Monday, 27 February 2012
Agemanju Asakusa Kokonoe2-3-1 ，Asakusa，
Tummy Points: 4.5/5
Notes: Agemanju 120 Yen,
(Green Tea) 170 Yen,
(Sesame) 140 Yen
Nakamisedori Street in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan is filled with snacks galore and gift shops. The street entrance to the street is protected by the Kaminarimon (Thunder) Gate, first built in 942 but relocated to this location in 1635. The giant lantern featured in many people's photos says Kaminarimon while the back writes its official name Furaijinmon. From the gate, you can see Senso-Ji Temple at the end of the street. Built in 645, it is Tokyo's oldest temple and focus of Tokyo's Shinto festival.
As you walk closer to Senso-Ji Temple, you'll see a snack store on your right that you could easily skip passed. But if you do miss it, you're missing my favorite snack in all of Japan!
Agemanju Asakusa Kokonoe serves manju which are deep fried mochi stuffed with Azuki bean paste. They come in 3 flavors: red bean, green tea, and sesame. The best flavor is the green tea one.
The outside is crispy and light. It's like a tempura bun with a soft hot bean paste inside. If you're lucky you will see the cooks drop them into their wok of oil and flipping them over to fry both sides. It takes them a few minutes for them to be ready for consumption. This is the best time to buy one and trumps any flavor preference.
Although agemanju don't really sound like much, I went there twice on my trip to Japan and ate 5 of them on one visit. I highly recommend visiting Asakusa and dropping by to get an agemanju. Actually, why just get one? Get half a dozen!
Monday, 26 July 2010
Yankee PierSan Francisco International
1 McDonnell Rd.
San Francisco, CA 94128
Tummy Points: 2.5/5
Notes: New England Clam
Chowder Cup $7.50
As part of the Lark Creek Restaurant Group which includes award winning restaurants such as One Market Restaurant in San Francisco, Yankee Pier also won an award from The San Francisco Chronicle as the Bay Area's Top 10 New Restaurants when it first opened in 2000. Its casual dining cafe style serves New England seafood such as chowder, daily oysters, and dungeness crab to just name a few.
I had a chance to drop by Yankee Pier's airport location in San Francisco (SFO) for a late night bite. Seating was very basic with wooden chairs, wooden tables, benches with hard wood backing, and a tiled floor. It all felt like food court. Being an airport location, the menu was targeted for the airport clientele with quickly prepared dishes such as salads and fried seafood that kept fingers clean. Choice of oysters was limited and you won't find dishes like the flat iron steak.
I ordered a chicken breast sandwich which took quite a bit of time to come out but arrived hot. The chicken was well cooked, juicy, and tender. It had a hint of sweet BBQ sauce they added as the chicken grilled. Interestingly, the chicken breast was skin in so that really helped preserve flavor and moisture in the chicken. I wish more restaurants kept the skin on. I was really hoping for sourdough bread since I was in San Francisco but it wasn't to be. Bread was dry but easily masked by the yummy chicken. Lettuce was already soft and was likely pre-chopped.
Saturday, 17 July 2010
Congee Queen2900 Steeles Ave. E.http://www.congeequeen.com
Markham, ON L3T
Tummy Points: 3/5
Notes: Cantonese chow mein
$9.75, Sliced fish and pork
liver congee $4.99, Curry
fried rice noodle with
shrimp and BBQ pork $7.50
Back in the mid-ninties, Congee Wong was taking Toronto Chinese cuisine by storm. They offered lots of good tasting food for cheap. It was the formula that wins the heart of all traditional Chinese people at heart. It's all about value and being Chinese myself with fairly traditional parents I know it first hand. So during the ninities, a number of congee restaurants opened all around Toronto. Almost every Chinese plaza or mall had a congee restaurant. But the best was usually Congee Wong which stuck to its original formula. They kept prices steady and they didn't stray far in quality from when they first opened.
Surprisingly Congee Queen is owned by the same people that own Congee Wong so the quality is the same. I think Congee Queen has a more modern looking exterior and a little more elaborate interior design. Congee Queen also has higher quality wooden chairs.
Sunday, 20 June 2010
2205 Commissioner St.
Vancouver, BC V5L
Ambiance: Business Casual
Tummy Points: 3.5/5
Notes: Roasted Mussels $16,
Sauteed Scallops & Prawns
$28.95, Salmon Wellington $32,
Jacques' Favorites $11,
Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumb
Outside the busy Vancouver city center, along the pier, lies a jem of a seafood restaurant called the Cannery.
To get to the Cannery, you'll need to drive through a security check point, past a number of parked trains, and ship loaders. It really feels odd to be driving here at night with little to no lights and no one around.
But when you get there, you're greeted with a little tug boat at the front and a little house named the Cannery.
The inside is all wooden decorated with various photos of boats, dining awards, and model fishing boats. The main dining area is small but they have upstairs seating for parties. The Cannery has wonderful windows that overlook the Vancouver Harbor. A great view during sunset.
Sadly, the Cannery was closed earlier this year when its non-renewable lease expired. The Cannery is located in the secure area of the pier so it could be seen as a potential security risk to the Port Authorities.
In case you've heard raves about this restaurant and wonder what it was like, you can read my review.
Wednesday, 09 June 2010
5000 Highway 7 E.
Markham, ON L3R 4M9
Tummy Points: 3/5
Notes: Cinnabon $5.99,
While in a shopping mall, you'll know there's a Cinnabon nearby if you smell cinnamon in the air. It's such a big tease. It's even more tempting when you turn your head and see them cutting a soft oven-hot cinnamon bun from the tray of buns. It's just so hard to resist. Until you think of the calories. But, how could you not spoil yourself from time to time. So broke down and picked one up after seeing a number of people buy one and many more fresh ones coming out of their ovens.
Started in 1985, Cinnabon currently has over 700 franchised locations, usually malls, around the world. Cinnabon mentions that their warm dough is filled with Makara Cinnamon from Indonesia and topped with freshly made cream cheese frosting. I couldn't find much details on Makara Cinnamon but they claim it comes from the park of cassia trees high in the mountains.