Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tokyo Eats: Katsuya

After a day's worth of shopping in Akihabara, Hubby and I were tired and hungry.  It was our last night in Tokyo too, and I didn't want to leave Tokyo without getting a taste of their authentic tempura.  My first choice for tempura in Tokyo would be Ten-Ichi, but it was all the way in Ginza.  So we stepped into the next restaurant that had tempura photos on their window display:  Katsuya.  

Mixed Set
This is more of fish and prawns.  Crunchy... but nothing major.

Ebi Tempura
The batter was crisp, and the prawns were succulent.

Sadly, this one failed my katsudon test.  It was not tender enough, and the sauce was practically non-existent, leaving the rice beneath as dry as the desert.

So the verdict?  Katsuya was not disappointing... yet it was not amazing either.  I guess when I said I wanted tempura, I was pertaining to the other kind.  Katsuya's was panko-crusted, but the panko, although crunchy, was too firm to bite into that it left me and Hubby's gums a bit raw.  Their katsudon was also less impressive than the local ones I've had here in Manila.  2 out of 5 stars.

Katsuya is at 1 Chome-4-11 Sotokanda,Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Outfit of the Week: Borrowed From The Boys

Fashion knows no bounds.  An example?  My outfit below.  I've never been one to shop in just the ladies section.  Sometimes, I venture out to teens, men's, and even maternity! (and no, I am not pregnant)  My point is, don't let the labels limit you.  Experiment, experiment, experiment!  And this is what I did.  Sometime late last year I fell in love with this gray vest as I was browsing through the men's section of H&M.  And why just take one thing from the boys when you can get more?  Such as the bag and scarf - both borrowed from Hubby!  Isn't it so fun that we girls can pull off stuff from the boys and make it our own signature look?  Love it.  Oh and that's not the only outfit I have that's borrowed from the boys.  Stay tuned for more! xoxo

Top:  Uniqlo
Vest:  H&M Men
Leggings:  Cotton On
Belt:  Forever 21
Scarf:  GU
Shoes:  Pesaro
Bag:  Fendi

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tokyo Eats: Coco Ichibanya Curry House

Prior to arriving in Tokyo, my friend KL requested me to buy her some pre-packaged curry from Coco Ichibanya Curry House, should I come across them.  "They're easy to find, practically everywhere in Tokyo" she said.  And as luck would have it, on the day we went to Akihabara to look for Hubby's toys, this was the first store we saw as we exited the subway.  What coincidence too that it was already lunchtime, so we decided to hit two birds with one stone: make our tummies happy AND buy KL's pre-packaged curry.

Coco Curry House

Cream Croquette

Cream Croquette Insides
If I'm not mistaken, I think this is the crab cream croquette.  It was good, but I find it too mashed up.  Would've wanted something that I could actually chew on.

Pork Cutlet Curry
Oh my.  This must be the softest pork cutlet I've ever tasted.  And I've tasted a lot.  Beats every single one of them.  I'm in pork cutlet heaven!

Cheese-filled Hamburger Curry

Insides of the cheese-filled hamburger

They had us at cheese-filled.  Just look at the second photo.  Imagine creamy cheese oozing out of a really soft and flavorful hamburger patty.  Drool-worthy, yes.  Good?  Heck yeah!

So how was it?  The Pork Cutlet and the Cheese-filled Hamburger are both to die for.  The curry?  Not so impressed.  It was okay, but it lacked that oomph.  Ironically, the best curry I've had can be  found in Tokyo's Family Mart.  Yes, the convenience store!  That being said, I still loved my experience in Coco Ichibanya Curry House.  4 out of 5 stars!

Coco Ichibanya Curry House is at 101-0027 Tokyo, Chiyoda, Kanda Hirakawacho, 4

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Outfit of the Week: All Wrapped Up

Tokyo was way colder than expected, which was a good and bad thing.  Bad because the clothes I brought along were not enough, but good because that's the perfect excuse to go shopping!  Notice the jacket?  Been wanting it for a long time, just found the right one and the right weather to wear it to.  I call it the "Paddington" jacket since it reminds me of Paddington Bear!  As luck would have it, I chanced upon it on sale, last piece AND in my size!  Call it luck, or call it destiny, but I call it mine :)  Still dreaming of the cold weather... I am so not ready to face the hot summer yet!  Speaking of hot... hope you guys had an amazing (hot and heavy) Valentines Day! LOL!  xoxo

Jacket:  Uniqlo
Top:  Uniqlo
Skirt:  3.1 Phillip Lim for Target
Leggings:  Cotton On
Bag:  Givenchy
Shoes:  Pesaro
Scarf:  River Island

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tokyo Eats: Menya Musashi

One late evening in Shibuya, Hubby and I were on a lookout for something to eat.  He wanted to find someplace random, I didn't.  I wanted to eat in one of the restaurants on my restaurants list, but I didn't have anything in Shibuya.  Grudgingly, I followed him to this restaurant that we chanced upon in some unknown alley.

