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Paris: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon At Champs Elysees

I have ticked off another item off on my bucket list, which is to visit Paris.  I made plans to visit Paris last November but because of the terrorist attack on the city, I cancelled my travel plans.  The trip in June was an impromptu trip with two other girlfriends who planned to shop, eat and do the cultural sights (in the same order of priority)!  They were going on a trip to celebrate arriving at a new decade in their lives and invited me to join the party. 🙂  Despite the heavy focus on shopping, we managed to visit a number of sights and eat some pretty good meals during the short 6-day trip.

 photo IMG_1861-160609-v2__zpsglkuyeuv.jpgWe went to several bistros for traditional French food including Josephine Chez Dumonet,  Pierre Gagnaire in Hotel Balzac, Ze Kitchen Galerie near the Notre-Dame Cathedral, L’atelier de Joel Robuchon and Cafe Breizh (for buckwheat galettes).  I enjoyed all my meals but if I was asked to choose my favorite amongst them, it will definitely be L’atelier.  It was one of those meals that was so memorable, you can re-play the experience in your mind again and again long after the meal had ended.  Just to name several places where I have had such wonderful meals: Boulevard in San Francisco, Ristorante 245 in Kyoto, the Chinese restaurant in The Lalu at Sun Moon Lake, Karo-no-udon in Fukuoka.

To accommodate a rather hectic shopping itinerary that day, we decided to have a late lunch at 2pm.  By the time we got to L’atelier, the three of us were the only customers dining in the restaurant.  I had expected lunch service to have ended between 2pm to 2.30pm but was surprised that this was not the case.

We ordered the 3-course lunch set.  Each course was generously sized and delicious.  Service was good too.  The food photos that I had taken are not great because I was too ravenous by that hour to put much care into taking photographs.  The lack of natural light in L’atelier’s trademark red-and-black interior did not help matters.

 photo Latelier 1-160814-v2__zpssih8mckj.jpgThe amuse bouche was a shot of mushroom soup laced with truffle oil (I think).  For starters, I ordered the burrata in a strawberry-tomato sauce and my friends had the lobster salad and grilled white asparagus.  I was torn between the burrata and white asparagus (which I love and were in season then) but decided to go with the former.  The bread basket, amuse bouche and appetizers filled us up quickly.  We were definitely going to struggle with the main courses.

 photo IMG_1879-160609-v2__zps7uexmlrh.jpgRight after we were served our appetizers, a friend reminded me on Whatsapp to order the famous Robuchon mashed potato.  OMG, how could I have forgotten about the mash.  All that frantic shopping must have scrambled my brain.  I placed an additional order for mashed potato and we were each given a small serving of it.

The Robuchon mashed potato was luscious – smooth, thick, and so creamy.  I loved it so much!

 photo Latelier 2-160814-v2__zpsvstjyaxe.jpgFor mains, two of us ordered the duck breast and the other friend had the cod in a consommé.  The duck breast was cooked perfectly and I savored every bite of the tender, juicy meat.  The cod was very tasty but we did not think it was special because it is quite similar to how we prepare Chinese-style steamed cod.

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The options for dessert were chocolate mousse, a cake with citrus sorbet and a cheese platter.  We opted for the chocolate and cake.  I love how they plated the cake and sorbet – the plate is gorgeous, isn’t it?  We ended the meal with coffee and very delicious madeleines.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable meal!

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Seoul: Galchi Jorim (Spicy Hairtail Fish Stew) Alley In Namdaemum

 photo IMG_7132-151129-v2__zps3fgxbg3w.jpg I have been wanting to visit some of Seoul’s many food alleys – jokbal alley, gamjatang alley, nyaengmyeon alley, tteokbokki alley, kalguksu alley and many more.  As I was wandering around Namdaemum one cold wintry morning in early December last year, I had a craving for a bowl of spicy stew and decided to look for Namdaemun’s galchi jorim alley. The alley was tucked away in one of the many buildings in the market and it took me a while to locate it.

