Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cavalock and The 24-Hour Beef Run

This here is our little memorable 24-hour Tokyo all-beef run where we had beef, glorious beefy beef for dinner, breakfast and lunch, in that order. We started off with some grilled beef or yaki niku. Just a ten-minute walk from our hotel is Futago Yakiniku Yoyogi, a rather popular yakiniku chain that we heard was usually packed so we made reservations for Sunday night dinner. It's not a very big place and we got ourselves a nice corner table. Absolutely enjoyed everything from grilled beef tongue to wagyu whazzits to my favourite vinegar high ball drink. Plus we got a pair of complimentary after dinner cultured drinks.

Yes Imp, unlike the dessert post, the Baker-At-Home and I did hit all these joints in a day or at least 24 hours! ;)









After dinner, the next morning we braved the notorious rush hour train ride to head out to Tsukiji Market for a familiar breakfast rendezvous of beef don. Just like two years ago, it was a hearty roadside breakfast for champions. Just as crowded as before and needless to say, we did a lot of walking after that.



Five hours later, Shake Shack right in the heart of Tokyo! We had planned to visit the Shake Shack at Ebisu later in the week but chanced upon this outlet that wet afternoon in Marunouchi, just in time for lunch. It's the Baker-At-Home's first outing at a Shake Shack unlike yours truly who was fortunate enough to drop by their JFK Airport outlet more than a couple of times already.


Above you got the familiar SmokeShake cheeseburger. While below you got the exclusive Yurakucho Edition Concrete and that's "chocolate custard, black sesame puree, peanut butter, Minimal Shake Shack dark chocolate blend and chocolate toffee". After that is the seasonal Black Sesame Shake. Now one thing I found out during my research of Tokyo Shake Shacks is that all three outlets serve different Concrete desserts!!! As if I need another reason to visit them again! Well, seems like every Shake Shacks has their own signature Concrete dessert! Bloody hell! Even Mother Russia has three Shake Shacks but not us! But then again, I got a feeling if they ever do open one here, it'll just lose that certain "exclusivity" tag that folks here associate the joint with, know what I mean? I remember buying t-shirts from GAP in New York and Uniqlo in Tokyo before they opened shop here but after they did, it was like "meh". Don't really need them no more. All right, maybe it'll be different with food. :)




Friday, March 24, 2017

Cavalock and The Overdue Kitchen Street Visitation

It was all things pink in Tokyo when we were there earlier this month. It's a double sakura and strawberry season in play. Unfortunately we didn't spot any 'real' sakura except for the numerous flavoured snacks and beverages on sale. Of cos, you can count on Starbucks to come up with their sakura fraps, lattes and cakes. Sakura's a nice taste but for the life of me, I can't recall exactly how it tasted like now back home. It was sweet and agreeable in many ways but I guess kinda forgettable.  What I do remember is enjoying that sunny afternoon break at Starbucks dining al fresco, out in chilly breezy Shinjuku.



Beautifully ripe strawberries everywhere we went too. We bought punnets of them back to our room to snack on every morning. So juicy sweet and so damn cheap. 


For this year's Tokyo trip, the Baker-At-Home got to hit just about all her must-see spots. We headed to the popular Kappabashi Kitchen Town where you got an entire street of shops selling what else but kitchenware and everything you need to open a restaurant in Japan well, except for the food. Heh. This was actually a place that we had originally planned to visit on our very first trip to Japan over a decade ago but just never did. And yup, we did leave the place with bags full of goodies.







An actual pizza oven in your own kitchen?!? Very tempting even though I ain't exactly a big pizza guy. Why can't we ever have things like this here? Cos no one thinks folks here will pay for it?


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cavalock and The Return to Old Treats

The Baker-At-Home was adamant that we repeat our Tokyo pilgrimage to the acclaimed patisserie Hidemi Sugino at Kyobashi, just like two years ago. So off we went instead of heading to Ueno to check out toys and Star Wars stuff. We reached the narrow alleyway where the patisserie was located around 3pm, just in time to pick the three of the last seven pastries on display.


Yah, this one below was the same one we had two years ago but beggars can't be choosers. So really, if you snooze, you lose. You gotta be there early or them cakes will be gone real fast and the place is always packed.


