Category Archives: Gastronomes

The Homey Art Of Bento

All the bentoes are from the Missus’ archives!

Preparing a bento is an act of love.
Or an apprenticeship to love for single people!

As expats, although its notion has been ingrained in our gastronomic brains for more than half a century (not accounting for the Army ration packs of older generations), a lunch box simply cannot be compared to a Japanese bento!
After all, Western lunch boxes were a bit of a misnomer when you consider their very basic contents piled into an artless tin box.
On the other hand, why has bento grown so popular abroad (i.e. out of Japan)?
You just have to browse the Internet or Home Cooking Magazines to realize it has progressed far beyond a mere fad. The concept is here to stay and spread all over the World eventually.

Bento officionados usually agree on the following as the reasons for its popularity:
-Health: a real bento combining all the ingredients of a normal meal (and even more!) is bound to make up for a better-balanced repast than any lunch you would hurriedly buy at a baker’s, fast food joint or supermarket before wolfing it down at your office or workplace.
-Practicality: bento is conceived to be carried in vessels taking a minimum amount of space in your luggage. As it is usually wrapped with chopsticks (or fork and spoon) inside a tablecloth or large handkerchief one only needs to untie it, leave it atop its wrapping, open it and enjoy it at leisure on your office desk, at the company cafeteria or in a nearby park.
-Aesthetics: you just have to open a well-conceived bento box to have your friends or colleagues peer into it with envy and wonder. How many times have people witnessed others taking photographs of each other’s creation for further reference? Good friends will actually venture as far as exchanging some of their better morsels!

The idea that a bento is a woman’s or wife’s (or girlfriend’s) work has slowly but steadily become obsolete.
In Japan they even show (single) men preparing their lunch box alone in the kitchen on prime time TV shows.

Choosing your box or vessel:
Although traditional cedar wood boxes make for an exquisite gastronomic experience, one does not have to lavish money on extravagant bento boxes.
Such boxes may be of all shapes and material.
Many young Japanese men go as far as designing their own boxes into metal and plastic encased sets that look more than space shuttle contraptions than anything else.
A hard round plastic Tupperware can make for an appropriate bento box if you use plenty of dry curry over rice (don’t forget to decorate with crumbled boiled egg and a few sprigs of green!).

A rectangular bamboo fiber case very commonly found to pack souvenir treats will do well for sushi rolls where they can stand their cross section up.
Do not discard any reusable box that can be easily transformed into a practical vessel for your lunch.
Now, if you want to invest some money into a true Japanese bento box you basically have the choice between a compartmented box (round, square or rectangular) and a single-tiered or double-tiered bean-shaped box. The former usually comes lacquered while the latter can be made of cedar tree sheets bound with cherry tree bark.
I must confess that I have a special fondness for the latter because one can separate his/her lunch into two distinct “dishes” one can pick from in turns.
Do not forget your chopsticks, or fork or spoon. Choose the former to last long enough for the sake of ecology!

-But I have no time to prepare a bento before going to work in the morning!

True to say, a good bento requires some planning and organization.
But the more you put into it, the more contented (or proud) you, your partner or family member will feel.
Actually bento is no less than the epitome of slow food disguised into fast food if I may afford the apparent contradiction:
A bento bought at a convenience store is fast food. A lunch concocted with love and passion is slow food. But you eat it like fast food!

Organization should not be that complicated.
First of all decide on your staple the night before: rice, bread (yes!), potato (why not?). Keep in mind this will form at least a good third of your lunch.
Next check your fridge for meat or fish for the main “partner” of your staple. That is, if you are not vegetarian. Talking of vegetarianism (or veganism), this is not an obstacle at all!
Alright, you have decided on your staple and its partner. You still have to think of how you are going to accommodate your meat or fish. Fried? Sauteed? Steamed? Broiled? And their seasoning!

Next, think of dietary balance and decorative value.
This is where you have to think of the vegetables and fruit (no biscuits, or junk food, please! Keep it healthy!). Are you going to serve them raw (don’t forget you need dressing including oil for good digestion of raw vegetables!), grilled, fried, or steamed? Keep it in mind to strike a good balance between all ingredients. The key is not to prepare them all in the same fashion!
You will find out quickly that colors are a good guide when considering the nutritious value of your bento!
Right, you have struck the right balance and proportions!
Now it is up to your artistic sense!
I’m sure you will be able to emulate the picture(s) in this article and even better after some practice!
Why?
Because bento is an act of love!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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

Green Tea Cakes & Ice Creams at Nanaya by Shizuoka Macha Sweets Factory!

