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Tag Archives: takoyaki


Oh yeah, I have a blog.

I almost forgot about that. 😉

The month of September is turning into a “lost” month here. A lot of things have happened, but yet the whole month almost seems like a black hole in my memory.

We’ve been focused on packing up everything we own and all the other preparations that go into moving (we get the keys Oct. 1st.) I’ve been working on a personal project that’s taken away a lot of my attention. And, we had some urgent family business to attend to as well that has weighed heavily on our minds.

Bookcase as it looked when we moved in


Bookcase after much packing


I haven’t really been too busy to blog, but lack of time really hasn’t been the issue. I think lack of passion has been more the problem. I’ve joked to Jeff before that I tend to be passionate about different things only in short bursts. Lately, I’ve had a good burst of passion for my project I’m working on (which I’ll share more details on at a later time,) but mostly I’ve just been passionate about this move to a new house, which means a great deal more to us than just a change of location.

Moving to a single-family home marks the start of a new phase in our lives. Though we haven’t solidified plans for exactly when yet, I know that we will become parents in that house. We will bring our first child home to that house, and he or she will learn to walk on those floors and begin to grow into someone in that house. Just being in that house even before we officially start down the road to parenthood will fill me with a sense of hope and excitement for the future.

Also, I’m just really excited to not share walls with any of my neighbors any more. :)

Although I’ve been really focused on other things this month, we did manage to get out a few times and enjoy ourselves. Just this past weekend we got to watch fireworks in Decatur Square. The 4th of July fireworks got postponed due to rain, so we got to watch them after the last summer concert on the square.

Fireworks in Decatur Square

We had stopped into Mac McGee’s beforehand to have a glass or two of scotch while the sun went down. Oban and pyrotechnics sure make for a good evening. 😉

Oban at Mac McGee's

We also made it back to Miso Izakaya for an awesome dinner with friends. Highlights include a super-soft soy egg…

Oozy soy egg with crispy rice

Napalm-hot takoyaki…

Takoyaki at Miso Izakaya close up

Crispy-skinned duck in steamed buns…

Crispy duck buns at Miso Izakaya

…and mini donut balls dusted with green tea and sugar.

Donuts with green tea powder

I love Miso Izakaya. Their sushi is of good quality however not that exciting, but the hot dishes are all incredible. Can’t argue with the huge list of sake and shochu either. We need to remember to go there more often.

Jeff and I did something else pretty cool earlier this month too. We checked out the Mini Maker Fair, which is a collection of attractions from various people in the areas of robotics, electronics, and any hobby that revolves around making things from scratch!

We saw lots of cool robots and gadgets…

Line-following robot

Line-following robot

Solar-powered 3D plastic printer

Solar-powered 3D plastic printer



Remote controlled skate board

Remote controlled skate board

Obligatory R2D2

Obligatory R2D2

There were tons of interesting and geeky craft items too. This fair was just a mini version of the original Maker Fare that has so much more to see. I hope the big Maker Fare comes to Atlanta sometime soon.

So, things have been happening around here, I just just haven’t felt compelled to share them lately because I’m in my own little world with thoughts on moving. Hopefully by the time we’re settled into the new place I’ll have gotten back on track with blogging, but I’m not too worried about it right now.

So tell me about you!…What was the most interesting thing you did in the month of September?


Honeymoon part 1: Osaka

Ahh! I’ve been waiting so long to share the pictures from our honeymoon in Japan and now it’s finally here!

We flew out early the morning after our wedding for the insanity-inducing 13 and a half hour flight to Tokyo. From the airport it’s about a 45 minute train ride from Narita, where the airport is, to Tokyo. I stared out of the window the whole time trying not to miss a single thing.

We stayed one night in the Shibuya part of town before heading on to Osaka the next afternoon. I’ll get to what we did on that first day later when I show you the rest of the Tokyo part of the trip.

Osaka was about and hour and a half south on the Shinkansen high-speed train. We ordered a bento to share for lunch while we watched the mountains and rice fields roll by.

Jeff eating bento

It had 2 kinds of rice along with both boiled and pickled vegetables. Most of it was really good, though I don’t think Jeff or I will ever get the hang of eating umeboshi (sour pickled plums.)

Shinkansen bento

We stayed at a really cool hotel called Hotel Ichiei which had very traditional Japanese room arrangements done with a modern flair. I loved how our sleeping area was separated by these curtains, it was like sleeping in a tent.

Room dividers in Hotel Ichiei

And we were provided with yukata, typical house robes for lounging in.

Modeling yukata

I loved getting up each morning and making tea with this pretty little set.

Tea set in Hotel Ichiei

We ordered the traditional style breakfast just once and it was amazing! There was rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables, seaweed salad, boiled vegetables, tamago omelet, grilled salmon, and fish cakes. It was so much food! I wanted to eat all of it but there was just no way.

Traditional Japanese breakfast

One of the first things we did was visit Osaka Castle. The whole thing is a museum inside and it’s surrounded by gardens and a complex of other buildings.

Jeff in front of Osaka CastleOsaka Castle courtyardOsaka Castle rock garden

From the top you can see the whole city.

View from Osaka Castle towerShachihiko roof ornament

On our way back we passed a cute little fair for kids. Domo-kun was out shaking hands and being creepy and cute at the same time. He’s the mascot for the NHK television station.

Train outside NHK

Me and Domo-kun!

