Turning Japanese – Part Twelve

Today is our last day in this gloriously complex  land.

After a breakfast of coffee, we took a train into the downtown area and after walking past a million restaurants, chose one to go into.
Now up till now, we’ve been hesitant to go into the ones where a bench encircles the kitchen and you sit there and eat. Similar to a bar. You’re all facing to cooks.

Today we did it though. We walked in, ordered from the machine and sat at that counter. A man came and took our tickets and gave us some water.

I think we ordered some kind of beef bowl but I’m not sure.

The meat was ok, the rice was delish!! I wish I knew what sauce was in there because it was really tasty.

FullSizeRender-68FullSizeRender-61
FullSizeRender-140

So we ate our food with chopsticks even though there was a spoon option and we were in full view of other diners. Just like locals!

Hubby says if we hadn’t had the comfort of the food court we would have graduated sooner.

Now we’re at the airport waiting to leave. This has really been an amazing experience.

I’ve found Japanese food to be different than I expected. Some I loved, some I could do without (nobody say octopus ever again please!!!).

The people here have impressed me so much. So kind and polite.

I hope they don’t get influenced negatively by our Western ways.

Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

Stay tuned for regular Dining Diaries entries starting again soon!

Till next we chow…

Turning Japanese -Part Eleven

We’ve been pretty lucky with the weather here. Yesterday really was the only day where we had to change our plans due to heavy rain.
This morning, after a decent caffeine hit, we started on our way to the Shitennjoi Temple.
Unfortunately some of it is covered – for restoration I’d imagine, but we were still able to take in some sights.

By the time we were done there, we were looking for some lunch so we decided to walk back to the Dontonbori area.

13315704_10153631295766288_4227150575096631857_nWe’d seen the area by night but were yet to see it by day.
Last time we were here, we’d tried to go to Hiday’s Texas BBQ but it was closed. Today, it was open so in we went!

Immediately we saw this was a teeny tiny place and there was only Hiday – owner and chef – in there.

Normally we’d back out slowly in this sort of situation but we’d been seen and greeted so we couldn’t really go.

It ended up being a really entertaining couple of hours! Hiday told us his life story while he prepared our lunch and we shared our own experiences.

FullSizeRender-63

He took his time but that was ok too because we were talking and time passed quickly.

The food he prepared was amazing!!! I ordered a sloppy jo – western food in a western restaurant. I’ve not had one before so I have nothing to compare it to but it was soooo delicious! The meat was beautifully seasoned and the bread was toasty crunchy. YUM! Hiday makes his own bread! He also makes his own sauces for all the food he prepares.
Hubby had another type of meat sandwich. I can’t remember exactly what it was but he said his meat was really tender and well seasoned as well.

FullSizeRender-53

FullSizeRender-55

He gave hubby a pickled plum to try too. I wasn’t game but Hiday says he has these for breakfast.

He showed us the photos of “famous” people he’s cooked for. He’s obviously very proud of the food he prepares and rightly so!

It was kind of sad to leave there. I felt we’d made a friend. Definitely a recommend from me if you ever find yourself in Osaka!

We were looking to eat Japanese tonight and I’m sorry, but if it’s not in English, I don’t know how to tell you what we’ve ordered but here are the pictures

FullSizeRender-60
FullSizeRender-54
FullSizeRender-94

Of those three dishes, the middle one was the best. It was some sort of noodle omelette.

The bottom one had some sort of strange tasting “meat” and a spice on top I could have done without.

The first one… Well I didn’t try that one but I’ve noticed a lot of theses type is dishes are served with an egg on top.
Tomorrow we leave for Australia.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to eat when I get there all day!!

 

Turning Japanese – Part Ten

Only a few more days left of this vacation and I’m sad to be leaving but also a little homesick.

I mentioned in a previous entry that Denny’s had lounge music playing while we were eating breakfast. What I’ve noticed since is that a LOT of places have lounge music playing. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin… that kind of era.
For a country that is so advanced when it comes to technology, they seem to be stuck in a bit of a time warp.
Here in Osaka we found a mall where breakdancers congregate in the basement and work through their routines. It’s quite something to watch!

Unfortunately today is raining crazily. We were going to go to the Shitennjoi temple but looks like that won’t be happening today.

