Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Eleven

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Thankfully the rain cleared and hubby and I were able to have a relaxed look around some of our favourite spots from last year.

We walked to our favourite Aeon Mall and once we were there, kind of wondered why we’d come.

I mean, there is a Starbucks there so hubby was able to get a coffee but apart from walking down the same shops, we didn’t see anything exciting.

Oh, actually I’m wrong, we did see a bakery with an interesting sign out the front.

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I keep forgetting to take photos of the interesting English translations that there are here.
I’m not having a go at the Japanese, after all, it’s not their language, I’m just having a little giggle. If I tried to speak Japanese I’m sure they’d have a big giggle!

After reading that sign I had to try some of their items and found that everything in that store was 100 yen!! That’s like $1.20 AUD! Bargain!!
I was so excited I forgot to take a photo of what we ate but here is a photo I took later. I wonder what they thought as they saw me come up and take photos shortly after purchasing and eating some of their goods.


The two things I photographed were savoury but they had amazing looking sweet baked goods too.

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We went to a liquor store and I took photos of the giant (four litre) bottles of alcohol.

I got hubby to hold a smaller bottle next to them for some perspective.

I’m sure you can get that kind of stuff in Australia somewhere but it’s not as readily visible as they seem to be in Japan and they’re a quarter of the price that you’d get it for in Australia.

After that we walked back to Dotonbori. This place is just amazing. Any kind of food you want and always stacked with people!!


And a couple of interesting pictures along the way….


Hubby and I tried to take selfies along the canal. I think I took about fifty seven but here’s two that just made the grade. I’m posting them both even though they look the same and are not really showing scenery because it took us so long to take them that I feel they both deserve internet space.


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And oh look, another sign that made us smile…

Lots of seafood here… if you love seafood you would be in heaven but unfortunately I don’t and was feeling quite queasy by the time we were walking out.


Look at all the people!! And this is on a Thursday morning. I think it was about midday…

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We really really really wanted okonomiyaki for lunch and had passed so many places that were doing it, but when it came time to eat, couldn’t find one place. Unbelievable!!

So we went to Red Rock. A place we’d visited last time we were here and had had a really yummy beef bowl.


One is a “sliced beef” bowl and the other is “roast beef” bowl. We couldn’t quite work out which was which but pretty much shared them anyhow.

IMG_3979OH….  and I had the worst Sangria I’ve ever had in my life in this place. The food was good, the Sangria was crap. It was like drinking cask wine.
I’ve had Sangria a couple of times since I’ve been in Japan and every time it’s been amazing!! Better than I ever expected so my expectations were high today. I was really let down.

I had to giggle though because I took this photo as soon as they were put down on the table and doesn’t it look like one has been drunk already??? I gave that one to hubby… after all, he’s not the wine person in this relationship!

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We went back to our apartment to recharge our devices (and ourselves) and set back out to see Dotonbori by night.

We walked and walked and walked. In fact we almost got to Osaka station!

Hubby was sorry he missed the AFL game last week and wondered if there was an “aussie” type pub here where he’d be able to watch it. Not only IS there a pub, but it’s pretty close to where we’re staying!!


The game is on tomorrow but we thought we’d check it out. It’s not traditional by any means by there were a few aussies in there and the soccer game they had was being played in Adelaide! So that made us feel at home.
The guy behind the bar said they’d be playing the Adelaide Crows game (AFL) tomorrow so no doubt we’ll be back!

Drinks were a little more expensive here though and I asked for a red wine which was 500 yen. I was more than horrified when I saw him take a glass up to a cask and pour me a red wine from that.
Cask Wine?
In full view of all the patrons?
I wanted to cry.
What did it taste like? Well, as it turns out, it tasted just like Cask Wine.
Okonomiyaki was still on our minds. We researched this a little bit before heading out and knew which Okonomiyaki place we wanted to go to tonight.

We watched the food being made as we were right near the kitchen

Pretty interesting place!!

While I was having mine I thought it was the BEST food I’ve had in Japan

Hubby had one too although I think his might have been pork.


We also got some rice to share.

The thing about the food here is that it can be quite rich and heavy with sauces. So it was great while I was eating it but it felt heavy on me for quite some time after.
In fact, I told hubby tonight that I think I want to eat “Western” tomorrow…

I may change my mind after a good night’s sleep! No plans for tomorrow yet although I’m wanting a trip to Osaka Castle so maybe it will be there!

Oyasumi!

Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Eight

Another beautiful day in Japan today! I love that we’re experiencing gorgeous warm weather. I think I might have to move here during the Winter months in Adelaide!

