Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Traditional Japanese Soft Serve – 仲見世小町

March 5, 2013
仲見世小町, Taitō, Tokyo, Japan
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抹茶ソフトアイス {Green Tea Soft Ice Cream}
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ImageA friend wanted some ice cream and so as we were shopping in Asakusa, she got a 抹茶ソフトアイス {Green Tea Soft Ice Cream} for 300 yen. Asakasa’s market itself was pretty enough, with its cherry blossom decorations and little, interesting shops. Add to that delicious ice cream and it is even better. This is Japan after all so green tea flavour was just perfect. The soft serve was creamy, light, not very sweet, and just very tasty!

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Dessert in a Coffee – Tully’s Coffee

March 5, 2013
Tully’s Coffee, Sumida, Tokyo, Japan
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ティラミスラテ (Tiramisu Latte)
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ImageSometimes, a day will just not turn out right until that cup of coffee had been had. With this kind of mood, Casey settled on a cup at Tully’s Coffee after visiting Tokyo Skytree.

The ティラミスラテ (Tiramisu Latte) was nice with hot, steamy milk. The aroma is just really nice. Add that to coffee and cream flavours and you have yourself a remedy to a chilly but beautiful sunny afternoon in Tokyo.

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Drink That Vinegar – Skytree Cafe

ImageMarch 5, 2013
Skytree Cafe, Sumida, Tokyo, Japan
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ブルーベリーの酢Xミルク (“Blueberry Vinegar” and Milk)
ライチの酢Xソーダ (“Lychee Vinegar” and Soda)
抹茶ドーナツ {Matcha Donut}
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Our lovely tour guide extraordinaire, Eiichiro, somehow managed to secure us tickets for the Tokyo Skytree. Unbelievable, I know. It was so crowded but such an experience! Not to mention drinking vinegar while standing over one of the world’s large metropolis. Image

The ブルーベリーの酢Xミルク (“Blueberry Vinegar” and Milk) was quite sour but tasty. It reminded me of the sour, watery yogurt I used to drink in elementary back in Beijing. Less like milk and more like a watery yogurt drink, the blueberry aroma was there and it was actually quite refreshing. 

I actually liked the ライチの酢Xソーダ (“Lychee Vinegar” and Soda) just because lychee is one of my favourite fruits EVER and soda is more refreshing than milk. It was quite sour, though, and I could have used more fizz and lychee flavour. It was definitely a flavour I have never tried before. Image

Finally, I loved the bites of 抹茶ドーナツ {Matcha Donut}. It was more like a soft sponge cake that had the great, sweet, and aromatic green tea flavour. This was certainly an Asian version of a doughnut but it was just excellent.

I loved this afternoon snack while towering over the rest of Tokyo. It was really crowded on the 350 floor but well worth the wait to go up there and enjoy the view with some soft serve or vinegar drinks!

 

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Shrimp in a Fillet – McDonald’s

March 4, 2013
McDonald’s, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
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えびフィレオ (EBI Filet-O)
メープルカスタードパイ (Maple Custard Pie)
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ImageWho has ever heard of fried shrimp fillets? Well, all you have to do is ask the Japanese. McDonald’s tailors their menu items to the region so it is always exciting to go to somewhere completely new and see what the local palate is like. Image

In Japan, one of their special items was the えびフィレオ (EBI Filet-O), which is like the Filet-O-Fish but with shrimp because the Japanese are just so crazy about seafood. It was FANTASTIC. The shrimp were tender, slightly chewy, and also slightly sweet. The batter was nice and crispy. The bun was toasted nicely and the sweet, light red mayonnaise was really delicious with the crunchy lettuce. Image

One of their special, limited-time items part of the Big America All Stars promotion was the メープルカスタードパイ (Maple Custard Pie), which was more of a turnover. The pastry was flaky and light but I could have used a higher filling to pastry ratio. The filling was so good, though. Sweet and creamy custard was paired with even sweeter and sticky maple syrup. It was not the pure maple flavour but it was still a great combination. Two different sweet tastes blended nicely together.Image

A late midnight snack at McDonald’s was certainly quite nice. The restaurant in Shibuya was very clean and there were a lot of students studying inside in groups, something that you never see back home in North America. The Japanese are so awesome that even McDonald’s is becoming classy.

 

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Rah Rah Ramen! 一蘭-Ichiran

March 4, 2013
一蘭 (Ichiran), Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
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ラーメン (Ramen)
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ImageOur lovely leader showing us around Tokyo really wanted to take us to his favourite ramen place when we had some free time in Shibuya. Also, it was just perfect as March was National Noodle Month. Finally, some legit noodles! It was so busy, people bustling everywhere and just generally crowded. It was a must-try – ramen – when you go to Japan, obviously, so my friends and I decided to follow our leader and try a bowl for ourselves at 一蘭 (Ichiran).

