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hello_liza's Profile

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Sayonara, Tokyo Chowhounds!

I've mostly been a lurker, but just wanted to say goodbye and thank you to all for the tips and discussion! I've never been able to go to all the expensive places frequently mentioned, but have made use of the recommendations, especially for places that help with the expatty cravings!

I'm leaving Japan on Sunday and heading to Beijing for a week, then across the U.S. via Amtrak, car and plane from San Fransisco to New York, then down to Florida (the ol' home state), then moving to London with the boyfriend.

Everything's been so crazy I haven't had time to make bookings and properly food up my last few days here. Looks like tonight I'll do my favorite okonomiyaki in Shimokitazawa, tomorrow get the new 4-cheese Ivan Ramen for lunch, then a late dinner tomorrow night... maybe Higashiyama in Naka-Meguro or Agaru Sagaru Nishi-Iru Higashi-Iru if we can get in. Saturday lunch... dunno? Boyfriend mentioned Aquavit. Dinner will just be izakaya fare with friends -- as it should be!

Jun 30, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Border Grill Tex-Mex in Sasazuka

Looking forward to checking out Libre! I went to Tepito in Shimokitazawa fairly recently. Food was decent but it's the only place in Tokyo I've been to that has horchata, the magical hangover killer. Plus the chef whipped me up some proper spicy hot sauce! Supposedly they have live music but think it could be a nightmare in that small space...

Apr 18, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Best oysters in Tokyo?

Will go just about anywhere in pursuit! Thanks for the recommendations!

Mar 07, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Authentic bánh mì in Tokyo

I went there yesterday and thought it was good! Good sized portion, too. Got myself a sandwich and took it to Yoyogi Park - will definitely be doing more of that when the weather warms up for real!

Feb 25, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Best oysters in Tokyo?

I had some delicious oysters on the half shell at Beacon a few weeks ago, and am now craving more! More, more! Where to go?

Feb 25, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Authentic bánh mì in Tokyo

I actually walked past there last night and it was gone!!! Replaced by a generic-looking Italian cafe called "Bili" or "Billi" or something like that. I didn't have time to go down the stairs either, but I don't see how there could be two restaurants there? I guess the Shibuya masses want pasta, not banh mi :/

Feb 21, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Authentic bánh mì in Tokyo

Time Out Tokyo has a story on banh mi spots: http://www.timeout.jp/en/tokyo/featur... I've only been to Potluck - thought it was pretty good but I've never had an authentic one. They have bottles of Sriacha on the table though so that's a plus. But I thought the portion was quite small.

Feb 20, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Breakfast in Tokyo

Sooo that means breakfast is NOT served from 11-3:30 pm on weekends? Seems strange -- that's my prime breakfast-eating time!

Feb 20, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Sake Season Underway: your favorite spots in Tokyo?

Maybe not related to this discussion, but on sake -- article in New York Times yesterday on selling the story behind the sake http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/02/din...

Feb 01, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Tokyo Pizza

Thanks for the recommendation -- definitely want to try this place out. I went to Seirinkan in Naka-Meguro a couple weeks ago and thought the pizza was good but not worth the pretentious staff, the price and the Pizza Nazi-esque ordering policies. Also had some crappy overpriced wine although I suppose we only have ourselves to blame for that one.

Jan 31, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Sake Season Underway: your favorite spots in Tokyo?

I've been to Birokutei in Shinjuku http://www.hotpepper.jp/strJ000762357/ a few times and I like the sake there - they have a tie-up with some brewer and it's delivered fresh. (I wish I knew who, I am an amateur!) I'm assuming "nama sake" is superior to the pasteurized? It tastes more pure to me. I'd say the food there is a bit better than standard izakaya stuff. It's quite salaryman heavy though. However my judgment may be clouded as this is the first place I had sake in Japan -- my home state of Florida is a sad sake wasteland, with the only choice being this horrible hot syrupy stuff to go with your tempura cheesecake (mmm... tempura cheesecake...

