Just stop by the convenience store and pick up a carton of milk – oh, and one of those individually-wrapped bananas or ears of corn.

Akemi is so adorable.  She’s apparently been in Canada so long that she’s forgotten what it’s like to live in Tokyo.

“Tell me when you see a garbage can,”she said, waving the empty can she was holding.

A garbage can?  On the streets of Ginza?  You’re more likely to come across Godzilla.

The plan was to catch the metro to Roppongi so that we could check out the always entertaining Mori Art Museum.  Unfortunately, it turned out the museum was closed – so we had to entertain ourselves through alternate means:

A visit to the fantastic Le Chocolat de H for their terrific banana chocolates.
Then, a visit to the Ritz Carleton Cafe for a drink – oh, and this massive green tea choux topped with adzuki beans.

We were looking at an 8:00 p.m. dinner reservation at Faro and I needed something to tide me over.  Beside the chocolates and choux.  Curiously, I was in the mood for – of all things – fruit!  I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise given that, despite my eating habits when I’m away, I eat fairly sensibly on the home front.  For instance, my post morning work-out lunch always consists of a shake comprised of one banana, half a cup of blueberries, another miscellaneous fruit (half a papaya, a whole pear, a couple of figs), almond milk, and oatmeal.  Apparently, my body NEEDS fruit.

Sigh.  I must be getting old.

Last night, we took in a late dinner at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Ginza: Faro.  Joining us for the unsurprisingly excellent meal was Akemi’s good friend, Harumi.

Akemi and Harumi catch up.
The amuse-bouce was a thick and creamy cauliflower soup with cauliflower consomme gelee topped with salmon roe.
My starter: a fabulous foie gras with marron (chestnut) cream.  Upon on top, some roasted chestnut topped with a coffee gelee.
Also to start, the Sea Urchin Royale.
We split two pasta plates: veal-stuffed agnolotti with porcini mushrooms on the left (my favourite) and tagliatelle with lobster on the right (Akemi’s favourite)
We followed up with an earthy truffle risotto.
They wheeled out the dessert cart at the end of the meal.  I was so stuffed, I could only manage one: the Savarin topped with Brandy.
And, just to be sure we weren’t going home hungry, they presented us with a selection of sweet small bites – with extra mango-passion fruit gimauve (marshmallows) for Akemi.

This morning, Akemi had the most interesting breakfast…

Fresh orange and orange jelly she picked up from Ginza Sembikya, a shop specializing in fresh fruit, fruit sandwiches, and mangoes the size of your head.

Not to be outdone…

I had the desserts Harumi gifted us last night from Pierre Herme: Ispahan (rose, lychee and raspberry) macaron on the left and a match with adzuki bean macaron on the right.

Akemi had an appointment this morning and, once she finished up, I ended up meeting her in Omotedsando where we had lunch at Yasai-Ya Me, a restaurant specializing in vegetarian cuisine (although, curiously, I found pork and chicken on the menu as well).  I noticed that clientele was overwhelmingly women.  I was the only guy in the restaurant with the exception of some poor sap no doubt dragged in by his girlfriend.

Yasai (vegetables), not to be confused with yasui (cheap) or yasashii (easy).

Akemi ordered a carbonated vinegar soda that is apparently a great antioxidant.  I went with an anti-aging tea (and feel younger already!).

Fried lotus root dusted with black pepper and garlic.  Highly addictive!
My main was a culinary tableau of tastes and textures: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, crispy, creamy, dense and airy.  Some of the items were amazing, others less so, but it was an experience all the same.
Akemi had a kasu (lees left over from the sake making process) rice with baked pumpkin.  It was surprisingly subtle.  I would have preferred a more pronounced kasu flavor.

I was also served two soups, one of which boasted an intense yuzu (Japanese citrus similar to a lemon) flavor.

We worked off lunch by taking a stroll through Omotesando and hitting all the cultural hotspots (ie. Pierre Herme, Jean-Paul Hevin, and La Maison du Chocolat).

This mini-cheesebuger-sized macaron should give us the energy we need to finish our tour of the neighborhood!

Tonight, dinner with our old friend (and sushi master) Sawada-san.

Watching the updates on the storm hitting the east coast.  For those of you in the impact area, stay safe and let us know how you’re doing.

25 thoughts on “October 29, 2012: Tokyo Day #2! Roppongi! Faro! Yasai-ya Me!

  1. All that food looks great (and) filling, Joe. It’s great to see you guys are having a great time.

    We’re not expected to get too much of he storm here other than a lot of leftover rain. Our winds did bit up to a not that bad 76 kmh last night though.

  2. One good travelogue deserves another. Having a good time with Vancouverite Beth B at DisneyWorld. We’re visiting with my brother’s family & friends. Weather is like Vancouver in late September, minus the rain, due to a cold, dry front.

    My husband doesn’t DO theme parks, EVER, so I invited Beth, who was overdue for a vacation. Some of you know her as “tuftedpuffin” or “asgardhicouncil” &/or have met her at scifi/SG cons.

    Did I mention this is her first trip to a Disney Park? *chortles in glee* She is having a great time photographing, bird-watching, and taking advantage of character photo opps. Watch for her posts on Twitter or Facebook (Instagram).

    Tired ourselves out yesterday and may repeat today (Tues.), so i’m going to catch a few more winks. Currently 0600 local time; abnormally early for this nightowl. ;-D

    Safe travels and ¡buen provecho, Joe & Akemi!

