Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Fourteen

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It seems to be getting just that bit harder to get going in the mornings…

Today hubby and I decided to go to Nara. This was on our places to visit last time but we just never got around to it.

 

I’m so glad we got to see it this time!

What a gorgeous quaint town that has so much history!

I was quite uptight when we got there as the whole way on the train I was fretting we’d caught the wrong one and were either going to have to pay a whole lot more, or even end up at a place no where near Nara.
I worried for nothing but even so, stepping off the train into the tranquil place would have eased anybody’s tensions!

I can’t remember the stops but we did look online and found a vague self guided walking tour that we almost followed. We ended up just going in directions that seemed interesting to us and we did get to see a LOT of things!

 


I do love looking at these religious shrines and temples but, and I hope it’s not insulting to anyone for me to say, they do get to be a bit boring after a while. I’m sure if I knew the history behind each one I’d get into it more but there seems to be so many of them. You could be going to them all day and they all sort of blend into the next one after a while.

Deer park was pretty special!!

This sign was a bit disturbing though so we didn’t feed any, just let them walk freely past us….

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I had actually been reading on someone elses blog, how one had bitten her when she was here because she’d been feeding it, and her food had run out… The deer wasn’t impressed by that and thought he’d check for himself if she had some more and bit her!

I saw them being a bit, not aggressive, but forceful with some people. Still, so very cute. It is Bambi after all!

 


Before going into the “old” area, we watched these men kneading dough. At least, that’s what I assume they’re doing. How cool is this!!!

Now tell me, would you like to be the one hammering, or the person sticking your hand on the dough???

 


Oh I should also show you what we ate for lunch. Hubby’s is on the left. It was an omelet on rice and other things. Honestly we don’t know half the things we’re eating. He had to pick a sauce out of about seven and he went for bechemel. Personally I didn’t think it matched and I thought it had quite a sweet taste.
You not be able to tell but these serves were really big! And they were quite “comforting”. We really enjoyed what we ate.

Mine was a baked omelet and besides the (what I assume was) seaweed on top, I really loved it too. Mine had mushrooms in it. I had to not look at it because some of the mushrooms looked like the wild things that grow wildly in the streets. The ones that your mother always said were poisonous!
They were delicious though!

Ok… and now the “old” area. What I loved about this was there were so many shops/displays/museum type places were you could go in and learn about the old culture for free.

We went into a traditional Japanese house (shoes off please!) and there was a group doing a concert there. I don’t normally enjoy the Japanese voice but this was SO amazing!!! It brought tears to my eyes. It was melodic and soulful. I wish I’d taken a video of that but somehow it almost felt disrespectful.
Here are some pics from inside the house.

 


The bottom left picture is of a staircase (Steep!!!) and NOT a book shelf. I went up one on the other side of the house and it was not so easy coming back down!

We also walked by the lake and enjoyed some treats from the local vendors. This area is so beautiful and we found another woman singing opera in an open area.

 


They love their soft serves here. We got a couple before getting back on the train.
We also bought these “fish” desserts. The shape is a fish but the taste is sweet. There was custard in mine and hubby had chocolate in his.
I’ve seen these moulds about the place. You can buy them and make these desserts at home I guess! I think they’re cute.

 


Sorry for the half eaten icecream… It’s always too late by the time I think to take a photo!!

We walked the streets and malls of Dotonbori once again tonight.. Ah the sights you see!

We cooked some local marbled meats, pork and a beautiful stir fry tonight!!
I could spend hours in the supermarkets here!

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And to finish off, here are a few interesting signs I’ve seen about the place from today

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Pasta Deli

Today on the Dining Diaries…

The team visit a place that’s not for the faint-hearted,
We have a pizza with a dough so light yet crispy that only nonna could have made it and
I’m still trying to figure out if I was at a family engagement or a cafe/restaurant

FullSizeRenderDiners today we were at Pasta Deli located on Glynburn Rd at Glynde.

