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Everything posted by LordBalthazar

  1. Wow! It's been a while. I've made several trips back to Tokyo since my last update (way back when). Most recently, I was back in Jan/Feb of 2012. You can head on over to my blog for the details. January 28, 2012: Tokyo Day #1! Earthquakes, interviews, and chicken butts! January 29, 2012: Tokyo Day #2! Chocolate, Tonkatsu, Le Bourguignon, and a visit to The Master! January 30, 2012: Tokyo Day #3! Testing my cranial limits, pizza over pasta, and feeling the burn! January 31, 2012: Tokyo Day #4! I discover the world’s greatest pizza, check out some ukiyo-e, partake in more desserts than most eat in an entire week, do some sushi, then cap the night off Star Bars style! February 1, 2012: Tokyo Day #5! Catching up with my old friends Joel Robuchon and Ishikawa-san, February 2, 2012: Tokyo Day #6! Samurai Joe, Nodaiwa, Faro! February 3, 2012: Tokyo Day #7! Braving the cold! Kaiseki! Football Avenue! And it’s all business! Sort of! February 4, 2012: Day #8! Considering a change in location! Visiting Geek Central! Dessert for dinner and dinner for dessert! Make your own ice cubes – Star Bar style! And a mini mailbag! February 5, 2012: Tokyo Day #9! Good news! A formal lunch at a casual restaurant! A gay egg! A rose-donkey! And a night out with the gals! February 6, 2012: Tokyo Day #10! Still thinking about it! Dim Sum! Ueno! Back to Harujuku! Another night with the ladies! February 7, 2012: Tokyo Day #11! The gang back home! Okonomiyaki! And my weirdest meal yet! Well, actually not so much a meal as a bite. February 7, 2012: Tokyo Day #12! Berkserk! Nakajima! Taku! And a fond farewell to Star Bar! A mini mailbag! February 8, 2012: Tokyo Day #13! The Longer Longest Day! And Dark Matter #2 hits the stands!
  2. I stayed at The Peninsula and had a truly wonderful time - so much so that I've planned a return trip in about three weeks. I'll be staying at The Peninsula again. As for a rundown of a last year's trip... Start here: http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/november-23-2008-tokyo-day-1-the-sock-hunt-the-dalloyau-vs-pierre-hermes-macaron-throwdown/ And work your way through each daily update. One of the best things I ate: the matcha opera cake at Sadaharu Aoki. Worst thing: the cuttlefish ice cream from Namco Namja's Ice Cream City.
  3. That's too bad. A sign of these tough economic times perhaps? As part of my prep for my upcoming November Tokyo trip, I researched a slew of recommended high-end restaurants. Although Pierre Gagnaire was on the short list, it didn't make the cut (just as well now all things considered) but I did read very good things, especially about its Grand Dessert made up of 7 different desserts. As an aside, one of the restaurants that did make the cut, Maison d'Umemoto Shanghai has closed down as well since making the Tokyo 2009 Michlin guide.
  4. My dining companion on my last trip to Tokyo was working in Chiba. She would make the long trek every night and back to join me for dinner.
  5. Hmmm. I think the moja-yaki is an acquired taste. My dining companion referred to it as "a goopier version" of okonomi-yaki (which I much prefer). As for must-see places - I'm sure there are much more knowledgeable people on this board capable of giving you better advice. Still, since you asked, I really enjoyed my morning toro breakfasts at the Tsukiji fish market and loved wandering the basement dessert level of Mitsukoshi. Just load up, head back to your hotel room, and go nuts. I'm not sure what your budget is, but if you're willing to shell out the big $$$, I would highly recommend L'Osier in Ginza and The Molecular Tapas Bar in the Mandarin Hotel. Both are an experience and a half but will require reservations well in advance. Also, if you're feeling adventurous, arrange to attend the taping of a television show. Just have your concierge makes a call to find out the appropriate time for you to get there (I went to NHK Studios), take a cab over, and enjoy the show. I had no advance warning of the type of show I'd be attending. The concierge suspected it was a cooking show but it turned out to be a variety show. Despite the fact that I understood nothing, I enjoyed myself immensely, enthusiastically clapping on cue. What are your interests? Budget? When are you going?
  6. I've had Sadaharu Aoki stuff, but not from the Roppongi Hills shop. I've only gotten take out from his store at Isetan in Shinjinku (take-out only). I wasn't really impressed with what I had (macarons and eclair), but I'm always willing to try more sweets! Did you try any of the Japanese-brand macarons? I found the Japanese makers of macaron did a better job (or at least one more suited to my tastebuds) than the French makers--I placed both Chez Cima and Henri Charpentier (they don't sound like it, but they're Japanese companies) above JP Hevin, Pierre Herme, Lauduree, etc. Did you make the short trek from Roppongi Hills to Tokyo Midtown to try Toshi Yoroizuka? I wanted to try his stuff, but the day I went (a national holiday), the line up just to enter the place was way too long. It was worse (I thought) than at Hidemi Sugino! ← I highly recommend that matcha opera cake. I went back twice during my stay. I didn't try either Chez Cima or Henri Charpentier, but will definitely check them out when I head back later this year. Better than Pierre Herme you say? Didn't get to Toshi Yoroizuka either and, for the life of me, I dont' remember why. May well have been a line-up as I can't think of any other reason I wouldn't have checked it out. And, no, not being hungry would never stop me - especially when it comes to dessert.
