Sunday, May 29, 2016

UPDATE: Natu-Lino Gelateria ナチュリノ・ジェラート 022-397-8235

Please read my previous post about Natu-Lino HERE.
Address:  宮城県名取市飯野坂字南沖93-1.   Located just off of Route 4 near the AEON Town/MAX Foods in Natori.  Or about a 15-minute walk from the Morisekinoshita JR Station (taking the Sendai Airport Access Line).
Map:  Scroll down below.
Open everyday except Thursdays, from 10 am to 6 pm.

This bump up to my FAVORITES LIST is way overdue, but since I’ve made well over a dozen visits in just over three months, I thought I should finally write this post.
How heavenly delicious is Natu-Lino gelato?  
Well, I no longer care for Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors Ice Cream.   It now tastes bland to me.  And I used to love the Rocky Road and Oreo Cookies N’ Cream at 31 Flavors (that’s what I was brought up calling it)!
I visited the lusciously, creamy Natu-Lino yet again today, and because I’ve been loyally using their stamp card, I received a free single cup of gelato!  
For every 500 yen spent, you receive one stamp.   On the tenth stamp, you receive one single cup.  On the twentieth stamp, you receive a 500 yen coupon.  With the hot summer approaching, I’m sure it won’t take me long to obtain that.
I’m happy to see that this place is always busy, as a few times the line has been out the door and into the parking lot (though service is quite quick!).
Here are a couple of new flavors that they’ve added since my last post.
Tomato Sherbet
Coconut Milk
Soy Milk Banana
Pineapple Sherbet
Despite these unique flavors, picky me still sticks with my Double Chocolate.  Unfortunately, my wife’s favorite of Banana-Milk Chocolate is either not made or often sold out, so she'll also order the same as I do.

W チョコ

A helpful tip:  Because gelato is not served as cold as regular ice cream, it melts quite quickly.   Although the cone served here is quite tasty, I’ve encountered, shall we say, “problems” with the gelato melting much faster than I could consume it.   I’ve been sticking with ordering a double scoop in cups since it’s started warming up.  You should be safe with a cone when ordering a single scoop.
Again, I have to graciously thank my good friend, Michael Martin, for turning me on to this place.   His photography work graces the well-decorated interior of this shop.

A brief sampling of my friend's work

I hope you enjoy this gelato as much as I have!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Public House – Tagajo パブリック ハウス 022-309-5503

Address:  宮城県多賀城市中央2-4-3, 多賀城駅北ビルA棟3F.   Located on the 3rd floor on the Tagajo Public Library adjacent to the Tagajo JR Train Station.

Map:  Scroll down below.

Open 11 am till 10 pm, with Lunch Time until 5 pm.

After a side trip to nearby sites in Tagajo, my wife and I decided to grab a bite to eat at the newly opened Public House restaurant in the newly opened Tagajo Public Library (click HERE for more info).

The library itself has received a lot of press lately, and rightfully so, as it is an attractive looking building that is quite stylishly decorated and spaciously laid out inside.  A Starbucks, Family Mart, and Tsutaya bookstore are on the first floor, and the open-spaced restaurant is located on the third floor.

Although there were not a lot of platters to choose from on the menu, I was fortunate enough to find something that peaked my interest and decided upon the Yocchan Nanban Chicken BBQ Plate, (1050 yen), while my less-picky better half went with the Shrimp & Hokkaido Potato Genovese Pasta (980 yen) which came with two slices of a baguette.   I also requested an order of focaccia bread for an additional 100 yen, but was informed that they had already sold out of focaccia, but that they would substitute baguette slices if it was okay with me.  I agreed. 

When the platter arrived, I was quite impressed with the voluminous size of the chicken, as I was expecting a much smaller piece.  The chicken itself was tender enough, but seemed to rely on the flavor of the barbeque sauce, which seemed to grow on me.  As I slowly devoured the poultry piece, I enjoyed the taste more and more.  By the end of the meal, I was quite satisfied with the flavor.

