Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ueshima Coffee Shop 上島珈琲店 ♥


My stomach woke up feeling painfully full from the previous night's dinner of two bowls of Ichiran ramen, so I decided to keep it light for breakfast the next morning.




Ueshima "Precious Coffee Moments" is a popular local coffee chain that you see quite
frequently around Japan. I've had good coffee memories in its Taipei branches and 
thought I should check out one of the Tokyo outlets.




Unlike its Taipei shops which exude warmth and coziness, this particular branch was very
basic it actually felt cold and a little uninviting.




They had sandwiches, little cakes and pastries, but none of them caught my interest




Ueshima uses the Nel drip, which is an old fashioned way of brewing coffee using a cotton 
flannel sack instead of paper filter. It takes more time to drip coffee, thus giving you a richer
cup with more supple texture. 




Aaahhh Japan… the land of automation!




Me and my coffee. All I need in the morning.




Sadly, my double nel drip sugar-free milk coffee was as weak as a broken heart. 
I usually have my coffee black, but all double nel drip coffees here were served with milk.




I had to order another cup. This time I chose my favorite from Ueshima Taipei - 
Sesame Milk Coffee 




Again, it was too weak. I guess coffee is like love in many ways.

"There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Read my post on Ueshima Taipei here


Ueshima Coffee Shop 上島珈琲店 Official Website


Friday, February 20, 2015

Ichiran 一蘭 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥



I wanted to check out what the Ichiran hype was all about. The Japanese ramen chain
already has an outlet in Hong Kong, but I waited for this Tokyo trip.
Japan is really the best place to do it.




I heard lines can get crazy long. I was lucky the ramen gods were
good to me. Ichiran has many branches around Tokyo and some, 
like this one, is open 24/7. 




The wait was manageable at 11pm. Yes, I was so full from breakfast and lunch and all my 
coffee and donut and bakery stops, I had to push dinner close to midnight! 




You order from the vending machine. Don't worry, there are
English translations and photos to help you with the process.




After you pay it will give you these stubs. I ordered ramen + noodle refill (¥980), 
Osukaran vinegar (¥80), half-boiled salted egg (¥120), and seaweed (¥80). 
Whew! That was easy! 




 The stressful part for me was getting seated, but only because I am the worst with directions! Lol!




 So I pressed the green button for assistance and a nice man came out to escort me to my seat.




It was all individual seating at Ichiran, where they believe the best ramen experience
can only be achieved when nothing separates you and your bowl.
No friend, no clingy boyfriend. Just you and your noodles.




Hangers and tissue. What a thoughtful gesture!




In the toilet were different rolls of toilet paper for different needs.
Another very thoughtful gesture. Lol!




My booth




You then customize your ramen. This is how I like mine.
I highly recommend you copy it! 




Look! My very own water dispenser!



And then the weirdest thing happened.



The wall in front of me opened up and a pair of hands suddenly appeared with my ramen!




And egg




Which I thought could be less cooked




The hands appeared again and again until all my orders were complete




Then I took my first sip and almost hugged the stranger next to me!
THE ICHIRAN HYPE IS REAL!!!!! The tonkotsu broth was extremely rich and creamy,
the pork slices incredibly tender, the noodles long and perfectly firm, and the red pepper
sauce added even more excitement to everything. It was a bowl of heaven and I finished 
all of it, between moans of pleasure, in no time.   




I did not hug the stranger beside me, but I asked him to take a photo of me with my food
so I will always remember this night when I ordered two bowls of noodles and finished both.




How could I not??? Look at the beautiful and springy golden strands.
My stomach was near explosion levels but my mouth refused to stop slurping.




In fact, I was thinking to do it all over again the very next day.




Which was why I did not buy these boxed ramen to bring home just yet,
so I had reason to come back before my trip ended. Wait for that post! :)




Ahhhhh I was so happily stuffed I practically rolled down the stairs
on my way out.



Ichiran Official Website

See my other Tokyo posts here


Friday, February 13, 2015

Chinese Sausage Fried Rice


Hi guys! I know I've been missing in action lately, but I am still writing and eating... and cooking!

Sharing with you one of my all-time favorite dishes when I was growing up. Actually, I still love and crave it until now, 35 years old and all, meaning it is perfect for little kids, teens, adults, feeling adults, seniors, and yes, old maids. Lol!








It is so very easy to make and this complete meal uses only 8 ingredients! 



Check out the recipe on The Spoiled Mummy blog. Thank you, Grace, for featuring this dish!

Click here to see more easy but yummy recipes by The Spoiled Mummy.

Happy Cooking and Eating!!! :)



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Wagyu of All Australian Wagyus


The Wagyu of All Australian Wagyus

When it comes to quality of beef producers, Down Under is at the top

Published on Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, February 5, 2015


What is better than a wagyu dinner? A wagyu degustation dinner featuring six different cuts of Blackmore Wagyu paired with Moss Wood wines! And that was how I spent last Tuesday night, being wagyu-ed and wined out at Allium.



