In search of Cherry Blossom – Part Five

I feel like I need to change the title of these entries as the Cherry Blossom is just about gone and as much as I search, I don’t think I’ll be seeing any more in the Osaka area.

I went out walking early this morning and although it was still very frosty cold, there was little cloud and when the sun shone on you, it was almost pleasant.


I had been reading reviews of a couple of places just south of Dotonbori. One was the Shinsekai district and the other was the Tennoji Zoo. I’m not a huge fan of keeping animals in cages and when I read the reviews of Tennoji Zoo I was horrified. It made me more curious to see it though which probably makes me part of the problem…

Before the zoo we did see the Shinsekai area. This is what I read before going there.
Shinsekai is an old neighbourhood located south of Osaka’s downtown area. The neighbourhood was created in 1912 with New York as a model for its southern half and Paris for its northern half.

I can’t say that I saw anything that reminded me of Paris or New York. It seemed like any other district that had a lot of restaurants and a few shops.
Hubby and I have been having a difficult time (as usual) finding where to go to eat. Although I do like some things, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Japanese food. We decided to get some lunch before heading on to the zoo but walked around this area four or five times before finally going into one restaurant. We regretted it almost immediately as we couldn’t really find anything on the menu we wanted but we couldn’t just walk out…

We ended up choosing a few things.

Oh, I forgot to mention, they brought out a bowl of raw cabbage (gratis) before our food. Hubby ate it but I wasn’t a fan.
The food we had was ok, it just tastes like everything else we’ve had here. Those round potato type things in the pic on the right were the best. They had some cheesy gooey mess inside and hubby loved them!

After that we headed on over the zoo which is right near this Shinsekai district.

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It’s only 500 yen to visit (about $6.20 AUD) and we didn’t have anything else planned so hubby and I walked down there.

I didn’t think it was as bad as the reviews I’d read until I saw the cages for some of the big cats.
In any case, here are some of the photos of the animals that I took.


I felt a bit conflicted being there I must admit.

Every time we’ve been in Japan, hubby and I have visited Brooklyn Parlour and mostly it’s been a great experience. We knew there was one in the Americamura section of Dotonbori so we decided to go there for a drink.

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I normally love the atmosphere of this place. Hubby and I got a couple of drinks and watched people at tables nearby doing nothing but taking selfies for the next twenty minutes. They didn’t even touch their food and when it did look like they were going to start touching their food, it was only so they could video themselves “eating” it. Strange.

We walked around Americamura, fighting for space with the rest of the crowds.


If you like people watching, this is the place to be!!

After a bit of shopping we found ourselves being drawn to Hard Rock Cafe.
I must admit, I did like the familiarity of it all.


Lots of tourists in there!! Almost felt like I was back home.
We ordered some loaded fries. We were waiting for them to come but I needed to use the restroom. As I got up I said to hubby “If they come while I’m away don’t start eating them!” which would have been ok but an English speaking server heard me and I was embarrassed. Food ownership is serious business in this marriage!

And after a couple of sangria’s I posed for a photo.
Hubby made me do it.

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Oh and speaking of hubby, he was beside himself with excitement when we passed a McLaren dealership. The photos are taken through the glass window so they’re not the best. We’ve even seen one or two driving around while we’ve been here.


Again, we did a lot of walking today and I was glad to be back in the room, soaking in a nice hot bath.

I’ll leave you with a few more funny signs I saw today. The first one was on the back wall of a toilet cubicle.

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Kaffana

Today on the Dining Diaries…

As meat platters appear on other people’s tables, dining envy grows,
Special moussaka was truly special  and
One of us is already setting the date for our next visit and he definitely will be  ordering a meat platter.

Diners today we were at Kaffana in that ever happening, “Hipster” paradise, Peel Street.

18767414_1429320747127999_1531879982924820872_n.jpgKaffana is a Serbian Meat restaurant and hubby had been seeing their ads on Facebook for sometime and has been getting quite enticed by them! I mean how can a meat lover go past those pictures of meat trays!

We were here at 6pm on a Friday night. It was heavily booked. Lots of people were waiting to enter the dining room.
Dim lighting, easy listening music in the background, exposed red brick walls and lots of wood all contributed to making us feel comfortable and welcome.


A server finally called our name and brought us to our table. I wasn’t sure who she was at first as she was a tiny thing in old sneakers and a black beanie with a few strands of platinum blonde hair coming through. But maybe that’s just the way things are in this sort of place.

The menu was pretty cute although it was a bit hard to see because of the dim lighting. They have old “little golden books” there and have pasted their menu to the pages of the story. I liked the idea, especially as I was always walking around with at least one “little golden book” in my hand when I was a kid.

Hubby and I had a look through the menu and he was so disappointed when I said I just couldn’t see myself having half a meat tray. I don’t mind meat, sometimes I even like it but in small quantities. I did feel a little bad for him though when other tables near us started having meat trays brought out to them…

We decided to start with the Moussaka to share as an entree. It was on their specials board and said it was served with sour cream. I didn’t know how that was going to work but was curious to try it. I normally really love moussaka and am still looking for the perfect one.

