I don’t remember exactly who told us about Frederick four years ago shortly after moving from Denver to Baltimore, but it had to do with a very good restaurant named Volt. We went and loved both the restaurant and the historic town center and have been going back to visit about every two months since then. Frederick is very foodie friendly with many good to excellent restaurants and food shops. Our favorite restaurants are Volt, Isabella’s, and Brewers Alley. Volt is a place for fine dining and since the chef, Brian Voltaggio, was on Top Chef’s season 6, it’s been hard to get in to this restaurant. He came close to winning, but his brother Michael took the top prize. You can try to get a reservation one month ahead if you want to get a table. They do however have brunch on Saturdays and Sundays that if you don’t have reservations you can get into the bar and lounge for a meal on a first come, first serve basis. I love the market fresh salads Brian conjures up. He sources many items from the farms nearby for freshness and quality. Everything we have ever ordered has been great. One of our favorite dishes is the Young Chicken with sunchokes and black trumpet mushrooms. The home made breads are great too, but be careful not to eat too much so you save room for the main dish.
Isabella’s is a Spanish themed tapas type restaurant that doesn’t crash your bank account to eat well. I have eaten at many tapas restaurants since moving to Maryland and put Isabella’s near the top just a hair behind Jaleo in DC. Isabel’s is open for breakfast Sat-Sunday 8am to 11 am, and lunch Mon-Saturday 11:30 to 3:30 with excellent express lunch options for those in a hurry. Dinner is Mon-Thursday 4pm to 10pm and Fri-Saturday 4 to 10 pm. Sunday dinner is 3 pm to 8pm. We always order ala carte and get the Papas Bravas a wonderful potato dish with a thick chili tomato sauce that has just the right amount of spice. We usually get the Paella of the day too. The Paella unlike most places that make it actually has enough saffron in it. Since saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world a lot of restaurants cheat by putting turmeric in the Paella with little or no saffron. Another one of our favorite tapas is the Artichoke and Crab with Saffron Butter. Wow is this a winner. Crab and artichokes go together great but when you add saffron butter it takes it to a whole new level of flavor explosion. The service is always good at Isabella’s and food usually comes out of the kitchen quite soon after ordering unless you order a Paella that is not the Paella of the day. That takes about 25 minutes to make one of these. I’d like to try the one with black rice someday soon.
Brewer’s Alley is a brew pub type restaurant we hit when we want good old American food that’s affordable and delicious. They always have several good specials to choose from and good soups too.
There are a couple of good candy/chocolate shops to check out if you go to Frederick. Candy Kitchen, 52 N Market St has been around for over 110 years satisfying sweet needs. This is a good choice for many but if you want really high end fun chocolates try Zoe’s, 121 N Market St has the type of special dark chocolate truffles I love. Try them all if you dare. I like the boozy ones and hazelnut too.
As for other foodie shops be sure and check out Lebherz Oil and Vinegar Emporium, 214 N Market St for an amazing selection of olive oils and vinegars. Most Americans have no idea that vinegar can taste so amazing. They have special little tasting cups so you can try before you buy. I love their Champagne Vinegar, and Red Wine Vinegar for my special salad dressings. I recently purchased their Lemon Vinegar, and Cinnamon Pear Vinegar to try in my kitchen soon. Lebherz is located just a couple doors down from Volt so you can try both on a weekend visit as they are open Saturday 11am to 9pm and 12 to 6pm on Sunday. They have many recipes on their website to help you whip up something good with your purchase. I get nothing for mentioning them, but be sure to tell them I sent you anyway.
Firestone’s Market on 109 N Market is a fun little food shop with jams, jellies, good breads, gift baskets, as well as soups and sandwiches too. They also carry some nice cheese, snacks and specialty foods worth checking out.
For a great long walk of 30 minutes or more try visiting the Carroll Creek Park downtown and walk it all the way to the end of Baker Park. It’s one of my favorite parks to walk in the whole US. The trail follows the creek through the park with beautiful trees and ponds for a peaceful interlude during your shopping and eating extravaganza.