Unfortunately, I had chosen to visit the alley on a Sunday morning when most of the eateries in the alley were closed.  I entered the only eatery that was opened and ordered galchi jorim.   I had not eaten this stew before and was looking forward to trying it.

Look at the Korean ahjummas working in the kitchen, and chatting loudly with the customers sitting at the tables.

 photo IMG_7134-151129-v2__zpswn5saebf.jpgSo much food for just 8,000 won.  There was no way I could put away all that food and when I tried to tell one of the Korean ahjummas that I do not need rice, she glared at me and refused to take it away.

The galchi jorim was delicious, but you have to eat the fish very very slowly and carefully, ‘cos it has many tiny bones.  It is not for everyone – you really have to love eating braised fish and have the patience to remove the tiny bones to get to the flesh.  I loved the fried fish bones sidedish and steamed egg that came with my lunch.

Next food alley expedition would be to the gamjatang alley!

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Tokyo: From afar 倉庫01Coffee And Tea

 photo IMG_9079-160221-v2__zps2ged6ulb.jpgFrom afar倉庫01 is a beautiful tearoom that I had seen in the Instagram feed of shewhoeats. Her Instagram feed is gorgeous – filled with photographs of cakes, pastries and desserts that she bakes and her travels.

We were heading to Asakusa for dinner at Otafuku Oden and decided to drop by From afar倉庫01 in Kurumae which is along the way to Asakusa.  Kurumae is an old Tokyo neighborbood that is situated along the Sumida River.  We alighted at the Kurumae subway station and walked along the Sumida River to get to the tearoom.  We have never been to that part of Tokyo and it was nice exploring a new neighourbood together.

 photo IMG_9074-160221-v2__zpspebllz3n.jpgWow. From afar倉庫01, part tearoom and part gallery space, is visually stunning.  It is located in a quiet alley off the Sumida River in what looks like a refurbished warehouse.  The calm but dim and edgy-looking interior is filled with beautiful wood furniture and pottery.

 photo IMG_9076-160221-v2__zps6fjvstl1.jpg photo IMG_9077-160221-v2__zpsqxh0llho.jpgIt may sound a little strange to say this, but I felt like I was in Taiwan.  The tearoom has a strong Taiwanese vibe (as opposed to Japanese).  This place feels like it came out of a Jay Chou music video.  If you are a Jay Chou fan, you will know what I mean. 🙂

 photo IMG_9081-160221-v2__zpsjqpj3svg.jpg photo IMG_9068-160221-v2__zps0hjkjpln.jpg photo IMG_9080-160221-v2__zpsyqmucqpr.jpgThis is definitely what I would call an Instagram-worthy tearoom.

 photo IMG_9067-160221-v2__zps1mkvhsmu.jpgI was attempting a “stylo-mylo” photograph of that part of the tearoom but since the man would not budge from the comfort of the sofa, he had to try to look the part.

 photo IMG_9066-160221-v2__zpsdfmbgclc.jpg photo IMG_9064-160221-v2__zpspulxnkqm.jpg photo IMG_9071-160221-v2__zps8if5cebc.jpgWe ordered a slice of cheesecake, an iced Thai milk tea and a cappuccino and rested our feet from hours of walking since the morning.  The tearoom is highly recommended for those who want to get away from the crowded and touristy spots in Tokyo.  While it is a little off the main tourist route in Tokyo, it makes a good stop on the way to and from Asakusa or the Tokyo Skytree.

From afar倉庫01

Address: 東京都墨田区東駒形1-1-9 (〒130-0005 Tokyo, Sumida, 東駒形1-1-9)
Directions: Exit A2 of Asakusa subway station, or Exit 6 of Kurumae subway station.  See Google Map below for location of the tearoom.

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Osaka: Dojima Roll Cake By Mon Cher Patissierie

In Tokyo, I satisfy my Japanese cake and pastry cravings at Harbs. Even though Harbs is also present in Osaka, I wanted to find out which are the other patisseries that I should visit.  One name kept popping up in my research – Mon Cher Patissierie’s Dojima roll cake.

