Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/36)

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Yesterday we had an earthquake in Shizuoka, but everybody is OK!
Thanks to all for the concern!
A Friend actually suggested to call it the Earthquake Bento of the Day!LOL
The fact is that it did stimulate the Missus into cooking a lot this morning.
Incidentally, even Kamran could eat it as it was cooked with olive oil!

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Once again, as there was very little shopping done yesterday, the Missus foraged inside the fridge and came up with the following:

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The rice was plain steamed rice but sprinkled with plenty of rasted sesame seeds.

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For the arnish, she fried “Saikoro/cubes” of beef, zucchini, red mild pimentoes and mini asparaguses together (in that order?). She prepare “Tamagoyaki/Japanese Omelette” and added some home-made min-melon pickles.

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As for the salad, almost the same as yesterday: On a bed of shredded greens, boiled broccoli, lettuces, green leaves and Shizuoka-grown Ameera rubbins mini tomatoes (as the latter are very sweet, I supose they made for my dessert! LOL)

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Shellfish species 11: Surf Clam/Ubagai

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“Ubagai” or more commonly called “Hokkigai” when served as sashimi or sushi have many names in English.
Member of the Trough Shells Groups, they are called Surf Clams, or more precisely, as pertains to the varieties eaten in Japan, either Japanese Surf Clams or Sakhalin Surf Clams as they are collected both along Japan and Sakhalin Islands shores

8,000 tonnes are caught in Japan every year. 94% of fresh/live Surf Clams are collected in Hokkaido, Aomori, Fukushima and Miyagi Prefectures.
About 4,000 tonnes are imported frozen from Canada.
They are popular dried, in soups or cooked with vegeatbles and rice.

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Their “tongues” can be appreciated as sashimi, but are most popular lightly poached and cooled down.

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That is the way they are usually processed before being served as sushi nigiri, either straight, or with a few small incisions for better effect!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/35)

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Today’s bento was a bit of a straightforward affair making good use of what was left in the fridge!

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Plenty of steamed later mixed with Japanese cucumber pickles.
Boiled Shrimps and smoked salmon dipped in lemon juice with scrambled eggs, Italian parsley, pickled mini melon and black olives.

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Salad, very simple too: Green leaves, boiled broccoli, processed cheese, Ameera Gibbins sweet mini tomatoes and honeypreserved dates for dessert.

What is the Missus cooking tonight, especially after the little earthquake we had?

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Shellfish Species 10: Ark Shell/Akagai

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(Ark shell sashimi in its own shell)

Akagai or Ark Shell tends to frighten potential sheffish amateurs because of its other English name, “Bloody Shell”, not only because of its deep reddish-orange colour, but also because of the reddish water it gives off upon opening.

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Now, shellfish do not have blood in our mammal concept.
Bear in mind that many shellfish are used for dyeing cloth, and if if I’m not mistaken, ark shells fulfill both utilitarian and gastronomic needs.

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It does require some skill to open and present.

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The main “Tongue” and “Thread/Akahimo” are edible.

The best season is Autumn, although they are available all year round. They are pretty abondant along the Japan southern coastlines, but many of them are also imported from Korea and China amounting to 80% of the total domestic consumption.

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Ark shells are usually not served cooked.
Sashimi (see top picture) is very much apprecaited but sushi nigiri is definitely the most popular way to savour them!

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Italian Restaurant: La Prima Porta

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(Haruka Yamaguchi)

Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Authentic Italian Cuisine with a local twist. Very fresh local ingredients extensively used.

End of last April, Il Cuore finally opened its second restaurant called La Prima Porta!
The concept is completely different and it took me some time to find a seat there, so popular it has become!
Located in the middle of the Shizuoka “nightlife quarter”, it has the particularity to be opened from 18:00 to 02:00, making it the “latest” Italian restaurant in town.
Its young but experienced and very talented chef Keizo Kaneko is already quite famous, especially among female night-owls, and I can garantee you had better reserve your seat(s) in this place which used to be “izakaya” and was quickly re-decorated with the minimum fuss.
Keizo usually works on his own in front of his customers with the help of a single waitress to look after 8 guests at the counter and the same again at tables.
There is plenty to use from the menu, but just ask Keizo what he has in the fridge and proceed from there!

To cut a long stroy short, I visited for the second time with my good friend Haruka Yamaguchi who took the pics for me!

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Keizo has a short but very well-balanced wine list to select wines from. What I do usually is just give him a price and let choose one for me!
I FRATI, Lugana, 2007, White, Ca dei Frati in Lombardia
Jen and Melinda, the following tasting notes are for you!
Colour: Very clear light golden hue
Aroma: Fruity and flowery. Sweetish. Muscat
Taste: Pleasant tingle. Well-rounded. Sweetish at first. Muscat and raisins. Dry finish with nice acidity.
Lingers for a while in back of the palate.
Great on its own, but makes for a great match with food, especially vegetables.

