Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

Smoothiemeister's Profile

Title Last Reply

Road trip Pacific NW

Some great suggestions in previous posts.
Backing up to Montana though my wife and I did a road trip through there last year and stopped at some fun places.
One place I would suggest is Butte, right on I-90. We stayed at the old Finlan Hotel and had dinner at the Uptown Cafe. We visited the Mining Museum and The Gem and Mineral Museum at Montana Tech right in town. Some great historical architecture and history, in easy walking distance from hotel
it was a good overnight stop with a half day exploring. Once the largest city west of the Mississippi and now the older section on some harder times next to the Berkeley Pit and a superfund site.
Uptown Cafe was a great dining experience and although the Finlan had a " The Shining" feel to it of former bygone splendor, was quite comforable (go for the upper floor upgrade)
Have Fun!

Spokane Recommendations

Haven't had to look for kid friendly places in a while and the places I like are ones that don't have a lot of kids.
On saying this though you might consider Chaps Coffee House, big fun decorated rooms with some kid area seating, more breakfast lunch though. Another thought might be Central Food, get an outside table overlooking the river, its right on the Centennial Trail so you could blow off some energy walking to and from Riverfront Park (Great kid destination with carousel, river etc). Veraci Pizza right next to it also looked good too but I haven't eaten there.
Clinkerdaggers also is walkable from the park and might be a good lunch spot.
Picabu Bistro on the South Hill could work and its close to Manito Park. We ate there last month and there was a large family with children.
Lindaman's also on the South Hill could be good too, its more of a pick your dish cafeteria style bistro wine bar but they have a nice outdoor patio area and some healthy choices.
Huckleberries Health Food Store on the South Hill also has a restaurant that could be a good stop for food and supplies

Ultimate family in Spokane is Tomato Street out on Division, Chowhounders may cringe but you get a lot of food for a little in a family friendly atmosphere that is not totally corporate, Applebee's,Chile's, Red Robin, Spaghetti Factory all of which are available downtown.

We just visited Spokane and enjoyed Wild Sage, Wandering Table, Durkins Liquor Bar, Picabu Bistro and Casper Fry.
Spokane is a fun town ,hope you have a good time

Spokane 2015

Asked some friends and did some research and the closest to shwarma is Azars Restaurant. Never been there myself and will check it out in May. If you put an credence to yelp reviews it is all over the map from 5 to 1 stars.
Also dont't know if shwarma equates to gyros/doner kebab
General consensus is that ethnic restaurants are a little scarce in Spokane except for s few thai/mexican places

Spokane 2015

In the 70's there used to be a gyros place right downtown.
In our last few visits to the area we haven't seen anything approaching shwarma.
This question fits the internet meme that to answer a question it is better to post a wrong answer and wait to be corrected than simply ask for a response to a question.

High-End Restaurants: Taking Leftovers? (Tokyo)

Check out the "doggy bag" at this Tokyo Reataurant

Apr 08, 2015
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Spokane 2015

Some good recommendations to try next time we're in town.
Picabu Bistro on the South Hill has been a good stop for us ,mostly for lunch.
Also Lindaman's Bistro, while more a wine bar with deli case entrees is a good stop and the view from the patio of the cathedral on a spring day is nice.
Plus they serve Doma coffee.
If Clinkerdaggers gets a mention so should Churchill's Steakhouse
Brooklyn Deli downtown is another favorite lunch spot.
While some of these are not strictly fine cuisine chowhound spots, at any given time a daily special can rise to the occasion.
Spokane is a fun town so nice to see some more food choices starting up.
This Wall Street Journal article mentioned Spokane.

Tan Tan Ramen

Check out >Tokyo Eye - Ultimate Ramen< on Youtube, 17:50.
They visit Shisen Hanten in Akasaka owned by former Iron Chef Chen Ken Ichi.
The host orders a plate of soupless TanTan Ramen Sichuan Style

Mar 22, 2015
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Gourmet Burgers in Tokyo / Osaka

Previous thread on the burger question

We liked the burgers at Homework's in Azabu,also a branch in Hiroo.
Don't know if it rises to level of gourmet, but well prepared, good comfort food and nice people.

Sep 20, 2014
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Restaurant recommendatins in the Princeville area of Kauai?

