Rabbits and Coffee!

Rabbit cafeI just read about this newish trend in Tokyo that puts a twist on quirky. They serve the traditional coffee house fare, but then they have little bunny rabbits available for the patrons to interact and play with before or after, and in some cases, during dining.  Kind of like a pet store with food! In fact some of them actually do sell their little residents as long as you promise to take good care of them.

Rabbit cafe2

From the many articles I’ve found online about this new phenom, this chance to cuddle with a fury friend while noshing has packed the cafes and made them a popular place to unwind and destress on the weekends. Wonderland, Cafe Rabbi, and Ra.a.g.f (rabbit and grow fat) are some of their names, and for an hourly fee, and the cost of a meal, anyone can commune with a cottontail.

rabbit cafe sign

Rabbitcafe3As the video I’ve included below points out, with most Tokyo residents living in apartments with a ban on pet ownership this is one way to get their animal ‘fix’.

http://japangasm.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-animal-cafes/

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2014/01/a-visit-to-japans-bunny-cafes/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2104137/Bunny-caf–Rabbits-mingle-diners-Tokyo-coffee-house.html

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Hail to the Chef

Hail to the ChefI am a horrible cook. Well not horrible, just a lackluster cook. I don’t like planning meals, shopping for groceries or preparing food, which makes it absolutely nutty that I’m addicted to cooking and food shows! I love Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, MasterChef, and the Great Food Truck Race. And then there is Come Dine with Me, The Next Food Network Star and Restaurant Impossible. I could list probably a half a dozen more but I figure that you’ve already gotten the idea ūüôā

What’s even crazier about these shows is that most of the things they prepare aren’t really things I usually dine on when I go out to eat. It’s kind of foo foo, fancy schmancy, small portions that are made with ingredients that my local grocery probably doesn’t even carry. Yet I’m glued to the TV, watching the chefs chop veggies with wild abandon, cooking with new techniques, like liquid nitrogen, and touching all the food while plating (yuck!).

I continue to be mesmerized while the “expert” panel of judges, taste, analyze and dissect each morsel, with a proliferation of flowery adjectives, and decide whether the bite of food was seasoned and flavorful enough for their discerning palates. Of course, we the viewer, have to take their taste buds word for it because we can neither taste nor smell the plates, obviously it’s a visual experience only!

I have to say though that the few times I’ve been lucky enough to visit a television top chefs’ restaurant (Gordon Ramsey, Emeril Lagasse, Rick Bayless)¬†never once did I say, “Man, that was the best meal I’ve ever eaten”…never! ¬†I don’t know whether that means I’m not classy enough to appreciate fine dining or whether those that do love it feel they must because they just forked over a weeks’ salary for their dinner. Probably a little of both!

So I will continue to indulge my love for cooking and food television shows from the comfort of my couch with my PB&J sandwich on my plate, a bag of chips by my side and a beer in my hand. Just because I don’t like cooking, shopping or preparing food doesn’t mean I don’t love eating it!

Anchorage, a glutton’s delight!

As I’ve posted previously on this blog, Anchorage is full of unique places to drink and dine. ¬†After staying here a few times in the dark and the cold I can certainly understand why, ~a person has to enjoy themselves somehow, right?

Of course maybe not all these restaurants would appeal to every palate, but I’m lucky in the fact that I can salivate over a pizza and beer equally as well as I can over a prime choice of steak and a nice glass of wine. I’m an equal opportunity glutton, I don’t discriminate against many types of foods (well maybe lutefisk and haggis), or beers or wines, and thanks to an easygoing spouse I am able to try at least a few new places every time I travel to the great white north.

Portabella mushroom, stuffed with crab meat and shrimp

Last week we found an article in one of the local rags that had a list of the reporter’s favorite Sunday brunch spots, out of 10 of these spots we had only managed to visit one! Realizing we must rectify this oversight immediately, we visited one of her favorites for lunch the very next day. (Don’t say we let grass (or ice) grow under our feet!)

