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:

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:

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 Funny flash website, and even has an English story about tofu. Check it out!

Nuun Dinner

On Tuesday (7/21) night, my husband and I headed over to Nuun again. I was near his work, we were both hungry, and we were still salivating over the last visit!
For those who don’t know: Nuun is a truly fabulous restaurant in Akabanebashi that caters to yuru-beji (loosely vegetarians), and has offerings for vegans and strict vegetarians, too. This food is so delicious and is served in an aesthetically-pleasing manner, in a super-hip environment.
We were both super hungry, and we got a LOT of food (the better to show you, of course!).
Let me give you a look at our heavenly repast…


Two views of the yuba-skin spring rolls with sweet chili sauce. The vegetables inside included green beans, carrots, and lettuce. The combination was incredibly scrumptious – crunchy, with that little sweet zing of the sweet chili sauce to add panache.

Now, two views of the steamed seasonal vegetables with rock salt and green chili pepper miso paste for dipping. The vegetables were steamed perfectly – not too soft or too hard. The list: cherry tomatoes, baby potatoes, baby carrots, asparagus, kabocha, sugar snap peas, and baby corn. The sauces are shown in the first picture on the side plate. It was a perfect serving for two, and the vegetables matched very well with the salt and pepper miso paste.

On to the main courses:

This is the yam and okra okonomiyaki. The yam is Japanese yamaimo, or mountain yam, and is very slimy in texture. Doesn’t sound good, but pairs very well with okra, another slimy food. Also, yamaimo has a very fresh, crisp taste that really goes well in okonomiyaki.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of eating okonomiyaki: it is a pancake made of shredded cabbage, flour, broth, egg, and various added ingredients. It is then topped with okonomiyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce), katsuobushiKewpie mayonnaise, and aonori. This one had okonomiyaki sauce and katsuobushi, mizuna, yamaimo, and okra. I forgot to tell them to hold the katsuobushi, but I know that they will keep it off if you ask. I just picked it off and gave it to my husband.
Ah… something that I could eat 100 of in one meal! This is makomotake deep fried with almonds. You dip it into rock salt, and it is topped with shisoflowers and chives. The texture of makomotake is… indescribable. You really have to eat it – crisp, almost crunchy, with a nutty flavor. Makomotake is not available in the US, as it is caused by a fungal infection of the Manchurian Wild Rice plant. Too bad, as this vegetable is truly, utterly, fabulously delicious!
Next, we had gluten meat with steamed asparagus and a ginger sauce. I have had gluten meat-alternatives before, but this is honestly the most tender, delicious, flavorful one that I have eaten. I wish I could have eaten nothing but this! The asparagus was, as always at Nuun, steamed perfectly. To garnish: mixed greens and shiraganegi,“gray-hair spring onion”.

 Finally, we had the carbs of our meal with spinach noodles, dipped in a soup of tomatoes and garlic. So refreshing and absolutely perfect as the end of our meal. The noodles were served cold, topped with mizuna and shiso flowers. The soup was also cold, and had chunks of tomato and garlic. I think that there might have been chicken broth in the soup (there is a meat symbol next to this dish on the menu, but no obvious meat), and the noodles are egg noodles. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. Again, I wished I could have eaten more of this dish, but I was already so full!

 And we finished our meal with the panna cotta again. I simply cannot describe how rich and flavorful this panna cotta is, how delicious, cool, and refreshing, how great the texture is. The fruits that came with it were apple and mango slices, and accented the panna cotta very well.
Overall impression: we’ll be back again soon!


Chirimentei Ramen

On 7/20, my husband and I went to Chirimentei Ramen Restaurant in Ichigaya. Chirimentei is a chain ramen shop that allows you to get food “niku nashi” and has the added benefit of veggie gyoza.

My husband’s dish: NOT vegetarian! He had tsukemen, or dipping ramen, with a side of fried rice.

My dish isn’t originally vegetarian, but I asked for it “niku nashi” (no meat), and this is how it came. This dish is hiyajiru tsukemen, a summer-only dish that is very similar to hiyashi-chuka. The sauce is probably miso and sesame. The toppings were pickled bamboo shoots, cucumber slices, nori, half a boiled egg, and myoga.

And finally… the very delicious vegetable gyoza. These are filled with cabbage and chives, mostly.

Chirimentei (Ichigaya):
Address: Ichigaya Plaza 4-2-15 Kudan-kita, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo Japan

Google Maps: 千代田区九段北4-2-15
Phone: 03-3263-2416
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 AM -2:00 AM and Sun 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Japanese website:

Cafe La Boheme

Tonight, the hubby and I were up for some Italian food. We haven’t had the pleasure of truly good Italian since moving to Tokyo, but he asked some of his coworkers, and they said that Cafe La Boheme is pretty good. Now, I am definitely not the chain restaurant kinda gal, but I have to admit that this place was pretty tasty. We visited the Azabu-Juban branch, which is only a minute or two saunter from the station. Our dinner was pretty fabulous – appetizer through dessert.

