Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Twelve

We definitely got our steps in today!! And enjoyed a gloriously sunny day in beautiful Osaka. There is always something to see and do (and taste!) here.

 

I was a bit annoyed because we were going to the downtown area and hubby wanted to take the train. I wanted to walk it.
We ended up taking the subway and it was probably just as well because when we got to the downtown area, hubby decided he really really needed a Starbucks coffee.

IMG_4016We walked and walked and walked and walked. We walked more than if we’d walked from our apartment directly to the Starbucks in the downtown area.

We asked at an information booth and were given vague directions… we tried to find it using google maps but who knows what floor it was directing us to. We couldn’t find it.

Finally we looped back and found one in the Hep Building (where the giant rollercoaster is located) but it wasn’t open until 11am so we had to wait a little while.

Was it worth it? Well it was nice to sit down for fifteen minutes or so!!

After Starbucks we continued higher in the Hep building and found ourselves on a floor where we had no idea what was going on.
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There were pictures of girls on the wall and some kind of sign saying two girls were ok.

(I wish I’d taken a picture of that one!)

On the right is a picture I DID take while we were up there….

Oh and while we were walking around on those streets outside, we passed a guy who was actually using a rechargeable shaver as he walked! That’s being time efficient I guess.

I said in my last post that I didn’t want to eat local today. I could have been swayed but hubby and I walked past this Italian place that we didn’t get to go into last time we were here. The line was just too big!! Today there was no line although it was quite busy inside.

I’m glad we went there as we got a decent amount of food and it was not bad.

I was quite proud of myself too as although I couldn’t understand what the server was saying, I knew what she was saying and was answering accordingly. The only time I was stumped was when she tried to tell us that we could help ourselves to Miso Soup and water.
There was a nice gentleman sitting in the table next to us who translated (his English was very good!)

Hubby got some hamburger steak dish and I got pasta. We also got a small salad and “pizza” and a 250ml carafe of house wine. All of that came to 1700 yen!! (About $21 AUD) What a bargain!

 


I felt like I’d eaten quite a bit after that!
Hubby let me try some of his meat and it was really nice!
I asked in a quiet voice “Do you want to try some of mine” and he said “Rest easy, I’m not interested in yours”
He knows me well…

Next stop was Osaka Castle. I was surprised when hubby said to put it into google maps, to see how far it was. Usually that means he’s considering walking it. As it was about four kilometres, we did walk.

I love walking because I just think you get to see more. You see more of the local and not tourist areas and you see people doing whatever it is they do in their every day life.

 

We didn’t go inside the castle but we did get some delicious soft serve icecreams and had a rest under the shade of a tree. There are so many places you can get soft serve icecream from here!!!

IMG_4043As we were sitting there, we saw a guy all of a sudden drop to the ground. He seemed to be stretching. Hubby was just about to say “Look at that guy stretching on the ground. Why would he do that there?”

It seemed odd as he was in the hot sun.
Moments later a woman came up to him and asked if he was ok.

We couldn’t hear what he said but it seemed like he was saying he’d had a cramp. His shoe was off.

This woman proceeded to massage his foot and calf!!

I couldn’t imagine doing that to a stranger. He didn’t seem like he was in pain but I guess he was? I had to take a picture.

They walked off in different directions so they were definitely not together.

From Osaka Castle we walked back to our apartment near Namba Station. Yes we’ve done a lot of kilometres today!!

I decided I’d try to cook in this little kitchen in the apartment tonight as every time we go to the supermarket I see that beautifully marbled meat and I just wonder what it would taste like.

Unfortunately by the time we got there it was after 9pm and there was no nice marbled meat left… So we just got some pork and some other things and I still cooked but it was boring and not special so no pictures…

To finish things off I’ll just post a few pics and signs I saw about the place today.

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Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Six

Although I believe I have had input in planning how our days are going to be spent, hubby emphatically said he wasn’t going to put any ideas forth today and it was all up to me what we did. “Plan our day” he commanded.

So, I gleefully rubbed my hands together and said “I have the perfect day planned!”

I love the busy hubs like Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya but I’ve seen them now and wanted some tranquility and peace. IMG_3673
Today, we were going to climb Mt Takao!

I had looked at a couple of sites and this is a direct quote from one of them.

Alight at Takaosanguchi Station (not Takao Station, which is the stop before) and you’ll be facing the front of the mountain. Don’t be tempted by the cable car or chair lifts at the foot of the mountain – taking either of these will cut short your walk and it’s really not a difficult climb.

Did you get  that? Apparently, this is not a difficult climb.

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First things first, get on the right train.

We got into a “women only” train carriage by accident but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the other passengers….

True to the website’s word, when we got off the train, we were right at the start of the walk.
I had had to talk hubby into this walk and I sold it by saying it was going to be a gentle walk up. Nothing like Mt Lofty! I said that because I knew that’s what he was thinking.

With pursed lips he followed me up and it got pretty steep right away.

 

 

“It must be just like this at the start” I said trying to calm him, “It’s going to taper off soon I’m sure. Look, it’s getting flatter over there isn’t it?”

