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Thursday, January 28, 2010

AZABU JUBAN: Tsukishima-Ya Imakawa-Yaki Japanese donuts~.


When I think about Japanese treats Mochi always comes to mind... hmm.  Anyways there is an amazing little shop in Azabu Juban that serves round Taiyaki (is this the correct term for a round one?) or at this shop they are called Imakawa-Yaki.  Filled with just enough azuki bean paste but whats really special about this Taiyaki is whats around the beans.  The texture is kinda like a very thick pancake with a chewy outside and thick/moist inside... detect a hint of brown sugar in there thats unique to this shop.  I eat Taiyaki on a weekly basis but this is absolutely the best.

If you don't speak Japanese just use your fingers to signal 1 or 2... he'll know you want the basic Imakawa-Yaki... but there are other fillings too (Cheese, custard cream) you can give you Japanese a try when ordering.  Only 130yen a piece... give it a go.

Chewy and almost cakey inside.

Think this is the owner.  


Shop: Tsukishima-Ya
Address E: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Azabu Juban 2-3-1 (Across from Starbucks).
Address J: 東京都港区麻布十番2-3-1
Map:
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HARAJUKU: The Great Burger!!


Dude... if you need a Chili Fix then The Great Burger is a MUST!  You really can't find a decent bowl of Chili in Tokyo thus no amazing Chili Burgers.  You could try Outback Steakhouse that has an ok bowl of Chili with free hot bread but thats it...and with Wendy's gone from Japan (Zensho decided not to extend the franchise contract) bye bye chili.  Lunch at THE GREAT BURGER in Harajuku is open from 11:30am to a late 4pm.  Everything is 1,000yen with a drink of your choice and tasty potatoes (ask for Oh-Mori and they'll give u extra for free).

I Always hit u the Chili burger... chili is super thick, lots of beans and a great spice kick.  You WON"T be disappointed!  Oh, the BMG plays some cool old country music hits~.




Shop: THE GREAT BURGER.
Website: http://www.the-great-burger.com/
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Jingu-mae 6-12-7
Map:

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Monday, January 25, 2010

ROPPONGI: Kebab Bar (Next to the Azabu Police Station)


Mari's hooked on this Kebab spot... you are always met with a friendly smile and the portions are alot bigger than most... but we noticed the owner keeps this place extremely clean and tidy.  There are a few variations but the menu is in English and the guys seem to speak a few languages... but you may not stop at one 500yen kebab~.  There are bench seats outside near the big Kebab Meat and counter seats inside.
Overflowing Mix Kebab~.  Oishiii....


This place has a steady flow of customers... and don't be surprised if people start talking to you.

Shop: Doner Kebab
Location: ROPPONGI (Between Roppongi Crossing and Roppongi Hills... right next to Azabu Police Dept).
Address J: 東京都港区六本木6-2-35
Address E:  Tokyo, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-2-35


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ROPPONGI: Gatten Sushi (Below Outback Steakhouse)...friendly Kanpai's!



I'm usually one to stick with what I like...  centering around three very basic things; quality of food, atmosphere but most of all service.  Was a regular at Tsukiji Sushi-ko (on the corner of Roppongi Crossing) for several years until a new sushi chef so obviously decided to serve me less portion than the Japanese customer sitting shoulder to shoulder with me at the counter.  But ultimately the regular sushi chefs rotated out of the Roppongi shop and the new staff seemed to assume customers were just tourists thus service lacked.  Then I  got hooked on Sushi Zanmai (2 shops in Roppongi).  Great staff... nice atmosphere and the occasional 1/2 off Tuna special was too good to pass up.

I've seen Sushi Gatten a few times on my way to Outback but never ventured inside.  Brand new shop and a bit hidden away...hmm could the fish be fresh... but Mari convinced me to give it a try plus their 130yen Chu-Toro (Fatty Tuna) was such a deal compared with SushiZanmai 298yen.
The shop is only a few months so the wooden interior is immaculate, service was just beyond good and the quality of fish very consistent and sooo tasty...especially the Chu-Toro (fatty tuna).  I really can't see myself going anywhere else from now on.

