Saturday, April 5, 2014

Juan-Les-Pins French Cuisine ジュアン・レ・パン 022-379-6929

Website:  http://www.jlp-sendai.com/menu.html

Address:  仙台市泉区中山1-18-3.   According to their website, located about a ten-minute walk from Yaotome Subway Station.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Lunch:  11:30 am to 2:15 pm. Dinner:  5:30 pm to 9:00 pm.   
Closed Wednesdays. 
I’d like to thank my student, Aki, for recommending this superb restaurant to me, as this was quite a treat!
Hidden along a residential side street, this small, quaint eatery looks more like a house than a restaurant, and can easily be passed by.
As we were handed the menu, we were surprised that only two different course menu options were available, with no a la carte alternatives to choose from.
My wife decided on the lower-priced soup/entrée/dessert course for 1890 yen, and I went with the Chef’s Recommended course for 2500 yen.  As each course offered a selection from the same number of soups (3) and entrées (7), the only differences between the two was that the Chef’s set comes with an appetizer and a wider variety of desserts. 
I’ll start of with a description of my Chef’s course.  The listed appetizer was a fish with vegetables combination (本ますのポワレと春の野菜の取り合わせ) that didn’t sound appetizing to this picky eater.  I politely asked if the chef would kindly substitute another hors d’ oeuvre due to my aversion to fish.  I was brought a lovely dish of mini-pork steaks with yukina greens soaked in red wine sauce.  The pork was so tender that a knife was not necessary to cut it.  The sauce and the leafy vegetables were delicious!  This would have made a great entrée all by itself!



Pork with Yukina Greens in Red Wine Sauce

With both courses came the piping hot homemade rolls with homemade butter!  When I first picked up the roll, it burned my fingers and I dropped it, luckily back onto the plate.  After letting it cool down for a minute or two, I broke opened the bread and saw the steam arise from the insides of the roll and the aroma of freshly baked bread wafted across the table.   I attempted to take a photo of this, but to no avail.  According to their website, they pre-bake the bread to 80% of its completion, and only upon a customer’s orders will they bake the remainder so that it arrives oven-fresh to your table.  These rolls were quite large in size and, as I had been warned ahead of time by Aki that, since the courses were brought out at a slow pace, I might have the feeling of fullness quite quickly, so I nibbled on the roll at a leisurely pace.


Homemade Butter and Rolls

Next came the onion gratin soup.  My student raved about two things on this menu:  the onion gratin soup and the dessert (but more on that later).   My wife and I both ordered this soup and completely agreed with her.   I don’t like cheese but I was made a convert with this soup.  Oniony yet sweet, with chunks of the homemade bread added to the mix.

オニオングラタンスープ

I selected the beef rib meat steak with a lightly seasoned vinaigrette sauce for an additional 315 yen.  Topped with an assortment of fresh vegetables (string beans, broccoli, carrots, and potato with cheese), this made for a delectable platter.  The steak was tender and flavorful, and although I did enjoy the sauce, I think I would have preferred to savor the succulent beef flavor by itself.  Still, I was not dissatisfied at all.


牛ともバラ肉のステーキをさっぱりヴィネグレットソースで

My wife fancied the three varieties of fish platter as her entrée, which came with shimeji mushrooms and snow peas smothered in a creamy sauce.  She loved the fish and commented on its tenderness.


3種のお魚料理

The serving sizes of all the dishes in both of our courses were more than adequate, and we were absolutely full when we were reminded that dessert was on its way.
We ganbare-ed and took to our 別腹!  The standard lunch course came with the Chef’s selection of desserts.  Luckily for my wife, this was quite bountiful!  Her dessert plate came with pudding, Fuji apple tart, grapefruit cake, and black sesame ice cream.


おまかせデザート

According to my spouse, the pudding was pudding; nothing special, but not bad.  And the black sesame ice cream was unique, but in a good way!
While she was devouring her savory sweets, I was shown the dessert wagon cart with six different treats to choose from.  There was no ice cream available but the three other desserts that were on my wife’s platter were also offered, along with strawberry cake, tiramisu, and cheesecake.


