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Everything posted by tokyogurumegal

  1. I agree with Canucklehead and Kentan, Kingyo is my favourite and I think it's the best. Definition of izakaya is quite broad so I would still consider Zakkushi an izakaya. Aki on Thurlow could almost be bunched in as an izakaya as well.
  2. Many dishes from Hokkaido use butter. Japanese cooking = soy + (fill in the blank, pretty much anything goes) My mother grew up in Hokkaido during the war and she was the fortunate one who actually had food. They use to put butter in miso soup to add extra richness in flavour. Pretty rich for those days huh? My dad who grew up in Tokyo where food was scares can't believe these "rural" tales.
  3. Breathe Lesley breathe. This is all good news for the city. We all come on here talking about what was good and bad but it's all about business at the end of the day. When has an executive chef of any major restaurant group gotten their kitchen apron dirty anyway? (I'm kidding...) We locals all know how marvelous our culinary scene is, but with a big name it draws additional attention from outsiders and world travellers. I'm tickled pink:) Boulud would have come to Vancouver whether it was through Sidoos or by camping in the restaurant space in Holts.
  4. Meh... I'm clearly not getting it. I've tried this place out a few times and I'm still not impressed.
  5. It's been two years since I've been in Atlanta, but when I use to go there on business I loved going to Nan Thai Fine Dining. I never expected to find an amazing Thai restaurant in Atlanta!! The more casual restaurant run by the same people is called Tamarind, also great and also in Midtown area.
  6. In the Japanese Fine Dining category, Octapus' Garden is included in this category! Fine dining? I'm not sure I agree...
  7. I was in Shinjuku last December on the grand opening day of the first Krispy Kreme store in Japan. The line up was unbelievably long, it was almost as long as the line up for Playstation 3! I'm curious how they're received now... there's a commonly used expression especially by women in Japan, "amasugi" meaning "too sweet", and I think the traditional glazed donut from Krispy Kreme is definitely "amasugi". My new favourite donut place is in Seattle, called Top Pot. Some of their donuts resemble Donut Plant's glazed donuts. If you're ever visiting Seattle to go see Ichiro it's worth a quick visit!
  8. rumball! Thank you for your info. You're lucky you're in NY, you can probably find anything there. I use to love going to Veselka in East Village, nothing beats a hearty bowl of borscht late night after clubbing... but that was many many years ago! If only I had Russian friends with grandmothers who can make me home cooked dinner.... my husband's babushka (he is 1/4 Russian) unfortunately never cooked I will have to get out of my bubble and venture out to the burbs this weekend for pirozhki!
  9. Senses is apparently closing this weekend. Too bad... I use to buy their mocha and brioche every morning when I worked around there. I'm rarely in N. Van, it seems like such a hike to go buy Thomas Haas pastries. Does anyone know whether they'll re-open in another location?
  10. Vancouver & BBQ Brian, thank you so much for all of your suggestions! I must go visit these places this weekend, I need to maintain my high carbs diet!!!! (sorry for using the D word on eGullet...) Is piroshky really the same thing as perogies? I did a bit of searching on the web and many sites describe them as bread or pie-like turnovers. Apparently it's also called pirozhok (singular) pirozhiki (plural). There use to be a lovely Russian Ukranian resturant on Main Street next to Heritage Hall (near 14th) that served the best perogies and piroshkys. What was interesting was, the restaurant was always full of Chinese people. Those perogies must be reminiscent of dim sum dumplings maybe...? Does anyone know what happened to that restaurant? Did the close permanently or did they move?
  11. As an out of towner who visits NY frequently, I would go to WD hands down. Their dishes are a lot more memorable because of unique creativity. Both great restaurants though!
  12. I was in Seattle last weekend and stopped by my favourite place in Pike Market, Piroshky Piroshky! This made me think, where in Vancouver can I find good piroshky? Is there a Russian bakery somewhere in this city???? I was walking by the Russian community centre on 4th yesterday and saw a sign about someone taking orders for piroshkys for Easter but didn't take the number down (I'm sure it's too late now...). I don't want to wait once a month like the pyrogies served at that church on Quebec St!!! There must be a bakery somewhere in Vancouver!
  13. I love this movie. Not that this is relevant to the original post, the big bald man who slurps his pasta in a restaurant during the etiquette lesson is a famous French pastry chef A. Lecomte. Itami loved his pastries and he asked him to do a cameo. His patisserie was very famous in the 80's, it's still around but since he passed away it hasn't been the same. I think they still have a spot in Isetan Shinjuku debachika (department store basement). He use to make the best eclairs.