I grew up in this area and yet I don’t know much about that old Fire Station building on Glynburn rd. I’ll have to look into that!

In any case, hubby and I were a little shocked to see and hear the amount of people, filling this cafe/restaurant/deli on a Wednesday, mid-afternoon

FullSizeRender[6]Their set up is quite unique. They have deli style meats available for purchase and lots of other packaged goodies. Pasta, every kind of taralli, and other Italian favourites are there on display. Cooked food to take away from soups and pastas to delicious icecream and desserts are also on offer.

You can also dine in.

Hubby and I walked in and I was immediately overwhelmed. The food looked amazing, and the aroma’s were just heavenly but my social anxiety was riding high. No one told us the set up or where to go to order. We just wandered in and were left to fend for ourselves.
Silly me looked for a menu. I don’t think there is one but I’m also not ruling it out.
I eventually asked a server and she told me to stand in a line and someone would tell me “how the place works” over there.

I think the line I got in was the ordering line but even so, I had no idea what or how I was ordering and I was calling out to hubby “Do you want to go somewhere else?”
Luckily, hubby took over. I told him I didn’t care what I ate, and to just choose something for us.
Turns out, it was the ordering line and you just order from the food that’s displayed in front of you, although there is another counter that has parmigiana’s, vegetables, focaccia’s and pizzas alongside that ordering counter.

I’m not sure what happened but hubby came back more excited than a kid about to do an Easter Egg Hunt.

He’d ordered a pizza, a meat ball, rigatoni ragu and a lasagna for us to share. The food we saw coming out looked really good and there were so many people enjoying it and each others company. They are definitely doing something right here!!
At times I didn’t know if I was in a restaurant or at a family function which often incites the same anxiety.
The only thing missing was wine. No wine list. Not even a house wine. I guess they’re not licensed but I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t have a glass of red with my pasta.

The food wasn’t brought out all at the same time which was a shame. The Rigatoni came out first. I didn’t want to start eating it until hubby had something to eat as well but we waited and waited and waited. It did seem like a very long time, especially when we were so hungry and everything smelt so good!

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This was not my favourite dish. The rigatoni were really heavy and the pasta very thick. It was not enjoyable to eat. The meat was ok. Mama’s is definitely’s more tender but it wasn’t bad. I loved the bits of parsley on top. I could taste the freshness and I can’t remember any other time parsley has added that much zing to a dish.

The next dish to come out was the meatball.

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I wish I had taken this picture with something else so you can get perspective of size. It was quite a large meatball and I personally thought the middle of it wasn’t cooked well however hubby loved it and said he thought it had a nice flavour. The sauce on the meatball was more of a fresh sauce than the ragu I was having with my pasta and I really loved it. It was sweet and I loved the flavour of the tomatoes.
Hubby said he could imagine having three of those meatballs in a roll and making a meatball sub.

Next we tried the Pasta Deli Lasagna.

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This dish was definitely the winner for me!!! The pasta was so light!!! There is nothing better than a simple lasagna. Good pasta, good sauce, a bit of bechamel and you’re in heaven if they’ve all been done well. I don’t like lasagna that has bits of ham and egg and god knows what else throughout. I think that’s going beyond what a lasagna is meant to be.
This pasta just melted in your mouth. It was just like my mum makes and I remember rolling out that pasta with her when I was young.

Lastly we tried one of their pizza’s.

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Again this just blew me away! The base was light yet firm and crispy. There was substance to it. The toppings were fresh and flavoursome. Although there wasn’t a lot of topping, it didn’t really need much more. At $6.90 this was definitely a bargain.

I’m sure I’ll be back to Pasta Deli. This time I’ll know what I’m in for!
I don’t know that I’d dine in but I definitely want to take away some of that pizza.

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

Till next we chow…

Himeji Restaurant

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Beautiful memories of Japan resurface,
Slight horror at realising shoes were going to have to come off and
Waiting a long time for our meals benefits us as staff proactively offer us a selection of desserts for our patience!