デザート6種類

I was under the impression that I could choose whatever individual dessert I wanted, but no, this was not the case.  I was told by the kind waitress that I could choose ALL the desserts, if I so desired!  Since my stomach was already bursting, I asked for small samples of the strawberry cake, the grapefruit cake, and the Fuji apple tart (I’m not a big fan of tiramisu nor cheesecake, and my wife had already stated that the pudding was just pudding).
The apple tart was fantastic!  And both the cakes were soft, sweet, and scrumptious.  I wish I would have been able to eat larger portions of the desserts, but I was too stuffed.


Grapefruit Cake, Strawberry Cake, and Fuji Apple Tart

As this outstanding feast was coming to a close, we sipped on the rich coffee and admired the amazing view of Izumi through the windows of this hilltop restaurant:  What a perfect ending to this wonderful meal!
I’m posting Juan-Les-Pains (JLP) in my Recommended section, but I’m sure that after another visit or two that I will upgrade this fabulous restaurant to my Favorites!  The menu changes from month-to-month, as JLP offers only what is in season in order to provide the freshest, tastiest cuisine, so don’t be surprised if what I’ve written about is no longer available, but I’m sure whatever appears on the new menu will delight you.
This is a small restaurant with about nine parking spaces available, so I highly recommend that you make reservations ahead of time.  
My significant other and I are thinking of a romantic dinner visit to Juan-Les-Pains, as viewing the moonlight over Izumi while dining on the incredible flavors they provide seems oh-so enticing!



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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Happy Melon Pan returns for four days!



To read a previous post on Happy Happy Melon Pan, please click HERE.

What a treat!  Starting tomorrow, Friday, March 21st till Monday, March 24th, the mouthwatering melon pan truck will be parked in front of Daiei Department Store!  

I'm willing to brave the snow for this taste of heaven!


UPDATE:  I'm trying to cut back, so I only bought ten this time!







Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hub - British Pub ハブ・英国風パブ 022-722-8682

Address:  仙台市青葉区中央1-7-6西原ビル1F. Located near the AER Building on the first section of Clis Road (ハピナ名掛丁),next to the 77 Bank.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Open Sunday thru Thursdays from 4 pm till midnight.  Fridays and Saturdays from 4 pm till 2 am.  
Happy Hour is from 4 pm till 7 pm everyday.
Last Saturday, on the ill-fated day of eleven inches of snowfall in Sendai, our company held an event at the Hub, a new British-style pub that opened last November conveniently near the Sendai JR Train and Subway stations.
We originally reserved a private back room for twenty-five guests, requesting the Hub’s 3500 yen Party Menu which included eight dishes plus a two-hour nomihoudai.  Unfortunately, due to the severe weather, we informed the pub upon entering that we only expected fifteen members of our party to show up, and we apologized for this sudden change in size.  The staff was very accommodating and did not charge us for the unexpected ten no-shows.
As our party that braved the treacherous elements arrived, we started off with a very British Coronation Chicken Salad, which was quite delicious, though, since I am of Mexican-American descent, was a bit unsure how authentic this actually was.  Well, it fooled me if it wasn’t truly English!

ハブコロネーションサラダ

Next came the sliced roast beef with au jus sauce, which was good because it was just regular roast beef; nothing fancy, but they didn’t screw it up, either.  

ローストビーフ

Then, the smoked salmon with トントロ (fatty pork meat from the cheek to the shoulder).  Again, the pork, like the roast beef, wasn’t contaminated with any exotic or fusion-type spices, thus it was pleasing just as it was.  The salmon, well, I don’t care for seafood that much, so I didn’t even attempt to try it at first.  But to its credit, when I did decide that I should sample it for this blog, the other guests had already consumed it all.

トントロ&スモークサーモン

After a bit of a break came the thick-cut bacon, which was scrumptious! 

厚切りベーコン

And soon after the spicy Buffalo wings were delivered.  The meat on these wings was a little scarce, but I really enjoyed the spice.  Another round of these would have been nice!  

バッファローチキン

Following the enjoyable bacon and wings were the fish and chips.  Considering that the Hub is a British pub, this serving was probably the low point of the dining experience.  Visually, it was difficult to discern which was a fish nugget and which was a potato wedge.  Though I am not a fan of seafood (didn’t I mention that?), I thought it my duty to partake in a fishy morsel.  It wasn’t bad, but one was enough.  I didn’t hear anyone at our tables raving about the fish, and in fact, many were quite confused as I was on the fish or potato conundrum.