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It was very hard to take a decent photo because of the dim lighting but I hope you get an idea.

The moussaka was certainly special and not traditional.  I couldn’t see or taste any bechemel but then that probably wouldn’t have matched with the sour cream on top. I couldn’t find eggplant in there either but maybe it was. After all, what’s a moussaka without eggplant right?
It was absolutely delicious though. So much flavor! Makes me want to try to make it myself.
Hubby and I were fighting to make sure we got half each.

As per their menu, all meals come with “mammas” bread which was quite damper like. Very toasty warm and a little smokey tasting. I loved it!
The meals also come with potato salad and coleslaw? It was like a coleslaw sans mayonnaise.
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The potato salad looked nice and it had spring onions in it. 
Hubby didn’t want to eat it before our mains came and when I say he didn’t want to eat it, I mean he didn’t want US to eat it. That includes me. I was starving and it was so hard not to.

For main I chose Karakjordjeva. The menu described it as “Kaffana’s version of a Karadjordjeva schnitzel (no bread crumbs) , char grilled tenderised veal filled with ricotta, danish feta and cooked streaky bacon.”

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I’m not sure what I expected it to look like but probably not that.

That kind of looks like something the dog left behind.

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I have to say though that it tasted quite exceptional.

When you cut into it the ricotta oozed out.

I didn’t know there was supposed to be bacon in there and couldn’t really taste it but it was really so rich and full of flavour that I couldn’t have eaten more than that small roll.

Hubby ordered the Pork Skewers “Char-grilled, crisp and tender skewered park scotch pieces”
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Hubby said his was near heaven. I got to taste a little morsel too. They were just flavoured perfectly. Moist, tender with a gorgeous charcoal taste.
In his words, “Just f’n delicious “

Though the portions seemed small I felt like I’d eaten a lot by the end.

If you’re a meat eater, it would be definitely worth it to save up a few pennies and head on down to Peel Street and have a meal at Kaffana. Don’t be like us though, do yourself a favour and order the meat platter!!!

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

Till next we chow….

Burek Lounge

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We visit a place that would have vegetarians quaking in their boots,
Balkan music played along nicely in the background while we ate food from the region and
We almost got into meat sweats territory!!

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Diners today we were at Burek Lounge.

This place has been popping up on my facebook newsfeed for some time, tempting me with pictures of enormous meat platters at very reasonable prices.

It just seemed too good to be true!

I had no idea where hubby was taking me as we just continued driving south along Tapley’s Hill Rd in Adelaide’s Western Suburbs. Even if I ask he won’t tell me, I’m supposed to just enjoy the “thing I can’t get out of” “surprise”

When he made the turn onto Grange rd, and then Findon rd, I twigged! We were going to Burek Lounge!
I’ve heard great things about this place so I was keen to see what it was like.

bur5When we got there I was a bit disappointed as it’s just a small shop front. It didn’t look like a restaurant, more like a shop that was once a corner deli, with cleared floor space for tables and chairs. It was neat, clean and modern looking, just a lot smaller then I expected.

As soon as we got out the car though, I could smell BBQ meat!! I’m not a huge meat lover but it really had me salivating! It just smelt so good!

The gentleman behind the counter was a little shy and soft spoken but was eager to tell us about the food. He said the food comes from the general Balkan region and at the same time, I noticed the music which I guess was also from the Balkan region. Loved that!

The menu was full of meat items although they did have a vegetarian pastry… still, if you’re vegetarian I’m not sure that this is the place for you…
Sadly they didn’t have any fries, wedges or even dips. But that was ok too because the food we had was really quite exceptional!

I must admit, when he said “wood fired pastries” I was thinking desserts…. but no, they’re savoury pastries. Seeing as we were having heavy meat mains, we went for the spinach and ricotta pastry to share for an entree.

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We had told him we were sharing so he took the liberty to cut it in half.

Hubby was not happy with that at all because when he says “share” he means I get thirty percent and he gets seventy percent.

I’m not sure what kind of pastry that is. Maybe filo? The pastry was quite thick though and it didn’t really have a lot of taste. It was nice, but it was probably my least favourite thing I ate there today.

Perhaps a meat filled one would have been better. It’s a bit hard to say. I also suspect it was just heated in the microwave but I was really really hoping I was wrong.

The server brought the mains out pretty much right away and everything was magical from then on!

I chose the “Steak Serve” – Two Rib Eye Steaks with Turkish Bread and side of Greek Salad. However it didn’t come with a Greek Salad Side, it was a Potato Salad and it was just as nice.

