Thursday, July 27, 2017

Cavalock and The Things We'll Never See Here

There's a new Shake Shack right in Shinjuku and it's in the same building as Hotel Century Southern, the hotel we stayed in March! They weren't there yet when we were there! Naturally we made our way there for both lunch and dinner on our latest trip to Tokyo.

The Shinjuku Shack will donate 5% of sales from the Rainbow Connection concrete to the Institute of Human Diversity Japan to benefit the successful development of communities and organizations to promote human diversity.
Two things we'll never ever see in Singapore which is pretty disheartening cos I think they are both really cool. Pet food in our fast food menu and service staff going that extra mile to brighten up your day. Sad but true and you all know it.

Another thing that's cool are the food trucks that are set up at the outdoor area right next to Shake Shack. Alfresco dining is at its best when everything clicks together, like nice weather, music and it's not too crowded. As the summer weather became a lot more agreeable at night we decided to chow down on our burgers outdoors that evening, opposite the food trucks and their music.

Zzzzzzt!..... we interrupt this Tokyo update to bring you our annual Washpole Patriot update for 2017. We are glad to inform regular viewers readers that the Washpole Patriot is back this year! Proudly flying our nation's flag over the iconic HDB dumpster is a sight citizens across the island We now return you to our regular 2017 Tokyo vacation update.

Here's something I never expected to see, and was pleasantly surprised when I got off the escalator and saw Eataly in the middle of Tokyo, or in the basement of Mitsukoshi department store to be exact. Eataly is this huge Italian food marketplace. But this Tokyo outpost takes up only a pretty small section of the basement area. According to Wiki, they are "largest Italian marketplace in the world, comprising a variety of restaurants, food and beverage counters, bakery and retail items." Should I chalk this up to another thing that we'll never see here? ;)

I had wanted to drop by the New York Eataly when I was in the Big Apple last year but there wasn't enough time. We had a decent dinner with refreshing limoncello at the restaurant there but didn't pick up anything as our hands were already full with our Japanese purchases. Cos this was kinda unexpected, maybe with a little research, we'll grab something if we are there next time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cavalock and The Tokyo Station Shopping Spree

As much as I like Shinjuku station, Tokyo station comes a close second cos of the massive labyrinth of shops and eateries in the underground complex. Every time we are there catching a train transfer or just window-shopping (No I lie, one hardly ever window shops in Tokyo), we discover exclusive new shops and seasonal food items.

This last minute trip was no exception as we stumbled upon NY Perfect Cheese. Like most folks, we were first attracted by the long queue stretching out of their little station shop. Not really sure what these little ones below are called but they are delicious. Single bite-sized goodness with a sweet cheesy flavour. Unfortunately they need to be refrigerated so we made it a point to finish our box before leaving Japan. If they ever reach our island, I'm sure there'll be a long queue for them too.

So what else can you find at Tokyo station? Well, there are Lego, Tomica and Snoopy stores there and numerous other shops selling official merchandise based on various anime properties if that's your thing. There's also a whole wall showcasing bento lunches from different parts of Japan. Pretty neat. And uni or sea urchin lunch boxes, lots and lots of different uni lunch boxes.

For fans of the highest-grossing anime movie in the world, Your Name has a special pop-up store at the station too. Got a gashapon pouch from there even though I have yet to catch the movie. Let me know if you are a fan of the movie.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cavalock and The Snoopy Stopover

No, that glass of green beer isn't a leftover from St. Patrick's Day. It's matcha or green tea beer from Torigen Shinjuku, our usual yakitori joint whenever we are in Tokyo. We tend to make it our first dinner stop after landing and checking into our hotel in the evening. As for the green beer, it's pretty much boozy green tea that gives you a buzz as evident by the amount of green tea powder you'll eventually find at the bottom of your glass. Not bad but I'll stick to my trusty whisky high-ball when I'm in Japan.

Always a joy to have dinner with friends in Tokyo as we gleefully stuffed our faces silly that night. Everything from chicken skin, beef tongue to grilled corn. It was pretty rowdy that night and on our way out, I even spotted a passed out salaryman flat on his back in one of the dining rooms. Yakitori became our bookend meals when on our last night in Tokyo, the baker-at-home and I dropped by Torigen for one more late night cap after a hearty ramen dinner earlier.