One thing I don’t understand is how the majority of people seem to be slim when their food is so processed and fried. The supermarkets are full of ready to go meals. Most of them are fried.
There are so many places that sell those delicious looking pastries and cakes and they all seem to be so highly processed!
You won’t easily find diet soda’s here and in fact there aren’t many “soft” drinks around. Actually it’s not really that hard to find it, especially as the West continues to have an influence, but it’s not as common as you’d find back home.

IMG_3817Hubby and I are almost out of ideas for what we want to do.
This morning we decided to walk to Ueno, have another look around and then maybe, eventually, make our way on foot to the Tokyo Metropolitan Building.

We stopped for a coffee at Starbucks. See that pic on the right? That was in their cake display. Alongside the delicious looking cakes they had a meat pie!!

We sat there enjoying the scenery in Euno park. It was very relaxing!

 

Next stop was Harajuko. I seem to get these places mixed up. I just didn’t remember going to these shops before!
Hubby says it must be wonderful being me, it’s like I’m experiencing it all for the first time every time I go there…
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We walked down Takeshita Street again and this time I noticed the huge Candy Canes!

Can you see it on the left?

It doesn’t look as big in her hands as it did when a four year old was holding one.

There was a huge line to get these as well!

We’ve been noticing a few places here that do Kebabs. I can’t imagine that they would be like “our” kebabs but today curiosity got the better of us and we had to get some.

 

One Beef and one Chicken.
They actually tasted not bad!

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I don’t know if you can notice the meat as it’s cooking.

Chicken on the left and beef on the right.

This guy was quite busy too!!

And alongside him was a place that was selling fries…

Moving right along…
After walking past the high end stores of Harajuku again, we decided to walk to Shinjuku.
I have to confess, I really love saying it. Shinjuku. There’s just something about that name!

IMG_3825We walked past the Meiji shrine and were amazed at how close it was to the station. Last year when we’d come here we’d gone via another station and walked a few kilometres to get to it.
The more you walk, the more you realise that so many stations are so close to each other that you probably don’t have to take the train as often as you think.

I found the display of the old wine and sake barrels very interesting.
Hopefully you can read the information in the pics below.

 


I just LOVE the Metropolitan Government Building.
Firstly, because it’s free to go up it!!

 

There’s great views of Tokyo from there and on a good day, you can even see Mt Fuji.
Today was not one of those days but we did see Fuji last time we were here.

 

Secondly, I like coming here because there’s a couple of gift shops and a restaurant.
Yes, the gift shops are slightly over priced but there’s not many people around and while hubby goes to have a coffee in the restaurant, I can take my time and really look at everything they have for sale.

I came away with a few goodies that are now tucked safely in my suitcase!

 


Another thing we love about Shinjuku is Brooklyn Parlor!!
We stumbled across this place last time by accident and this time, sought it out.

There’s just such a great atmosphere here!!! Hubby and I were definitely the oldest ones in there though.
We had a couple of drinks and shared some fries while giving our feet a bit of a rest.

As we made our way back I couldn’t help but wonder what side of the road we’re actually supposed to walk on. They drive on the left so you’d figure when walking on paths you should keep left. This is especially true as you share the path with so many bikes!!! Yet people don’t tend to keep left. I don’t think they stick to any side actually!

At the train station they have signs keeping you to keep left or right. Sometimes it’s left, sometimes it’s right.
When riding escalators, everyone keeps to the left… or right… (I love how they do that!!!) Leaving the other side free for people that want to race on by.

I was too late to take pics of our dinner but dumplings and rice made another appearance (not surprising)
I do like the food here but I’m not one who says I LOVE the food. I kind of miss having different vegetables and fruit. While you can have those things here, a lot of them tend to be very expensive and I don’t see them as a common thing being offered in restaurants.
I could be wrong, just what I’ve noticed in the short time we’ve been here.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Tokyo… I’m not sure what that day has in store yet!! Time to plan.

Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Five

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We’ve eaten like locals, we’ve settled in and feel right at home handling money and interacting with other Japanese people so what to do today?

So far hubby and I have gone to places we visited last time and wanted to see again. Today it was time for something different!

We didn’t get to Roppongi last time so we decided to start the day with a trip to Roppongi.

I had a quick look online and saw a couple of places I wanted to visit.

One of the places I read about was the Nogi Shrine.

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I won’t go into details  here but it’s worth having a google and a read and it made the place all the more interesting to visit.
Lastly, being slightly arachnophobic, I had to visit the great Maman!

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It was impressive!  If you look up and underneath here, you’ll notice she’s carrying eggs as well.

Now we knew we wanted to eventually get to the Rainbow bridge today but didn’t have set plans and figured we were brave enough to use public transport from wherever we were so we just walked.

