Friday, June 29, 2012

Teddy’s Diner テディーズ ダイナー 022-223-9333

On my last visit sometime ago, the owner had told me that he was thinking of moving to a new location near the kencho, but I have not tried looking for it recently.
If you know any information, please let me know.
Until then, you can still read this post to see what you missed out on.
Oh, well.

Address:  宮城県仙台市青葉区一番町 4-3-3 KIビル2F.   On Hirose-dori across the street from Baskin-Robbins 31 Ice Cream.  Look for their emblem which is the Grateful Dead Teddy Bear sign.  

Map:  Scroll down to the bottom.
Open from 5 pm – ?:00 am.
Today my wife and I visited an old favorite.  We haven't been here in quite a few months and we desperately missed these burgers.   Unfortunately, Teddy’s is no longer open for lunch, which is when we most frequented this diner.   But today we hung around downtown just long enough for some first-rate grub.   

Although my wife used to always order the hot dog, we both went with the standard Teddy’s Burger (750 yen) with a side order of onion rings (500 yen).   

The onion rings, about ten or so, were fantastic!  No need for ketchup with these rings.  But because we were so hungry we devoured them before I remembered to take a picture.   Sorry about that.

Since Teddy's is currently a one-man operation, it took quite a while before our burgers came, but it was definitely worth the wait.  The hamburgers were great!  I cut off a piece of the meat patty to judge its quality, and it was delicious!  I wouldn’t have minded just a serving of meat patty.  The hamburgers came with a few fried potato wedges, which were salted to perfection. 

Teddy's Burger

However, there are a couple of things that if changed would make this place superb.  One is that the hamburger patty, though tasty, is rather small.  I’m not a big eater but the single patty hamburger was not enough to fill me up completely.  They used to offer an extra patty in their toppings menu, but I didn't notice it this time.  Another thing is that you have to order a drink with your meal.   My wife and I aren’t big on soft drinks and we often just drink water with our meals.  Having to order a beverage rubs me the wrong way just a bit.  Also, Teddy's Diner is not a smoke-free establishment, and since this is a small place it can be a bit bothersome if there are smokers present.

On the plus side Teddy’s menu lists a variety of burgers, hot dogs, shakes, and even tacos, as well as a wide range of alcoholic beverages.  If you're hungry and brave enough, check out the Mega Burger for 1980 yen!

A word of caution if you plan on visiting Teddy’s:  As we left, the owner told us that he's planning on moving to a location near the Kencho.   He doesn't know the exact date yet but he says the phone number should remain the same, so you may want to call ahead to find out if it’s still at the above address or not.  I will keep you updated as I find out more information. 
I'm adding Teddy's Diner to my Favorites list partly for nostalgic reasons.   I've shared some great food with great friends there over the years, and when I think of going to Teddy's it brings a smile to my face remembering those times.  If they were open for lunch, I would once again become the regular customer that I had been. 
If you happen to find yourself one evening hanging around Kokubuncho or the Disney Store and feel like a burger would be a great idea, head on down to Teddy’s.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Kame House Burger カメホウス ハンバーガー 374-5747


Address:  仙台市泉区中央1丁目22-1.   Located on Route 35, about a three-minute walk from Izumi Subway Station.
Map:  Scroll down to the bottom.
Weekdays lunch:  11:30 am – 2:45 pm.     
Weekdays dinner:  5:30 pm – 10:30 pm.
Sundays and Holidays:  11:30 am – 8:30 pm.   
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

A great, big “THANKS!” to blog reader Crawford who recommended this hamburger joint to me (read Comments of the Freshness Burger post).  You were spot on with this, Crawford!
Upon entering, I immediately got a kick out of the American-style décor and the 50’s rock n’ roll music livening up the place.  It sounded like they had stolen my iPod!
Looking at the menu you see that Kame House offers a wide selection of burgers starting at 750 yen.  Crawford suggested I try the Avocado Cheeseburger with Bacon, but instead I went with just a basic hamburger.  I guess it’s the picky eater in me but I really don’t care for other “stuff” on my hamburger (Sorry, Crawford).  I feel a good hamburger should stand on its own laurels and not need any other “stuff” in order to make it right.  I love avocado and I love bacon!  But I’ve never really cared for either of those on my burgers.  My twisted taste buds feel that these great singular flavors taint the wholesomeness of the burger.

