Cafe-Labo Confectionery and Cake Shop

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sake, shochu and sushi

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For the 6 years it has been in business in this fickle city, CAFE-LABO and its chef-patissiere, Ms. Takami Kawanaka, have achieved a solid reputation of quality, originality and reliability under the guidance of its mother company, Settle Down.
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Predominantly French-style cakes, biscuits, jellies and assortments, both classical and avant-garde, are made and re-invented in close relation with seasons and trends.
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A staff of 6 will help you choose individual cakes for your own consumption, your special ones and parties alike.
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Not only will you be tempted by the vast array of confectioner, but also by the wines imported exclusively by Settle Down Co. from Alsace, Beaujolais, Bourgogne and Banyuls as well as jams and sweets from all over France!
My favourites?: “Figue” and the”macarons”!

Access: From Kusanagi JR or Shizutetsu Stations, 10 minutes walk

Address: 424-0886 Shizuoka City, Shimizu Ku, Kusanagi, 46
Tel.: 0543-441661
fax: 0543-441670
Business hours: 10:00~20:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Credit Cards OK

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Shizuoka Agricultural Products: Nashi Pear

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The Nashi pear, Pyrus pyrifolia, is sometimes called the Asian pear . It has also been called Japanese pear or Taiwan Pear, as well as sand pear, apple pear, bapple, papple, and bae, from the Korean 배. In India is it called nashipati. Nashi pears are widely grown for their sweet fruit, a popular food in East Asia. They are sweet on the tree and are eaten crisp or else bletted.
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Nashi pears generally are not baked in pies or made into jams because they have a high water content and a crisp, grainy texture, very different from the buttery European varieties. Also, Nashi pears are not as intensely sweet, having a more refreshing, light taste.

They are grown in various areas in Japan under different cultivar and brand names.
I have the luck to be offered every summer a full box of them coming from Yaizu City where their brand name is “Shinsui”/新水. They are the perfect fruit for a hot summer and have far more value than a whole bottle of soda!

“No Name” Standing Bar

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For all the aping of Tokyo trends, real standing bars are a scarcity in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Although the concept should fit within the heavy-drinking environment prevalent in our region, especially Shizuoka City, it does not seem to appeal.
True to say, people here are not in a hurry and prefer to stay long in their favourite dens instead of the frantic bar hopping in vogue in larger metropolises.
Now, would you believe that the only standing bar worthy of attention in Shizuoka City does not have a name or phone number despite the fact it has been in existence for more than four years?
It is located along the subterranean thoroughfare grandly called “Golden Chikakai” linking Gofukucho Street to the JR Station. Enter it near Parco Department Store and walk along the left-hand side passageway. You can’t miss as long as you keep your eyes open and take your time.
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Now, if you are somewhat of a voyeur or exhibitionist, this might be the place to patronize at all hours of long evenings, as all kinds of passers-by hurry past it with long side glances at the denizens ogling at them behind the illusory safety of large glass window/doors.
Interestingly enough, gents and ladies of all ages both patronize this waterhole. You might therefore discover another personal reason for stopping by as it is comfortably air-conditioned for all seasons.
The Manager of the place, Mr. Sumiteru Yamato is always ready to serve you with a smile and a chat. All drinks are standard 500 yen (900 yen for full pints of draught beer). Snacks are available (200 to 500 yen). All COD. No cover charge. No surprise.
But plenty of scotch (including single malts), bourbon, cocktails, liqueurs, bottled and draft beer. Enough for the true fans.

Business hours: 17:00~24:00

Sports Cafe/Bar: White Ize

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sake, shochu and sushi

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Many of my friends, expats and Japanese alike had been telling me about this new sports bar opened in July 2006, so it was about time I visited it!
Interestingly enough, although Shizuoka City are blessed with a plethora of good Izakaya, simple, unpretentious and well-stocked bars are almost a rarity.
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The least I could say is that they are extremely well-stocked as far as bottled beers are concerned: no less than 96 brands and still looking for more!
I even had the occasion to taste a beer from the French Island Corsica called Pietra I had never heard of! (A fine beer, by the way!). There are varieties for everyone, including a whopping 14 degrees ale from Austria!
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White Ize has 3 screens for customers to watch all current sports. The coming Rugby World Cup will be shown live from France from September 9th. Ozzies and Kiwis had better reseve their seats!
Apart of beers, cocktails and other drinks are available. Food is Tex-Mex and reasonably priced.
The owner, Mr. Kazuyoshi Harazaki is an old hand at both fishing, boating and boozing and always keen to share a chat. He is known to go on boating excursions with his customers, so better keep your ears open!

White IZE
420-0857 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Miyuki-cho, 7-2, Amano Bldg. 2F (near Den Den Building, a few minutes walk from Shizuoka JR Station)
Tel.: 054-2551336
Business Hours: 17:00~02:00
Closed on Mondays
Parties welcome
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Shizuoka Izakaya: Taisaku

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It certainly took me a long time, but I finally paid a visit to Taisaku, the third oldest Izakaya in Shizuoka City! It has entered it sixty-ninth year of existence and is still going solid thanks to a strong sense of tradition nurtured by the family down to the present 3rd and 4th generations.
It has alway enjoyed a great reputation and certainly deserves it!
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Taisaku prides itself in serving, whenever possible, products from the local seas and lands. The sashimi are true delicacies, especially raw sakura shrimp (large pic above), not easy to serve so fresh unless you have a direct contact in Yui City, or katsuo/bonito thanks to Yaizu City fishermen. The aji/horsemackerel was a beauty, too. I had to limit myself to those three raw servings this time and will have to come regularly to sample the whole menu changing every day (impossible!). I had time and stomach space left to sample their “kisu to anago no satsumaage”, a fish paste made from two fish caught in Suruga Bay and cooked to perfection.

