Friday, February 27, 2009

One Night in Osaka

In August, I went to Japan twice. My first trip, I dragged a long a co-worker (we worked for Air Canada so flights were cheap for us) for a one night trip. It was kind of a jackass thing to to, to fly from Vancouver to Osaka, and to come back the next day, all for no particular reason, but it makes for a great drinking story. Plus we both got upgraded to business class, but I won't bore you with anymore business class meal pictures.

My friend did not take well to the hot Japanese summer, and let me tell you, it was hot, not to mention the humidity. This picture is priceless. Why would they do that??? In Vancouver, our summers are pretty mild compared to ones in Osaka, and it made no sense to me why they would have a train that was only mildy air conditioned. We were wearing shorts and t-shirts, and we were dying. There were salary men standing around in suits, barely breaking a sweat. It was outrageous.

What is Osaka famous for, food-wise? Takoyaki of course! Apparently, this is is one of the most famous shops in Osaka.

You have two or three poor saps sweating over the grills on a hot summer day in Osaka, no AC, or visible fans anywhere. It must have been murder.

15 squid balls for 750 yen, which really isn't too bad at all.

After drowning the freshly grilled takoyaki in takoyaki sauce and mayo, it's sprinkled with some seasoning....

...add some katsuoboshi flakes and you're ready to rock and roll.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Royal Host - Shinjuku

I know the last three posts have been mostly images of airplane food so here's something different. Royal Host is another family restaraunt type place in Japan, similar to Denny's. It's a bit more upscale than M's dining, or Skylark or Gusto. After a long night of debauchery and drunken madness, we quietly went to a Royal Host for a nice, greasy hang-over cure. This was my hambagu and rice. Hambagu is not quite the same as the Hamburger as we know it in North America. It's still a meat patty, but sometimes it's a mix of beef and pork, and often times it's served on a skillet or on rice with sauce and other stuff.

My friend decided pizza and sandwiches woud best cure his hangover.

Someone else had ebi-fry (deep fried prawns) and some kind of omlet with a side of salad

Some kind of fried rice, skewers, fried egg, and some shrimp chips for good measure.

Here we have a sundae with only one scoop of ice cream visible. Red beans, mochi, fruit and some other stuff. The best thing after every greasy breakfast. Some of the other patrons in the restaraunt were giving us funny looks for ordering all that greasy food first thing in the morning. But they weren't there the night before, they had no idea.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Air Canada, Mister Donut, and M's Dining

I guess I didn't take a whole lot of food pictures on my earlier trips to Japan. It seems like my folders are all full of airplane food. I got upgraded again this time and there were no kaiseki meals left so I took the western meal. The bread and butter tasted good, but that's about all I can say. They started us off with some kind of salad that was pretty bland. Then whatever meat that is sitting on the bed of mushy veggies and rice was mediocre at best.

Mister Donut. What a fine donut shop chain that is. What you see below is called kori-coffee. Basically, it's frozen coffee chopped up into little cubes, you pour the milk in and wait for it to melt into ice coffee. It tasted pretty good I suppose. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but on a hot summer day in Japan, where the air conditioning is only set on mild, it did the trick.
M's Dining is sort of a family restaraunt....sort of like Denny's here.

I had the hambagu steak with some sort of gratin on the side. I love hambagu.

Dohtonbori, Plant 5, Cakes and Crab

I went to this place where you cook your own okonomiyaki and yaki soba. A nice, noisy little place in the countryside. I'd go there again. Yakisoba, do-it-yourself

Okonomiyaki do-it-yourself

Doesn't look like much now.....

Some people call it Japanese Pizza, but it's not. Japanese have their own style of pizza and I've got some shots of that further down this post.

