French Cuisine: Grill Kuramoto

Service:A bit shy but friendly
Equipment: Great general cleanliness. Beautiful washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Interesting combination of French and Japanese bistro-style cuisine. Traditional tarts and cakes.
Entirely non-smoking!

Sometimes one wonders how you could define some restaurants in Japan as they very often tend to combine many genres at the same time.
Grill Kuramoto in busy Gofuku-Cho in Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City is a typical example!

Unusual for such an establishment it is located on a basement floor, although the stairs are welcoming!

I wish they could serve it on their menu! LOL

The interior concept is a bit unusual too.
If you wish to see chef/owner Tsuyoshi Kuramoto at work, you can sit at the semi-hemispherical counter looking over the kitchen.

Or you can sit at a cozy table, especially when in company. And don’t forget the establishment is entirely non-smoking!

You might need to keep some space for one of their desserts!

I went for lunch for my first visit and I must admit they do have set courses above the average.
The appetizer was carrot and sea urchin mousse with consomme jelly.

Can you see the sea urchin?
Mr. Kuramoto uses local products whenever possible, especially eggs and vegetables.

The second appetizer was a remarkable seafood and vegetable terrine.
The red eggs are flying fish roe.
Very light and tasty!

Typical French Bistro fare!

The main diush was definitely a Japanese bistro offering: “omu rasiu/rice omelette”!
If you sit at the counter you will be able to pick up Mr. Kuramoto’s tricks!

The omelette is perfectly cooked outside.

But the omelette is very light and almost runny under its firm outside.
The rice reminiscent of paella inside makes it a very interesting dish!

Creme brulee for dessert!

Creme brulee has become integral part of Japanese gastronomy these days, and this particular one is a proof ot the Japanese chefs’ mastery!

Real cream and real sugar with coffee (important)!
Will have to check their dinner soon!

Grill-Kuraramoto
420-0081 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Gofuku-cho, 2-5-17
Tel.: 054-255-3090
Business hours: 11:30^14:00, 17:30~20:00
Closed on Wednesdays and 3rd Tuesday
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

SHIZUOKA X CANNES 2011-Part 2

The cities of Shizuoka and Cannes in France (you know, the Cannes Film Festival!) have been sister cities for quite a while now.
The citizens of Shizuoka have been holding their own event every year in the middle of May in Shikencho Street in Aoi Ku in Shizuoka City.
This year Agrigraph joined the event as a great opportunity to introduce local farmers and their produce.
This year the event is held on May 14th and 15th as well as on the 21st and 22nd of May from 13:00 to 17:00 in Shichikencho. You still have tomorrow left! Do visit and I can guarantee you will discover quite a few things to your liking!

This time our stand concentrated on vegetables from Iwata City and sandwiches by Subway Company made with them!

Among the vegetables from that city featured organic lettuce, enormous luccola and small red daikon/radishes.
We also had some beautiful corn (that can be eaten raw. They are so sweet!) and various kinds of tomatoes!

Great sets for ridiculously low prices: 1 large lettuce + 1 enormous bunch of luccola, 1 bunch of small red daikon and 2 big corn ears for 980 yen. All top-class restaurants ingredients!

Three types of sandwiches by Subway Co.!

I chose the fresh vegetables and balsamico one!

Quite appetizing, isn’t it?

Nice bread!

Nice contents!

The event is being held again tomorrow on Aoba Koen/Aoba Park Street in Shizuoka City Aoi Ku from 12:00 to 17:00.
The Agrigraph stand is near the fountain bowl!
From what I saw today, tomorrow promises to be busy!

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With a Glass, Foodhoe’s Foraging
Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Shizuoka Ekiben/Railway Station Bento: Oogoshyo Bento

Oogoshyo/大御所 stands for “Lord” or “Leading Figure” in Japanese.
Actually in this case it stands for the first Shogun of the Edo Era, Tokugawa Ieyasu who retired in Sumpu, presently called Shizuoka City!

The Ekiben as I bought it at Shizuoka JR Station today. They call it bento but it is a real ekiben sold inside the station!

The “mon” or Japanese arms/family crest (heraldry) is the mon of Tokugawa Ieayasu!

Clear explanations by Tokaiken Co as usual. I tend to repeat myself, but it shows how the laws are strict about bento and ekiben business in Japan, although the same cannot be said for all…

A piece of translucent paper protects the contents!

Remember that this ekiben was inspired by what a Lord of the Edo Era would eat at a normal repast (more or less…)
Now, what do we have?

