c

chutster's Profile

Title Last Reply

Beyond Tokyo - day trip suggestions?

Both options sound intriguing. I think I will opt for Kawagoe this time and save Hakone for my next visit when I can spend at least one night there.

Thank you very much for the detailed itineraries. Great advice such as this is what makes Chowhound so precious.

If you ever need advice on visiting the Philippines do give me a holler.

Mar 22, 2013
chutster in Japan

Beyond Tokyo - day trip suggestions?

chowmouse, your suggestions sound very interesting.

I have not heard of Kawagoe and it sounds like it's right up my alley. The nice lunch you are referring to is in Kashiya Yokocho or would you have another recommendation for a good place to nosh?

I have heard of Hakone, but for some reason I thought it was much further out. 1.5 hrs is not too much travel time and you do make it sound quite appealing. A few questions:

1. Do you think a day trip will do it justice or should I wait for another time where I can spend overnight there?

2. Would you have a suggestion for a great lunch spot somewhere along the journey you described?

3. For someone who has not done it before, is it easy to navigate and connect from one mode of transport to another?

Your comments about Karuizawa confirmed my suspicions. There are resort towns that only locals can really appreciate, or a visitor can only appreciate when hosted by a local.

Thanks for your advice, it is much appreciated.

Mar 05, 2013
chutster in Japan

Great izakaya in Ginza/Marunouchi area?

Thanks for the clarification wekabeka. I'd be open to trying both an upscale izakaya and a kappo ryori if you have any strong recommendations.

Mar 01, 2013
chutster in Japan

Great izakaya in Ginza/Marunouchi area?

Does anyone know of a great izakaya that's in the Ginza/Marunouchi area? I'm thinking something along the lines of Nabura in Roppongi.

Mar 01, 2013
chutster in Japan

Beyond Tokyo - day trip suggestions?

Thanks for the suggestion Paprikaboy. I'll look into Nikko.

Mar 01, 2013
chutster in Japan

Beyond Tokyo - day trip suggestions?

I'm headed to Tokyo for my annual visit and would like to ask for some suggestions for a day trip destination outside of Tokyo.

I'm looking to dine at a good restaurant for lunch, do some cultural and/or nature activity, visit a market, do some local shopping for crafts, etc.

Ideally, the destination is 2 hours away maximum and accessible by rail. Am open to renting a car and driver to get around the town itself.

I've heard of the town of Karuizawa, and I believe many Tokyo residents keep vacation homes there. Not sure if that fits the activities I listed above though.

Would appreciate any input from you Chowhounds.

Feb 24, 2013
chutster in Japan

Manila: 3 Buffet Breakfasts in Makati

If you'd like to try a few good non-hotel weekend brunches, I would recommend the following independent restaurants:

Sala Bistro - I used to trek to Malate for Sala's once a month Sunday brunch to nosh on their organic egg dishes - the poached eggs with prosciutto and hollandaise is superb. They moved to Makati a few years ago and they serve a Champagne brunch every weekend at their Greenbelt 3 location. The smoothies, puddings and coffees are also outstanding.

Mamou - One of my favorite places for a casual dinner serves a great weekend brunch. They've got great eggs benedict, lovely French toast, yummy whole wheat pancakes and killer bacon. At Serendra.

Masseto - One of the newest additions to the city's buzzing restaurant scene, Masseto just started serving brunch on Saturdays. The eggs Benedict with homemade corned beef is delish and their frittatas are light, fluffly and perfectly made. Their hot chocolate is wonderful too. On Valero Street in Salcedo Village.

Espresso and coffee in Makati? Philippines

Unfortunately I haven't found a 'Third Wave' quality coffee shop in Manila. Nothing on the level of Blue Bottle, Toby's Estate, Zambra, etc. Perhaps the closest thing to one is Tommy's Coffee, which is a micro roaster and sells freshly roasted, locally grown coffee beans as well as espresso based drinks at the Salcedo Market on Saturdays.

Some years ago, I did some barista training so I've been pulling my espressos at home and at the office using Tommy's Coffee beans. I like his Metropolitan blend which uses Arabica from the Batangas lowlands and from the Benguet highlands (if I remember correctly).

There are some restaurants that serve good espresso such as Sala/Sala Bistro and Elbert's Steak Room, but unfortunately there isn't a great coffee bar yet. Malcolm's Deli sells Tommy's Coffee beans but they use a dinky coffee machine which is a pity.

Good Restaurants in Manila

Historically, it's been difficult to operate a great Filipino restaurant in Manila as the local elite tend to have fantastic cooks at home and prefer to dine out on other cuisines (Chinese, Italian, Japanese, etc.) But there are a few exceptions.

The restaurateur Larry Cruz has been the vanguard of Filipino cuisine and I grew up on his stellar, but now defunct Ang Hang restaurant. Larry established many other restaurants and one of his most recent ones is the aforementioned ABE in Serendra at Fort Bonifacio. Here you will find very authentic and very good Filipino food. Sadly, Larry passed away not too long ago, but someone in his family must be responsible for a new restaurant called LORENZO'S WAY in Greenbelt 5 in Makati. I have not been there yet, but I am told that it features Larry's greatest hits.

