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! read more

Russian Borscht Soup

Russian Borscht Soup with Toasted Bread

Russian Borscht Soup with Fresh Dill, Diced Hard-Boiled Egg, and Toasted Bread

Though it’s technically spring, it’s still quite cold here in Chicago and in much of the Northeast, which has kept me cooking all kinds of delicious soups. Last week, I made a Portuguese kale soup with chorizo, a creamy Thai coconut curry, and this robust Russian borscht soup.

Borscht is a very vegetable-heavy soup that features beets, cabbage, onion, carrot, and garlic. This combination results in a very earthy, sweet, and tangy soup. Some versions of borscht are completely vegetarian, while others incorporate beef, pork, or chicken. I like to add a little meat to borscht because I think it provides a nice textural contrast, but it’s great without it, so omit it if you prefer. read more