Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Eleven

I’m so sad that today is our last day here in Japan. I’ve just loved being here. I wish I could take the whole country home with me.
While I couldn’t live here permanently, I could see myself living here a few months of the year.

We packed up and left our room close to check out time. I think we just wanted to make the most of it. Our Air BNB room was just fantastic! The only thing missing was an iron which I was silently happy about because I didn’t have to iron hubby’s shirt. I hate ironing.

And I know you’re just busting to find out… yes, the television is STILL on mute. We didn’t win that battle.
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First thing we did was hop on a train using our wonderful JR West pass, to Osaka Station. From there it was a hop skip and a jump to Starbucks. Hubby hasn’t been as obsessed with Starbucks this trip as he has in previous years.

We walked to the Umeda Sky Building. We had no choice after a kind Japanese man saw us looking at an information board. We did want to go there, but just wanted to know what general direction it was in because apart from anything else, we wanted a bathroom break before going.
But he said “follow me” in a heavy accent and we had no choice. Every now and then he kept looking over his shoulder to see if we were following. He only had a few words in English so I didn’t know how to tell him we weren’t planning to go there just yet.

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But, the bathroom had to wait as he led us most of the way there.
This is an impressive building no doubt! I didn’t take many pics as we have done this on a previous visit.

If you want to see my previous entries showing more pics, you can click here and here

Here are a few pics I took of the building today and around it as well.


Then we walked back to the station towards the Hep 5 building.
Here’s a few pics I took along the way.


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Both ravenous and still in search of some Okonomiyaki, we stopped at a place in the Hep 5 building.

I thought we’d scored! There’s Okonomiyaki right there on the menu!

Now I know there’s lot of different types of Okonomiyaki. I don’t mind them as long as they don’t have anything fishy in it.

When ours came out, it was fishy. No!!!
I tried to eat it but I just couldn’t. And those little flakes on top move as if they’re alive and it’s just so off putting!!

Hubby and I asked for ours without any of the sauces because I just don’t like the heavy sauces they use. I find it ruins the taste of the food.

This is what ours looked like. Our cute little server couldn’t believe we didn’t want sauce and even brought our dishes out with sauces in little jars on the side in case she had misunderstood us.

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I’m not sure what that thing the Okonomiyaki is placed on is called, but I can tell you it’s more or less a rice omelette. There’s rice inside that yellow stuff and THAT part was delicious!!!!

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That’s what it looked like inside!!

It’s making my mouth water just looking at it.

They use egg with just about everything here!!

And meat is terribly expensive. Especially if you want anything of a half decent quality.

I’m not a big meat eater so I don’t mind but that’s probably why they have a lot of egg and fish.

We were just killing time so decided to get on the train to the airport. We’re always so unsure when we get on a train. Don’t let me put you off, it’s pretty straight forward but so often we find ourselves on the platform still waiting for the English to come up and there is the train coming! So we just trust our gut and get on.
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We’ve only been wrong once and that wasn’t this trip but still… And even with this train to the airport. We got on it and after a few stops we heard the announcement that the first four cars of the eight car train were going to the airport, but the last four were going to be uncoupled at some stage to go somewhere else! I mean imagine we’d been sitting back there and hadn’t heard the announcement?

So now we’re at the airport waiting for our flight back to Australia.
I’m so sad this time is over. We’ve had an amazing time here and if you have a chance to come, I’d definitely recommend it.
You’re not coming here for shopping, you’re coming here to experience a different culture. We could all learn something from the Japanese.

Japan, thanking you for having us once again and we look forward to coming back soon!

Oyasuminasai

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Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Eight

You’re wondering about it aren’t you? The answer is yes, the TV is still on mute. Chances are, hubby will figure it out the day we have to check out of here.

IMG_0817It was another hot day today. I went for a walk early this morning and realised we are really close to Tsutenkaku Tower.

According to https://osaka-info.jp/en/page/tsutenkaku , Tsutenkaku Tower is also known as the Eiffel Tower of Osaka. There’s an observatory with a view over Osaka on the fifth floor.

It’s located in the Shinsekai  area. This area was designed as an entertainment district in the early 20th century, and originally modelled after the cities of New York and Paris. “Shinsekai” literally means “New World”
We’ve read that one side is Paris and one side is New York but we couldn’t work out which side was meant to be what.

I went on a supermarket run and bought a couple of new things. I think these are traditional Japanese desserts.  When I first saw the singular one I thought there might be chocolate in it.
I was wrong.