Greenbelt 5 is a mall that was created to feature Filipino restaurants, fashion designers, furniture and home accessory producers so it is definitely worth visiting. It is also host to one other restaurant worth mentioning. TERRACE AT 5TH features the best dishes from some of the most prominent families in Manila. I've had a Marinated Beef Short Rib there that was truly excellent. It's in a airy setting facing the gardens of Greenbelt. When I eat there, I feel like I'm eating at a friend's house, except I get a bill at the end of the meal of course.

Simon also mentioned SENTRO, which is in nearby Greenbelt 3. The Corned Beef Sinigang is amazing, as are many of the other dishes. I remember having an excellent fish curry dish. I haven't been there in years (shame on me) but I will make it a point to go next week.

On Pasay Road/Arnaiz Road, there is MILKY WAY, also previously mentioned. This place is consistently mentioned as the best place to try Filipino staples such as Crispy Pata (pork knuckle) and Pansit Luglog (rice noodles in shrimp fat). The building is a multiplex of restaurants owned by the Gamboa family and they run the top Japanese restaurant in town, with sushi flown in from Tokyo's Tsukiji market twice a week. There is also a good Thai restaurant and a Spanish restaurant that serves an awesome Sisig (sizzling pork cheek) that pilinut describes in this thread. If there is one thing you should try during a visit to Manila, it should probably be Sisig.

Best of Bangkok

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm headed to BKK tomorrow and have booked a table at Ban Klang Nam. It's recommended by Luxe Bangkok, which is maybe what draws in many farangs. Will report back my experience. I'll also try to find Chote Chitr.

Tokyo Midtown

I returned to Tokyo this year and stayed in Midtown once again. This time, I took FourSeasons' recommendation and ate at Nabura Roppongi and had a wonderful, unforgettable meal there. I had the freshest and widest range of seafood I've ever had so far. Many of the items I had never heard of, but the staff was kind enough to show me the whole fish a course was derived from and even presented a translation dictionary at every course. Thank you for your recommendation FourSeasons. Nabura will be a staple for me on every future trip to Tokyo from now on.

Apr 21, 2009
chutster in Japan

Can you suggest a great place to eat in Flatiron/Gramercy - that's moderately priced?

Mmmm. I miss New York.

Jun 16, 2008
chutster in Manhattan

Intro to Tokyo food scene

Will be based in Tokyo Midtown for the duration of the stay, and plan to explore Ginza, Marunouchi, Aoyama, Daikanyama, Naka Meguro. Open to exploring other areas that are worth checking out as well.

Yes we like seafood very much.

Apr 03, 2008
chutster in Japan

Intro to Tokyo food scene

Thank you FourSeasons and lost squirrel for the intriguing recommendations. Will definitely consider them on the (much too short!) itinerary.

Lost squirrel, yes my family LOVES Korean. Do tell...

Apr 03, 2008
chutster in Japan

Intro to Tokyo food scene

Thanks for the reply lost squirrel.

How would Kaikaya and Fuku be different from a place like Gonpachi?

Apr 02, 2008
chutster in Japan

Tokyo Midtown

Thanks David. Will hunt down those two spots!

Apr 02, 2008
chutster in Japan

Best of the Tokyo Food Halls

I mean the department store basements.

Are there any shops in Takashimaya basement that you would recommend in particular? Will definitely check that out.

Sorry, but what are Keio and Odakyu?

Apr 02, 2008
chutster in Japan

Intro to Tokyo food scene

I'm heading to Tokyo next week and will be bringing my family along (parents in early 60s and siblings in late 20s). Most of them have not been to Tokyo before and I've only been there a few times in recent years. They are all chowhounds and food obsessed like I am and I'd like to give them a good introduction to the local food scene in the five days we will be there.

Here's a working list of places I'm thinking of taking them to:

Gonpachi for Izakaya - I've been there once before, fun place, pretty good eats, is this the top choice?

Maisen for Tonkatsu - Been there twice, seems like a can't miss institution

Zakuro (or Seryna) for Shabu Shabu - Really enjoyed my one visit there

Tsukiji for Sushi - Don't have the patience for Daiwa, ate at some other place in the area and loved it, especially the incredible Anago

New York Grill - The setting, the vibe and the food were excellent the two times I visited

Most of the above are for dinner, except lunch at Maisen and Tsukiji. Lunches will be more random based on which neighborhoods are being explored.

I know there are many amazing Western restaurants in Tokyo, and I was thinking of throwing one in there. But with only three dinners, it's tough to fit one in. New York Grill can be considered Western I suppose, although it's pretty much a Wagyu joint.

Tokyo-ites, please let me know what you think of this list and if you have any suggestions. Thanks everyone. This site is a real gem.

Apr 02, 2008
chutster in Japan

Tokyo Midtown

I am heading to Tokyo and will be staying in Tokyo Midtown. Anybody here have Asian restaurant or food shop recommendations, as David is requesting above?

Apr 02, 2008
chutster in Japan

Best of the Tokyo Food Halls

I've been to Tokyo several times in the last couple of years. Every time, I stroll through the food halls of the Ginza department stores. It's quite overwhelming to someone who is not familiar with the myriad local specialties on offer.

Which of the department stores are regarded as the best overall?

Does anyone have recommendations for specific shops and food items that should not be missed?

Mar 31, 2008
chutster in Japan