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The two-year matured raw Parma Ham was just too much to ignore!

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Justmake a salad of it! I ordered.
The picture does not give enough credit to th mountain of succulent local vegetables hiddden under the succulent ham!

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As for the meat, we had a choice between poultry, pork andd beef. We opted for the pork.
Very simple “Kogane Buta/Small golden pork” from Niigata Prefecture sauteed with balsamico sauce and giant asparafuses and string beans from Shimizu, Shizuoka City!
Simple in appearance and concept but sublimein taste. I usually am not that fond of fat, but when crispiness turns into a melting swetnees under your teeth, ou just forget it was fat!

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After some discussion we chose risotto over pasta as the night was still young (meaning that we planned to go somewhere else!).
my friend just could not stop extolling the gastronomic virtues of this beautiful vegetarian risotto with gree peas and broad beans grown in Shizuoka!

Don’t worrytehre’s more coming soon! LOL

La PRIMA PORTA
420-0032 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 2-7-1, Akiyama Bldg. 1F
Tel.: 054-251-6633
Business hours: 18:00~26:00
Closed on Sundays and National Holidays
Credit cards OK
Homepage (Japanese)

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French Restaurant: Lunch at Pissenlit

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Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products.
no-smoking-logo!

Tooru Arima, after working for ten years at Shimizu Hotel Quest, decided it was about time to fly on his own wings and opened Pissenlit with his wife Takako on September 24th, 2008.

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A small restaurant, it sits a maximum of 20 guests.
I visited it at lunch time for the first time last Sunday, a rainy cricket-less Sunday and came back with the Missus for lunch yesterday.
If lunch gives a faithful idea of the level of the restaurant, Pissenlit is bound to become a regular visit.
To the Missus’ delight, the place is completely non-smoking!

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The wine list is more than adequate and offers a good variety from Cremant de Bourgogne to a rare Chateau Chalon. It even features two local sake: hana no Mai and Fujinishiki!

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I ordered a Alsace bottle by Marcel Weiss, Riesling 2007 in the village of Bergheim.

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The tasting notes are for Jen and Melinda!

Colour and clarity: Very clear golden colour
Aroma: Fruity and flowery. Slightly sweet and dee.
Taste: Fresh tingling flowery attack/light, petillant typical of Alsace.
lingers for a little while in back of the palate.
Reveals otherv facets with food. Well rounded.

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They have two lunch fixed menus. I chose the “Creatif menu”, fairly reasonable at under 30 US$:
Out of 5 starters I chose the Aji/Saurel Carpaccio Salad.
The fish come the neighbouring harbour of Yui. Great freshness and perfect with its green and balsamico vinegar!

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For a better look of the fish!

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A soft and pleasing carrot cream soup.

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The main dish: “Yusui” Pork from Fujinomiya City, one of 3 main dishes to choose from.
This main dish is the epitome of Mr. Arima’s cuisine which can be described as an intriguing combination of local ingredients and those of othe regions and countries: Wild asparaguses from France, Green Papaya from Okinawa, organic red beet from Shiuzoka, Lily flower buds, etc.

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For a better view of this juicy pork from pigs raised in our Prefecture!

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I’ve heard that many guests come especially for the dessert plate (chaging regularly).
The present assortment includes Macha Roll Cake with Azuki beans, Gateau Chocolat, Pannacotta, Souffle Cheese Cake and Black Tea Jelly!

I will show picture of what we had yesterday in another posting!
Moreover I shall visit Pissenlit for dinner very soon to delve into Mr.Arima’s Carte which includes such delicacies aas Castelnaudary’s Cassoulet, Vendee Duck, Hungary Mangaricia Pork, Foie gras marbre and Bourgogne Escargots with Morel Mushrooms Fricassee!

PISSENLIT
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
Homepage (Japanese)

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Shellfish Species 9: Round Clam-Hen Clam/Bakagai

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“Bakagai”, or Round clam/Hen Clam in English is found mainly in the Central part of Honshu Island.

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Actually, you have a good chance to discover it at low tide all over Japan.

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It is a versatile shellfish as it provides for two distinct morsels:

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The “Tongue” called “Aoyagi”. It is very popular in Japan for its colour and sweetness. It is both eaten as Sashimi and

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Sushi as nigiri.

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The second morsel, one of two muscle parts is called “Kobashira/Small pillar”.
Sushi chefs will keep them until they have enough to serve as sashimi or even better as suhi as gunkan!

Make sure to order either “Aoyagi” or “Kobashira” unless you want to start a long conversation by ordering “Bakagai”!

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