Breakfast, Dessert, Dinner, French, Japan, Japanese, Mexican, Travel
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Tokyo, Japan Part 2

I really, really wanted to go to Osaka and/or Kyoto, but seeing how short on time we were, M suggested that we visit Nikko instead. A few Google searches and a (confused) trip to the Tobu Sightseeing Service Center near Asakusa station later, we had in our mitts our World Heritage Pass.

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko was so serene, beautiful and intensely cold. I was wearing two socks but even so, I could feel my feet quickly turning into blocks of ice in a matter of moments without my shoes within the temples and shrines. I was really grateful that M warned us how cold it would be and we at least had the foresight to wear our snow jackets. So note to anyone visiting Nikko in the winter: dress warmly, wear super thick socks (possibly with one of those heater pads inside), be wary of ice (cramp ons are a safe bet) and be ready to print out information on the places you visit as there are very little English translations of why something is so important. (I really feel like I missed out there).

Outside Junkadelic

Outside Junkadelic

We’ve passed Junkadelic several times on our way to the Metro, it’s cheery exterior (and it being Mexican of all things) piqued our interest. Also, M mentioned in passing that they served pretty decent Mexican fare, so we felt that we should at least try it before we left.

Nachos (Regular, 750 Yen) and Empanada (700 Yen)

Nachos (Regular, 750 Yen) and Empanada (700 Yen)

The nacho chips were wonderfully crunchy and I loved the abundance of melted cheese. There was not, however, enough of that awesome guacamole. We had to ask for some more, which we also polished off. I still rave on about that guacamole – it was just simply fantastic: bright flavours, not too salty and dreamily creamy.

The empanadas looked a bit different to what we were used to and it tasted a bit different too. However, the description on the menu should have tipped us off that it was a bit different: seafood in bechamel sauce rolled into tortillas and fried.

Inside Junkadelic

Inside Junkadelic

Junkadelic was pretty cool, being so cheery outside and in, and the staff was really friendly. It’s a pity we didn’t get to try more dishes (it would appear that when you’re tired, the appetite is also affected – who would have thunk), I would love to come back and try their quesadillas!

Junkadelic
2-21-2 #102, Akasaka
Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Ph: 03-3224-0750
Web: junkadelic.jp/

Outside Akasaka Ittenbari

Outside Akasaka Ittenbari

On our first day in Tokyo, M insisted that we try his favourite ramen place, which he touted to be the best in Tokyo. Best ramen in Tokyo? I was instantly sold.

Spicy Miso Ramen (750 Yen)

Spicy Miso Ramen (750 Yen)

Unless it’s a meat dish, R would most certainly pick the spiciest dish on the menu. It looked pretty spicy too! I was told that the ramen was deliciously spicy and had a pretty decent kick to it.

Look how big that bowl is! That’s the standard bowl ramen comes in – there’s also “jumbo” bowls available as well and they are unbelievably huge. Who can possibly eat all of it?! Crazy. But I digress.

Awerse Ramen (700 Yen + Men-ma, 200 Yen)

Awerse Ramen (700 Yen + Men-ma, 200 Yen)

I’m not sure why, but the rest of us ordered the same ramen – we differed in our toppings though. There’s quite a few on offer such as bean sprouts, more meat slices, seaweed and pickled bamboo (but I think they’re pretty staple add-ons?) for a few bob extra.

The broth was pretty rich and hearty, though a touch too salty for myself, but the noodles were perfect and the meat so wonderfully tender. It was however, surprisingly spicy. There wasn’t a lot of heat to it, but the heat built up as I ate and I found myself gulping down lots of water. My friends looked on with amusement as they didn’t think it was spicy at all. Sigh.

Inside Akasaka Ittenbari

Inside Akasaka Ittenbari

Akasaka Ittenbari is a tiny, tiny restaurant where the ramen is dished out by a no nonsense wait staff and made by quick and efficient chefs. It seemed like one of those places where you order your usual, eat and then leave. No loitering, no shenanigans. A place where you go to sate you ramen craving and leave very well sated indeed. I think I need a ramen fix after this!

At Pierre Herme

At Pierre Herme

On our last day, I dragged R to Pierre Herme. I was determined to visit his Tokyo store, as I missed out when I was in Paris a couple of years back. Determined as I was, when we got to Shibuya I quickly realised, despite looking at the map for a whole week, I had forgotten to write down the directions on how to get there. Geez. It took us a while, but we finally found it and it was like finding gold at the end of a rainbow.

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside (sadness, our waitress came out with this massive silver platter with the entire pastry range arranged just so that made our eyes pop), so sadly I had to make do with this shot.

While R went for a pastry that was accompanied with a chocolate mocktail concoction, I had two pastries and oh my goodness, it was like we had died and gone to heaven – they were so amazing! You could taste all the individual components, delicious on their own, but made perfect harmony when eaten together. Nothing was out of place or seemed unnecessary.

I gamely bought 6 macarons to take home for F, hoping that it would last the two days of being in transit. (It did, much to my relief and our tastebuds.)

Pierre Herme
5-51-8 Jingumae
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Ph: 03-5485-7766
Web: http://www.pierreherme.com/content/FR/EN/boutiques/index.cgi?&cwsid=6463ph0A000108ph6824407

Pastries and Bagel from Pompadour

Pastries and Bagel from Pompadour

We could not believe just how many pastries and bakeries there are in Tokyo. It’s like there’s one on every corner! And of course, we found it hard pressed to not go in and sample a little of their wide selection.