IMG 3300






Please do not hate me, but I just need to add that Australian Blackmore Wagyu is an award-winning producer of 100% full blood wagyu and is recognized even by Japanese chefs to be the only beef outside of Japan that tastes like Japanese wagyu. Love me instead for being the bearer of this wonderful news: Blackmore Wagyu is now available in Manila through Artisan Cellars & Fine Foods. No more need to fly all the way to Australia or Japan for this unparalleled beef experience.



Allium's warm pan de queso is always a welcome treat!



Chef Mark Tan started us off with house-made prawn crackers topped with creamy cauliflower puree and lobster caviar. It was incredible how he elevated the humble shrimp cracker into a luxurious experience. Echoing Town & Country’s Food Editor Alicia Sy, I could have a hundred of this!





The sashimi medley of giant clam, scallop and Santa Barbara uni tossed in a zesty yuzu kosho made my palate spring to life.  With the sweet and fresh seafood, we enjoyed a glass of nutty and creamy Margaret River Chardonnay.








Our first introduction to David Blackmore’s Wagyu was through a beef tartare oshizushi made with hand-chopped wagyu sirloin served with an anchovy-mustard dressing and baby gherkins. A salt-cured quail egg yolk was perched on top, its saltiness and gumminess giving a nice play on flavors and textures. A robust Amy’s Cabernet Blend complemented our first wagyu course.








Cooked slowly over a two-day period was beef neck glazed with bordelaise sauce. The lean meat was crowned with crisp ginger floss and rested on a sweet carrot puree. With this we had the powerful Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir.








Was I pleasantly surprised by the shortrib! Grilled simply with salt and pepper in the Josper oven, Allium’s cut was unusually thicker than how most restaurants serve this chewier part of beef. But Chef Tan was confident about Blackmore’s quality. “To serve shortib this way, it requires a very special kind of beef,” he said. Ribbon Vale Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot provided a delightful pairing.








The picanha or rump cap was prepared Brazilian style, skewered and grilled until the outer layer of fat began to char and the meat underneath fully cooked. The bright and tangy chimichurri cut through the richness of the beef. Easily one of my favorites of the night.








The olive oil poached ribeye was the perfect balance of flavor and texture. Rich and beefy, tender and moist, the beautifully marbled meat was made even more delicious with Burgundy truffle relish and a dab of fresh wasabi. I sipped on a glass of elegant Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon while listening to the oohing and aahing of very happy and satisfied campers around me.








Last, but certainly not the least, was an extremely tender slice of roasted rib cap topped with black garlic sauce. Like magic, the baby just melted in my mouth. I swallowed my own groan of pleasure.





We were served aged comte cheese with housemade Japanese persimmon sauce and treated to a sweet ending of warm Valrhona fudge cake with strawberries and vanilla ice cream.








But please, do not take my word so easily. Read what these chefs have to say about Blackmore Wagyu and then try it out for yourself!   

“Australia has the best beef in the world. You’ve got Wagyu in Japan of course, but that’s a very specific type of beef. In Australia, there’s a huge range of beef, grass-fed and corn-fed. There’s great beef from Tasmania and there are great people like David Blackmore. I’ve seen how good it is and it really ups the ante.” – Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck, Berkshire, United Kingdom

“We have just completed a blind test between Blackmore Wagyu Beef and a Japanese supplied wagyu, and I am pleased to tell you that we had a difficult time telling them apart .Bravo!” – Thomas Keller of French Laundry, Yountville, USA

“We appreciate the well-balanced marbling, fine texture, finesse and flavor of David Blackmore’s Wagyu. We prefer the Blackmore Wagyu over other wagyu.” – Ignatius Chan of Iggy’s Singapore

“David Blackmore is not only the leading Wagyu producer in Australia, but possibly the leading wagyu producer outside of Japan. What can you say? Blackmore is in a league of its own. I’ve eaten wagyu all around the world and this is on a par with some of the best in Japan. Perfection.” – Matt Moran of Aria, Sydney, Australia




Chef Mark Tan showing us his Josper oven 




Every chef's wonderland!




Enjoyed the fun and delicious evening with Angelo, Roxanne, Alicia, Nicole and Grace



Blackmore Wagyu is imported and distributed by Artisan Cellars & Fine Foods. Tel: 632 521-7392. Website: 

Allium will be serving two set menus on Valentine’s Day: A 7-course dinner with Hokkaido scallops, oysters, Maine lobster, steak, and a few more surprise dishes at P2,700/person; and a 4-course Steak Dinner for two with salad, soup, dessert and two glasses of wine starting at P3,800/couple. Ground Floor, Grand Midori, Bolanos Street, Legaspi Village, Makati. Tel: 632 519-1088


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