The Aftermath
Now when I was a kid, me Mom would sometimes read Peanuts or Snoopy comic strips to me and I grew up with more than a few Charlie Brown and gang stationery. Now since Snoopy is a huge deal in Japan, it's no surprise that I come home after every trip with more than a handful of Snoopy merchandise. Well, I believe I just broke a personal spending record when I visited the Snoopy Museum and its souvenir shop in Roppongi.

We were actually supposed to visit the Museum in March but couldn't find the time. Anyway, for a lifelong Snoopy fan like me this was simply way too cool. Looking at all those comic strips on display certainly brought back memories of reading them decades ago.

Like I said in my earlier post, it's summer in Tokyo and the Snoopy Museum was more than ready to capitalise on rising temperature.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Cavalock and The Ginza Cronut Crescendo

It took us four years but we finally took our first bite out of the official cronut. The official croissant-doughnut love child was created by Dominique Ansel who was also voted World's Best Pastry Chef 2017. While in Tokyo last week, we dropped by Mitsukoshi departmental store in Ginza and found the calorie-laden cronuts of Dominique Ansel Bakery beckoning us in all their sinful glory.

Didn't know they had a monthly flavour thing going. So how was this month's "honey ganache and Hyuganatsu jam with lime sugar"? Delightfully sweet with a noticable citrus lime kick. Coming in at 648 yen, it ain't exactly a cheap snack but worth it for a first timer like us.

Being summer in Tokyo, the weather was crazy hot. In fact it was so hot that this was the first time I wore a pair of shorts instead of jean when outdoors. Summer in Japan is great for all the amazing cool desserts and fresh fruits but the heat can kill you.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Cavalock Returns to The Land of The 4.30am Rising Sun

Yah, I know its only been less than four months since we were in Japan but we felt we needed another break from our daily chores so here we go again! This was a pretty last minute trip but we managed to snag a decent room at our old fav hotel Keio Plaza Hotel instead of our now preferred Hotel Century Southern like in March this year.

Well, there's only one way to kick off a Tokyo post and that's with our usual Haagen-Dazs update. Four months isn't that long but we found two new flavours, Aroma Coffee Vanilla and "Hinata Summer Panna Cotta" (thanks to Google Translate). The Coffee Vanilla tasted exactly like what you would expect from the name, in a good way. The Panna Cotta was citrusy with a nice cakey body.

But my award for best ice cream dessert of the trip goes to this deconstructed or reverse-engineered Azuki Bean Ice Cream with Green Tea Crumble from SQ or Singapore Airlines. I know I don't really talk much bout airline food here but yah, instead of the usual green tea ice cream with azuki bean, they did the opposite and came up with this cool dessert. It's so simple yet elegant so has anyone else come up with this?

Man, I swear no matter how many times I visit this island in summer, I can never get used to the 4.30am sunrise. Especially now when the Japanese sunset is like back home around 6.45 or 7pm then you get long days and short nights which forces you outta bed way too early. Still, time is of the essence when one is on vacation!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cavalock and The KL Express Mission

Dropped into Kuala Lumpur for a quick little gig and was out in less than 24 hours the next afternoon. Wish I had time like before to sample the local food but was only 'restricted' to mall food cos I didn't wanna miss my flight back. Spotted Church's Texas Chicken at Mid Valley mall and decided to have that for lunch as I really like their chicken back home. What surprised me was how similar to KFC. Now the Texas chicken in Singapore was more buttery and had its own distinct flavour while the one I had in KL just kinda tasted like KFC in KL. Strange and a wee bit disappointing.

Apart from that, the rest of the trip was pretty interesting. Found their popular Comics Mart at the same mall and managed to grab a couple of elusive Warhammer miniatures. I believe it's even cheaper than the official retail price. Oh, and if you are fan of Jo Malone, it's apparently cheaper there too.

Now it has been awhile since I posted anything from Meidi-Ya supermarket, well, that's probably because I haven't had time to visit the place. Fixed that yesterday and saw some new booze (sometimes I do wonder if it's all just new packaging instead) plus some rather pricy hot chocolate.