This place is called Super Center Plant 5. This place is huge, and it puts Costco and Walmart to shame. They sold just about everything except cars. The row of cashiers is endless:

And they had Japanese style pizza. Japanese mayonaise, corn, and some kind of meatball or sausage. It was a great combination. I found myself dumping corn and Japanese mayo on my pizza's after I came back to Canada.Also available at Plant 5 was an assortment korroke, kaki-fry, zaru soba, etc.

I think this was ebi-chilli....

The biggest deep-fried oysters I have ever eaten. These things were massive....and cheap. I think they cost $1 CAD each. Zaru soba

Fresh crab from the seaside market. They didn't need any seasoning, quite delicious on their own.

These deserts were made to look like makurokurosuke from the anime Totoro. More deserts

The crab and the deserts all look very yummy, and believe me, they all tasted great, but it might not have been such a good idea to eat them all in one sitting. I'm not sure if it was the crab, or the combination of crab followed by all those deserts, but I found myself puking my guts out the next day.

This is a picture of a little souvenir I found at one of the local hobby shops. I actually have a rice cooker that looks just like that!

Monday, February 23, 2009

2nd April 2004 Japan Trip AC Business Class food

Here are a few shots of my meals on my second trip to Japan in April, 2004. As soon as you're seated, the flight attendant offers you a choice of champagne, juice or water....or pretty much whatever you want, but I got a simple O.J.
In business class, they don't just give you a small, plastic cup for water, they give you the whole bottle.

So after you've settled in, you almost forget that you're on a plane. The service just keeps coming. They serve you a snack, and not simply a bag of peanuts, we got a small plate of gyoza (pan fried meat dumplings) and a bit of smoked salmon.

We were given a choice of a western meal, or a traditional Japanese Kaiseki meal. I chose the latter and here's a shot of the first course:

Bamboo shoots, snow peas and a shaped carrot slice, finely presented and very tasty.An assortment of pickles, not to strong in flavour.Tofu, with a hint of wasabi.There was also a kani (crab) sunomono with tobiko but the picture I took was way too blurry. Anyways, here's a shot of the lobster tail, with some sort of Japanese-style tartar sauce Japanese tartar sauce generally has egg as one of the ingredients, so it tastes more like egg salad. There was also unagi (eel) rolled in tamago (egg). The scallop was actually my favourite part. Baked in a Miso-mayo, it tasted quite different from your standard Oyster Motoyaki. Throw in a bit of miso in the mix, and it gives it an extra tangy flavor. I was quite surprised that all of these dishes tasted so good when chilled. After the lobster tail, they clear your tray and serve you a bowl of rice, bowl of miso soup, and grilled black cod, or sable fish with some string beans and a carrot shaped like a maple leaf....Nice Canadian touch. The cod was heaven that melts in your mouth. I love black cod.

By this time, my belly is full and I'm feeling content, but the service keeps coming, and being the greedy pig that I am, I indulge myself in further gorging. A fresh assortment of fruit, cheeses and crackers, I say yes to all of the above.And after that, ice cream....chocolate ice cream, with a hard chocolate coating, sitting in a bed of frozen Mango....something...sorbet maybe? Anyways, who am I to say no?A quick, blurry shot of breakfast. There were several choices to pick from, but I went with a simple assortment of sandwiches, inari (rice ball wrapped in sweet tofu skin), and a plate of fresh fruit.

It's been a while.....

Well, it's been a while since I last posted. I've been a bit lazy, I have to admit. Sometimes it's hard to find the time to post when I'm not even sure if anyone is reading this. But I told myself, well, what the heck, if I don't post, then it defintely won't get viewed. So I'm back with a few more shots of airplane food. These shots are of a business class meal on Air Canada from Vancouver to Narita back in April, 2004. AC's business class was a nice service with big, comfy seats, miles of leg room, a crew that was often quite pleasant, and on this trip, a half-decent Kaiseki meal as we as could be prepared on an airplane.

Actually, I was fortunate enough to go to Japan twice that April, and I managed to get upgraded to business class on the return flight on my first trip in April, as well as on the outbound flight of my second trip.

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