Their type of ramen – they only offer one type – is simply called ラーメン (Ramen). It is a tonkotsu (pork-based soup) ramen with a secret sauce and some chilli paste to give it a spicy flavour. We got a ticket from the machine, put our money in, and then filled out a form to customize our ramen. I opted for ‘strong’ flavor, ‘light’ richness’, regular garlic, thin green onion, sliced pork, regular secret sauce, and medium noodle texture. Image

The noodles were thin, al dente, and really tasty. The spicy broth was rich and extremely flavourful. I could have used more spicy flavour, though. The pork was tender and thin and overall, I was extremely pleased. The green onions made it refreshing and I just could not stop drinking that soup! It was just so, so, SO good. The tonkotsu broth really made it just absolutely wonderful. This was literally the best ramen I have ever had, although that does not surprise me one bit.

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Tokyo Delights – Starbucks

March 4, 2013
Starbucks, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
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さくらシフォンケーキ (SAKURA Chiffon Cake)
ザッハトルテ (Sachertorte)
さくらシフォンケーキ (SAKURA Chiffon Cake)
キャラメル&ウォールナッツパウンド フード (Caramel & Walnuts Pound)
さくらマカロン (Sakura Macaron)
フィローネ 春野菜&ミートローフ (Filone Spring Vegetables & Meatloaf)
ハニー&カスタードドーナツ (Honey & Custard Doughnut)
マンゴー パッション ティー フラペチーノ (Mango Passion Tea Frappuccino Blended Juice Drink)
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ImageI had been waiting so long to visit a Japanese Starbucks. They have some different drinks and a completely different food menu from that in the US. I was extremely eager to try out the sweet pastries, savoury snacks, and sandwiches. Unfortunately, they had sold out of the SAKURA lattes and frappuccinos, something I was really looking forwards to. However, there were so many other choices to choose from.Image

Sticking with their spring promotion, Casey and I decided first on a slice of さくらシフォンケーキ (SAKURA Chiffon Cake). It was light and aromatic, with the lovely cherry blossom fragrance. The pink was so lovely to look at. The cake itself was airy, light, and slightly sweet. The cream on top was the same, and the little cherry blossom was also good. It was such a delicate dessert!Image

The ザッハトルテ (Sachertorte) was a slight let down after the pink delight of that first dessert. The chocolate shell was crunchy and the chocolate cake inside dense. The cocoa flavour was very strong and rich, and not overly sweetened. However, the cake was just slightly dry and this was just not particularly special.Image

The キャラメル&ウォールナッツパウンド フード (Caramel & Walnuts Pound) was delicious as well, and perfect for celebrating National Pound Cake Day (despite the fact that I was out of the US!). The caramel flavour was light and the walnuts added a wonderful crunch to the otherwise moist yet dense cake. My favourite part was the caramel frosting on top, which was not as sticky or moist as some frostings, more like a fondant layer. It was sweet and very yummy though.Image

The さくらマカロン (Sakura Macaron) was not to be outdone. Delicate and sweet, it also had a distinct cherry blossom fragrance that was just so light. The cream inside was a little denser and sweeter, contrasting the cookies nicely.Image

The フィローネ 春野菜&ミートローフ (Filone Spring Vegetables & Meatloaf) was incredible. The baguette was a little tough, the way I like it. I loved the asparagus, peppers, and other vegetables with the gravy and melted cheese. The meatloaf was thin but provided a richness to the sandwich. The flavour was clearly an Asian take on a western food, something I am familiar with and like very much.Image

The ハニー&カスタードドーナツ (Honey & Custard Doughnut) was not outstanding but still good. The honey made it sweet and the custard inside was dense, egg-y, and quite sweet as well. The doughnut dough was actually made from wheat or grain flour, not just white flour, giving it a fuller taste.Image

To drink, I got the マンゴー パッション ティー フラペチーノ (Mango Passion Tea Frappuccino Blended Juice Drink). It was not very sweet at all, with the aroma of the mango and the passion fruit juice that was slightly bitter and very tangy. It was incredibly refreshing and a better alternative for just cold juice.Image

My first visit at a Japanese Starbucks was just fantastic. The food and drinks were wonderful, not to mention the great service. Despite taking some time to communicate to the baristas what I wanted, they were very patient and helpful. They also had very interesting liquid sugar for people getting regular coffee. Everything was just splendid!

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Authentic Unagi At Last – 権八-Gonpachi

March 4, 2013
権八 – Gonpachi, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
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石焼うなぎめし (Unagi Meshi)
かけそば (Kake Soba)
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ImageAfter exploring the art museum near Roppongi Hills, we were all hungry and ready for our first authentic Japanese meal. However, being tourists from North America, it was a little ironic that we visited Gonpachi, the restaurant where Kill Bill was filmed. Walking inside, we spotted a wall of photos with celebrities at the restaurant – Lady Gaga, Prime Minister Harper, Stevie Wonder, and so on. We saw some familiar faces that day!

