This is my kind of office view! I would not mind this view permanently, although I imagine eventually I would want to give up on working and just go outside. The green in the distance is a nice park in the Shinjuku area. At least for a few days I had this as my office. Actually, I have a friend that lives in this area and her house/office does have a similar view because she lives nearby.
This day was a business visit day for Ryan and his class so I hung out with a few spouses in the morning. When Ryan and the others finished up with their presentation we all met up for lunch. Ryan and I sort of acted as tour guides and took people around to find lunch. We split up into smaller groups and a few people came with us to the very popular Coco Curry House. This is Japanese curry, which is different from Indian curry. I can't actually eat the curry here because it is all meat, so I went with my usual- a soft boiled egg, rice and a shrimp cutlet. I end up mixing it together. Hey, at least I found something that works!
After lunch I took 2 of the other spouses with me to Shibuya to check out the very crazy Shibuya crossing. We stopped into the most random tiny bar to grab a beer and people watch. It was one of the experiences that you just wonder how on earth that could even happen and how the spot could even exist. There is no way to explain the tiny beer stand with a 6 chair upstairs capacity filled with collectible bottles and playing a mix of Snoop Dogg and TuPac. And the people next to us (they were the only other people that could fit so luckily no one else tried to come up) were eating funny hotdogs. Much like the one I am posing with here. Apparently this place sells beer and serves hot dogs...in a tiny street corner bar with 6 seats upstairs.
While walking through Shibuya we came across a crepe stand. As French as this seems, this is also very much Japanese. It is a very common street/festival food.
She made it very nicely, like it was a piece of art. By the way, Japanese whipped cream is amazing.
Ta-da! This is strawberry, banana, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Yum! Nope, couldn't finish it. I feel like that is starting to become a theme on my trip.
Later that day we all met back up with our spouses and split up to do our own thing. Ryan and I headed to Khumbila, the Tibetan and Nepalese restaurant we found in the fabulous neighborhood of Ebisu the last time we were in Tokyo. It is rare that we eat at a restaurant in Tokyo twice (two reasons why- 1, there are so many choices, and 2, sometimes it is hard to find your way back, even if you try and keep track), but this definitely warranted a repeat visit.
First we were brought out papadum and seasoned potatoes.
I also had a chance to brush up on my Nepalese!
Then I pondered this Yeti egg for a bit...
By then the food was ready. This was a wrap with salad and cheese inside. The spices used were amazing. I will definitely be ordering this again.
I also had the veggie momos. Momos are the Tibetan version of dumplings, almost like samosas, except they are not fried. The vegetarian momos are not on the menu but they can make them. I love momos! I can't even explain how good they are. Tibetan food is amazing. It's hard to come by but it is amazing.
Ryan had the chau chau, which is a Tibetan noodle dish made with pork.
During dinner it started pouring. Seriously pouring. So we decided just to head back. The Ebisu train station has a bunch of cute little shops and restaurants/food vendors inside. On the way back to the train I found this place, Gelateria Marghera. Their original location is in Milan. That's usually a good sign that the gelato is good. It was a good assumption!
All of these desserts were made from ice cream.
More desserts made from gelato. Those ice cream sandwiches looked too good to pass up, so I went with the stracciatella with chocolate chips on the outside and half dipped in chocolate. It was amazing, but of course it was another thing I couldn't finish. Which is fine with me. I just wanted to taste it.
Day 5 was more of a work day for me in the morning. I woke up and had breakfast with Ryan, but then I went back to the room and did some work, including teaching for an hour. After teaching I headed over to my friends house/office nearby. She is a dietitian too and has a private practice and does consulting. She invited me over to have lunch with her and her colleagues. She picked up a bunch of bento box lunches and we all had something different to eat.
This was a mix of many different things, including some sushi rolls, salad and chicken.
I had this soba dish. One of the girls prepared it for me by adding the sauce and then all of the toppings.
Here was another box with some meat, veggies and shrimp.
This was a beef bowl.
They also picked up some wagashi, which are traditional Japanese sweets.
