Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden Walking Trail

When people hear Tokyo, they often imagine a vast, Blade Runner-like metropolis of skyscrapers and neon lights—which for parts of Tokyo is accurate. But Tokyo is huge and heterogeneous, with many oases where you can relax and appreciate the serenity of nature. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of those.

We went to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden the day after a typhoon (one of the six during our trip). With hurricanes in Florida, you usually get clear, cool weather afterwards; in Japan, you get clear weather, but it’s unusually hot. We found this out the hard way! Luckily this garden is full of shade. read more

Eating Tsukemen (Dipping Ramen) at Fuunji in 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! read more

Hama-Rikyu Gardens – Tokyo, Japan

Hama-Rikyu Gardens - Where the Past and Present Collide

Hama-Rikyu Gardens – Where the Past and Present Collide

Corey and I recently went on an amazing trip to Japan. In my next few posts, I will be writing about our travels and the many wonderful experiences we had there, including all the tasty food we ate (I’ll be sharing recipes too). I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures and that these posts provide insight into the wonders of Japan.

Hama-Rikyu gardens provide a glimpse into the past through its Edo-style landscaping and architecture. It’s located near Tsukiji Market in the Chūō ward, a heavily trafficked commercial and shopping district in central Tokyo, and it fronts on Tokyo Bay. read more

Picking Peaches in Georgia at Gregg Farms

Bucket of Freshly Picked Peaches from Gregg Farms

Bucket of Freshly Picked Peaches from Gregg Farms

Picking your own seasonal ingredients from local farms is a great way to freshen up your cooking with high-quality ingredients. Not only that, but it allows you to connect with the land that your food comes from, and to harvest some of the “ugly” fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be wasted. Incredibly, somewhere between 25 and 40 percent of all the food produced in this country goes to waste, so picking some “ugly” produce can be a tasty (if minor) way to reduce that figure. read more

Stone-Ground Grits and Nora Mill Granary

Nora Mills Granary Storefront

Nora Mill Granary Storefront

Grits are a Southern classic, made from ground corn kernels and simmered until they get thick and creamy. While usually served for breakfast, grits can also be presented as a side dish, or as part of a main course for lunch or dinner (for example, in shrimp and grits).

The most flavorful grits—way better than instant grits—are stone-ground grits. I was first introduced to stone-ground grits in college when my mother-in-law sent me a bag. My husband and I weren’t big grit eaters at the time; we had mostly eaten instant grits while backpacking, so we imagined grits as more or less a bland texture or base. read more