  14. When you enter they say "irrashaimaseeeeeeeee!!!" which means welcome, but when a guest leaves often they say "arigato gozaimashitaaaaaaaaa" meaning simply... thank you. One thing I love about izakaya is, although their business is based on alcohol sales most often servers don't make you feel guilty not ordering alcoholic beverages. I'm guessing they're use to dealing with Japanese people with low alcohol tolerance. Does anyone know where I can buy those enzymes I'm lacking???? In certain establishments, if one orders virgin mojitos (no rum minty lime drink!) they will boldly refuse to serve it to you (coughBuddhaBarinNYcough)!! It's not my fault I have a mild alcohol allergy. Having said that, I certainly won't turn down a glass of Pichon Longueville! So back to zakkushi, I agree with LordBalthazar it's very authentic and food was pretty good. The decor is very wabi sabi (in an aesthetic sense, not that restaurant that closed down on 10th) and I love the contrast you get with all the action and noise. I particularly enjoyed their salads and traditional tsukune gets my thumbs up. Has anyone tried the new izakaya on Denman called Kingyo? That's my next stop.
  15. Cha kaiseki is traditionally vegetarian although you will find sometimes sashimi and some meat dishes are served recently. It starts with a soup dish (there could be one or two) then about 3 vegetable dishes that are "shun" meaning in season along with pickles and rice. It's not my most favourite form of Japanese food... I associate sore knees from sitting in seiza position (knees tucked in doing wonders to your knee ligaments) for a good hour to four hours! It's really not about the food, rather the ritual and discipline behind the tea ceremony. Dishes used and presentation is very important too. I'm sorry I don't have any web sites that I can recommend but if you google cha kaiseki there's lots that show up. Also try words like omotesenke, urasenke, senorikyu etc... I can ask my teacher in Japan questions too but she's getting up there in age!
  16. jhirshon, your restaurant choices sounds wonderful but it seems you'll be doing a lot of travelling around! Is there a reason you selected those restaurants in that order? Ebisu and Jingumae is closer so I would go to Maisen and Chibo on the same day. If you're savvy with public transport it shouldn't be a problem but if you're taking the cab everywhere I can imagine the amount of time you'd be stuck in traffic! There are sooooo many wonderful Edomaesushi places in Tokyo that doesn't make it in western rags and let me share a few my favourites! Your wife will sure to be impressed with the following: Sukibayashi Jiro, 4-2-15 Ginza, Chuou-ku tel: 03-3535-3600 it's pricey but well worth it. Jiro san looks like he's 60 but he's 80 years old , super passionate and makes the best "zuke maguro" which is so popular it has to be pre-ordered. This is a red tuna (maguro) that is marinated in soy and a bit of vinegar, quintessential Edomaesushi!! Unfortunately it's a winter thing so I'm not sure they would have that in June. 20pc omakase was approx. 25,000 yen Shin, this place is in Nishiazabu which is very close to Roppongi. 4-3-10 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku tel: 03-5385-0031 Sushi master is quite young but has gotten quite a lot of attention, a word of mouth kind of place. The attention to detail is seen everywhere from decor, dishes used and of course their sushi! Omakase 10 pc approx. 8,000 yen Yuta, also in Nishiazabu. A quick cab ride from Grand Hyatt (I walk!) 3-13-1 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku tel: 03-3423-2885 This place is also run by the next generation sushi master, classical music is played and the decor is clean modern style. Their anago and ootoro is to die for. Impeccable timing and the combination of totally raw and flamed (is this the right expression?) sushi is perfect. If you can't make it to these places this trip, it's definitely worth trying next time! I wonder if Miyako Zushi you're going to is the same as the one I have in mind... is it the same place as Betenyama Miyako Zushi? This place is also in Akasaka but the address looks different. They say you can always tell a great Edomaesushi place by their tamagoyaki. What you may be use to having in North America is not quite the same as the traditional Edomae style... it usually has ground up white fish, yamaimo (mountain potato) and lightly seasoned with mirin, soy sauce and sugar. The texture is a lot finer and it's not like a sweet omlet! I hope your wife will have a fantastic time. Your next visit with her, I too would recommend izakayas. There are many "new age" izakaya that caters to a broader audience (not just the salary man) and it's not just about drinking. Chanko nabe is great in the winter but there are many other places I would go before I have chanko... Leave some room for pastries too!!! Happy eating!
