Japanese Cuisine: Obune in Kikugawa City!

Service: very friendly if a bit shy
Equipment: very clean around. Traditional
Prices: appropriate
Strong points: Traditional and new Japanese cuisine. Incredible Champagne list!

For long Kikugawa City was a bit of “forgotten country” until only recently.
Things are starting to change for the better as more and more people take advantage of the cheaper rents to move there. The city has also greatly improved and refurbished its image.
To cap it all some very good restaurants are also emerging for the pleasure of the increasing population!

One such place is Obune/おぶね.
I had the occasion to visit the place in the company of co-workers during an anniversary dinner and make acquaintance with his chef/owner Mr. Kazuki Takagi/高木一樹 and sample his cuisine!

This is traditional Japan although the gastronomy is modern!

I always have an eye for the Shizuoka sake… and this is an almost impossible to obtain line of premium sake from Isojiman Brewery in Yaizu City! The boxes only are collector’s items!

The six of us had isolated themselves in a separate room but I could take a peek through the lattice!

This is the sake we partook of: First-class Isojiman Daiginjyo made with Aiyama Sake rice milled down to 50%!

Someone might have thought we were drinking wine!

And then we started the feast:
Cream Cheese with Junsai/a kind of mountain vegetable.

“Mehikari/芽光, a deep-sea fish from Aichi Prefecture!

“Ikura no imushi/イクラの飯蒸し, rice and salmon’s roe steamed together!

O tsukuri/sashimi plate/dish: Honmeji maguro/Honmeji tuna, Suzuki/Sea bass and Madako/Octopus!

A favorite of mine: lukewarm ankimo/frogfish liver or “Japanese Foie gras”!

Fuji No Kuni Pork shabu shabu with home-made gomadare/sesame dressing!

Zucchini Dry Curry served the Japanese way!

White mushrooms from Fuji City on steamed Kyokankamo egg plant and sweet and sour sauce/ankake!

Akadasi miso soup!


Fukuroi City Lemon Sorbet! A beauty!

I’m planning to visit the place again by myself but don’t tell anyone!

OBUNE/Traditional & Contemporary Japanese Foods (as on the business card!)
439-0031 Kikugawa City, Kamo, 1948
Tel.: 0537-35-4030
Business hours: Lunch, 11:30~14:00. Dinner, 17:30~23:00
Closed on Mondays or the next day in case of a National Holiday
Credit Cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass, Shinshu Life, Jacaranda Blue,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Takashima Brewery-Hakuin Masamune Honjozo

Takashima Brewery in Numazu City is not only celebrated for its inventiveness and daring but also for actively supporting Shizuoka Gastronomy in general!

Not everyone knows, but Suruga Bay is the home of the greatest number of varieties of edible seaweeds.
Takashima Brewery started to introduce the fact on labels since last year!
The present one is called Champalone by its scientific name!

Moreover, Takashima Brewery has always been careful about the design of their labels, real collector’s items!
The present brew also includes Homare Fuji rice grown in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Takashima Brewery-Hakuin Masamune Honjozo

Rice: Homare Fuji 22&
Rice milled down to 60%
Aichi no Kaori: 78%
Rice milled down to 65%
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5
Alcohol: 14~15 degrees
Dryness: +6
Acidity: 1.5
Bottled in May 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Light golden hue
Aroma: Strong. Fruity. Alcohol. Complex. Pineapple, oranges, banana.
Body: fluid
Taste: Liquorish attack with a strong alcohol back up.
Starts almost sweetish to disappear with very dry almonds.
Complex. Fruity. A lot drier on the second sip.
Almonds, coffee beans. Faint notes of citrus.

Overall: Typical brew from Takashima brewery who concoct their sake both to marry well and food and satisfy the curiosity of true sake lovers.
A somewhat mysterious sake which will surprise many. Very dry for Shizuoka sake and certainly not obeying the trends!
A favorite of mine!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

French Cuisine with Shizuoka Ingredients: Stuffed Zucchini!

I always check the Agriroad Market in Miwa, Shizuoka City, where they sell products grown by local farmers’ wives and I have a weak spot for those enormous round yellow zucchinis!
Yesterday as I had a little more time than the Missus I prepared dinner and cooked us a stuffed zucchini!

I would have needed both of my hands to circle it completely!

Although it looked plain and seedless, it actually contained many soft large seeds inside.
I scooped all the inside with a sharp spoon first.

Once I had emptied the zucchini of its seeds there was not much left of its flesh which suited me fine as I didn’t want the vegetable to have too thick walls before cooking it.
I chopped whatever was left finely.