IMG_3638Up to now, every place we’ve visited (mostly tourist places) were just packed with people and interesting to see. As we walked we noticed less and less people and less and less shops and restaurants. We were entering a business district? At least that’s what we assumed.

I should give a special mention to these cute Westerners risking their lives on the streets in these interesting vehicles!!

The drivers at the back were actually dressed in onesies and gave us a friendly wave as they drove past.

We walked on thinking we’d hit something interesting soon but after almost an hour of walking we set our google maps for Tokyo Tower and headed back into that direction.

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It looked pretty impressive as we approached it.

On the way we passed the Australian Ambassador’s residence and that was interesting to look at too.

Hubby and I weren’t really interested in going up the Tower, we just wanted to sit and have a look at the shops.

My eyes lit up when I saw there was a food court inside! It just makes ordering food so much easier AND they had a place that was doing beef/rice bowls! Alright!!

 


My beef bowl, topped with runny egg is in the left and hubby had some pork/rice thing. They were both delicious and both came with Miso soup which was really tasty too!

IMG_3650Once we were done with that, hubby asked which train was going to take us to the Rainbow bridge.
I checked out google maps but it was a mass of train/bus confusion and I said “You know, we’re only just under 4kms away, we should walk it!”

I can’t say that hubby agreed but we did end up walking it and I’m glad we did because I think we just see so much more when we walk.

IMG_3651Again, the structure looked impressive as we approached it. They sure don’t do things by halves here!

The pic on the right is NOT the rainbow bridge but the on-ramp to the bridge.
I did take pics of it but unfortunately didn’t load them in time for this entry.

I took a couple of pics from the middle of it though!

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It was such an experience!! Apart from the bridge itself, it was incredibly windy. So much so, I thought I was going to drop my phone a couple of times and felt unsteady on my feet! The bridge was constantly shaking and the traffic was noisy as it rushed by.

I really loved it and was glad we’d made the effort to get out here.

Once we crossed the bridge it felt like we were in a different country or even a different era! Everything was quieter and more laid back.
We walked through a couple of malls, bought some over priced frozen yoghurt then hubby begged for us to take the train back over the bridge. I really wanted to walk it again but we took the train.

We’re a bit sad that we’re not able to watch our favourite AFL team The Adelaide Crows playing tonight. Hubby has been trying to get it via anyway he can but we can’t seem to connect. Must be a country thing.

Aside from that, we enjoyed some more local foods. I think we’ve eaten dumplings every day since we’ve been here!!

 


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And the grocery store saw us once again for some bread desserts.

I bought three this time and opened one as hubby and I walked back to our apartment.
I’m not sure I bought the right thing because although it tasted nice, it was like eating raw dough so maybe I’d bought something that had to be baked some more at home?? could that be possible??
Either way it was nice!!
Now back to trying to get that Crows game happening….

Papparich

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We’re lured by the promise of a free Roti,
We encounter an ordering system I can get behind and
There’s a reason why a “comfort zone” exists…

Diners today we were at Papparich on Gouger st in Adelaide.
We just happened to be walking past and saw some interesting dishes and happy people enjoying each other’s company and thought, well why not?
Hubby and I aren’t adverse to Asian style dishes however it’s normally not our first choice but we saw a sign that said we could get a free roti if we downloaded the Papparich app and, well, everyone likes a bargain right?

First thoughts on entering this restaurant is that the workers seemed rushed off their feet! We were sat at a table that we weren’t too happy about as it was right where the servers were rushing in and out from. Hubby asked if we could sit along the bench but we were told, “no, that’s not for you, that’s for banquets only”.
There were a few single tables with benches too so hubby said, “how about the one on the end?” only to hear “no that table hasn’t been cleared yet” as a reply. We looked at each other because it sure looked like it had been cleaned but we got the message, she didn’t want us to sit anywhere else but at THIS particular table.

She didn’t explain the ordering system to us, or ask if we’d been there before to know how the ordering worked. We soon found the notepad though that listed the instructions…
Make your selection from the menu, write down the menu code on the notepad, then press the buzzer and a waitress will  be there in seconds to take your order.
I have to say it’s pretty efficient and means you can take your time ordering what you want without worrying about the waitress coming every so often to see if you’ve made up your mind yet.

We could see the kitchen on our right (pic on left) and the unattainable bench seats on our left (pic on right)

We looked through the menu and chose a few things. We did also download the app to get the free roti. It was kind of helpful to have a picture of the meal we were ordering on the menu so we had a bit of an idea what we’d be getting.

I should also mention they have some pretty interesting drinks on the menu! We watched them going out too and I almost wished we’d ordered a couple to try…

Hubby ended up choosing some beef skewers for us to share to start.

