Chatei Hatou, Shibuya

Ever since the Blue Bottle folks wrote about it, I was intrigued.

The beautiful storefront stands out against its surrounding cement urban jungle.

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Walking in is like going back in time.

I’m glad that the smokers sat at the opposite end lol. I didn’t realize there was indoor smoking at this place. Fortunately, it only affected me briefly when I went to the restroom in the same corner as the smokers.

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Unique assortment of cups, and not a uniform collection.

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The ritual selection of a cup for each customer, and cleaning with boiling / steaming water.

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Home made cakes indeed!

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The chiffon cake was good but nothing particularly special.

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I think what many like about this place is its charming ambiance, thoughtful rituals with attention to detail, and old school feel.

Coffee-wise, the two cups were both very sour, which I think a lot of coffee snobs enjoy. But, I don’t like sour. So, not my cup of coffee.  Now that I’ve experienced it I don’t plan on coming back. I’ll stick to my SF hipster coffees.

Chatei Hatou
1 Chome-15-19 Shibuya
渋谷区 Tokyo 150-0002
Japan

Fukusaya, Daimaru, Tokyo Station

Before going to Japan, castella cakes from Fukusaya were on the list of things to bring home as gifts for friends and loved ones (including myself lol). I read these were originally foreign (Portuguese?) but pretty much became a staple (Nagasaki?), and are rather simple cakes.

I stopped by a Fukusaya store but I went so early they were not yet open for the day. Fortunately, the department store attached to Tokyo Station has them conveniently pre-packaged.

When I was in line to buy Fukusaya castella cakes, there was a man at the front of the line with an empty suitcase. He bought enough cakes to completely fill his suitcase lol. This helped me realize I was in the right place.

The packaging!

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Underneath the outer wrapping is a box.

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This is the logo to look for.

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Inside the box is more wrapping paper. This one helps keep it fresh.

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Inside the inner wrapping paper there is cardboard and more paper lol.

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Finally, this is what it looked like. It comes pre-cut.

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In particular, this cake had sweet crunchy bits on the bottom.

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I’ve tried castella cakes from a few other places, but none are particularly good. I only like the Fukusaya ones. They don’t always have crunchy bits, but when they do they are particularly tasty!

Fukusaya
Daimaru 1F
1−9−1 Marunouchi
Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-6701

Tonkatsu Saboten, Shinjuku

While staying at the Park Hyatt, I found out there was tonkatsu available in a lower floor. Had to check it out!

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I didn’t understand why I was given a stick in a tray, so I asked the staff. Turns out you use it to mix the sauce into the bowl with seeds.

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Lots of cabbage.

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Curry pork tonkatsu.

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Combination pork tonkatsu and shrimp

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It was ok. After Tonkatsu Maisen it’s hard to eat any other tonkatsu.

Tonkatsu Saboten
Shinjuku Park Tower B1F
3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku
Tokyo, Japan, 163-1055
http://www.shinjukuparktower.com/en/shops.shtml

Tsurutontan, Roppongi

I barely ventured into Roppongi. A friend recommended this udon place.

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I decided to try the beef udon.

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The udon comes with a large ladle.

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Massive bowl to go with the ladle. Hand for scale.

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Previously, I disliked udon because the noodle texture was soggy and made me gag. This place didn’t make me gag though.

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Yen for scale lol. It was ok, a little on the bland side possibly since the noodles are larger than other noodles; I wish the beef udon was more beefy / savory. I suppose I prefer ramen to udon.

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Got some croquettes too!

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Once I was full, I looked at my bowl and it seemed as if I hadn’t even touched it lol. I felt like a wasteful American, but non-ironically this time. Then again, if I had saved it maybe the noodles would have become soggy, which would make me gag.

Tsurutontan
3-14-12 Roppongi
Roppongi 3 Chome Bldg.
Minato 106-0032, Tokyo Prefecture

Toranomon Koffee, Toranomon Hills

Looks like a proper third-wave coffee house.

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They’ve got fancy pastries.

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I think this was an iced cafe mocha.

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Iced latte.

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Hand-drip coffee.

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We tried the baked custard too; it was good.

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The coffee was ok but nothing to write home about. I think a lot of places in Japan like to burn / dark roast their coffee beans. Maybe next time I’ll try more of the pastries.

Toranomon Koffee
Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 1-23-1
Toranomon, Tokyo 105-0001, Japan