Macha Level 8 Ice cream!

Nanaya Shizuoka Macha Sweets Factory is produced by Marushichi Tea Factory in Fujieda City.
They own two shops, one in Fujieda City and the other in Shizuoka City!
This report is about the Shizuoka Shop!

You can’t miss it on Aoba Kouen Street! It’s all green (Tea green of course!)!

“Marushichi/Round Seven/丸七”. The number “7” is considered as the luckiest number in Japan, and Maru stands for the circle found around the number!
The number “7” can also be pronounced “nana”, hence the name of the shops!

The green color of macha powder must be one of the most beautiful green hues in this world!

All the macha powder used in their cakes and ice creams is exclusively made from green tea grown in Okabe Cho, Fujieda City!

They even offer choux a la creme/”chou ceam” with macha custard inside!

A superbly clean shop!

They also offer all kinds of healthy products by Ichinose!

Don’t forget to take a good look at their commercial film on the TV screen! You’ll learn a lot!

What did I tell you?

They also sell beautiful earthenware tea cups!

Have a good look at their healthy cakes!

But naturally I was mainly attracted by the ice creams which can be savored on site!

Ice cream must be the most forgivable sin in the whole world!

The macha ice creams from level 1 to 8, according to their content in pure macha powder!

You are welcome to enjoy your ice cream at ease on a chair on site! You are even provided with wet paper napkins!

And here was my choice: Macha Cone Level 8, of course!
That deep green color is going to make a lot of friends envious! LOL

NANAYA Shizuoka Shop
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae Cho, 2-3-1 (Aoba Park Street)
Tel.: 054-251-7783
Opening hours: 11:00~19:00
Closed on Wednesdays 8except on national Holidays)

NANAYA Fujieda Shop
Fujieda City, Naisetosaka Shimo, 141-1
Tel.: 054-646-7783
Opening hours: 10:00~18:00
Closed on Wednesdays (except on National Holidays)
HOMEPAGE (Japanese but look at the pictures!)
STAFF’S BLOG (Japanese, too, but look at the pictures!)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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 (12/09): Diet Bento!

On the 1st of March I will undergo my annual check up and the Missus wants me (and later too!) to be in proper health when the doctor will play with figures found in my body and blood!
You can expect the same until then, and maybe unfortunately for me, beyond!

She steamed plain rice and mix it later with chopped parsley for color and ingredient balance. She filled about half of the box with it.
She then flattened and fried chicken sasami/breast filets with cheese inside in olive oil and seasoned them with tomato sauce for a beautiful red color. It might be lighter in calories than usual but the design is as important as ever!
She added the final touch with sliced black olives and salad beans.

As for vegetables, she placed boiled broccoli seasoned with crushed peanuts and boiled carrot (she indulged in some typical bento design there!) on a bed of finely chopped vegetables (not visible on the pictures).

Very simple indeed, but beautiful and very tasty!
But I ought to be careful about such comments lest the Missus further diminish the contents!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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

Gastronome Dragons (3): Sires Robert and John

Komagata Shinto Shrine, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City, japan!

Dragons are not evil creatures.

You may find some specimens akin to the fallen angels exposed in civilizations which misunderstood their true character and talents, but true dragons have the happiness of mankind in their hearts and ceaselessly contribute to its nurturing whenever they can or are allowed to as shown in this story.

As far as their gender is concerned some are attracted by their opposites while others feel content among similar denizens of their worlds. But plenty are satisfied enough with their own lot and do not feel the obligation to entertain intimate relations with their own kin.

Dragons by essence are long lived creatures with an unequalled wealth of knowledge and experience, which explains why they are so keen on their hedonisitic pleasures.
A true dragon will not bother amass and sleep over riches like some of their poor misled copies in faraway lands.
It, she or he will be constantly in search of new pleasures to share with like-minded souls for the betterment of this sometimes sad World of our own.

This particular dragon is taking this opportunity, while writing in this grimoire in a lair hidden under an extinct volcano in an island famed for its morning sun, to introduce other dragons working hard for the expansion of gastronomic pleasure thanks to the humans who finally started to grasp the art of communicating through the magic of instant scrolls!

