Saturday, August 16, 2008
Tokyo Food Roundup
Kimberly and I have been in Tokyo this week, where I've been visiting with our Tokyo engineering team. We were both a bit apprehensive about the eating situation, as we have somewhat "selective" taste in food (I don't eat vegetables and very little fish, Kimberly doesn't eat mammals). In San Francisco, we're well-served by Yelp, which lets us avoid any bad food experiences, but unfortunately, they don't cover Tokyo. So, I figured I'd review some of our food experiences:
7-eleven has been a staple of our Tokyo eating, especially for breakfast. After careful, scientific experimentation, we've determined that the best combination is 1 Starbucks Espresso Milano coffee drink and 2 halfway-covered-in-chocolate donuts per person. Kimberly was also a big fan of the shrimp rice ball (triangle of rice with a shrimp inside, all wrapped in seaweed), which was versatile enough to cover all mealtimes.
We've checked out some AM-PMs as well, but they just don't compare.
Mochi Cream appears to be relatively new (at least their web site is). They display their various flavored-filling mochi balls much like a high-end chocolate shop, and serve them frozen so you have to wait for them to thaw. The outer shell appears to be that of a standard mochi ball, but the inside is filled with flavored creams. Our favorite was the raspberry, though the chocolate banana was also quite tasty. There's one in the east-west passage at Akihabara station, and apparently also Tokyu plaza just west of Shibuya station.
I don't think this would do well in the US though - not nearly enough sugar. Also a bit pricey at 200+ Yen per ball.
Can't find a good link/map for this one, in Shimo-kitazawa. Both the restaurant (an izakaya) and neighborhood are fantastic. Laid back, not as crowded/touristy as the neighborhoods inside the Yamanote line, and just a really great vibe. Head south from the station, and take a right at Mister Donut - should be a wall of shrubs along the right hand side of the narrow street.
The restaurant itself was packed and very lively. In nearly a week and a half in Tokyo, this was the only place we went that had us take off our shoes. They do have an English menu ("eego-menu"), which is always comforting - the fried shrimp from the "favorites" list on the back of the menu was fantastic.
Speaking of Mister Donut, we checked one out in Shinjuku one evening - very disappointing. Far too chewey - almost a bit stale. We tried a green one, thinking it would be green tea, but ended up convinced that it was a seaweed donut. Blech.
Tokyu Food Show
In the basement underneath Shibuya station is the Tokyu Food Show - envision an entire floor of a deparment store devoted to take-out food. Sadly, it's apparently inappropriate to eat there, so you can't really sample as you go. For some reason, we didn't take pictures, but it's just absolutely overwhelming. There was a dessert place with a name like "Origines Cicao" or something that had a crazy delicious raspberry chocolate cake. Mmm..
One thing that was really impressive was the care they take in packing up your food, particularly the desserts. They put spacers into the box to hold everything in place, and then add disposable freezer packs to keep everything cold.
Went to the one at Shibuya station. Meh - tastes about the same as at home, but no flavored fillings and no chocolate covered puffs.
More to come...
posted by John Harding @ 8:23 PM