My Foodie Trip To Japan


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.

10703704_978522095507864_2557152675571991559_n 10710646_978522115507862_8532184803630756028_n

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.

10616111_989047717788635_9089284247768929992_n

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!

10620811_988015064558567_7371704621540327345_n 1424556_988015041225236_3230643311336299454_n

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.

 10351587_986813194678754_148563327624443334_n 15277_986813331345407_818422064241870177_n

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.

10329182_986604758032931_8922445580976195580_n 10388634_986604754699598_4293210528398162500_n

10675538_972647616095312_751793830974162_n 10570351_972203039473103_4995900028650523561_n

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!

10731063_985490954810978_7048833903007287030_n

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.

10730854_984759711550769_7464114321281543392_n 10703567_984759304884143_3401367979980979373_n

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.

10616209_984759478217459_6630842532448627569_n

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!

10734101_984760121550728_3477573575788608262_n 10394502_984760591550681_825144864430973324_n 1969340_984759878217419_5910703416192242723_n

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.

10518832_982950835064990_8681466502920504352_n 1958398_982950995064974_6896827239364519342_n

Sweet potato pocky sticks?  Need I say more?

10703518_982367408456666_3520598560309349271_n

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.

10345982_981447275215346_1658410357013851108_n

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!

10696214_980108672015873_7967624234133040285_n 10644637_980108682015872_8462541072412671608_n 1779914_980108635349210_4131522146271958780_n

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

10480224_972897626070311_38987877046605995_n 10653454_972898912736849_6685933296372731700_n 10408614_973869585973115_3992250058660684997_n 10460275_973319679361439_1051309834805462654_n

1800394_980110865348987_7276328382470101614_n

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.

10712870_972359966124077_301867282445870847_n

Seared scallops with shaved truffle.  Can’t go wrong.  This had perfect contrast in texture.

10672223_972359336124140_5993405048644791847_n

I’m not a fan of calamari but WOW!  Fraiche with  truffle shavings shiso flower.  Simply genius.

10676299_972360862790654_4421307453062963802_n 10698708_977687215591352_1846409928146596180_n

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. (:

10702165_972383512788389_4795987270369879868_n 

Smoked quail sous vide.

10484920_972358299457577_6298580988624062284_n

Best fois gras EVER!

10703557_977687278924679_9121015677469136386_n

10639403_972359026124171_3826478491563216285_n

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.

10645202_972358729457534_5228981381340780310_n

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.

10310598_972360436124030_7670945932707973208_n

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.

10153031_977687192258021_420831995587948546_n 1546024_972361829457224_8889504684396054905_n

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.
1011250_972602806099793_584817405131197185_n

Suckling pig confit with silky rhutebega and bacon marmalade.

1601335_977687345591339_3449702765764805705_n  1972349_972357932790947_8596866185740326060_n

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.

10366045_974720209221386_2136746015406929961_n 10622736_974718409221566_7941641368657233725_n 10268410_974722535887820_8998191149093423141_n
1959805_974719355888138_2037250653634790536_n 10632789_974718579221549_6189196487641888713_n 1012036_974722902554450_8941791075602145067_n 1601156_974720929221314_4103172547889264587_n 10387399_974719149221492_7919901571236530384_n

DISNEY LAND HAD SMOKED CHICKEN INSTEAD OF TURKEY. #WINNING

10671379_975256922501048_2367315856593341538_n

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.

restaurant_matsurokuya2

Big bowl of Oh Toro don at Tsukiji $18

10624564_974268419266565_5488636659557178563_n

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.

10308556_970739082952832_5149905339479832591_n

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!

Sunday Social @ Morimoto Waikiki – August 21st


Sunday, August 21 · 11:00am – 4:00pm

Morimoto Waikiki

1775 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI
Sunday Social – A journey of opulent tastes enjoyed in a refreshingly contemporary setting. These sumptuous affairs are a radical new take on the staid concept of Sunday brunch, transforming Sunday afternoons into a paradise of chic dining, a “Mad Men” inspired cocktail-hour with a Grey Goose Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bars and, as you would expect, plenty of clever conversation – all enjoyed amid the sparkling backdrop of delicious beats by DJ’s Ramyt, Drift & our special guests this month – Badmouth and Loic Tambay!Please join us this weekend for an exquisite blend of exceptional Morimoto cuisine and swanky beats…

Sunday Social @ Morimoto Waikiki
Reservations are suggested
943-5900 | sundaysocial@morimotowaikiki.com

