cost a lot more for high quality sushi. However, the atmosphere is very casual as it is in the middle of the dining area of a shopping complex. The green tea warabi azuki mochi at the end in a very small portion ended the meal with a nice slightly sweet touch. Deserts I notice in Japan aren’t always too sugary. I guess you need to balance for the carbs from the noodles and rice!
Joelle Le Robuchon was nearby and I’d frequently pick up pastries. I loved the fruit tarts specifically. I tricked Kai (my 9 year old daughter) into trying foie grois and she LOVED it. She said “mmmmm it’s so buttery,” Then when I explained to her what it really was, she freaked out! Come on!!! You loved it! LOL
Jean Fuckin George. The Roppongi Hills location shuts down the Vegas location. This was literally right outside the door of my apartment. So I went not once, but TWICE. The first experience was so amazing that I had to go a second time. This has got to be one of my most favorite dining experiences to date. Everything fused together with one story and flavor. They use traditional french ingredients and techniques but also add small japanese flairs like adding shiso flower to the fried calamari for example. Every bite was orgasmic.
Blue fin lemongrass chili chestnut coconut sorbet ala mode.
Seared scallops with shaved truffle. Can’t go wrong. This had perfect contrast in texture.
I’m not a fan of calamari but WOW! Fraiche with truffle shavings shiso flower. Simply genius.
the manager always talked to us at the bar and explained dishes and wine and was very cool. There are only 2 or 3 tables upstairs and everyone else is dining around the bar watching the cooks prepare our dishes. I got to know each of the chefs, where they are from, where they learned to cook, what their hobbies are. It was a really close experience where everyone was socializing and meeting each other. We always leave late, so the staff all walk us out and talk to us outside of the restaurant for 10 minutes. They must love us. Haha. The manager also started hitting on me the second my date went to the bathroom. hahaha! I don’t mind. (:
Smoked quail sous vide.
Best fois gras EVER!
This dish was a buttery sauce. I can’t remember what was all on it, but the dark spots are a unique mushroom. I would think it tastes like a richer more flavorful hollandaise sauce. Oh you know the french love butter.
This was my favorite dish. It was so simple, yet so amazing. The chef actually showed me a device they use to cut the egg perfectly. He then whips butter and egg together with salt and tops it with caviar. So simple, yet amazing! I could eat 10 of those! I think I could make it at home myself.
If you don’t know anything about wine then read up on these. It’s a 1st class wine and there are only 4 from Paris. It was the most intense wine I’ve ever had in my life.
Seared A-5 Hida Beef with carrot lime emulsion and carrot top pesto. Thigh cut perfectly fatty and tender. Hands down, the best beef I’ve ever had.
Suckling pig confit with silky rhutebega and bacon marmalade.
Since then they’ve changed their menu already. They constantly change it. I’d like to try the hairy carb risotto with nori and yuzu. And the caramelized sea scallop with cauliflower caper raisin emulsion. The new foi gras brûlée is seasoned now with made with black mission figs and toasted brioche.
Seryna is famous for their quiet, cute and dark atmosphere. Great business spot or date night. The atmosphere is like you are in a boat and there is a forest behind a glass. Great unique atmosphere. Shabu shabu is a couple hundred bucks, it’s not a cheap place. But this spot is famous. The shabu is amazing. I also tried sharks fin for the first time. To my surprise it was pretty good. Gelatinous and delicate in texture. The weird thing was I pet a shark earlier that day at the aquarium. At Seryna, they bring out a lot of side dishes so by the time you get your main dish, you are almost full. But the portions of the food are huge and the quality of the meat and crab legs are wonderful. I like the soup they bring out at the end very much as well. The Seryna House sake is the best. It’s so delicate and smooth, it goes down so easy and before you know it, just a small glass has you buzzed. They also have a great wine collection.
DISNEY LAND HAD SMOKED CHICKEN INSTEAD OF TURKEY. #WINNING
There is a place called Matsurokuya that serves a lunch special of A-5 beef for 1300 yen. That’s between 11-12$. That is a deal! Esp. for the portions, as they are large. They only serve 50 sets per day for lunch, and there is always a line. I didn’t get to go. 😦 I walked there several times but to my dismay they would always be sold out.
Big bowl of Oh Toro don at Tsukiji $18
My #1 favorite restaurant in Japan! Azabu Ramen. The broth is so thick and rich and flavorful, I don’t even dare dream about drinking it. The gyoza was perfect too. I must’ve ate here at least 5 times in a month. I would eat early in the evening, but apparently eating ramen is a drunk late night to-do thing so they get busy late night.
SO now that you know why I’m so fat… to be continued. I came home 150 lbs and see how I cut down 20 lbs to 130 lbs to get on stage at the Paradise Cup in just 2 1/2 weeks!