Fish & Chips

The seventh platter was a tomato sauce-based spaghetti.   There was nothing exceptional about this pasta, but it was tasty and seemed to hit the spot.

パスタ

The finale was generous slices of chocolate cake.  Like most of the meal, this was not remarkable in any foodie sense, but like most of the meal; it fit in nicely and complimented the fare.

デザート

Oh, and something that you usually don’t find with other izakaya’s party plans:  a giant cocktail!
One of our staff, Fong, was daring enough to order the Tower Cocktail, a 12% alcohol concoction of vodka, tequila, rum, and bourbon with lots of limes in a, … well, …, towering glass that resembled a giant urine sample beaker (the coloring of the cocktail didn’t help diffuse this image, either).  Strong and sweet, a couple more of these beakers were ordered for all the tables.

タワーカクテル

To add to the jovial atmosphere of the evening, a beer was requested in the same arm-length biology class glass as the Tower Cocktail.  The recipient soon discovered that a beaker of beer is not easily disposed of.  I recommend you order the Tower Cocktail, but not the Tower Beer.

My friend, Mike, with a beaker of beer

The foreign staff of my company all seemed to be in agreement that this was one of the better establishments in which to hold a party.  Nothing was outstanding, but almost everything was more than satisfactory.  We also concurred that the Hub would be on the top of our list for our next event or gathering.
As I mentioned before, we were placed in a private back room, while other patrons were seated in the spacious and lively front area.   The pub does truly hold an authentic British-style ambience (once again, coming from the viewpoint of a Mexican-American, but who has been to England), and it seems very popular with the Japanese citizens of Sendai.  
I cannot vouch for this pub as a hangout if you are out with a friend or two, but if you have a party to organize, I would highly recommend the Hub! 



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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck: Today and Tomorrow

Website:  http://happy-happy.jp/shop/index.html

To read a previous post on Happy Happy Melon Pan, please click HERE.

Sorry that this is a late notice, but the famous melon pan truck will be parked in front of Daiei Department Store today, Sunday, February 16th and tomorrow, Monday, February 17th.

Since this is the sixth month in a row that Happy Happy has come to Sendai, I have a feeling that they'll come again next month, too.

Happy Eating!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Gladio: Spanish/Mexican グラディオ 022-265-3007

Website:  http://www.tfcorp.jp/gladio/    (This is the web address on their business card and the one I had bookmarked before, but on this posting date this website does not open.)

Address:  仙台市青葉区国分町2-11-4 PSC ビルディング.   Coming from Jozen-ji Dori down Ichibancho, turn right at the 77 Bank across from Mitsukoshi Department Store.  It will be on your left-hand side between the first and second intersections.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Open Mondays thru Saturdays from 6 pm till 4 am, and Sundays and holidays from 6 pm to 1 am.
Ever since a reader posted a comment on this blog raving about Gladio being “the best Mexican food in Sendai, and possibly Japan,” I’ve been dying to dine here!
Last weekend was a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone; hit my beloved Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck, and then head over to Gladio for a new dining experience.
As my wife and I strolled into the restaurant a little after 6 pm on a Saturday night, we noticed that there were only a total of eight patrons in this large establishment, but considering that they had just opened their doors, this seemed about right.  Yet, despite the place being nearly empty, we were told that only counter seating was available.  We actually prefer sitting at the counter, as we enjoy seeing how the food and drinks are prepared, so we were fine with this.
The chipper waiter informed us right away that Happy Hour was from 6 pm to 8 pm, and that many beers, tequilas, cocktails, and wine were a mere 300 yen!  What a deal!  Unfortunately, my better half desired a frozen piña colada margarita (850 yen), which was not on the Happy Hour menu.  It was refreshing to see that the cocktail was served in a traditional-sized margarita glass which stem was shaped as a saguaro cactus for a bit of ambiance!  However, this was all merely cosmetic.  “It tastes like frozen pineapple juice!  There’s no alcohol in here!” said my wife in a disappointed manner.  She remedied this by ordering a shot of 300 yen Sauza tequila and adding it into her margarita.  She then commented, “Much better!  This should be called a ‘self-service margarita.’”   So that made it 1150 yen for an adequate, self-made frozen margarita.