SIRE ROBERT

Sire Robert’s Fine Japanese Pottery Shop in Kyoto!

Sire Robert whose ancestors flew from a country ravaged by conflicts to the Land of Promise swam across the oceans to establish himself in this island where he first resided in a lair hidden at the foot of an extinct volcano but established a shoppe to sell and make known the insular great pottery and the artists creating it.
To improve on an already great fame he recently moved to the most venerated city in this island for the pleasure of his customers be they from this island or the whole world thanks to the use of incomparable scroll sending magic!
Do visit his magic grimoire and shoppe where you will find every pottery to grace your home and gastronomic table!

SIRE JOHN

The Magician himself!

Sire John was born in the Land of Promise and flew over the oceans undetected to this island revered for its rising sun quite some time ago.
After observing the denizens of this country he felt enamored with their national drink: Sake (All self-respecting dragons indulge themselves in fine nectars!)!
He then embarked on a mission to make this incredible nectar known to the whole World.. Not does he help people to acquire and savor the beautiful spirit but also offers tours, free magic scrolls, and incredible information on its secrets!
An unassuming Dragon, he has nonetheless achived world fame and happily lives under the alias of World sake Master!
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RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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 (2012/02/13): A Valentine’s Day Gift: Belgian Chocolate Stout

Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin
bryan-sayuri.gif

A Valentine’s Day Gift: Belgian Chocolate Stout

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

There are many ways in which to show that special someone just how much you care. The gift of chocolate or flowers is a traditional one. As brewers and beer enthusiasts, though, we prefer a more personal expression: the gift of beer.

New Baird Beer Seasonal Release:
*Belgian Chocolate Stout (ABV 8%):

This lovingly crafted stout derives its name and character from two sources: mashing with generous portions of chocolate malt (both barley and wheat) and fermentation with our Belgian yeast strain. The flavor does not deceive; it is rich and chocolaty, complex and spicy.

Belgian Chocolate Stout is now on tap at all of our Taproom pubs, waiting to be enjoyed by you and that special someone. And if it doesn’t manage to do the trick, I think we also have some real Belgian chocolate on the menu.

In addition to draught, bottle versions also are available for purchase from the brewery.

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

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Negami Brewery-Kinmei Shiboritate Junmai Genshu

Negami Brewery has the particularity to be situated at a height of 550 meters on the slopes of Mount Fuji!
This means the water used for brewing their sake gushes out of the very mountain!

I love the traditional Japanese design!
The crane and turtle/tortoise in Japan are symbols of good luck!

Rice milled down to 55% (extravagant!)
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Bottled in December 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Faint golden hue
Aroma: Strong, sweetish and fruity. Elegant. Oranges and nuts
Body: fluid
Taste: Dry and fruity attack backed up with soft junmai petillant and pleasant alcohol.
Complex. Oranges tend to dominate with some nuts and dark cherries.
Disappears fairly quickly on a drier note.
Varies little with food, although make a short turn to sweetness but will turn back again very swiftly to a drier note once away from food backed up with more oranges and dark cherries.

Overall: A very pleasant sake, if a bit strong, to enjoy on its own or with any food.
Despite its extravagant millage (55% for a junmai!) it is a sake most suited for food thanks to its high alcohol contest!
A sure value at any time!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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 Oden Fair 2012! Sunday 12th!

Men at work!

Sunday 12th saw a bright day with big crowds in Shizuoka City and it was quite a feat to take pictures in that bustle!

Sakura ebi/Cherry shrimps Yakisoba!

This time I started with the side streets of Koya Machi, Gofuku Cho and Shichiken Cho before a last round in Aoba Square and Aoba Koen/Park!

Famous croquettes from Mishima City!

The oden stand of the most famous kamaboko/steamed fish paste shop in Shizuoka City!

The oden stand of Tokaiken, the largest bento shop in town!

Yuujin Izakaya Oden!

Lunch time for many families in Gofuku Cho!

A popular tebasaki/手羽先/Chicken wings stand!

Comfort food for the cold weather!

Shizuoka Young Meat producers Association oden stand!

Oden stand of Ogawa, one of the most famous oden restaurant in town!

Mirukusanbu Izakaya oden stand!

More families gathering for lunch in Shichiken Cho near the Isetan Department Store!

Akai Izakaya oden stand!

Setsuko Oden Izakaya oden stand!

The city had provided plenty of trash bins and kept cleaning up the place at all times!