We began our meal with two appetizers: Potato Gnocci with Parmigiano Sauce and the Steamed Asparagus “Gado-gado” Salad with Peanut Dressing.

Here is the potato gnocci. Prognosis? Melt-in-the-mouth! The cheese actually tasted like cheese (amazing for Japan!) and the seasoning was just right.

How the Gado-gado salad was served: covered with a plate and the peanut dressing.

Here is the actual salad – asparagus, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, okra, and lettuce. Not such a great picture, but the salad was delicious!

My main dish: whole wheat spaghettini arrabbiata with the optional extra topping of 5 grilled veggies. The pasta was perfectly al dente, the sauce amazingly zesty, and the veggies grilled just right.

Hubby’s main dish: beef lasagna with eggplant, mushrooms, and spinach. Looked tasty (minus the beef!) He says: “Too classy for me!” LOL.

And two desserts (hey, two of us…!) This is the homemade pudding with a brandy sauce, whipped cream, strawberries, and chopped pistachio nuts. The pudding was super rich and creamy. YUM!
And an array of ice cream and sherbet: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. The best ice cream I have had since coming to Japan.
Overall: excellent experience! Glad that I took the time to go all the way to Azabu-Juban even though I was tired!!
Cafe La Boheme (Azabu-Juban branch):
Address: 1F.2F. Green Court Azabu-juban 2-3-7 Azabu-juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0045
Phone: 03-6400-3060
Hours: Mon-Sun 11 AM-5AM; LO: 4:15 AM (lunch hour: 11 AM-2 PM non-holiday weekdays only)


Today I was able to meet my dear husband for lunch! That’s rare for a weekday, to say the least. Where did we head? To our favorite Tokyo restaurant – Nuun in Akabanebashi! Nuun is very close to Tokyo Tower, and has absolutely fabulously delicious seasonal food that can only be described as exquisitely creative.

Today, we both got the Tofu Cutlet lunch plate, because it looked so good!


Here it is, in all it’s glory… a fried tofu cutlet with two dipping sauces (one daikon, onion, and garlic; the other was very similar to tonkatsu sauce), lightly battered and fried okra, fresh mizuna salad, cold marinated mushrooms, and cold marinated summer squash. Divine.

This came with our lunch set as well: brown rice and a very nice vegetable soup. The broth was a clear broth that tasted strongly of a mixture of vegetables, and there were chunks of squashes, cabbage, and carrots… other stuff, too, but I can’t be sure of what! The rice was cooked to perfection and the simple taste of the soup really complemented the rest of the meal.

And here is our dessert… a rich, melt-in-your-mouth panna cotta with chocolate sauce and iced coffee. Aaah… so delicious!!




Nissin World Delicatessen

Wow – I haven’t had the time to post a blog in forever!! Still… here is an update! We have been eating at home a lot lately due to overwork… poor us! We haven’t been going hungry, though!

Where can the Tokyo vegetarian go to get supplies? Nissin World Delicatessen!

My favorite – veggie burgers! My husband works near Azabu-Juban, and right at the station is Nissin.

This is where we get the sesame seed buns, Amy’s California Burgers, and fixins that you see here… oh so yummy! We had this on 7/7/09 for dinner.
This is my husband’s homemade puttanesca sauce – minus the nasty ole anchovies! He likes his topped with a whole lotta parmesan! We had this on 7/6/09 for dinner.

Of course I made a nice salad to go along with his spaghetti!

My puttanesca (hubby made it) – I don’t want the parmesan on mine!

Nissin World Delicatessen:
Address: 2-34-2, Higashi-Azabu, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 106-0044 JAPAN
Phone: 03-3583-4586
Hours: Mon-Sun 9 AM-9 PM

Kho Rin Bo

This would be 7/4/09. We visited a restaurant that my mother-in-law had recommended back at Christmas time, but that we hadn’t had time to visit. It is a vegetarian place run by a Buddhist Taiwanese lady in Nakano Broadway. The name of the restaurant is Kho Rin Bo. We both really liked our food – very cheap, too!!

This is the only dish that I took a picture of, as we were both so hungry that we devoured our food before remembering to take pics!! Oops, sorry! Anyway, this is a noodle soup with veggies, pickles, and textured protein on top. The pickles were absolutely delicious! It is called luo han tang mian, after a Buddhist spiritual practitioner name Luohan (Arhat in Sanskrit).At Kho Rin Bo we also ate a cutlet made of mushrooms and veggies, made to taste like meat. Also we had “fish” made from tofu and nori seaweed. Some great springrolls and wholegrain stirfried rice noodles, too. Altogether, fabulous!

Kho Rin Bo:
Address: 5-52-15 Nakano, Nakano Broadway 2F, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-0001 JAPAN

Google Maps: 東京都中野区中野5-52-15
Phone: 03-3385-7005
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM (but it is often closed often due to the fact that the owner is the sole operator. Please call ahead.)
English Website: (for Nakano Broadway, no Kho Rin Bo website)