There are many attractions near Frederick worth seeing.I haven’t been to the Flying Dog Brewery south of town yet but intend to do so on a future visit to Frederick. I have been 15 minutes north to Thurmont where I love to buy fruit from Pryor Orchards. Every June I go and pick the best blueberries money can buy and freeze some for the winter. Their peaches, apricots, and apples are very good too.
Catoctin Mountain Park is a fun place to visit whether by foot or car. We went on a nice hike with a ranger to the Catoctin Furnace area of the park and have driven up the mountain on the ridge line with great views of the area. Cunningham Falls is worth seeing as well as the visitors center, but note that the visitor center is closed Monday-Thursday except for some holidays.
I hope I’ve convinced you that Frederick is a must see historic town, and you find time to get there soon. I am still exploring Frederick and know there still must be some hidden gems waiting for me on a future visit. Don’t you think that half the fun is finding those hidden spots? Well get out there and explore then!
As I was doing a bit or organizing in my pantry today I thought of Gollum asking Bilbo, “what’s it gots in it’s pocketses”? Well many a thing can hide in my pantry for unknown lengths of time so I decided to pick a hidden item to do a new recipe with. Some times I like to go to the grocery store just to find something fun to cook, but today it was going to come from the pantry. What I found that I thought needed to come out and play was a tiny bit of whole wheat shell pasta that wouldn’t amount to an entree, but could be my lunch special. One item I do have in abundance is fresh oregano since it survived the winter and exploded into new growth in April. I have never had pesto made with oregano, but figured this particular type of oregano would work well in pesto. It has more of a minty taste to it than a pungent flavor typical of fresh oregano. I think it could be Greek Oregano, but it’s plant identification marker has long since disappeared. So the lunch special for one was shaping up, Whole Wheat Pasta in Oregano Pesto. I had some pine nuts in the freezer that were still quite fresh, and some farmer’s market asparagus in the fridge from yesterday’s shopping downtown for the dish. I figured that the asparagus would be a nice touch.
I confess to having pesto on the brain since I read a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Marge Perry’s Sweet and Savory Life, this morning that included a pesto recipe. That recipe was quite different in that it used linguine, basil, spinach etc that I did not use. I probably would have done her recipe except my basil is not in production mode yet.
I put this all together in about 25 minutes including boiling the pasta, cleaning the oregano, and food processing the pesto. Not to mention the distraction of making sure Tucker, our 8 week old German Shepard puppy wasn’t getting into trouble. I had fresh greens from the garden to serve as a perfect base. I set up for the photo part of the gig and, after shooting the photos sat down to sample my prize. It was quite good, but next time I will put some cilantro in with the oregano for a bit more herbal punch. Maybe even a jalapeno for fun. It’s just so much fun to experiment with all the amazing choices we have at our local grocery stores and farmers markets. From Fast and Furious Cook’s kitchen I wish you all a wonderful summer of experimenting with something new and fun.
1 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 fresh garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, lime juice, salt and half of the oregano in a food processor. Scrape with spatula and add the rest of the oregano. Mix well, scrape and mix a bit more until all the pine nuts and broken up well.
Serve with your favorite pasta, hot or cold.