Back in Aoba Koen the street was even more crowded!

Plenty of wardens to take care of the crossing traffic!

It was just impossible to take pictures inside Aoba Square behind the Shizuoka City Hall!

Some serious drinking even at lunch time!

Any place would do for eating (and drinking!)!

Even plenty of beef (and beer!) was available!

The Shizuoka specialty: Sakura Ebi Kakiage/Cherry Shrimps Tempura!

See you again there next year!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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 Oden Fair 2012! Saturday 11th!

Pho soup oden by Annam Vietnamese Restaurant!

I managed to find some time today to make a quick tour of Aoba Koen in daytime and take the pulse of the Shizuoka Oden Fair 2012 on its second day!

It being a sunny Saturday and National Holiday the place was crowded in spite of the cold!

Families busy eating and drinking!

Anything’s good to attract the customers’ attention!

Oden from Otaru in Hokkaido Prefecture!

Getting ready for a long day’s work!

A popular oden stand!

Kamaboko/Steamed fish paste from Yui!

Korean oden and brochettes!

My favorite oden stand: Sabou Yamako/茶房山幸!

Oden from Yaizu City!

Shizuoka Gourmet Ekinan Sakaba!

Fujinomiya Yakisoba!

A tent crowded with revelers!

Another favorite of mine: Annam Restaurant Vietnamese oden stand!

Vietnamese oden!

Pho soup oden by Annam Vietnamese Restaurant!
Hot and piquant, perfect in that cold weather!

I’ll have a look at the side streets tomorrow!

The event is held in five different locales from the 1oth to the 12th of February in Shizuoka City:
-Aoi Square/青スクエアAoba Park/青葉公園・青葉シンボルロード
Time: 11:00~20:00

-Gofuku Cho Doori/呉服町通り/Shichiken-cho Doori/七間町通り and Koya Machi/紺屋町
Time: 11:00~17:00

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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

Shizen No Chikara Organic Farm: Visit by “47 Japanese Farms” in Shizuoka City!

Syunsuke Sano/佐野俊介 of Shizen No Chikara Organic Farm explaining his craft to Roshni Nirody and Sara Harriger of the U.S. Department of State

Ms. Roshni M. Nirody (from New Jersey) and Ms. Sara Harriger (Alaska) employed by the U.S. Department of State working for the Foreign Service Institute, Japanese language and Area Training Center at the U.S. Embassy in Japan paid us a visit in Shizuoka City!
Not only these young ladies speak very good Japanese on top of their native language but even more languages, a undisputable proof of their ability for their jobs!
They have initiated their own grand three and a half year project at 47 Farms to examine Japanese agriculture through interviews and working farm stays with farmers in each of Japan`s 47 prefectural entities!
Read more HERE, it is certainly worth a very long look!
To cut a story short they contacted me as they wanted to discover what Shizuoka Farms had in store for them!
Actually Shizuoka does have a lot, but to make easier for their first visit I and a staff at M2 labo decided to take them to new but already very influential Organic Farm in Shizuoka City and Prefecture called Shizen No Chikara Farm.

Organic Tomatoes!

Shizen No Chikara Farm has plots in Sena, Shimo, Nippon Daira and many others in the Prefecture.
We took them to Sena where the man in charge, Syunsuke Sano/佐野俊介 was kind enough to explain his crafts and answer quite a few very pointed questions from our lady guests!

All the cultivation is organic in the strict sense with no insecticides, or any agrichemicals.
The insects are fought off with natural repellents concocted by the farmers, catch fly sticky tapes or with natural enemies such as ladybugs!

Temperature and humidity are constantly checked and monitored!

For the moment they grow five varieties of tomatoes there!

These will go to the top restaurants in the Prefecture!

Now, Shizen No Chikara succeeded a very difficult organic cultivation at their first attempt: strawberries!

The strawberries are not allowed to come in contact with the floor or soil!
No need to mention this is all daily back-breaking work!

The greenhouse has its own beehive!

Even the beehive is kept super clean!

The bees are vital for a regular pollination and beautiful berries!

Organic mini daikon!

We then proceeded to the plot in Shimo to have a look at the their root and leaf vegetables!

Row of mini daikons!

Komatsuna left to look after their harvested rows!

Hosonegi/scallions/mini leeks!

Leeks are great to fight common colds!

Big white daikons!

Japanese gastronomy wouldn’t exist without these!