I introduced this kind of rice in the previous ekiben.
It is called “sakura han/Cherry tree rice” and is covered with finely flaked tai/ 鯛/red grouper and the rice is a mazegohamn/rice mixed with the juices of the simmered fish.
Actually the whole rice in Japanese is called “tai soboro” and is made with two types of seabream called “madai” and “Himedai” and some egg.

“Sekihan赤飯/” or “red rice”. Red is a color for celebrations in Japan.
This sekihan is made with glutinous rice and azuki beans making for a thick, nourishing staple as served for unknown ages in this country.

Now to the side dish: prawn tempura, grilled mackerel, kamaboko/steamed fish paste, tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette, chicken ball/niwatori dango and soy sauce “bottle”.

The same (clearer picture!) with the opened “capsule” of wasabizuke/wasabi stems and leaves pickled with sake white lees.

The dessert box with the wasabizuke “capsule”. The apricot and the “wagashi” were protected by an extra film of translucent paper.

The two types of wagashi: the one on the left is made with o-mochi/glutinous rice paste and sweetmeats/anko and the second one is a gli\utinous rice ball covered with kinako/soy bean powder.

To be continued…

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With a Glass,
Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

“Real Food Restaurant” Italytei

Service: Very friendly and attentive. slow food!
Equipment: Great general cleanliness
Prices: reasonable
Strong points: Mainly local vegetables. Vegetarian meal ok!. Local sake, too!
Completely Non smoking!

Many Japanese and expats have special priorities when coming to a restaurant.
It could be a non-smoking establishement, the possibility of eating vegetarian cuisine, or simply healthy food in a healthy environement.
Real Food Restaurant Italytei could very well be the one you are looking for in Shizuoka City!

It is not easy to find in the basement street of Gofuku-cho street but it is worth the search!

Great traceabilty as half of their vegetables come from Matsuki Bio Farm or Nagomi Organic Farm in Fujinomiya City or from their own garden tended by Mrs. Akutsu.
As for meat, pork is first class LYV pork also from Fujinomiya City. Even the whole rice/genmai/玄米 is Shizuoka-grown!

If you are in a hurry hust buy one of their take-away meals or bento boxes!

Food is for omnivores but they can make it completely vegetarian with some advance notice. Might be a good idea to strike a special relation with the Owner/Chef mr. Aritsune Akutsu, a very affable gentleman worth knowing. Ask him about his vegetable jams!

You can also devise your own meal by choosing from the display window!

A very rural atmosphere inside!

I chose the tray on my last visit!
Certainly very healthy looking!

Organic Carrot Soup!

Roasted organic vegetables and home-made ham salad!

Organic vegetables open quiche and whole rice!

Will have to further investigate it for my health-conscious friends!

Real Food Restaurant Italytei/リアルフードレストラン伊太リ亭
Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Gofuku Cho, 3-4, Basement of Gofuku Cho
Tel.: 054-251-0456
Opening hours: 11:00~20:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Private parties possible
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Shizuoka Ekiben/Railway Station Bento: Tokusei Tai Meshi

Red Seabream or tai/鯛 is considered a lucky fish in Japan and is served for all kinds of celebrations.
The fish itself can come quite expensive, especially when caught in deep water.
In Shizuoka we have both the wild and human-raised varieties and is not that expensive, except when served as himono/dried fish/干物!

We were busy today moving into another appartmenet downtown and we just did not have the time to cook lunch.
I just went to Shizuoka JR Station, 15 minutes away by bicycle and bought 8 of the above (six for the removal staff and two for us)!

Tokaiken Co. sells two versions, one normal and the other called “Tokusei Tai Meshi”/Special Red Seabream Rice.
I bought the latter as this was a special occasion!

Precise explanations of the contents as usual!

The design is quite retro and ancient. too. The picture comes from a real painting/litograph/wood plate of old!

Now, what do we have here?

A piece of simmered red seabream with its soft edible skin atop the rice.
The rice is covered with finely flaked red seabream flesh which had been lightly sweetened beforehand.

The rice again is a mazegihan type/steamed rice mixed with the juices of the simmered red seabream.
Very tasty indeed and no “fishy” background!

As for the side dish, once again: nimono/simmered items/煮物, carrot, lotus root, fuki/giant butterbur stems, burdock root, tofu cake, konnyaku/elephant foot tuber.

The Japanese would never have their ekiben or bento without some pickles!
In this case daikon in umeboshi juice and cucumber!

To be continued…

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Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Oyakodon: The basic Recipe (updated)

OYAKODON

I thought it was about time to update this old article of mine when I read the comments by my new friend Sissi at With a Glass!