DSC03909.jpgDiners today we were at the lovely Himeji Restaurant on Grote st, in Adelaide’s CBD.

What a little gem of a place this is. Walking in we were immediately hit by amazing aromas. The restaurant was full and there was a lively atmosphere happening.

I’d been so excited to come here, especially after looking through their website and seeing how passionate the chef was about the food and wanting to bring a true Japanese experience to the people of Adelaide.

fullsizerenderWe were a party of four tonight and were ushered into a room that had two tables in it.
I’m not entirely sure why, perhaps something to do with the flooring, but we had to take our shoes off in this room.
They supply a little side cupboard for diners (pictured right, next to the chair) to keep their shoes on. Luckily, none of us seemed to have stinky shoes otherwise it could have been a bit awkward!!

While the male folk perused the menu, we women went for a little walk and I was impressed by how authentic this restaurant was, at least by appearances.


I’ve been to Japan twice in the last two years and this really did seem like the type of place I could walk into in Tokyo.

I’m not sure if it was the room we were tucked away into, or if it was due to the “busy-ness” of the night but the waiter seemed to take a very long time to come back and take our order. We decided to share a few things to get a good idea of the type of food they served.
Although our room was small, it was all closed off and we found ourselves competing to be heard with the nearby table. It didn’t really take away too much from our experience but I definitely will ask to be seated somewhere else when I visit here again.

Not only did we wait a long time for our waiter to take our order, but it was well over an hour before the first food came. I noticed that the same thing happened to the other table that was sharing our room.
We weren’t complaining about it and in fact, as they brought our first dishes out, the wait staff apologised and said they’d spoken to the manager and were going to be offering us a selection of desserts at the end of our meal.

How lovely was that!! We hadn’t even complained and we didn’t even look grumpy! They proactively noticed a situation and offered something to make it better. Big ticks to you Himeji!

When our first dishes came out, Gyoza (pan fried dumplings), we couldn’t help but rip into them. We were just so ravenously hungry.

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It’s true, things do taste better when you’re starving and these were just so amazing! They were very fresh and still very hot! Lovely soft yet slightly crisp outer with beautiful tasty goodness inside.
I ate my share way too fast and could only hope the next dishes were going to be coming out very soon!

When hubby and I were in Japan we really wanted to try authentic Ramen. What we had at Himeji was slightly different to what we had in Japan but that could be due to the meat in the dish we ordered.

Tonight I had Hakuryu – Himeji Original HAKATA Tonkotsu Ramen – Himeji original Tonkotsu soup which has been cooked for more than 8 hours, resulting in a creamy broth. Served with very thin straight noodles. With toppings of half boiled egg, pork loin, bean sprouts, wood ear mushroom, and spring onion. Flavoured with a dash of garlic oil.

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Everything I ate was tasty and I just love noodles however I found the broth to be too fatty. Now that’s probably the way it supposed to be and something I just wasn’t aware of? I can’t remember eating ramen like this in Japan, however the flavours were definitely Japanese and I did mostly enjoy this dish.
There was a very strong pork taste throughout and you can tell that a lot of care had been taken in the cooking process.

Hubby decided to go for a Bento Box so that he could sample a few different things.

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It looked quite impressive when it came to the table! There was also a soup that came with it that I wasn’t able to capture in the photo.
You can see hubby’s hand protectively near the plate, anxious to dig in as soon as the photo is taken!

As per the menu description, this was the SHOGUN Dinner Bento Box – Sashimi / sushi roll / cold noodles / Karaage chicken / Gyoza / Takoyaki / Japanese omelette / Agedashi Tofu/ Miso soup / choice of Teriyaki Salmon rice or Eel rice

This dish proved to be a winner with lots of selections. I tried a few of the items on there and again thought everything had been made fresh and was bursting with flavour. My particular favourite was the Gyoza (As per our entree) and the Teriyaki Salmon rice! What I loved most were the different flavours. Spices and herbs that I wasn’t used to and just couldn’t pick. I could have had a plate full of that rice alone!