ピニャコラーダフローズンマルガリータ

For starters, we requested a small serving of guacamole (700 yen).   Upon arriving it did seem small, yet nicely arranged with the freshly fried tortilla chips.  After sampling a few chips, we quickly found that they were a little too greasy.   The guacamole, though fresh, had little taste to it.  I should have asked for some salt and pepper, as that might have helped.



ワカモーレ

Since this was our first visit, we decided to start off small.  My wife went with a hard shell beef taco (450 yen) and I with a beef soft taco (500 yen).  She said the meat filling and cheese were so-so at best, but the taco shell, like the tortilla chips, was too greasy!



ハードシェル牛タコス

My beef soft taco, with jalapeños, onions, and tomatoes was quite tasty, but it definitely wasn’t Mexican!  The beef seemed to be marinated in barbeque sauce, which made for a unique taco experience.



和牛タコス

Our tummies weren’t quite full after this, so we ordered the chicken fingers with honey mustard sauce, and something that I had never seen before; chopped beef and avocado tostadas (both 500 yen each).



チキンフィンガー

The chicken fingers seemed to follow a pattern:  Too greasy!  And they were not very flavorful.  



細切り牛肉とアボカドのトスターダス

However, the chopped beef and avocado tostadas were delectable and the highlight of the evening!  Still, a traditional Mexican tostada comes topped with frijoles (beans), that’s why I don’t like tostadas.  So although I was very pleased with these tostadas, they weren’t really tostadas.
We were quite full after taste-testing the aforementioned dishes, and decided to call it a night, when the waiter, with a theatrical flourish, set ablaze a plate of beef fajitas (1650 yen) right before our eyes (and everyone’s sitting at the counter), and delivered it to the couple across from us.  This did look tantalizing, and made me wish that I had ordered that first!  Then I saw something that I had never seen before:  People picking up tortillas with tongs.  This may be common among many people, but I’m Mexican-American by descent, and I have never used tongs to pick up a tortilla, so this seemed very amusing to me. 
I noticed that as we were dining, the restaurant started filling up little by little. By the time we were finished with our meal, the place was completely full and customers were waiting outside to get in.  Despite the food, this place is popular!
The restaurant irked me in one other the way:  The restrooms!
If a restaurant has separate restrooms for men and women, they should clearly be labeled so, either in English or Japanese.  Gladio decided to use the same design but with differing colors on both of their restrooms; one red, one green.
This was problematic for me from the start as I am color blind, and in the low-lighted hallway it was difficult for me to see that there were actually two different colors.  Luckily, upon closer inspection, I could see the colors accurately, but I still didn’t know which color represented which gender, so I had to sheepishly ask (it’s green for men).  Am I the only one in Sendai who did not know this?
Oh, did I mention the table charge?  300 yen per person, which isn’t really much.
Because of the youthful, energetic atmosphere, my wife and I really enjoyed our time at Gladio, unfortunately we didn’t enjoy the food so much.  Gladio is part of a corporation, and besides St. Marc, I’ve yet to find a corporate restaurant that is worth revisiting, so this seems par for the course.
You may enjoy this restaurant much more than we did, but we see no reason for going back.  When we want Mexican food, we’ll head over to our favorite, Casa del Sol.


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Montana モンタナ 022-376-6444


Address:  仙台市泉区福岡字森下2-3.   Located way out in the boonies on the way to Izumigatake and Spring Valley Ski Resort on Route 223.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Open weekdays from 11 am till 7 pm, weekends and holidays open till 9 pm.  Closed Tuesdays.
Upon returning from a recent snowboarding trip to Spring Valley, my good friends, Yvonne and Fong, and I stopped by the Montana restaurant.  I heard about this famed American restaurant some time ago, and had visited once before a few years before I started my blog.
From the log cabin architecture and the Pontiac Trans Am in the parking lot, to the interior rich with Americana artifacts, this place so reminded me of my homeland.