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They probably look more impressive in this picture than they did when they were first plonked down in front of us. And I do mean “plonked”. In fact she almost slid it across the table in an effort to get back to the serving area to get her next order.
They were busy.

I wasn’t a fan of the skewers. I found the meat too dry and the satay sauce didn’t taste like satay to me. The raw onion and cucumber on the plate added interesting colour but not much else.
They weren’t awful but they definitely could have been better and certainly could have been served up better.

Hubby and I both chose dishes with prawns in them for our main.
He went with the Pappa Char Koay Teow – This wok-fried flat noodle dish comes with prawns, fish cakes, egg, bean sprouts and chives.
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Again, this dish probably looks nicer in the picture than it did when it was put in front of us. Oh look, you can see two of the three prawns that were in the dish in this picture!
Hubby said it tasted fine but there was nothing special about it and it was a disappointing presentation

The Beef Rendang was what caught my eye.  Biryani Rice with Beef Rendang and Sambal Prawns
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I got five prawns on my plate so I was happy even if they were on the smaller side. I also loved the Beef Rendang. The meat was cooked really well. It was really tender and full of gorgeous flavour. Yum!
I wasn’t a huge fan of the rice but only because I didn’t like the flavours in there. That’s just a personal thing. The rice itself was cooked well and was fluffy and light.
Presentation was okay…. I guess it’s probably not easy to make something that’s sloppy look good, but it doesn’t matter because it was tasty anyway.

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As for our free roti….

Well it was good I guess.
I have a feeling though that next time hubby and I see a “free x if you download our app” sign, we’re probably going to keep walking by….
This place is obviously popular so don’t let my review stop you going to try it.
It was just not for us and although it’s fairly cheap, I don’t think we’ll be going back here.
Have you been to Papparich?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!
Till next we chow…

Rob Roy Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Great atmosphere,
Great food and
Great music!

Short and sweet introduction today!
rob-roy-hotel-pda-20140331172210809_lrgDiners today’s review is for the Rob Roy Hotel on Halifax St.

This building is rich in history! It is thought that the original building was built between 1842 and 1850.

Hubby and I have been quite keen to get here and see what the hotel has to offer as we’ve always heard good things about it.

Walking down Halifax St you immediately notice the Al-Fresco eating area and how lovely and serene it looks. I could easily imagine wasting a few hours of the afternoon here on a nice Summer day.

Another great thing about the Rob  Roy is that they have all day dining on Friday, Saturday and Sunday which is perfect for hubby and I who tend to have schedules that mean we eat at strange times of the day.

We got there on a Sunday afternoon about 3.45pm and there were lots of people enjoying the sunshine outside, and quite a few inside too, waiting for the band to start.

The décor inside is pretty simple and clean. Lots of wood, black and copper colours which probably doesn’t show up too much in the photos I took.


There’s definitely a friendly vibe to this place.

The menu was pretty enticing! Lots of good choices and of course, pub favourites.

We decided to start with Prawn Beurre BlancPrawns, chorizo, garlic, onion, smoked paprika, dried chilli beurre blanc & bread

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While this wouldn’t have been my first choice for an entrée, it was a perfect way to start a meal. I was a bit worried that the chilli would make it too hot but they added just enough to give the dish a kick. I loved the pizza style bread the most and used that to mop up that absolutely delicious sauce. I even told hubby he could have all the prawns (although I did taste one and they were perfectly tender and flavourful)  and chorizo if I could have the rest of that bread.

For main I chose the Mexican Bean Burger Mexican chilli bean with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chipotle mayo & coriander

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I just loved every bite of this burger! The bean patty was so delicious I think I want all my future burgers to like this! The sour cream and guacamole had been added to the perfect proportions and honestly there was nothing I could fault. I would probably have preferred a different style bun but that’s a personal preference..

Hubby chose the 350gram Scotch Fillet cooked medium rare however a waiter came out a little while after I ordered and said they had run out and would he mind if they cooked him the rib eye instead?
He tried not to show his elation and said “Well if I have no choice….” but was beside himself when the waiter walked away…

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When the meal came out, the waiter added that the chef was worried the size of the meat was smaller than expected so he added another piece. This was turning out to be hubby’s lucky day!!!!!
He was absolutely elated with everything on his plate. The meat was beautifully tender, the mash was seasoned beautifully, in fact, he added some of the garlic butter that was on top of his meat to the mash…

We’ve had some really good dining experiences lately and this was no exception.

We even lingered longer than we normally do because the band was playing songs from our era and we enjoyed an extra drink or two while listening to them.

It really was a great afternoon and I’d really encourage people do come on down and visit the Rob Roy Hotel and experience it for themselves.

Have you been to the Rob Roy?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…