 

 

60961645_2239030832849629_5179048251881422848_nWhen I first bit into it I thought it might have been cookie dough. It had that sort of consistency. I wondered if I was supposed to bake it.
But then I realised it was probably something bean related. It was ok, but I won’t go out of my way to buy it again.

I also bought this pack. I thought it might be the same kind of thing but I wasn’t sure. Turns out, it’s the same sort of thing.

I also noticed these vending machines as I was walking. Alcohol and cigarettes for anyone to come and buy at any time.

 


We wanted to go back to Dotonburi today and really spend time walking around, checking out the Americamura part.

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Hubby describes this area as the Harajuku of Osaka and I think that’s a pretty accurate description.

 

We stopped for a coffee at Starbucks and look what they wrote on the cup. I thought that was a nice touch!

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IMG_0837I hope this is not racist, but I noticed that a lot of people here are really really good squatters, and they seem to rest in the squatting position often.

We passed a family all squatting outside one of the convenience stores.
A couple of them got up as I was about to take the photo but you can still get an idea.

And look at these really cool lamp posts they have throughout the area.

 

I know from past experience that this area is always busy but geez I was getting stressed walking through here! So many people!

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We wanted to stop for a drink and a snack so went to Brooklyn Parlor. I think what we love most about this place is the decor. Food and drinks are a little pricey but it just has such a nice feel that we find ourselves coming here every time we’re in Japan.

Hubby shocked me when we were ordering our drinks. I asked for a Sangria and hubby asked for Cider and then said, “Kōri ga nai”
What the hell!! He said it so confidently and the server knew exactly what he said. How dare hubby advance in Japanese before me!
What he told me later was that he had an app that has some quick and useful phrases and because he knew he didn’t want ice in his drink, he was prepared for what to say.

 

 

We shared a burger and some drinks. Nice!

 

We were on the look out for the Aussie Pub. We know there’s one here because we went to it a couple of years ago. We went there mostly so we could watch the AFL footy game that was on. It was a bit dumpy/divey but we did rub shoulders with a few other Aussies.

 

It was closed when we went past today but take a look at the signage outside.

By this time we were getting peckish again and I don’t know what made us turn into the Kuromon Markets because we KNOW that is mainly seafood and we both don’t like seafood. The smell alone is enough to turn my stomach.

 

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We’re doing a lot of walking again today which is good with all the food we’re eating! I wish I could take a Lawsons or Family Mart back home to Australia with me.

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Instead of going to the tower tonight, we decided to walk to Aeon Mall near Kyocera Dome. The first time we were in Osaka we stayed near here  and so it’s kind of special to us, even though it’s just a mall.

It was getting dark by the time we got there. I just love walking past the canals. It makes everything so pretty.

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We wandered past the familiar stores and reminisced about previous visits. We even went to the food court where on our first visit, we ordered enough food to feed ten people (by mistake)
We got some delicious soba noodles tonight. Yum!


My noodles (on the left) were IN the omelette. I’m glad I asked for only a little bit of sauce. That mayo and red stuff on top were the only thing that ruined that dish.

We walked the three or four kilometres back to our apartment and crashed. It’s been a big walking day but that’s just the way I like it!

For now, oyasuminasai.

 

 

 

 

Greece is the Word – Day Four

This morning we woke up to cloudy skies and a wet ground but it was still fairly warm.
The plan was to drive along the coast to Sounio, and to see The Temple of Poseidon while we were there.

There are lots of beggars trying to get money from motorists by either selling something, offering to “wash” your windscreen, or simply by holding out a cup.
Here was one guy (above)  we encountered who was washing windscreens.
It’s a sad situation. There are so many that do it though so you’d have to think there are people that give them money? Otherwise why would they persist?

It was a beautiful drive down the coast.
There does seem to be a lot of graffiti about, no matter what part of the city we are in.

The weather cleared as we neared The Temple of Poseidon and it was even a little humid as we walked around there.
The Temple of Poseidon was rebuilt in 440BC. It’s just amazing to think this structure has been here for so many years!!

Here are a few photos we took of the Temple and views of the surrounding area.


That bird in the last picture is a “rock partridge”. At least, that’s what one of the guides told us! Noisy little things they are! The guide also said they’re considered the guardians of the Temple.

After an hour or so there we headed back towards an area just outside of Sounio where there were a whole lot of restaurants along the waterfront. The views were just gorgeous. This is Greece to me! Enjoying a beautiful meal, by the clear blue water with good company. It was such a lovely atmosphere.

As there were a few restaurants, we walked past quite a few but not before checking out their menu. We wanted to be sure we ate at the right place!
The owners would come out and try to entice us to come in. When we said we were just thinking about which one to go to, and they saw us leave, they actually got quite pushy and aggressive with one guy actually “suggesting” we move our cars (They were parked on the road almost in front of his restaurant.)