Sorry to hear some have not found good food options on Kauai's north shore.
Sad to say its not surprising. We are residents and do not go out to eat during the "high season" due to the relentless pressure of high capacity business and its negative effects on a leisurely meal.The resort locations are in a better position to deal with this due to in house supply lines and labor/housing support.
A place with a carrying capacity of 50 covers a night might be magical in September, but a mess in August where they have to provide 150+ covers.
As stated earlier the supply chain and labor pool is limited and a stretch of bad weather can curtail fresh greens and fish for days and 3 weeks of non stop pressure can create burn out on a limited labor pool that translates to bad or sloppy service.
Wabi made a good suggestion with the tastingkauai website.
The boom and bust cycle of resort tourist economy makes it hard to be consistent, especially for smaller non resort places. The ingredients are here great fish, local beef, exotic fruits and vegetables. However the fluctuations in demand and supply can make it a hit or miss proposition on what may be available on any given night.
This is a universal problem I know but on a small island without interstate access and very high rents and cost of living it is more pronounced

Columbia Valley - Walla Walla, Yakima, etc

Stayed with my wife and in-laws 2 years ago at Americas Best Value Inn close to downtown. Half the price of the Marcus Whitman Hotel which has a great historic bar/ dining area. We had a great time
Kirkman House Museum, winery tasting rooms and downtown shopping and eating.
Personally I would stay in Walla Walla as it is a small city/town with easy walking access. Fort Walla Walla is a fun visit also the Marcus Whitman Mission National Park site where the early missionaries were massacred is a good visit a little out of town.
Just read about an "Atomic" tour of the Hanford Reactor complex in the Tri Cities if you are interested. I think one or two nights is all you would need in Walla Walla.
You could go north and spend a night at the historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane before heading back to the coast.
Have fun, the inland empire of the northwest is beautiful and uncrowded, if you head north check out Palouse Falls

Restaurant recommendatins in the Princeville area of Kauai?

Roy's Tavern a the Prince Clubhouse.
Living Room Bar at the St Regis Hotel offers great views, champagne sabering at sunset plus bar menu, sushi plus other entrees.Also at St Regis Terrace restaurant and Jean George Kauai Grill, also check for special dinners at poolside restaurant Nalu Kai.
Tiki Iniki and Cj's in Princeville with Barracuda and Post Cards in Hanalei.
Common Ground in Kilauea now open for dinners, farm to table concept with liquor license.

Aug 25, 2014
Smoothiemeister in Hawaii

Fukuoka , Tea & Teaware ?

Walking down the Kawabata Shopping Street from the Kushida Shrine/Canal City side there is a small mom and pop old fashioned shop the sells tea and tea ware on the left a few 100 yards down.
We picked up some nice canisters with some special harvest tea there. Nice people

Jun 05, 2014
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Hakata Recommendations

Wish I'd known about this place last May.
Two stops on the Airport Line from Hakata Station, Nakasukawabata station,walk back toward Canal City,
Tip of Nakasu Island across from Canal City.
1 Chome-6-6 Nakasu
Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, 810-0801
Tabelog link
(Use Chrome with translation to view), print out map in Japanese for taxi or directions, addresses can be tricky in Japan.
Nakasu is a fun place and very lively at night,
Some would call it a "pleasure district" ;-).
We enjoyed a small bakery/sweet shop called Ufu.
Nakasu also hosts numerous "Yatai" along the river.
Mentaiko gyoza are good intro to this food specialty.
On arrival see if you can pick up a Fukuoka Dining guide that lists places with English menus at the tourist information center.

Mar 04, 2014
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Hakata Recommendations

We enjoyed the food in Hakata last May. Many places to choose from. Right in front of the station is the Amu Plaza building with restaurants on the 9th and 10th floor. We enjoyed the Shisen Hanten Sichuan place owned by former Iron Chef Kenichi. Lunch is a great deal. Also other "name" places in this building.

Check out Fukuoka Now for reviews and listings.

I like to use the Japanese language Tabelog in my Chrome browser for translated pages of most favorite local spots.

Also use the search on this board, there were some threads a while back about Fukuoka favorites.
Fukuoka/Hakata is a fun city,have a great time.

Mar 03, 2014
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Iron Chef Tour

I've eaten at Chef Kenichi"s Shisen Hanten restaurants in Akasaka,Tokyo and Hakata, Kyushu. Both great meals but no personal appearance. You might want to have the concierge at your hotel call to make reservations asking about the chefs appearances. Right now he and his son are opening a restaurant in Singapore. They do do public demonstrations at department stores and events that you may be able to attend. The key would be a Japanese language enquiry.

