Crazy Cafes in Tokyo

1. “Totoro Cafe” aka Shimohige Cream Puff Factory or TOLO
While they have a full menu of food we decided to try two cream puffs and two drinks! The Totoro’s were almost too cute to eat (I spied the Japanese girls next to us eating them from the back, thus preserving the cute cream puff for as long as possible). We also got and iced chai and iced mocha which was delicious as well. Check out my channel to see me dive into my cream puff like a barbarian —

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2. Kawaii Monster Cafe
Unicorns, candy and sprinkles, OH MY! This is the rainbow themed cafe where the food is just as colorful as the decor! You can order French fries with a rainbow assortment of dipping sauces, rainbow spaghetti, cakes, parfaits, color changing drinks… very cool for instagram. Just be sure to make a reservation or risk waiting a long time (I would not attempt this on a weekend) Harajuku is crazyyyyy!

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3. Forest of Owl Cafe
Why not spend an hour petting owls and sipping on banana mochas? Surrounded by the littlest to largest of owls, to rare and even grumpy looking ones was an amazing experience! A drink is included of course, and you can watch it being made (by machine) on the little tv screen. What service! The owls are so sweet I couldn’t help but want one for myself some day – haha!

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4. Sanrio Puroland
The ever-changing theme will feature a Sanrio character and food sets to match. While I was in Tokyo the Little Twin Stars café had started with the cutest pink and blue plates to match– While Kiki and Lala were popular when I was growing up the Sanrio cafe is always rotating, so catch it while you can!

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5. Café Mugiwara aka One Piece
If you’re in Odaiba and you see an alien looking building with a big globe-like structure in the middle just go right there to find the One Piece café! I started to get into the anime but with so many episodes I just couldn’t catch up. Still the café is great for fans looking to experience the manga, as I got to see my friends’ experience a few months after I was there.

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6. Maid Café
This is a general suggestion as there are so many different ones to choose from. I personally think it would be interesting to see but doubt I would care to listen to a bunch of crazy singing and dancing routines. Walk around Akihabara and you will be sure to stumble into many different cafes. Just look for the cardboard cutouts of maids and you will be on your way! I had a picture of my head sticking through one of these but it seems to have mysteriously disappeared . . .

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7. Pompompurin 
Another cute character café that is permanent, so you will not miss it! The Mexican inspired dish = curry and rice plate look so yummy too– Half the problem with these cafes is that everything is almost too cute to eat! Almost …

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9. Bunny Cafe
There are many to choose from! Real bunnies, bunny themed, character bunny themed because we LOVE all the bunnies! Around Harajuku you can find the live fluffy versions to play with while you sip a coffee or find one with your favorite character to enjoy the marvelous lookalike dishes.

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10. “Gudetama Cafe” aka The Lazy Egg –
Now when I was in Tokyo I happened to stumble upon a HUGE Gudetama store, complete with a giant mascot Gudetama which I posed with! I don’t believe the cafe was in existence yet, but from what I’ve seen it looks fabulous… and not so ennui 😉

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11. Poop Cafe –
This might not sound like your idea of an appetizing or fun place to grab a drink, I would definitely recommend a visit if you want a good laugh. While this idea actually originated in Taiwan, I was able to visit the one in Seoul, South Korea and had a blast. The refreshing fizzy drink we ordered was light and refreshing and came showered in fresh flower petals. Suprising? Yes! Just do it!
Tokyo has its own version so all bases are covered!
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Zing!

Yes #2 on the list (technically 3rd but okay!).

Again, we were coming to town on empty stomachs so we hurried downtown to find Zing. The building in old Wailuku town has been transformed into a food court which turned out to be quite the place around lunch. I never thought to venture in before, but got an amazing recommendation about the onion rings and a kalua pig sandwich!

We were not disappointed!

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After noticing a few orders go out before us we realized there would be a hefty portion sized amount — there were many great option to choose from but we stuck with the classic Reuben with a side of onion rings and a steak sandwich with truffle french fries. Woooooooooooo!

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After just one bite I knew.