Menya Musashi
Curiosity got the best of Hubby, because he saw quite a number of people going in and out of this restaurant.  If a lot of people were lining up, then it must be good right?

Inside Menya Musashi
After going in, we found out that this was a ramen/tsukemen shop.  Again?!  I thought to myself.  I almost backed out.  But the stomach was growling, so this had to make do.  If you've read about my past post about Fuunji, I didn't quite enjoy my first tsukemen experience in Japan.  But Fuunji is Fuunji.  This was an entirely different restaurant.  No harm in trying right?

Menya Musashi's ticket dispenser
As with Fuunji, the ordering process is the same.  You press your selection at the ticket dispenser, pay, get your ticket and wait for your seat.  We had a bit of help from one of the English speaking staff in Menya Musashi, since they didn't have an English menu.  We asked for their bestsellers, and chose two from the top (the ones with the photos).

Shoyu Ramen
This is my bowl of Shoyu Ramen.  The pork was OMG-drop-dead-now soft and the Aji Tamago was perfect.  The only thing not so perfect?  Didn't like the soup.  It wasn't bad, it just wasn't spectacular.  Just your normal soy-sauce based soup.


Tsukemen dipping broth

As for the Tsukemen... $%&#@*!!!  OH MY.  This was one of the best noodles I've ever tasted!  The pork was the same one as my ramen, only this time, the tsukemen broth was fantastic as heck, and totally not normal at all.  It was all kinds of flavorful, without the added saltiness.  As a matter of fact, it erased all my memories of Fuunji and replaced it with an absolute love for tsukemen.

Gotta give it to Hubby, I wouldn't have discovered Menya Musashi had he not insisted on trying it out.  I will 100% be back for the Tsukemen.  What the heck, it's haunting me right now as I type this!  5 out of 5 stars! 

Menya Musashi is at 2-8-5, Dogenzaka, Sibuya-ku, Shibuya Tokyo

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tokyo Eats: Ikinari Steak

For our first night in Tokyo, Hubby and I were too tired to venture out to eat.  Blame it on the extra early flight that made us look and feel like zombies.  LOL.  I guess you can call us lucky, because right below our hotel is Ikinari Steak.  And we can never say no to steak.  Specially Japanese steak!

Ikinari Steak

Ikinari Steak is a Certified Angus beef restaurant.  So you're sure that it's nothing but one of the best beef.

Standing Room Only
There are no chairs in this restaurant.  Everybody eats their steak standing up!  Guess a little suffering for a good steak can't be that bad, right?  LOL.

First step:  Choosing your steak.  Ikinari Steak serves four kinds of steaks.  And they charge by the gram.  So it can either be small for light eaters or extra huge for a big appetite!

Cutting Station
Step two:  The cutting station.  After you choose your beef, the server will usher you into this small corner and show you the beef.  Here, it will be cut to your preferred size and measured in a weighing scale in front of you.

Look at that glorious piece of steak!
Oooh la la!  That is one nice looking steak!  Makes my mouth water just looking at it, and it's not even cooked yet!

Grilling Station
Step three:  The grilling station.  Here the chef grills your steak according to the doneness you want.

Japanese Black Beef Rib-Eye Steak
Ta-dah!  Here's our Japanese black beef rib-eye steak!  Look at all that juice!

Cross Section of the Japanese Black Beef Rib-Eye
Doesn't it look divine?

Hubby enjoyed our first Ikinari experience so much that he began craving for it right after the first night.  So I gave in to his request and went for it again on our fourth night in Tokyo.  Here's what we had:
Tenderloin Steak Beef with Less Fat
Having already tried the Japanese black beef rib-eye steak, we got the tenderloin this time.  And a bigger piece too! 

Cross Section of the Tenderloin

It looks so tender, even from the pictures!

So the verdict?  I give myself a pat on the back for choosing Ginza Bellevue Hotel this trip because we love Ikinari Steak!  The Japanese Black Beef Rib-Eye Steak was juicy and smelled so good.  And the tenderloin?  So soft!  Even though our hearts (and tummies!) still belong to Matsusakagyu Yakiniku in Osaka when it comes to steaks, Ikinari Steak is pretty good too.  Not bad at all.  4 out of 5 stars!