)

I definitely prefer sake cold to hot, although I assume that if it says on the menu that it is meant to be warm, then it is? I didn't think they were just warming up cold sake?

Jan 31, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

Sake Season Underway: your favorite spots in Tokyo?

I went to Honoka on your recommendation and it was great!! (I live in Nishi-Koyama so love that it's nearby!) The grilled miso is next level! What is Kawashima like?
I am sort of just getting into sake and would love to become a bit more educated so I actually know what I'm ordering.. I usually just ask for "refreshing" tasting recommendations. Are there any like tasting classes or anything I could go to?

Jan 19, 2011
hello_liza in Japan

fun New Year's Eve dinner?

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for recommendations for New Year's Eve for a group of us (mostly girls) who want to get dressed up and probably carry on for a while afterward! Looking for somewhere not stuffy, not terribly expensive, good atmosphere, any kind of food OK (we all live here in Tokyo), preferably somewhere that's easy to get to Shibuya afterward. Right now am sort of thinking Legato but would love more ideas! (plus -- they might be doing some course thing, one of us is vegetarian but not picky) thanks in advance!

Dec 14, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Very spicy food in Tokyo

Thanks for posting this! Might have to check out a couple of these places as I'm often in Sakuragaokacho in Shibuya. I generally don't really like it when they just throw spices into something that's not supposed to be spicy for a gimmick, though, but I suppose those kinds of things would get on TV!

Oct 22, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Okonomiyaki in Tokyo

My fave Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is at Daikonman in Shimokitazawa http://restaurant.gourmet.yahoo.co.jp... . It's cheap and open all hours of the night! Plus the tacky Greek stuff on the walls reminds me of a NY pizza place. There are other Hiroshima-style places in Shimo as well but I just keep going back to that one.

For a nicer atmosphere, I enjoyed the Chibo in the Ebisu Garden Place tower. I booked a table by the window for some out-of-town visitors and they were really impressed. It does get really busy there though.

Aug 17, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Very spicy food in Tokyo

If you do a search I was asking about spicy noodles a few months ago. A ramen place was recommended (which I haven't tried yet!) Have been here for three years and I find everything here is frustratingly dulled down so if you find somewhere on your trip here, please share!

Jun 04, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Tsukiji tuna auction ban until May 8

Thanks for the recommendation! I think we'll probably end up going this Friday. I've told them about the auction and they still want to go, what can you do!

Apr 26, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Tsukiji tuna auction ban until May 8

So this is a ban only on the auction held from 5:00-6:15 in the mornings, right? I've got some visitors coming this week who want to go to the market. Despite working walking-distance away from it for two years -- I have never been in the morning! What do you guys think -- is it worth going in the morning even if the auction is banned?

Apr 25, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Breakfast in Tokyo

Oh and I just now found out that Sbarro is open in Shibuya! Apparently there is breakfast here too. I have never had it but can guarantee it will not be wonderful. But I'm really psyched about Sbarro, I'm not gonna lie. I love me some greasy cardboard pizza.
Review of Kichijoji location:
http://www.timeout.jp/en/tokyo/venue/2568
"N.Y. Breakfast" menu: http://www.sbarro.jp/menu/morning.html

Mar 29, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Breakfast in Tokyo

I agree with the others -- you are dreaming! (especially about the bacon)

Scramble in Shibuya, just under the tracks by the crossing, does an OK set of breakfast eggs, should you find yourself in the neighborhood. This site says they open at 9am: http://a-shibuya.com/shops/34691 I've only been there around lunch/brunch time on weekends though and I can't seem to find any more info on their breakfast hours.

Mar 29, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

I went to Cardenas Chinois on Sunday (http://www.bento.com/rev/0295.html) and really enjoyed it. It's sort of midway between Ebisu and Hiroo, I think. The course price was 4,500 yen and I thought the food was more sort of general Asian fusion rather than just Chinese influenced. Funny to see a nomihoudai casualty in such a nice place -- one poor diner ended up on the floor and had to be carried out!

