Tag Archives: International cuisine

International Bistro: Porco Casa in Ebisu, Tokyo!

Service: Very friendly
Equipment & Facilities: very clean overall. Great washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Quiches and Pork cuisine conjugated on many nationalities! Organic and bio wines list!

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Kenjiroo Okada/岡田憲次郎さん is quite a personage! At a very young 50 (he barely looks 40!) with a strong body built with plenty of biking, he finds somehow the way to open his restaurant day and night non stop seven days a week!
Try and catch a seat on the terrace in the warmer seasons!

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Shizuoka oranges white Sangria!

Located in a very quiet back street of Ebisu, it makes use of lot of of vegetables from Shizuoka Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture and also fruit from Shizuoka Prefecture delivered directly from the producers thanks to M2 labo Inc.’s network in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Kenjiroo is specializing in healthy organic and bio wines!
I didn’t have much of a time to visit him at ease, but at least let me introduce you to the morsels he serves there!

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On that particular he had Shizuoka-grown potatoes sauteed in garlic!

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Now, this is a dish you must try, especially in winter or in cool nights!

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Spare rib and vegetable hot pot!

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I will personally visit the place time and again for that single dish coming in many seasonal fashions!

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Quiches, the way they make them back home in France!
A succulent meal in itself!

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A dish with a twist!
Honey spare ribs!

And more from a friend who has just been there!

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Mangenton by Sanoman Co. in Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Pork Risotto!

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Shizuoka Vegetables salad with Raspberry sauce!

You can bet it’s only a start considering the menu varying with seasonal products!

PORCO CASA
Chef: kenjiroo Okada/岡田憲次郎さん

tokyo, Shibuya Ku, Ebisu Nishi, 1-15-1, Century Home 1F
tel.: 03-3780-8669
Fax: 03-3780-8669
Opening hours: 11:30~13:00 (lunch), 13:00^17:00 (cafe time), 17:00~24:00 (dinner)
Cards OK

For more information on Shizuoka Prefecture vegetables and fruit:

M2Labo Inc., VEGI PROVIDER, Sync Foods
439-0006 Kikugawa City, Horinouchi, 110-1, 102
Tel.: 0537-28-7721
Fax: 0547-28-7724
HOMEPAGE

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Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Italian Restaurant: Lunch at Il Castagno

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: clean
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Home-made pasta. Very reasonables prices

I’ve wondered for some time why there were so many good Italian restaurants in our Shizuoka Prefecture.
I believe that they actually share a common trait: an intelligent combination of local products and foreign ingredients!
The other reason is probably the mild climate of our region, the warmest in Japan after Okinawa.

I took advantage of this Sunday being free of any obligations, apart of cooking dinner for my other half to belatedly visit Il Castagno.
It is a very unassuming restaurant/osteria run by three friends, a rarity in Japan where the majority of restaurants are run by couples.
You definitely need to reserve as the low prices attract many customers and there are not so many seats (maximum 15~16).
Service is very friendly and attentive, and questions are answered with extra courtesy.
Have a good look at menu as you are in for some interesting surprises (have you heard of boar raised in Ikawa?)!

This was my first visit and here what I had as one of the lunch courses:

Antipasti Misto: Romaine lettuce, vegetables quiche, pate de campagne and broccoli soup.

Il Castagno not only make 80% of their own pasta, they bake great focaccia bread!

The pasta was very elegant and succulent: home-made trufie short pasta with scallops, cockles, squid, and amaebi sweet shrimps. Marrying Japan and Italy!

A couple of glasses of Nero d’Avola from Sicilia.
Check their wine list: 14 x white (3,900~6,000 per bottle), 23 x red (3,800~12,000 per bottle), 4 x spumante (3,900~6,000),… and Shizuoka Sake Isojiman (3,300 per bottle, an extravagant one!)!

Dolce/dessert set: strawbeery Ice-cream, fruit, chicilate cake and panacotta with acacia honey.

Coffe was included.

IL CASTAGNO
420-0843 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Tomoe Cho, 48 (along Kitakaido Street)
Tel. & Fax: 054-247-0709
Business hours: 11:45~14:00, 17:30~21:00
Closed on Mondays and second Tuesdays
Lunch: 1,260 and 1,860 yen
Dinner: 4,000 and 5,000 yen
A la Carte menu and wine list available. Wine by the glass ok
Reservations recommended.
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Korean Cuisine: Yakiniku Tare/Korean BBQ Sauce-Basic Recipes

Choris Dow asked me for a recipe to prepare Yakiniku/Korean BBQ Sauce and I’m glad to oblige.
There are many styles, and I hope you will be able to expand on the below suggestions:

RECIPE 1 (left of above pic) :

-Salt: 4 teaspoons
-Water: 2 tablespoons
-Finely chopped thin leeks: 8 tablespoons
-Sesame oil: 8 tablespoons

Mix well. Can be used at once

RECIPE 2 (Right of above pic):

-Red miso paste: 4 tablespoons
-Gochujang: 4 tablespoons
-Sugar: 2 teaspoons
Sesame oil: 5 tablespoons

Mix well. Can be used at once.

RECIPE 3:

-Soy sauce: 3 tablespoons
-Sugar: 1 tablespoon
-Japanese sake: 1.5 tablespoons
-Grated fresh garlic: 1 tablespoon
-Finely chopped thin leeks: 3 tablespoons
-Ground sesame seeds: 1 teaspoon
-Sesame oil: 1 tablespoon

Let marinate for 20 minutes.

RECIPE 4:

-Soy sauce: 50 ml
-Mirin/Sweet sake: 1 tablespoon
-Sugar: 1 pinch
-Seasme oil: 1 tablespoon
-Chili powder: 1 teaspoon
-Freshly grated ginger: 2 cloves.

Mix well and let marimate a little.

RECIPE 5:

– Soy sauce: 50 ml
-Sugar: half a tablespoon~1 tablespoon
-Japanese sake: 3 tablespoons
-Sesame oil: 3 tablespoons
-Mirin/sweet sake: 2 tablespoons
-Freshly grated garlice: 2~3 cloves
-Finely chopped onion: 1/4
-Black pepper: a pinch

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Pizza at 22 Venty Due

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great cleanliness
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Real Napolitan Pizza baked on wood fire
no-smoking-logo1 Completely Non-smoking!

The Japanese are so avid when it comes to pizzas that they lose all sense of reality and eat anything called so.
It has been a long wait, but at long last, in October 2009 to be exact, someone finally had the courage to make true pizzas in our gastronomy-crazy city of Shizuoka: 22 Venty Due!

Now, absolutely everything is made from scratch the true artisan’s way!
“Simple is best!” Chef Hiroki Nakagawa claims. That might sound like a boast, but he certainly keeps everything to basics. On the other hand, “simple” also means slightly extravagant!
The dough is home-made and double leavened as it should be as it will cook in a minute at the most.

The moment you order, make sure you are ready to eat:
The dough will come out its box, it will be spread in a few seconds. Here come the tomato puree, the peccorino cheese ( a true beauty!), the basil leaves, the seasoning and the olive oil. On the baker’s wooden giant spoon, and…

A few gestures, and the pizza comes out, crusty to a perfection with all its ingredients cooked as they should be!
Why and how?
That is where “simple” becomes extravagant:
the pizza is cooked inside a real wood oven.
All wood is “nara no ki/Japanese oak” delivered all the way from Tottori Prefecture on the other side of Japan!
It takes two hours to bring the oven to the right temperature of 450 degrees Celsius, but then the pizza will come litterally smoking on your plate less than 3 minutes after you have ordered it!

22 Venty Due serves only 3 types of pizza: Margharita, Marinara and Bianca (1,000~1,250 yen), but it is just what you need!
Other side dishes like salami, mortadella, ham, Fritta/fritters can also be ordered with wine by the glass or bottle (about 20 brands).
Hiroki and his wife, Chinatsu, can arrange dinner courses according to budget and preferences. Both of them are actually from Shizuoka and came back home after trips to Italy and working in Tokyo. Welcome back!

Now, why after less than 3 months of existence have all the Shizuoka magazines featured photoes of Hiroki Nakagawa’s pizzas, if I may ask?

Incidentally, smoking is strictly prohibited! Bravo!

22 Venty Due
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajyo Machi, 3-21-20
Tel & Fax: 054-260-4522
Business hours: 18:00~21:30
Closed on Sundays
Reservations advised.

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Duck Breast: Basic Recipe & Presentation

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Small picture, sorry!

Some people make a big story of cooking duck. It is quite simple, actually, especially with a minimum of preparation. It has the other advantage to be open to an infinite array of variations!

The pic above was for one person. As I cooked it for both of us, just imagine that there was another identical plate.
Here is how I proceded:

INGREDIENTS:

-1 large duck breast (can be ordered easily over the Internet)
-Olive oil 3 tablespoons
-Whisky 3 “caps” (I use the bottle cap)
-Port wine (or any sweeet red wine) half a cup (100cc)
-Cold butter 2 large tablespoons
-Salt and pepper to taste

-6 small potatoes cut in “wedges”
-1 large tablespoon of olive oil

-Half a cup (100cc) of green “flageolet” beans (fine green beans)
-1 tablespoon of baby onions (frozen ar fine)
-1 rasher of bacon cut to the size of your largest nail (LOL)
-Salt, pepper, thyme to taste (careful with the salt as I mixed the veg with a little gravy from the duck!)

-Fine greens (small leaves: you can buy them already mixed and packed
-Dressing of your choice (easy on it, or it will spill onto the duck!)

RECIPE:

-Take skin off duck breast and discard. For people who cannot without it, make shallow incisions all over it, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, brush it lightly and fry it skin facing down for 80% of the cooking time!)

-Sponge off humidity with kitchen paper towel and put it aside.

-Boil potatoes to about “80% cooked” (their core should be still solid), cool immediately under cold water, peel and cut in wedges (not stiks of fries!)

-In small deep pan fry bacon with no oil until the pieces are crispy. Put aside on small plate. Don’t wash the pan. Pour in half a cup (100cc) of water and boil beans. When beans are ready, there should be little water left. Mix in thawed baby onions and bacon. Do Not season yet.
Keep of fire and cover

-Now you will work with two frypans at the same time. Be careful and keep in mind that if the oil becomes too hot, it might ignite, so keep a large towel handy (last time I almost started a fire. Luckily I had the reflex to cover the frypan with the towel. The fire extinguished immediately. NEVER try to extinguish with water as it will explode in your face!).
On your right (unless you are left-handed), pour the oil for the fried potatoes. It does need to be too hot. Throw potatoes in and let fry, shaking them around from time to time. Fry them until they are golden (use a non-stick pan and the results will delight you!)
On your left, heat the oil for the duck. It needs to be quite hot. Place duck breast in middle. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over it according to your preference. Fry both sides for 30 seconds. Turn down the fire to medium and carefully pour in the whisky (not cap by cap but with a small glass you would have filled before hand). Let the whisky ignite and shake the duck breast around until the flames have extinguished. Lower the fire a bit more and cover with lid.
How do you know the duck is cooked. When you press it with a finger, it should pop back easily with a little gravy/juice seeping out. Experience helping your eyes will be enough to judge when the time is right. Do not worry if you find out that some of the middle of the duck breast does not seem cooked enough. Some people like it well cooked while others like it rare. You can always choose the slices according to taste. Purist like it almost raw in its centre, though.
When the breast is cooked, put it on a cutting board. You will cut it at the llast minute.

-Add some of the gravy to the beans and reheat to your preference.

-On two large plates decorate the top third with greens (see pic above). You will add the dressing on top just before serving.

-Pour the Port wine into the frying pan and stir it with the gravy. reduce it on small fire.

-The fried potatoes should be ready by now. While the sauce is reducing, place the potatoes side by side in half a circle. As you will place the duck slices over it, there is no need to season them.

-Once the gravy has reduced enough, mix in the cold butter until smooth. it will prevent the sauce from “separating). Taste and season it if needed.
-Cut the duck breast into thin slices and place them side by side on top of the fried potatoes (see pic)

-With a tablespoon, place beans like on the pic.

