Archive for the ‘Soba’ Category

For the Love of Mushrooms

February 3, 2008

It’s snowing. And it’s going to snow all through the night. It’ll snow through the show I’ll be playing tonight in Asagaya. So I’m staying in until then.

On my stroll back home this morning from Hatagaya, I stopped by the supermarket with a strong urge to make me up a hot bowl of soba.

I bought raw soba noodles, dashi stock and decided to have a mushroom festival. The great thing about mushrooms in Japan is that there is quite a selection, ranging from cheap to super expensive. Today I opted for the cheap end of the spectrum. So I bought enoki and nama-nameko. Enoki has entered the American-English culinary vernacular in the past few years – I’ve seen them on menus in California and catch glimpses of it on the Food Network.

These thin guys with small caps are great butter-sauteed, boiled, steamed, you name it. They’ve got an uber-satisfying texture, chewy with just the right slipperiness. And they are cheap as hell. One 100 gram package is 150yen (a little over 1USD). I decided to grab my other favorite – nameko. Its beautiful mustard yellow color screams fall coziness and it’s slimness is perfect in soups and sautes. Another steal for 120yen per 100 grams.

I get home, thaw my toes and make my noodles (erm, with hands washed in between there somewhere). Boil noodles, heat up the dashi, throw the mushrooms in, and then the noodles, mix it up and top it off with some green onions. Oh yeah, and the kamaboko my grandma gave me from her trip to Hakone was a perfect addition. Rawk.

The ingredients (sans kamaboko from Baba-chan):

Soba Baby

July 9, 2007
This is the meal that made it happen. Mel & I dined at Sakagura with Aya on (6/29) – our last meal with Aya before her childless days were kissed goodbye. She was still supposed to have a little more than a week before her baby was born, but there must’ve been something in her Tenzaru soba, because little Kota was born about 48 hours afterwards!! We all enjoyed the homemade soba at Sakagura – it’s always a meal that doesn’t disappoint.

Their desserts are also unique and delicious….we devoured them so fast we forgot to take photos. Here’s what’s left of my green tea ice cream.

Congratulations, Aya — I hope they have high chairs at Sakagura so we can go again with your new addition!

211 E 43rd St Btwn 2nd & 3rd Ave
(it’s in the basement of an office building – a little hard to find)


April 2, 2007

Honestly, there’s nothing better than waking up late in the morning with your honey and spontaneously going to Jindaiji – a charming little town in Western Tokyo famous for soba (buckwheat noodles). I realize that this is way after the fact (we went a month ago), but that is the downside of waiting until your 27 exposure film is used up. But I still say “blegh” to digital…

Jindaiji is a lovely town with hardly any people – and only about 30 minutes out from the center of Tokyo. There are about 20 or more handmade soba noodle stores clustered around Jindaiji (temple) and I vow to try every single one (secret code for: Visit me so I can take you there and I can cross them off my checklist one-by-one). Anyway, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Jindaiji Beer (locally brewed) with some pickled Gobou

Grilled fish

This IS the shit soba.

Local foods are sold alongside this street, great for a walk.

Soba (buckwheat) bread with anko (sweet bean paste) inside. DELICIOUS!

Candided fruit, I didn’t try this but it was too photogenic.

And for those of you who love Gegege no kitaro…
The Kitaro VW.

-yoko in Tokyo

p.s. more pictures on my site. this is not a plug, just for those of you who are curious about seeing more photos, really.

Yuba County

March 26, 2007

Over the weekend, I spent some time in Nikko which is about three hours away from Tokyo. Most people go for the gaudy shrines – wooden and painted in bright red and gold reflecting Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu’s glory. Anyhow, the weather wasn’t very agreeable – so there was nothing else to do except…EAT!

Turns out, this place is famous for yuba or tofu skin. No complaints here as this is one of my favorite foods – and within the top 5 things I miss the most when in the States.

-yoko in tokyo

Pictured top right Yuba soba – buckwheat noodles with two types of yuba – in a roll and in flat layers. Absolutely delicious as the noodles were also handmade at this shop. 700yen (about $6)!

Pictured below Yuba shabu shabu – yuba hot pot. Throw in yuba and veggies into a clay pot full of soy milk – absolutely wonderful. 2,500yen (about $20+).