See you there!
xoxo
Kristie

Naru Izakaya


Last night I drove down King St. at midnight, because it took David that long to get his ass over here, (like always) LOL! It’s all good.  We found a little Izakaya spot called Izakaya Naru. It was a little traditional Japanese spot, with Japanese speaking employees.  The special menu was a piece of paper written in kanji and katakana with a paint brush.  I had a ginger high ball to settle my stomach.  I was starving!  The sashimi was fresh and melted in your mouth.  We had Ahi and avocado summer rolls with what tasted like a rich oyster sauce. I  ordered a fried chicken which came with a homemade ume paste, and some tanaka rice, which I am going to eat right now.  They had a variety of food from small izakya dishes, to sashimi, nabe, rice stone pots, yakiniku, homemade gyozas, zaru udon and other noodles and grilled Saba.  Each dish is made with love, delicate in presentation, affordable in price, and OPEN TILL 2 AM.  Great drink menu too from wine and champagne to cocktails, and sake!  I am going to start hitting up all the late night little King St. restaurants hiding in the nooks and crannies.

Ahi avocado summer rolls

Special’s Menu

2700 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96826

(808) 951-0510

xoxo

Kristie

I Want to Eat @ Morimoto.


World renowned, Iron Chef Morimoto’s restaurants located in Philadelphia, Napa, New York, Tokyo, Mumbai, and Boca Raton, are now hitting Waikiki.  He has also been the head chef, of one of my favorite restaurants here in Waikiki and world wide, Nobu.    Can’t wait to eat there.  They are open for dinner, lunch and breakfast as well as having a seperate lounge menu.  Perhaps I will swing by for a light lunch one day soon.  Friends have told me that the restaurant is very bright, and that takes from the atmosphere, and that they prefer Nobu.  I love the bright lime green decor, beautiful lacquered wooden tables, vibrant violet  orchid pictures, and panoramic glass, with views of who know’s what?  Perhaps this would be a more enjoyable lunch spot, than a dark romantic dinner.

Some of the menu items

lamb carpaccio 17.
ginger-scallion sauce

yellowtail ‘pastrami’ 18.
togarashi, gin crème fraîche, candied olive 

crispy rock shrimp tempura 16.
spicy kochujan sauce, wasabi aïoli, coconut ranch 

 seafood ‘toban yaki’ 43.
kona lobster, king crab, mussel, clam,
diver scallop, spicy red miso-sake broths

Morimoto  12
Morimoto ginjo sake, square one organic cucumber vodka, and japanese cucumber slices.

 White Lily  12
Shochu, Calpico, Yuzu Juice, and Fresh Lemon
   
  

 

1775 Ala Moana Blvd.

@ the Edition

808-943-5900

http://morimotowaikiki.com/

xoxo

Kristie

My Blurry New Years


It started off by having drinks all afternoon at Femme Nu, where 3 of my girlfriends, and 2 other guys met me at Ichiriki for dinner.  We got bombed on beer, sake, guavatinis and shiso mojitos.  After that we all parked our cars at Pearl and consolidated.  Stacy and I walked in Pearl to use the bathroom before we head out to Yard House.  On the way to Yard House, she discovers she left her iPhone at Pearl and continued to call it until the bathroom attendant answered it.  They dropped us off and went back to get their phone.  The 4 of us walked over to Rum Fire where I lost my friends and watched the fireworks from the beach alone.  My other 2 friends, now back at Yard House, and my other friend who just met up txt me to come back to Yard House.  My phone is about to die, so I jump in a cab and head back to Yard House in the middle of the fireworks.  My phone is blowing up with about 10 people that I am suppose to meet at Kelly Oneil’s down the street. 

It’s 5 after midnight, and my girlfriend is wasted and wants to go downtown to see her Dad by Bar 35.  I have a lot of friend’s waiting for me, and I tell her that we should go to down the street to Kelly’s for 30 minutes, then we can go downtown for the rest of the night.  She didn’t listen and just left.  I figured she was wasted, but I was pretty pissed, and I told her to just go home, and not come meet up with us later.  Regardless, my other 3 friends came back from Rumfire, and we all walked over to Kelly Oneil’s. 

As we walked out of Yard House, 15 minutes after midnight, I got a hysterical call from some guy’s girlfriend.  I guess the night before I had met somebody, read my previous blog about the guy who I met at Femme Nu who tried to seduce me, then told me we can’t go back to his place because he had a girlfriend.  His girlfriend stalked my Facebook page, found my number, apparently follows my blogs now.  Because she calls me screaming that she read my blog.  Frustrated, because she had called me earlier as well, and just finishing a jack and water and a little buzzed, I screamed at her to stop fucking call me, and to come down to Kelly Oneil’s and talk to my face, but stop calling me.  She threatened me a bit, then refused to come down, because “she was hanging with her family.”