I ended up giving this tomato and cherry ice cream a try.
She also gave me these yummy breads (filled with sweetened bean paste) to take back with me. I tried them later and they were awesome. She said this is a well known bakery for this.
A little later on , after a few hours of walking/shopping, I decided to grab a sushi snack. I realized I was headed to China for 2 weeks and would likely go through sushi withdrawal, plus I was in Tokyo and hadn't had any sushi yet. I found a place near my hotel.
I managed to get through a good portion of my dining experience only communicating in Japanese. I was excited until the sushi chef asked me a question and Japanese. I guess he may have thought I actually spoke Japanese! Oh well! Overall I think he was impressed with my tiny amount of Japanese and was surprised to know I live in Japan.
The sushi was delicious and I enjoyed my quiet mid afternoon sushi snack. This is (from top left corner and going clockwise) toro, maguro, 2 scallops, tamago, and crab. Yum!!!
I also had a nice cup of green tea.
After my little sushi break I met back up with Ryan and we headed into the Shinjuku area to find some dinner. We had no plans in mind but some of the group members found a robot cafe and it sounded interesting. First off, this turned out to be in Kabukicho, the red light district in Shinjuku. It is very obvious when you enter the street that this is a red light district and there are signs displayed indicating that you are under surveillance. From what I have read, there are many clubs/bars here, but no prostitutes, so it isn't quite that kind of red light district.
It didn't take us long to find the robot cafe/show. All I have to say about this is, "WOW". This was definitely interesting. However, we didn't find it interesting enough to pay the money to go in and see the show. I am sure it would have been a good time, but we were really looking for dinner and didn't really have the time to invest in this distraction. But I will say that if you like robots or are interested in something you may only find in Japan, this is something to check out.
Interestingly, just a little down from the Robot cafe, in the red-light district, we found a vegetable focused restaurant known as Vegedining. They serve meat, but the focus is on vegetables. True to Tokyo style, we had to go downstairs into the basement to find the restaurant. Oh, and it was fairly upscale, especially given the nature of the area we where in. We have actually dined at another location before although we weren't quite sure at the time that it was the same place.
We both went with the original course menu.
As part of the vegetable theme, the coasters were shaped like a lotus root and the toothpick holder was a mushroom. Too cute!
Our first "course" was this shot of vegetable/fruit juice. It contained tomato, mango, grapefruit and lemon. It was awesome!
Then we had some basic, raw veggies. But they were definitely superior than just plain veggies. The green leafy veggie on the end was awesome. I have no idea what it was and no idea what it was coated in. At first it looked like water droplets but it turned out to be more like crystalized salt water very delicately places on the outside. It was so good that we would have eaten more if we could have. Also, if you have never tried raw eggplant, I suggest giving it a try. I have had this before and I think it's weird every time, but strangely, it is good.
This was the soup, but it turned out there was chicken stock in it so I passed. Ryan said it was delicious.
Next came a nice salad topped with some very tasty mushrooms.
Then we moved into some simple grilled veggies. These were served with some salt for flavoring.
Next up was the appetizer. Yes, I was stuffed by this point, but it was mostly just from plain vegetables. Of course with my entree there were plenty more vegetables. I had the fish. It did not disappoint.
Ryan had the steak. No surprise there!
We both had garlic fried rice to go with our entrees. If you have never had garlic fried rice, I definitely recommend giving this a try. The Japanese love garlic, so if you are a garlic fan, this fried rice is a must have in Japan if you come across it.
Miso soup and pickled veggies were served at the end.
Are you a pickled veggie fan? This is pretty common in Asia, but these were definitely different choices, except for the daikon.
The meal ended with blueberry ice cream. I left the mint in for the picture, but them promptly removed it. I'm allergic to mint! I know, it sounds crazy!
I would definitely go back to this place in a heartbeat. It was very delicious, very fresh, and I felt good about my veggie packed meal as we were getting ready to head to China the next day.
QUESTIONS: Where is the most unusual place you have worked from? Do you have an office with a nice view? Do you like pickled veggies? Have you ever visited a red light district?