French, Italian, Indian, and Chinese Cuisine

Would you believe we have them all right here in rural northern Japan?  Well, we do!  In the past few weeks Ryan and I have been out and about enjoying just about every type of cuisine we can find.  Probably enjoying them all little too much, but you almost can't help it when your spouse returns home safely from Afghanistan!

Here are some of the things we have been enjoying here:

French- We found this bottle of Meursault at a nearby grocery store.  This is a lot more meaningful than a bottle of wine.  Nearly 2 years ago Ryan found this wine mentioned in a magazine and wanted to try it.  They didn't sell this pricey (and I do mean pricey) French wine in the Azores, so we thought we would get in when we were moving to Japan and passing through the US.  That was a great idea until we considered the cost and remembered that it had to travel with us in our suitcases, not carry on bags.  Scratch that idea!  So when I was in CA a few weeks after we moved, I thought I would check again.  Instead, a gentleman recommended another white from the Burgundy region of France at a much more reasonable $25 price tag (much cheaper than $80).  I brought it home and a full year later, Ryan and I enjoyed the bottle.  It was devine (Macon Villages is the name and I HIGHLY recommend it) and this drove us to seek out more whites from Burgundy.  Long story short, the Japanese are fans of the French and with a little searching we found this (yes, expensive because we paid in yen too) bottle of Meursault.  
The verdict?  Good, but the Macon Villages we had was actually much better.  Still a huge fan of white Burgundy wines.

To go with the wine we had to get some cheeses.  To save on money after the wine splurge we opted to go to the grocery store and buy these individually instead of on a pre-made platter.  Yum!
While we were wine searching, we discovered a nearby liquor store selling a variety of beers from around the world.  I picked this beer, La Trappe, mostly for the purple label, but it turned out to be great.  This is from a Trappist brewery in the Netherlands.  Not sure if you have had a Trappist brew, but if not, definitely give it a try.  Chimay is probably the most easy to find.
On to some Italian.  One a snow, snowy day, Ryan and I decided to try this place out.  We had never been before.  It was an "off" hour (places closes after lunch and reopen for dinner, like 3-5) and we were in need of some lunch.  This place was open, so we decided to go in.
I started off with tomatoes and mozzarella.
Our entrees came with salads.
The garlic toast was a bit of a splurge.  Amazing fresh bread.
Some sort of kelp soup (I think!).
I had shrimp and pasta with tomato sauce.  Even though it was just fair, I am still planning to give this place another shot because the ambiance was perfect for a cold, snowy day.  The decor was very log cabin feeling and cozy.  Warm and inviting.  Plus, that garlic toast was amazing!
Ryan had pasta with meat sauce, and again it was less than spectacular.  Thankfully, he enjoyed the setting there too and is open to going back.
But we didn't stop the cultural food tour there.  The following weekend we went to an Indian restaurant in Hachinohe that we hadn't tried yet.  Our meals each started off with a salad.
Next up was the entrees.  Ryan and I always order 2 vegetarian dishes and split them.  I love that my husband is all for vegetarian dishes and is happy going meat free.  Indian food is always so flavorful.  It's in the spice, not the meat.  So this time we ordered a vegetable curry dish.
We also ordered aloo gobi, which is potatoes and cauliflower.  It was amazing!  And spicy, of course!
It also came with naan bread and some rice.

Last, but not least, the night before New Year's Eve, we decided to try some Chinese.  Finding an open restaurant was difficult, but we managed.

I started off with these sesame balls filled with red bean paste.  Amazing!
Ryan tried out the egg rolls.
For dinner, Ryan went with this spicy ramen soup.  After some questionable meat the last time he was here, he decided to try something completely different and go with this soup.  It was a good choice for him.  He absolutely loved it.
I ordered the crab and tofu, which is one of my favorite dishes.  I love this!
Last up, the eggplant.  We felt like we needed more veggies, so we ordered this very flavorful eggplant dish.
It was great to have 11 days off with my husband and not have too much to do.  After having him gone for a few months it was great to be able to relax and enjoy each others company.  We even worked a lot on fixing up the house.  We sold our old couches and bookshelves and purchased new ones.  The place is pretty much finished now and everything is "grown up" and matching.  I would say that we were very productive over the break and our house really shows it.  Most of the "mess" around here was cleaned up too.  It is nice to have less clutter.  What a great way to start of 2013!

QUESTIONS:  What different cuisines have you enjoyed recently?  What is your favorite Chinese dish?  Have you redecorated recently?


EA-The Spicy RD said...

This post is making me hungry!!! Everything looks delicious and so happy for you that your husband is back! I haven't tried any new cuisines lately, but really hoping to delve in to cooking more Asian inspired food this year. Funny you should ask about redecorating, as I just swapped out some "nick naks" and fabrics in my great room to brighten up the new year-always so fun! Happy, happy 2013 to you Melinda!!

Biz said...

You can never go wrong with wine and cheese! I've actually never had "white" burgundy before - I'll have to look for it!

I love spicy Indian food, unfortunately, we don't have any good Indian restaurants around here - I'll need to make a date with my daughter and go to Chicago soon! Have a great weekend!

Jessie said...

We definitely don't have all those cuisines around us! Plenty of Chinese (we had some today, actually), Mexican, and American, but not much else (it IS a college campus, after all). That garlic bread looks delicious ... mmm ... and sesame balls are one of my favorites.

Enjoy your time off with your husband, Melinda!

Ameena said...

Some of the best Indian food I've had was in Japan! I was really surprised and impressed. :)

eatingRD said...

Wow that's neat there are so many different cuisines to try. Chris and I have been making lots of soups lately. It's been freezing here in Vegas. Love that your hubby will go vegetarian. Chris has pretty much switched to all plant-based :)

Andrea said...

So glad you got to enjoy some great food with your hubby! We have been enjoying some Belgian beers lately.

Chinese restaurant Brisbane said...

Wow, such a wonderful food!

Roz @ weightingfor50 said...

I'm late to your international food party Melinda. Wow...great looking dishes. I think my favorite regional cuisine is Japanese. Which is your "local"! Indian food comes a close second. Then greek. Have a wonderful weekend.

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