1st of all… Don’t believe everything you read.  Not everything you read on the internet is reliable.  These are stories, and sometimes entertainment, inspired from real events.

2nd of all… You need to be trippin on your man, not me, because if you believe everything you read, I DON”T WANT YOUR  FUCKING MAN! 

So we all walk back to my friends place nearby where I’m irritated by my phone blowing up by this girl.  So I think in my drunken stupor, I slam my iPhone on my friends granite counter.  It is no longer working.  So my 2 friends end up hooking up in the bedroom, where there is no door.  Trying to ignore them, we start our own party in the living room.  They are all drinking Four Loco, the malt beverage that has been illegalized because too many teenagers are dying off of it.  It is 13% alcohol.  I sipped on Seagrams Sweet Tea.  Great drink by the way!   After a while, I started crying about my ex, who my friend brought up, who everybody know’s I’ve always loved for 3 years.  And I play a drunk stupid ass for 5 minutes.  Then me and my girlfriend start fooling around and film everything. LOL!  It was a fun night! 

Then in the morning, my gf who left calls me because I have her car keys, and we all left our cars at Alamoana.  So we meet at Original Pancake house over on Kapiolani.  There’s a 30 minute wait, so we head over to Mai Tai to have breakfast and drinks.  All I eat is a couple pieces of sashimi, and 2 bloody marys.  Me and my girlfriend (the sober one) drive to northshore to pick up her son in La’ie.  We head to my place to get ready, and back to my other friends, where they drove my car to.  Shaking from lack of sleep, lack of food, and alcohol withdrawals, I drink to glasses of wine, and try some of my friends great greek salad, and bbq.  My stomach was jacked up so I didn’t get to eat too much.  We crash out here.

In the morning, I take 3 IB Profen.  After 10 minutes I start to feel super warm and fuzzy and drowsy.  I thought maybe I was still hanging.  But then my friend realized that they are actually Flexural.  I think they looked like Percocet.  But Anyhow.  We go back to the beach house and La’ie where I am trashed all day, but get to relax and try to rest.  After that, we drive to DnBs to take the kids to play, where I have 2 Corona’s.  At this point, I’m finally feeling better, but I know it’s time to sleep. 

It may be all confusing, but I drove responsibly this weekend. LOL! I left my car, and even had it towed at one point.

Shuseki: Izakaya


Price Range: $$

Alcohol/Sake: Yes

Atmosphere: Casual

5115 W Spring Mountain Rd
#117
Las Vegas, NV 89146
Neighborhood: Chinatown

(702) 222-2321

If you’re looking for traditional late night  Izakaya (Japanese bar food) and sake or Japanese beer,  Shuseki is the spot.  It’s delicious, and portions are large, and affordable.  My daughter’s favorite things to order are the tamago omelet (sweet egg), karaage chicken (fried chicken), and a large musubi with ume.  I like to order the japanese oshinko (pickles).  They are really traditional style, and the grilled rice ball which has a katsuo flavor and is really large like the musubi.  The sushi is pretty good, but I like larger appetizers like tofu agedashi.  They also have yakitori, (meat and veggies on a stick).  My fav is the bacon wrapped asparagus. I haven’t tried their gyoza’s but they look fresh, not like those frozen cheap kind they serve everywhere.  Their menu is big with pictures and they have variety from traditional sushi and elaborate specialty rolls and sashimi, to yakitori, to appetizers, and bentos, and bbq or noodles, or katsu curry rice plates and other unique dishes.   And for desert, try some mango mochi ice cream, or honey toast (with ice cream.)

There’s lots of parking, and with the casual atmosphere, it’s good for kids and big groups.  They serve beer and wine and sake for 21+.  In this economy, it’s cheap and large portions match their flavor.  It’s value exceeds it’s cost. Shuseki is hands down one of my favorite spots in Las Vegas, and they are open late.  Try Shuseki with a group of friends, or for a first date spot.o

Gyoza (I haven’t tried them but they look good)

Tsukemono/Oshinko (traditional pickles: cucumber, eggplant and cabbage) $2.99

Grilled onigiri (rice ball) available in different flavors. $1.50

Yakitori starts at $1.50 a stick

Asparagus bacon is my favorite. $1.50

The sushi selection is big and delicious

I haven’t tried the Katsu Curry yet, but how can you go wrong with that?

Try the Honey Toast for dessert.

xoxo

Kristie Manning