I haven’t bought a can of black olives in a long time so when I received two free cans from the good folks at California Ripe Olives I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Well I popped open a can and munched one, and what do you know I do still like black olives! I’d been caught up in all the olive bar type olives for so long I forgot about my first love affair with olives. Yes I was just a tot when I became fond of black olives right out of the can. Then came black olives on pizza, and it was good. Then came black olives in iceberg lettuce type salads and that was good. Somewhere along the line I started eating stuffed green olives. kalamata olives, oil cured olives, jalapeno stuffed olives,etc. there was hardly a new olive that I didn’t like, but my first love sat neglected on the grocery store shelf for many years. What fun it is to explore the possibilities of black olives in my kitchen and blog about it. These tasty California black olives had a long trip to get to my home in Baltimore. I didn’t know that California produces 95% of the ripe olives in the US, with more than 1,000 multigenerational families taking part in the process. That’s a lot of homegrown expertise. For my entry into the black olive competition I wanted something original, and something using an ingredient from my garden. I love fresh herbs and thought that fresh oregano would be a fun choice for an olive appetizer on a toasted baguette slice. I wanted some color so from the fridge came the roasted red bell peppers I made last week. For the fat content I chose garlic infused olive oil to brush on the baguette slices. For the topping I grabbed some Parmigiano Reggiano to shred on top using my new Oxo Good Grips medium grater. It was a fun project and I tasted several of the treats. The only thing I might do different is put a slice of roasted garlic on each toast slice for a bit more oomph. I was happy that the olive flavor was not drowned out by the other ingredients and took the whole tray to my favorite Vet clinic to have them taste test it.Apparently they scarfed them down quickly indicating a good vote in the first round. With any luck I have a winner for the competition at the upcoming Eat, Write, Retreat food bloggers event in Philly. For all you you that might want to give this a try at home I include the recipe. I think you will find it fairly easy and tasty. Don’t forget your favorite white or red wine to go with it. I would recommend a good, crisp California Sauvignon Blanc. Please leave a comment on what you think of this recipe on my blog. Bon appetit!
California Ripe Black Olives on Toasted Baguette Rounds with Fresh Oregano
1 can of CaliforniaRipe Black Olives, drained and sliced in half lengthwise
1 baguette sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
1 package of fresh oregano
2-3 ounces roasted red bell pepper, in 1 inch slices
2 ounces fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano chese
Brush baguette rounds with garlic infused oil on one side only and toast under broiler until lightly browned. Remove from oven and repeat broiling on other side. Let cool. Pluck the leaves of the oregano for placement on top of the baguette rounds when they are cool. Use just enough to cover about 1/3 of the surface of the rounds, reserving the rest to mince and sprinkle on top at the end. Put on slice of roasted red bell pepper on each round, and two pieces of black olives. Grate parmigiano reggiano over toast rounds. Put minced oregano on top and serve with a Sauvignon Blanc if you like white wines best, or a Zinfandel if red wine is your favorite.
There are many things I am so grateful for in my life. I was reminded of one of those simple pleasures Saturday while cooking for Phillip’s Mushrooms 2nd anniversary of their retail shop in Kennett Square, PA. One of the three appetizers I was cooking during the 4 hour event was my Maitake Mushroom Bruschetta topped with 5 year old Gouda on french bread. Lucky me that I am not gluten intolerant, because this recipe rocks! However out of the approximate 50 people that came through the kitchen to taste the appetizers about 5 couldn’t eat the bread. Twice when I cut the oh so crispy bruschetta to serving sizes I had someone hear that sound of a crusty bread being cut and lament that they could not eat it. Bread is one on the oldest prepared foods known to human beings! Thousands of years ago it was one of the first things we clever humans mixed up and cooked. I suppose there were other things we mixed and cooked that didn’t pass the taste test, but bread is one of those that stuck with most cultures. I heard on National Public Radio’s Science Friday show several years ago that it is thought that bread is the oldest prepared and cooked item that we eat! Yet now we have a significant portion of our population that can’t eat it without adverse affects. I won’t go into the theories behind this problem, but wanted to point out to all of you out there that can eat bread that we are members in a lucky club indeed! Imagine life without a typical sandwich, toast in the morning, croutons on a salad, stuffing at Thanksgiving, and the list goes on. In celebration of this wonderful food I give you one of my favorite recipes that I made up just last month. To try in this in your home you need just a few ingredients and about 20 minutes. For this recipe it helps to buy a very good quality loaf of french bread, and a good quality cheese. The mushrooms should be very fresh and if you have it, use fresh thyme added about one minute before sauteing is finished, instead of dried thyme. The result is a simple, wonderful combo of bread, mushrooms and cheese that cries out for a glass of your favorite wine, like a Pinot Gris, or Petit Sirah. This appetizer with a nice salad would work as a light meal on a warm spring day. That way you can celebrate spring and the fact that you can eat bread too. Welcome to the club.