Ikinari Steak is at 1/F, Ginza Bellevue Hotel, 6-4-14 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061 Japan

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ginza Bellevue Hotel, Tokyo

Based from experience from 2014's Tokyo trip, more or less I could already tell which hotel would be better for our itinerary.  While our stay in Sotetsu Fresa Inn last time was not bad, we felt it could be better.  So Hubby and I opted not to stay at the same hotel and just pick another one.  I guess staying in Ginza last time spoiled us.  It was more familiar too, so we chose another hotel in Ginza for this trip:  The Ginza Bellevue Hotel.  

Fast forward to the day of the trip - we booked the same flight as last year's at 5:25am.  The only difference was that the flight got delayed (BOO!) and by the time we got to the hotel, it was already check-in time.  I guess the delay also worked to our advantage - it gave us a bit of time to rest before venturing out to explore the city. 


The entire room

The room from another angle

Cabinet with all the essentials

Working table



Finally, I got my Shiseido bath products!  LOL.  Everything the hotel used - from the shampoo down to the hand soap - was Shiseido.  Yay!  

So the verdict?  Location wise, Ginza Bellevue Hotel is fantastic.  A yummy steak place and a spa is just right downstairs, and there's a 7-Eleven AND a Starbucks a few steps away.  Not too far from the subway too.  The best part?  Ginza shopping district is about two minutes walk away.  From a shopaholic's point of view, it can't get any better than that!  While the hotel's interior might be a little bit older than expected, it was clean.  As for the size.. oh well we know how tiny Japanese hotel rooms always are, so that's expected.  But it fit the both of us, so it's all good.  4 out of 5 stars!

Ginza Bellevue Hotel is at 6-4-14 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061 Japan

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Outfit of the Week: Boom!

Been a long while since I've posted an outfit post huh?  If you're wondering why I'm wearing such a cold-weather outfit when it's so hot here in Manila, well...  It's because this was taken in Tokyo.  Yup, another travel post!  Just got back from Tokyo last week, and did my best to finish all the Australia posts so that I could finally get on to the Tokyo ones.  Sorry, please bear with me!  

Anyway, on to the outfit!  This is me, standing right outside my hotel, sleepy as heck (hello, 5am flight!) and freezing my buns off!  Tokyo during January, as it appears, is about 2 degrees Celsius.  Brrrrrr!!!  But I'm not one to complain about the cold, since I've had enough of warm weather living in a tropical country like ours.  So freezing weather, bring it on!   

When flying, I make sure to wear something comfortable.  It's amazing because who would've thought that faux leather joggers would be comfortable, right?  But I swear, it is!  They give you movement of PJs, yet it looks a hundred times more chic.  As for the top, have had it for more than a year now, with the Target x 3.1 Phillip Lim collaboration (love, love, love collaborations!).  Had nowhere to wear it until now.  I was only too happy to break it out of the closet.  Can you tell I'm in love with winter?  LOL!  Do look forward to a couple more cold-weather outfit posts!  xoxo

Top:  3.1 Phillip Lim for Target
Pants:  H&M
Bag:  Givenchy
Shoes:  Sperry Top-Sider

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sydney Eats: Garden Buffet at The Star Casino

To close my 2014 Australia posts... Christmas dinner!  As I've previously mentioned, the family had dinner plans at The Star Casino's Garden Buffet.  I've been to Las Vegas and I've been to Macau in my years of travelling, so I know that when you say buffet at the casino, this means great overflowing delicious food.  And it being Christmas day dinner, surely they would've prepared something special for all the diners that day.  There was only excitement as I counted down the hours till we're seated and ready to eat!  Glutton much?  LOL!

Here it goes:  




Shells and Mussels

Squid and Clams

Shrimps and more shells

Chinese Congee




Fish and Chips/Chicken Wings


Roast Beef


More mains



Chinese Mains

Grilled Vegetables


Snow Cones

Soft Serve Ice Cream

Chocolate Fountain

Candy Bar


Some more desserts

And more!

Unlimited sodas


I'm not even going to bother doing a small commentary on each photo.  Because to say that the buffet was underwhelming would be an huge understatement.  It was downright BAD!  And to think that this was during Christmas day dinner and we paid something around AUD 80++, which would already be equivalent to a nice hotel dinner here in Manila.  The selection of food was not that plenty either.  I'm not one to give up on buffets, but I gave up on this one after only two plates.  They couldn't even get a simple dish like fish and chips right.  What a downer.  0 out of 5 stars.  

Garden Buffet is at The Star Casino, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009, Australia