January 28, 2013

Everyone's FUJIYA!

"Fujiya(不二屋)" is a confectionery company, whose products are sold at every supermarket/convenient store/shop in Japan. Their most popular product is "milky(ミルキー)", a soft milk candy which is called as "taste of Mom." I think 80% of Japanese have tasted the candy. Fujiya also runs cake shops all over Japan and one of which is located in Gina(銀座). We can buy fresh cakes until 22:30pm (I also bought at 22:00).
Fujiya Ginza
Show-case of cakes 
Short cake 
"Milky" cream puff 
The taste is very fine, as always. Their cakes are just simply delicious and meets our expectation! The gentle and straightforward taste brings back memories of childhood. The quality of cream used for cakes might be rich and nice. All the creams were very milky as the name of their product.

Simple cakes using nice ingredients might be sometimes more impressive than fancy and elaborate cakes. I am happy to eat such nice cakes. My rating is 4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita! 

Fujiya(不二屋) http://www.fujiya-peko.co.jp/index.html

January 25, 2013

Sushi near Yushima-Tenjin Shrine

Just near the Yushima-Tenjin Shrine(湯島天神), god of learning, there is a small but nice sushi restaurant called "KInoshita(季之下)." We can enjoy Edomae sushi at moderate price in a familiar atmosphere. One of chefs with gray hair is very gentle and warm-heart and we don't have to be nervous sitting at the counter. 
Inside(at the main counter)
Japanese radish salad and tea 
Tuna and white fish (forgot the name...)
Medium fatty tuna
Sea urchin
Salmon caviar 
Rolled egg and boiled oratosquilla oratoria
Spotted shad with vinegar 
Grilled silver cod in west Kyoto style and clear soup 
Sushi of Kinoshita is delicate and sophisticated. Ingredients are very fresh and cooked carefully. Different from major Edomae sushi restaurants, here, we dip sushi on soy sauce by ourselves(it's ok. I like this style, too). In particular, sea urchin and salmon caviar were impressive...! No smell in sea urchin. Just sweet and tasty... The lunch set we are costs JPY2,800. If you are big eater, the portion might be not enough. My rating is 3.9 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita! 

January 23, 2013

Udon at Ginza Mitsukoshi

If you can't find suitable restaurants, I advise you to go to the top floor of department stores. You can surely find various choices including international cuisines. In Mitsukoshi Ginza(銀座三越) has also mayn restaurants inside. Even after Mitsukoshi is closed, they are opened until 23pm. The other day, we tried "Choutoku(長徳)", a udon specialty restaurant on the 11th floor in the Annex. 
Entrance of "Choutoku"
Fresh beer
Udon set with tempura and Japanese yam
Japanese sake 
Udon with sliced pork 
Actually, Choutoku was an average udon restaurant... but "average" means already tasty enough. The fish bouillon soup was gentle, not salty. Even if we drink up the soup, it would seem not bad for our health (as it is believed drinking soup is harmful due to much salt content). Udon itself was thick and boiled as "al dente" so that we can enjoy the strong texture. The price is around JPY1,500-2,000. My rating is 2.5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Choutoku(長徳) http://choutoku-ginza.jp/history/

January 22, 2013

Yummy yakiniku in Hongo

Hongo(本郷), an academic district where the University of Tokyo(東京大学) is located, has another feature as yakiniku district. Maybe because of young generation, we have many yakiniku restaurants around Hongo. If the king of yakuniku in Hongo is "Yakiniku Jambo(焼き肉ジャンボ)", the queen might be "Boya(房屋)." Bouya buys a whole wagyu cow so that high quality of wagyu beef can be provided at reasonable price.
Second floor of "Bouya"
Beer and Korean-style pickles
Sauces for yakiniku
Yakiniku by charcoal
Morioka-style cold noodle
On weekend, it is nearly difficult to get reservation at night. We luckily reserved a table in idle time between reservations. All staff was cheerful and kind. We were excited to eat yakiniku at Boya, but some of them kindly apologized us that we cannot stay long due to many reservations. 

So, the taste of wagyu beef was definitely yummy. Melted in the mouth. As they prepare various sauces for yakiniku, it was fun to choose suitable seasoning. Only a bit regrettable one is a cold-noodle. The texture was good, but it was nearly tasteless(maybe a cook forgot tasting...). But I like the atmosphere of Bouya that we can be relaxed. My rating is 3.5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Boya(房屋) http://www.bou-ya.com/ 

January 21, 2013

Stylish cakes in Asakusa

In a minute walk from the Kaminari-Mon Gate(雷門) in Asakusa(浅草), we have a stylish cake shop named "Sweet Sanctuary ISO(スイートサンクチュアリー イソ)." Though I visited just before the closing time, 20pm, they kindly welcomed. The cake shop itself is very stylish like cool boutiques.
Sweet Sanctuary ISO 
Show-case of cakes 
Cheese cake
Cassis cake with pistachio macarron 
Rolled cake with soy beans cream 
Tart of chocolate and coffee 
Same as the appearance, the taste is also stylish and sophisticated. Each cake was excellent and the best one was a rolled cake with soy beans cream. Using a Japanese ingredient, it was perfectly matched with cake. The price is around JPY400, not expensive. If you go sightseeing in Asakusa, why don't you taste the ISO's cakes? My rating is 4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Sweet Sanctuary ISO(スイートサンクチュアリー イソ) http://www.ss-iso.com/

