Browsing articles from "October, 2012"
Oct 26, 2012
Ben

Doorstep Delights: Get what you want from Tokyo’s delivery spots

Amenro La Fiesta

Amid Roppongi’s international kaleidoscope is a haven of home-cooked Mexican cuisine—with a free-flowing party vibe to boot—in the form of Amenro La Fiesta.

All the dishes at La Fiesta are made with natural ingredients and no chemical seasonings. Classics like nachos (¥880-¥1,080), quesadillas (¥660-¥880), tacos (hard or soft, ¥800-¥1,180), or fajitas (¥1,760-¥2,280) are on the menu alongside cheeky curiosities like the queso fundido (¥790), a rare-in-Tokyo dish of melted cheese with chorizo (a cauliflower-and-broccoli option is available for veggies).

The margarita (¥780) is made with fresh lemons, and Mexican beer and tequila are on hand, too, to lubricate your adventure. And the drinks are reasonably priced—Negra Modelo, Tecate, Dos Equis, Sol and Corona all cost ¥700. The drinks list also features sangria (¥500) and a half-dozen varieties of piña coladas (¥1,180).

But it’s not just about Tex. The menu also includes authentic Mexican meals such as mole poblano (¥1,980) and beef a la tampiqueña (¥2,480), plus appetizers like camarones al ajillo (garlic grilled shrimp, ¥1,230). So, whether you’re looking for the US take or real South-of-the-Border cooking, this friendly and colorful restaurant has the meal for you. And if you fancy opening up a La Fiesta taste sensation in your own office or home, they’re happy to deliver their delicious dishes to your door.

2F 3-15-23 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3475-4412. Email: lafiestaroppongi@yahoo.co.jp. Open daily 11:30am-2pm (LO) & 5-11:30pm (LO). Nearest stn: Roppongi. http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g258900

Burger Mania Shirokane / Hiroo

Imagine you’re stepping into a New York City hamburger café in downtown Tokyo, at one of two branches of Burger Mania. Their woody, open-plan design marks them out from your typical Japanese burger house, as does the tasty, wide-ranging menu.
The burgers have become a favorite with Japanese and foreigner alike—a common phrase heard when walking past their front windows, open during warmer months, is a declaration that these are the best burgers in the city. And the gushes of praise are often accompanied by punters buying their kawaii burger keyrings.

So what’s the fuss about? Well, the Ultimate Blue Cheese Burger (¥1,300) and the Bacon Cheese Burger (¥1,250) are the most popular orders on the slate. Sides include French fries with sour cream and sweet chili (¥600). Customers can select toppings to give sandwiches a personal touch, too.

In a sumptuous twist, you can enjoy the fine sandwiches of Burger Mania without even leaving your home or office, via a delivery service operated by FineDine. To keep the delicious dishes piping hot, insulation packs are used on all deliveries. Please note that delivery prices can differ from the restaurant menu.

Look out for Burger Mania’s revamped menu coming out in November, with many more elegant varieties to choose from.

Shirokane: 6-5-7 Shirokane, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3442-2200. Delivery: Tel: 03-5791-3130 (FineDine Azabu).
Hiroo: 2F Hiroo Rokkoukan 5-15-25 Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5422-7899. Delivery: Tel: 03-5775-1860 (FineDine Aoyama).
www.burger-mania.com

Domino’s Pizza Japan

Foreigners in Japan rarely get used to Japanese pizzas with mayonnaise, corn, and other strange toppings. Fortunately they don’t have to. Domino’s Pizza Japan offers authentic US-style pizzas with all the right ingredients. And they get it to your door with no hassle.
Ordering stuff in Japan can be tricky without the lingo. That’s why the kindly folks at Domino’s have set up an easy-to-use, all-in-English website. All you have to do is browse the pictorial menu, punch in your choices, and sit back. Your food is freshly prepared and delivered hot and steaming half an hour later. Choose from specialty pizzas, build-your-own where you choose the toppings (they even offer mayonnaise—just in case), and gain access to succulent special offers.