We had a delicious lunch of sushi, soup, tempura, and noodles.

Sushi and kitsune udon lunchSoba and sushi lunch

The next day, we skipped the extravagant breakfast and opted for donuts and coffee. Truthfully, pastries and coffee were our breakfast for all but 2 days of the entire 2 week trip! I loved the kinako (toasted soy flour) flavor best.

Breakfast at Cafe Andonand

We did a bunch of window shopping down Shinsaibashi and Ebisubashi streets. That’s not a mall we’re in, it’s a covered outdoor street you can drive down!

Shopping on Shinsaibashi

We had a bit of a hard time in Osaka with getting access to cash. If you ever go to Japan, don’t use MasterCard credit or debit cards, only a very few ATMs take them whereas Visa is accepted everywhere. I can’t tell you how much frustration and lost time was caused by this one fact. We did manage to have a great time though, regardless.

Later, we headed a few blocks north to the famous Dotonbori Street. This street is packed to the ceiling with restaurants, junk food vendors, novelty shops, bars, clubs, and all sorts of entertainment.

View down Dotonbori StreetMoving crab signMe with a tanukiSo many restaurants on DotonboriJapanese ads on Dotobori

As it got dark out we looked for a place for dinner with one thing on our minds: takoyaki! There were at least a dozen takoyaki shops lining the street, like this one with a giant creepy octopus looming overhead.

Another takoyaki shop

We settled on this one though because they also sold okonomiyaki, a type of half omelet half pancake filled with shredded vegetables and topped with salty sauces.

Takoyaki restaurant stand

We both got shochu to sip on and proceeded to get a little tipsy.

Sipping shochu

The takoyaki we had in Japan were so different than any that we’ve had in the states. They were always barely cooked so that the inside is still liquid and lava hot.

Plate of takoyaki

They gush everywhere when you bite into them!

Jeff eats napalm takoyaki

The okonomiyaki was cooked right at our table and topped with lots of Kewpie mayo and shredded bonito. Sounds gross, and normally I’m not a fan of mayo, but I assure you it’s amazing.

Okonomiyaki on the griddleServing okonomiyaki

We spent most of our time in Osaka doing more of the same: window shopping, walking, and stuffing our faces. I think we had takoyaki 3 times! We were really excited to move on to the next leg of our trip though…

Tomorrow: Kyoto!


Recent Eats

Just as predicted, the nice weather didn’t last and this week has been awash in shades of gray and just literally washed with buckets of rain.

I’ve spent several days feeling a bit moody at being trapped indoors with the memory of sunny walks into town that took place such a short time ago. I’ve used the “opportunity” to practice a few extra-long yoga sessions in the dining room, trying not to fall out of pose onto one or more curious cats.

But sometimes you just gotta get out of the house!

We hit up Garlic Thai again this week for a spicy little reminder of approaching spring. I got the fruitiest, springiest cocktail I could find on the menu; one with lychee, ginger, and sake. It was fruit-tastic. The maraschino cherry makes it fancy. 😉

Ginger lychee drink

Jeff got a barley shochu that was a bit lighter than he was wanting, but it was still good.

We both shared a plate of the prettiest spring rolls I’ve ever seen.

Garlic Thai spring rolls

Love the basil leaves pressed perfectly between the layers of soft and chewy rice paper.

I got a miso soup. This one was pretty salty and inauthentic. Pretty sure it was a powdered mix or something and it had the wrong kind of seaweed in it; tasted like thick lettuce.

Garlic Thai miso soup

I got a glass noodle salad called Yum Woon Sen that had minced chicken and grilled shrimp all in a spicy lime-flavored sauce.

Unholy gates of hell! This was the single spiciest thing I’ve ever put in my mouth! Jeff asked for his curry to be Thai hot, and my dish was listed as mild on the menu. I think they got switched because I was sweating and breathing hard and my lips were huge and painfully red.

Napalm salad of doom

Jeff’s panang curry, on the other hand, was sweet and delicious. It had some heat to it but not nearly as much as my little salad did!

Panang curry at Garlic

Still love Garlic Thai though. I can’t wait until it’s warm out again so we can drink fruity cocktails on their nice patio.

Tonight we got out again for sushi at Sushi Avenue. It’s not the best sushi place ever but it’s only a mile from our apartment so I can’t complain.

I had an Asahi Black beer which I love. It’s so roasty and malty, tastes a bit like toasted buckwheat or roasted barley. We both got seaweed salads to munch on. I was telling Jeff how much I like the sound it makes in your head when you crunch on the seaweed! Yeah, he thought that was weird.

Asahi Black and seaweed salad

Of course we ordered takoyaki, and it was just as awesome this time as it always is.

Gooey takoyaki plate

For sushi we got 2 inari, a crunchy eel roll, a spicy tuna roll, and a scorpion roll. Sushi Avenue is bad about cutting their pieces too large and packing too much rice around the rolls. It all tastes great though.

Sushi plate at Sushi Avenue

And here’s something I made at home earlier this week…

Miso salmon with bok choy and shiitakes

Miso-glazed salmon with stir-fried bok choy and shiitake mushrooms. It was so, so, so good! I love this dish, it takes so little effort to prepare.

Well, the weather is supposed to perk up a bit for this weekend, so maybe we can get out a bit and not feel so cramped up in the house.

I’m excited that I’ll get to attend an Atlanta blogger meet-up at 5 Seasons this Saturday!

What are your weekend plans?