Beautiful radishes and turnips just harvested!

The same in their rows!

This visit was all too short for my own satisfaction and I already have invited our sweet visitors to come again as soon as possible!
I’m already planning visits to Numazu and Fujinomiya Cities!
Our two ladies are not only lovers of agriculture but also gastronomes. I have a few breweries and izakayas in mind for them!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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 Oden Fair Starting Tomorrow!

One of the most celebrated traditional gastronomic events in Shizuoka City (and Japan), the Shizuoka (Shizooka in local dialect) Oden Fair will be held from Friday, February 10th to Sunday, February 12th!

The event has expanded and will be held in five different locales:
-Aoi Square/青スクエアAoba Park/青葉公園・青葉シンボルロード
Time: 11:00~20:00

-Gofuku Cho Doori/呉服町通り/Shichiken-cho Doori/七間町通り and Koya Machi/紺屋町
Time: 11:00~17:00

Many shops, restaurants and izakayas from Shizuoka will sell Shizuoka-Style Oden and more shops from other parts of Japan and even a few foreign restaurants will be doing the same in Aoba Park and Aoi Square.

One the other hand, more shops from Shizuoka will sell Shizuoka-Style oden, and more shops from other areas of Shizuoka Prefecture will serve local specialties in Shichiken-cho., Gofuku Cho and Koya Machi.

Do come early as it promises to be very busy and crazy like in precedent years (and probably more! LOL).

Check the official Japanese HOMEPAGE!

Reports coming soon, of course!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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

Gastronome Dragons (2): Dame Nami and Sire Argentum Vulgaris

Komagata Shinto Shrine, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City, japan!

Dragons are not evil creatures.

You may find some specimens akin to the fallen angels exposed in civilizations which misunderstood their true character and talents, but true dragons have the happiness of mankind in their hearts and ceaselessly contribute to its nurturing whenever they can or are allowed to as shown in this story.

As far as their gender is concerned some are attracted by their opposites while others feel content among similar denizens of their worlds. But plenty are satisfied enough with their own lot and do not feel the obligation to entertain intimate relations with their own kin.

Dragons by essence are long lived creatures with an unequalled wealth of knowledge and experience, which explains why they are so keen on their hedonisitic pleasures.
A true dragon will not bother amass and sleep over riches like some of their poor misled copies in faraway lands.
It, she or he will be constantly in search of new pleasures to share with like-minded souls for the betterment of this sometimes sad World of our own.

This particular dragon is taking this opportunity, while writing in this grimoire in a lair hidden under an extinct volcano in an island famed for its morning sun, to introduce other dragons working hard for the expansion of gastronomic pleasure thanks to the humans who finally started to grasp the art of communicating through the magic of instant scrolls!

DAME NAMI

Mom’s Shrimp Ball

Dame Nami originates from the same Island as this Dragon but she swam across (instead of flying over) vast expanses of ocean to reach the Land of Promise where she presently resides with her soul mate.
A very shy Dragon she has taken upon hereself to impart her knowledge of the gastronomy of her birthplace and adoptive land.
Her shyness is only a wise foil and she imparts an untold wealth of secrets to her apprentices tharough a clever use of modern magic allied to her inherent powers and those of her ancestors!

SIRE ARGENTUM VULGARIS

Witches Brew!

Argentum Vulgaris is a venerable Dragon (like this one?) who may not reveal his true name as he is an archivist.
Although his main interest tends to fall on Things That Fizz & Other Stuff, he scours the universe from the other side of this World in search of gastronomic knowledge to record it on his public grimoire accessible to all.
Having amassed an inimaginable hoard of treasure for all to share during his incessant voyages and meetings with creatures of all genres and births he is nonetheless quick to belch fire on anything ot anybody he does not deem fit to appear in front of him.
A Dragon to treat with care and respect but quite endearing in this Dragon’s eyes!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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 Italian Restaurants Top Ranking! (As of Beginning of 2012)

1) NORI

Service: Very friendly and relaxed. Very intelligent explanations and presentations.
Equipment: Great general cleanliness in a beautifully decorated house. Superb washroom
Prices: Very reasonable considering the extravagant quality.
Strong points: A great accent on local products both from the land and the sea. Gastronomic Italian-style cuisine with a constant research on new products and methods. Excellent wine list. Superb grappa.