One such bargain is valid until September 30. Order up a Brooklyn Pizza and get a whole other one absolutely free. There are four delicious varieties, including the Brooklyn Kings, with ground sausage, fresh, juicy tomato, and a tasty range of other toppings. To claim the deal, just sign up to the English website of Domino’s Pizza Japan (registration is free, quick, and easy), and go to “Special Offers.”
If you’re not keen for pizza—or fancy branching out—Domino’s also offers tasty subs, fried chicken, pasta dishes and a whole menu more. And with over 200 stores around Japan, you won’t have any trouble getting your meal, wherever you live.

Open daily 11am-midnight (can vary by store). Email: customer@dominos.jp. www.dominos.jp/eng/

Munchies Catering

In the context of growing fast-food consumption in Japan, Munchies Deli Tokyo was born out of a desire to promote a healthy eating lifestyle for today’s busy urban folk. Putting this philosophy into action, this versatile catering business is highly selective in its sourcing, using only the safest additive-free ingredients.

Chefs use these raw materials to create a variety of healthy dishes to cater for the most extravagant of events. Munchies aims to please a full range of customers, whether they be large corporate groups, bands of old friends coming together, or teenagers at a birthday party. The folk at this friendly, family-style company believe parties needn’t be the realm of greasy snacks, but can be a place where the best features of fresh food can be enjoyed.

Munchies is happy to deliver the fodder to the venue at a time of your choosing. For hot food, special heat packets are included, so that the dishes can be reheated and served steaming to guests whenever you wish. The menu is awash with delicious original recipes, but some of the most popular are the finger foods and pinchos.

For orders exceeding ¥30,000 Munchies will even throw in a free bottle of wine to help boost the party spirit. Get in touch with any questions you might have, or peruse the website to see what’s on offer.

2F Loop-X Bldg, 3-9-15 Kaigan, Minato- ku. Tel: 0120-875-191. Email: order@munchiesdeli.com. Open daily 10am-8pm, closed New Year season. www.munchiesdeli.com

YoyoMarket.jp

Tired of spending your precious time off driving hours in traffic to Costco or IKEA? Never bothered going because you don’t have a car? Trips to those far-flung outlets are a thing of the past thanks to Tokyo’s sprightly foreigner-friendly delivery service, Yoyo Market. Hit them up online and get deliveries of the best of Costco and IKEA as well as a host of other imported and organic goodies.

Yoyo Market offers the fastest shipping in the business. Order before noon on a weekday to get the package on your doorstep before noon the next day—and that’s for almost all of Japan. The easy-to-read English-language info on the website clearly explains all relevant details, such as the ¥950 shipping fee per box up to 25kg (no matter what’s in it), how to access their friendly, accessible support and other features likely to make the Western consumer weep with joy. There are no hidden charges like extra shipping for chilled or frozen foods. And aside from foodstuffs (real baking powder, anyone?), Yoyo Market has a wide variety of fabric softeners, detergents, and even deodorants. Have a browse and see what you find.

If you spend over ¥30,000, you can get shipping for free. And for every ¥100 yen you spend, you’ll earn ¥1 in Yoyo Reward Points. Enter METRO-1 into the coupon code field when you check out, and receive ¥500 off orders over ¥15,000.

http://yoyomarket.jp

Oct 19, 2012
Ben

Resident Interview: The Warren’s (Azabu-Juban)

After having moved all around the world with the German Embassy, from their home countries of New Zealand and Germany, to Nigeria, Canada, Australia, and Cambodia, the Warren’s have settled in Azabu, Tokyo for their current four year post.

Life has been great in their new home, where they feel like part of the community in one of Tokyo’s premiere locals. Read the full interview with Richard to find out all about their experience so far.

What has been your favorite part of Japan so far?

It has to be the characteristics of the people in that their traits are very akin to where we come from. The orderliness of everything fits great with German culture. Also, we’re especially thrilled to have an apartment in the area we’re in right now, being just an 8 minute walk to the embassy in a city the size of Tokyo is just great.

Speaking of inroads and immersion, are there any new great foods that you’ve tried this time around?

We’ve been to some great places with local friends where things got pretty interesting. The other week we weren’t certain what any of it was or what went into it, and actually thought it might be better that way! I did certainly enjoyed eating it all though! My wife was a little more hesitant, but as long as it doesn’t break our rule of still moving we’re up for it.

What characteristic of your neighborhood have you enjoyed the most?

It’s a really generously designed with space and well designed homes, but not to the point of it feeling out of place. For example, it still has a nice town shopping area right down the street that has a real local feel to it. That small touch of personality is certainly much nicer than going to some huge chain market, especially after having been to the same place 3 or 4 times and having people recognize you.