I love love love roll cakes so I made plans to drop by their main outlet at Dojima in Osaka (which was a little way out from where we were staying).  Interestingly, the Mon Cher roll cake was created by a Korean lady.

 photo IMG_9261-160224-v2__zpsfszgaama.jpgAs luck would have it, I did not have to make my way to Dojima.  We were walking around in the Hankyu Department store in Umeda and saw a Mon Cher outlet in the mall’s food basement.  I hurried to the counter and stared at the roll cakes for a long time, struggling with the decision of whether to buy one entire roll cake back to the hotel, or be sensible and buy just two slices. We still had some Pablo cheese tarts sitting in the fridge in the hotel room!

In the end, good sense prevailed and I decided to get two slices of the plain roll cake.  By which time, the plain roll cake slices were almost sold out and only one slice was left if I wanted it.  Arggghh – the cost of indecision.  In the end, I bought the remaining slice of plain roll cake and a slice of chocolate roll cake.

 photo IMG_9279-160224-v2__zpscytitkaa.jpgThe roll cake was absolutely delicious.  The cream filling, made from Hokkaido milk, was very fresh, light and silky.  Mon Cher’s sponge cake was denser and had a more chewy texture, unlike the usual feather-light and fluffy Japanese sponge cakes.  I felt that bread flour may have been used in making the sponge, giving the cake its denser texture, which goes very well with the cream filling.

I should have just been greedy and bought the entire roll cake!

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Kyoto: One Michelin Star Sushi Gion Matsudaya

 photo L1001718-160228-v2__zps4ifrlvmz.jpgWe wanted to eat sushi in Kyoto and asked Hotel Mume for recommendations.  They recommended Matsudaya, a one Michelin star place that serves Edo-style sushi, and got us a lunch reservation on a Sunday.  I have never tried Kyoto sushi but hear that it is on the sweet side and tastes different from the Edo-style sushi that we are used to eating.

Matsudaya, located in Gion, is about 10 minutes away from Mume by foot.  We took a walk along Shijo-Dori overlooking the Kamo river, and wandered around the side alleys off Shijo-dori to work up an appetite for lunch.  We were mindful that we also had a potentially huge dinner at Restaurant 245 that evening.  Two huge meals in one day were a bit worrisome for my stomach.

 photo IMG_0463-160413-v2__zpsi4cqp61j.jpg photo IMG_0461-160413-v2__zpsneccbnul.jpgThere really was no need to be concerned about being too full after a sushi meal at Matsudaya.  We did not feel overstuffed at after consuming some 16 courses and 3 carafes of sake over lunch.  The Japanese have a knack of feeding you a lot of food in portions that are just right.  I even had a Tsujiri parfait immediately after lunch.

We liked Matsudaya.  It is a tiny place, with about 7 seats at the counter, manned by the chef (who speaks English) and a helper (his wife I think).  The sushi was excellent and unlike some sushi places which tend to be quite formal and stern, Matsudaya is fairly casual and comfortable.  The chef chats with the guests while preparing the sushi and you can talk with your companion without feeling the need to keep quiet and pay absolute attention to the food, and only the food.

Sushi Gion Matsudaya
Address: 570-123 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0074, Japan

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Seoul: Jung Sik Dang In Gangnam

 photo IMG_7178-151130-v2__zpsnzadkkih.jpgI love Korean food. Whenever I visit Korea, I have it for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner.  This is the reason why my husband rarely travels with me to Korea on my annual trips – he does not enjoy spicy Korean food, or the BBQ meats.  If we went together, we would have to eat our meals separately.  I will eat yukgaejang and gamjatang for dinner while he goes off and finds himself a Japanese curry place, or an Italian restaurant.

