Brown Rice Cafe

With the Obon season upon us, I have had no time to post. Still, I have collected lots of pictures and over the next few days will post all my yummy eating experiences.
This was quite a while ago – August 6. My friend and I decided to meet at the Brown Rice Cafe in Omotesando, and my husband tagged along. At lunch time, there are few men in the Cafe, but he didn’t mind! The Brown Rice Cafe has lots of really good drinks, food, and desserts.

My friend got the Detox Juice. I was skeptical about taking a picture of it, as it really doesn’t look too yummy, but after a while I relented as she told me that it is really too tasty. According to the online menu, this healthy juice is made from green leaves, fennel, and peppermint along with extracts of milk thistle and dandelion.

My friend got the Tempeh Wrap as her meal. This looked really yummy, and she told me that the look couldn’t compare to the taste! I highly recommend that you try this if you can. The tempeh is served with lettuce and miso to wrap it, miso soup, and brown rice topped with black sesame.

My husband and I had a hard time deciding what to get: we had decided to taste each others, of course! Finally, he decided on the Daily Special, which is served with brown rice, miso soup, and a choice of drink. That day, the special was especially tasty: fresh salad with a homemade dressing, small cold veggie salads, and tofu grilled with miso.

Here is a close-up of the Daily Special.

I finally decided to go with the Bean and Vegetable Curry. This comes with Japanese pickles, brown rice, and salad. I absolutely recommend this – lots of taste, good protein, and the pickles really complement the curry well.

Overall impression: This restaurant is very, very good. I highly recommend it for anyone who is a vegan, or even for meat eaters who are looking for a super healthy meal with your vegetarian friends!
Brown Rice Cafe:
Address: Green Building 1F, 5-1-17 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Phone: 03-5778-5416
Hours: Sun-Sat 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM (L.O. 8:00 PM)

La Volpaia Pizzeria

Sunday night we wanted some good pizza. My husband looked up some nice pizzerias and was led to La Volpaia Pizzeria. Located in Ichigaya (Ushigome-Kagurazaka area), it is an offshoot of the fancier Carmine Restaurant, which is the first Italian restaurant to be opened by an Italian chef in Japan. This restaurant is great -very laid back style, delicious food, open atmosphere.

We arrived at about 6 pm on Sunday night. Surprisingly, the restaurant was full and there were two people waiting ahead of us. We decided to wait (must be good if it is worth lining up for, right?!) and it was definitely a good decision.

Unfortunately, the food was so delicious that we ate too much and left with achingly full stomachs! 😉

We started off with the daily recommended appetizer: marinated olives and vegetables. I was sad to see that the toothpicks were speared with anchovies, but my husband greedily gobbled them up, so it was all okay. The vegetables were zucchini, onions, and bell peppers. Although the olive oil and spices used were first rate, and the olives delicious, I hate bell peppers! The olive oil was infused with their taste, so I couldn’t really enjoy this dish (but that’s my fault!). My husband assured me that it was truly delicious.
All customers are served a basket of bread, and we dipped some of this divinely fresh bread (no pics, sorry!) into the leftover oil of the appetizer. I mostly used the self-service bar of olive oil, spicy chili/tomato paste, parmesan, and salt/pepper as my dipping sauce.

Next, we got our pizza. This is the 4 Stagioni pizza. Originally, it is served with olives, artichoke hearts, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and ham. We asked for “hamu-nashi” (without ham), and to our incredulous surprise, they agreed! Not only that, they offered to replace the ham with something, and we chose mushrooms.

Those of you who have lived in Japan will understand how truly shocking it is for a restaurant to agree to change a menu item, let alone substitute something!! Not only that, but having artichoke hearts and olives on my pizza was enough to bring tears of joy to my eyes. The dough was absolutely perfect – chewy, springy, light.

Next, we had our pasta dish. This dish doesn’t take good pictures, but it tastes phenomenal! It is the Tagliatelle al Pomodoro e Mascarpone (Tagliatelle pasta with tomato sauce and mascarpone cheese). The pasta was freshly made, and that makes all the difference!

By this time, we were full! But we still had our second dish: another daily special. It was Risotto with 4 Cheeses and Rucola. Again, doesn’t take such an aesthetically-pleasing picture, but I can assure you that it was absolutely fabulous.

The only thing to detract from the food was the music. It was only August, and already the restaurant was playing Christmas songs! That was so awful that we both wanted to hurry through dinner and get out. Maybe next time the music will be better…
La Volpaia Pizzeria:
Address: 162-0838 Saiku-machi 1-1, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3260-0435
Hours: Mon-Sun Lunch: 11:30 AM-2 PM; Dinner 6 PM-10:30 PM; LO 9:30 PM
Japanese Website: http://www.carmine.jp/

Curry King

We unfortunately haven’t been out to eat recently. It is quite expensive to eat vegetarian in Tokyo (as in most cities), but today I would like to talk about a very cheap veggie meal.

I LOVE Japanese curry rice. My husband makes the best curry rice at home, but I also really like to eat at restaurants. Some restaurants unfortunately put meat into their yasai-karê.

We have a Karê no Ousama – “Curry King“, an S&B company, very close to our house, and the curry there is delicious, inexpensive, and comes with options. Plus, there is no visible meat! (Please note – most likely there is some sort of meat (chicken, beef, or pork) used in the curry sauce, but I don’t ask!)

Today’s meal was: juuhakkoku-mai yasai karê. That is, 18-grain rice vegetable curry. I got a side salad and cold oolong tea, too. All this cost 830 yen, which is about $8. Yasui! Plus, you can add as many fukujinzuke as you want!! I LOVE to add a ton. The veggies in the curry were potatoes, carrots, eggplant, and broccoli. Oishikatta!!!

18-grain rice contains: brown rice, black rice, red rice, black soy beans, azuki beans, soy beans, barley, Job’s Tears, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, glutinous millet, sorghum, glutinous foxtail millet, Japanese barnyard millet, corn, white sorghum, quinoa, and amaranth. Lots of good carbs!

Curry King (Ichigaya):

Address: Ichigaya Plaza 1F, 4-2 Kudankita; Chiyoda-ku; Tokyo

Google Maps: 千代田区九段北4-2

Phone: 03-3262-7465
Hours: Mon-Fri: 11:00-23:00; Sat, Sun, Holidays: 11:00-22:00
Japanese website: http://www.curry-ousama.co.jp/

Now, compare this yasai-karê to my husband’s homemade one (with potatoes, carrots, and okra… yum!!!).

Tofu – the Japanese macho food!

My husband LOVES tofu! I am not such a big fan of it unless it is in a dish. He eats it with just soy sauce… you should try it, at least!!
I am sorry to say that tofu has a bad rep in the US. Tofu is for women and those wimpy vegetarians, right?! Not in Japan!!
This is Otokomaedofu – “Studmuffin Tofu”. Only the manliest men can eat this tofu! It is actually quite good, but I still prefer my tofu cooked a dish with other stuff.
The tofu pictured below is not made by Otokomaedofu, but by a company owned by the Otokomaedofu owner’s father.
Still, the best website to check out for Otokomaedofu is www.otokomae.jp. Funny flash website, and even has an English story about tofu. Check it out!