Oyakodon must count as one of the top 5 as far as poplular food comes in Japan.
It is easy to prepare and improvise with.
Bear in mind that depending upon the region you are in Japan, the ingredients are totally different. For example, in Hokkaido you will be served salmon sashimi and salmon roe!
After all, “oyakodon” means “parent and child bowl” (ingredients!)!
Here are the main lines of a basic recipe here made with chicken and eggs, not bothering about quantities but concentrating on the method.

-Rice
Steam rice beforehand.
Oyakodon prepared with freshly steamed rice is miles ahead of reheated rice as far as taste is concerned!

-Chicken
Choose breast or thigh chicken. It is up to you to use or discard the skin. I prefer to discard it, unless I deep-fry the chicken first.

-Eggs
Choose the freshest ones as possible with large deep-coloured yolks.

-Vegetables:
Thinly sliced onion to be cooked together with the oyakodon. Soft winter or spring onions are best!
A lot of people feel like adding other vegetables. Keep in mind they have to be cut thin and need to be fried.
Fresh leafy greens for the final and important touch. My favourite is fresh mitsuba/Japanese homeywort. If not available, I use flat parsley or chopped leeks.
In many regions they also add chopped dry seaweed for the final touch.

-Stock soup/sauce:
You may use water, but dashi is a lot better. I pesonally use seaweed dashi. One might use chicken stock, too.
I add a little soy sauce, sugar, Japanese sake and sweet Japanese sake/mirin.
That is where improvisation and personal taste come in!
You may season with salt and pepper, but bear in mind that soy sauce already contains salt, so easy on that one!

METHOD:

-Cut chicken in small enough pieces. Fry or deep-fry them first. If you fry/sautee them, just season the chicken with a little salt and pepper. If you deep-fry them, season them with salt and pepper and cover them with plenty of cornstarch, unless you prefer the flour, egg and breadcrumbs method.
Once the chicken has been fried to 90%, take out and leave in another plate or on a metallic grill to get rid of excess oil.

-Using only a little oil (that left by the chicken is fine), fry the onion (and other vegetables) until almost properly cooked.
Add soup/stock. bring slowly to boil on a small fire. Add chicken and boil for a minute just to let the taste penetrate the chicken.
During that time, beat eggs (quantity is up to you!) with chopsticks to leave some parts white (some people like them well beaten).
As soon as the chicken has completely cooked, discard some of the soup if too much of it, and add the eggs.

Point 1: the chicken should be tender, not overcooked.
Point 2: Too much soup/stock will prevent the eggs from cooking fast, or you might end up with scrambled eggs
Point 3: the “real” (debatable) recipe calls for the eggs to be only half cooked before transferring the lot onto the rice.
In Kyoto, for example the eggs are most of the time well cooked and topped with a raw egg yolk.

-As soon as you are satisfied with the eggs, transfer the lot on top of a bowl filled with steamed rice.
Decorate with mitsuba and serve.

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Shizuoka Ekiben/Railway Station Bento: Oyako Meshi

I suppose many have heard of the Japanese delicacy called oyakodon/親子丼, meaning a pot/plate filled with rice with a topping made a chicken omelette (in Hokkaido it is salmon and salmon’s roe!).
“Oyako” means “parent and child”. In this case it means chicken and eggs. As don/丼/pot or plate does not qualify this ekiben is called “meshi/めし/rice or meal.
I bought it today at Shizuoka JR Railway Station at the Tokaiken Co. booth.

This particular ekiben being a very long best seller the original design is a bit retro!

For a better look after having taken the thread and chopsticks away!

It is not so big but quite deep and there is plenty inside it!

Now, what do we have here?

As seen from above the meshi/rice is topped with simmered chicken (no fat or skin), Japanese scrambled egg in “soboro” style (It is sweet) and green peas.

Once you dig in you realize this is “mazegohan/混ぜご飯 or mixed rice” (They also call it sakurahan/桜飯/cherry rice), a typical Japanese way of preparing rice. The rice has been mixed with the chicken pieces and fine strips of bamboo shoot, kamaboko/fish paste cake and burdock/gobou/牛蒡 root! Very tasty rice, indeed!

As for the side dish: nimono/simmered items/煮物, carrot, lotus root, fuki/giant butterbur stems, burdock root, tofu cake, konnyaku/elephant tuber.

The Japanese would never have their ekiben or bento without some pickles!
In this case daikon in umeboshi juice and cucumber!

To be continued…

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
With a Glass,
Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!