I hope everyone enjoyed reading about our holiday mini-vacation in Tokyo. Hopefully this will make some of you want to come visit Japan. Not just to visit me of course, but to see all that Japan has to offer. They are still working to rebuild tourism after the earthquake and resulting tragedies. I'm just loving it here so maybe I can inspire others to make Japan a vacation destination for them.
To finish up with Tokyo we did one last quick walk nearby the hotel. There was not much time left, but having an afternoon train meant we did not need to rush to leave the city. We found another coffee place across from the hotel. I have no idea how we missed this before, but I am glad we spotted it. This is St. Marc Cafe.
In Japan bakery items are almost always self service. You grab a little tray and some tongs and pick out whatever you want. Then you bring this to the register where they package it all up for you or put it on a plate if you are eating there. Ryan picked out an egg and ham type of breakfast muffin and this odd, buttery, french toast like bread sandwich. Yep, not sure how to even explain that one. It was sweet, tasted like french toast, was served like a sandwich, and used buttery bread.
I know it tasted like this because I tried it too. I also had a little croissant. It was GOOD! Definitely worth it. I will also mention that many times I find their foods of similar size to foods in the US to have fewer calories and this is because they do not really add sugar. Foods are not as sweet and you can see the difference in the calories. Yes, this assumes their calorie labeling is correct, but I know some RDs practicing in Japan (and Japanese equivalents) and they never mentioned to me that there would be anything unusual about these.
You can see they had a nice little selection of baked goods for breakfast. You can also see the tongs that they put out so you can serve yourself.
We did one last day time stroll through Akasaka. This bar was jumpin' the night before so I could not get a picture, but during the day it was much easier. I loved the look of this place. It is supposed to be a British pub (or perhaps Irish? I'm going with British!). The whole place was filled with tourists, likely a mix of Americans and Europeans. It was just so cute. Can you believe this is in Tokyo?
This is Bar Mar, where we had the tapas 2 nights before. At night I couldn't get a picture either because it was bad lighting and too many people. Can you see why I had to stop in and try some tapas?
Then it was time to head to the train station and catch the Shinkansen home. We got to the station with plenty of time and just relaxed. The stress was when we got to Hachinohe station, which is where we had to switch from high speed to a local train, we knew we only had 5 minutes to get off the train, buy our tickets and get to the next platform. Having never done that before we had no idea if we could make it. The good news was that the Shinkansen got in a few minute early. I ran for the ticket machine, which I remember from when we were given a tour of the station upon our arrival at this base. There was an employee there helping to make the process move faster. We got the tickets and ran down the other side of the building and boarded, thankfully, with a few minutes to spare. We were riding in the very front, just behind the conductor and it was neat to see it from that perspective.
Later that night we had to try out that crazy cake we bought in Tokyo. Wonderful! We started with the chocolate. It is a little hard to see but it is made up of many layers, which are actually well defined, but harder to see in the chocolate version.
I will end this post by sharing another great meal. This one was at Aburi-An, which is a restaurant near where we live. I had heard about it before and was hoping it would work out despite Ryan eating meat and me eating seafood. It's one of those BBQ places where you grill your own foods. I figured clean grill, veggies first, my seafood, and then let Ryan do his meat, and then everyone wins. So let's see how it worked out.
Check out the fun tables:
The fire is just getting started.
The server brought us some BBQ sauce (I think it was mostly soy, but she called it BBQ sauce).
I started with a tomato salad. Yes, I was actually served a whole tomato (it was cut, I promise), in a soy sauce based dressing, with onions. It liked it!
Ryan started with some egg soup. He said it was really good and did not taste like it had an meat in it. I am hoping to try this in the future.
We ordered some potato and cheese croquettes.
Then came the mixed veggies.
Here is Ryan's beef, pre-cooking.
We also got some mushrooms.
I ordered the scallops. Forgot for a second that they do the whole scallop, not just that cleaned up inner peace us Americans are used to. Oh well! It really wasn't a problem. I cooked them whole and then could easily remove what I did not want to eat.
Alright, now it is grilling time!
After I removed my food, Ryan put on his steak and cooked it. I loved his comment when he was done. It was along the lines of- Wow, that was cooked just how I like. My compliments to the chef!
So, if your Japanese BBQ is not good, I would say you only have yourself to blame! Just kidding (well mostly), since you could have ordered something really funky. Trust me, it can happen. Overall, this was awesome and I can't wait to go back.
Now, I still have past pictures of Japan life and foods, so look for those posts coming soon. I have a post coming on Towada, which is a nearby city, and my trip to Hirosaki Castle for the Chrysanthemum Festival.
QUESTIONS: When traveling, do you prefer train, plane or car? Have you ever gone to a BBQ place where you grill your own foods?