This place was really goooood! The steak sandwich I had worried about. “What if the meat was tough? Fatty? Dry? Hard to eat?”

Thankfully this was far from the case. The steak was cooked medium well done so it was very juicy and cut into bite sized pieces making it easy to eat. The bread was soft and fresh, covered in a wonderful garlic aoli with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. The truffle fries were also delectable… honestly very addicting since I’ve not had french fries in forever! I will say that the rings and fries were on the oily side but it didn’t really bother me because it was just the right amount for three of us to split!

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The Reuben was very interesting looking and even better tasting. The marbled dark bread was so thick yet fluffy. The meat in the Reuben had been chopped up with sauerkraut and a cheese sauce mixture that held it all together, which was really nice compared to the traditional sandwich (20 slices of pastrami on a dry thin piece of bread). So good, if you enjoy this type of hot sandwich I recommend trying this one — and I never thought I would say that about a Reuben! They also have a turkey version of this that I think would be even more up my alley. LOL

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Overall we had a great experience at Zing. The outside nor inside is anything fancy, but the food is quality and quantity. If you happen to be here around the lunch rush expect to wait a bit in line as well as for your food, but it is definitely worth it. The price is a bit high if eating alone, but I would suggest splitting such a decadent meal and not eating here everyday… (although I’d love to)!

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Golden Tumeric Sauerkraut Recipe

Here is the recipe of the awesome yellow sauerkraut from my breakfast today! My dad has been experimenting with making many fermented things, including his own kombucha, mead, cider, jun, kim chee, pickles and of course sauerkraut. Here is the tried and true recipe that we are now enjoying daily!

The hardest part of this recipe is just WAITING for it to be done 🙂 ENJOY!

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#1 HI Thai Food Truck

Hooray! The first place on the list!

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We happened to be near a few restaurants but decided for something casual and quick — Wailuku town was bustling, so was the food cart! It was around 11:30 and some workers were already there enjoying lunch. There wasn’t a huge menu to choose from, which I don’t actually mind at all. I was starving as was Kenny, we ordered Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao (drunken noodles) both with chicken. I noticed it was a one woman show working the food cart so it took a little while to get our food but it probably wasn’t more than 10 minutes!

When we did receive our order, I opened the container to see noodles almost overflowing — A HUGE portion for only $10 each!

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Happy sight for hungry stomachs! We taste tested both but the signature dish I try at every Thai place is PAD KEE MAO. We both ate through the drunken noodles and thoroughly enjoyed it. What I appreciated was the abundance of meat, veggies and overall lightness to the dish. Sometimes you get a lot of noodles (aka the cheap stuff) and have a hard time finding your protein that you wanted. This was not the case here, while we were almost to the bottom of the bowl there was chicken everywhere. I also noticed that it wasn’t as oily as some noodles can be and didn’t leave us with a heavy feeling.

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The pad thai was also good, slightly on the sweet side for my taste but with all the great qualities of the pad kee mao. TONS of meat, vegetables, toppings, and quantity is great for both dishes which were $10 each. I noticed that there was no chili powder, oil, or hot sauce at the food truck which wasn’t a problem but I would prefer to add it to this dish specifically. We had to take the rest of the pad thai home for leftovers and it was just as good a few hours later!

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Overall a very good experience with a nice healthier take on traditional Thai food. I would definitely return when craving some thick noodles!

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Reviving the Portland Food List

< P O R T L A N D > [ 19 Left ]

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
…made some progress but still have some things to look forward to as there are some new places that opened up in the past year!

