Sunday, July 3, 2016

Japan Spring Trip: Hokkaido/Tokyo - Day 4 (Apple Holiday)

In continuation of my previous blogpost on my Japan trip, here's what I did for day 4:

Our mission for the day was to look for sakura - that was the main highlight of the trip anyway.

Next, we went to Okurayama Olympic Ski Jump Stadium. I didn't even know anything about this sport until I came here. Some pictures:

So we took a cable car up and it was kinda thrilling cause our legs were hanging mid-air. I didn't dare to move while I was on the gondola, tbh.

We went up to the Okurayama Observatory deck (The Start House) and had a good view of Sapporo.

There's a little kiosk selling soft serve ice cream, dubbed as one of the best in Sapporo. Truthfully, ice creams are everywhere in Japan and we only managed to try a few but this was really quite nice :)

 Going down

Aside from getting to see some really beautiful scenery and enjoying the great weather, one of the highlights of this trip has definitely got to be the CRABS! So, for lunch, we went to a seafood market and had gala seafood lunch.

Each of us took turns to hold a giant crab and took picture. The crab was 4.8kg!

We had crabs the previous nights as crabs were offered during the international buffets but I didn't fancy much as the crabs were more to the salty kind (as I've mentioned previously, Hokkaido's food are saltier than the other regions).

However, this. The crabs were different, they were huge, meaty, tastes sweet and warm! The previous crabs we had during the trip were served cold.

 One big piece of salmon each for everyone!


So before we devoured the crabs, the kind people at the restaurant actually taught us the correct and fastest way to eat the crabs. In the end, since we were all too slow (by their standards), all of the experts kindly lend us a hand instead. So we pretty much just ate without much work.

Another view of the crabs as more food filled out tables.


 We also ordered an extra tuna belly. IT WAS AWESOME.

There were more activities for the day cause after that, we went to Mitsui Outlet Park Sapporo Kita-hiroshima. So basically, you can find a lot of branded stuff here at discounted prices. But honestly, not everything is exceptionally cheap.

I only bought a GAP hoodie and that's about it. Or was it because I was a cheapskate? No...

 We had Chinese for dinner :)

It was...alright. Not my favourite and I think Chinese food (whatever style) is better in Malaysia. Like, nothing special and easily forgotten.

We had dinner super early because we had to catch a flight from Chitose to Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Unfortunately, when we reached Tokyo, it was raining and the airport had a terrible system where tour buses can only park at a designated area there isn't any shade. So, basically, we were on our own to walk under the rain, cross the road with our trolleys and baggage while we attempted to hold an umbrella (that we brought ourselves). Makes sense ke? I admire Japan for being systematic but sometimes the system makes no sense.

Anyway after that, we checked into our hotel, Tokyo Dome Hotel. It's one of the nicer hotels we stay.

There were a lot of students/young people and other people in Tokyo Dome hotel itself because they were fans who were supposedly waiting for some celebrities. Tokyo Dome hosts professional baseball games and a lot of celebrities also come here for shows and more.

So, we were quite hungry since we ate lunch early and though it was raining, we're not going to miss the chance to wander around our hotel. So we walked around and found this random ramen shop. We were quite noob, as we didn't realise we actually need to 'order' by using a vending machine. We went into the shop asking for the menu, hahahaha, how embarrassing.

Pick the item you want to eat here, put your money and get the order sheet. Then, pass it to the chef. Basically, there is no need for communication.

Not bad actually, though the one we had at Ippudo the day earlier was better, no doubt. Our tour guide told us that ramen is the "cheapest" kind of food because shops will give out up to 2-3 portions of ramen for free. So apparently a lot of students will probably have light lunch and have ramen for dinner.

It was a wet and cold night but it was nice wandering around like that.

Read Part 3 HERE.
Read Part 2 HERE.
Read Part 1 HERE.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Food: Brazzo Cascades, Dataran Cascade, Kota Damansara

Brazzo Cascades is one of the latest non-halal casual dining restaurant located at Dataran Cascade, Kota Damansara. It's hard to miss the restaurant because there's a fancy fountain (not seen in the picture) just outside the outdoor dining area which everyone seemed to love. Personally, I wasn't fascinated or such but I can see that many people do appreciate the fountain.

