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#31 Abbylovi

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 03:13 PM

If fugu is farmed, as yours likely was, there is no poison. Did you like it? Actually maybe you should respond on a more appropriate thread, as I'm fairly sure you didn't sample it in Tokyo.
It is better to have beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.

#32 Abbylovi

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 03:46 PM

Roppongi Hills: Reminded me a lot of the Time Warner Center in NYC, but with actually good food and a nice variet of restaurants at all price points. Bought some great chocolates (like la maison du chocolat in general style, but with some very nicely asian flavored ganaches like ume and yuzu and black sesame) and probably some of th best macarons i've ever had at Le Chocolate de H.

My friend works in that building so I was at the Roppongi Hills building often.

On a whim I walked into Le Chocolate de H seeking hot chocolate. The store is beautiful and if I hadn't had dinner plans in a couple of hours I would've tried more than the hot chocolate. It was really good, very chocolate-y and not too sweet. But at 1000 yen, it was pricey. As I was sitting at the bar I saw a woman buy a few macarons, walk out, eat them and then immediately come back for an entire box. So after I finished my hot chocolate, I ended up buying a box as a present, which alas I did not try.

BTW, Peter had mentioned having amazing hot chocolate as well as ice cream at Pierre Marcolini. Right next door is the company store for Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery. The brewery dates back to 1625. The Ginza store is very consumer-friendly and lucky for me, there was a salesman who spoke excellent English. He asked me what kind of sake and in what price range I was looking for. He poured several tastes starting with one that was out of my price range but he wanted me to understand how high the quality was. I ended up buying a couple of sakes, sake cups and some plum and yuzu wine. There's also a line of skin and bath products. I guess people noticed that sake brewers had unusually smooth hands from putting their mitts in the vats. They put two and two together...

Above the store there is a sake bar called Ekas (sake spelled backwards) and I didn't have time to go there but I wish that I had. Next time.

Back to Roppongi Hills. We saw a movie there and let me tell you that the movie experience is so much more civilized there starting with a free drink (alcoholic!) included with your ticket price. Granted, a movie ticket costs about $30 but you also get a very large seat that reclines, and a little side table where you can rest your movie meal such as a very good sandwich or the like. There's even a bar with a grand piano outside the theater.
It is better to have beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.

#33 banh cuon

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 06:51 PM

Ho hum or not, the chicken sashimi place sounds fascinating. How come chicken sashimi is not deadly?

apparently salmonella is not a problem with poultry in japan, due to a lack of intensive factory farming purdue-style, so it's as safe to eat chicken sashimi as any other type of seafood-based sashimi in japan. i noticed that young and old alike in japan eat raw eggs in particular with great abandon.

#34 banh cuon

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 06:57 PM

Roppongi Hills:  Reminded me a lot of the Time Warner Center in NYC, but with actually good food and a nice variet of restaurants at all price points.  Bought some great chocolates (like la maison du chocolat in general style, but with some very nicely asian flavored ganaches like ume and yuzu and black sesame) and probably some of th best macarons i've ever had at Le Chocolate de H.

My friend works in that building so I was at the Roppongi Hills building often.

On a whim I walked into Le Chocolate de H seeking hot chocolate. The store is beautiful and if I hadn't had dinner plans in a couple of hours I would've tried more than the hot chocolate. It was really good, very chocolate-y and not too sweet. But at 1000 yen, it was pricey. As I was sitting at the bar I saw a woman buy a few macarons, walk out, eat them and then immediately come back for an entire box. So after I finished my hot chocolate, I ended up buying a box as a present, which alas I did not try.

BTW, Peter had mentioned having amazing hot chocolate as well as ice cream at Pierre Marcolini. Right next door is the company store for Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery. The brewery dates back to 1625. The Ginza store is very consumer-friendly and lucky for me, there was a salesman who spoke excellent English. He asked me what kind of sake and in what price range I was looking for. He poured several tastes starting with one that was out of my price range but he wanted me to understand how high the quality was. I ended up buying a couple of sakes, sake cups and some plum and yuzu wine. There's also a line of skin and bath products. I guess people noticed that sake brewers had unusually smooth hands from putting their mitts in the vats. They put two and two together...

Above the store there is a sake bar called Ekas (sake spelled backwards) and I didn't have time to go there but I wish that I had. Next time.

Back to Roppongi Hills. We saw a movie there and let me tell you that the movie experience is so much more civilized there starting with a free drink (alcoholic!) included with your ticket price. Granted, a movie ticket costs about $30 but you also get a very large seat that reclines, and a little side table where you can rest your movie meal such as a very good sandwich or the like. There's even a bar with a grand piano outside the theater.

i did see that very same sake store on my way out after dinner at kushi ginza (the restaurant was two doors down from the shop, on the second floor), and unfortunately the store closes at 9pm so i had just missed the chance to check it out. glad to hear you had a good experience there, i'll have to put it on my list for places to visit next time around.

the virgin toho cinemas at roppongi hills sounds like the essence of civility. you must be spoiled for all other movie going experiences, abbylovi!