NORI
426-0204 Shizuoka Ken, Fujieda Shi, Tokigaya, 864-3
Tel./Fax: 054-641-4778
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00; 18:00~22:00
On reservation only for dinner
Closed on Tuesdays and first Monday
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Entirely non-smoking!

——————————-

2 SOLIO

Service: Pro and very friendly
Equipment & Facilities: Great overall cleanliness and superb washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Fresh local ingredients whenever possible. Both traditional and inventive Italian cuisine. Good wine list at moderate prices. Open late!

SOLOIO
420-0858 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tenmacho, 9-7, Kita, 1
Tel./fax: 054-260-4637
Business hours: 16:00~24:00
Closed on Monday
Credit cards OK
Private parties welcome!
Smoking allowed BUT Non-smoking until 20:00 everyday!

———————————-

3) ORTA RISTORANTE

Service: Very friendly and attentive
Facilities: Superb cleanliness through and through and beautiful washroom.
Prices: Appropriate
Strong points: Authentic Northern Italian Gastronomy. Good wine list. Very fresh ingredients, local whenever possible

ORTA RISTORANTE
Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, Banya, 675, 2F
tel. & Fax: 053-455-0321
Business hours: 11:30~14:, 18:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays
HOMEPAGECredit Cards OK
Entirely non-smoking!

———————————
4) AQUAVITE

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: Great cleanliness overall. Small but beautiful washroom
Prices: Reasonable to expensive.
Strong points: Great use of local products, especially organic vegetables. Top-class Italian wines. Private room for~8 people

AQUAVITE
420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00 18:00~22:00
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK
Non-smoking private room available!

————————–

5) CONTORNO

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable.
Strong points: Many local products be they from the land or the sea. Organic vegetables. Car park.

SEE MAP

CONTORNO
421-0122, Shizuoka City, Suruga Ku, Mochimune, 5-1-10, Sunrise Mochimune (5 minutes walk from Mochimune JR Station. Second stop after Shizuoka)
Tel.: 054-2565877
Business hours: 11:30~14:30, 17:00~21:30
Closed on Wednesdays
Credit Cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
BLOG

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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

Gastronome Dragons (1): Dame Sissi and Sire Charles!

Shuzenji, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka, Japan.

Dragons are not evil creatures.

You may find some specimens akin to the fallen angels exposed in civilizations which misunderstood their true character and talents, but true dragons have the happiness of mankind in their hearts and ceaselessly contribute to its nurturing whenever they can or are allowed to as shown in this story.

As far as their gender is concerned some are attracted by their opposites while others feel content among similar denizens of their worlds. But plenty are satisfied enough with their own lot and do not feel the obligation to entertain intimate relations with their own kin.

Dragons by essence are long lived creatures with an unequalled wealth of knowledge and experience, which explains why they are so keen on their hedonisitic pleasures.
A true dragon will not bother amass and sleep over riches like some of their poor misled copies in faraway lands.
It, she or he will be constantly in search of new pleasures to share with like-minded souls for the betterment of this sometimes sad World of our own.

This particular dragon is taking this opportunity, while writing in this grimoire in a lair hidden under an extinct volcano in an island famed for its morning sun, to introduce other dragons working hard for the expansion of gastronomic pleasure thanks to the humans who finally started to grasp the art of communicating through the magic of instant scrolls!

DRAGON SISSI

Brittany Pucks, or Palets bretons

This Dame Dragon, apparently always holding a glass in her talons, seems to show a great predilection for strong nectars!
Her lair lies in a land surrounded by many mountains under a thick blanket of snow in winter and many green pasturages in summer.
She is a very inquisitive creature who never tires of exploring the food and drinks of faraway regions that she reproduces with profound magic for the joy and pleasure of many friends over lands and oceans!
If you wish to make her acquaintance be prepared for a lot of questions and comments on your magical grimoire!

DRAGON CHARLES

Kanelbullar (Cinnamon Buns)

Dragon Charles used to hide in a faraway island populated with proud people before he flew over the sea to land near a splendid Castle and Gardens in a nation famed for its long and rich gastronomy.
Living beside such an opulent monument does not prevent him to research great food for a small price so as to help less affluent humans.
Actually Sire Charles has a dream: to be able one day to show his art on a giant scroll floating in the sky for all to see and emulate!
I forgot to mention that Charles has a very long sweet tooth (fang!)!

To be continued in the next scroll…

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Five Euro Food by Charles
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