I like Jackpot on the west side of Ebisu station (http://gourmet.suntory.co.jp/shop/0334765560/index.html). The food is all over the place, which I like, big portions, fun staff, and really reasonable prices.

And it doesn't get anymore cheap and cheerful than Aalawi in Ebisu (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bi...). Maybe a good quick or take-away lunch if you are working in Hiroo.

Feb 17, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Sunday Valentine's brunch

So the boyfriend and I like to get Sunday brunch for Valentine's Day... (best to keep the evening free!!) Last year we did the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi and enjoyed it, but would like to try somewhere different this year. I've searched the boards here and checked out the listings on Bento.com. Am thinking either the Park Hyatt or the Terrace at the Westin in Ebisu... what do you think? Decadence takes priority in this decision! (oh, and also somewhere where there's not a load of kids.... the "roving clowns" of the Shinjuku Hilton sound terrifying!!!)

Feb 04, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Tapas Molecular Bar?

I went last summer and really enjoyed it. Definitely not touristy, but maybe a few of the courses can be a bit kitschy. I would say -- if you are from a big city like New York or London where you can check out molecular gastronomy whenever you want, maybe it's not worth shelling out for it in Tokyo, where it's a bit of a novelty?

That being said -- I thought there was plenty of Japanese-ness in the meal, both with the food and cultural references (bashing the watermelon in the summer!) I don't see what the chef's nationality has to do with it, either.

The chef is also very accommodating of special dietary needs, if you tell them at the time you make the reservation. I was served another seafood course instead of the beef, for instance. Sometimes that kind of accommodation is difficult to find in Tokyo.

If you go -- do go early and have a drink in the bar and take in the great view! And don't get the wine pairings, the meal moves pretty quickly and I think the wine would be just a distraction.

Feb 04, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Where to find the spiciest noodles in Tokyo?

Ooooh thanks for the recommendations, haven't heard of those..... am down for a trip! Have my suspicions about something being genuinely spicy in Shimo but Ikebukuro has potential!

Jan 31, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Where to find the spiciest noodles in Tokyo?

I like Frijoles well enough; good for what it is and cheap too (by Tokyo standards): about 1,000 yen for a massive burrito. Well worth checking out. However I'm pretty sure they use Japanese rice in the burritos which ruins the taste a bit for me.
I've become discouraged in my hunt for good Mexican in Tokyo so I order stuff from Costco and freeze it so I always have tortillas and beans on hand. Can't find anywhere to buy proper chilis though so the quest continues... maybe this should be another thread?

Jan 31, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Where to find the spiciest noodles in Tokyo?

That salsa at Frijoles wasn't even a challenge for me!! I think I'm doomed. But I'm definitely interested in koregusu, I've never heard of it before. Awamori packs its own punch!

I like Frank's Red Hot! I found Blair's Sudden Death sauce (along with the regular Death Sauce, which is tastier but not overly spicy) at the Ginza Don Quixote so maybe I should start carrying that around!

Jan 25, 2010
hello_liza in Japan

Where to find the spiciest noodles in Tokyo?

Hi everybody,

I've been lurking for awhile and have a pressing question. I want to find a giant bowl of noodles in Tokyo that's so spicy that my lips burn, my face turns red, and I beg for mercy as tears stream down my face. I'm thinking something similar to the bowls of laksa in the food courts in Sydney, or like a really spicy tom yung kung would do. Or ramen I suppose. I've been living in Tokyo for 3 years now and just can't get anything spicy enough. I ask them to kick it up, but usually they sort of throw more of the bland chilis in there, which sort of makes it spicier but not like.. tasty spicy. Am not too keen on Japanese curry although I know that can be done pretty spicy. One time I had a soup that was nicely spiced (still not hot enough though) at a Thai restaurant in a basement in Kabukicho, but I was kinda tanked (as one often is in Kabukicho) and haven't been able to figure out where I was.

Any ideas? Much appreciated!

Jan 22, 2010
hello_liza in Japan