Thursday, January 20, 2011

Manna: Korean Restaurant



If you have a craving for some great Korean cuisine look no further than Manna Korean Restaurant located right outside the main gate across from LaLaLa Karaoke and Tubes.

I have been to Manna three times and have enjoyed it each time. Though the restaurant itself is small and simple it has been my experience that these are sometimes the best places to eat.


Manna offers a variety of Korean food including bilgogi, bibimbap, dolsot-bibimbap (rice and vegetables in a hot stone pot), various stews and soups. You will also get a small appetizer, usually kimchi. Today we were offered corn tea. The owner is really friendly and speaks Korean, Japanese and a little English.


What Manna lacks in looks it really makes up for in taste and quality of the food. And isn’t that what its all about? It seems like the previous restaurants that used this space failed quickly. Let’s not let this happen to Manna! I recommend it!

Tony Roma’s



If you are an American living in Misawa chances are you have heard that there is a Tony Roma’s restaurant in Aomori. ITT even offers a tour where you will stop and have lunch at Tony Roma’s. Now, I have never been to nor heard of Tony Roma’s while I was living in the states but everyone here really raves about it.

What I was really surprised about is that it is inside a hotel! (I believe it was called Richmond hotel). I was really just imagining it as a free standing restaurant. Anyway, the other restaurants surrounding Tony Roma’s looked great too!


The atmosphere was definitely not what I was expecting. I thought it looked pretty swanky with its low lighting, dark furniture and black and white photos from the original Tony Roma’s.

Now let me get to the important part, the food! I had the onion loaf and flame grilled strip with garlic green beans. I liked the onion loaf starter. My meal was pretty good too. The steak was 220g and really thin. I ordered it medium rare and it came well done, but that was the only problem. It came with some kind of soy sauce mixture which I really liked. The garlic green beans were great too. The meal also came with a tiny side of cole slaw. I really liked it and I usually don’t even touch cole slaw!


I also got to try the ribs and grilled swordfish. I wasn’t overly impressed with the ribs but the swordfish was nice and juicy. The side was garlic rice and it was delicious!


Here is the complete current menu from Tony Roma’s. I think if you are already in Aomori doing something else you should try it out. I thought it was  a little bit expensive, but I did enjoy my meal.



Saturday, January 15, 2011

American Sweets Event with Aomori Bank



Since I work at the Misawa International Center I was asked if I like to cook. I said yes and talked about my in-home business "Kawaii Keki". I was informed that the folks at Aomori Bank wanted to do an event which involved learning how to make American sweets. I agreed to do it.


After some planning I decided to do a class on baking cupcakes. I figured we would have enough time to make a batch of vanilla, a batch of chocolate and buttercream icing (all from scratch, of course!). Before we began, it was brought to my attention that the ovens were really small and the cupcake pans may not fit inside! Luckily, at least one fit! I then decided to scrap the chocolate cupcake idea and only make vanilla.



We had some technical difficulties with the oven. The timer refused to work, it didn’t stay hot and we had to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius. Finally, someone found the manual and all was well with the world. We made two batches using the same pan.



Despite my worries, the cupcakes came out splendidly and everyone had a great time decorating. Take a look!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cake House Shiroi Mori



Cake House Shiroi Mori (literally, white forest) is a cute café in Misawa that resembles a log cabin. There are seats in a closed off patio area for warmer months where you can enjoy some soft serve ice cream. When you walk in, you need to order your coffee, dessert, and/or food first before sitting down in either their café area (which has nice plump green sofas) or in the patio. I do not have their full menu of food, I have had their pizza before (Japanese style pizza… a little on the sweeter side). I think they offer sandwiches during the day as well.

168693_1790611567769_1314019772_2010782_6668437_n The first thing you will notice as soon as you walk in is the dessert case. cake slices are between 250 to over 300 yen. If you decide to order hot tea, please know that you will get an entire pot for about 460 yen, so you might as well split it!






If you would like to try Cake House Shiroi Mori you can get there by taking the POL gate go straight through the Nogawa intersection, past Netz Toyota. After Netz Toyota you will come to a stoplight, go straight. The road will split stay to the right. The Cake House will be 1 km down the hill. (Thanks Misawa Life!)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bikkuri Donki

Bikkuri Donkey (translated: Surprised Donkey) is a chain restaurant similar to Coco’s. If you like Western themed restaurants with nostalgic stuff on the walls, have a hankering for a ground beef plate and only want to listen to The Beatles while eating, this place is for you.
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Like I said, the food at Bikkuri Donki is similar to Coco’s. I think the price of the food is slightly better. I ended up getting spicy fried chicken and French fries. Many of my friends got desserts. (they looked delicious!)
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This particular Bikkuri Donki was in Hachinohe. I apologize for not having directions, I will update in the future.


New Year’s prayers at Kushikihi Haachimangu Shrine, Hachinohe, Aomori, Japan. January 1, 2011
Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu! Happy New Year! This year I asked one of my friends if she was going to go to the shrine on New Year’s Day and asked if we could also come. We got our group together (four Americans and five Japanese) and headed to Kushikihi Haachimangu Shrine in Hachinohe. I have already written about this shrine in one of my earlier posts, but this was such a different experience! We thought we could beat the traffic if we got there early, but we ended up making a short pilgramage to the shrine from where we parked the car. DSC06307 This picture was taken on the shrine grounds. There were many stands selling a variety of food and some toys. Very much like any other festival. I wasn’t expecting that, it was a welcomed surprise though.
DSC06326DSC06336 Getting closer to saying our prayers! How to pray at a Shinto shrine: throw money into the “bin” or whatever they call it. Ring the bell. Bow. Clap twice. Pray (which I did very quickly). Bow again.
After everyone said their prayers, we went and got our “fortunes” mine was good (third from the best). You can keep your fortune or tie it to the post like this: DSC06347
Next, everyone rushed over to buy good luck charms. Each one is very specific so I didn’t want to get one that didn’t apply to me. I asked my friends for help deciphering but I was shoved so many times I decided to give up on the charm. I know, Japanese people shoving? They do it! They are very serious about their charms! A lot of them are for students to get good grades and pass exams.


I had always wanted to go to a Shrine in Japan on New Year’s Day. This was a great experience and I was so happy to spend a traditional New Year’s with my friends!

Café シ ェモア

Café シ ェモア (Also called Chez Moi which means ‘My Home’ in English) is a sweet little spot in a heavily residential area . I don’t have a good picture of the outside of the café because it was very dark outside when we visited. chezmoimisawa1
Chez Moi has a small and cozy atmosphere and is very welcoming. They offer lunch plates, ice cream parfaits, coffee and tea. You can also reserve a party room.
chezmoimisawa2When you first walk in there is a wood stove with teapots on top of it. It makes the café seem really homey. chezmoioven The café is also children friendly, there is a corner sectioned off  with toys for children to play. (Please make sure they take off their shoes before going in).
We went for coffee and ice cream. The coffee is maple coffee and the ice cream pictured is matcha with a little bit of adzuki bean paste. I thought it was wonderful! they also had cornflakes at the bottom of the bowl. maplecoffeechezmoiaisucreamuchezmoi
Café  シ ェモア is located in Oirase Town toward Michinoku Toll Road exit from the POL gate. You will see the small signs right after the Jam Friend Club pachinko or right before the “Dynam” pachinko near Circle K. It is built in a quiet residential area, section H, behind a small wooded area.
If you would like to see more pictures of the café and items from their menu visit :
Cafe シェモア
OPEN: 9:00 till 19:00
(Last order by 18:30)