One person in our group has a severe seafood allergy so when we picked a place we thought we would eat at, we informed the server and explained that whatever was eaten could not even be cooked in the same oil that any seafood was cooked in.
He assured us that it was fine and that we had nothing to worry about. “You have nothing to fear” he stated.
Hubby, who was still looking over his shoulder at the owner from the last place we checked out whispered under his breath “the only thing we have to fear are the other owners if they see we’ve come in here”

Here are a few pics from inside the restaurant, and the water that we could see from our table. How clear and pristine is that!!


Oh and I should add that I tried to order moussaka again as I wanted to compare it to the other one I had here but guess what… although it was on the menu, it wasn’t available as they were still preparing it and it was going to take another 45 minutes!!! I swear this Moussaka curse is never going to be lifted!!

I ordered a bean dish instead and it was just so delicious!! Every dish I’ve had so far since we’ve been here has had so much oil! That has surprised me a bit. Maybe it just has to do with the food I’m ordering.

After lunch we stopped by a beach and enjoyed the sunshine. Such a picturesque little spot.

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We wanted to do a bit of shopping so we stopped at a mall  in the afternoon.

It was so like home that we almost forgot we were in Greece!!

So many familiar name brands wherever we looked…
Of course, that all changed when we went outside and tried to cross the road. Crazy drivers everywhere.

IMG_6397I had a double Greek coffee while I was there. I can say I’m a fan!

Our plan for dinner was to go back to Glifada seeing as we’re so close and it’s so beautiful there. I won’t post anymore pictures of it. It will only make you jealous!

I will share some pics of a 24 hour bakery we visited down there. I would have taken more but we were told “no pictures, it’s the policy” so I had to put my camera away

Hungry yet?

I’ll sleep tonight and dream of dodging traffic and going the wrong way on one way streets.

It’s all Greek to me!!

The Goody

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Pretty herb planters decorate the tables,
We dine in the Beer Garden with the “cool” kids and
We contemplate whether we prefer large mediocre dishes or small exceptional ones…

goodwood-park-hotel-3523-1.jpgDiners today were at Goodwood Park Hotel or “The Goody” as it’s more affectionately known.

This is another one of the iconic Adelaide pubs that I’ve driven past a million times, yet never ventured into and I always wondered what it was like behind those doors!

When we first got there we walked through to the Bistro area. It was like we walked through this really great front bar area, past the funky and busy Beer Garden into a, well, not so happening area.
There were people in the restaurant, but they were older and it was relatively quiet. Even the decor was a little toooooo soothing. Soothing us right into our coffins I think…

I’m being harsh for dramatic affect. There was nothing wrong with the dining room, it just wasn’t where we wanted to be, especially after passing that beer garden.
So we grabbed our menus and switched tables to one out in the Beer Garden, taking full advantage of the magnificent weather we were having today.


I took these photos as we were leaving but when we arrived, each table was full and we were lucky to get a spot! There were plenty of young business people having lunch or sneaking in a quick drink before they had to get back to work.
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Each table had a planter on it with different herbs. I thought that was so cute!

I think I even noticed some tomato plants!!!

There really was a great atmosphere out here and I’m glad we’d switched seats.

I had a bit of trouble with the menu as I noticed  a few things that I could have ordered but in the end, went for the chef’s special.
Pistachio Crusted Barramundi with wilted Kale and Salse Verde.
Hubby went for the Seafood Basket – Salt & Pepper Squid, Skewered Prawns, Pale ale battered Australian Flathead, chips, salad, lemon, tartare.

Mine was a reasonable $28 and hubby’s was $29.
I’d seen some other plates as we walked out and the food looked pretty good so I was super excited to see what ours was going to look like.

My Barramundi was such a pretty little dish! Emphasis probably on the word “little”

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This picture probably makes the fish look like a larger portion than it was but just compare it to the wedge of lemon and you’ll get a better idea.
When I took my first bite I exclaimed “WOW”. Hubby replied “Is that ‘wow’ as in wow, this is all the fish I got?”
Now I should preface by saying that portion size was my ONLY complaint. The food itself was just divine!!! Each bite was like a magical dance on my taste buds. The pistachio crust was something I hadn’t tasted before and had a dynamic vibrance when paired with the salse verde.
The potatoes are hidden under the wilted kale but thankfully, there was a substantial portion of those so I did feel like I had eaten in the end, it just didn’t look like much when it first came out.