250yen "Otooshi" (Appetizer that comes automatically if you order alcohol).  If you can't eat whats brought out just return it right away...otherwise you will be charged 250yen per person. You'll encounter this at most Japanese restaurants/izakaya's.

Raw Scallop and Ama-Ebi with 3 shrimps! Normally 2 at any other shop! Well other than Roppongi Tsukiji Sushi-ko on the corner that sliced one tiny piece in half and evenly spread it over the rice... that was my last straw.

Our way too cool Sushi Chef. Mr. Watanabe.  Check out their name tags. Hometown, hobbie and name written. A conversation starter~.  Don't be surprised if the staff Kanpai's with you on your first sip of beeru.

** MENU's are all in ENGLISH **

A few things in the restroom. Little touches make a difference.

And when you are done just ask for "Agari" and the waitress will bring you a free cup of Hot Green Tea.


SHOP: Gatten Sushi 江戸前がってん寿司
Location: ROPPONGI
Address J: 東京都港区六本木6-1-3
Address E: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-1-3 (Just look for Outback Steakhouse 2F).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

IKEBUKURO: Giant Gyoza's at Ginza Tenshu



Normally gyoza's are those little fried dumplings that accompany a great bowl of Ramen but if you are craving just Gyoza then visiting Ginza Tenshu in Ginza (http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1301/A130101/13002427/)or Ikebukuro (http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g067059/) is a must.  We went for spicy Chicken Banbanzee (sp?) 580yen, mushroom soup 200yen and the 11inch 6 piece Gyoza/Rice set 870yen.  You can tackle the Gyoza's on your own but after 3 you'll definitely get overloaded on those things and want something else... best to share those.  Not something i'd go out of my way for but if you are in the Ikebukuro/Ginza area its a good time.
870 yen Gyoza/Rice Set.

Mini Ebisu Beer's 350yen.

Either mushroom or corn soup... forgot. But had a great flavor...similar to Tonkotsu Ramen Soup.


Banbanzee Spicy Chicken...had a kick to it. On a bed of cucumbers.



Shop: Ginza Tenshu
Location: Ikebukuro TOBU Dept Store 11th Floor.
Address E: Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Nishi Ikebukuro 1-1-25
Address J: 東京都豊島区西池袋1-1-25 池袋東武スパイス 11F
Foodie Website: http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1305/A130501/13023074/
Gnavi website: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g067059/
Map:

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Monday, January 11, 2010

ROPPONGI: Savoy Bar Pizzeria and Taco-Yaki! (New Open Nov. 14, 2009)

***FYI: SAVOY is No Longer Sharing this Space***

What... I don't have to go out of my way to have an amazing Savoy Napoli Pizza?  I'm a huge fan of Savoy (both Azabu Juban http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88CZjpDNAyg  http://savoy.vc/azabu/shop.html thats located about a minute from the huge Roppongi Tsutaya Starbucks and Minshuku branch http://savoy.vc/misyuku/shop.html) and randomly checked out their website last week to find there was a brand new Savoy Bar in Roppongi!  Mari and I hit up Fridays for Drinks, Sushi Zanmai for a little sushi and ended at Savoy Bar for an amazing Napoli style pizza and a unique addition... Taco Yaki balls.

Jazz BGM, quick service, cheap beer 380yen and on top of the memorable food the atmosphere was very relaxing... there are 2 counters and 2 wine barrels for tachinomi (standing/drinking) on the 1st floor.  One counter near the entrance faces the bar/dude making Taco-Yaki and the other is along the back where you get a pefect view of the Pizza dude making the pizzas... and there are 2 wine barrels behind the counter seating.



 Great smaller cozy low sitting tables/booths (semi-private) on the 2nd floor... low lighting and looked very comfy.

 If you want pizza there is no better place than Savoy in Tokyo... except for another favorite in Jiyugaoka called FERMATA (http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g158638/).  You WON'T be disappointed!

Clear view of the Pizza guy from the back counter seats.




Location: ROPPONGI (1 minute from Exit #5 and just take your first right after Family Mart).
Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Roppongi 3-11-2
Hours: M-F 7pm-5am (Last Order)., Sat 6pm - 10:30pm (Last Order), Sun/Holidays Closed.
Website:  http://savoy.vc/





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