  17. I think most restaurants hesitate taking big groups because of potential lost revenue. Groups tend to stay longer, less opportunity to upsell etc... If most of your friends are foodies and want GOOD Japanese food I would suggest doing a buyout of a yummy restaurant like Yuji's. I just had their yuzu sorbet on Friday, it was the best yuzu sorbet I've had outside Japan. Japanese restaurants that cater to large groups tend to not be known for good quality... Ones in downtown that come to mind are Kamei Royale, Koji and Yoshi. Having said that, with 50 people you won't be able to all sit in the same area of the restaurant. Koji does outside catering and I've had great experience using them for big events but I guess this doesn't help you... Okada on Hornby handles smaller groups, they might be open to doing buyouts. I miss Chiyoda... where will I go for my gindara (black cod robatayaki) lunch!!
  18. Make sure you have plenty of cash too! Credit cards are accepted in many places but culturally people tend to pay with cash at restaurants.
  19. I really enjoyed my dining experience at A Voce. The meatballs were great, the sweet/savory balance was perfect! Everything we ate was exactly or better than we expected it to be. This has nothing to do with their food but my husband couldn't get over how comfortable their swivel chair was, I think it was an Eames chair. I wonder if the restaurant can turn guests for multiple covers when chairs are so comfortable like that! Since I've dined out so much that week I couldn't eat a full main course so I thought I'll order the quail (an appetizer) as main course. The server said it was quite small so he will ask the kitchen if they can make a main course size for me. As much as it was a kind gesture, it ended up to be too much and I could only finish half what was served. Initially I thought the server was considerate but I later found out he tried too hard to up sell whenever he could. He tried to convince me to order this hard to get hen from Vermont, which I overheard him doing the same thing to the ladies next to us. He also suggested we order the ricotta cheese spread which we indulged in. The third and persistent up sell was dessert time, I was too full and tried to pass and he kept pushing and pushing. Ms. Rubber Elbow here couldn't say no so my husband and I indulged in the panacotta. He snuck in another upsell by suggesting grappa (ick!). Despite how annoying it got with the eager beaver server and his up selling, the food was fantastic and the service timing was perfect. I would definitely go back again.
  20. In the end, due to prior commitments, only one egulleter was able to make it - and, fortunately, it was the extremely prolific Ling. Well, actually, there were two more egulleters to make it but, as it turned out, they were actually some old friends (ah, the magic of internet anonymity). ← That was me!!! I'm sure it's obvious with our avatars... we sort of have a "pug connection". LB thank you so much for putting this event togeter, it was nice to meet Ling in person too:) I wish I didn't have to fly out east the next day, I would have sampled more... Christopher Norman's chocolates were incredible and I could not move away from those chocolate fountains!! LB, your ice creams... DELICIOUS! I'm glad Ling took all those pictures, I forgot which ones I sampled the next day. I particularly enjoyed Themis' chocolate lecture. Thanks again for the invitation, our puggy had a fun time with your puggies too!
  21. I think it's all about the dressing. Ume and shiso, ume and katsuo (bonito flakes) or yuzu dressing on any mesclun salad makes my tastes buds happy and my waistline in place! When I make these dressings I don't have to use oil I agree with Hiroyuki san, Japanese potato salad is yum yum. Just like miso soup everyone has their own recipe but there are couple of things Japanese add to potato salad that's different to German potato salads. Mayo is key, kewpie is my preferred brand. Often thinly sliced cucumbers (Japanese cucumbers, not those massive ones used in Greek salad) carrots, onion and bacon are added. It's one of those basic dishes you learn in "domestic science" classes in middle school!
  22. Have you seen the move Like Water for Chocolate? When I dined in Topolobampo in my last visit to Chicago, I thought "ahhhhhhhh this must be like the food in that movie!". However... I didn't go running out of the restaurant tearing my clothes off like that red head! Their margarita was incredible. I had no idea good quality tequila tastes so smooth.
  23. Jaimemaw, the wasabi served to you in Vancouver restaurants, were they from Japan or OR or Taiwan? I find good wasabi is hard to find... I've bought monster wasabi that looks yellowish when grated sold in Granville Island Market. It wasn't that tasty but better than nothing I guess.
  24. I think you have a great list there. Instead of just targeting specific stores, you should walk around certain areas that are known for socialite hangouts! La Maison du Chocolat is located on Omotesando and that strip has several nice cafes but try and go to the small side streets, you'll find "gems" you will never expect to be there. Also very close to Omotesando is Aoyama area. There are TONS of stylish places that would probably inspire you. If you're limited with time and you want to see lots of desserts from various reputable patisseries I would suggest going to depachika (basement level of department stores). You'll find local favourites, internationally renouned names will also pop up (Lenotre, Hediard etc...).
  25. I don't care if it's traditional Italian or not. That meatball dish sounds lovely. Just for that I made a reservation for my next visit to NY next week!! Don't Italians modernize and modify their cuisine in Italy though? I know we do in Japan and evolution is not necessarily a bad thing...
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