Mushroom Bruschetta with Aged Gouda
1 pound maitake mushrooms chopped
1/2 cup sliced yellow onion
1-2 cloves fresh garlic minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 ounces shaved or grated aged gouda or good quality parmesan
1 loaf French Baguette split lengthwise and cut into 3 inch lengths
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onions and garlic in large saute pan with oil for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add mushrooms, and thyme and cook for about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is cooked out of the mushrooms. Put bread in oven on a sheet pan for 3-5 minutes to toast it a bit. Remove bread from oven and top with mushroom mixture and then cheese.
Return to oven and heat for 5 minutes. Serve hot out of the oven.
Note: Works well with white button, oyster, crimini mushrooms or mix and match.
*Substitute aged gouda with Parmigano Regiano if you can’t find a good aged gouda.
Good news! According to the US Agricultural Department us Americans now only consume 76.7 pounds of sugar each year. I read this in an article from the NY Times from October, 2012 about the USDA’s new sugar numbers. That is down from what they say was 100 pounds of the white bad stuff. Some how or another the USDA decided to use a new methodology to compute sugar usage. Curious how they do that sort of thing since this might mean we aren’t actually eating less sugar. Regardless of how they are computing this sugar usage I believe we Americans eat too much of it, and that includes high fructose corn syrup too! It shows up in so many foods we consume on a fairly regular basis, like ketchup for instance. There was a time,quite a bit of it, when I didn’t even know there was sugar in ketchup. I used to think I ate less than 5 pounds of sugar per year until I took a closer look at all the foods that contain hidden amounts of sugar. Of course there are the obvious sources of sugar like sodas,cookies, cakes etc. We all would be well served to take a closer look at the ingredients list of everything we buy from the grocery store to know what we are putting into our bodies, and cut down on our consumption of sugar. There are many health concerns for consuming too much sugar like:
increase risk of cancer
and the list goes on and on. I don’t get to concerned on who’s study is right or wrong on the effects of sugar as there is a quite bit of conflicting information out there. For instance, the American Heart Association says the average American adult eats around 150 pounds of sugar per year. That’s quite a bit different from the USDA’s new numbers. There are numerous health studies that can confuse us too on the health effects of sugar. Why not just err on the side of caution and do what I do. I use very little white sugar. Maybe 5 pounds per year in my kitchen, but probably less. What white sugar I use is usually for gifts of baked goods for people who aren’t as health conscious as I am. When a recipe calls for sugar I’ll usually use a less refined type of sugar,( brown sugar, honey, molasses, or tubinado) and less of it. I find that most baking recipes can do with 25% less sugar than called for and still be plenty sweet. Eat more fruits for your sweet tooth, which brings us to today’s healthy and quick recipe. This is a dish I use in some variation or another often. Yesterday when I saw beautiful organic strawberries at the grocery store I knew what to do with them. Give this one a try and let me know what you think.
Fresh fruit salad
16 ounces of fresh strawberries sliced, or quartered
1 apple or pear peeled, cored and cut into bite sized pieces
1 banana sliced
juice of 1 fresh orange
1/4 cup sweetened coconut chips, or shredded coconut
In a medium size mixing bowl toss strawberries, apples, and banana with the juice of 1 orange. Chill for 30 minutes or more, and serve with in small bowls with coconut on top.
You can use fresh squeeze grapefruit instead of an orange.
Pineapple is a good fruit for this dish.
If using apples I recommend Honey Crisp, or Braeburn.
Caution, this gets a bit mushy if kept too long. I like to eat it up with in 8 hours of making it.
