Friday, November 23, 2012

Weekly Update: November 22, 2012

Again, no weight gain despite the recent, massive, pigging-out.  I’ll post about four recent and exceptional meals.
First, my late birthday dinner at Pastime in Nagamachi.  I again went with the beef boiled in red wine and, again, it was amazing.  Unfortunately, again, it was the petite serving and not a super-sized version.  
The large, fifteen different vegetables, green salad (700 yen) tasted fresh and, compared to the size of the beef platter, was quite generous.  The dressing was tangy and tasty.


But back to the beef:  The mouthwatering, microscopic meat morsels.  Delicious but dainty.  The accompanying veggies were cooked to perfection and with the red wine sauce this was truly magnificent.  If this had been a satisfactory sized serving, Pastime would make my Favorites list in a heartbeat.  On flavor alone, it does deserve this recognition, but due to its proportions I just can’t upgrade it.

Beef Boiled in Red Wine

My wife ordered a fish platter and kept saying 「おいしいいいいいいいい!」after almost every bite.  

Fish of the Day

After easily devouring the beef, I ordered a Margherita pizza to satisfy my hunger.  But to my disappointment I discovered that pizza is not Pastime’s strong point.  Though edible and quite enjoyable, it does not compare to the authentic offerings of Amo La Pizza.  I would have been better off ordering a second meat entrée for just a few yen more.

Margherita Pizza

Secondly, came the fabulously fattening pancake lunch at Pancake & Café 38 Mitsubachi.  On this day I introduced this restaurant to a dear friend of mine and we both waddled out of there stuffed and satisfied.
I went with the lunch special selection of hamburger patty in tomato sauce with salad, drink, dessert, and three buttermilk pancakes (1280 yen).  As a kid who had the rare opportunity to visit an IHOP, I learned right away that hot cakes can turn into cold, unappealing cakes in a blink of an eye, so I dug into the pancakes immediately and found them to be light, fluffy, and delicious.    The hamburger patty was appetizing though, as an American, found it strange that it came on the same plate as the pancakes.
**The following photos from the pancake shop were not taken by me, but were taken by my friend who ... A) has a better camera than I do, or B) has a better photographic eye.   I hate to admit it but I think it's B.

Hamburger / Pancake Lunch Set

The salad was good but nothing special, but I never touched the yogurt dessert that came with the platter.
My friend surprised me by ordering the ten-layer pancake special for 1500 yen.  Yet, I was not surprised when my friend couldn’t even finish half of it.  Though the pancakes are rather small, this mountain of goodness would be good for two very good-eaters, or three normal eaters to share.  Thankfully, the kind staff gave us a doggy bag with the remaining pancakes and informed us that thirty seconds in the microwave would revive them to good as new.

Ten-high Pancake Stack (w/o butter?)

Next, came today’s company lunch at La Gita.  The staff was so impressed with our previous visit that we felt it was necessary to acquaint the absentee associates from our last luncheon to this shining star in Shiogama.
I had my heart set on the ham with ricola pizza, but unfortunately, the pizza of the day was octopus.  I switched to the non-tomato sauced based, sliced bologna with fresh tomato and arugula pizza.  The bologna, when tasted by itself, was very delicious, yet seemed to lose its identity when combined with the pizza crust, perhaps due to the bologna's thinness.

モルタデッラ:  Bologna w/o Tomato Sauce. Oops, took a slice too soon.

Still, it was very good and everyone seemed to agree that La Gita offers a first-rate pizza and the best in Shiogama.

メランシャーネ: with Eggplant

But let me backtrack to the salad for a moment.  This time I did notice that the dressing on the salad was merely olive oil and that, true to my friend’s suggestion, pepper should have been added.

And lastly, this evening’s fantastic fare at Bistro Ampoule.  Tonight, I tried something new and went with the a la carte fried chicken, but this definitely wasn’t your neighborhood KFC recipe.
The outer skin was thin, crispy, and peppery.  The chicken meat was soft and delectable.  What amazed me was that each individual vegetable, from the potato, to the eggplant, and even the sweet potato, seemed to be cooked in separate seasonings.  I really don’t believe that they were prepared separately, and it was probably due to the fact that each veggie carried its own flavor stamp, yet it still seemed that the seasoning on each vegetable was unique, which made for a wonderful dining experience.

プール・ソワール Chicken

My wife ordered “A” set dinner special and chose the fish carpaccio for the appetizer and shrimp pasta with tomato sauce as the entrée.   She loved it all!  The carpaccio was quite plentiful so I indulged in the salad portion of it and found the tangy dressing to be terrific.    My wife loved it all and praised the chef over and over again for the amazing meal.

Carpaccio Appetizer

Shrimp in Tomato Sauce Pasta

Oh, I forgot. Last weekend we ordered take-out from Amo La Pizza for the second time within a month, both times with the lovely miso dressed Genki Salad.   Of course, Amo treated us exceptionally well and I expect we'll be taking out again the next time the weather is weary. 
I’ll try and post about a new restaurant soon, but until then hopefully this update will lead you to some great restaurants that I’ve reviewed before.  
Have a great holiday weekend!

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