Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tokyo Eats - Shinjuku area

Throughout our time in Tokyo, the majority of our visits to Shinjuku was to eat sukiyaki tabehodai (all you can eat hotpot) at Nabezo with a host of friends and visiting family. The remaining of the time was me exploring the Shinjuku Isetan and a few other shopping destinations, me meeting up for lunch and coffee with my old friend K., and our afternoon tea club hanging out at the Peak Lounge or the New York Bar of the Park Hyatt Shinjuku ^.^ So suffice to say we did a great injustice to the enormous and super dense Shinjuku and didn't explore it as much as we could and should have.

We first learned about Nabezo from our old neighbor S. back when we were living in Yokohama. So in August 2015, the week we landed in Tokyo we looked up a nearest branch and found a few in Shinjuku-Sanchome.

Once or twice we ventured over to the east side of Shinjuku Station. The area near Kabukicho had some great snack offerings like these Cold Stone fruit popsicles, taiyaki in a flaky croissant crust (the chocolate and matcha flavors were sooo good!), and donut custard sandwiches, as if the donut itself wasn't fattening enough!

My friend K. loves French food so whenener we met up for lunch and coffee/tea, she'd pick a French place somewhere in Shinjuku (it's a half-way distance for the both of us). One of those places was Cressonniere.

K. had a lunch set with fish and mine had a beef stew of some sort. To be honest, the food wasn't terrible but it wasn't great either. We were too busy chatting away to begin with and didn't pay much attention to what we were eating.

Before hubby and I moved home, his boss invited us and his two other colleagues and friends H. and J. out to dinner. The location of dinner was kept hush-hush until we realized we were on our way to Shinjuku. Turned out boss had done some research and knew we were partial to the New York Bar, so he took us to the New York Grill on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Shinjuku, behind the New York Bar.

The food was great! Not L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon's level of mind-blowing but the company and the atmosphere made the night a memorable one.

We pretty much ordered whatever we fancied and passed it all around for everyone to try a bite. The crab cake was good. The lobster was good. Boss' favorite though was the fries deep-fried in duck fat, yes, duck fat. That's what it's known for. It was food, but I'd be just as happy with regular vegetable-oil fries :P

Came the time for entrees, three of us ordered the top three cuts of steak. Hubby was the only polite one who went for a seafood pasta dish, which he really ordered for me because seafood pasta is my jam, especially when it's with a cream sauce. Funny enough, I ordered the steak for him too--he loves steaks but is always too polite to ever order it for himself (you sure pay for them in Japan, that's why!).

I don't have anything against steaks, but the only steaks I've ever enjoyed so far were from Joel Robuchon, because they'd only ever give you a few bites of it and no more. Big, huge slabs of meat aren't really my thing. Sure enough, a couple of bites in, hubby and I looked at each other and we promptly switched plates LOL! I suppose that's what happens when you're with someone for so long and you know each other well enough to read minds. 

With three plates of steak on the table, they brought out a variety of optional sauces.

Sides of garlic spinach and mashed potatoes.

Again, three of us ordered desserts and hubby was the only one refrained out of politeness. But of course the stinker then went on to eat half of my ice cream bar. J. laughed her head off, because hubby does this pretty much every. single. damn. time. He'd always say no to dessert, only to proceed to mooch at least half of mine. That punk!

Me, J., and boss.

J. loves babies and their fat arms and legs. When we broke the news of our tiny one mid December last year, I had to promise her a constant stream of fat-leg photos xD

My darling hubby and dessert-bum of almost 11 years now.

Hubby and J. both received a going-away present which H. personally picked out. Both boss and H. localized and stayed behind in Tokyo. We had the option of localizing also but chose not to, mainly because of the tiny one. Anyway, the present was a great hit because it got the four of us scratching our collective heads the moment hubby opened the box. What the heck is that...thing? A hanger? A paper weight? A hook? A balance scale? What is it?!? And what does it do? The four of us spent the rest of the rest of the night and several days afterwards speculating while H. had the last laugh. To this day we still have no idea what it is.

After the meal, as expected we moved right on over to the New York Bar to carry on with the party. It was a late night =.=

The Tokyo crew, missing W. and Y. who had returned to the US of A a month earlier in September.

Hubby and I sure miss Japan. We just have this connection with the country that kept bringing us back, this was the third time and counting. And it's not just us either. My two siblings have developed a similar connection with Japan also. After three years with the JET program in Shizuoka, my sister will be returning to the same city, this time for her pharmacy international rotation. My family is already planning a vacation during her three months there. My brother's company is opening an office in Shibuya within the next couple of years, and of course he's plotting to hop on that bandwagon. Great! More excuses for us to come back ^.^

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