Sitting near the wood-burning stove added an additional sense of coziness and warmth.
But my companions and I were starving, and although we enjoyed the atmosphere, we wanted to dig into some good-ole American grub!
We started off with an order of french fries (682 yen), which were actually thick potato wedges.  Crispy on the outside and seasoned just right!  Although, they seemed to be oven baked rather than fried, this was a plus as they were not the least bit greasy.  What a great way to start a meal!

フレンチフライ

Following the fries, came the Big Burger Sandwich (1312 yen w/drink), and true to its word, it was BIG!  Vonnie and I would have been better off had we shared one sandwich as we originally had planned, that’s how big it was.   However, it was mostly the romaine and iceberg lettuce that added to its size, along with the thick slices of bread, and not the amount of beef. The hamburger patty itself was quite flavorful, but I would’ve preferred to have it cooked just a little more thoroughly.

バーガーBIGサンド

Next came the Cowboy Rice (945 yen), which we ordered out of curiosity.  “What the hell is Cowboy Rice?” was the question being asked at our table, where two of the three diners were American born and bred.  According to the menu, this dish is a Montana original mix of chili, cheese, and rice.  To be honest, I didn’t have my glasses with me at the time, and had I read that it had cheese, I would have passed on it.  But after sampling a couple of spoonfuls, I would also recommend that you pass on it, too!  No flavor whatsoever.  It seemed as if they opened a can of Hormel chili beans and put it on top of the rice.  If this is what the cowboys ate, no wonder there ain’t many left.

カウボーイライス

Because our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs, we finished off our American-style feast with the Max platter of spareribs (2940 yen).  In my opinion, spareribs should be so tender that you can separate the meat from the bone with a fork, and then let the succulent beef or pork melt in your mouth.  
Well, I had to use a knife.  And, I had to chew… a lot.
Although the barbeque sauce was delicious, these were not the finger-licking spareribs I remember from home.

スペアリブステーキ

One thing I found interesting, in a good way, was the coffee that came with the hamburger set we had chosen.  I normally do not care for flavored coffees, but Montana’s coffee had what I believe to be a hint of cocoa, which was enjoyable.
Overall, I think you should try Montana if you are in the area, but I wouldn’t drive out of my way for a meal here.  My normal-eater friends were in agreement with me on this.
The next time I’m returning from Spring Valley, I would definitely want to stop in Montana for their tasty Big Burger, fries, and coffee, but that’s about it.

An old photo from a few years ago of the Chili con Carne.   More like a can of Hormel Chili.





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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck - This weekend: Jan. 24 - 26, 2014

Website:  http://happy-happy.jp/index.html

To read a previous post on this mouthwatering melon pan, please click HERE.

This weekend, Friday, January 24th till Sunday, January 26th, the Happy Happy truck will be parked on Chuo-dori in front of Daiei Department Store.

This is the fifth month in a row that the luscious melon pan truck has come to Sendai.
Let's hope it's a monthly ritual!

See you there!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Brother Ken ブラザー軒 022-222-1171

Website:  http://brother-ken.com/history/history.html

Address:  仙台市青葉区一番町4-2-20.   Located between Hirose-dori and Jozenji-dori.  Walking down Ichibancho from Hirose-dori, turn right down the side street when you hit the 7-11 on your left-hand side, and the picture of Marilyn Monroe on the right.  Brother Ken will be on your right-hand side.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Open from 11:30 am till 8 pm, but lunch is till 2 pm.  Closed Thursdays and holidays.
Like many of you, I’ve walked by the area between Hirose-dori and Jozen-ji dori a thousand times, but I never noticed this restaurant, which is surprising since this restaurant has been in existence for over 100 years.
Brother Ken, which specializes in Chinese cuisine, was recommended to me recently by my student, Chiaki, who seems to know a thing or two about fine dining.  
Upon entering, it appears as if you are in a hotel lobby rather than a restaurant, as there are no noticeable restaurant-style chairs or tables in view, but instead sofas and coffee tables.  The hostess guided my wife and me to a small room in the rear with about seven tables.  As we were escorted to our table, I noticed a separate dining room, as well as a staircase leading up and down, giving the impression that this restaurant is quite spacious.
Whilst perusing the menu, disappointment was soon met for a couple of reasons:  
1) The primary lunch set, which consisted of pork, was sold out.
2) The secondary lunch set, which was not sold out, consisted of fish.
This was fine with my seafood-loving wife, but this severely limited my options.  The a la carte menu offered a vast array of dishes, so I considered ordering the karage chicken (840 yen) and perhaps a side platter to go with it, but I knew the cost of ordering two separate dishes would not only up the price, but may not be worth it as I am not a big eater.
Luckily for me, I am married to a very kind and thoughtful lady.  She said, “How about if we order the third lunch set (1575 yen) and you order the karage chicken, then we just split everything?”
I love you, baby!
The lunch set my better half had chosen came with a choice of yakisoba or Chinese noodles, hors d’ oeuvre, a Chinese dumpling, fried spring rolls, and a dessert.  My wife asked for the yakisoba.
The hors d’ oeuvre was a tangy mix of pork and salad.  While the portion size was rather small, it was quite appetizing.