Sure it looks like a plain, but that's all I need

My plain, basic hamburger was good … very good!  Everything tasted fresh.  I tried a piece of the meat patty by itself to see if it was appetizing enough to stand on its own.  This piece of patty possessed pleasant and palatable flavors!  The menu states that the Kame House chefs make their meat patties from a mixture of Australian and Wagyu beef, which must be the reasoning behind this great burger.
My wife went with a BLT (750 yen), and although I didn’t get to taste it, she stated that it was really delicious!   All platters come with French fries, which I think is a good value, but we also ordered some onion rings for the side (but at five for 280 yen, maybe not such a great value).


The fries were cut too thin for my textural liking, but there was nothing lacking in their taste: crisp and salted to perfection.  The onion rings, at first glance, didn’t seem too appetizing either, but to my surprise they were great!  I hold a similar sentiment between hamburgers, fries, and onion rings:  they should be flavorful enough to be enjoyed exclusively, without any needed flavor enhancers.   The onion rings, like the French fries, were delightful with or without ketchup.  I did find it a bit strange that they served the onion rings with a spicy salsa that, my wife and I both agreed, didn't really didn’t go well.
And since I’m complaining, another thing I didn’t like was the pickled carrot slice that was on my plate.  Again, I got caught judging a book by its cover, but this time it didn't go in my favor.  I thought it was just a regular, raw slice of carrot.  Imagine my surprise when I bit into it and realized that it was a pickled carrot!  
Hamburgers + pickles = Good!  
Hamburgers + pickled carrots = No, thank you! 

Onion Rings with weird Salsa

This restaurant offers a point card but upon close inspection it really isn’t worth much as you have to spend at least 4200 yen before you get a 100 yen discount.
Kame House is really easy to find on foot and has two parking spaces for those who drive.  If I lived in Izumi this place would definitely make my Favorites list as I would be a regular diner at this diner.  I highly recommend this eatery and am looking forward to my next trip to Izumi.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Oktoberfest in Sendai

Yodabashi Website:

Nishikichou Website: 
Download the flyer from the Outline page for a 100 yen coupon.

Guten abend!  As of tomorrow, June 10th, 2012, there will be two, yes count them, zwei Oktoberfest events in Sendai running simultaneously.

Every year Sendai hosts two Oktoberfests, a small one in June and a bigger one in September.  I usually visit the one in September and always enjoy the food and the atmosphere.  Last year was especially enjoyable as it was heart-warming to see so many locals letting their hair down and having a raucous good time despite the hell that was endured during the year.

It's always a bit pricey, but when you're in the mist of a rollicking good time you really don't mind paying a bit (or a lot) more.  If I remember correctly the price of the special platter of spare ribs, sausages, and sauerkraut was 2500 yen.  Would I want to pay that normally?  Of course not.  But was it worth it then?  Definitely!

Oktoberfest 2011 platter:  2500 円

This year it looks as if three Oktoberfests will come to Sendai, two of them this weekend.  As you may have gathered by now one event is being held on the second floor of the old Yodabashi Camera building behind Sendai Station (in case you haven't heard, there is a new Yodabashi Camera across the street).  As I was checking out cameras today I decided to saunter over to the old building for some sausages and saurkraut, and to soak in some of that Oktoberfest festive feeling.  Was I in for a surprise!

The entire second floor was filled with tables and benches.  A three-piece female band was playing German music (I think), and the booths selling beer, wine, and food lined up an entire side of the place.  However, there were only about ten people in the place.  I blame this on poor PR, for even the Yodabashi Camera staff inside didn't know anything about this event.  On the outside of the entrance to the new Yodabashi Camera there is a woman who is handing out coupons for this Oktoberfest, but inside some staff didn't know what I was talking about.
The Yodabashi Oktoberfest is open Mondays thru Fridays from 4 pm till 10 pm and on weekends from 11 am.  This event will run till September 2nd.

An empty beer hall

But plenty of beer

Nishikichou Koen is opening their Oktoberfest tomorrow and it will run till Sunday, June 17th.  Click on the "Location" link below for a map to this park. This event will probably be more festive then the Yodabashi site, but the big steins will come in September.  For a peak at that Oktoberfest, please look at the following site:

Just to let you know, since I passed on Yodabashi today, but still feeling in a German mood, I headed over to Brunenheim for another fantastic dinner!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Curry Shop Sakaiya カレーショップ酒井屋 022-227-7976

Address:  仙台市青葉区一番町2-4-17 ブルーリボンビル2F.   Located on Ichibancho between Aoba-dori and Minami-machi dori, about 50 meters from McDonald’s and on the opposite side.
Map:  Scroll down to the bottom.
Open:  Every day from 10:30 am to 9:30 pm.
If you’ve walked down this part of Ichibancho I’m sure you’ve seen this restaurant’s big, yellow, canopy sign staring down at you.  This mom & pop operation has been around for over 50 years, although I’m not sure whether the current mom & pop are the original mom & pop.  But they could be, as they have the demeanor of people who have been doing this same job, every single day, for their whole entire lives.  They weren’t mean to me, but nor were they what you would call friendly, either.  I think I’ve grown accustomed to the overly polite staff of Japanese restaurants who enthusiastically welcome you with a boisterous いらっしゃいませ!  That ain’t happening here, bud.   