#35 Abbylovi

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 06:58 PM

Ho hum or not, the chicken sashimi place sounds fascinating.  How come chicken sashimi is not deadly?

apparently salmonella is not a problem with poultry in japan, due to a lack of intensive factory farming purdue-style, so it's as safe to eat chicken sashimi as any other type of seafood-based sashimi in japan. i noticed that young and old alike in japan eat raw eggs in particular with great abandon.

Also I think that if you don't specify otherwise, in many restaurants your chicken usually is served medium rare.
It is better to have beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.

#36 Orik

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 07:03 PM

apparently salmonella is not a problem with poultry in japan, due to a lack of intensive factory farming purdue-style, so it's as safe to eat chicken sashimi as any other type of seafood-based sashimi in japan.

According to the Statistics of Food Poisoning in Japan compiled by the Statistics and Information Department, Minister's Secretariat, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, cases of bacterial food poisoning numbered 29,513 in 1994 and 22,329 in 1995, surpassing 19,089 in 1993. Cases due to Salmonella as an etiological agent accounted for 36% in 1993 (6,954 cases), 49% in 1994 (14,410 cases) and 36% in 1995 ( 7,996 cases), being still ranked top

sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns


#37 Scorched Palate

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 10:10 PM

So... we were talking to a friend of my mom's over Thanksgiving about the Ramen Museum -- she's from Yokohama and lives part time there -- and it turns out that she will be in Japan at the same time we are. So we're going to spend one of our days in Yokohama with her, visiting the Ramen Museum and the Curry Museum. :D

I also found this online:
Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum guide
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#38 Abbylovi

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 10:17 PM

That's great! Yokohama also apparently has a fairly big Chinatown, which I wish we had had time to visit. Is the Curry Museum also in Yokohama?
It is better to have beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.

#39 Scorched Palate

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 10:52 PM

Yep, it sure is.

Curry Museum article

Midori swears she's always wanted to visit. I hope she's not just humoring us! :D
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#40 Stone

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 02:41 AM

I just came back from a 2 week holiday in various cities in middle and southern Japan. I was planning on keeping in touch as I went along but my laptop bag went missing at Malpensa airport (I was in Milan before I left) and struggled to keep in touch with work let alone any posting.

Our first city on the trip was Tokyo. And within the first hour of being there I wondered what possessed me to move away from the city in the first place. I was reminded in so many ways how much Tokyo is a connoiseur's city. You name your passion and you will be able to find it at its zenith here but in no other category will you find it to the extent as in the city's attitude and love of food.

The Japanese have a name for people who live and breathe for a single thing - "otaku". The connotation is for someone who is crazy about something, would do it no matter what the hurdles, knows all about the subject in finite detail and even should the subject matter be taboo - you'd find the person crouching in the dark illicitly conducting the activity. Ortolan eating is a perfect example of behaviour that would describe an otaku.

Shima in particular is a beef otaku's paradise.

Chef Oshima has worked in London at the Connaught, went on to France and Germany to round out his cooking and then returned to Japan some 12 years ago to open Shima. Shima is a beef restaurant in Tokyo that puts all the beef I've ever had to shame. The restaurant is tiny, holding 20 people maximum. A few small tables in the back and a long counter behind which the kitchen staff prepare every dish ordered from scratch.

Tokyo backstreets are impossible to navigate and Chris and I got lost (wasn't due to our lack of knowledge of Tokyo streets, even our cab driver couldn't figure it out). So we stood in front of a landmark building in the area and called the restaurant to get better directions. The maitre d told us to stay where we were and she sent one of the kitchen staff to come escort us himself.

Once inside the restaurant we were welcomed by the four chefs behind the counter and the woman who is the waitstaff for the floor. There were only 6 other guests being entertained, the workers for the restaurant outnumbered the guests. While you usually get phenomenal service in Japan this was unbelieveable.

Discussion of the wine list (wine in Japan gets marked up way more than in any other restaurant market in the world) ended up with a California Zinfandel and a starter of seasonal dressed vegetables (Japanese tradition of serving an "otsumami" savory snack with a drink in the beginning of a meal) nibbling dish set before us.

Oshima san interrupted us as we were discussing the menu and asked us what we liked and didn't like. We talked for a little while and he started to get a gleam in his eye as he said, "Well its not on the menu but I happen to have, " he opens the fridge and pulls out a container, "some white asparagus in from Hokkaido." Giant, pristine, spears of white asparagus were laid before our eyes. "If you'd like, I'll do something with these." We nodded our head vigorously.