Mar 02, 2014
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Spokane Recommendations

We recently spent three days in downtown Spokane staying at the Davenport Hotel.
Really a great renovated building that you should at least walk through to check out. We enjoyed drinks there in the Peacock Room. For dining I'd suggest Churchill's Steakhouse a few blocks away. For lunch I'd suggest the Picabu Bistro up on the South Hill, also Lindaman's Gourmet Bistro on the South Hill can be nice though the food is selected from a case almost cafeteria style but with a wine bar and Doma coffee, from a Couer D'Alene roaster.
We've eaten at downtown on main street and thought it was ok. Madeleine's downtown is a nice cafe style place. Huckeberries Health food store on the South Hill has a well priced array of healthy food at a in store deli.
Satellite Diner is a local after hours/breakfast greasy spoon favorite cafe/bar
In Couer D' Alene we ate ate Scratch and Syringa and found both good.
Have fun, Spokane is a fun city

What's Tokyo best sashimi?

Check out this link from this blog, Luxeat.
Aiste has translated Tablelog rankings with links and some great photography as well. Some very useful Tokyo info.
Also don't forget for recs.

Feb 12, 2014
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Kumamoto, Aso, Takachiho Gorge, Kurokawa Onsen, Usaki, Beppu, Yufuin, Hakata/Fukuoka

I just caught this video of a visit to the Hakata mentai restaurant , Ganso Hakata Mentaiju on YouTube.

I wish I'd seen it before I was in Hakata, the place looks pretty good.
Micaela's demographic trends young but she has some fun stuff on Japan travel and eating.

Oct 24, 2013
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Tokyo, Your Favorites - Please Share!

My favorite was Shisen Hanten, a Sichuan place, mapo tofu and ton ton ramen specialty.
With so many places to choose from I'd give a scan and see the starred places by cuisine and locality that might fit your needs.
I found the quality of food in Tokyo such that even on a department store food floor you will find soba,udon,tempura, yakitori of a high quality without the astronomical prices and crowds (6 month in advance reservations) of some of the more famous places. For the vegetarian ramen you might want to check out the shojin ryori category.

Oct 23, 2013
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Kumamoto, Aso, Takachiho Gorge, Kurokawa Onsen, Usaki, Beppu, Yufuin, Hakata/Fukuoka

Kavey , If I can find the guide I'll send info on it. Sounds like having a Fukuoka resident guide will be fun. In Kurokawa we ate at our ryokan for dinner and breakfast which we enjoyed. In the town by the river we had lunch at a place called Warokuya which was nice. We had a specialty bacon plate with a large salad.
One specialty product I discovered and brought home jars of for gifts was Yuzu Gosho , a paste made from citrus, peppers and salt. It looks like wasabi on the side of the plate or in a small ceramic jar and I really like the flavor.

Aug 06, 2013
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Kumamoto, Aso, Takachiho Gorge, Kurokawa Onsen, Usaki, Beppu, Yufuin, Hakata/Fukuoka

We visited the Ramen Stadium in May. Went around 9:00 PM . Not that crowded. You have about seven various shops of different styles to choose from that share a central seating area with limited seating within the shops. The ramen was good and the price was right. Sake, shochu and beer is also available. The demographic trended young, teens to 20's and the music was loud american gangster rap of the "take your shirt" off variety. I suppose it would be up to the individual whether this was a plus or minus in the ambience category.

If you get the chance to find it there is a english publication brochure available in the tourist centers called "Dining in Fukuoka" that has an excellent breakdown of eating options with a spotlight on various yatai locations and their specialties as well as other restaurants and places with english menus. I believe Fukuoka is trying to promote itself as a gourmet city which it certainly is and the menu program is a part of this effort.
The Amu Plaza Hakata right in front of the station has restaurants on the 9th and 10th floor. We enjoyed Shisen Hanten, Szechuan cuisine of the former Iron Chef Kenichi's group. Ippudo is also on this floor for ramen.
Have a great time

Aug 05, 2013
Smoothiemeister in Japan

ISO Knife Shop - Osaka

Check out this ebay storefront for ideas on whats available and pricing.