But on to the food!  This curry house offers a number of curries including dry curries and some with brown rice, which seems to be one of their specialties.  Their set menus include a mini curry with a serving of soba.  
I went with the 中辛 chicken curry for 650 yen, which came with rice, a small cabbage salad and miso soup.  
The curry was just right, not too spicy where your mouth is burning but just spicy enough to get the sweat beads forming.  I was impressed by the amount of chicken that was in the curry, and by the wonderful taste!  I helped myself to some sweetened pearl onions and 福神漬け that were placed on the counters, and those flavors went nicely with the spices of the curry.

Chicken Curry

The miso soup was just okay, nothing special about it but at least they didn’t screw it up.

Fair to Middling Miso

Sakaiya also boasts of blending a variety of fresh juices including apple, carrot, and cabbage.  I felt a bit adventurous and tried the fresh apple juice (sad, really, when drinking apple juice becomes an adventure).  The apple juice was sweet, but not too sweet, and a bit foamy on top, which reminded me of an Orange Julius (anyone remember these in So. Cal?).

Fresh & Frothy Apple Juice

I enjoyed sitting by the window looking out on the pedestrian traffic walking along Ichibancho.  Actually, there aren’t a lot of seating options.  You either sit at the counter facing the window, or you sit at the counter not facing the window.  There are no tables.  Because of this feature, or lack there of, it appears that their demographic are students and salarymen, not couples looking for a romantic dinner (or someone who wants to sit at a table).  
I had always wanted to eat at Curry Shop Sakaiya, and I’m glad I did.  I walked out of their completely satisfied:  a good hearty meal for a reasonable price!  What more could anyone ask for?  Okay, maybe a table with some friendly conversation, but oh well.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of dough but want a decent meal, I recommend this curry shop.  It’s worth a try!

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck

Please read my previous posts on Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck HERE and HERE.

Location:  In front of Daiei Department Store on Chuo-dori.

Just a reminder that hot, fresh, mouth-watering melon pan will be available from tomorrow, Friday, June 8th till Monday, June 11th.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Current Info as of Saturday, June 2, 2012

Some quick news about current foodie events.  Baskin-Robbins 31 Ice Cream is running their Triple the Challenge campaign in which you can get a triple scoop of ice cream for the price of a double.  I believe that the small triple scoop is 400 yen while the regular size (which is supposed to be 1.5 times more ice cream) is 570 yen.  Add in a waffle cone for only 30 yen more.  I believe this campaign will run well into July, so no need to hustle over.
Today I tried their new Chocolate Oreo flavor and I think it will be my new “go-to” ice cream along with Rocky Road.  By the way, when I was a child my family referred to this ice cream shop as “31 Flavors,” but as a teenager my friends called it “Baskin-Robbins.”  What did you call it?  Seems like every Japanese person I’ve met refers to it as “31 Ice Cream.”

Another campaign that is currently running is Fujisaki Department Store’s Okinawa Fair, which I believe runs till June 5th.  Sure, every depato seems to run an Okinawa, Hokkaido, etc… fair every weekend, but the Okinawa Fair on the 7th floor of Fujisaki’s is quite extensive with samples of food (including マグロ), sake, and other tidbits!  Plus, I found one of my favorite desserts:  fritters!!!  Okay, that’s what I call them.  When I was a boy there was a local buffet style restaurant named Sir George’s.  I only ate there a few times but I still remember the wonderful taste of their sweet, corn fritters.  Well, there’s an Okinawan specialty called サーターアンダギー that’s almost exactly the same as what I remember at Sir George’s.   Actually, they are nothing more than fried, brown sugar doughnut balls, but I love’em!


Preparing マグロ(tuna) sashimi.  The sample was delicious!

And the big news … the Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck will return to Daiei NEXT WEEKEND, Friday, June 8th till Monday, June 11th!  I actually dropped the ball in March and missed them when they last came around, so I’ll definitely be making a trip downtown next weekend.  
Hope you enjoy these current finds!