About 18 months ago, I posted requesting suggestions for a visit to Japan, but I was unable to make that trip. I finally made it back to Japan and over the last couple of weeks, I made it to Tokyo, Osaka (very briefly), Kyoto, Kawanishi, and Nishinomiya. I may most more details in other relevant threads, but for now, here's a summary of my eating:
Tuesday Feb. 21
Dinner--late arrival at my hotel (~21:00) so I decided not to eat dinner. But as I sat there, I realized I was quite hungry. Off to Takashimaya Times Square and Katsukura! Dinner was fine (Meibutsu Katsukura set). Did you know the Meibutsu set is Y200 more in Kanto than in Kansai? I didn't. . . but it included an extra course (I think) of your choice--tofu or special tsukemono. I had the tofu. Katsukura is always consistent no matter where you're dining, but truth be told, I prefer the Katsukura in Kansai. I think it's more about memories than about the food, but the Katsukura in Kyoto near Daimaru will always be my favourite (though the one at Kobe Mint is probably the nicest one I've ever been to).
Wednesday Feb 22
Breakfast--I woke up early, so I decided to venture out. I knew Tsukiji was closed, but according to Tabelog, Nakaya is open every day. Well, after I got there, I found out it's not. Boo Tabelog! I walked around and had the option of eating at one of the few places in the outside market, but I didn't feel like it. Instead I bought a couple of onigiri (ikura and sea chicken mayo) at Lawson's. The proceeded to Tokyo Station to hang out at Starbuck's with my onigiri and a Matcha Frappuccino.
Snacks--Since I was there, I waited in line at Echire. There were 2 people in line at 9:20, so I joined them. By 10 there were 20+ people. I only got 1 each of the 50% more butter ones, a chausson napoletain, and a slice of butter cake. The 50% butter croissants still rock (especially the salted one), but the chausson napoletain was probably the best pastry I ate during this trip.
I also went to Viron and got one of their Echire croissant as well as a kouign amann. The kouign amann seem different--too light now. But still better than what I can usually get. The Viron Echire croissant was nothing compared to the Echire one, but it wasn't a fair comparison. Must try a taste test b/w regular Echire croissant and Viron Echire croissant.
From here I headed to Ginza to Hidemi Sugino. I bought three cakes to go (Cappuccino, Chantaignes, and Tartelette au Caramel) and a bunch of little financier. I was too tired to sit and eat one of the eat-in only cakes (plus none of them appealed to me), so that was it for HS.
Lunch--back to Tokyo Station for lunch at Aoyuzu. I had the Gindara Hoho-niku set. The other gindara set had a larger piece of gindara, but from what I saw, it had a lot of bones and I was too lazy to pick through the bones. The hoho-niku was moist and tender. Excellently cooked piece of fish. But my favourite of the set was the age-toro (don't know if that's the name). It was absolutely delicious. I thought it was some kind of braised pork at first, but soon realized it was tuna.
Dinner--at Sushi Bar Yasuda. I found my bill, and I paid just over Y6000 for 14 pieces. I wrote about it a little in the Sushi Bar Yasuda thread I started, but I'll just repeat that I thought it was a fine sushi experience. I don't know if it would compare with some of the pricier places out there (Jiro, Kyubei, etc.), but I'd go back.
Thursday Feb. 23
Breakfast: I woke up early again, so I went back to Tsukiji. And I got really lost, venturing to places within the wholesale market that I wasn't supposed to be (according to the sign I found later, visitors are not allowed in the wholesale area until after 9:00). But no one yelled at me or kicked me out, probably because I tried to stay out of the way (in part because I was afraid of getting run over). I finally found Nakaya and had the uni-ikura donburi. Mmmmmmm. . . I love uni and I love ikura. This was a fine breakfast. I also wanted to go to Tenfusa for a nice tendon, but there was a line up by the time I got there, and I didn't feel like waiting.
Lunch: After getting very very lost, I finally made it to Nakajima for the iwashi lunch special. I had fried iwashi. I wanted shioyaki, but they don't do shioyaki anymore. Oh well. It was a wee bit greasy, but I enjoyed my meal. The best part of the meal was the rice, though. I think they use really good rice.
Dinner: OK, I had McD's. By the time I finished at Ghibli Museum, I was hungry and tired, and McD's was just there. I really just wanted an apple pie because they still fry their apple pies in Japan. The apple pie did not disappoint. I also went back to my hotel and ate some pretty frickin' amazing strawberries that I had picked up at Tsukiji. And I ate some of the sweets I bought on Wednesday.
Friday Feb. 24
Breakfast--I started with some of the cakes and pastries from Wednesday, then I went to Omotesando. First stop was Jean Francois to pick up a croissant for my croissant taste test. Then off to Omotesando Koffee and the best cappuccino I've ever had. I also really enjoyed the okashi which is like a cannele but better. Final stop was D'Une Rarite for a cannele and a Rarite (their version of a croissant).
Lunch--Pizzeria Baggio. I had the margherita. I thought their pizza was just OK as far as Neapolitan-style pizza goes. The crust was a little too thick for my tastes, and there was too much cheese. Then we went to Toshi Yoroizuka for dessert. I had the baba. They warn you that it's very strong, and they aren't kidding. I love baba/savarin, and this was definitely the most rummy one I've ever had. It was fine, but I don't think I'd ever stand in line for TY.
Dinner--Met up with a former student for an OK Italian dinner in Shinjuku. It might be a chain, but I can't remember the name (or much about the food).
Saturday Feb 25
My last day in Tokyo
Breakfast--the last of the cakes, pastries and strawberries. Whew! I didn't think I'd ever finish them.
Lunch--got lost looking for Fu'unji, but managed to get there in time to make it in for the first seating. I eat ramen very slowly, though, so I didn't finish until the first people of the second seating finished. The ramen was good, but very filling.
Snack--I met a former student at Harbs. Strawberry cake--strawberries were good. Cake was OK. Very light and fluffy, but too much whipped cream.
Dinner--I don't think I had dinner. Or maybe I had croissant. Oh! I had a croque monseiur from Dominique Saibron, and also a croissant.
That was it for Tokyo. I took the night bus to Kyoto that night (where I had an unfortunate happening at a rest stop in Shiga).