Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck: This Weekend?


To read a previous post, please click HERE.

Unfortunately, the Happy Happy Melon Pan website is not listing this weekend's schedule, but I believe that they will be in front of Daiei sometime this weekend.

I hope I'm right!

Happy Eating!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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