I wasn’t sure what to think of hubby’s when it came out. I mean, he ordered it so he must have wanted to eat that.
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Everything looked so “yellow”. The basket was just awash with yellow. Unfortunately, it made you think there was more in there than actually was because underneath the couple of pieces of fish and two prawns and two squid, was a good portion of fries.
So he too got “full up” on potatoes but what he really wanted was the Seafood.
Having said that, what was there was nice enough. The salad didn’t have dressing which was disappointing (why do they do that????) but the ingredients were crispy fresh and looked nice on the plate next to all that yellow.

I would expect smaller serves at fine dining or “fancier” restaurants, but not at a local pub. Especially not somewhere like the Goody. Maybe we just ordered the wrong thing.

Again, I want to say this is our only complaint and it’s well known that hubby and I have big appetites so the serves are probably good enough for the average diner… or maybe we were just unlucky on the day and normally the serves are bigger than that?
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I would have no hesitation in recommending The Goody as a place to hang out and chill with your friends and enjoy a well cooked and presented meal!

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

Till next we chow…

Britannia Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries….

We learn the sad truth that a steak is only as good as it’s cut
Crispy skin saves the almost cooked Barramundi and
Great specials ensure lots of customers wanting to bag a deal.

britannia-hotel.jpgDiners today we were at the Britannia Hotel.

I’m sure you know this place, situated on Adelaide’s most complicated well known roundabouts on Dequetteville Terrace.

Their website states that this is still a family run business and they offer value for money.

I definitely have to agree with the value for money. Not only were the prices fairly reasonable on the menu, they had a lot of different specials available through the week. I mean really good deals! For example today, Wednesday, the deal was beef or chicken schnitzels for $9.50. The place was full when we got there and I can tell you we saw a LOT of schnitzels coming out!!

A lovely gentleman at the counter took our order and was super friendly. (We didn’t go for the schnitzels) however minutes later a waitress  flies by our table, whips her arm out at the last moment possible and not looking at us for even a brief second, leaves a basket with two rolls in it on our table.
Two things that impressed me about that – First, her stealthiness and two, we got bread! Who even does that anymore! I loved it!

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The dining area is ok. Perhaps a little dated but ok. The outside area is also nice, although too cold for a temperature intolerant person like me on a day like today. There’s also a huge screen television out there. Perfect for watching the footy!
I did like the area behind the bar/counter though. It made good use of space and lighting.

So onto the food. I was about to insist to hubby that I would pick his meal today because he always goes for steak and it’s getting to be a little boring however…. He saw this on the menu “350g Dry aged Scotch fillet steak, free range fried egg, double smoked bacon, broccolini, béarnaise, onion rings ”
He looked at me and with big puppy dog eyes said “How can I go past that?” So I’ll have to use my insisting skills for our next dining experience.
I went for the Grilled N.T. Salt water Barramundi

We were time poor today so no entree’s, just straight to the mains and no thought of dessert.

The meals looked pretty good when they came out!! Hubby’s especially looked very impressive.

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Doesn’t that look divine? And that slab of meat underneath it all was really thick and juicy looking. Unfortunately the compliments stop there. Look, everything else was ok and if you’re eating at a pub maybe you shouldn’t expect more but the meat was chewy even though it was quite pink inside, and it just wasn’t seasoned. I had a little try so I can vouch for hubby’s comments. It was really disappointing.  If I had ordered that, having a craving for a juicy steak, I would have been close to tears thinking, what a waste of calories.
Everything else on the plate was pretty much ok. It wasn’t a total disaster, we just expected a tender steak.

Mine wasn’t awful but it wasn’t brilliant either.

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The salad was nice AND dressed (claps) and it’s really hard to bugger up fries so they were good to eat. I’ve said before that I’m not a huge seafood eater. I know I’ve had Barramundi before though and I’m sure it was quite recently. This didn’t taste like the Barramundi I’d had before. It looks perfectly well cooked but it tasted like it wasn’t. I explained it to hubby saying it was like unexpectedly putting a fork full of animal fat into your mouth when you think you’ve got a chunk of meat. Parts of it had that consistency of fat. The skin on top was wonderful!! Definitely the best bit. Crispy AND full of flavour. I enjoyed that part. I got used to the taste of the fish and finished it all but I’m not sure I’ll be ordering fish again in a hurry.

Please don’t let my comments stop you from going to the Britannia. This was just our experience on one day. There were plenty of people there, mostly in their thirties and forties and all seemingly having a good time. In fact I’d urge you to go and make up your own mind as it does have a good reputation – maybe stick to the specials and discount offers though!

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

Till next we chow..