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Made too much food, which I have to clear out of my fridge before leaving on Saturday.

Sausage rolls
Cheeseballs - cheddar/cranberry & goat cheese/scallion/parsley
More cheese, plus crackers & crudite

Roast beef
Scalloped potatoes
Lemon green beans
Brown sugar glazed carrots
Khristine's stuffing
Kris' quiche

Citrus rum punch
Hot spiced cider


My citrus rum punch was basically something that I just threw together. Because really, isn't punch just a big mix of liquor and juice or soda that you have around the house. My concoction had orange juice, pineapple juice, some lime juice, dark rum, whatever little bit of Domaine de Canton I had left, and some Amaretto. Topped off with ginger ale and garnished with orange and grapefruit slices.
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I think the Germans knew a good thing when they thought up of the idea of a beer garden. Pitchers of beer, good substantial food like sausages and potato salad, and lots of space for the biggest of groups to spread out make for a good time.

Where I've been:
Loreley - LES
Studio Square
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
Bia Garden
Loreley - Brooklyn (5 Sept 2010)
Mission Dolores (23 Feb 2011)

To visit:
Berry Park
Zum Schneider
Der Schwarze Kölner
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Donatella sandwich from Alidoro
Tropical mango smoothie from Red Mango
Shawarma sandwich from Mamoun's Falafel
Beef and potato empanadas from Ruben's Empanadas
Korean fried chicken from Mad About Chicken
Bahn mi #1 from Saigon Sandwiches

Not photographed:
Spaghetti with meat sauce from Hiroko's
Bun Bo Lui (grilled beef with sesame seasoning & lettuce on rice vermicelli) from Nam Son Vietnamese restaurant
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(l-r, top-bottom)
Salmon bento from Sunrise Mart
Salad combo from Once Upon a Tart
Lobster roll from Better Being Underground
Salty Pimp from Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
Peach tarte tatin from Sho Shaun Hergatt
Petits fours and Milk chocolate palet from Sho Shaun Hergatt
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The Mitsuwa grocery in Edgewater, NJ often stages food festivals celebrating a particular area of Japan. In the past, they've had a Hokkaido-centric festival, bringing in specialty items that would only be common in that area.

This past weekend, they had another food festival, but instead of concentrating on one area, they picked various foodstuffs from various areas of Japan for the curious (and hungry) to try.

reika: photo of butter, eggs, and a whisk (baking)

My favorite part about eating ice cream in a cone wasn't really the ice cream so much, but the crisp sweet cones. Ice cream was easy enough to get, but cones were special. The cones that were available from the supermarkets (at least when I was a child) were nothing special, tasting faintly of cardboard if I recall correctly. But going to an actual ice cream shop, there were these special treats called waffle cones, which essentially improved the entire ice cream eating experience by a few hundred percent.

So, discovering these cookies was an epiphany to me. Because to my mind (and taste buds), they're the cones -- without the shape, but with all the yummy sweetness and crispness. They suggest having this with tea, but I think it goes along okay by itself and all your memories of childhood.
reika: photo of butter, eggs, and a whisk (baking)
Sounds like a totally wacky (to the point of gross) combination, but it's actually not bad. The basil comes through more as an exotic scent in addition to the chocolate, but flavorwise, it just adds another layer of dimension to the cake.

I may add this to the list of (baking) projects to try.
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As a child, I was prohibited from eating street food because god knows what disease I could catch from eating food that's been exposed to all that grime, dust, & pollution. Granted, this was Manila, so those things were all plausible.

Fast-forward to 2009, where street food is the new "it" cuisine from New York to LA. It must be the cheapskate in my talking, but I love street food: you get so much for so little money.

I wish I had a chance to try more street food in Japan.

In the heart of Tokyo is an area called Shinjuku and “Yakitori Alley.’’ Literally an alley, this walkway has tiny yakitori stalls on both sides. Grilled on pressed wood or coal, these skewers hold juicy beef, chicken, chicken meatballs, and shrimp, all glazed with teriyaki. Equally delicious are chicken cartilage yakitori - the white triangular tip of cartilage between the two breasts, crunchy but amazingly tasty - and also chicken livers and kidneys, all cooked until pink and juicy. [Source]
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There's weird, and there's weird

We're told his candle is made with rendered bacon fat and stands two inches tall with a vegetable base wick; once lit the candle lets off a bacon aroma and is then poured over dry aged beef, scallop sashimi, "or any other delectable treat worthy enough to be covered in bacon."

I'm generally adventurous when it comes to food, but something like this is really out there, even for me.
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Despite what shoujo manga has taught us, the majority of Japanese men seem to have brought up with that particular kind of Asian machismo. Men are strong. Men shouldn't cry. And more importantly, men don't cook. They have lunch cooked for them.

But it IS 2009, and there's a new generation of Japanese Man. The media has called this group the "bento danshi," the boxed-lunch men.

The source article is actually fairly fluffy, but this section below jumped at me, if only to emphasize that even when things change, some things still remain the same.

Gyotoku also said he has become addicted to home cooking and has developed a taste for seasoning. He pays particular attention to a book titled What Did You Eat Yesterday? —a cartoon book by Fumi Yoshinaga about the dietary life of two men living together published by Kodansha Co—and the cooking show "Taichi x Kentaro Danshi Gohan (Men’s Meals)" broadcast by TV Tokyo Corp and featuring Taichi Kokubun, 34, of the pop group Tokio, and cooking teacher Kentaro, 36.
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Despite the massive concerns about fat, calories, and the overall blandness of American fast food, there is still something cool about these chains that cannot be easily quantified.

I instantly marked the Subway franchise as the place to turn off the main drag to get to the hotel. An array of recognizable names welcomes visitors to Gaien-Higashi Street: Wolfgang Puck, McDonald's, Outback Steakhouse, the Hard Rock Café (with Hello Kitty playing the guitar in the window). And there's even the ne plus ultra mediocre American cuisine: T.G.I. Friday's. I've traveled about 20 hours and 7,000-odd miles to wind up in a strip mall. [Source]

Though, I do think it's interesting how some of the chains would start carrying a country-specific product, and so then travelers to that country would then experience the U.S. franchise, only with a Japan twist. I remember first hearing about the green tea frappucino that was only released in Japan at first, before Starbucks realized that they had a moneymaker on their hands and then brought it to the States. I generally avoid going into U.S. chains when I'm traveling abroad, but I admit that I could be forced into trying something if it was only made or sold in the country that I'm visiting.
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This summer, Pepsi Japan is featuring its shiso flavor for a limited time. [Source]

I really wish that there was some way to obtain these flavors here in the U.S., other than paying an arm and a leg for them on eBay.

This flavor actually sounds somewhat palatable, unlike the Blue Hawaii and Ice Cucumber flavors of years past.
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