Unmistakable Italian in Ginza

Since I was a university student, I like this semi-casual Italian restaurant called "Trattoria Mezzanino(トラットリア メッツアニノ)", located on a mezzanine level of Mikasak Kaikan(三笠会館) in Ginza(銀座). Since lunch is available from JPY1,400, there are always full of customers. When I have no specific idea for lunch in Ginza, I choose this restaurant.
View from the Mezzanine level 
Trattoria Mezzanino 
Caesar salad 
Spaghetti with tomato and seafood 
Rigatoni with cream and shrimp
Beef streak
              Cheese cake             
Though there is no extremely yummy dishes, the taste is delicate and delicious as a whole. The pastas we ate were nice (as the portion was small, I wanted to eat more...). The quality of meat served in a lunch set meal was not so high, but the lean meat grilled by the charcoal was tasty. Service is casual but nice. My rating is 3.7 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Trattoria Mezzanino(トラットリア メッツアニノ)

January 17, 2013

New Year prayer at Kanda Shrine

Until around the mid of January, people go to shrines and temples for New Year prayer. Last weekend, I went to Kanda Shrine(神田明神), which has 1,300 years history and was developed during the Edo period as a guardian shrine which protects Edo city and people( 江戸総鎮守). It is said that Tokugawa Ieyasu(徳川家康) had prayed for victory before the Sekigahara war(関ヶ原の戦い) in 1600 and he finally won the battle. So, it it believed the gods of this Shrine may bring us victory and success.
Torii gate of Kanda Shrine 
Another gate of Kanda Shrine 
Main Shrine (there were long lines for prayer.)
Miko (females who serve gods)
Nowadays, this is a guardian shrine for the center business district of Tokyo namely, Kanda(神田), Nihonbashi(日本橋), Akihabara(秋葉原), Otemachi(大手町), Marunouchi(丸の内) and Tsukiji market(築地市場). I heard businessmen also come to this Shrine for wishing good fortunes. But to be honest, the atmosphere is not so stately, and not my preference. Even so, I hope my wish comes true!

Kanda Shrine(神田明神) http://www.kandamyoujin.or.jp/

January 16, 2013

New ramen shop at Ueno Station

I found a ramen shop was newly opened at the JR Ueno Station(JR上野駅) and it is "Tonari(トナリ)", which has been a bit popular in Tokyo recently. Tonari's specialty is tanmen(タンメン), a ramen with chicken salt soup and fried vegetables. Tanmen is usually served at canteen, reasonable diners, etc. and I haven't see such a "tanmen" specialty ramen shop. There was a small queue(still, people may not notice this shop yet).
Entrance of Tonari
Fried chicken and fried dumplings 
A set meal comprising fried chicken or fried dumplings and a tanmen costs JPY880. The portion of tanmen is very big!! Moreover, what a hearty...beansprout and other vegetables are on the noodle! They emphasized we can get necessary amount of vegetable a day by eating this tanmen. Noodle is very thick. Soup is a simple chicken based salt stock. First, it was very tasty, but...I got a bit tired of this tanmen because of the big portion. If you are big eater, it might be very ok! For me, it was a bit heavy. taste is nice. My rating is 2.7 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Tonari(トナリ) http://tanmen-tonari.com/

January 15, 2013

Belgian waffle in Ginza

More than 10 years ago...around 1997, Belgian waffles became prevalent in Japan. Everywhere, we had Belgian waffle shops, and people made a long queue in front of famous shops. Currently, such mode has been already gone, and some of the shops are left as one of our regular sweets shops.
Manneken in Ginza 
A waffle of Manneken 
Just near the crossroad of Ginza 4 chome(銀座4丁目), we have a branch of "Manneken(マネケン)", a Belgian waffle chain run by a company in Osaka. Even at late night (until 22pm), we can buy crispy and sugary waffles! The taste is good as usual. At the same time, this brings my then memories back. When you are a little hungry walking around Ginza, why don't you try the Belgian waffles? A basic waffle costs JPY120. My rating is 3.2 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Manneken(マネケン) http://www.manneken.co.jp/

January 14, 2013

Delicate Japanese yam restaurant in Asakusa

In Asakusa(浅草), near the Sumida River(隅田川), there is a Japanese yam specialty restaurant called "Asakusa Mugitoro(浅草むぎとろ)", which has been doing business there for more than 80 years. It takes only 5 minutes walk from the Kaminari Gate(雷門) of Senso-ji Temple(浅草寺). Both their restaurant and banquet rooms are always occupied by many customers. I fully understand the popularity because of the delicious and reasonable dishes. Moreover, eating dishes using yam potato are very healthy!  
Exterior of "Asakusa Mugitoro"
Rolled egg, boiled sweet beans and beer 
Croquettes using yam 
Boiled pork with vegetables
Fried yam rolled by dried laver seaweed 
Japanese sake
Steamed yam ball with fish bouillon 
Green tea soba noodle with ground yam 
Grilled salmon in West Kyoto style   
rice, miso soup and ground yam 
Rice crackers 
If you order a course, from JPY4,000 to 10,000 is necessary, but standard set meal comprising a main dish, side dish, rice, miso soup, ground yam and dessert costs reasonably around JPY2,500 even at night. Each a la carte menu is approx. JPY1,000. The taste is definitely yummy! We can enjoy orthodox and delicate taste. Low-sodium. We could be much satisfied with all dishes. Service is also good. My rating is 4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Asakusa Mugitoro(浅草むぎとろ) http://www.mugitoro.co.jp/