Izakaya Gastronomy: Villa D’Est Quisine in Shizuoka City (Fall 2011)

Service: Friendly and unassuming
Facilities: old-fashioned but very clean with cute washroom
Prices: reasonable
Strong points: Home-style seasonal cuisine. Wines, sake and shochu. Very traditional Japanese atmosphere! Patronized by true izakaya gastronomy lovers!

In a city like Shizuoka, almost notoriously famous for its many hidden gastronomic havens, many true izakaya lovers will keep their own favorite hangout as secret as possible. Personally, I don’t think this is very fair, but at the same time you do not want to advertize too much such establishments for fear that uncaring customers spoil the atmosphere. On the other hand, if you wish to share and promote taste for good food, drink and atmosphere, you do have a duty to make such gastronomic venues better known.

In my case I hesitate to patronize Villa D’Est Quisine too often as it is very near my workplace, and it is not a good idea in Japan to revel too close to your professional address.
Therefore I keep my visits away from the week-ends when too many people are present for comfort. On the other hand, visiting an izakaya at comparatively quiet times will almost surely offer the opportunity to meet and discover like-minded souls!

Villa D’Est Quisine has many reasons to please:
It is located away from the centre of town in one of the few original and still left untouched alleys of fashionable Takajyo District.
It exudes a quaint warm atmosphere, almost taking you back ages away with its unusual architecture all of dark aged wood with a counter, large table and an elevated tatami, original ceramic tableware, hand-brushed daily menu, potted plants and wall pictures.
The food is eclectic, concocted with mainly local products to satisfy any taste, be it Japanese or of whatever country.
The short and very efficient list of Japanese sake, shochu and wine will ensure that your food marries well with your drinks.
The Chef, Toshiharu Matsuura, has an unflappable will to please customers with a quiet respect for privacy, although you will always find him ready for a great conversation.

Two nights ago, we decided to flee the city noisily celebrating a coming holiday and enjoy some welcome slow life there. It proved momentous as we had the luck to make acquaintance with two new like-minded friends!
The tone was immediately set with the first drink, a nectar from Morimoto Brewery in Kikugawa City, served in original pottery with a simple but succulent o-hitashi/lightly cooked and marinated appetizer made with vegetables including chrysanthemum petals!
The only reproach I would make is that although the place is comfortably dark it is not very propitious to photography!

You will be surprised to find out that the single sheet menu will take you longer to peruse than expected, so take your time before ordering!
Now the menu featured as its very first item “koshiodai/こしょう鯛/Peppered Seabream (litteral translation!)” sashimi.
I asked Toshiharu where he found the fish and he had a hard time evading my question. I suspect he caught it himself in Suruga Bay or acquired it in a market I know he patronizes!
The sashimi was not as soft as most as that of seabream but proved a great combination of fine taste and bite!

Amitake Oroshi daikon Ae/アミ茸下ろし大根和え/Jersey cow mushroom-suillus bovinus served with freshly grated daikon.

The above dish will endear vegetarians! Actually, if you have such a priority talk to the Chef and he will help you!

Tebasaki to yasai no kuriimu shityu/手羽先と野菜クリームシチュー/Chicken wings and Vegetables Cream Stew

Now, the above should please Westerners especially on a cold night! Very typical Japanese Izakaya offering in spite of its obvious Western inspiration!

Kaki fuwafuwa mushi/牡蠣ふわふわ蒸し/Steamed oysters with a light sauce served with grated wasabi.

The above is more typical of the Japanese treats concocted by Toshiharu! A discovery for oyster lovers!

An Izakaya Classic: Yurine to ebi kakiage/ユリ根と海老かき揚げ/Deep-fried lily bulb and shrimps!

When it comes to kakiage and tempura tha Japanese are simply the best!
Have you ever tried yurine/ユリ根/lily bulbs? A must!

Iro Iro Na Potato Furai/色々なポテトフライ/Varied fried potatoes

Another Izakaya classic! Three types of tubers: Thick Sweet Potato Chips, boiled and lightly fried potatoes and again boiled and lightly fried satoimo/里芋/taro!
A true delicacy for vegans and vegerarians!

And to think we only scratched the menu…

VILLA D’EST QUISINE
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajyo, 3-10-19
Tel.: 054-251-4763
Business hours: 17:00~24:00
Closed on Thursdays
Parties welcome
HOMEPAGE/BLOG (Japanese)
Smoking allowed

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

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Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (11/62): Chess Board Bento!

Have you ever played chess on a bento? LOL
Well, I could have this time!

This is actually a very popular pattern design for bentos in Japan. And it is very easy to achieve for maximum impression!

As it is also healthy the made two similar layers of it on top of each other.
Having spread the rice inside the box she placed cut squares of nori/dry seaweed on top to form a chess board.
For extra taste she had actually brushed a little soy sauce under each piece of nori!