I also finely chopped 1/4 of a medium-large onion, 1/4 of a medium-sized carrot and two big cloves of garlic.

I fried the finely chopped vegetables in some olive oil until they had lost most of their water.
I used about 250 g of minced pork and beef mixture, 2 very full teaspoons of freshly grated parmegiano cheese and plenty of fresh basil leaves from my balcony.
I first thoroughly mixed the meat with the vegetables and cheese seasoned with coarsely ground pepper and hot spices. No need for salt as there was enough in the cheese (and the bacon later!). Mind you, this is where you can play with spices, herbes and salt according to your preferences!

I first lined the whole inside of the zucchini with soft bacon.

I lined the bottom half with basil leaves.

I stuffed the bottom half with the meat filling and lined the top half of the zucchini with more basil leaves.

I finally filled the zucchini with the rest of the meat.
I tapped the meat until I was sure there was no air pockets inside.

I topped it with its “hat”, sprinkled olive oil all over it and baked it in the oven first for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

That is how it came out first. The meat was still raw inside.
Next I put it back with the hat off for 15 more minutes into the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.

Only then it was properly cooked and ready to be eaten!

This two-step method will insure that whole is properly cooked but full of juices!

We had enough for our main dish for two last night!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass, Shinshu Life, Jacaranda Blue,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Great Music for your Repast: Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments!

A huge standing drum from the South Pacific!

There is a lot of good food and drinks in Hamamatsu City, but there is also a lot of exceptional music!
With Kawai, Yamaha and Rolland all established in that city, more than half of all music instruments in Japan are made there!
It was no wonder that the City decided to open a Meuseum when it erected Act City and other buildings within walking distance of the Railway Station 15 years ago!

My favorite Japanese instrument, the biwa!

The City then proceeeded to amass a mind-bogling collection of more 1200 pieces on constant display out of more than 3000 in their vaults!
The collection truly covers the whole World and the entrance fee of 400 yen (for adults) is truly ridiculous!
Next time you travel or go out in Hamamatsu City take some time to immerse yourself in the biggest public musical instruments in the world!
The more for it when you realize that photography is allowed!

Here is a tiny selection of pictures I took the other day to which I intend to add regularly!

Quaint samisen!

One-string koto!

Hand-painted 19th Century US banjo!

Musical Sea shells!

A piano for the Sun King?

Or a piano for his favorite?

Historical routes of the mandoline!

Bagpipes from the Scots!

For a Carribean steel band!

They even have a collection of postage stamps on African Music Instruments on display!

Harps for the Celts!

Serpents/snakes from Europe!

Glasses are not always for drinking!
A full crystal glass musical instrument!

Some wind instruments are equipped with truly impressive mouths!

A somewhat frightening steel tongue plank from Africa!

impressive drums from the South Pacific!

Tam tams or boast?

A South East Asian triple xylophone decorated with carved silhouettes!

These feathers will certainly mark out the musician in a band!

I wonder if this peacock contributed its feathers to the precedent instrument?

Yamaha electric guitars from the early 60’s! True antiques for rockn’ rollers!

Make sure to visit the experimental room to try tyour own hand at music!

Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments/浜松市楽器博物館
430-7790 Hamamatsu City, Chuo Ku, Chuo, 3-9-1
Tel.: 053-451-1128
Fax: 053-451-1129
HOMEPAGE
Opening hours: 09:30~17:30
Closed on Mondays, 2nd & 4th Wednesdays. Open all throughout August.

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Hamamatsu Fruit Park!!

Half way along our trip riding the Tenhama private Railway Line the other day we decided to pay a visit to the Fruits Park of Hamamatsu City.

We had only one hour until the next train and the walk to the Fruits Park takes 10 minutes.
We knew we would be limited in time and the blistering heat didn’t help!

At least looking at the pavement we knew we couldn’t lose our way!

The main entrance
The park is truly enormous and the car park is even bigger.
We realised that we had to limit this visit to the main attraction, the Tropical Fruit Dome!

The hall leading to the dome was full of information but the air-conditioning did not prepare us to the heat inside the dome!
By the way if you can read japanese check their HOMEPAGE as it will help you recognize some very strange fruit!

What is this fruit?

The temperature inside must have been well above 30 degrees with an incredible humidity.
The sweat prevented me to jot down notes and I’m afraid I don’t remember the names of some fruits! Let’s see if you can help me!

Fortunately there was plenty of running water to help cool down the dome!

Not only tropical fruit, but also plenty of beautiful flowers!
All in all, 80 varieties for 300 trees and plants!

Cocoa!