Our luncheon locale? The Beer Tooth Grill.¬†Not only had we never heard of it, we had never even been near it. Obviously by the slew of cars parked every whichaway, we were one of the few residents of Anchorage who were clueless about it’s gratifying grub. The picture above shows you what I chowed down on, a meaty portabella mushroom, stuffed with creamy combination of crab and shrimp meat. It was just as delicious as it sounds. Nanook had a ham and cheese sandwich and we both washed our meals down with beers from their very own Broken Tooth Brewery.

The owners of the restaurant, Rod Hancock and Matt Jones, own not only this restaurant and the brewery, but also their original restaurant, Moose Tooth, and a dine in theatre right next to the Grill called Bear Tooth Theatre Pub. I really want to go to the theatre on my next visit, ’cause it sounds like a great time.¬†And I just heard last night that they are going to open yet another restaurant fairly close to our house…I guess I’m going to have to try that one too!

Alas, so many restaurants (and books) so little time!

Zaytinya

Washington, DC is a foodies’ paradise. Most people who haven’t visited the nation’s capitol in the last 5-10 years might be surprised by that fact, but the number of amazing gastronomic delights are numerous and can please just about any palate or budget. I’m always excited to go for a visit so I can get, not only my fill of history, but also fill my stomach as well!

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar

This time I was lucky enough to dine at Zaytinya, a José Andrés restaurant featuring a mezze menu of Turkish, Lebanese and Greek cuisines. It was a very special experience for lunch!  They featured a $22.00 four course luncheon that was beautiful as well as delicious, and the attentive service rounded out what has to be one of my favorite meals of all time.

Carrot and pistachio dish (my favorite)

Falafel

Beef and lamb meatballs

Greek yogurt and apricots

Roasting the lamb

It was terrific to experience such fine dining at lunch time and not have it break the bank!

Long time, no post!

For over a week I have been practically computerless, only in possession of an iPad, and thus unable to post anything on my blog. I feel very delinquent, like I’ve neglected my homework or something. Not only didn’t I write a single blog post, I only managed to read two books and cheated liberally on my diet! It’s almost like the lost weekend, except I was lost for a whole week! But like all good things this too must come to an end, so I stopped in the library today and picked up a book, I’m eating a salad and, obviously, I’m writing on my blog!

I spent the last 10 days luxuriating in the company of family and friends while spending time in the nation’s capitol, one of my favorite places. When I’m there I never fail to discover new places to visit and new restaurants to gain weight in. This trip was no exception!

The Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia is not new to me, but since I’m currently salivating over a couple of pics I took while dining there I thought I would tell you a bit about it. This place is only a hop, skip and a jump from where I usually stay while in town, so my feet always manage to lead me to their doorstep. I really thought that this would be my only indulgence this past week, because I was in denial about my need to eat large quantities of delicious grub. Instead this was the beginning of my week-long food coma!

interior

David Gaus, the chef and owner, is a native of Louisiana and an award-winning pastry chef who gave up being a corporate pastry chef in 2007 to open the bakery and write a cookbook. Bayou Bakery offers terrific southern sweets as well as savory dishes and delicious coffee.

My personal favorites are the made to order beignets~~three warm, powdered sugar, Louisiana doughnuts for 3 bucks! But they also do things like a weekly crawfish boil in June, red beans & rice and shrimp creole.

a perfect afternoon!

If you are ever visiting DC, it’s well worth it to take the metro’s orange line to Arlington, Virginia to either the Courthouse or Clarendon stops to find a variety of unique restaurants and shops, like Bayou Bakery!

Probably not the best idea when you’re on a diet!

