Eating Tonkatsu at Katsukura Shinjuku Restaurant

Tonkatsu Pork Filet and Prawn at Katsukura Shinjuku

Tonkatsu Pork Filet and Prawn at Katsukura Shinjuku

Katsukura Restaurant is located on the 14th floor of the Takashimaya Mall in Shinjuku, a short walk from Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens.  Katsukura specializes in tonkatsu—a Japanese dish consisting of pork that has been coated in flour, egg, and panko breadcrumbs, and then deep fried. This preparation produces delicately airy pork with a crispy exterior. If you visit Japan, you must try tonkatsu at least once!

Katsukura is a tourist-friendly restaurant. Upon arrival, they brought us cold barley tea (commonly served in the summertime in Japan) and offered us English menus. Fans of Japanese whiskey will be happy to see that you can order a high-ball of Yamazaki or Hakushu for around ¥650 (~$5-$6 USD). This is not bad at all given the price of Japanese whiskey in the States!

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Eating Tsukemen (Dipping Ramen) at Fuunji in Tokyo

special-tsukemen-with-extra-chashu-pork-at-fuunji-restaurant-in-shinjuku-tokyo

Special Tsukemen with Extra Chashu Pork at Fuunji Restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Despite howling winds and lashing rain from an approaching typhoon, Corey and I braved the streets of Shinjuku in search of a delicious meal. It was our second night in Japan and we couldn’t let two days go by without having any noodles!

Originally, we’d planned to eat soba in memory lane our first night in Tokyo at Kameya Shinjuku, but that had been thwarted by the Obon holiday. So we weren’t going to let the weather stop us from eating at Fuunji!

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Crane Ramen Restaurant Gainesville, FL

Interior of Crane Ramen Restaurant in Gainesville, FL

Interior of Crane Ramen Restaurant in Gainesville, FL

When my mother called and told me that Crane Ramen—the first ramen restaurant in Gainesville, Florida—had opened, I decided to check it out. It’s hard to find a ramen restaurant outside the big cities, though with the increasing popularity of ramen, that may change. I’ve been spoiled by all the ramen joints in Chicago (Santouka being my favorite) and Atlanta, so it was exciting to see one open in my little hometown.

Crane Ramen’s Atmosphere and Setting

Crane Ramen features a vibrant, modern interior with an open kitchen, illustrated placemats showing how to eat ramen (the secret is to slurp and slurp quickly!), and ceiling banners featuring the restaurant’s logo—a crane stretched proudly over an empty stack of bowls. This may be a reference to longevity, as cranes are fabled to live 1,000 years in Japan, and noodles symbolize longevity in some Asian countries.

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Flavorful Journeys Popular Blog Posts of 2015

Every year I like to look and see which blog posts on Flavorful Journeys were most popular with readers. It’s a fun way to reflect and reminisce on my culinary adventures and travel experiences. Without further ado, here are Flavorful Journeys top 10 posts of 2015!

1. Sashimi Seaweed Cucumber Salad

Flavorful Journeys Popular Blog Posts of 2015

This sashimi seaweed cucumber salad is one of my weeknight favorites. Since everything is served raw, preparation is a breeze. The fresh fish, roe, and seaweed transport you to the sea, while the citrusy ponzu enlivens the salad by adding acidity to the dish.

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Julia Child’s First Meal in France – Course #1

Oysters on the Half Shell Rye Bread Unsalted Butter

Oysters on the Half Shell with Rye Bread and Unsalted Butter

Inspired by reading Julia Child’s memoir, My Life in France, I decided to re-create the first meal she experienced with her husband in France. It was a meal that she fondly remembered: “Our first lunch together in France was absolute perfection. It was the most exciting meal of my life.”[i]

She dined at Restaurant La Couronne, France’s oldest restaurant, which dates back to 1345. The meal started with half a dozen oysters on the half shell served with pain de seigle (rye bread) and unsalted butter. This preparation of oysters was new and intriguing to me. Typically, my husband and I eat Apalachicola Bay oysters on the half shell drizzled with lemon juice and served atop a saltine cracker with cocktail sauce and horseradish.

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