Start of the quizz!
What’s the name of those flowers?

What’s that fruit?

And what are these?

I’ve seen these flowers before…

It’s not a pineapple. What could it be?

Limes/ I doubt it…

Now, this a lime!

I’ve seen that one before, too!

Beautiful orchids there!

A pineapple!

What are these fruit?

Another pineapple!

Bananas!

Red bananas!

Insects and pests had better beware!

Banana flower!

Papaya!

More papayas!

And another pineapple!

Outside the dome a cafe/restaurant will welcome you inside a beautiful park.
But actually the Tropical Fruit Park and the big park with ponds outside represent only one fourth of the whole complex!
You will have to plan half a day for a complete visit even with the help of a mini train!

Among others, you will discover fields of plum trees, orange trees, apple trees, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, kiwi fruit, almond trees, figs, peach trees, pomegranate trees, a field of nut trees including chestnuts and a lot more inside greenhouses and experiment fields!

This park will warrant a least a couple more visits to describe it all!

HAMAMATSU FRUITS PARK
431-2102 Hamamatsu City, Kita Ku, Miyakoda Cho, 4263-1 (get down at Fruits Park Station on the Tenhama private Railway line. 10 minute walk)
Tel.: 053-428-5211
Fax: 053-428-52000
Business hours: 09:00~16:30 (October~April), 09:00~17:00 (May~September)
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery: Doman

Since Yasatei Restaurant has Doman rice shochu on its list I took the opportunity the other day to conduct a tasting while enjoying the food!
“Doman” is the name of a (very expensive) crab solely found in salt water Hamana Lake in Hamamatsu City.
It is brewed by Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery which also brews (mainly) sake and beer, and also liquors!

Doman is a rice shochu made with the best sakekasu/white lees of the Brewery by their brewmaster who is a lady!

To help with the tasting I ordered some Shizuoka-grown tomatoes!

The red tomato is “Ameera” variety celebrated for its sweetness. The orange tomato is a variety grown organically by Shizen no Chikara Farm!

Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery: Doman Rice shochu

Ingredients: Rice, white lees, Shizuoka Yeast, water
Alcohol: 28 degrees

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Fruity. Custard
Body: Fluid
Taste: Starts with a soft attack to amplify into a warm pleasant invasion of the palate.
Complex. Fruity and dry. Custard.
Stays dry all the time although taste tends to fluctuate into sophisticated notes of coffee beans.
Marries well with food, especially vegetables salads.

Overall: A very pleasant shochu which does not need to be mixed with anything else.
Best appreciated poured above plenty of ice in a large glass!
Marries so well with vegetables!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Soba Restaurant along the Ten-Hama Railway Line: Hazuki!

Service: Very friendly
Facilities: Very traditional
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Authenticity and great soba/buckwheat noodles!
Entirely non-smoking!

There would be many stops to choose from for lunch along the Tenhama Private Railway line running between The Cities of Kakegawa and Hamamatsu deep into the country up the Tenryuu River and around the Lake Hamana.
This is rural country in Shizuoka prefecture, and whereas the comfort of larger cities might be missing you are truly experiencing rural authenticity! And that of course applies to food, too!

A seat of local wood donated by the local citizens living by Futamata Honcho Railway Station!

One such place is a soba shop called Hazuki/葉月, just beside the entry/exit of tiny Futamata Honcho Station!

It was blistering hot outside and we were happy to find the place so near the station!

For the menu, look on the wall!

Two lions guard the place!

This is what I personally ordered: Goobou soba/Burdock root soba.
Served hot, yes! I was asked, “these are hot soba, are you ok!” by the surprised owner.
I learned a long time ago it is always better for your constitution to eat hot than icy in a great heat!

The Missus ordered cold “karami daikon oroshi soba”, cold buckwheat noodles topped with grated daikon.

There are no less than 4 signs clearing stating that smoking is most unwelcome!

The Missus’ cold buckwheat noodles!

You certainly cannot beat the freshness as the daikon and kawairedaikonn:daikon sprouts are local vegetables probably coming from a nearby garden!

My very generous gobou soba!

The burdock root is “Yokozuna Gobou” variety!
Very tasty and crunchy! A delicacy actually!

Soba must one of the best and healthiest ways to take a repast on a long trip!

HAZUKI (Te Uchi Soba Hazuki/手打そば葉月)
Hamamatsu City, Futamata Honcho, Futamata, 2396-19 (just on the right as you go out of the station!)
Business hours: 10:30~16:00 (unless the soup stock runs out before!)
Closed on Thursdays (except National Holidays)
tel.: 0539-35-9066

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery