Tag Archives: Wines

French Restaurant: Hana Hana (first visit in 2009)


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Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value

Hana Hana in Shizuoka City has always been a favourite because you can always expect both their classical dishes to be on the menu while seasonal offerings and creations are constantly appearing around the corner for your great pleasure!

Today being Thursday, the Missus and I visited the place for lunch. Instead of choosing one of the very good value “lunch sets”, we opted for the Lunch Course menu which allows you to choose three courses out of a good eighteen with coffee, bread and amuse bouche included!

Here was what we savoured:

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As I said above, the amuse-bouche is included, and we were served a Hana Hana classic, namely “shirako/Cod Sperm Sacs” (sorry, I’m a blunt savage!) sauteed Italian-style. Even the Missus who usually avoid this acquired taste morsel greatly appreciated it. Crispy outside, melting like foie gras inside.

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The Missus next chose a Hana Hana regular hors d’oeuvre, “Suwa Gani Terrine/Suwa (from Hokkaido) Crab Terrine”. A very light terrine served with a cold tomato coulis and crispy fresh greens.

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As for me, I ordered a new dish, Foie gras stuffed blini with cream sauce mushrooms. Lighter than expected, but very satisfying and succulent. A great simple but sophisticated idea!

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The Missus, a duck addict, could not help try the young duck breast roasted and sliced with a delightful sweet sauce (madeira wine?). She somehow managed to leave a few slices for me to taste!

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Being a galant gentleman (who am I kidding? certainly not my better-worse half!), I asked for the scallops sauteed Provence-style as my poor companion could not decide which main order to go for. Actually, I was looking forward to the small exchange cited above! Cooked to perfection with delightful petite ratatouille.

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And it was time for dessert!
The Caramel Creme Brulee topped Caramel Ice-cream would have Rich take the next plane to Japan!

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As for the Blanc-manger, the French equivalent of the Chinese almond curd dessert, I can assure you that the next Chinese (and other Asian) tourists to Shizuoka would not miss it for anything!

Saying that I’m looking forward to my next visit is a gross understatement!

Hana Hana
Open for lunch and dinner.
Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (will change in the near future, so please do call!)
420-0037 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Hitoyado-cho, 1-3-12
Tel. & Fax: 054-2210087
Credit cards OK

French Wines In Shizuoka City at La Vigne!


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Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value
Non-smoking!

La Vigne, which has just opened in Shizuoka City on December 18th, 2008, is a new concept in this city as far as wine shops are concerned.

A subsidiary of a Nagoya Company which has two other shops in Kasugai City (Aichi Prefecture) and Asahikawa City (Hokkaido Prefecture), it sells wines exclusively from France and directly imported from the winegrowers!

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The other innovation is the standing bar included on the premises where Mr. Hirotaka Sato and his staff serve a daily selection of wines by the glass at very reasonable prices, from 200 to 1,000 yen!. One can also have a cup of coffee instead, with a croissant or freshly baked bread. A menu including cheese, soup and light dishes/snacks is available all day long! Everything is “paid on delivery”, keeping everything to a comfortable minimum!

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By all day long, I mean all day long, as they are opened from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.!

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As for wines there is plenty of good value to choose from, including special sales.
Do not forget to have a good look inside the refrigerated cellar!

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A limited, but excellent delicatessen display allows you to buy and take some great snacks with your wine back home, including cheese and sausages!

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Come early enough to get some freshly baked bread and have a look at some interesting canned food and preserves!

A very easy-going place to taste a wine in all tranquility without the usual hassles!

LA VIGNE
420-0852 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Gofuku-Cho, 17-2, 1F (within walking distance for Shizuoka JR Station in front of Fugetsuro!)
Tel. & Fax: 054-2054181
Business hours: 10:00~22:00
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Italian Cuisine: Latina


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Mr. Kojima is far from being a new face in Shizuoka City. For a long time he was the chef at Ciccio Ristorante, renamed Via de Burgo since then, before he had to take a year-long holiday due to health problems. In september 2006 he came back with a vengeance with his own restaurant, Latina, south of Shizuoka City JR Station, the fastest-changing area in town.
His (forced) move could not have happened at a better time when he took over an enormous cafe to modify it in a restaurant with a minimum of work. One can sit at a table away from the kitchen or next to it, or at a long counter overlooking Mr. Kojima’s kitchen.

Not only the food is great and very reasonably-priced, but the wine list is definitely top-class.
Now, I would suggest anyone to have a word with the master of the place before choosing one’s nectar as they are not all featured on the menu. The two friends who visited the place last Friday in my company being extremely knowledgeable, I chose a Rosso di Montalcino 2006 from Toscana. A bit young I admit, but with plenty of swirling around it did pretty well with our first order.

Although the ever-changing menu is written for all to see on a blackboard above your heads, you could always get your favourite dishes by notifying Mr. Kojima a few days in advance.
In any case, the antipasto misto was a beauty including homemade ham, crostini with homemade liver paste, omelette, meat balls, ratatouille and so forth.

Alright, I should have done my homework and prepared a menu beforehand, but as my friends intend to go as far as to organize a wine-tasting dinner there, it is only postponed!
So, to follow up in accordance with the wine, we ordered roasted guinea fowl (above)

roasted quail (notice the yellow-fleshed potatoes. Not yams, but a different variety of potatoes served as wedges with their skin, perfect!),

and a soft, so tender, venison stewed in red wine!
All cooked to precision but without any ostentation. Solid, delicious, homely fare, like in the Italian country!
Rowena, don’t kill me! And don’t ask where the Missus was!

As we still had some beautiful homemade bread left in the basket, we could not resist ordering a somewhat extravagant Carbonaione 1998 to go with some cheese in lieu of dessert. Mind you, it is only the first of a few more surveys. I shall be able to tease the likes of Memory Girl and Foodhoe later!

For this time I’ll be content with teasing Gaijin Tonic when I tell him that he Master of the place came with no less than eight kinds of Grappa for after drinks (on the house!) and two homemade liqueurs with lemon and orange!

Holy macaroni! I can tell you it was about time we took our leave as two of us were working from 9:00 a.m. the next day! Look forward to the next article!

LATINA
422-8062 Shizuoka City, Suruga Ku, Inagawa, 1-1-29
Tel. & Fax: 054-289-6522
Business hours: 11:45~14:00 (Saturday, Sunday & National Holidays only)
18:00~23:00
Closed on Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a National Holiday)
Credit cards OK

Wine Tasting at Annam


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Thursday 17th of April was the third Thursday of the month and I had not expected drinking wine at Annam Vietnamese Restaurant in Shizuoka City as such tastings are held on the second Thursday of every month!
Not that I would complain, especially in the light that the Missus and I had come back from an unsatisfacory trip to Numazu City!
Annam holds such wine tasting with the help of Nagashima Saketen to demonstrate that Vietnamese cuisine can be appreciated with wine, instead of the usual beer for instance.

The Missus ordered a glass of Blanquette de Limoux, the oldestsparkling wine in the world (Dom Perignon, you are a horned liar!) while I had a draught beer (I did a lot of walking that day, and I needed fluids first!).
The papaya salad made for a perfect snack with the first glass.

The first drink having disappeared within a blink of the eye, I also had the Blanquette while my (?) half ordered Pinot d’Alsace Auxerrois (White, France). Actually as I downed the Blanquette before I could say “Glory be!”, I found myself asking for a St Magdalena (Red-Italy) before anything came up on the table. All simple hearty wines I must admit, but within everyone’s budget and in good accordance with more substantial set consisting of two kinds of Spring rolls, Vietnamese Quiche and other tidbits.

Deep-fried seafood balls,

and large prawns steamed in coconut milk enticed us for a glass of Cuma (White-Agentine) and another glass of the St. Magdalena diligently served by Mr. Hirotaka Sato, the Nagashima Saketen Sommelier on duty that night.
Although a white Viogner (France), a Petit Cep Syrah (Red-Languedoc/France) and a Serre Longue (Red-Roussillon/France) were also on order, we decided to call it a day (a night?) as rain was pouring in earnest outside and had to call a taxi back home.
The wine list changes every month, so I’ll do my best to attend the next wine tasting in May!

ANNAM

Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Tenmacho, 17-9
Tel.: 054-2502266
Fax: 054-2502323
Lunch: 11:30~14:30
Dinner: 17:00~22:00 (last orders: 21:30)
Closed on Mondays and day after National Holidays
Homepage
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Where to Buy Original French Wines in Shizuoka?


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People certainly think twice when they want to order the better kind of French wines at あny restaurant いn Shizuoka, or anywhere else for that matter!
There is a limit to what you might afford to pay for them, then.
If you have enough confidence in your culinary talents, or alternatively in your hosting savoir-faire, why not enjoy higher quality wines at a home party for a reasonable price?
Keep in mind that whenever you buy a wine at a liquor shop in Japan, you must understand that the same bottle will fetch at least twice, and more usually, three times as much in amy restaurant.
Now, the wines you will find at Cafe-Labo in Isetan Department Store in Shizuoka City have the merit not only to be very fine wines with great value, but also to be very original. You will not find them anywhere else in Shizuoka Prefecture, and you may have a hard time looking for them elsewhere in Japan.
They were all imported directly from from the cellars through personal contacts. I went as far as to e-mail to each cellar to check!
Here are the wines currrently on sale:

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Cave de Bissey, Cote Chalonnaise, Bourgogne Rouge, 2004.
Matured in oak barrels. 11.5 vol.. 2,901 yen.
This is a wine that should interest Trine as she is so fond of Bourgogne/Burgundy wines!
Growers in the Cote Chalonnaise, located between the Cotes de Beaune and Maconnais, decided some thirty years ago that their wines warranted a better destiny than to be bought by the large wineries which blended them to spice up their Bourgogne Rouge.
This particular cellar lies in a village where I spent many summers as a kid and still vividly remembers my pranks in the vineyards.
Light ruby red hue with mid-level intensity. The berry bouquet tends towards blackcurrant or blackberry. Agreeable to the palate, perfumed by fresh berries. Very easy to drink.
Most delectable served with pâtés, fine charcuterie, white meats, poultry, and soft cheese. It goes very well with Japanese food, too.

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Chateau Bonnet, Saint-Amour, 2006.
13 vol. 2,901 yen
I can hear Melinda cream for that one, what with her wine tasting classes in Tokyo!
Beaujolais wines certainly deserve better treatment than being associated with the crass “Beaujolais Nouveau” inundating us regulary in this country.
Chateau Bonnet is a solid Saint-Amour, a great appellation in its own class, which goes so well with meat, pate, stews, without overpowering your senses. It is a true Beaujolais which certainly ought to be better known. At least it name would reflect your feelings!

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Alsace, Clement Klur, Pinot Gris Katz, 2005. (bio wine)
13 vol. 3,801 yen
I have a special love for Alsace wines in spite of my Burgundian roots, and Clement Klug in katzenhal has produced a beauty here. Complex, lots of personality, fresh and long in mouth. Preserved fruit with a hint of fume. Perfect for aperitif and foie gras. Certainly a beauty with sushi! I can see Chuckeats checking his notes!

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Alsace, Clement Klur, Cremant de Clement, brut. (bio wine)
12 vol. 3,901 yen
Here is another beauty by Clement Klur. Cremant is simply (figure pf speech) the same type of wine as the vaunted Champagne brews. But I’m sure Chrisos will agree, than yen for yen, they are certainly better value than their overpriced neighbours!
Vinified only from Pinot Blanc and Pinot Auxerrois old vines, it reveals a great structure and elegance. Very fine bubbles. To be savoured as aperitif, or with fish and white meats.

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Banyuls, Le Dominicain, 6 years old.
Matured in oak barrels. 16 vol. 3,301 yen
Banyuls, in Roussillon by the Spanish border, is famed for it great port-like wines, which also represent better value again yen for yen than some disappointing vintages from Portugal.
Am I hearing Gaijin Tonic‘s ears rising to attention?
Sweet, without being cloying, it drinks so well as an aperitif. Perfect with blue cheese sprinkled with fine honey. A wine that will marry perfectly with chocolates!