For extra design, seasoning and fibers she added turnip home-pickled in amazu/sweet red rice vinegar and stir-fried burdock root/gobo with chili pepper for more piquancy.

As usual plenty of colors for the side dish!

For the meat she used salmon pieces she had previously lightly marinated in Japanese sake and what else. She then coated the pieces of salmon with plenty of rice flour/komeko and finely crushed spicy rice crackers before frying them in shallow oil and soaking the oil out on kitchen paper.
She placed them on a bed of lettuce with half a sudachi lemon. Sudachi lemons are vey small but full of juice more reminiscent of orange than lemon. Perfect pressed over the salmon!

She then completed the side box with plain tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette (she actually included more dashi than usual ton make it lighter) and lightly sauteed sliced soft pimentos.
Fresh grapes for dessert.

It was touch and go to either play chess with it or enjoy it right away! You probably have guessed my decision!

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

For Better Diners: SUBWAY in Shizuoka City!

Service: Very friendly, attentive and efficient
Facilities: Functional and very clean. Very clean washroom.
Prices:reasonable
Strong Points: Fresh vegetables, local whenever possible. No pervasive smells (oil, etc…).Well-balanced healthy sandwiches

I remember my good friend Patrick telling me that there are good fast food restaurants and “less good ones”!
Fast food, when good enough, is much appreciated when in a hurry, and the more for it if it is reasonably healthy!

SUBWAY has many diners in Shizuoka and all over the country and abroad, but the one which opened very recently just right of the north exit of the Shizuoka JR Railway Station is a winner!

I do not make a habit of patronizing diners (I will not cite names…) but I was happy to discover the place yesterday much in a hurry as I was for lunch!

All signs and menus are bilingual (no mistakes!), a sign of good business sense.
The above board advertizes the fact that one variety of sandwich is offered at a discount price every day! Another good way to have customers sample everything!

You do not have to be inside to check the menu and decide your order!

And they use fresh local lettuce!

Even at 2:00 p.m. the place was busy but everything went smoothly and more quietly than expected!

Transparency is always appreciated!

Efficient and quick service.

Good hygiene!
The staff will always ask you if there are vegetables you do not like.
The sandwiches are made entirely in front of you!
Incidentally, you can choose from 4 types of bread, as they are or toasted on order!

I noticed many businessmen and well-heeled travelers, always a good sign.
You can either eat onsite inside or under a parasol outside, or buy a take-out order.

I ordered Cheese Bulgorgi Sandwich with Homard Lobster Bisque Soup!

Another good mark for hygiene!

My Bisque soup!

I must admit I was favorably surprised by this fast food rendition of a French delicacy!

My sandwich!
Very appetizing!
Note that the bread used in Japan by Subway is always comparatively soft but certainly not soggy!

I wish all diners could take note!
By the way, their fried potatoes are oven-cooked, which means no pervasive oil smells!

Definitely a model for the genre!

SUBWAY
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka JR Railway Station, outside left out of north Exit, or right of the entry outside.
Business hours: 07:00~22:00 (Monday~Friday), 10~22:00 (Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays)
Entirely non-smoking inside!

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

Bryan Baird’s Newsletter (2011/11/22): Seasonal Release: West Coast Wheat Wine 2011

Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin
bryan-sayuri.gif

Seasonal Release: West Coast Wheat Wine 2011

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The onset of cooler weather and shorter days announces the arrival of the season for the enjoyment of hearty, warming and complexly potent ales. We are pleased to greet the season with the release of our 2011 version of West Coast Wheat Wine.
*West Coast Wheat Wine 2011 (ABV 9%):

New Seasonal Baird Beer Releases:

Wheat Wine is a beer style born on the U.S. West Coast in the 1980s, thought to have been originally brewed at the Rubicon brewery-pub in Sacramento, California. It has as its progenitor the British Barely Wine style. A Wheat Wine, generally, is characterized by a rich and hearty complexity that is lightened and made a touch sprite by a predominantly wheat, rather than barley, malt base. It is a style representative of the irreverent creativity and unrelenting passion that are hallmarks of craft brewing on the West Coast of the United States. Baird West Coast Wheat Wine is crafted in annual homage to the skilled brewing artisans and fearless beer entrepreneurs who have pioneered craft brewing on America’s great West Coast!

This 2011 version of West Coast Wheat Wine contains no character malt whatsoever and thus appears in a wonderfully hazy hue of sunset gold. The flavor is characterized by a deep, layered wheat malt complexity that is complemented beautifully by a citrus-fruit accented hop character (exclusive use of U.S. West Coast hops: Citra, Centennial, Cascade, Ahtanum). At packaging, West Coast Wheat Wine is krausened in order to add further flavor complexity and to produce a piquant all-natural carbonation.