Mar 26, 2013
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Nihonbashi in June

Check out Sembikiya for fruit and upstairs fruit parlor for prepared parfaits and other prepared treats.
Adjacent and up 27 stories is the Mandarin Oriental Hotel bar, I like the bar for jazz and ordering snacks from the hotel restaurants, great view as well.
You are close to two department stores, Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya, both have great food floors as well as upstairs eating choices, really nice architecture as well.
Check out the Corredo complex for a lot of eating drinking choices.
You are also close to Marunouchi area that has large multi use buildings, one named Marunouchi, with a lot of eating choices, also under the elevated railway there is a alley of bars is called Marusan Yokocho which is unchanged since the 1950's , look for Yakitori pub Satsumaya.
Look at for online area maps reviews
Have fun!

Mar 21, 2013
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Best way to try luxury fruits in Tokyo in an eatery setting?

I'd second wekabeka's Sembikiya Nihonbashi suggestion.

We had a great time browsing fruits in the store downstairs, saw a interesting video of greenhouse grown mango that are not picked by hand, but rather drop into their individual nets when they reach ultimate ripeness.

I think the parfait I had upstairs in their parlor dining area had a few of those mango chunks in it. The dining area also served other food as well, but all very fancy.

Also the Tokyo Mandarin Oriental is upstairs. Great location to kick back, hear some live jazz, enjoy a drink and have some pretty decent bar food, with a nice view over Tokyo from the 27th floor.
I can't wait to get back there.
Have a good time

Feb 19, 2013
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Food/Trip Planning Assistance Needed for Yokohama

As to the onsen there are many choices in Izu or Hakone that web searches will bring up. As a alternative I would suggest the Ooedo Monogari Onsen in Odaiba.
For a group of ladies, some elderly it would save quite a bit of time and money.
There are also about 16 various food vendors.We were there in May and had a restful three hours just lounging around. Didn't have any meals though apart from some delicious green tea ice cream.

Nov 09, 2012
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Family friendly restaurants in Tokyo

Hah Hah! Very well put Uncle Yabai, I was thinking along the same lines but couldn't turn the phrase like you have.
I'd encourage the OP to not limit themselves to "name brand" places. The sheer volume of eateries in Tokyo is astounding, none of them in English guidebooks or web sites, and walking the streets two blocks over and one down from the centers you will pass uncrowded options where you could get a very decent meal and be feted like special guests. I'd say the quality of food is higher than a lot of cities and while a bad meal is possible, even the Lawsons quick bites are usually fresher and more appetizing than some Japanese restaurants in the US. Also our family enjoyed the Eating in Japan Illustrated Guide by JTB.
Great for children and adults.

Nov 08, 2012
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Family friendly restaurants in Tokyo

Been a while since we were with daughter in Tokyo. Now we use for restaurant recs and maps, they also have sister site " where in tokyo" for sightseeing that has kid section
You can search non smoking places.
If you get the urge for western I'd recommend "bills", australian chef with all day breakfast focus. Also "Homework" in Azabu for burger fix
A strategy we used was to load up in the dept store food floors with bentos and various regional dishes to have picnics. In Dec that may be hard.
The food floors in those stores and other multi use buildings have multiple establishments, are easy to access and you can see the kid friendly ones with the cuisine you want
Have a great time!

Nov 07, 2012
Smoothiemeister in Japan

Spokane/CDA Top three places you would take an out-of-towner to eat

RetiredChef, Thanks for this resource for Spokane dining, I've bookmarked a few places to try when we return for a visit in October. One place I'd like to throw in the mix would be Lindaman's on the South Hill. One can read the Yelp reviews and some critiques are valid but so are some of the pluses. To sit outside on the patio with a view of the Cathedral on a fall day with a carefully planned selection from the counter can be a good Spokane dining experience.
Maybe this could go in a "Lunch" category?
Another one for the mix would be the Satelite Diner downtown. Maybe place in the open late greasy spoon category?

Yummy local eats on Kauai

You also should put the Pono Market in Kapaa on your list. It's take out only.
They serve plates of local food like Lau Lau, Macaroni Salad, Spam Musubi, Lomi Lomi Salmon etc.
They also have really good Poke.
Closed Sundays

Sep 09, 2012
Smoothiemeister in Hawaii

Yummy local eats on Kauai

Great advice by Wabi. Hearing about Jean Marie makes me wistful for the early days of the Pacific Cafe.
On the North Shore you may want to consider The Tavern by Roy, its located at the Prince Clubhouse near Princeville. Beautiful view.

Tip Top Cafe in Lihue also makes a good Ox Tail soup , menu changes at night to Japanese with sushi available

Sep 09, 2012
Smoothiemeister in Hawaii