But no, it wasn’t.

Up and up we went. These Japanese are a strong bunch though. I saw people of all ages, and from all walks of life doing this walk.

At one point I saw a young mum trying to push a stroller up there. Her husband gently pushed her back every now and again to help.
I said to hubby “Why wouldn’t he just take the stroller?” and hubby said through gritted teeth, “I don’t know, maybe it was her effing idea to come up here”  I feel like there was a covert message for me there but I left it…

 

 

And look what else we saw!!! Dog shoes! This dog also had a cap on.
Safety first.

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After a good hard slog and after constantly telling hubby “I’m sure we’re almost at the flat bit” we were at the point where the Cable Cars get to.

He stared longingly at it but it didn’t really make a difference because as it turned out we had done the hard bit.

We stopped so hubby could catch his breath and regain some humanity and got some refreshments. I just loved these little honey/sesame stick things!

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I found an information centre and the lady told me it was only a gentle slope up now to the peak and Visitor Centre. I told her to hold it right there and brought hubby over and asked her to repeat what she’d just said as I was sure he wouldn’t have believed me.

I also asked her about the way down. She said it was a bit gravelly but Elementary School kids do it all the time so it was fine.

With that information in hand we set off for the peak.

 

 

We reached the top!!

 

 


I can’t quite read the expression on hubby’s face…

Now I don’t know what these Japanese people are made of but that “bit gravelly” description was NOT what I would have called it.
In fact I’m sure this trail would NOT have even been allowed in Australia!!!

Here are a few pics I took when it was safe enough to get my camera out.

 

 


Those last two pics show what it was like for the majority of the walk down.

Hubby turned out to be quite the hero. We were walking behind a group of elderly people when a woman slipped and went down a steep embankment. It was quite terrifying!
Everyone screamed.
Two men in front of us tried to help and they quickly went down too.
Hubby got down to help and was holding on to a thin trunk of tree. He slipped but was holding on so was able to pull himself up, then grabbed the ones who’d fallen.

Once up, it was like nothing happened.
Must be a cultural thing. Barely a thank you and off on our way we went.

So there you go, because I forced him up the hill, he saved a woman. You’re welcome.

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We were hungry by the time we got back to the station but decided to wait until we were back in Shinjuku before eating.

Is this enticing anyone? It wasn’t for me.

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Back in Shinjuku and what should we find but Shakeys!!!

Hubby and his family have a history with Shakey’s having once owned several in Canada.

We’ve now been in three different Shakey’s in Japan (not just this trip)

It might not be local food but it was comforting so we went for it.

 

 

They give you  all you can eat for ninety minutes. I estimate hubby and I ate enough for lunch and dinner combined in about twenty.

After that we strolled the streets of Shinjuku with about eight or nine million other people for a while before returning to our apartment.

I don’t think I’ll be planning any more itineraries this holiday….

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Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Four

Here we are waking up to another beautiful day in the ever mysterious Japan.

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Sake  – Not the actual kind I bought though.

I forgot to mention in my last entry that hubby and I bought some Sake yesterday. I have no idea what kind it was. In fact, we weren’t entirely sure that we were in the Sake section but a nice young lady helped us out.

I just chose a small bottle and later on we tried some. Hubby screwed up his nose immediately. I thought there was a nice, even sweet aroma from it but it’s not a drink for me. Give me a nice Cab Sav from the Coonawarra region any day.
I’m glad I’ve finally tried some though as I’ve always wondered what it tasted like.

We were a little sore after a full day of walking yesterday so went into a chemist to try to find something nurofen like. We had an interesting conversation with the pharmacist and thanks to google translate, finally left the chemist with a drug with ibuprofen in it and NOT an ointment for itchy skin…

DSC_0660.JPGFirst stop today was Harejuku. The only thing I knew about Harejuku was that Gwen Stefani had a song called “Harejuku Girls”

What I found was an amazing array of high end shops!  Not that I went into any of them, but it was just shop after shop of designer stores.

We saw a couple of Japanese men who were parting after having a conversation.
One bowed, then the other bowed, then the first bowed again and on it went!
When was it going to end I wondered!! It was like two teenage lovers saying “You hang up”, ” No you hang up”, “No you hang up”
Very funny.

Hubby was a little miffed that he wasn’t the only non Asian. In fact there were plenty of tourists around!! I could have been walking around Sydney CBD for all I knew.

It suddenly poured with a pelting rain so hubby and I snuck into a coffee shop for a snack and hot drink.
Just look at what they were serving!

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They were sweet hot dog style buns with a variety of fillings (as seen above) from noodles and eggs and tuna, to jam and chocolate and god knows what else!

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We settled for the egg and it was really pretty delicious!

I was surprised at how sweet the bun was though.

One thing that continues to surprise me here is that you can’t smoke on the streets.

They have designated “smoking areas” where you can smoke outside however you can still smoke in a lot of restaurants, albeit in the “smoking” section.