West Coast Wheat Wine 2011 will begin pouring from our Taproom taps on Wednesday, November 23 (which happens to be a Japan national holiday — appreciation of labor day). It also will be available at other fine Baird Beer retailing pubs and restaurants throughout Japan. Bottles (633 ml) can be purchased by individual consumers direct from the brewery via our online E-Shop.

Cheers!

Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan
HOMEPAGE

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 Pastry: “Splendeur by Bernard Heberle at Abondance Patisserie in Hamamatsu City!

My good friend, Bernard Heberle, the owner/chef of Abondance Patisserie in Hamamatsu City has recently been elected the best patissier in Shizuoka Prefecture (almost 4,000,000 souls) by the biggest Food Blog Community in Japan, namely Tabelog!

Not only he is a first-class Patissier, but he also makes use of local products whenever possible, especially eggs, milk and fresh fruit!

He was kind enough to send me his latest creation with the following comments in French:
“Voici le dernier nouveau.
Splendeur. À la base de noisette croquante sur un mousseux aux fèves de Tonga. Avec un biscuit dit “Dauphinois”
Au plaisir.”
“Here is my new creation/
Splendeur/Splendor. With a crakling almond base on a mousse made with Tonga beans atop a biscuit called “Dauphinois”.
Best regards!”
He forgot to mention the cute little chocolate macaron and the golden leaves!

ABONDANCE
Address: Hamamatsu Shi, Sumiyoshi, 2-14-27 (in front of Seirei Hospital)
Tel.: 053-4738400
Fax: 053-4738401
Opening hours: 10:00~20:00. Closed on Tuesdays.
HOMEPAGE

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

Healthy French Gastronomy in Shizuoka City: Le Comptoir de Bios-s by Bio Farm Matsuki!

Service: Pro and very friendly
Equipment: Great overall cleanliness and splendid washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: A palette of Shizuoka Prefecture Products! Great use of organic vegetables and meats from Shizuoka Prefecture. True healthy gastronomy!

When Fujinomiya City-based Bio Farm Matsuki decided to open their new restaurant in Shizuoka City on the 2nd of November they certainly did a great favor to its inhabitants!
Not only did they adorn the City with a new and elegant venue at very reasonable prices, but they also and mainly offered health to their customers through first-class fresh products from Shizuoka Prefecture, and this in a completely non-smoking space!
But their greatest quality is that they are the newest establishment proving that there is a true Shizuoka Gastronomy in Japan!

Smiling and so kind staff!
Le Comptoir is located very near Shizuoka JR Station in an increasingly fashionable and well-lighted area of the City just behind the former abode of the last Tokugawa Shogun.

The design is very reminiscent of France with a large counter and high stools…

and a large blackboard with the recommendations of the day!

As you enter have a good look at the organic vegetable cookies…

and a few organic vegetables from Bio Farm Matsuki in Fujinomiya City you will be tempted to cook back home!

Simple, warm and elegant settings at tables from which you can peek outside through large bay windows!

I finally found the time to pay them my first visit for lunch today and I was gratified to discover they served wine by the glass even at lunch time!

I chose the chicken main lunch set from a very reasonably priced menu which came with corn potage first.
Incidentally all vegetables are organic and are grown organically at Bio Farm Matsuki in Fujinomiya City!

Such an appetizing and healthy dish!

Asahi Doori chicken from Fuji City sauteed with Champagne vinegar!

Splendid salad consisting of cute greens and…

Red Moon potatoes and onion!

The lunch course also included bread or rice but I had to order the dessert of the day: Carrot ice cream! So soft and delicious! Could be served at any time of a large repast!

And coffee served as it should be with real cream and sugar!

Dinner report coming very soon!

Le Comptoir de Bio-s by Bio Farm Matsuki
420-0852 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Kooya machi, 12-8, Sankousha Bldg, 1F
Tel./fax: 054-221-5250
Business hours: 11:30~15:00 (Last orders 14:00), 17:00~23:00 (Last orders 22:00)
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Entirely non-smoking!

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

Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (11/61): Kanikama Chirashizushi Bento!

Kanikama stands for Kani Kamaboko/Crab imitation paste made with steamed fish meat!
The Missus found a very interesting kanikama on the market and decided to use some for today’s bento!

The best way for color and design was to prepare it as Chirashizushi/Decoration sushi!

Having steamed the rice with plenty of konbu, she then prepared it as sushi rice. She mixed it with pieces of Kanikama, thin slices of cucumber, pimento, avocado cubes, cresson and home-pickled sanshyo/Japanese pepper. She decorated the top with the same!

The salad and dessert box was very colorful, too!

Salad of violet potatoes and boiled black beans on a bed of lettuce!

Dessert with plenty of fruit: Nashi/Japanese pear, grapefruit wedges and Red Heart Kiwi Fruit slices!

Very colorful and so tasty again!

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