Musings of a Gaijin MD

Life in Japan as a Foreign Doctor

Lavender-Take 2 September 21, 2012

Filed under: Food,Sightseeing — GaijinMD @ 2:18 PM
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Since I missed the high season of lavender last year, I barely managed to return again this year in August.  Since it was the end of the season, I was only able to visit 1 farm that had about 2 plots of flowers of which lavender was one of the various types grown.  While the colors were beautiful, I had a grand time with the lavender ice cream (again) and trying lavender lemonade.  The lemonade was surprisingly good; it tasted more like a “fragrant” lemonade.  While I was initially afraid that the lavender may overpower all other tastes, I am happy to say that it did not.

Lavender ice cream: thumbs up

Lavender lemonade: thumbs up  🙂

 

That’s a Hairy Crab May 29, 2012

Filed under: Food — GaijinMD @ 10:19 AM
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On a recent trip to the local fish market (nice although nothing compared to the quintessential Tokyo fish market), my family and I tried the local steamed crabs.  In addition to the larger size in comparison to the standard US “large” crabs, it was also very hairy.  Yes, my friend, hairy.  If we weren’t so busy trying to dig out the meat, we probably would’ve been more disconcerted.  As it was, the crab was easily the best I’ve ever had.  The meat was so sweet and juicy that no sauce (not even butter) was needed to savor it.  Needless to say, the table was silent as we concentrated on our treasure hunt.

 

Pizza Heaven December 18, 2011

Filed under: Food — GaijinMD @ 12:34 AM

I just had the most amazing pizza outside of Italy today.  I’m not kidding; the first and last time I had such a wonderful pizza was when I was in Rome.  Today, I ordered the “Romana” pizza which consisted of cherry tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, and basil.  Besides the wonderful taste of it with the perfect amounts of toppings with cheese and tomato sauce, the crust was to die for.  It was a thin crust a la traditional Italian style that was cooked in a stone fire oven.  I can’t believe it took me half a year before discovering this restaurant.

As a bonus, the couple sitting next to my table (about half a foot away) spoke English so I even felt like I was part of a “group” where I understood the conversation around me.   😉

 

Ice Cream + Liquor September 25, 2011

Filed under: Food — GaijinMD @ 11:26 PM
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In line with my recent dessert posting, I also experienced another form of dessert several weeks ago.  I’ve had ice cream before and liquor before but never together.  At this particular eclectic sweets restaurant, everyone’s order comes with a cup of soft vanilla ice cream.  Each order then includes 2 flavors of liquor and optional crepe, yogurt, and ground coffee beans.

Since I was in a party of 3, we could pick a total of 6 liquor flavors, some of which included mango, blueberry, and tea.  One of the servers proceeded to teach us how to eat it.  You take one spoonful of ice cream, rest your spoon on the top of your cup (special ridge for placement of the spoon on the cup), pour several drops of liquor on your spoon, and then eat.  You can put as much (or little) liquor on the ice cream as you want.  Since I had to drive later, I only tried a minimal amount of each type of liquor so that I could sample them before I gobbled up the crepe, yogurt, and coffee toppings.

After the ice cream, we each got a cookie shaped in different animals: koala, frog, and dog + bone (which was mine).  I can’t believe that someone actually created these miniature cookies in such great detail.

I can’t wait to go to this restaurant again when I don’t have to drive so I can sample the liquor more generously.

 

It’s All about the Chocolate

Filed under: Food,Sightseeing — GaijinMD @ 10:54 PM
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Given that there’s been some gorgeous weather this week, I decided to visit one of the chocolate factories in Japan.  This particular factory is housed in a warehouse >100 years old with surrounding structures built in the European style.  Several buildings comprise this semi- “amusement park,” including the factory itself, clock tower, rose garden, and miniature houses for children to play.

A tour of the factory included a history of chocolate with a demonstration of how chocolate was made, the different boxes and packaging from the 1800’s in Europe, European china for hot chocolate, the cookie production line, and ended with chocolate fondue—all for me.  🙂  Gorgeous weather, beautiful scenery, and chocolate: how can life get any better?  Yummy…

 

Soup Curry September 19, 2011

Filed under: Food — GaijinMD @ 10:29 PM
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Japanese curry is quite a popular dish.  One derivative of it, soup curry, contains more broth and is more “watery.”  In many restaurants, it is their primary dish.  When first ordering, you have to decide which type of soup base you want.  Many places only have 1 choice while others may have either the traditional curry soup base or a tomato base.  Next, you can decide what type of “meat” you want, i.e. chicken, pork, or seafood; vegetarian is an option.  Then, you can pick how spicy you want it with options ranging from not spicy to eye-watering.  As for rice, you can (sometimes) choose between white or brown rice, and you can choose the size of the rice.

I have also recently discovered the goodness of lassi (don’t know how I didn’t know of it beforehand).  It is such a great way to temper the spiciness of the curry as I sometimes overestimate my spiciness-threshold.

 

Ippudo!!! September 18, 2011

Filed under: Food — GaijinMD @ 10:42 PM
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My love affair with tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen started several years ago in NYC when my friend introduced me to this sinfully rich, creamy broth at Ippudo.  I had been on the hunt to find its equal but have been unsuccessful until today.  I recently found out that the Ippudo in NYC is actually from a chain of Ippudo’s in Japan.  When I found out that the city I’m living in currently has an Ippudo, part of me went to heaven.  Today, I finally went in for a bowl of the tonkotsu ramen; I think I actually melted from all the goodness.  (Nevermind that the sodium and fat content is up the whazoo so that I’m liable to go into CHF exacerbation right after my MI… but a person’s gotta enjoy)  And so the affair continues…