Now, if you know me well, there need be another reason for my introducing an Izakaya: the local sake!
I gave up on posting the labels for the simple reason that the list is too long! Here you are:
Garyubai Dai Ginjo (Sanwa Brewery, Shimizu Ku)
Isojiman Junmai Ginjo + Hionjozo (Yaizu City)
Hatsukame (Shida Gun)
Kaiun (Doi Brewery, Kakegawa City)
Matsu Ichi, including Taruzake/sake from the cask and “kan”/warm (Shizuoka City)
Shosetsu Junmai (Yui City)
Kokkou (Fukuroi City)
Karakkaze (Hana no Mai Brewery, Hamamatsu City)
8 Breweries for 11 types of sake, all from Shizuoka Prefecture!

As Taisaku is located in Central Shizuoka just behind Shin Shizuoka Center, expect it to be full with patrons of all ages, genders and status!
If you wish to talk about local history, you will find the master of the house quite amenable indeed. Not only did he took out old books for me, but he also gave me the name of another Brewery that existed before WWII!

Taisaku
420-0858 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Tenmacho, 1-10 (entry on 1F, restaurant on 2F)
Tel.: 054-2531639
Business hours: 17:30~?
Closed on Sundays
Parties up to 20 possible on 3F

Shizuoka Oden 2: Yasaitei

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I suppose I’m running the risk of starting a long debate in our good City/Prefecture of Shizuoka, but there is Shizuoka Oden and Shizuoka Oden!
By this I mean that one can eat different kinds of Oden, some cheap and expensive, some great and ugly, and whatever else has comes to appear on our tables after some TV shows extolled the qualities of our regional delicacy (which is not).
Shizuoka people “seem” to appreciate Oden cooked in dark soup over long periods of time, but if they happened to witness how those dark broths were concocted or when and where the Oden themselves are prepared and stored, they might entertain second thoughts.
This said, I’m not here to criticize but to introduce the good food, especially slow food, and places that serve them!
Yasaitei, which I have introduced for another reason now serve very healthy and tasty Oden. They are comparatively more expensive than in most “odenya”, but this is an izakaya where you will also appreciate the soup (“tsuyu”) that comes with it!

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The broth is Kansai-style in that it is light and gives the right colour to the Oden.
It will be served with “yuzu koshio”, a mixture of black pepper and lime extract instead of the ubiquitous lump of strong Japanese mustard (“karashi”), and with finely chopped leeks that will add a welcome touch to the soup that you will drink upon eating the Oden.
Last but not least, the Oden at Yasaitei are of prime quality, freshness and extremely tasty in an elegant way!
They change accordingly to the season, but have Ms. Yoshino explain all of them before you choose them. I garantee you will learn a lot!

Yasaitei
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Reservations highly recommended

Soba/Buckwheat Restaurant: Yoshino

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I love soba, and many Japanese and expats do too!
It is not only great for health (vegetarians, listen carefully), it is tasty and satisfying!
Unfortunately there is soba and soba. Meaning: a lot of places do have to be avoided…
What makes Yoshino special is that they are very exactting about their quality and serve only soba on the day. If they run out, they simply close the place!
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For the connoisseurs hey serve both ni-hachi (80%) and ju-wari (100% which tend to run out quickly!)
Although Mr. Hiromichi Yoshino opened his restaurant only in 1999 after serving his time in another famous soba restaurant, Kuromugi in Shizuoka, the place has become so popular you do have to choose your time of the day to enjoy the food. Actually, you ought to take your time as this is a real “slow-food” soba restaurant. As it sits only 22 plus a few at the counter, you will understand it could become a scramble sometimes.
The more for its side dishes (“tsumami”):
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The “tamagoyaki” (fine, some vegetarians might not agree!) and the:
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“yakimiso” (soba/buckwheat powder mixed with miso and cooked under the grill), a must in any good soba restaurant.
But people who really know me would not be convinced if I fail to mention that also serve Shizuoka sake!
They serve no less than 8 kinds!:
Fujinishiki/Arabashiri (Shibakawa Cho)
Hatsukame/junmai + Kame dai ginjo 3 year-old koshu (Okabe cho)
Isojiman/ dai ginjo + junmai ginjo (Yaizu City)
Kikuyoi/daiginjo (Fujieda City)
Onnanakase/Oomuraya-Wakatake daiginjo (Shimada City)
Kokkou/junmai ginjo (Fukuroi City)
Now, a little secret for the sake lovers, these high-quality sake certainly come cheaper than anywhere else!

Apart of the whole gamut of cold and hot soba, they serve exquisite tempura, satsumaage, oniage, yakimiso,and so on.

Last but not least it becomes a no-moking place at lunch!

Yoshino
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo Machi, 1-7-10 (just behind Shin Shizuoka Center)
Tel.: 054-2553277
Business hours: 11:00~22:00 (or until run out soba)
“Kaiseki course” on reservations