  7. Looking forward to my return eating-tour of Tokyo this November-December. If anyone is interested, I updated my blog during my last visit: Day #1: Late arrival in Tokyo. The Dolloyau vs. Pierre Hermes "macaron throwdown"- http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...aron-throwdown/ Day #2: Trying to figure out my hotel toilet. I sample pocari sweat for the first time - http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...panese-edition/ Day #3: Ukai-Tei, Patisserie Atelier de Reve, Ice Cream City! - http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...nsory-overload/ Day #4: Hamadaya, Butagumi, Roppogni Hills, Sadaharu Aoki Patisserie (matcha opera cake!), video of me sampling five ayptical ice cream flavors (crab anyone?) - http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...-cream-edition/ Day #5: L'Osier, Maisen, Rude Westerners, Mizutani- http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...d-shibuya-tour/ Day #6: Shinjuku stroll,Girandole Cafe - http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...-avec-mes-amis/ Day #7: Ryugin, First time mojayaki, Kikunoi - http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...est-lunch-ever/ Day #8: Jiyugaoka Sweets Forest, Notting Hill Cakes - http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...ssert-blow-out/ Day #9: My first Tokyo subway ride, Morimoto XEX - http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...ke-the-day-off/ Day #10: Kanda, Sushi Kanesaka, Hidemi Sugino, Laduree - http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...er-dessert-day/ Day #11: Chateau Joel Robucon, I sit in the audience at the taping of a Japanese variety show - and understand nothing - http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...n-the-audience/ Day #12: Last Day, Sushi Kanesaka (again), I compare the restaurants I visited over the course of my stay - http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2008/1...yanora-wrap-up/
  8. Hey Prasantrin, Have you been to Sadaharu Aoko Patisserie in Roppogni Hills? The matcha opera cake is outstanding! On my last day, I was intending to drop by and pick up an entire cake to bring back with me to Canada. In the event customs prevented me from bringing it over, I would have happily sat down in the airport and attempted to eat the whole thing there. Alas, I didn't have the time. Also, I sampled a variety of wonderful macarons, but my favorites were the ones I picked up at Pierre Hermes in Shibuya. They did a seasonal trio - foie gras, black truffle, and white truffle - that I would highly recommend.
  9. I've contacted the concierge at The Peninsula and he will be making the reservations for me. I sent him a list of restaurants and look forward to seeing what he can do. Alas, I'll be gone by January of '09. But if you're in Tokyo betwen November 23rd and December 4th...
  10. My travel partner (a.k.a. wife) backed out and, rather than cancel my trip, I've decided to forge ahead with a solo vacation. I'll be in Tokyo for about ten days and would like to try out a lot of the high-end restaurants. Now, my question is: Is solo dining acceptable or is it an egregious affront to local sensibilities? I'm not talking about casual eateries where I can simply saddle up to a counter along with the various salaryman, but places like Joel Robuchon.
  11. Thanks, sng sling. The Peninsula it is.
  12. Well, my wife had to bow out of our Asia trip for the second year in the row but rather than sit this one out as well, I've decided to fly solo. Armed with my Michelin and Zagat guides, I planning to hit as many of the top picks as possible. Since most are located in the Ginza area, I thought I'd stay in or near the area. The last few times we traveled to Tokyo, we stayed at The Imperial Hotel and The Hotel Seiyo, both of which were within easy walk distance of the Ginza scene. This year, I'm thinking of either The Peninsula or The Four Seasons Marunouchi, or The Mandarin Oriental Hotel (where I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Tapas Molecular Bar). Are any of the aforementioned within easy walking distance of Ginza? A quick glance at my map would suggest so but then the same guide book suggested the Park Hyatt was a well-located. Any other recommendations? Thanks, LB http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/
  13. Steer clear until further notice. My wife and I went Saturday night and, as we approached, we couldn't help but notice the place looked dead. Usually, there's a back-up of cars and foot traffic but on this night - nothing. We rolled in and, after paying the $4 parking fee (double last year's $2 fee), we parked and headed (where else?) for food alley. Unfortunately for us, there was no food being served (with the exception of a decidedly hot dog and taco stand). Instead, we were greeted by a sign that read something like "Food Court Coming" in front of a fenced-off area. "I don't think I can wait,"I informed my wife. And so, we left the Richmond Night Market after all of fifteen minutes and headed over to Northern Delicacy for dinner. WTF?
  14. Doesn't The Memphis Barbecue House serve an oyster po'boy?
  15. Anybody hear anything about Ouzerie on West Broadway? My wife says it looks like they've closed up shop. If this is true, my mother will be devastated. Their lamb chops were her favorites.
  16. I'll second brokentelephone's recommendation of the lamb chops at Ouzeri on West Broadway. Every time my mother comes into town, it's the first place we hit.
