All posts by aeterna

Last meal in Dublin for the Parents

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OMG.. there are no words… one Michelin star restaurant.. with wine pairings… 

feast your eyes on the following menu…

Yum is all we can say for Chapter One…Homer! Don’t fill up on bread!!! But the onion brioche was soooo good! Oh and that Irish butter…

Pig tail – braised 18 hours, deboned, meat mixed with other meats i.e. bacon, rolled back into a sausage and topped with cooking sauce reduced from 30 liters to one…Lamb three ways. Loin, sweetbread and pressed shoulder. I was not a fan of the pressed shoulder encrusted with mint but the loin was perfectly cooked.

Dessert #1. Not on the menu. Banana ice cream with chocolate sponge cake and Earl Grey ice.

Dessert #2. 

Petite Four and coffee.

The look of pure joy…

Wagamama with Mama


Seven years later, we ate at Wagamama again.  It is just as tasty as I remembered. 


Mom, dad and I split three items: the cha hun, chicken ramen and yasai ramen.

Mom and I agreed that the best was the fried rice.  It is especially fragrant with the fresh spring onions.  Chicken ramen and veggie ramen were ok, both with the typical over cooked top ramen style noodles, just with different proteins.


Anthony ordered the pork ramen, also with over cooked noodles but with a miso broth and Korean style pork belly.

Although not like Los Angeles ramen great, it does a decent job in satisfying the salty craving that only ramen can quench.

Dinner and a Show

Landed in Dublin after 14 hours of traveling. We were so exhausted but can’t sleep yet or else we will take a few days to adjust to GMT.

So we wandered a bit while waiting for my parents to arrive as well – their flight from London was a few hours after ours.


About a mile from our hotel is an open air shopping street like Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. We walked by an old church converted to a restaurant -and recommended by Rick Steve’s Ireland book, and decided that is where we will have dinner.

We managed to snag four seats at the bar since we didn’t make a reservation. Mom got a pineapple juice and dad ordered a glass of Guinness.

I’ve never been a fan of Guinness so I stuck with one of my favs.. Erdinger Dunkel.

Anthony got the beer flight. You can read his reviews on Beer Untappd.


For food, parents got the seafood sampler and the special which was Thai green coconut curry… in a pub… calamari was super bland. Absolutely no flavor in the breading or the squid itself. It felt like eating a rubber band.

Anthony got the fillet sandwich and fries. Fries were great. I didn’t like the sandwich all that much, esp not the dipping sauce.


I went for the beef and Guinness stew. It could go either way as the other foods we ordered didn’t meet expectations but I was gladly surprised. Great beefy flavor.. tough meat. Needed to be braised longer. Puff pastry was nice and flakey. But overall good.


But what we absolutely did not expect were the couple of dancers touring with River Dance! They were aaaaamazing!!!!

WordPress wouldn’t let me upload the video and I don’t have time to figure it out so you can see it here.

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Raaaaaamen!!!!!

So, the origin of ramen has always been unclear… Is it Chinese? Or Japanese? I don’t think we will ever know… 

 But seeing that ramen is one of my go to foods in the states and it’s usually dirt cheap, we decided to go to Kyoto Gogyo for dinner – a well recommended place by the Nishiki Market.  (Side note: Nishiki Market is celebrating their 400 year anniversary!!) We arrived about half hour after the restaurant opened for the night as I read that the later you go the longer you wait. And it’s definitely a plus that it’s walking distance from our hotel.   

The restaurant is pretty modern – clean lines with a semi-live edge bar next to the open kitchen. But apparently its location comes with an interesting history.   

 Gogyo sits in what was once the former home of a Gion geisha named O-Yuki. She met George Morgan, the nephew of JP Morgan. He was so captivated by O-Yuki that he proposed to her multiple times over two years and she said no every time.  Her heart belonged to someone else.  Jokingly, she told Morgan she would marry him if he gave her ¥400,000. He said done…. So O-Yuki kept her promise, gave the money to her love and left Kyoto to marry Morgan. After Morgan’s death, she returned to Kyoto and lived here in this house with her sister.

Anywho, why am I talking history when this blog is about food?! On to the orders!! 