I went to one of my favorite foodie havens(Talula’s Table) on my way to a cooking demo at The Woodlands at Phillips Mushrooms. Talula’s is well known for their combo food market and restaurant. I was stopping by to get their french baquette for the cooking demo but was snagged by the free sample of the 5 year aged gouda cheese while browsing. This stuff has seriously great taste that makes you want more. The gouda went well on top of my Maitake mushroom bruschetta at Phillip’s, but I had a good amount of it left over. I pondered what to do with it over the last two days and at about 5 this morning while laying awake in bed I got inspired to make a special breakfast using the gouda.
I had some Kale leftover from my brussel sprout and kale salad, and remembered reading about kale for breakfast on www.greennapkinnutrtion.com. I also had some beautiful oyster mushrooms from Phillip’s so I sauteed the mushrooms with 10/15 sweet yellow onions in garlic infused olive oil.
When the onions and mushrooms were halfway cooked I added the kale and cooked it for a few more minutes.
I also had some nice Wisconsin Cheddar Sourdough dinner rolls from Talula’s that I sliced to a half inch thick cut and popped them in the toaster for the base. I put the mushroom and kale mix on top of the bread that had an over easy egg set on top of it. I placed shaved gouda on top of the egg and broiled it for about a minute and a half. I cooked up some home fried potatoes and sliced an avocado and orange for garnish to round it all out. The result? An amazing breakfast for a good start to the weekend.
If you want to give this a try here’s the basics:
A handful of kale
a handful of oyster mushrooms, or whatever you have available
about a third cup of diced sweet onion
garlic infused olive oil
toast of some type for the base
and a willingness to experiment!
Spring has sprung in Baltimore. After months of cold days and freezing nights the forecast for the next five days has us reversing course in a big way. The overnight lows for the next several days are higher than the daytime highs have been for months. With night time lows in the mid 60’s I am getting my vegie garden going. Daytime highs are going to be in the 80‘s tomorrow if the weather guessers are right. Soon my Rocky Top lettuce blend will be feeding us amazing fresh salads. The peas won’t be far behind. Then in June the first fresh salmon from Cordova Alaska’s Copper River will show up. It won’t be until July that the first tomatoes from my garden will make an appearance on the table. About that time Moore’s Orchard across the street from me will be selling the first of the season peaches. Ah, I can just close my eyes and taste the first juicy peach already. But hey, it’s April and that means Asparagus is in season and showing up on my grocery store shelf. This is not the stuff from Peru or other points south. This is North American asparagus and I’m ready to buy some. Last night I made one of my favorite meals. It was Baked Salmon, with a side of Oven Baked Asparagus and Quinoa Pilaf. This is a simple,healthy meal that takes just 20-25 minutes from start to finish. If you subscribe to my Enewsletter on my blog you will receive two of recipes, Quinoa and Asparagus) that are not featured here so please sign up as it costs you nothing but a couple minutes of your time. For now however I will share with you the salmon recipe. I hope you enjoy it.
Baked Salmon Filets
1 pound salmon filets skinned and cut into 4 portions
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
In a individual baking dish or cookie sheet place salmon skin side down. Rub salmon filets with oil, then drizzle lemon juice over them. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the filets and bake for 10-15 minutes or until salmon flakes when pressed on. Don’t overcook.
I like to add a touch( 1/2 teaspoon) dried or fresh thyme for a nice herbed flavoring.
A bit of garlic powder is a nice touch too. A little goes a long way.
I highly recommend Alaska salmon over farmed salmon when available.