1. Apizza Scholls
2. Bamboo Sushi
3. Beast
4. Bete-Lukas
5. Biwa
6. Broder
7. Chez Machin
8. Cocotte
9. Double Dragon
10. Egyptian Food Cart
11. Fireside
12. Fogo de Chao
13. Good Taste
14. Kachka
15. Ken’s Artisan Pizza
16. Le Happy
17. Le Pigeon
18. Little Bird
19. Lucky Strike
20. Pok Pok
21. Portland City Grill
22. Roe
23. Screen Door
24. Sok Sab Bai
25. Tanuki
26. TarBoush
27. Wong’s King
28. Yakuza
29. Yama Sushi
30. Yuzu
31. Andina
32. Ataula
33. Blue Star: Coffee Coconut Cheesecake Donut
34. Bollywood Cafe
35. Daily Cafe
36. HK Cafe (dim sum)
37. Imperial
38. Khao San
39. Lang Baan
40. Lardo
41. Luc Lac
42. Marrakesh
43. Nostrana
44. OSO Market
45. OX
46. Piazza Italia
47. Matador
48. Teote
49. Toro Bravo
50. Ringside

< H O N O R A B L E M E N T I O N S >
51. Ground Kontrol (haha)
52. Bunk Sandwhiches
53. Mother’s Bistro
54. Hat Yai
55. Portland City Grill
56. Urban Farmer
57. Montage
58. Departure
59. Noraneko Ramen
60. Boke Bowl
61. Por Que No
62. Kukai Ramen
63. Yuzu
64. Saucebox
65. Saburo’s
66. Cha Cha Cha
67. Khao San
68. Whiskey Soda Lounge
69. Lucky Strike RIP
70. Smallwares RIP
71. Gruner RIP

< NEW >

1. Maurice (not new but… new to the list)
2. Kayo’s Ramen Bar
3. Aviary
4. Oba!

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Australia – Best Drinks

A quick walk around the neighborhood (or an all day expedition around Sydney) and it’s not hard to notice the copious amounts of runners, people working out in the park, cross fitters in their own corner… People definitely care about their health. The markets likewise offer a nice variety of fresh produce, dairy free foods and specifically harder to find DRINKS!

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These are not flavored coffee drinks with almond milk but a line of flavored milk! I have not been able to enjoy drinking straight milk since I was five and was forced to drink a cup with dinner for growing up healthy until I got sick all the time and found out it was because I was allergic. I went with the salted caramel flavor although I’m sure I will try them all eventually. It was really good! No overly strong flavor, not too sweet, no weird aftertaste yet not bland either! Really happy with this, and it was about $2.75 for the drink. I imagine this would be cool to mix with smoothies or coffee if you wanted–

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I know there are some brands back home that do almond milk coffee. They taste okay, but nothing special that I would want to drink on the daily. The coffee is usually too bitter and watery. I was excited to see this, it on the shelf below the inside/out drinks– had to get it because it was made with only a few ingredients and all were good. #1 ingredient – coconut! We got the Coconut Vanilla Latte – a long time ago I would indulge in a bottle of Starbucks vanilla latte but it was too much dairy and sugar! I consider this to be an amazing replacement for that!

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Thai Airways First Class Menu

We actually took two flights, one from Hanoi to Bangkok and Bangkok to Sydney. This happened to be the most comfortable flights I’ve ever flown and I will detail why.

After we checked in, our tickets allowed us to chill out in the lounge before boarding. Granting us free food and drinks… you can bet I ran to check out the food. Pad Thai, chicken curry, sushi, cereal, an array of fruit, salads, and more! I was too busy eating to take picture. I also tried a Birds Nest drink for the first time (made with the snow mushroom). It had a very light sweet flavor, but nothing I could differentiate or compare to anything I’ve had before besides sugar water. Apparently there are health benefits, but whatever.

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We were given piping hot towels on a tray – Really nice since I was sweating so much from thinking were were gonna miss said flight. Haha, but I washed my hands and wiped my brow. A nice gentleman came by asking if we’d like any reading material, offering all the newspapers and magazines. I took a Vogue (he warned me it was in Thai, I didn’t care). And as soon as we could grab a stewardess, decided to start with some champagne, why not! Later a stewardess came by to show us the menu. Considering this was only an hour and a half flight I was really stoked to be getting another meal… until I realized I was still full from the little bit I ate in the lounge prior to boarding, LOL. Kenny finished his plate and I did try all of my components. This chicken curry and rice was deliciousssssssss! Rice perfectly done and sticky, chicken well seasoned and super juicy. Tangy papaya salad with pork on the side and a coconut custard with pumpkin for dessert <<< YUM! I really love airplane food but this is NOT your average plate.