Are there any stores in particular that you’ve loved?

We were warned to get ready for the price shock, but truthfully we’ve found the prices really aren’t higher than Europe as long as you stay local. There’s actually something classy about it all in that we have not had anything yet that we didn’t think was great, particularly in regards to quality. We have yet to be disappointed by price or quality, so I’d have to say everywhere at this point.

That’s great! So have your weekends lived up to the same standard and have there been any standouts?

Our favorite weekends have been getting this apartment ready! And also recently we went to a great festival with friends, there were lanterns, drumming, and dancing all by the local residents. We were really fascinated by that and enjoyed taking it all in. Luckily we have old friends that live in Tokyo who always know what’s going on and have shown us festivals like that one. Whenever they’ve invited us we’ve always made sure to follow their lead!

On another note, but also important to life in Japan, how have the trains & subways been so far?

They’ve been great! A huge huge difference to European and New York subway systems is they’re clean, efficient, and quiet! But that’s all part of the character traits that I mentioned earlier, it all fits in. I came for that familiarization trip in June and got thrown into the deep end, flying in and going by train to the hotel and embassy on my own. The station staff were and are very helpful for someone who has no idea what they’re doing. Whenever I’ve had the wrong ticket in my hand and the barrier wouldn’t let me through there’s always someone there.

So was it during that familiarization trip that you got in contact with Ken?

Yes I was in touch with Yogo-san and made an appointment with her to show us around for a whole day. After that we narrowed down the choices, and I really wanted to take a second look here, even though I knew location and price wise it was out of our league but she swung it for us somehow!

That’s great it seemed like you both had a great rapport!

Oh yeah, now we even have a golf teacher and pupil relationship! That’s one of the great things about our relationship with Yogo-san, she wanted us to be her tenant and we wanted her to be our landlord through Ken. It really has been great, and been more friendly than formal.

And in regards to your home you were looking for a house over a highrise style?

One of the main attractions was indeed the layout, with it being a two floor duplex style apartment attached to a longtime resident’s home. In the past we’ve been in postings surrounded by ex-pats in what some might call a “foreigner ghetto,” and didn’t get the inroads into the local culture like we do here.

And after moving in have you been in touch with Ken or Yogo-san much?

Oh yeah, as soon as anything is needed, even something small like a drain needing maintenance, you just get on the phone and someone comes same day. Ken handles everything direct maintaining an English speaking maintenance staff too.

If you had a friend moving to Tokyo in the next month or two what advice would you give them?

I would definitely try to do it as we did and seek a professional to help with the transition. Get someone like Ken involved, who not only speaks the language, but understands the culture. Its very hard to know where you want to live in the space of a few days when you don’t even know which way is North without some experienced assistance. In all honesty this has been the smoothest and easiest transition that we’ve had, and we’ve had many.

At one point I had even actually asked Yogo-san which apartment she’d like to see us in and she said the same one we had picked, this one, and everything worked out!

Oct 12, 2012
Ben

Bake: Pain au… yuzu


Fourth-generation baker Gontran Cherrier (BC Salon, 1-14-11 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku) enjoys a rock-star following among foodies in Paris. After a successful boulangerie opening in Singapore, the first Japan outlet has opened near Shibuya station. Signature selections include a delicately layered artisanal pain au chocolat and pain melon. The baker has a talent for incorporating local ingredients into traditional French recipes—be sure to try the squid-ink or curry baguettes, hearty bread made with red miso, or the yuzu cheesecake. There is a small eat-in area on the first floor and a café on the second.


大きな地図で見る

Oct 5, 2012
Ben

Meat: Sushi with a difference

Two fine purveyors of meat in one traditional Japanese house? Ro to Matagi (2-14-21 Sangenjaya, Setagaya-ku; tel: 03-5787-8171) serves up robatayaki, or cooking over fire, with exceptional tidbits such as seared stingray fin (¥400) and wild boar (¥980). The newly opened Niku Zushi (Tel: 03-5787-8334) on the same premises is a pioneer in meat sushi, with for example succulent chunks of basashi (raw horse meat)—said to have more iron than spinach or liver. Head down to cater to bloodthirsty urges for quivering flesh. And you can eat meat there, too.


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