To get him to agree to go with me on my next trip to Korea, I agreed that we would have at most one Korean meal a day, and preferably, in a restaurant that serves contemporary Korean cuisine.  (Gawd, I should just leave him at home.)  I eat street food and the local eateries in Korea, so besides Paul Gagnaire’s restaurant in Lotte Hotel, I have no idea which are the fine-dining restaurants in Seoul that serves modern Korean cuisine.  I set out to find some.

I did some research and came across a review of Jung Sik Dang‘s modern Korean cuisine in NYC.  The review was very positive and it also touched on the restaurant’s second branch in Seoul.  So I decided to make a lunch reservation during my last trip to Seoul in November.  The Korean branch is also on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list (if such accolades matter to you).

 photo IMG_7177-151130-v2__zpsagk11fqv.jpgI like the interior of Jung Sik Dang.  Modern, classy, tasteful.  It is clearly a place where corporate executives and ladies-of-leisure meet for lunch.  I was the only single foreign woman in the restaurant and for someone who is used to eating alone in restaurants, felt strangely out of place.

I ordered the 8-course tasting menu and a glass of Chenin Blanc from Domain Huet Vouvray.  The white wine, recommended by the sommelier, was delicious!  The staff spoke English and like any fine-dining establishment, explained each course clearly when serving me.

 photo IMG_0495-160415-v2__zpsz4shjmrh.jpgFirst course – espuma and snacks.

 photo IMG_0497-160415-v2__zpskgyimirt.jpgThe rest of the courses.  Mushroom soup.  Some kind of fish from Jeju.  Fillet mignon.  Octopus.  Pan-fried tuna.  Sea urchin with kimchi.  Desserts.  Every course was well-made and delicious.  I could not decide whether the octopus or the sea urchin was my favorite.

I had a trio of desserts: sujeonggwa sorbet (I love sujeonggwa.) to clean the palate, followed by a pretty dessert (I cannot recall what it is now) which they call the Rose of Versailles.  The last and the best of all,  a Korean ginseng ice-cream cone to accompany a cup of ginseng tea.

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I was so happy I decided to go with the 8-course tasting menu.  The portions were perfect and I did not feel too full at the end of the meal.  I enjoyed myself so much that I am definitely going back the next time I am in Seoul.  I am going to try their Choice Menu next.  I see some items (such as the pork belly and croaker) on this menu that look exciting.

The ambience was good, the service was great, and the food was excellent.  However, it all came with a fairly steep price tag.  This is a place that I am pretty sure the husband will enjoy.  

After lunch, I headed off to the Hangang River Park for a looooong walk.

Jung Sik Dang
Address:83-24, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Opening Hours:
Lunch: 12:00PM – (Last order: 14:00PM) everyday
Dinner: 17:30PM -(Last order: 21:00PM) everyday

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Osaka: Pablo Cheese Tart

 photo IMG_0450-160222-v2__zps4t4bhpfa.jpgOriginally from Osaka, I have never heard of Pablo until a friend mentioned its popularity to me.  When I spotted a Pablo shop in Dotonbori, I joined the queue to get some tarts.

I bought a box of 3 mini plain cheese tarts and 1 chocolate cheese tart.  The plain cheese tarts were very yummy – the crust was light and flaky, the cheese filling was light and moist.  I did not find the chocolate cheese tart to be as tasty as the plain cheese tarts.

When in Osaka, look out for Pablo!  I read that the Hokkaido BAKE cheese tarts will be opening in Singapore this month.  Ooooh, I cannot wait to try. 🙂

 

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Kyoto: Matcha Parfait At Tsujiri Honten In Gion

 photo IMG_9491-160228-v2__zpsf6hch68m.jpgI am not a fan of matcha-anything but I love Tsujiri’s matcha parfaits.  Their matcha ice cream is smooth and creamy, with a touch of bitterness.  I have always been satisfying my Tsujiri matcha parfait craving at the 100AM outlet at Tanjong Pagar.

