Italian Cuisine: Bar Rusticale

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Ten years ago when for the first time I came through Aino, Fukuroi City off Aino JR Station on my way to university, the word “desert” in any meaning was the only term I could think of.
How much it has changed since then! The Station had been created out of nothing to accomodate football/soccer fans going to the Ecopa Stadium. Since then, companies, houses and shops have sprouted everywhere on the then cheap land. It has moreover become a practical bedtown halfway between Fujieda and Hamamatsu.
The net result is that it has given birth to a few very decent restaurants, bars and even a good supermarket where I was able to acquire some hard-to-find local sakes!

Now, I had for some time wondered what was concealed behind the simple facade of this small restaurant just 3 minutes walk off Aino Station south exit. I had the opporyunity to find Bar Rusticale on the Internet and decided it was worth a visit!

Toshikazu Nakayama and his wife, Yoshie opened this unprepossessing bar-restaurant in August 2006 and have already attracted a faithful clientele including foreign visitors from the nearby Hi-Tec Company.
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Venturing there on my own proved a mistake as it was physically impossible to sample all the offerings. The cuisine, simple and tasty, bears a personal note and goes down so well with the beer, wine, cocktails, shochu and, surprise! surprise!, a sake by the Aoshima-Kikuyoi Brewery in Fujieda City. Actually I drank the sake as it was perfect with the Italian cuisine (luckily I do not know any Italians in Fukuroi City!).
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Now, the unconditional pizza lovers will be happy to learn that they offer a scrumptious “kinoko sauce/mushroom sauce pizza, just the right size for a single hungry expat!
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But the simply extravagant mushrooms and sea urchin cream risotto would be reason enough to eat at Bar Rusticale!
It is also the perfect place to relax on your own or in company either at the counter or at a table surrounded by a very clean and clear decor. There are enough drinks and tidbits to keep you busy for a while!

Problem is that it will be difficult to avoid it from now on as I have to go past it every Friday!

Bar Rusticale
437-0031 Fukuroi City, Aino, 2042
Tel. & Fax: 0538-446387
Opening hours: 11:00~14:00, 17:30~22:30
Closed on Sundays and 3rd Monday.

HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (1)

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It seems that lunch boxes, bento in Japanese, are increasingly becoming popular with foreigners, not only in Japan but with a lot of former of expats who spread the word back home.
Since my better (worse?) half does have to prepare a bento for me at least three times a week, It is only doing justice to her to introduce what she concocts (I will ot impose the sandwiches I sometimes “order”!) with a lot of care, I must admit.

Today’s fare was “hijiki gohan”, rice steamed with hijiki seaweed, carrots, soy sauce, sake and I do not know what else, with some homemade Japanese pickles. The accompanying “dish” is from bttom to top, left to right, “kamaboko/fish paste” inserted with Shizuoka-made “wasabizuke/pickled wasabi”, boiled eggs, sweet violet yams dessert stew/”murasaki satsuma imo ni”, fresh plum tomatoes, roast pork and sauce, French pickles/”cornichons”, lettuce and greens!

A complete lunch as you can se!
Look forward to the next posting!

Whale Meat

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One can easily eat whale meat at Sushi Restaurants In Shizuoka Prefecture or even buy it directly at supermarkets.
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Most of it come from Sperm Whales/Mako Kujira.
Whale meat should not be confused with Iruka/Dolphins whose meat has appeared on Japanese tables since times immemorial. It concerns an entirely different taste and cooking.

Whale meat can be appreciated in various form:
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“Kujira Tataki”, that is whale meat cooked in small cuts ready for sashimi.
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“Kiujira Salad”, including Whale Tartare and Carpaccio.
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“Kuijra Seikyoyaki”, a Japanese way of cooking and serving cut to be eaten with hot rice, or even instead of a beef steak.
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“Kujira Karaage”, or deep-fried whale meat, great with sake!
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As Sushi, it does come in many guises to accomodate various parts.
Each region has its own traditional ways and presentations.
Incidentally, whale meat is safer than any meat from land animal, as it is purely biological!

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Setting the record straight:

I fully understand this article will not be appreciated by some people, but do not expect me to apologize for whatever reasons!
I would like to to remind short memories that whales were practically decimated from (under) the surface of this world in the 19th Century by US and European whalers for their oil used in lamps. When the US in particular realised that they were quickly running out, they pushed for mineral oil exploitation with the economical and political consequences we are still suffering from. In short the ovekilling of whales is the direct cause and link to wars in the Middle East.
Last but not least, who and what was Commodore Perry after all?
A whaler! The US had had promoted a common whaler captain to the grand rank of Commodore for the political and diplomatic needs of the time as he happened to ply his trade in nearby seas!
I mentioned that whale meat is safer than beef. Incidentally, who practically exterminated bisons as a policy for driving Indians (Amerindians) out of the way and now makes a big deal of protecting them?

Shizuoka Beer 3-2: Wind Valley Beer/Kaze No Tani no Biru-Pilsner

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This is my second tasting of the beer from this micro-brewery lost in the east of the prefecture at the foot of Mount Fuji:

Wind Valley Beer/Kaze No Tani no Biru-Pilsner

This particular beer is an organic beer using 50% of wheat malt.
It is unfiltered and should be kept in a cold environment because of its live yeast.

Clarity: smoky (unfiltered)
Colour: golden
Foam: solid, steady and lingering.
Aroma: light, yeasty, bread, oranges, cloves
Taste: Dry, bread, yeast, oranges. Becomes a little sweeter later

Overall: Taste nicely lingering in mouth. Very satisfying drink. Sharp on palate with a marked individuality. Goes very well with food

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Agricultural Products: Fig Jam/”Ichijiku Jyamu”

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In this world replete with additives, preservatives, artificial colouring and jellified matters, it has become a boon to discover or beiing offered real fruit jams as they should be!
My good friend, Patrick Harrington brought me this particular fig jam from Ito Ciy in the Izu Peninsula yesterday.
Izu Peninsula, an almost subtropical area at times is celebrated for its fruit and derived products in particular.
This fig jam contains locally-grown figs, sugar and citric acid, and that is it.
Sweet but not cloying at all mixed with some welcome acidity, it tastes like real fig with the right consistency and even a little cruchiness provide by the minuscule seeds.
Best appreciated on its own, especially on toasts, but would also make great toppings over fruit tarts and give this wild flavour to sauces for wild fowl, duck and venison!

“Ichijiku Jyamu”/Fig Jam
Poduced and sold by Aira Izu Agricultural Cooperative
Ito City, Usami, 1808-1
Tel.: 0557-489300