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You can see there is also a capsicum salsa on the plate. I can’t even begin to describe how good everything was. That meat was sooooo tender I could have blown on it and it would have come apart.  The Turkish bread was toasted perfectly, the capsicum salsa was just a lovely surprise that lifted everything on the plate. I was just in raptures with it!
I probably shouldn’t admit this but I ended up putting one of the pieces of meat in the Turkish bread and having it like a “steak sandwich”. Delicious!

Hubby ordered the “Mixed Grill” for one – Sausage, Pattie, Steak, Shaslick, 3 Cevapi and Turkish Bread.

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He also ordered a Greek Salad….
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Hubby said everything he had was good, but he didn’t seem to be as enthused as I was, and he’s the meat eater!!!

He didn’t have any complaints though. I tried some of his pattie and thought it was just bursting with amazing flavours!! These guys are passionate about BBQ meat!!

Even the salad was delicious!! There was a generous amount of dressing in there and the ingredients were so fresh! It just make such a difference!

I asked the server how long they’d been there and I think he said about four years, although they’ve only just picked up their Social Media pages in the last eighteen months or so.

If you haven’t already liked their facebook page and you live in Adelaide, I’d urge you to do so as they have regular specials that are really worth going down there for!

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

Till next we chow…

Tower Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries we learn that…

Grease is the swear word…
The amount of carpet is usually directly proportional to the amount of seniors and,
If you throw some frozen peas and corn into a baine-marie, you can call it a Salad Bar.

Diners it always breaks my heart to write a review that is not so pleasant. Mind you, not everything was bad but we’ll get to that later….

the-tower-hotelToday the team was at The Tower Hotel at Magill.

I’m not sure exactly why we went here except for the fact that hubby really really wanted to go somewhere that had a salad bar. I swear he’s fixated on those things at the moment… so we googled it and this place came up as somewhere we hadn’t been, so we thought we’d try it out.
I’m crying a little on the inside even as I write this.

It was a nice enough place when we walked in if you ignored the carpet. The staff were certainly friendly and at 12.30pm it was already full of seniors.
We grabbed a couple of menus and sat ourselves close enough to the salad bar that hopefully we wouldn’t be noticed making multiple trips to it…
In retrospect, we needn’t have worried.

The menu itself was great. Lots of things to choose from at reasonable prices. Hubby and I both chose from the “Chef’s Features” section. He chose “Slow Cooked BBQ Beef Short Ribs, twisted potato wedges, char grilled corn” and I went for the “Crispy Skin Atlantic Salmon with garlic buttered chats, grilled asparagus and hollandaise”

After ordering we took out little salad dishes and went to check out the salad bar. Hubby described it  this way – It’s a mile long with an inch of food.
I was a little too embarrassed to take a picture of it but I wish I had. It was about 12.45pm when we got there and the scalloped potatoes were almost empty. The baked potatoes were half gone but there were peas and corn sitting in warm water. Fill up to your hearts content!
They had a few cold salads on the other side – notably a potato salad and a pasta salad.
We took what we could and went back to our table. The cold salad looked as if it had been sitting there for some time but actually tasted surprisingly ok. It just would have been nice if there had been more variety. I would have really liked to have had some scalloped potatoes and although servers were walking past the salad bar, no one seemed to notice that the tray was virtually empty.
Finally at 1.05pm a senior grabbed a server and pointed at the empty trays in the salad bar at at 1.15pm, a new tray came out.
I went over to get some but was again disappointed. The potatoes were mushy and it seemed as if a carton of cream had just been thrown over the top of them.
Never mind… the meals were still to come!

I’ll start with mine because that was definitely the winner out of our two mains.
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I don’t often have fish so wasn’t sure if I was going to like this but it was just absolutely delicious! The skin was only mildly crispy but that didn’t matter. The fish was grilled and flavourful and really was a delight to eat! The asparagus was crispy and a nice accompaniment as were the tomatoes. The only thing I could have done without was the hollandaise sauce that tasted like popcorn butter to me.
Like a kid I grabbed a bread roll and made a tomato sandwich out of the tomatoes on the plate. They were really sweet and it was all too delicious but poor poor hubby….

Hubby decided to go for the ribs. He’d had them at our last review and I guess he was still riding that high…
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Believe me when I say I tried to make this picture look good.
He tried to start of positive and said the ribs were “ok”. There was quite a bit of fat around them. I tried a piece and got a mouth full of fat too. He said the meat was really quite chewy and the bbq sauce that was on it seemed to make them chewier still. The meat was not falling off the bone as it’s supposed to be but he didn’t mind the flavour of it.
When he ate his potatoes, he said all he could taste was grease. Now we’re not afraid of a little grease but he said it made him feel disgusting and that was all he could taste.

So I’m very sorry to say we didn’t have a fantastic time here.
The dining room was clean but looked dated however they do seem to have their regulars as I noticed lots of banter between the staff and their elderly diners. It clearly has earned a spot in this community so don’t go by opinion, go and judge for yourself!

Have you been to the Tower Hotel?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below.

Till next we chow….