Friday, February 28, 2014

February 2014




Last trip to Kyushu for a while. I should really take off Mondays so I can explore some of these far-off cities.


A friend who grew up in Kumamoto said that she was asked, "How much?" every time she walked down this street. She left Kumamoto at the age of 17.


I spent the lion's share of February back in California. I was going to post a big foodie post, but this is a blog about Japan, and hipster Cali food stuff doesn't really belong.


But for those going to SF or LA, you should try to go to Red Medicine for the above dessert. Insane. Also go to Animal, A-Frame, State Bird Provisions, Tartine Bakery, Plow, Ramen Shop, Zachary's Pizza, Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream, Fork In The Road, and 26 Beach.


Also, mutha-fuckin-taco-fuckin-bell! They have this thing called the Bacon Potato Loaded Griller that is bonkers. I defy you to argue this point with me.


It is always good to be back in Tokyo, even though we don't have Taco Bell or In-N-Out.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Sushi - Winter 2014

2014 馬の年

福鮨 - Fukuzushi in Roppongi.


Fukuzushi in Roppongi is one of those places that gets a ton of 5-star reviews on sites like TripAdvisor. And, yeah, this place is super high quality. I usually like to order omakase at sushi shops, but the group I was with was all about just ordering individual pieces off the menu. So I probably ended up eating about $70 worth of chu-toro and o-toro. Not complaining! Buri is in season, and the buri here was probably the best piece I've ever had. This was for a food tour I did, so I didn't snap a lot of photos.

If you don't want to bring the family to a conveyor-belt sushi shop, Fukuzushi is probably your best bet. Lots of seats, brighter-than-average lighting, and staff that speaks English and can understand unique requests. Prices on the spendy side; the sets are 8000 yen or 15,000 yen. A la carte can break the bank. A friend of mine dropped over $200 doing that.

Does anyone know other sushi shops that would be good for large groups with teenagers?

元祖 - Ganso in Shinjuku


Ganso is your average "go-round" sushi shop. You'll find comparable spots near any major station station in the big city. This particular chain has 28 shops. I'd never been here before, but a friend wanted a quick lunch. I'll probably never go here again, as there is a better standing sushi bar just a block away. You'll pay kaiten prices, less than 1500 yen for a lot of sushi.


Sushi Bar YASUDA


Yasuda is crazy. And, yeah, if you watch Anthony Bourdain or are from New York or follow American sushi trends, you know who he is. I'm not as much a sushi nerd as I am a ramen nerd, so I wasn't nearly as star-struck as my friends were. But it turns out Yasuda-san is the shit. Wolf of Wall Street high end baller style sushi in New York City. After achieving success in the States, he recently moved back to Tokyo, where he can be closer to the fish market, and under less scrutiny of those pesky American health inspectors.


I was on the fence about this one. Most Tokyo foodies, both Japanese and foreign-born, have given Yasuda a solid B. Maybe a B+. In the world's best city for sushi, a passing grade. I'd agree with them. And if you are a real sushi snob, you could probably find all sorts of faults here.

But where this shops shines is the atmosphere. No other high-end shop in Tokyo has such a friendly and fun sushi chef. With a counter for 8, and another 4 seats at tables, this spot is super intimate. Yasuda immediately makes you feel like you are a regular. Everything on the menu has a story, and you almost feel like he is hooking you up with the goods.

My star-struck friends were immediately put at ease by some sake, a very rare brand we were told, from Yasuda's hometown.


The anago was the best I've ever had. Just a touch of salt. Amazing.


Another specialty is the 海マス, sea trout. Lightly seasoned in the chef's secret way.


Seriously a fun spot to go to. And the price is much lower than expected. Around 6000 yen for the largest omakase course. Keep in mind, though, that Yasuda is known for serving very small pieces. As expected, he has reasons for this, but plan on sticking around for some extra pieces once your set is done. When a Japanese couple sitting to our side got up to leave, we learned that they had been there 4 hours and had eaten around 40 pieces each.


寿し処阿部 - Dokoroabe in Roppongi


Not sure how much this place cost us, but Dokoroabe in Roppongi might be an awesome place to go for affordable late-night sushi. From their site, about $20 for a set.


And the atmosphere is decent. You can sit in your own room at at the counter.


You can just fill in a sheet with what you want. Circles indicate stuff that is in season.


If you read Japanese, there is a menu with a ton of extras. This was a first, squid liver. Cut cold, it was like a crossover of squid-flavored foie gras and gelato. Mega good.

又こい家 - Matakoiya at Handea Airport


I made it! #7 on the map there, at Haneda Airport in the domestic terminal. Turns out Matakoiya has a branch in the Tsukiji fish market as well.


Solid! For like $15 you can get a nice tuna set before your flight. Who doesn't want to eat sushi before a food-less flight?


26 Beach in Los Angeles


"Home of the Sushi Hamburger" is the catchphrase at 26 Beach. The California Roll Burger was kind of ridiculous, and totally not worth $20. Good coffee.

It is next to a dispensary, which might explain the shop's random menu.

Damn, it is like 25 degrees C out here in California. I guess winter is over!

Monday, February 03, 2014

January 2014



Monthly updates. Kind of like instagram but harder to follow. I should get a smart phone. Nah.



Araki went to the kinda famous robot show. I'd better follow suit.


Is it as AMAZING!!!1!! as everyone (on TV) says?


Nah, but it is bonkers and you should probably go at least once.


Seriously, it is bonkers. Apparently, they spent 10 billion yen, that's 100 large, to set this thing up. But for reals, the production is comically bad. You'll be more immersed in shiny lights at Disneyland, and spend about the same price ($50).

It is like 10 minutes from my apartment, so I'll go with you if you cover the ticket.

It is billed as the ロバートレストラン, Robot Restaurant, but the food is garbage. Eat before you come.



Sushi has been decent recently. I'll have my winter report up in a month or so.



Sweet! My back is in Ivan Ramen's new book! Nice posture, bro.


Rad ad on the trains. "In times of globalization, the world is your rival." Basically it says that if you learn English you can fuck white chicks and cockblock on white dudes.



Rehab fun! ヌルヌル!ピリピリ!


New hobby?


I found a food guidebook . . . for horse racing fans. Sure, you really shouldn't be eating at the track, but if you do, this guide has you covered. ギャンブルイーター . . . Gamble Eater. This publisher also makes other books like King of Seabura.