I was told that Brazzo comes from the Spanish word 'brazo' which means 'bbq pit'. This is the 5th outlet in Malaysia and it was opened last December. Brazzo's Johor Bahru outlet is quite well known. Also, just in case you were interested to know, Brazzo takes pride in its beef-based dishes.

While the rest of Dataran Cascades seemed deserted, Brazzo's existence definitely lift up the mood in the building. From the brief visit from the carpark to the restaurant, I noticed that there weren't that many tenants and I'm guessing that Brazzo is definitely the most lively tenant here, so far at least.

Let's jump right in and talk about the food:

Mix Ham Pizza has a super thin crust that you could cut with normal cutlery (knife). It's a decent pizza but it's quite forgettable.

Char-Grilled NZ Lamb Rack was nice. No strange lamb 'odour' (my bestfriend, Google tells me that it's called 'gamey') and it was grilled to the right point. The sauce was alright.

Oven Baked Atlantic King Cod Fish was one of my favourite dishes that night. I like eating fish, and cods are definitely on top of my list. The skin was crispy and the parsley cream sauce ties very well with the cod, preserving its freshness.

Char-Grilled Chicken Thigh is a whole chicken thigh seasoned with smoked paprika. Love the sauce that's infused with cranberries, and it's good that they serve it with fries cause that means you could dip them in the sauce if you can't have enough of it.

Char-Grilled AACO 1824 Grain Fed Sirloin Steak. The degree of doneness (no, seriously, this is a legit term, I googled it) was not one that I fancy. It was well done and I prefer my steak anywhere from medium-rare to medium-well. 

Sesame Crusted Aldi Tuna left me rather confused. I actually love the tuna itself (it was medium rare) but I personally don't like the seasoning or sauce. With that said, that was the first time I tried this dish so maybe I had some...'culture shock'. 

XL Hokkaido Scallops with Balsamic Tomato Salsa. I love this! It was super juicy.

Blue Cheese Pasta aka carbonara was so good that almost everyone was singing praises about it. Don't get turn off by the 'blue cheese' yet because I personally can't take blue cheese yet the dish was unsuspecting and didn't give anything away. It's hard to find a cheese-based pasta at the right level of creaminess, and Brazzo did this very well.

XL Hokkaido Scallops Aglio Olio was great. I'm not really a person who orders aglio olio (I prefer carbonara any day) because they are usually tasteless but this one did not disappoint. It's full of flavour and there were scallops! Gooood.

Brazzo's Iberico Pork Cheek was probably my favourite dish here. Precise cut, each slice was a slice of perfection. Tasted super good and the sauce complements the meat. Must try!

Fish fingers, deep fried fillet, fries, some salad and cherry tomatoes

Sausages, ribs, pork knuckle, mushroom

The Family Platter is enormous, you'd be overwhelmed by the serving portion. Overall it was too dry for my own liking to eat them as it is, but fret not because there were sauces available. I fancy the ribs though.

Red velvet, pina colada, and blue martini. 

Many people actually come to Brazzo not only to have a meal but also chill with friends over alcoholic drinks (there's a bar here).

A little disappointed that not much non-alcoholic drinks were available, cause we wanted to ask for coffee and such. Brazzo actually listed them on the menu but they are actually not available but Brazzo is working on it.

Also not to forget, Brazzo currently offers set lunch deals from RM12.90 nett, which is quite decent. 

Food: 6.5/10 (Try Brazzo's Iberico Pork Cheek, Lamb Rack, King Cod Fish and the pastas)
Service: 7/10
Value: 6/10
Atmosphere: 7.5/10 

Brazzo Cascades
A-G-08 & A-G-09, Dataran Cascades
No. 13A, Jalan PJU 5/1, Kota Damansara PJU 5,
47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
FB: Brazzo Cascades
Tel: 03-7629 4086