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We got off in Bangkok and went through security again so we could take full advantage of the next lounge we could get into. Haha. It seems like I’ve eaten about 4 meals in the past 2 hours but who cares, it’s free right? This lounge had a way fancier set up and was quite busy as a flight was to depart around 1:30 am. We got in there around 11 pm. There were spicy ramen, chicken and shrimp wonton soup, vegetable spring rolls (I ate 10 of these with chili sauce), tom yum wraps, chicken puffs, mushroom quiche, three kinds of cake rolls (coffee, fruit, chocolate), pastries, papaya and watermelon. I’m pretty sure people were watching me eat, some ladies were curious, the Chinese had wide eyes. Yeah, okay.

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Lounge #2. Yes we went into another lounge because it opened earlier (5:15 am) for breakfast! Again, taking advantage of a nice spot to hang out before we catch our next flight. Comfy chair, chargers, wifi and all that jazz. No boarding announcements here! Really relaxing! The breakfast menu was a little different – Offering hard boiled eggs, ham, steamed buns, breakfast pastries, salad bar, more fruit. I tried a cafe latte and got some weird milk bitter coffee thing from the machine. Later it looked like a few people were trying to fix it so I’m not sure what I actually got. Lol.

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Next we boarded our flight and were guided UPSTAIRS to our section. We sat down to find toiletry bags, fluffy pillow and blankets. I was kind of cold somehow so I instantly ripped mine open and got cozy for the ride. Inside the bag was body lotion, all natural chapstick, eye mask, toothbrush/toothpaste/mouthwash, comfort socks, and terrycloth slippers for lounging, along with noise cancelling headphones. In the few minutes before we even took off we discovered that our seats (like our previous flight) fully reclined so you could sleep flat. Also have your legs our like on a lazy boy and turn on the MASSAGE feature in your chair which was also adjustable! The remote popped out of the arm and you could listen to all kinds of music or choose from some movies. I ended up watching Trolls, Argo, and playing some word scramble game.

Kenny had the idea to make mimosas so I asked for OJ and the most expensive champagne. I waited till they left before I completely sloshed the two together for my mimosa. Haha.

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BRUNCH time! I always, always love fruit. This was apple, dragonfruit, papaya, and pineapple with a vanilla yogurt on the side with some butter for hot rolls. I was excited to see the mini strawberry jelly (just as cute as their mini salt and pepper shakers) lol. After I was done with my fruit the stewardess brought out the EGGS BENEDICT. My favorite breakfast, it combines everything good – saucy egg, salty meat, crunch to soak up the hollandaise. Yum. Behind that, which is hard to see in the picture is some sautéed asparagus. That was so dang good and I’ve never seen such cute asparagus.

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DINNER iS SERVED!!! By far my most memorable airplane meal… I mean, 3 courses?!?!? Yes. Yes. Yes. I kinda forgot what I had ordered because the stewardess had come by while I was in and out of sleep and just kinda pointed to something. Thankfully it was the right something! First course was a smoked salmon with romaine lettuce and mango lemon basil cream. It was really tasty and refreshing. If this had been the meal itself I would’ve been just fine here. But no…

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HALLELUJAH – Here is THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER EATEN ON AN AIRPLANE! Duck confit with garlic confit and juice, caramelized pumpkin, buttered needle beans, with parmesan. Duck… perfectly cooked. Moist, juicy… the brown garlic sauce soooo savory and I dipped everything in it. The pumpkins sitting in the garlic… just perfect. If I knew anything about preparing duck I would try to recreate this asap. Don’t mind my strawberry jam that I scooped out of the cute little containers because I wanted them. Also had some jelly and butter with my rolls because I felt like it.

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This seemed very Danish (I’m actually not sure of the origin, just that we did this everyday in Denmark)! After dinner I was asked if I wanted the fruit and cheese course. Yes. So, I was brought my own personal brie and baked strawberries which taste just like gummy snacks but are all natural. Ah, Thai airways you will have me dreaming of another flight!

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TRAVEL WITH US, video below 🙂

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