06 November 2013

Eating Japan, Part 7

If you're new here, check out the other posts in this series, Eating Japan to see what I've been consuming in my new country!  You can also find a link to the Eating Japan series on the top of any page!

A few weeks ago Kassie and I checked out a new-to-us dining spot on the seawall called Transit Cafe.  Popular with locals, tourists, and Americans, it's on the second floor with outdoor table and bar seating over looking the ocean.  So it's already got a few things going for it!  Everything looked delicious, and we had a hard time deciding what to order.  At first we just ordered some smoothies and juice but quickly realized that we didn't have to drive anywhere for the next few hours (we were getting a pedicure around the corner), so we canceled that order and got ourselves a mid-day drink.  ¥300 lunch special (about $3.05) for white wine and a beer for me.  Below is my order of "Ethnic-flavored Okinawa soki (pork spare ribs).  Kassie got the roast beeg and home-made sausage sandwich which was sort of a build your own open face sandwich.  Both were very good and cost about ¥1300.  I wouldn't mind going back at night to try some of their dinners, desserts and cocktails.  Not to mention the sunset.

Another Seawall spot, Bar Coby.  I met Aaron and a friend here during their lunch break one day, another new-to-us spot. For ¥980 ($10), there is an all you can eat pizza, pasta, salad, and drink lunch special.  It was a really neat laid back little place, and another spot I'd love to go have a glass of wine at with some friends.  The atmosphere was hip and cozy, we sat in our own corner in wicker lounge-type chairs, curtains, and a chandelier.  What I liked about this place is it wasn't your typical buffet.  There was a menu with about 6 pizzas and 4 pastas.  Your food is made to order and there is waitress service.  At the counter, you can get unlimited Japanese style salad and water/tea.  The pizzas are small, but really very good, and I love that you can just keep ordering more through your waitress as she brings you your food.  We'll probably hit this up for lunch on occasion, especially since it's close enough for Aaron during work.

Tenkaippin is another chain noodle shop here on the island.  I think they have a few locations on island and a few in mainland and other countries.  They are known for a thick, collagen rich broth, which is what I got (not shown).  Below is Aarons order of tantanmen base soup and a side of fried rice.  I believe we also got an order of gyoza.  From what I remember, it was okay and well priced, but overall it wasn't very memorable, obviously.

Okay. This is a really crappy picture of some barbecued squid, and I don't even know the name of this restaurant, but we really enjoyed our time here and this squid was by far the best thing we had.  It was a huge plate for only around ¥500 and was seriously perfect.  This is a restaurant on Route 85 near Kadena AB, heading towards Uruma.  It's on the Westbound side on the corner and it's a large building with a giant fish on the roof.  Be warned, there is no English anywhere in the place, and no English speaking staff (at least when we went).  It's a huge izakaya, and one of our favorites we've been to.  You take off you shoes before you get into the restaurant area and place them in a locker (taking a wooden "key" with your locker number on it), and then follow your server through the maze of private noren (curtain) covered booths.  Each table/booth is private, complete with a small tv, ash tray, call button, and curtains for privacy.  There is a small cover charge automatically added to your bill, about ¥350, but then you get 'complimentary' appetizers, which is a self-serve 'salad' bar with a few varieties of tuna sashimi, salad, and some pickled condiments.  We love this style of restaurants!  This place was fun just the two of us, but it would be great with a bunch of people, ordering a bunch of plates and sharing them.  As it's an izakaya, there isn't a lack of boozy beverages to indulge in as well.  I chose a local beer, and thanks to the previous no-active-duty-drinking-outside-base ban at the time, Aaron had some nice cold tap water and drove us safely home.  But this place was made to stay at All.Night.Long.  And it would have been totally comfortable to do so.

In Awase, near Comprehensive Park is a popular shopping center called Living Design Square.  It houses 4 large furniture/accessory stores, including a resale store, 2 cafes, and a kid-drop-off-zone (which I love, not for my non-existent children, but so other people utilize it and I don't have to shop listing to little assholes monsters children assholes scream).  I brought my friend Vickie here back when she was on island in the beginning of the year (and she's coming back in just a few days-YAY!!!) and we checked out one of the cafes called Soup Soup.  The atmosphere is nice and bright and open up on the second floor, and it smells delicious.  I know they serve other things asides from soup, but we weren't concerned with that.  They have a lot of different menu combos, and I chose a set with 2 types of soup and a drink.  All soup meals come with unlimited bread.  The bread is self serve, and they must have about 8 types of rolls and a toaster oven on the side to warm up your selection.  For the price, I remember it being good, especially on a cool rainy day.  It sort of has a Panera type atmosphere/food quality/speed of service, so while not my number 1 spot in the area, if you're shopping all day and looking for a bite, it's definitely a reasonable option.

Man, some of these places I ate at SOOO long ago.  And it's making me hungry as usual.  There are lots of other places we've eaten at, so this series is going to continue basically forever.  I'd also like to share with you photos of what I've been making at home.  Obviously I've gotten out of the routine of posting my own meals with recipes, but maybe I can at least share images and basic commentary on them.  What do you think?

Question: What do YOU think I should be eating in Japan?  Leave a comment below!

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