The waiter asked if we were ready for our complimentary dessert and it looked amazing when it came out!

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Our only “complaint” was that it was a little difficult to share between four people but we each got to try a little of all six dishes.
I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what each one was but the ice cream (top left)  was definitely my favourite.

I should also mention that the prices at Himeji are very very reasonable. In fact, I’m really looking forward to going there again soon to try a few more dishes.
Luckily for me, they are open for lunch and situated very close to my work building!
Oh yes, they’ll be seeing me!

Have you eaten at Himeji?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Brunelli – Rundle Street

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A beautiful dessert display entices me,
“Grande Piatte” section of the menu entices hubby and
Food envy abounds!

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Diners today we are at Brunelli’s Cafe on Rundle Street in the Adelaide CBD.

This location has been a popular site for hungry Adelaidians  as it was formerly Cafe Buon Giorno. In fact, I have been known to mix the two places up and I won’t mention how recently that’s happened!
Their website says that they were the first to introduce Wood Oven Pizza to Adelaide in 1989. It’s hard to believe that Wood Oven Pizza’s haven’t been around longer…

In any case, we were hungry and it was well past lunch time but Brunelli’s Cafe, like most Cafe’s, have all day dining so we went in.

To be honest expectations weren’t overly high. We just wanted a good honest meal.

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You can’t help but notice the gorgeous selection of desserts as you enter.

I could feel my hips widening as I walked past.

Staff noticed us right away and we were welcomed and shown to a table.

The menu is pretty extensive and reasonably priced.

We were going to choose an entree to share but after seeing those cakes I persuaded hubby to just get mains, and then if we were still hungry, we could order some cakes or ice cream. Yum!

The menu has a section called “Piatto Grande” which means very big plates! I thought hubby would like that so I pointed it out to him. He was really hoping fora  yiros (kebab) before we walked into Brunelli’s so was drawn to the Open Lamb Souvlaki which was in the Piatto Grande section of the menu.  Marinated braised lamb pieces served with Tzatziki and pita bread. Also comes with chips and salad.

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I thought it looked great when it came out!

It was presented beautifully and the salad was dressed well, I could see it glistening!
The chips looked fresh and that meat looked really good too.

I love how they’ve got capsicum through the meat.
I tried a little bit and it was such a great accompaniment for the lamb. Hubby was really happy with how it had been seasoned.

Everything was cooked well. I don’t know why my expectations were low, but this was a good honest plate.

Before walking in I had a bit of a craving for a burger but I could smell cheese and tomato and changed my mind. I needed pasta!
I love how they allow you to choose what pasta type you want, and match it to whatever sauce you want.

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I ended up choosing Fettucini with the Sorentina Sauce. Sorentina sauce, according to their menu, is a traditional tomato and basil sauce with bocconcini cheese.

I didn’t think I’d like the bocconocini in it but I was wrong…

The first thing I noticed was the strong smell of basil. I just love basil! The bocconcini had started to melt so was a delicious gooey mess.
If  you like your pasta cooked al-dente, you would have been disappointed with this dish and it was definitely overcooked but I don’t mind it that way myself and it was fine for me.

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I forgot to mention that they actually brought out a couple of slices of bread after we’d ordered!

So I was able to mop up that sauce with some of the bread. The bread basket also had a little container of Parmesan cheese so I was able to put on as much or as little as I wanted.

Another bonus!

We kept looking at other people’s plates, wondering what they were eating. There was definitely some pretty food coming out! Although we were very happy with ours, we couldn’t help but wonder what the other plates tasted like.

With such a big place, it would be easy for the staff to be impersonal but everyone we interacted with was really friendly and welcoming.

Brunelli’s is a great place if you’re after a no fuss, casual dining experience. Next time I might even try one of those sweets!

Have you been to Brunelli’s?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

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..

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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!

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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.
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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

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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!