During our stay in Kyoto this time, I made it a point to visit Tsujiri Honten which is conveniently located at Gion.  I had my usual Tsujiri order that is a matcha parfait that comes with shiratama dango and azuki.  I am glad to report that the matcha ice-cream sold here is as good as the one in Kyoto. At least, I could not tell any visible difference between the two in terms of taste and texture.

Isn’t it typical of Japanese thoughtfulness to provide an ice-cream cone stand for dine-in customers?

Tsujiri Honten
Address: 573-3 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0074

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Osaka: Duck Udon In Dotonburi

 photo IMG_9226-160223-v2__zpsckp2wonn.jpgWe were walking along one of many covered shopping arcades in Dotonburi when we came across this duck udon shop.  It is the quintessential local Japanese eatery – you buy a meal ticket at the machine outside the shop, hand over the ticket to the staff in the shop, find a place at the counter and wait for your food to be served.

Duck udon sounded absolutely delicious, having had duck nabe in Kyoto a couple of years ago.  There were several duck udon combinations on the menu, eaten tsukemen style.  It took me a while to decide on whether I should order standard udon, or thin udon or soba to eat with the duck broth.  I ordered the standard udon set in a medium size serving while the husband ordered the thin udon set in a small size.  I am usually the greedier (and hungrier) of the two of us.

 photo IMG_9225-160223-v2__zpsbfcn6y1a.jpgOh gawd, the duck udon was delicious!  The broth was so good, that the husband ordered another set (udon + duck broth) while I ordered just another serving of udon as I still had plenty of duck broth left from the first set.  This is simple comfort food at its best.  I cannot remember the English name of this shop but I think it is called Kamokin.  It looks like they have several outlets in Osaka.  We are going back there again when we next visit Osaka!  It is so conveniently located in Dotonburi.

Kamokin Duck Udon

Address: Not sure
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Directions:  Walk along Dotonburi (in the opposite direction from Midosuji Dori) until you spot this shopping arcade (the entrance is directly opposite one of the Kinryu ramen shops – the one with the dragon signage).  Enter the shopping arcade and walk ahead till you see the duck udon shop on your left.

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Kyoto: Ristorante 245 Gion At Shinmonzen Dori

 photo IMG_0233-160405-v2__zpsqyi081ij.jpgWe were introduced to Ristorante 245 Gion by our Kyoto hotel, Hotel Mume. The restaurant is conveniently located on the same street as Hotel Mume on Shinmonzen Dori (several streets behind Gion) which meant that we could get ourselves totally tipsy and still be able to make our way back very easily on foot.

We did not make any dinner reservations during our 4-night stay in Kyoto, to give ourselves some flexibility around our dinner options.  The restaurant recommendations given by Mume have always been spot-on (Kichisen on a previous trip; Sushi Matsudaya and Ristorante 245 during this trip).

Helmed by a young Chef Masakazu Yoshioka, Ristorante 245 was described as an Italian-style restaurant that serves a fixed menu at dinner around a 10-seat counter.  Having been there, I would describe it as European kappo style dining – an open kitchen concept with counter seats, where the chefs cook and plate your food right in front of you.  Each dish is cooked using Western techniques but with seasonal Japanese ingredients.  Elegant food in a casual setting.  I like kappo dining, mostly because I enjoy the seeing the chefs cook my meal.

 photo IMG_9496-160228-v2__zps3mkjqvxm.jpgThere were five of us in the restaurant on a Sunday night.  The chef helmed the kitchen with only one assistant who was responsible for topping up drinks, serving wine, plating the food, serving the food, removing plates AND washing the dishes!  You will never find someone who is willing to do all of that in Singapore.

Over 2.5 hours, we ate 10 courses (including dessert) and had several glasses of wine each.  Every course was impressive. The Japanese-influenced flavors were delicate and the ingredients (such as Japanese squid, octopus, shishamo, unagi, pheasant, hotate, kumquat) were mostly what was in season then.