I just loved Takeshita Street!!! The pronunciation is probably not how you’ve just said it in your head!
I bought so many little things here and could easily have bought lots more.

Hubby and I decided to get a little something sweet that kind of looked like a Churro when we first saw it.

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The outside was crunchy and the inside was what they called a custard. It was really very light and the whole thing was pretty delicious!

We walked from Harejuku to Shibuya and then back to Harejuku… I think… After a while it all seemed to blend into one for me.

Hubby asked if I wanted to walk to Shinjuku and maybe get some dinner there. At first I was a little confused as I thought we had already been there but no, this was a new destination for today…
So we walked to Shinjuku and again were overcome by the throngs of people, the lights, the noise, the activity, the smell of food!!! Everything is just overwhelming!!

We found a little place and ate like locals tonight. The waitress had to come and help us order because even though we were now familiar with the ordering system, the menu wasn’t in English so we didn’t know what buttons to press…

Hubby had some Pork Ramen
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He’d been searching for it all day!

I had my heart set on a beef bowl but the waitress said they only did pork. No chicken, no beef.
So I opted for rice and we got some gyoza to share too.


It was all pretty delicious and I’m glad we opted for this and didn’t wuss out and get Western type food.
I’m actually amazed at the amount of Italian places that are here. So many restaurants do pasta and pizza! It’s so tempting to go Western style because at least you have an idea of what you might be getting…

We finally got back to our room after walking for almost twelve hours straight.. and yes, we did make a sneaky stop into the grocery store on the way home for a few Japanese goodies…

Looking forward to doing some more sight seeing and Japanese dining tomorrow but first, where’s that ibuprofen!!

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…

Napoli Pizzeria

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Too busy for more wine…
Too busy to keep up with orders and kitchen  but…
Not too busy to want to please….

Diners today we were at Napili Pizzerianapoli-wood-fired-pizzeria-mile-end-sa1.JPG.

You may have driven past it.

It’s located on Henley Beach rd, a few kilometres out of the CBD.

Walking in we noticed that if the tables didn’t already have someone sitting at them, they had a reserved sign on them. I didn’t think we were going to be able to eat in (they also have a thriving take away business) but the lovely girl who greeted us showed us to a table and said the people it was reserved for weren’t expected for quite some time.

There were lots of things I loved immediately about this place. First, the tableclothes!!

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Oh my god, can you get more Italian than that! Coupled with the Italian music that was playing, it was just perfect! I could also smell the pizza’s cooking and that was just making my mouth water. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to come from the kitchen!

We ordered some drinks and had a look through the menu. The waitress was very accommodating and answered any questions I had but it was clear that she had a lot of tables to look after on her own and was anxious to move on.

Hubby had his heart set on an antipasto platter, and a pizza to share so we did that.
The menu has it as “Antipasto A Modo Nostro” (serves 2) A selection of cold cuts, cheeses & Italian delicacies

“A Modo Nostro” means “our way” and I guess they really mean that because we got this lovely platter
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and a serve of garlic bread (also pictured) but thirty minutes later I saw another anitpasto plate with slightly different things on there. The menu didn’t state that you can choose different options but I guess there’s the possibility that the diners who got the different platter specifically asked for different things on theirs.

The food itself was lovely! Everything was fresh and it was a perfect platter to share over a lovely wine… the only glass of wine we were going to be offered by the way.
I had to feel sorry for the waitress as she really did have a LOT of tables to cover by herself. She did it with grace and style but I was a bit sad that I didn’t have the chance to order another glass of wine.

I joined their Instagram page while we waited for our pizza and looked at the pictures of food they’d shared. Now I was really looking forward to ours!
After lots of “dings” from the kitchen, our pizza was brought out to us

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People have different expectations when it comes to pizza and we all have different things we prefer.
The dine-in menu only gives you the option of a 12 inch pizza. If you’re taking away you can have a 15 inch but the waitress said they currently don’t have plates for the 15 inch so they don’t offer them on the eat in menu.

Our pizza was one with “the lot”
I wasn’t disappointed by it. In fact there was lots of things I liked about it. The crust was crunchy and beautiful to eat. I wish I could have had it with another glass of wine. The middle of the pizza however was a little soggy. You couldn’t pick up a piece, it had to be cut with a knife and eaten with a fork. Or you could have just rolled the whole thing up and eaten it that way.
Hubby would have loved more toppings, in particular, cheese. For me, I like my pizza’s fairly sparse and I do believe that is the traditional Napoli way so I wasn’t disappointed at all. You may remember I’ve mentioned before that the best thing I love about pizza is the crust while hubby likes the toppings so he eats the middle bits and leaves me the crusts. It works well for us…

Napoli Ristorante has many good reviews online and the waitress mentioned that every time they have a good review, the restaurant gets excessively busy. There are lots of things to love about this place.
Personally, even though I liked what I had, I thought it was a little over priced for what we got however it wouldn’t dissuade me from going back because…
when the moon hits your eye like a great pizza pie that’s….. Napoli Ristorante!

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

Till next we chow…