Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern Collection 1


For Christmas, my sister sent me an unexpected DVD. It was something called "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern: Collection 1". I was aware that Anthony Bourdain has a program called "No Reservations", which my sister sent me as well, and although I enjoy Bourdain's prose, when it comes to television programs, Zimmern's wins hands down in my book. Because Zimmern's show gives the food the main stage whereas Bourdain's program, the food shares the stage with the city he visits along with his tough persona. Zimmern seems effeminate in comparison but is easier to understand. In this first collection Zimmern visits Morocco, Spain, the Philippines, Ecuador, New York City, the U.K., America's Gulf Coast, and Mexico.

In Morocco he checks out the large souk (market) and indulges in everything from lamb kidneys to pigeon pies. In Spain, he tries suckling pig brains and bull testicles (oh my). And what would be a trip without a visit to the current world's number one restaurant - El Bulli. In the Philippines, he has an interesting and perhaps somewhat disgusting to our Western sense of taste as he samples the nationally known staple called balut which is a boiled pre-hatched egg (you can see the embryo I tell ya!). He also tries some crickets, frogs, and worms as well. The main theme for Ecuador is roasted guinea pigs.

Even though you may not think its possible, Zimmern discovers exotic dining in New York City, eat haggis , neeps, and tatties in the U.K., then heads back to the Gulf coast in the States to sample something that looks almost like a beaver, and finally to Mexico which serves more than just burritos and tacos.

I can't wait to receive Collection 2 which my sister has already promised me. I may enjoy food as the rest of you, but I will leave the extreme eating to Zimmern and enjoy it vicariously through him.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Belated New Year's Party / 遅れた新年会

In December I mentioned the Japanese tradition of bonenkai - a party to celebrate the end of the year. Japan has one other great tradition for people who love to drink and eat - it's the shinnenkai - or "Welcoming the New Year Party". January is usually the season for it, but my friends and I had ours in the middle of February - pretty late for celebrating the New Year but what the heck! We celebrated at a restaurant called "Marvelous" in Shibuya. And now to entertain with our course meal.


Ham Platter / ハムの盛り合わせ

Baby Octopus / イイダコ

Tossed Green Salad / グリーンサラダ

Seafood Pasta / シーフッドパスタ

Grilled Beef / 牛のロース

Sausage Platter / ソーセージ盛り合わせ

Chocolate & Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce / チョコレートとチーズケーキとキャラメルソース

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Patisserie Kawamura / パティシェリーカワムラ

On our way home from the Plum Festival, we came upon patisserie and decided to drop in. I ordered myself a pumpkin pudding while Mikako ordered an Uji green tea pudding. Strawberry Shortcake was also on sale this week so we bought a couple to enjoy the following day.


Pumpkin Pudding / カボチャプリン

Uji Green Tea Pudding / 宇治抹茶プリン

Strawberry Shortcake / ショートケーキ

Bon Appetit!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

32nd Annual Umegaoka Plum Festival / 第32回梅ヶ丘梅祭り

Today, being sunny and also being our day off, we decided to walk to Hanegi Park in Umegaoka for their annual plum festival. The festival will continue until March 1. This year, we decided to eat lunch at home before heading to the park so we wouldn't be tempted by the various food stalls. As we neared Umegaoka station, we found that a flea market was in full swing as well. Before heading to the park, we decided to check things out at the flea market and also the various programs being held in front of the station. We checked out a dance group, a marching band, and a few yosakoi groups (traditional dance originated in Kochi Prefecture).


The following pictures are not of plums but they still look beautiful and picturesque.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Standing Only Soba Shop / 立ち食いそば屋

Here's something very Japanese! You can find these standing only soba shops on the platforms of train stations. As we were hungry and wanted to eat light, we actually ate here. This is at Abiko Station on our way back home from Naritasan.


Kakiage Soba / かき揚げそば (Mikako's order)

Kara-age (large piece of chicken) Soba / 唐揚げそば (My order)


Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Walk around Narita (Part 2) / 成田の散歩 (パート2)

Behind Naritasan Temple is Naritasan Park. This is the entrance. This place is a lot larger than I imagined.


Its the season for plum trees!


We have no idea what these are.


There is even a waterfall in the park.


Of course the park leads right back to Naritasan where there were more buildings that we had yet to discover.


Komyodo Hall / 光明堂

Peace Tower / 平和の塔

Gaku-do Hall / 学童

At the top of these stairs was a small temple dedicated to success at work. Of course I had to go there.


Shoro (Bell Tower) / 鐘楼

And so concludes our walk around Naritasan.