令菜

The karage chicken was tender and full of flavor, although the breaded-battered coating could have been just a bit crispier.  Still, I was quite satisfied.


鶏の唐揚げ

The yakisoba serving was generous and tasted quite nice, despite the hint of a seafood taste.  No wonder, as shrimp and squid were added in the mix.     


五目焼きそば

The fried spring rolls were OUTSTANDING!  I broke apart a bit of the fried wrapping and I found it to be super crispy and savory in its own right.  The succulent flavorings of the ingredients inside just made it all the more delicious!  The accompanying Chinese dumpling was quite large and also scrumptious!  I would have gladly requested another order of this platter had I a bigger appetite.


焼売と春巻

I didn’t touch the desert that came with the lunch set, as it didn’t look too appealing to me, but my wife enjoyed it.

デザート

In fact, she stated, “I would definitely come back here again!”  
So, in a nutshell, that about says it all.  
In addition to their Chinese dishes, Brother Ken also offers a variety of curries, omelets, and desserts.
I’ve mentioned this restaurant to a number of Sendai-ites who have heard good things about it.  I don’t think you would go wrong dining at Brother Ken.


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Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy Happy Melon Pan: Dec. 13 - 15, 2013

Click HERE for a past post.

A late reminder that the Happy Happy Melon Pan truck will be in front of Daiei from today, Friday, December 13th thru Sunday, December 15th.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

65th Tōhoku University Festival 第65回東北大学祭 022-795-7849

Access:  It’s roughly about a fifteen-minute bus ride from Sendai Station, but it would be best to look at the following website for the various bus routes.  Not far from the Sendai International Center.
Runs Saturday, November 2nd, 9 am till 7 pm, and Sunday, November 3rd, 9 am till 6 pm.
Sorry that this is a little late, considering that by the time you read this the first day of this festival has already past.  But at least you have Saturday and Sunday to head down to an interesting foodie event, as well as lots of entertainment.
My wife and I stumbled upon this event two years ago while out for a drive after lunch, and we were disappointed that we had eaten before finding so many interesting goodies at this festival.
On that day, I managed to make room for a Malaysian (actually, I forgot what country’s dish this was) crepe filled with a peanut paste that was quite delicious!  

Malaysian (?) Peanut Crepe (?)


And from a different food stand a small, yet delightful plate of baked apple slices!

Baked Apple Slices

But the campus was teeming with tents offering sooo many other tantalizing treats!  And so it seems that the tradition continues this year!
I counted 78 different food options available at this year’s festival!  Too numerous for me to go into detail.  But even a picky eater like me is sure to find something that would please my palate.
And the atmosphere of the festival was so 懐かしい, as the youth and exuberance of university life reminded me of hectic, yet fun-filled college days.  Damn, I’m getting old.
Go on an empty stomach with lots of change in your pocket and I’m sure you’ll enjoy a day full of fascinating flavors and engaging entertainment!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck-This weekend!

Website:   http://happy-happy.jp/about/index.html

To read a previous post on this melon pan, please click HERE.
Just to let you know that from Friday, October 25th to Sunday, October 27th, the scrumptious Happy Happy Melon Truck is returning to its spot in front of Daiei Department Store just one month after its last visit.

This truck full of goodness usually waits three to four months before a return engagement, so I'm surprised and delighted that I'll be able to devour their hot, fresh melon pan.