Another bonus was the potato-ish clump that accompanied the chicken.   I asked what it was, and was told it was a potato galette; potatoes mashed, buttered, peppered, and baked.  This was quite tasty indeed, and went well with the barbequed chicken.


The underlying salad wasn’t much to speak of, as it was mainly chopped iceberg lettuce with a few slices of tomato and radish mixed in with a drop of salad dressing.  Still, it gave the opportunity to have a change of taste and refresh the palette.

The baguette slices were served at room temperature, which I thought they should have been heated.   But when I asked for butter, the restaurant was quite generous in its serving.

The one thing that I just noticed while writing this post was that the menu stated "with rice."  I didn't receive any rice.  Hmm.  You might want to watch out for this.

My wife was very satisfied with her pasta and stated that the basil seasoning that was added was quite delicious.  For an extra 200 yen she ordered a hot coffee that she enjoyed.


Here are a few photos of the menu.

I don’t think I would go out of the way for this restaurant, but if I lived in the neighborhood or were making a visit to one of the numerous sites in Tagajo (History Museum, cherry blossoms, iris flower festival, Kirin Beer Factory tour, Sendai Outlet Mall, or aquarium), I would recommend a meal at the Public House.  I know I will be going back there on my next excursion to Tagajo.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Yakiniku Rose Garden 焼肉ローズガーデン 022-267-1710

Address:  仙台市青葉区国分町2−8−12KビルB1F.  Located across the street from the Don Quixote store on Bansui-dori, about an eight-minute walk from either the Kotodai-koen or Hirose-dori Subway Stations.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Open every day from 6 pm till 2:30 am.
I thought this place was legendary in Sendai, as all my friends seemed to be regulars when I first ate here some fifteen years ago.  At the time it was always the “go to” place when you wanted to get your grub on along with a nomihoudai for a reasonable price.  But while helping to organize an impromptu night out with friends last week, I was surprised that most of my long-time Sendai-living companions had never even heard of Rose Garden.
So perhaps, I thought, neither have you.
It had been at least five years since my last visit to this basement dwelling, so I was hoping that things hadn’t changed.
They haven’t.
The Rose Garden, back in the day, was known for its famed party course, which we partook in just the other night.  
For 3410 yen, nine dishes of various meats and vegetables for grilling, Japanese-style kimuchi, salad, along with a two-hour nomihoudai were served throughout the night.
Sorry, I was so focused on the friendly, free flowing conversations that I forgot to take photos of all the plates that were brought to our table, but here are a few.

Vegetables galore!  (We actually waited till the end to grill these)

This may have been pork ... or beef.

Chicken bits

Marinated pork and beef

Is your mouth watering?

It's Sendai, so it's got to be gyutan!

Although this was not a tabehoudai, with the amount of food that was brought to our table, it sure seemed like one.  A couple of my friends also ordered a bowl of rice which was free of charge, but most of us dedicated ourselves to devouring as much protein as we could.
I asked my friends after the frenzied feast what they thought about their first experience at Rose Garden, and all seemed to be thoroughly satisfied.  Our main complaint was with the dim lighting conditions inside the restaurant, as it made it difficult to see whether or not the meat was properly cooked.
The salad was the first item to be brought to our table, and a few of my friends mentioned how good it tasted.   And this is a charcoal-grill yakiniku restaurant, which is supposed to be superior to gas-grill establishments.
Rose Garden offers a variety of party courses (which can be viewed when you click HERE) and you can also order individual food items off the menu, but I would imagine that’s a bit pricier.  The good thing about Rose Garden party courses is that only two people are necessary to be considered a party.
I highly recommend making reservations ahead of time, as this place seems to be still be quite popular.  Also, check to see if there is a coupon available for an extra plate of meat.  I failed to see this beforehand.  Click HERE for the coupon page.
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced yakiniku night out with your friends, it would be hard to beat dining at the Rose Garden.