Today as I pack for my trip to Washington DC, I am enduring one more day of hard-core dieting because I know once I’m away from home, in a city filled with the some of the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted, I will not deny myself some extra calories! ¬†In fact I’m happy to say I am only a few pounds shy of my wedding day goal, and with six weeks to go, I’m just hoping I haven’t peaked too early ūüôā

So maybe, because I know I’m approaching the finish line, I let my fingers do the walking on the keyboard today, and I’ve discovered a few terrific food websites. To be honest most of the time when I’m looking for anything related to food on the internet, it has something to do with ordering a pizza, printing out a¬†Living Social¬†deal, or¬†going on OpenTable to book a reservation, but today I think I just wanted to look at all the pretty pictures.

1. Serious Eats came to my attention because of this terrific looking recipe for Rummy Bears!

How amazing is this?! Not exactly food I know, but it did lead me to their website, which is overflowing with drool worthy photos and articles about all things yummy.

2. ¬†Food 52¬†I found in a very circuitous way. Neatorama < BuzzFeed < Food 52! ¬†And isn’t this why we all spend so much time on the internet?? ¬†BuzzFeed had this interesting article about ‘8 ways to eat well and cheaply‘, that showed Food52 as the byline. Okay I have now mentioned this website three times and I promise they are not paying me in alcohol soaked gummi bears! Anyway they have some interesting articles about food and some good looking recipes too.

3.¬†The Pioneer Woman¬†website¬†is not new to me, I just haven’t looked at it for awhile because her recipes are anything but¬†lo-cal! ¬† Here in the States, Ree Drummond has published several books, has her own show on the Food Network and also publishes this blog and website. Her recipes are simple, delicious and made from fresh ingredients. Even I can make something great for dinner when I follow her step by step directions. Each step is photographed and she tells it like it is even when she makes a mistake! Her sense of humor shines through on the page and she makes cooking seem like fun.

Well, I think I’ve tortured myself enough for one day. First I find all these forbidden delights on the internet and then I relive the experience by writing about them on this blog!

Founding Farmers here I come!

Eating Alaska Style

Anchorage is a city full of coffee houses and huts, brew pubs and restaurants. In other words it’s my kind of town! ¬†Of course there are the usual blight of chain restaurants, of the Applebee’s variety, that seem to have infiltrated every nook and cranny in our great nation over the last several decades, but luckily independently owned restaurants abound as well.

hut closest to us!

Coffee, as you know, has been removed from my daily routine (although I have snuck in a cup or two…shhh!) but for those who are still able to imbibe, there is no shortage of places in town to purchase a cup of piping hot java. There are literally coffee huts on every block of Anchorage. They are stuck in parking and vacant lots everywhere you look and each has its own unique name and decor to attract customers.

This site, http://www.lastfrontier.org/coffeehouses.htm , has some great hut photos!

I am also a fan of brew pubs and alehouses….thank goodness beer has not been removed from my diet! ¬†I have two favorites, Snow Goose and Firetap¬†with the Glacier Brewhouse coming in a close third. All have great menus and a variety of beers that aren’t available in my neck of the woods. If available I try to pick Halibut and chips, my all time favorite meal in Alaska! Luckily Nanook is amiable to taking me out to test the grub and grab a pint when I’m here, so we’ve managed to visit all three in the last several weeks!

Snow Goose

Enjoying a caribou burger and a pint @ Snow Goose

My beer flight at FIRETAP, because I couldn't just pick one!

Lest you think that the only places we’ve eaten at have beer on the menu, we have managed to go to go to a few Asian restaurants,¬†Yamato Ya¬†and Tempura Kitchen. Okay, as I reread that last sentence I realized I’ve fibbed…both of these restaurants have beer on their menus! But I can say that wasn’t the main reason for dining there!

Bento Box @ Yamato Ya

There are certainly a plethora (borrowing my friend’s favorite word) of dining options in this city including one we spotted yesterday. I’m definitely going to have to try this one day when I’m not so full!

Reindeer Hot Dog Stand

(as always click on the blue highlighted areas for more info!)