I did not come to Kyoto expecting to eat European-style kappo food and then going away thinking that it was my favorite meal in our entire 2 week holiday.  I want to go back again on our next trip to Kyoto, and see what new creative dishes the chef will make for us.

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Ristorante 245 Gion
Address: 245-1 Nakano-cho, 2-chome, Chion-in Shinmonzen Yamato-oji-higashi-iru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Tel: 075-533-8245
Opening Hours: 12:00-14:00, 18:00-21:00

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Tokyo: Motoya Express In Daikanyama

 photo IMG_9659-160303-v2__zpsvz37yjeq.jpgMotoya Express is another favorite coffee joint of ours.  We would always drop by for a cup whenever we are in Tokyo.  Motoya does not operate out of a brick-and-mortar shop but out of a little mini bus.  It is unbelievable how the barista can manage his coffee machine, coffee supplies and pastries at the back of the mini bus.  But he does, and does it very well.

You can find Motoya Express parked outside the Daikanyama train station.  I read that there are several Motoya Express mini buses around Tokyo but I have only been to the one at Daikanyama.

 photo IMG_9658-160303-v2__zpsoxh0rbvk.jpgThe barista is friendly, always bantering with his customers.  Even with foreigners, he attempts to converse with them in English.

 photo IMG_0697-150219-v2__zpsaamfmrwv.jpgParked at a shady spot with potted plants and shrubs, Motoya provides benches and chairs for its customers to rest their feet while waiting for their coffee.

 photo IMG_0704-150219-v2__zpsuibvrejq.jpgMy usual cup of flat white.  The husband goes for a double expresso.

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Tokyo: Sandwiches At Hamanoya Parlor In Yurakucho

 photo IMG_9678-160304-v2__zpsag7awzmy.jpgI do not eat much bread in my diet but whenever I am in Japan, I find myself eating bread almost every day. We usually go to a kissaten close to our hotel (you can usually find one along the streets or in a train station)  for our Japanese-toast-slathered-with-butter fix in the morning.

I like how the Japanese slice their white bread thick so I get a nice deep bite of soft, fluffy and fragrant bread in each mouthful.  The texture of the Japanese bread is completely different from what we get in a loaf of Gardenia or Sunshine bread.  The bread baked by our old-school bakeries come close, but still not quite.

I first came across Hamanoya Parlor in my Instagram feed.  The Instagram photo was a uber delicious-looking egg omelette sandwich served at Hamanoya.  According to TimeOut, Hamanoya is an old-school Japanese cafe located at the basement of the Shin-Yurakucho building that serves a selection of sandwiches, and they are particularly good with egg sandwiches.  Off we went to go pay them a visit, especially when Yurakucho is just one stop away from our hotel in Shimbashi.

 photo IMG_9680-160304-v2__zpszdg4eoa3.jpg photo IMG_9679-160304-v2__zpsar8bbjjw.jpgThe Shin-Yurakucho building is quite easy to find.  It is just across the street from BIC Camera which you cannot miss coming out of the Yurakucho train station.  Take the escalator down to the basement of the building and you will see Hamanoya Parlor on your right.

 photo IMG_9689-160304-v2__zpstkh67bw3.jpgWalking into Hamanoya Parlour takes you back to the 1980s, with its red vinyl seats and brown paneled walls.  They do not have an English menu which meant that I had to slowly make out the Katakana characters on the Japanese menu.  Luckily, an English-speaking Japanese lady seated at the next table heard me asking for an English menu and offered to help us with our orders.  She explained to us what was on the menu and also offered her recommendations (she is a regular at Hamanoya) as to what we should try.

I have always wanted to eat a Japanese fruit sandwich and when she told us that Hamanoya makes one of the best fruit sandwiches in town, I had to order it.  She suggested the ham sandwiches and if we still had space in our stomachs, to order the egg sandwiches too.  Also, Hamanoya charges a little bit more money if you ask for bread to be toasted.