No doubt about it most Americans could use some help with diet and nutrition. Part of the problem is we are bombarded with messages from the TV, internet and radio advertising all sorts of tasty treats and fatty foods. On the other side of the coin is a slew of diet books and gurus telling us how to live and eat. Some of us think our doctors can help with nutrition advice, but according to the book “The China Study, the Most Comprehensive Study on Nutrition Ever” the author points out that most doctors receive 20 hours or less of nutrition training making them not such good resources for diet and nutrition help. Lucky for all of us there are many of great nutrition blogs out in the blogosphere written by registered dietitians,(RD’s) who specialize in helping us eat right. One of my favorite nutrition blogs is written by Laura Rosenberg who is both a Registered Dietitian and a trained chef! On her blog http://greennapkinnutrition.com/ there is a wealth of nutrition tips and facts as well as recipes. If you are feeling adventurous try taking the Nutrition Knowledge Quiz http://www.eatright.org/nnm/games/MythOrFact/index.html and see how much you know about diet and nutrition. I took the test and found out some surprising facts I didn’t know, like the amount of recommended sodium is now 1,500 mg. I really liked her article about Kale and how it is packed with vitamins and minerals as well as being tasty too. Check out this recipe on her website:
http://greennapkinnutrition.com/2013/03/kale-for-breakfast-hel-yeahl/. I have been eating more kale recently by baking it in the oven as kale chips, or sauteing it with a bit of olive oil and garlic.
I recently contacted Laura and asked if she would consider testing one of my recipes and compiling the nutritional statistics for it and she graciously accepted. After cooking up a batch of my Italian Tomato Soup Laura pronounced it tasty and healthy, but recommended lowering the sodium by using low sodium chicken broth. If you haven’t tried it yet go to my blog and in the soup category you will find my Italian Tomato Soup with the nutrition facts. This is a very easy to make soup that is even better the next day as leftovers. Even though it is a vegan recipe you can add cheese tortellini for a vegetarian option, or Italian Sausage for a meat option. I hope you will give the soup a try and visit Laura’s blog soon to get you on track for a healthier you.
After six visits to Japan over the last 15 years I was ready to try a five star hotel, and when the Chanzanso Hotel Travelzoo deal showed up in September of 2012 we jumped on the offer. Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is set on a hillside that was called Camelia Hill until 1878 when prince Aritomo Yamagata purchased it and named it Chinzanso. The gardens that he and later owners established are there for all to see and enjoy, not just hotel guests. This is one of the nicest gardens attached to a hotel that I have ever seen! The camellias and cherry trees were in full bloom for our visit. The rest of the garden sights like the three story pagoda that is around 500-600 years old, are worth noting too. The garden lists the “Ten Scenic Spots at Chinzanso” that are all worth seeing. I loved the little statues found along the garden path that I called “Japanese garden gnomes”. The sacred tree of the garden is about 500 years old and stands magnificently towards the bottom end of the garden close to the soba restaurant. They also have a stone lantern from around the 12th century.
As if the garden isn’t enough of a reason to stay at Chinzanso we found the room, restaurants, and staff to be excellent. Our room was large by Japanese standards, and in excellent condition. The large bathroom had a tub and separate shower as well as L’Occitane toiletries. We were given room number 1001 which had great views of both the gardens and the city of Tokyo. We found the location of the hotel to be much quieter than any other we had stayed at in Tokyo. I had read in previous reviews online that the hotel is kind of far from restaurants and shopping, but we found that the restaurants in the hotel and nearby were very good and many to choose from. The concierge told us about a nearby 175 year old Unagi restaurant the was Michelin rated and quite good. The train station is a 15 minute walk and the Metro is 10 minutes walk from the hotel. Or you can take a taxi for 710 Yen. The hotel is serviced by the Friendly Airport Limousine bus from Narita Airport, and is a good way to and from the hotel.
All in all I can’t think of any other place I could recommend more than this hotel for comfort, and service. We will never forget the service from the concierge desk just hours before we checked out. We had lost our camera two days before, but when we were packing up to leave the room my wife found a taxi reciept from the ride we had taken the day the camera was lost. On a whim we had the concierge call the taxi company to see if the camera had been turned in. It had, but they had sent it to the police lost and found. The concierge called the police, but they couldn’t find it so the concierge called the taxi company back, found the camera and got it to us an hour before we left for the airport. Now that is great service.
