I love it when old things become popular again (that’s also why I’m a hoarder, but that’s for another day..). In Tokyo, granola is hot hot hot! I’ve taken to making granola at home to avoid the exorbitant prices and so I can make it juuust right. Maybe it’s because of the Costco-sized Quaker Oats man staring at me from my dining table, but I’ve been searching high and low for rolled oats recipes. That’s when I came across this cute Oatmeal Bar in NY – Oatmeals! What an adorable, throwback idea!
Lately, I’ve been searching for new breakfast recipes to change up our morning routine. Mornings are always difficult because I wake up with a head filled with to-do lists and hope-to-do lists, and there’s nothing I love more than getting some of those checked off asap. So when it comes to breakfast, I usually just whip up something easy peasy within 10 minutes tops to satiate our stomachs until
brunch lunch rolls around. My husband works from home more these days, and those quick meals just weren’t cutting it anymore since we have more time to sit down together and enjoy a nice breakfast. So off I went in search for recipes!
It’s amazing how many unappetizing-looking breakfasts there are out there – especially if you search for healthy ones. No judgement here since it’s great to have breakfast at all, and I definitely understand the need for beauty sleep and health. But when my search efforts ended in oatmeal, buckwheat, muesli mixed mush and tons of shakes and blends, I just couldn’t handle it. The thought of those liquidized and mushy foods make me think of hospitals. I found so many of those ‘healthy’ foods that I jumped at the first sweet and sugary recipe I came across – french toast.
French toast is an oldie, but I thought I’d change it up using English muffins. To make it a bit healthier, I lightened the sugar and fat content a bit and topped it with tons of Japanese strawberries! Because fruit makes everything healthier, right? Plus, the color looks fabulous and the sourness of the strawberries balances well with the sweetness of the syrup.
This would make a great Valentine’s Day breakfast for your loved one. If you can’t find strawberries, feel free to substitute it with any fruit you can find. Berries, nectarines, and peaches would work beautifully too, and you can also mix and match!
Strawberry-Filled English Muffin French Toast
Prep 10 minutes – Cooking Time 15 minutes
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp sugar
Dash of vanilla
2 English Muffins
1 cup strawberries, diced
Powdered sugar, Whipped Cream, and Maple Syrup (for serving)
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Whisk egg, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Cut or separate each of the English muffins. Submerge the muffin halves in the mixture, ensuring both sides are saturated. Drain slightly before transferring it to a clean plate. Repeat for all 4 halves.
2. Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Place the 2 muffin halves onto the pan at a time for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Flip and repeat.
3. Place the muffins on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place it into the oven for about 5 minutes, or until they’re no longer wet.
4. Transfer the muffins to 2 plates, top generously with strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream, and a dusting of powdered sugar. Serve with maple syrup.
Going through all of my Florida photos, I surprisingly have few food photos and tons of outdoor pics. It’s usually the complete opposite! Winter is off season in Panama City so it was quiet and laid back. Restaurants opened at a slow pace and locals ran free. It was a great way to spot the really good restaurants (lots of locals) and the tourist traps (empty).
Even though I don’t have many photos, I still have to recommend my favorite spots that stay open in the winter months: Dee’s Hangout (fried catfish, gumbo, crawfish etouffee), J Michael’s Dockside Bar & Grill (fried oysters), David’s New Orleans Style Sno-Balls (beignets and coffee – just like the ones at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans).
P.S. The next international foodie pen pal exchange is coming up in February! Contact me at email@example.com by Jan 30th if you’d like to join us!
Ok I might be stretching it a bit calling Tamago Kake Gohan Japan’s national dish, but it’s definitely a classic that has endured the test of time, and it’s the most prevalent dish across the country. Tamago Kake Gohan is basically a raw egg mixed with soy sauce, served over steaming hot, fresh white rice. It’s often eaten for breakfast (as in asa teishoku), but you’ll see raw egg served over rice at gyudon restaurants all day. Japanese eggs are extremely fresh, and there’s little hesitation about eating them raw here.