Speaking of return visits, we also stumbled about a Marufuku coffee joint on the 6th floor of the Tokyo Ginza shopping mall. I was smitten by their famous pancakes back in Osaka but since it was afternoon teatime in Tokyo, I opted for an equally enticing fruity swiss roll instead. Geez, there's just so much to eat and enjoy here that I already miss the city.


Now while I was Tokyo, the temperature hovered around the lower single digits. Thankfully I had a new North Face winter jacket with me. A little pricer than your average Uniqlo heat tech and jacket but I thought it was a worthy investment. If you are gonna be walking in and out of buildings or shops in single-digit-temperature Tokyo, wearing a heat tech is gonna kill you. Sure it might keep you warm when it's cold outdoors but once inside a building at room temperature, you'll be sweating like a turkey on Thanksgiving. Hey I like Uniqlo but I don't think most of their winter wear gear can really keep you warm for long outdoors especially if it hits zero degrees.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Cavalock and The Tokyo Tartine Treat

We didn't expect to find this little culinary gem when we went exploring the new Newoman mall next to our hotel. A little bakery and patisserie by the famous Joel Robuchon, Le Pain de Joel Robuchon and its being hailed as his first specialty bakery. Needless to say, we made plans to have breakfast there the next morning.


Just look at the above seasonal mushroom tartine! I can definitely get used to waking up to this every morning. Since it's strawberry season in Japan, I had the very yummy strawberry croissant instead and the baker at home had the tartine. And between the two is a very delicious sweet potato danish.




Presenting this trip's boardgame haul from Japan! I only managed to hit one game store this trip and it's the Yellow Submarine in Shinjuku. I still have yet to play some of the games I bought last year! So if anyone wants a game, just let me know.



Speaking of games, I was in Tokyo on the first day of the Nintendo Switch launch. This photo was taken at 7pm in the evening and there's a queue for it in Shinjuku.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cavalock and The Shopping Bane

I believe it's only a matter of time before we get Zaku Zaku Croquant Chou here in Singapore. Or maybe they already do? I dunno, it's hard to keep up with what's new in town these days. Hah! So anyway we stumbled upon this outlet at Shinjuku station, Lumine Basement One. Needless to say, there was a queue which meant its gotta be good. Well, they aren't exactly new and have been in Shinjuku for at least a couple years.


Each is a crisp chou croquant almost 30cm long that's sprinkled with almonds and filled with rich creamy custard. Super tasty snack that I'll gladly queue again the next time I'm in the neighbourhood.





Whenever I spend just a day shopping or even just window shopping in Japan, I'm instantly reminded of how delightful the experience is compared to how infuriating it is back home here in Singapore. And I don't even speak Japanese. I know I did a bit of a similar rant here.

For starters, I'm almost immediately turned off by how ridiculously jacked up prices are over here especially when you do your homework, and are aware of the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Then there's the excellent quality of Japanese-made items and how they cheap they are in Japan, plus there's a whole wide variety of them including limited editions and other hard-to-find stuff.

Sometimes when I read about how some of our malls are now empty, there's a little voice inside of me that says, "serves them right" for overcharging us all the time. Even the malls in Tijuana Johor Bahru, just across the causeway, are cheaper.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cavalock Spends Saturday In The Park

Just like that Chicago song, we spent Saturday in a park in Tokyo. Weather was a little cloudy but nice and chilly. We took the morning train to Daikanyama for breakfast. My love for pancakes started when I was a kid back in the old family home when my late aunt would make me some Bird Eye's pancakes. So the baker-at-home did her research and came up with Ivy Place at Shibuya-ku.


Their classic buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and fresh fruits were as good as I hoped they would be. Thick and fluffy, I was stuffed when I finished all three. Great ambience, probably the one I loved most for this trip. You got this spacious restaurant in the middle of a lush green setting. A cute little dog park, an amazing book store, bike shop, just to name a few cool outlets around the area. I think if anyone coming to Tokyo should at least spend one morning having breakfast or just strolling through the suburbs here.



Ah, homemade hot apple cider. I can't tell you how long I waited for this. The last time I had real hot apple cider was in New York about 20 years ago. This is soooooo good. Had to savour it a little sip at a time.









This eye-catching Shaun Shibuya exhibition was a photo favourite among everyone at the park. Yah, that be my sneakers and I heard they caught the eye of some locals too. <^:^>