We walked to our regular mall and surprise, surprise, didn’t go to the food court, but we DID go to the supermarket where we are fast becoming regulars.
We grabbed a coffee and some sweets from there and sat and had breakfast trying to figure out what we were going to do in all this rain.
I took pictures of some of the desserts/cakes. They remind me of what is sold through the Bread Top chain if you’re familiar with that..

FullSizeRender-43

Very delcious and light but probably really heavily processed too. Lots of people were buying these things and eating them in the seats provided by the supermarket.

This afternoon we bought tickets for a baseball game that was happening at Kyocera Dome, right near were we’re staying.
I have never really watched a game although I did play it once or twice in Primary School. I soon found myself getting into it though!! I was chanting away with everyone else for the home team – Orix Buffalo’s. It was so exciting!

IMG_6282
Because it was late when the game was over, we didn’t eat anything too interesting for dinner – We ended up going back to the food mall and getting an enormous bowl of noodles – the same dish we had a couple of days ago.

I’ve seen these little desserts around the place – I’m not sure what they are, but tonight I found them in the supermarket so I bought some.
I wish I knew more about them but there are no English words on the packaging and no one who speak English that I can ask.
I took the chance and just bought them.
FullSizeRender-58

They didn’t taste as I was expecting. I’m suspecting they may have lychee in them? I really don’t know. There was a bit of a rubbery taste to them. This is them cut in half

FullSizeRender-109

If anyone knows what they are I’d love to know!

Hopefully it won’t be raining tomorrow so we’ll be able to get down to the temple.
Only a few more days left here and so many foods still to try!

Turning Japanese – Part Nine

This morning I was so excited because today was Kyoto day!!

Here’s a tip, if you’re going to train into Kyoto, make sure you have a plan of what you want to see there BEFORE you get there.

I don’t know why I thought I wouldn’t have to have a plan. I thought we’d just get off the train and there would be scenic views upon scenic views.

What we did do is find an information map and decided to walk to the Imperial Palace. After all, we’d been to the one in Tokyo and that was interesting.

So we walked down there and only after we got there did we realise that it only opens a few days a year. So we couldn’t really see anything.

We then googled “Things to do in Kyoto” and decided to walk to the observation tower.
We found a few temples and shrines along the way.

At one place, the boars were said to have healing powers; in particular, for leg injuries.
Hubby has foot pain right now and I, being a runner, always have something pulled or not quite right, so we drank from the water and crossed our fingers!

FullSizeRender-39
But this is a food blog so you’re probably waiting for me to write about what we ate…

Again, we found it hard to find a place. It’s not really difficult, there are a million places!! We just want to make sure we don’t miss out so we look at every single restaurant we can before deciding where to go…

And today, by the time we got to the Observation tower we were pretty tired and hungry and nothing sounded familiar so when we saw the Octopus Balls (takoyaki) franchise that we’d eaten at before, we went for it.

Don’t be shocked, but I’m not a seafood person. I ate the balls because it was familiar but by the end I was almost gagging. This has NOTHING to do with the food being produced but everything to do with me not eating seafood. The food itself is exceptional quality and anyone else probably would have loved it but I crunched down on one bit too many and I’d be happy if I never see an octopus ball again.

This evening however, proved to be the unexpected highlight of the day!
It started off though with a slight disappointment. We wanted to have dinner at a place called Hidays Texas BBQ. We had read a few reviews about it and it sounded good.
When we got there, we saw that it was closed. Argh!

As we were in the Dontonbori area, another area we’d read about, we decided to walk around there and eventually stumbled upon Red Rock!
When friends knew we were going to go to Japan, they said we MUST get beef bowls and Red Rock had beef bowls on their menu so how could we not.
We watched others ordering… this place has a similar system to the place we went to in Narita. We had to order and pay for our food outside of the restaurant, then give our ticket to someone inside, who sent it on to the kitchen.

I’m not sure exactly what we ordered. Hubby’s was “large” but as you can see from the pictures below, they seem the same size. We ended up sharing and they were BOTH delicious!! Probably the best things we’ve eaten since we’ve been in Japan although I keep saying that don’t I?
The rice was below the meat and there was some sauce through it that made it so delicious. I wish I could give you more information but my taste buds aren’t that refined and I don’t know what the menu actually said so I don’t want to give the wrong information. Just trust me that it was delicious!!