My first legit bowl of unagi rice came in the form of Gonpachi’s 石焼うなぎめし (Unagi Meshi), with fresh water eel pieces scattered through the hot fried rice and avocado. The unagi was so flavourful and tender but I wished there were more of the actual eel. However, I loved the flavour that seeped into the rice. It was wonderfully savoury and sweet and the rice was not overdone at all. The nori and pepper seasoning were a nice touch.Image

I also tried my friend’s かけそば (Kake Soba), which was plain noodles served in a bowl of hot broth. That broth was sweet and so flavourful – I loved it. It was just so nice to have on such a chilly day. The added condiments on the side were great touches to add.Image

We also helped ourselves to some miso soup with pork, self-serve salad station, and some fruit in yogurt as dessert. The restaurant was so beautifully decorated that it is certainly a must try for anyone from North America!

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Surprisingly Good Diner Food – Denny’s

March 3, 2013
Denny’s, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
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翡翠麺 {Jade Noodles}
たっぷり野菜のスープごはん~五豆と五穀~豆腐サラダつき {Rice Soup with Vegetables, 5 Grains and 5 Beans, Salad with Tofu}
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ImageMy Mom would have flipped had she been there when we discovered the first evening we arrived in Tokyo that we would be going to dinner at Denny’s. Of all the places, Denny’s? Really? Images of wimpy salads, skimpy plates, and overall bad diner food popped into my mind. I thought to myself, this was not going to be a good start to my Tokyo experience. However, as our tour guide, Eiichiro, showed us, even the Denny’s in Tokyo is good, with a Japanese-inspired menu and all.

Casey and Nikila both ordered the 翡翠麺 {Jade Noodles}. I liked the al dente green noodles. The mushrooms were nice, but I loved the cabbage. They were slightly sweet and somewhat crunchy. The best part was the soup, which was so flavourful. Add that touch of chilli oil and it was amazing.Image

I ordered the たっぷり野菜のスープごはん~五豆と五穀~豆腐サラダつき {Rice Soup with Vegetables, 5 Grains and 5 Beans, Salad with Tofu}. It was a vegetable soup poured over white rice and grains that was very refreshing, warm, and comforting after a long, tiresome flight. The tofu was soft and quite unflavoured but the dressing it came in was sweet, tangy, and very tasty. There was a bit too much oil but the diced plum thing on the side was salty and good when added to the soup. 

Well, this certainly changed my opinion of Denny’s… well, the ones in Tokyo anyways. Delightful, light, and flavourful, this was certainly a good start to spring break!

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The Typically Expensive Panini at JFK – Balducci’s

ImageMarch 2, 2013
Balducci’s, New York NY
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Italian Panini
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Everything in New York is expensive and that certainly includes lunch at the airport. $10 for a panini from Balducci’s at JFK was pretty outrageous, but at least it was good. It was definitely possible to pay $10 and be extremely disappointed. Luckily, this was not one of those times.Image

The Italian Panini had quite a lot of some salty but delicious prosciutto along with tomato, basil pesto, and fresh mozzarella. The tomatoes were not in season, but the pesto had good flavour. The mozzarella was light and yummy. I do appreciate that they can properly press a panini so that the ciabatta was crispy on the outside yet still soft and warm on the inside. It was not a very large sandwich but it was very filling. At least the airport still has acceptable food so that even if my wallet cries, my taste buds are not. 

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Monkey Gone Wild – Brysi Cafe

March 1, 2013
Brysi Cafe, Philadelphia PA
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Caprese Sandwich
Sticky Monkey Sandwich
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ImageNot only was March National Flour Month and National Peanut Month, March 1 was also National Peanut Butter Day. On my last day on campus before the break, I knew I just had to pay a visit to Brysi Café, having seen the ad in the weekly email I receive about their Sticky Monkey Sandwich. The café was spacious and relaxing, with a few tables and a counter filled with healthy bars and treats since it is located in a fitness center. They make their sandwiches to order so it comes off the panini press crispy on the outside and toasty hot.

ImageFirst, I opted for the Caprese Sandwich on wheat bread. The mozzarella was very fresh and the pesto was oily and aromatic, soaking into the nicely pressed and slightly sweet bread. Whole wheat bread is lovely when you can actually taste that light sweet undertone. The vine ripe tomatoes were not very flavourful, though, probably because of the season. The baby spinach was actually replaced with the kind that has huge, slightly curly leaves.Image

The Sticky Monkey Sandwich on white bread was absolutely scrumptious. The crispy yet soft bread went really well with the peanut butter, honey, sliced bananas, and pumpkin seeds. I loved the savoury and sweet blend of sticky peanut butter and honey. They just stuck like glue. The bananas added to the sweetness and aroma while the pepitas were a delightful crunch.Image

I would love to come here after a workout for a healthy, light meal. Next time, I shall give their breakfast, smoothie, and other sandwich options a try. 

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