So we started off with a platter of ham sandwiches and fruit sandwiches.  The ham was good but the fruit sandwiches were absolutely divine.  Mikan and cubes of sweet pear in a delicious (and not too sweet) thick whipped cream filling sandwiched between two slices of soft fluffy bread.  I was glad that they gave me mikan and pear instead of strawberries ‘cos I do not like strawberries, not even the very sweet Japanese ones.

 photo IMG_9687-160304-v2__zpsehxcuwpz.jpgAfter devouring most of the fruit sandwiches in super-quick time, I was quite full but I had to order the egg omelette sandwiches.  Well, they were the reason why we went to Hamanoya.   The egg sandwiches were excellent.  Thick, fluffy and still warm, having come straight out of the kitchen.  I would have enjoyed the egg sandwiches even more had I eaten them on an empty stomach.  As you can see from the photo, the egg sandwiches are thick and very filling.

Hamanoya Parlor
Address:  Basement 1F, Shin-Yurakucho Building, 1-12-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo
Directions: Take the train to the Yurakucho station and leave the station by exit #D2. You will see BIC Camera in front of you. The Shin-Yurakucho building is opposite BIC Camera.

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Tokyo: Otafuku Oden In Asakusa

 photo IMG_9088-160221-v2__zpsycwkvgek.jpg The husband loves oden. So do I.

It is simple comfort food, best eaten in cold weather (for me) with a mug of beer.  Usually, we eat oden in an izakaya in Japan.  This time, I wanted to visit a traditional oden restaurant.  After some research, I picked Otafuku in Asakusa because of its long-standing history and also because it is located in Asakusa which makes it a convenient dinner stop after visiting the Sensoji temple.

Cutting through the food alleys at the back of Sensoji, Otafuku is about a 10-minute walk away.  We took quite a bit longer because Google Maps led us on a merry walk through a labyrinth of food alleys and a shopping arcade, backtracking many times before we found the restaurant.  Well, Google Maps navigated us to the back of Otafuku which was why we could not find it until we figured out what was wrong and made our way around a street to get to the front entrance.

Otafuku is located in a traditional Japanese house with a pretty garden out at the front.  We did not make a dinner reservation and were lucky that they had a table for us.

 photo IMG_9086-160221-v2__zpsalnieo7g.jpgAt Otafuku, you get to pick what you want to eat from the menu (and they have an English menu).  Each table gets a large oden pot set over a fire, so your oden is always nice and warm throughout your meal.  We ordered piles of oden and then spotted a blackboard with more food items written in Japanese.  Good thing that I could make out gyu suji nikomi (stewed beef tendon) on the board ‘cos that is one of our favorite things to eat.

 photo IMG_9084-160221-v2__zpshcjnk92t.jpgThe oden was fabulous.  We loved all the beancurd things that we picked and above all, the very tasty broth flavored with lots of mustard.  The stewed beef tendon was very good too. So good that we polished off two plates.  The meat was soft, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth tender.

We had such a simple yet satisfying (and relatively inexpensive) meal that I would definitely want to go back to Otafuku again on our next visit to Tokyo.

 photo IMG_9094-160221-v2__zpsrklarwvk.jpgFrom Otafuku, it was a 20 minute stroll back to the Asakusa subway station.  We were glad to be able to walk-off the huge dinner that we had just consumed.

 photo IMG_9092-160221-v2__zpsrq8hlamn.jpgSince we had to walk pass Sensoji on our way back to the subway station, we decided to visit the temple.  We have never gone there at night, only during the day, and were amazed at how beautiful the temple looked at night.  The crowds had thinned, and many of the shops along the Nakamise-dori were preparing to wind down for the day.  It is a much nicer place to visit at night than during the day when the place is packed to the brim with tourists.

Despite a belly full of oden, I could not resist scarfing down a deep-fried mandu filled with azuki purchased from one of the shops at Nakamise-dori.  It was the perfect sweet ending to a wonderful day out in Tokyo.

Otafuku
Address: Taito-ku, Senzoku 1-16-2
Tel: 03-3871-2521

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