After our exciting dinner, we walked through the streets and took in more sights and sounds. This is such an amazing place. There’s always something new to see around the corner!

13346863_10153627498001288_4057561469696936525_n13327363_10153627498091288_6322432752098525491_n13331080_10153627498151288_3831366196761263418_n

Only a few more days left here now and I think we’re going to try to take in a baseball game at some stage!

For now, my bed awaits after a long and satisfying day.

Turning Japanese – Part Eight

We woke up to a drizzly day in Osaka. The first day we’ve had here with rain.
Not to worry, our airbnb host has umbrellas in our room so after googling a few places we wanted to visit, we were off… on foot…

I think you get to see a lot more if you go on foot. The only thing you have to be conscious of are the people on bicycles. I would love to know what the accident rate is here.

Our first stop was the Kuromon Market. This place is just amazing!!! Wall to wall people. We were there on a Sunday and I’m not sure how that compares to other times during the week but it was difficult to walk through!
I’ve heard that vendors come here to purchase produce for their restaurants.
If you were a seafood lover you would NOT want to leave this place!
Unfortunately, I’m not a seafood lover and the smell was making me feel ill, however, for everyone else, it was heaven.
I’ll share a few pics I took while in the market with you.

 

After wandering through the markets we found a place to have some lunch. I’ve seen this chain around the place in Tokyo and in Osaka – Italian Tomato – Yes, we went Western again.

Although I’ve been told Italian food is not that great here, I didn’t mind it.
I have been craving pasta and bread though so maybe that had something to do with it.
I chose a spaghetti bolognese
FullSizeRender-46
The menu says that the meat is angus beef.

As I told hubby while I was eating it, if I’d been served this in Fasta Pasta, I probably wouldn’t have been happy however everything was ok. The pasta was ok, the sauce was ok… the parmasen cheese on top was ok…

As “ok” as it was, it was exactly what I wanted so I was happy with it.

Even as it repeated on me for the next couple of hours,  I was happy.

I love my pasta…

 

Hubby chose the doria with hashed beef and soft boiled egg. What is doria I hear you ask… Doria was originally created in France however now is found almost exclusively in Japan. It’s basically a rice gratin. The rice is either flavoured or topped with other ingredients such as bolognese sauce or sauteed prawns, covered in white suace and cheese and then grilled.FullSizeRender-32

 

Hubby was really happy with this. The egg was gloriously runny.

Unfortunately we hadn’t ordered bread with it otherwise it would have been good to mop up that egg with some bread.

There were quite a few people in this restaurant and all were using forks…. another comfort for me even though I’m becoming quite a pro with chopstickts.

 

 

 

FullSizeRender-40I’ve got to show you a pic of the napkins in this place as I thought they were pretty cute.

 

Don’t you just love them!! Loving, singing, eating.

 

It’s all about me and not necessarily in that order either!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we left that place we got a scrumptious cake from the bakery next door.

FullSizeRender-38

How could I go past it? It has my initial on the top!!!

It was filled with smooth sweet custard and such great value! This cake was only 100 yen.

The food here is just amazing.
Hubby and I walked to another food market which was about two kilometers away. Again, wall to wall people. Where do they all come from!!! We got another pastry from there and then walked back to our room for a little rest before dinner.

For dinner, we went to the same place we went to yesterday. We’d seen these enormous bowls of noodles going out of there yesterday and we wanted what they were having!
This time, when the server saw us coming up, he immediately got one of his work mates. Apparently the workmate spoke English.
I really applaud him for trying but we didn’t communicate. I pointed to what we wanted on the menu but I had no idea what it was. If I’d thought about it I would have taken a picture to share with you guys, then someone might have been able to tell me what we’d eaten!

In any case, two enormous bowls came out. They were full of noodles and veggies and it was so goddam tasty!! I just loved it!
I left my hand in the pic so you can get some perspective of how big this bowl was.

FullSizeRender-35

And look at me using those chopsticks like a champion!! (Not really but it’s a photo and I can get away with writing that)

Tomorrow we’re hoping to get to Kyoto!! Can’t wait!