-Pour gravy onto the duck slices.

-Sprinkle greens with dressing and serve.
If you are a wine fan, serve this dish with a full bodied red.

VARIATIONS:

I add some some finely cut parsley and basil to the beans at the last time. some finely cut thin leeks sprinkled over the duck slices look good. You can add some red colour with thinly cut tomatoes on both sides of or around the beans.

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Here is another presentation: Potato Gratin in the middle and onions confit on the sides.
I made the sauce lighter for this particular one!

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Another one again!
The potato wedges were cooked separately as well as the eringe mushroms slices in the middle with cauliflower first boiled, then sauteed.

Enjoy!

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Vegetarian French Cuisine: Dad’s Cream Mushrooms

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We are still in mushrooms season, wild ones or cultivated species, fresh, dehydrated or frozen. Mushrooms are low in calories, but high in quality, whether it concerns taste or nutrients.
Some people have told me that mushrooms cannot be frozen. This is a fallacy. Full stop.
I personally receive frozen chanterelles, trompettes and what else from the internet and I can assure they are delicious.

Here is the recipe of a dish my father (85) cooked for us last time I came back home in Burgogne, France. It was made with exclusively frozen mushrooms! It can accompany any meat, especially white-flesh meat, or can be appreciated on its own paired with a solid white wine or heady Japanese sake.
Great for vegetarians! Vegans can accomodate it witheir own substitutes, too.

INGREDIENTS: For 3~4 people

-Mixed mushrooms of your choice, fresh or frozen (if frozen, let them thaw slowly inside refrigerator for a few hours and get rid of excess water, although the same water can be used with the sauce!): 500g
-Shallots (echalottes): 2 finely chopped
-Garlic: 2~3 cloves finely chopped (crush garlic before chopping it. Do not forget to discard core!)
-Parsley or Italian flat parsley: half a cup finely chopped
-Fresh cream: 200cc/1 cup
-Madeira wine: 50cc (yellow port is fine, too, as well as sweet sherry)
-Olive oil and unsalted butter: about 2 large spoons of each
-Salt, pepper, nutmeg (to taste)

RECIPE:

-On a medium fire in large frypan melt an equal quantity of olive oil and unsalted butter (some people prefer more, some less. Experiment!).
Throw in the shallots and garlic and slowly fry until shallots turn transparent. Throw in all the mushrooms and fry until they give back enough water.
Add Madeira wine. Stir well.
Next add fresh cream and stir until cream is perfectly blended.
Add salt, peeper and nutmeg last, stir.
Check taste and add more spices if needed.

Pour the whole in a large dish and sprinkle parsley over the mushrooms before serving.

Eat hot.

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Blue-Fin Robin and Scampi baked in Foil Paper


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Pic kindly upgraded by Jay Gustafson!

Last Friday, on my way back from University, I visited the big Parche Supermarket inside Shizuoka City JR Station as I wanted to cook some seafood for the Missus that night!

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I was lucky to find a couple of medium-sized “Houbou/Blue-Fin Robin” for a little over 4 US$. This fish was caught off the western part of Shizuoka shore. I also discovered a few great value fresh “Te-naga Ebi/Scampi” caught in Suruga Bay (Shizuoka Prefecture). I only needed to check with the vegetables stand nearby and I was back home!

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Things are (most of the time) best when kept simple.
I had had the fishmonger dress the fish beforehand, so I needed only to make a couple of shallow cuts across the skin.
In two separate large sheets of foil paper, I place one fish (seasoned with salt and pepper) in the middle, flanked it with two (on the the left) and one scampi (on the right), filled the upper right corner with plenty of fresh basil and dill. I placed mini asparaguses and large fresh broad beans along them, added a good portion of white wine, a little olive oil, some freshly pressed lime juice and a good measure of sweet and hot Thai sauce.
I closed the foil tightly around the whole and baked it on grill at 250 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes.
Served at once, they made for a great and light dinner enjoyed with white wine (for the Missus) and Japanese sake (for me!)