The foodie part of the trip was great as usual. We started out by having lunch at the Unagi (eel) restaurant near Chinzanso. For about $40 each we had a great lunch in a Michelin starred restaurant that seemed to be a small mom and pop type place.
The next morning we went to the Tsukiji Fish Market and had sushi for breakfast at Sushi Zanmai. I had a great Tuna Sampler for just $30 that was as good as it gets. For dinner that night we went to a fancy sukiyaki restaurant called Asakusa Imahan to meet friends. It was a lovely traditional sit around the table and eat a big Japanese meal. It was fun during the part of the meal where we got to do a bit of the cooking in the frying pan at the table conveniently placed in front of us.
The next evening we ate dinner at the soba restaurant on the Chinzanso Hotel grounds. This was one of the best soba meals I have ever had! It was enhanced by the view of the gardens lit up at night just in front of our table. The soba itself was cooked just right and the sauce was excellent.
The best meal of the trip was at the Japanese restaurant in Chinzanso Hotel. They called it a buffet, but what it was is a menu of about 35 items that you ordered from at will. There was sushi, hot pots, appetizers, desserts and more. We couldn’t believe it was all you can eat. The quality of the food was superb, with the exception of the hot pot that was a bit weak on flavor. The appetizers were great, the sushi was great, and the cherry ice cream at the end was great! Apparently they have this deal all year, but the menu varies with the season. For about $100 you get an amazing meal. Next trip to Tokyo I would definitely go back to this restaurant.
For a quick and affordable lunch it’s hard to beat the Sekiguchi french style bakery chain that has been around Japan since 1888. The baked goods are quite yummy, and at lunch you can get soups and sandwiches too. For about $10 each we had a very good lunch there. Their croissants are very good as well as the curry bread, and salads.
For a Japanese style salad dressing to commemorate the trip I made up this dressing today in the Fast and Furious Test kitchen.
Sesame Oil and Cider Vinegar Dressing
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, optional
Mix all ingredients in a bowl then pour into a salad dressing bottle. Best if you can refrigerate it over night, but plenty good just after it’s made too.
Try this pouring this dressing over bite sized fresh broccoli, cauliflower, red bell pepper and carrots. Put in refrigerator for 2-3 hours for best tasting salad.
I’m off to Japan early Saturday morning, and am looking forward to staying in luxury at a 5 star Tokyo hotel. It was an advertised special for flight and lodging on TravelZoo.com last September and we jumped on the chance to spend a week in Japan in style. It’s going to be interesting flying on the Airbus A380 the worlds largest passenger airplane to get there. This huge plane holds 525 passengers! It probably takes longer to load and unload this beast than you average airplane. Not only that, but the flight is operated by Singapore Airlines which is supposed to be one of the best to fly with. We fly Singapore from LAX to Tokyo and back.
While in Japan I hope to write about the food scene and other cultural highlights and post these tidbits to my blog. I will be in good hands as my in-laws are once again helping us with interpreting and guiding while in Japan. This will be my first time just staying in Tokyo. I know we will find some of the worlds best sushi, and plan to tour Tskuiji Fish Market and see the tuna auction around 5 am on Tuesday. I hope they allow pictures. If so I’ll post them to my blog for you to see the action without having to get up at 4 am to do so.
I have had five previous trips to Japan that have all been special. I have seen ancient temples, beautiful coastlines, large trees, amazing art and met many very nice Japanese locals. This trip will no doubt be special too. It doesn’t hurt that the exchange rate is way better than the last trip there. I hope to bring back some nice plates and dishes to further my food photography. Speaking of photography here’s a shot that proves the Japanese have had a great sense of humor for a long time. I don’t know how old this painting was that I shot in a castle museum, but it’s old and it cracks me up.
Look for my first post around Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. By then I hope to have shaken off the jet lag and starting writing.