I'll see you there!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kau Kau Hawaiian Kitchen カウカウハワイアンキッチン 022-796-2556

Website:  http://hawaiian-kaukau.net/top

Address:  仙台市青葉区一番町2-7-3日泉ビル2F.   Located on Ichibancho between Aoba-dori and Minamimachi-dori, closer to the latter.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Lunchtime is from 11 am to 1:30 pm, but open till 4:30 pm, and reopened from 6:30 pm till 10 pm.
Today, while heading down Ichibancho to a tried and true meal at CoCo’s Curry, I stumbled upon a new scene, a Hawaiian scene.  What caught my eye was the tantalizing egg, bacon, and pancake set advertised on their outside blackboard.  
Could this be true?  An American-style breakfast?  
I had to forgo my original plan and divert my grumbling stomach to the second floor of the 日泉Building where I found Kau Kau at the end of the hallway.
I’ve never traveled to Hawaii, so I don’t know what those islanders eat, but according to this restaurant. it’s pancakes!
Upon entering, I found a few Hawaiian leis, palm trees, and two TV monitors displaying sights of Hawaii, as well as the two waitresses wearing Hawaiian shirts making up the motif of this restaurant.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, when you enter any ethnic restaurant in Japan, you pretty much have to be willing to overlook a few (or a lot of) things.  So I considered what was done to create a Hawaiian atmosphere as cute, and decided to focus on the food.  
Maybe I should have stuck to praising the decorations.
Kau Kau offers a number of lunch sets that range from 700 yen to 900 yen (tax not included), which come with a salad, drink, rice or pancakes (some only with rice).  The variety of options include:  hamburger patty, garlic shrimp, SPAM, coconut cheese risotto, アヒアポ丼,and モチコチ chicken, though I have no idea what the Japanese means on the last two selections.
Although the hamburger patty and chicken lunch options did look tempting, I stayed true to course and went with the sunny-side up egg, bacon, and pancake set  (800 yen + tax) from their regular menu.
After ordering, I was directed to help myself to some salad, which I thought was a nice service.  There were two big fish-shaped wooden bowls filled with loads of iceberg lettuce (the cheap stuff) with an eensy-weensy bit of color in it, perhaps a shaving of carrots or red cabbage.  But I was starving and so I loaded up my plate.  The dressing was tangy with an unrecognizable, yet pleasing flavor.  Next to the dressing was a big bottle of Heinz 57 Ketchup.  Do Hawaiians put ketchup on their salads?
While waiting, little by little the restaurant started filling up.  I noticed when a plate of banana-chocolate pancakes was brought to a table nearby.  I didn’t want to stare but, at a glance, the two pancakes appeared to be quite big and topped off with a volcano of whipped cream, yet the platter also seemed to be lacking in the banana and chocolate portions. 
When my meal arrived, I immediately started fussing with my camera to take photos for this post.  Apparently, that was time well wasted as a couple of minutes later the first forkful that entered my mouth with lukewarm egg and bacon told me I should have gone with the first shot and then dove into the food.


ベーコン&サニーサイドアップパンケーキ

Hot breakfast food should be served very warm, not lukewarm, as it was in this case.  Luckily, the pancakes (actually, two halves of one big pancake) were served pippin' warm.   
Surprisingly, I was not given any syrup!  I don’t know if this was an oversight, but when I asked for it they didn’t apologize for not giving it to me originally.
Other than the serving temperature of the egg, I had no problem with it.  The bacon was Canadian bacon, limp yet tasty (no offense, Canadians) and not the traditional, crispy bacon served in America.
The pancakes were good, but not great.  Nothing wrong with them, but my local IHOP back in the States is much better.  In Sendai, more flavorful flapjacks can be found at Mitsubachi 38.
My platter also came with a salad that included a few more slivers of carrots and red cabbage, which made me wonder why they offer a free salad to begin with.
Kau Kau also provides a number of alcoholic and fluit (sic) beverages, if you so desire.  I also noticed Eggs Benedict at the bottom of the menu; a first in Japan.
Overall, this is not a bad meal; it’s just not a great one.  I’m tempted to return to try the hamburger patty and the chicken.  If you’re in the area and looking for something different, I think you should try Kau Kau and see for yourself.


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