As we're waiting, one of the other chefs pulls out freshly baked rolls from the oven and deposits two on each of our side plates. One a black sesame bread and the other a lovely white roll with sultanas. Very moreish.

Oshima san then asked us if we liked crab. Yes? And how about baby octopus? And would you like vinaigrette or hollandaise?

A little while later two plates of those giant white asparagus were placed in front of both of us. Crabmeat laid on top of the spear ends and a small pile of baby octopus at the other end. Chris was given a bowl of hollandaise to liberally pour over his plate as he liked and my vinaigrette had already been drizzled on. The separate tastes were lovely.

Oshima had suggested a soup for our next course but having just flown 13 hours, Chris and I didn't feel up to having too many dishes. We went straight for the beef but I was tempted. There is a French onion soup (amongst many other choices on the menu) which I bet is fantastic. Again he cooks that soup from scratch right in front of you.

I opted for filet mignon, I think Chris got the sirloin. Oshima san brings out the most beautiful flanks of marbled beef that you've ever seen. He then pulls out a scale and asks you how much you want to eat. He'll butcher your steak for you in front of your eyes and then spears the thing and cooks it rotisserie style in his giant grill before searing to finish in his pan. It was perfect beef. Mine tender and beefy flavourful, Chris's with more of a bite and again that incredible taste.

I wish I had pictures and I wish I had taken better notes. This restaurant serves such an incredible meal. There were many small dishes of things that came out to complement the beef but I can't remember all of them now. And we were so involved with speaking to the staff that I didn't remember to note everything I put in my mouth.

Oshima san talked to us about his time at the Connaught and even called a friend who still works in the kitchen while were there. He and his staff insisted that his restaurant is only one out of many in Tokyo that are serving the quality of beef that his is (I don't know if I believe him, this may just be Japanese modesty coming out). When he heard that we were too full and jetlagged for dessert, he insisted that we take a cheesecake with us that was leftover from their staff meal earlier in the day and actually walked us out of the restaurant bowing to us as we left.

The restaurant is a find, Oshima-san and his staff are serious about their food and after tasting the cheesecake, I envy the staff meals they must be getting. While we were there a call came in from a local who must frequent the restaurant. He asked for beef curry (not on the menu) and Oshima whipped it up (It smelled incredible) and had it waiting in a box for him to carry out when he arrived to pick it up.

An incredible first night meal in Tokyo. :wub:

Where is Shima?

A Hudson Valley Home.  Kichels --  A Recipe from the Old Country.

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#41 akiko

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 01:04 PM

I'm sorry, I didn't see this earlier Stone!

Shima
3-5-12 Nihonbashi
Chuo-ku
Tel. 03.3271.7889

I hope you still have time to go

#42 Scorched Palate

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 09:29 PM

I haven't had time to download all the photos from our trip, but a couple of people have asked me about our experience with the Tsukiji fish market tour.

The guides who took us around Tsukiji have a website at: http://homepage3.nif...kijiTourEng.htm
The tour costs 7,500 yen (approximately $63/35) per person.

Nakamura-san and Yoshino-san speak fluent English, and they're incredibly well-versed in the ins and outs of the market. They both used to work in Tsukiji for different wholesalers, and Yoshino-san lived in San Francisco years ago. I am sure that we saw things (like the uni showroom) that we would never have found on our own. Their explanations helped us understand the things we saw, rather than just being amused by the visual experience. If our guides didn't know the answers to a question, they would ask the vendors and show genuine interest in the answers themselves.

The only tricky part of the operation was the reservation, and even that isn't hard. They've got major spam-blockers running on their email account, so you need to post their message board with your preferred date, and they will email you back.

The first morning, we ate at Sushi-sei, a traditional sushi bar in the outer market. We ordered the middle of the three set menus, and enjoyed everything very much. Nobody spoke any english, but it wasn't a major problem... it just meant that we couldn't chat with the sushi chefs! The second morning, Cameron went to Sushi-zanmai, a more-modern, casual sushi-place a couple of streets over. He said both were very good, but Sushi-sei was measurably better. (I, on the other hand, went to Yoshinoya :blush: )

I'll post a few pix when I get them off the camera.
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#43 naoto

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 02:15 PM

Hi Anita,

Yes, I am the Nakamura-san, who guided you around the Tsukiji Market.
In spite of my PC problems that really turned my brain into a stone in my skull, I finally got to this place. Thank you very much for sending me a prompt message. It really encouraged me!
And thank you very much for allowing me to quote you on our homepage.
Let me say hello to all the people who are submitting to this site.
Hello! It's nice to be here. ;)

naoto

#44 Abbylovi

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 05:39 PM

Welcome, naoto. It's good to have you here.
It is better to have beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.

#45 Behemoth

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 05:59 PM

Hey, I will be in Tokyo in late July, this sounds like fun...can I PM you directly when I have my schedule together a llittle more? (welcome, BTW!)
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