  17. Too bad if they are gone for good. In addition to the Hungarian food (plate size schnitzels etc.), they had some killer old school pastries. Specifically, a very decadent and large Mille Feuille. ← NOOOOOOOOOOooo!! I loved their Transylvanian Wooden Platter with spaetzel The Alpen Club on Victoria Drive is sadly just so-so, and the Old Bavaria Haus in New West is good, but Budapest Cafe's schnitzel was GREAT... they will be missed... Has anyone tried Jagerhof Schnitzel House on Lonsdale? ← I am very sad about this also - Jagerhof is good on Lonsdale - but Budapest was really something else! They had very odd operating hours - closed early and slow service - part of their charm, but I am sure it hurt their bottom line. ← Very sad indeed. I'll miss their langos, their schnitzels, their chicken parpikash, and their various desserts. I wonder what happened? True, they always maintained odd hours, but lately the restaurant would be closed for weeks at a time.
  18. I get my matcha from Steeps on West Broadway.
  19. On the 5 course menu: Assortment of house-made charcuterie Stuffed pig ear in green sauce with pig tail consomme Crispy brain Braised Crown bacon Roasted saddle with boudin Birch Syrup pie with candied bacon. An exceptional meal. Swing by the blog for pics and a play by play: http://josephmallozzi.blogspot.com/2007/10...er-18-2007.html
  20. I went to Fuel last night where my friend and I tried to tackle the Cote de Boeuf, a truly magnificent roast. Tom presented the cote de boeuf - a 2 lb cut of dry-aged Alberta Prime, and a gorgeous and formidable-looking piece of meat. In the words of Anthony Bourdain: "Pound for pound, the cote de boeuf is the best cut of beef on the animal. For your serious meat-eating guests, this is the way to go.” Was it ever! The roast was whisked away, then returned to the table minutes later, sliced and served with béarnaise sauce and a side of some wonderfully meaty fries. We also requested Fuel’s celebration salad (organic greens, home made ricotta, confit honey, and firewood honey), the only salad this non-salad eater will order. The cote de boeuf, cooked medium-rare, was butter-tender and very flavorful, reminiscent of some of the best cuts I’ve been served in Tokyo. Pics of the meal (and an incredible organic corn soup you HAVE to rush down and try before they take it off the menu) at my blog - http://josephmallozzi.blogspot.com/2007/08...st-18-2007.html
  21. Anybody have an Estimated Date of Opening on that schnitzel place?
  22. I think i saw a blurb on this on TV once. It kinda looked good, especially on a hot day. I think they take icecream and a bunch of toppings and mix it all together on a chilled marble slab so it stays cold. ← Isn't that just Cold Stone Creamery but with a different name?
  23. I have. I was pleasantly suprised by both the Bacon Bits (as Chocoholic pointed out, the smoky saltiness of the cracklings contrasting nicely with the deepness of the dark chocolate) and the Banana Curry (possessed of a nice, creamy subtleness). But the Almonds with Grappa Raisin was my absolute favorite followed closely by the simple Pistachio. The Celery, Truffle and Port Wine was also very good and, like the others, pleasantly subtle in its flavor. Also, the Chili was the spiciest chili-chocolate bar I've ever tried, easily blowing away the Vosges Oaxaca Bar. On the other end of the spectrum, I don't usually mix fruit and chocolate because I find that the tartness of the fruit inevitably overwhelms. I don't, maybe my tastebuds are unusually sensitive in this respect. As a result, I tried but was enamored of Apple and Balsamic Vinegar,or Paradise Apple - Liquid Olives. The Mare's Milk with Oats sounded interesting but, as I wrote in my blog: "Turns out it wasn’t the mare’s milk everyone ended up having problems with but the oats which lent the bar a neutral flavor but wet paper consistency. Twice I had to check to make sure I hadn’t mistakenly chewed off a piece of the wrapper." The Organic Beer bar falls somewhere in between the two groups. I find that alcohol overwhelms the chocolate flavor even more than fruit which was the case here. Still, the undeniable essence of beer was unusual and, I have to admit, kind of enjoyable.
  24. Lunch at Chow - There were some pansies, some flox, and what I thought may have been buttercups but I couldn’t be sure. The assortment would have made for a lovely bouquet, but as far as salads went, this one left a lot to be desired. We were at Chow for lunch. My pretty little salad accompanied a pulled pork sandwich that failed to impress. The bread was too hard, the cheese too sharp, the pork itself a little too lean and dry. However, my second dish, a gnocchi with morel mushroom and leek in a cream sauce, proved a welcome distraction. For her part, Fondy was hardly enthused by the portion size of her good arugula salad, and while she did find her chorizo plate tasty enough, the fact the sausage fell somewhere between lukewarm and room temperature led her to suggest we give this place a skip next time out. Chow’s brings it’s A game at dinner but, alas, it’s lunch efforts are more a solid C+. For pics of the flora and my ongoing correspondence with my new Nigerian pen pal - www.josephmallozzi.blogspot.com
  25. I recommend the Bacon Bits - chocolate and pork cracklings together at last!
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