    Your friendly fairy godmother from Texas.

  3. I am glad that you are enjoying your trip.

    Please don’t refer to being/getting old as I was born in 1963 and I am not old and never plan to get old.


  4. Joe,,NOv 30th, really bad jet lag..lol..
    Love the foodie pictures thanks for sharing. You and Akemi look refreshed, so good napping or the vinegar soda is working. Have fun.

  5. You have to post about dinner with Sawada-san. Have. To.
    You are also giving me an insatiable desire for macarons… they look so good! The only problem in rural Northumberland is getting my hands on any. Grrr.

  6. RE: Hurricane Sandy

    We’re good! No losses here at our place, except for a few less leaves on the trees. Just getting things unpacked and back to normal. 🙂


  7. Where do you manage to put all that food away? Same question for Akemi. It looks like you would have to walk about 8 or 10 hours after each meal to maintain your figures. Appreciate you sharing. The food looks absolutely amazing.

  8. Joe, Am loving all the restaurant photos, and macarons!! 😀 Also jealous that you will be eating chez Sawada-san! Are you SURE you can’t send samples stateside, on dry ice? 🙂

    Akemi, thanks for updating your blog!

    Joe, isn’t this blog for Oct. 29th? Looking forward to weird food videos! :]

    East Coasties — Hope everyone is safe, warm, and has everything they need. And that your homes will be safe also. Sending prayers…

    Deirdre & Mr. Das — Saw photos of Hurricane Sandy in Cape May, NJ Oh, my gosh! Are you guys okay at your friend’s house, or will you go to Philly? I guess if you can read this, you have power. Stay safe! P.S. Liked your recipe for curried chicken the other day. Can’t wait to make it.

    My sister-in-law, her bro, and the two baby nephews were just in Kendall Park, NJ visiting friends this past weekend. They scrambled into the car after dinner Sunday night, and made it back to Indy by Monday night. Whew! Here, we’ve had 40 m.p.h. winds, and Colder air. Brrr! Winds sounded pretty strong outside.

  9. Oddly enough, I can credit Friends with teaching me what an amuse-bouce is. In French, does it actually mean “thing that makes your mouth happy”? Just curious….

    I always liked how we westerners use French phrases that sound classy and highfalutin, but they actually mean something simple. Like the “je ne sais quoi” actually meaning “I don’t know what”. It seems silly to utter the english translation, yet I’m sure it’s just as silly to the French when we say those things.

    I can’t imagine how crazy I’d go if I were to go on a food tour of Tokyo. There’s not much Japanese food I don’t like. In fact, I can’t think of any at the moment. The newest sushi place in town does that charring of the top of the sushi like in your yesterday’s post. They have a particularly awesome salmon roll they use that same sauce on and sear it with the mini blowtorch. It is unreal!

    Dangit, now my mouth is watering…..

    -Mike A.

  10. Storm damage not too bad here (a little northwest of Philly). We lost power Mon. night but it came back on sometime in the middle of the night. Thank God, I didn’t want a repeat of last year’s Snowtober, 6 days without power. Winds are relatively calm here now so hopefully we won’t lose elec again before I go back to work tomorrow (Wed).

  11. Prayers to all the East Coasters!

    My body doesn’t take travel well. I have to eat very sensibly to stay active. Those desserts look so good, though. It might be worth some discomfort to try them.

    Have fun!

  12. Those desserts look yummy. Praying for those impacted by Sandy. I hope this doesn’t become an annual thing, as the Northeast was hit by Irene about the same time. Be safe hope the power is restored soon.

    Joe, Akemi,be safe as well as you travel.

  13. 1. if there aren’t any garbage cans on the streets of tokyo, what does one do with their empty pop can or a candy bar wrapper? go into a store & use their trash can?

    2. i was wondering about the size of the portions of desserts, that you get at various restaurants in tokyo or at home. (it’s hard to tell with pictures) are a lot of things fairly big, like a typical desert plate that’s about 6-7 inches across? or are they much smaller, like to fit in the palm or your (or akemi’s) hand?

  14. I”m so glad to hear Das and Mr. Das are OK. I did think of you last night when the wind was at its peak. We had a few leaks in the back of our house, as did many in our neighborhood from the hours and hours of rain. And my next-door neighbors lost their little Charlie Brownish maple tree. Other than that, it’s all good here. We made and ate two fresh pumpkin pies, and not even those wonderful looking macarons can tempt me now. Thanks for asking.

  15. G’day Joe

    Hope all is okay on the East Coast of the US. Stay safe. I know what you are going through, I went through Cyclone Yasi last year in North Queensland, Australia. No power for two weeks. Stay safe, dry and warm.

    Have fun Joe and Akemi.

  16. @ Deni – I’m okay! We really got off easy. The rest of the state and elsewhere? Not so fortunate. 🙁


  17. I weep with jealousy… also, I broke into your house.

  18. First, I look at the amazing food, and then I wonder— have you ever considered what part of your income goes to eating out? And then, my suspicion you must be bilemic to eat so much and not be roughly the size of Kuwait.

  19. My daughter is still with Cirque. They are setting up in Boston. She said it is flooding in areas but nothing like New York. I’m happy she is save. She has been all over the world with the show…and this is the first time there has been danger. Makes me feel unsettled.

  20. @Fresh orange and orange jelly

    Must admit Joe that looks pretty good though, probably the healthiest thing, bar the vegetables/fruit shown there lol

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