let's eating in kumamoto

a girl who loved to explore restaurants back home in california is now attempting to share her culinary adventures from kumamoto, japan. i will attempt to review any and all places that i end up stuffing myself at. because i have yet to be disappointed by any place i have eaten at here. 本当に!食べましょう!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

private lodge & cafe (kamitori, kumamoto city)

i am absolutely enthralled by this latest cafe. last night, after a two hour japanese lesson, my mates and i were in need of sustenance. we went to one of the coolest cafes in downtown by far-private lodge & cafe (http://blog.private-lodge.net/) , located at the end of kamitori, right next to cocoro cafe. free wireless internet (for mac lovers like myself), dog friendly, cds/jewelry/gadgets on sale in the front, retro decor, indoor/outdoor seating, an extensive drink/lunch/dinner/dessert menu boasting japanese and american plates...i look forward to my next stop here.

the friendly folks at private lodge post their daily lunch and dinner special on their blog/website so you can conveniently check what is on the menu before you treck on over there. last night's special is what i was craving- かぼちゃクロケ, pumpkin croquettes, served with rice, soup, and a medley of tomatoes, eggplant and mushrooms, topped with parmesean cheese. this special went for ¥1050. the croquettes were crisp on the outside and sweet and savory on the inside. i have really found a new appreciation for dishes made of pumpkin (acorn squash really) here. check out these other dishes my pals ordered: a BELT (bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato) for ¥800, and banana chocolate french toast for ¥500.

the great thing about this place is that folks come not only for the delicious food, but for the music acts that perform about once every two weeks here (singer songwriter/folk types). i hope to check one out in the near future.

private lodge & cafe is open everyday from 11:30 to 22:00, and til 23:00 on fridays and saturdays. check it out!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

こころ カフェ (cocoro cafe, kumamoto city)

private space (http://www.cocoro-cafe.jp/cocoro/). that is the selling point for this quaint and dreamy cafe. located past kamitori, across from the lawson's combini, you need a password to get into the cafe if it is your first time to experience it all. if you have made a reservation, you are then given a card with an exclusive pin number that you can use everytime you want to frequent the cafe. it all seems a bit too much of a hassle really, but i guess it added onto the experience.

my lovely friend azusa and i were given a side booth that was on its own raised platform. it was quite cozy and the soft lighting definitely relaxed the mood a bit. the lunch menu is made up of sets that include a main dish, soup, bread, salad, dessert, and drink. these go for ¥980 to ¥1900. i opted for the sandwich set. it had been a while since i had a real sandwich in this country (aka not egg salad on super white, crustless bread). this was a real onion/cheese baguette filled with fresh basil, tomato, mozzarrella cheese, roasted chicken, all topped off with a spiced mayonnaise. the drink i choose was a pineapple flavored tonyu (soy water). yeah, you heard me right. everything was presented so beautifully...the sandwich would have benefitted from being toasted a bit. but the dessert made up for any other shortcomings. the cake was deliciously moist and the chocolate was set off nicely by the tartness of the raspberry sorbet.

overall, cocoro was an experience that was tracking down the password for. 是非、食べてみてください!

cocoro cafe:
*open everyday, lunchtime starting at 11:30 to 3, cafe time from 3 to 5, and dinner thereafter.

enjoy ne!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

akari (kumamoto city)

お久しぶりです! Long time no see. It has been nearly 2 and a half months since my last entry, and there has definitely been a ton of eating since then. To start off this near year, here is a review of Akari (http://www.akari-c.com/index.html) restaurant/izakaya in Kumamoto City. I attended a party there a few nights ago, and was impressed by the atmosphere and quality of the food. Each guest paid ¥4,000 for a two hour all-you-can-eat and drink feast. With a set menu for occassions like this, the food can be either really hit, or really miss. Fortunately, I enjoyed the night's menu: shrimp tempura wrapped in nori, yakiniku (bbq beef/chicken at your table), seared tuna sashimi, salad, special peanut tofu (absolutely delish), and a pureed pumpkin ball filled with ground beef...i believe i got my money's worth.. especially with the two beers, cocktails, and excellent company.

akari is located just off shimotori, near the ginza-dori intersection, on the first floor of the ポブラビル. it is open 17:30 to 5:00 from monday to saturday, and 17:30 to 1:00 on sundays.

kumamoto is just packed with great restaurants like this... i got a few more months to try as many of them as i can.