There’s many variations on this dish. Some people add dashi, green onions, and other Japanese toppings. You can beat the egg with the toppings and add it to the rice, or you can add the egg unbeaten. You can serve the egg mixture sitting on top of rice, but others swear by pouring the rice into a little well dug into the middle of the rice. The latter is supposed to maximize the contact of the egg to the hot rice, allowing the egg to cook a bit.
Personally, I like my tamago kake gohan simple with just a teaspoon of soy sauce to really highlight the quality of the egg and the rice. The secret is to make sure that the rice is piping hot right out of the cooker. Have you ever tried tamago kake gohan? Or do you eat dishes with raw eggs?
The sun rises early here in Japan, but last Saturday, we woke up before the sun rose – 3:45am! We loaded our car with surf gear and headed to Shonan. The streets of Roppongi were still busy with club goers and bar hoppers still in the middle of their drunken nights (clubs close around 5:30am in Tokyo – just in time for the first train). A big typhoon hit Okinawa this past weekend, which brought a nice swell to Shonan and Chiba. In July and August, Shonan has rules restricting surfers from 8am-5pm, which is the reason for our early call time. Like many beaches in Tokyo last weekend, the time restriction and the expectation for nice waves made for extremely busy ocean.
After a morning of surfing great waves, we headed to breakfast at GARB. This restaurant occupies the 3 floors of a beachfront building on top of Eggs N Things. Eggs N Things does amazingly well in Japan, and there’s always a huge line of patrons willing to wait 1-2 hours for brunch. We passed by this line and went immediately upstairs to GARB’s patio, which had a great view of Enoshima and the ocean. I love the decor – it’s very airy, modern, and bright. It reminded me of the beach-front cafes in LA. Like most places in Japan, the service was spot on and the restaurant was spotless.
For breakfast, they have a small menu that includes classics with a twist. My friend ordered a breakfast plate that included a boiled egg fried in panko! It was such an interesting Japanese fusion twist on classic fried eggs. The hubby ordered waffled topped with ice cream and mixed nuts while I got a classic breakfast dish with an omelet topped with tomato sauce. All of the food was reasonable for the location, atmosphere, and quality.
I loved the woven patio chairs – they were so chic that I wanted to bring them home! The interior of the restaurant didn’t disappoint either with modern furniture that was mixed and matched so effortlessly with the uniting elements of wood all around the restaurant. Their upper levels have an open patio as well with picnic tables where they offer food that you can grill up yourself. I can’t wait to go back – it should be especially pretty during sunset!
RESTAURANT GARB [レストラン ガーブ] 江ノ島
This past weekend was a long one – we had Monday off for Marine Day! So we went surfing early in the morning (I mean really early. TOO early.). We planned to visit a new branch of Eggs N Things in Shonan, but there was a line a block down the street even before the restaurant opened at 9am. So instead, we went to Koya, which serves traditional teishoku in a homey, beachfront location with a nice covered patio.
I love all of the wood blended with the traditional Japanese details normally found at teishoku restaurants. The wooden tables and benches were fabulous and included little additions to make them more useful – like the basket to place your purse and some copper pipes under the table to hold the menus.
Even their menu was a “clipboard” made from a slab of wood and held together with string and a chopstick. How cute is that!
Many restaurants in Japan serve teishoku (pronounced: tay-show-koo), which is a set meal that usually includes rice, miso soup, a main, and some pickles or small sides to eat with your rice. Since it was still around 9am, they were serving asa (pronounced: ah-sah; meaning: morning) teishoku. A traditional Japanese breakfast usually includes the above with some type of salted or marinated grilled fish. That’s what I got! Although I snagged some karaage (pronounced: ka-ra-ah-gay; meaning: fried chicken) that was pretty tasty :)
Japanese people mix a raw egg with soy sauce and add it to their hot rice for breakfast. I was a bit adverse to this in the beginning, but it’s yummy! Japan’s eggs are amazingly tasty, fresh, and beautiful (yes I said beautiful!) so it’s ok. I wouldn’t try this in the States though!
Koya Enoshima 江ノ島小屋
Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken 251-0024
I rarely eat fast food, but Chick-fil-A is one that I truly miss. Even when I lived in LA, there wasn’t a location close to where I lived so this is one of my guilty pleasures only when I visit the south. Some of my favorites on their menu are:
Waffle Fries (source)