 Staff didn’t speak English well so it was a point and nod place.  Somehow the big beer we each got added up to equal to drinking a pitcher between the two of us. 

 Apparent we were also required to get appetizers. It was some chicken dish with some vegetables on the side.  It was either this or “tomato with beans” which sounded disgusting.  I later found out the beans were edamame… But I’m not sure if I would have changed my choice even knowing what it was… 

 For the main event, Anthony ordered the tonkotsu char siu ramen.  It had thicker noodles with a rich garlicky pork based broth. But we think Jonathan Gold’s recommended Tsujita Annex in West LA is still better.

  I was a bit skeptical about the kogashi ramen – which they translated to “burnt”. But since that’s what they were known for, I had to try it.  I chose the miso version over the shoyu due to various comments that the shoyu was too burnt/salty/oily/etc.

So going back to the debate of origin of ramen, I think this particular kogashi miso ramen tasted as if Korean BBQ had joined the party.   

 The miso broth is so flavorful, super dark/almost black and infused with the smell and taste of Korean BBQ. And to get that smoky umami flavor, for each bowl of charred (closer than burnt) ramen, a couple of ladlefuls of lard and broth are heated up in a wok and then ignited, filling the kitchen with a giant flash of fire and then smoke permeated the air, hair and clothes, just like KBBQ.  Clarification: only the broth is smoked, the noodles, egg and meat are cooked like normal ramen. 

Would we come back if we could? Yes. Are we? Probably not. But if you are in central Kyoto (or apparently Tokyo) area and craving cheap good ramen (880¥), this is your place.

Treated like a Shogun

We made our way to Hakone today and it totally did not disappoint!! This town was recommended both by our great friends Lisa and Guild and our travel guides. 

 I really wanted to stay at a ryokan – a traditional building with rice paper doors, tatami mats, and people in kimonos – and visit an onsen. So we splurged on this hotel and are staying at the Yumoto Kansuiro, a registered prized cultural property of Japan!  Our room has a dining room, a sitting room, bedroom, private bath and a private outdoor hot spring!!!        

Kansuiro ryokan is also well known and visited by many celebrities.  Well boy do we feel like celebrities with the seasonal private kaiseki dinner they served us in our room.

The feast looks something like this… 

Every course was beautifully presented… And they paid attention to our food allergies and dislikes. 

The raw courses:sashimi    We weren’t quite sure that was in the blue cup but it was a delicious broth with twig/flower combo in some sort of jelly.  (If anyone knows what it is, let me know!) There’s also squid and ginger stalk garnished with Japanese maple leaf.

  Marinated octopus, shredded daikon, and mystery green jelly cube.For some reason, Anthony got eel and I didn’t. I got the blue jelly soup.

Soup: They knew that Anthony doesn’t like cooked fish so they brought him a different soup than me. Mine had steamed white fish above a block of white fish paste and edamame with clear seaweed(?) and cucumber.  Anthony was shiitake above a block of mochi like square.      

Next course: I got mackerel on braised daikon with a side of shishito peppers.  Mackerel blah but everything else was perfect. This is another dish that they replaced Anthony’s because of the cooked fish but I guess smoked crab legs aren’t technically fish so that’s what he got.    

OMG!! THIS WAS THE BEST!!! Grilled steak with sautéed wasabi leaves with a side of cabbage.  The beef was exceptional quality… Anthony said it was probably Kobe but since our server didn’t speak English that well, we aren’t 100% positive.  But all I know is… GIVE ME MORE!!!!!  

The next is braised fuzzy melon with amaebi and snow peas in a pork broth.
Then tempura!  It is not the typical mix batter tempura.  This is a rice ball with a filling crusted in puffed rice. We were instructed to mix the orange spice paste in the sauce, squeeze lime over the tempura and enjoy.    

Since I am allergic to eggplant, I got the shiitake instead.
I swear… We are almost done.  Three dinner courses left: the soup, the pickles, and rice (not shown), and then on to…    

Dessert!! Amazing tree ripened white peaches, juiciest kiwis and a sweetened gelatin!    

We highly recommend anyone who visits Hakone to give this wonderful ryokan, onsen, and their dinner (and breakfast… More on that tomorrow) a try!