In the end, our favourite bakery was Pompadour. We were lured in with all the bread and pastries in the display window, then we were made giddy with the wonderful, sweet, warm smell of freshly baked bread and cakes.

Pompadour was not all show and no-go: the sour cherries in custard danish, the flaky and sweet pear and (what we think is) rhubarb pie, and the slightly sweet blueberry bagel were absolutely amazing. The flavours were just spot on and the pastry! Oh.. so good. Just so you know, we had gently heated them in the grill for breakfast the next day, but managed to burn a bit of the pie – so it wasn’t their dodgy baking skills, it’s more like ours haha.

We also had a gooey chocolate-centered brownie-muffin top hybrid topped with chocolate chips, but we kind of ate that deliciousness before I got around to taking a photo of it (sorry).

Pompadour
6-2-35 Roppongi
Minato-ku, Tokyo
Ph: 03-3401-5695
Web: http://www.pompadour.co.jp/

From Monjya Izakaya Smile Kojyo Shinjuku Nishiguchi branch

From Monjya Izakaya Smile Kojyo Shinjuku Nishiguchi branch

On our last night in Tokyo, we squeezed in a quickie dinner with some friends before dashing off for a midnight flight back to Sydney via Singapore.

Monjya Izakaya has a massive range of food (which I can’t detail here because I had no idea what we ordered), either a la carte or as a set menu. One of the set menus is an all you can eat for 3,500 Yen. You get an appetizer, salad, 3 types of teppanyaki, okonomiyaki, monjya, dessert and all you can drink. That’s right… All. You. Can. Drink. This includes alcoholic beverages, which my friends most certainly took advantage of.

It was my first time having okonomiyaki and it was so much fun to make, as well as eat! I can’t wait to do something like this in Sydney (if we even do have an okonomiyaki place that is).

Monjya Izakaya is a cheerful restaurant with enthusiastic and friendly wait staff. The food was quite delicious and with an all you can eat and drink set menu for 3,500 yen I know I’ll be back to properly take advantage of enjoy such a feast.

Monjya Izakaya Smile Kojyo Shinjuku Nishiguchi branch
Atlas Nishishinjuku building 5F,
1-15-8, Nishishinjuku,
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0023
Ph: 03-5339-7277
Web: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g622511/lang/en/

So, here ends my brief foray into Japan. It’s more like a toe-dip than anything else, I know, so I just can’t wait to go back to try more scrumptious food, snacks and take in the history and culture that Japan has to offer!

Comments

  1. Beautiful pics, especially the fish-eye ones. Japan is such a gorgeous looking country I will get there one day. But I sure as hell won’t go there in winter! Two pairs of socks at once? Hilarious and scary at the same time. :-)

    1. squishies says:

      Thanks! Haha next time I will bring thicker socks…

  2. Spicy ramen in pipping hot broth is the ultimate in freezing cold weather or after a long hard day of skiing. That photo of you about to devour those noodles says it all..yums!

    1. squishies says:

      It is just the perfect dish! I will be having a bowlful of ramen tonight – it’s not Akasaka-style, but close enough for something in Sydney =D Nom.

  3. Gaby says:

    I’d never enter a restaurant called Junkadelic if I didn’t know beforehand it was good. Apparently it was. Ramen looks awesome. Glad you made it to Pierre Herme, I’m so jealous!

    1. squishies says:

      Hahaha I think I am drawn to weird named restaurants… When I was in Berlin, I dragged my cousins and their friends to eat at White Trash Fast Food. If they’re good, then it’s even better!

      Pierre Herme!! Oh man, every time I see photos of his macarons I drool a bit. They’re just so divine.

  4. Your photographs are amazing! What camera do you use and how do you edit them? I just want to dive in and eat the divine looking food!

    1. squishies says:

      Aww thanks Manon! I use a Nikon D700 with 35mm f2.0 lens and a Sigma 10mm fisheye. I do my post-processing through Lightroom and Photoshop CS3.

  5. Name * says:

    Beautiful photos. The ramen noodles look amazing.

    1. squishies says:

      Thanks! And the ramen tasted better than it looks ;) hehe

  6. betty says:

    ooh the okinomiyaki looks yum!

  7. Jayson James says:

    I am in awe! There’s so much you can discover in Japan when it comes to food and leisure. The country also has a lot to say about their culture and traditions. Even the Google Maps agrees :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. squishies says:

      I know right?! I really, badly want to go back and see more stuff – I really want to do Osaka and Kyoto!!

  8. Mattylittles says:

    Hi, I felt the same after my trip to Japan last September. I’ve found some good Japanese Restaurants will have Okonomiyaki on the menu here. ‘Asakusa’ on King St Newtown I’ve noticed just last week, but I haven’t tried theirs yet.
    I was lucky enough to try the local version in Hiroshima (called Hiroshimayaki) where they use pork inside.

    1. squishies says:

      Ooo thanks for the recommendations – hopefully I’ll get to go to them soon :)

  9. jen says:

    the ramen looks amazing! *drool* would you be able to provide me with the exact address/location of it?? going to tokyo in a few weeks and it looks like a must visit!! =D