Vegetarian Meals in Tokyo | The Highlights

by Lisa on Wednesday: Sep 14, 2016

It can be tough to be a vegetarian while visiting Japan. The cuisine there is known to be chock full of meat and fish, and in general the vegetarian lifestyle is not widely recognized. I’ve written about my experiences specifically at the Tokyo Disney Resort where there is 1 restaurant in each of the parks with exactly 1 dish that is vegetarian.

The rest of Japan is even harder to navigate when it comes to food. However, despite this, I was able to have quite a few meals this time around that were pretty delicious and all vegetarian. Here are some of my vegetarian meal highlights:

Lunch at the AKB48 Cafe
The AKB48 cafe is a must visit for fans of the J-Pop group AKB48. For those not in the know, AKB48 is a wildly popular group in Japan consisting of 48 girls. The cafe is something akin to dining in a movie theater as the group’s live performances and music videos play on the big screen while you eat.

AKB48 Cafe

Aside from the fun ambiance, I was able to find an equally fun vegetarian dish to try out (after a quick check with the waitress to make sure it didn’t contain any meat or fish).

AKB48 Cafe - Spicy Pasta

As the drawing on the mozzarella indicates, this pasta was SPICY! In fact, it was the most spicy thing I had eaten in recent memory and that’s saying a lot for me. The sauce was delicious and the cheese was a nice touch. As a pasta lover, I was happy to find something like this to eat for lunch.

Breakfast Buffets

During our stay in Tokyo, we had the opportunity to dine at two separate breakfast buffets. The first was located at the Keio Plaza Hotel where we were staying and took place at Jurin All Day Dining. The restaurant was upscale and the all you can eat breakfast buffet was much nicer than your typical American buffet experience.

One of the stars of the buffet was the scrambled eggs. I don’t know what it is about the scrambled eggs in Japan, but they are extremely creamy and have a much more orange color to them than American eggs. At this buffet, they were served alongside ratatouille (delicious!). I also was able to get a side salad, potatoes and much more.

Jurin All Day Dining - Breakfast Buffet

Of course, if you’re not a vegetarian, there are plenty of unique options – like this squid and shrimp marinade. D was a fan!

Jurin All Day Dining - D's Squid and Shrimp Dish

The second buffet was at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel where we spent one night while exploring the Tokyo Disney Resort. This breakfast buffet was even more varied and fancy than the first with many dessert options offered as well. I also partook in a danish and a serving of mango pudding, which were very nice to round out the meal.

Rice Omelettes
Rice omelettes are always a dish I’m relieved to see on a menu whenever we’re visiting cafes. This trip I had two such occasions: one at Eorza Cafe (a Final Fantasy XIV themed cafe) and the second at Maidreamin (a maid cafe). Of course, when visiting Maidreamin, the waitresses draw cute pictures on your omelette with ketchup:

Maidreamin Rice Omelette

But the one at Eorza Cafe was more standard:

Eorza Cafe Rice Omelette

Either way, this is a tasty dish and is at least somewhat Japanese.

Duo Fourchettes
Another great find was Duo Fourchettes which was billed as a French/Italian restaurant, though I found that most of the items were decidedly Italian. This was one of my favorite meals from the trip, and yes it is another pasta dish. It was filling and tasty.

Duo Fourchettes Pasta

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It may seem like my highlights here are ignoring the traditional Japanese cuisine, and it is true that most of the meals I ate were not Japanese. This is because it’s very difficult to find any foods in that category (it is difficult while in Japan – vegetarian Japanese food in America is not that rare) that do not contain meat, fish or some kind of meat or fish stock. As this is my third trip to the country, I’ve learned to stick with what I know I can eat and on the rare occasion I do find a Japanese option with no meat, I will give it a try.

D, on the other hand, ate up a very wide variety of Japanese foods including ramen, sushi, curry, takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings) and various types of fish.

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Coming soon… Stay tuned for my vegetarian meal FAILS while in the country! That’s a fun post 🙂

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Have you ever traveled to Japan?

What countries are on your wish list to visit?

Thinking Out Loud | New York City Edition

by Lisa on Thursday: Sep 08, 2016

This past weekend my husband and I headed down to New York City for the long weekend. We had a great time and I’m going to do the recap Thinking Out Loud style.

Thinking Out Loud

  1. The main reason for this trip was to see the Perfume concert. Perfume is a J-Pop group that we’ve both been fans of for several years. They specialize in electronic-style pop and add in a lot of cool technology to their shows. The show was amazing and well worth the trip. I don’t know how they’re able to dance in those high heels for two hours straight!
    Perfume Pic from Gallery
  2. Perfume was playing at the Hammerstein Ballroom on 34th street, and this was the second time we’ve seen them perform there.
  3. When we went to their concert last time, we stayed at a hotel that was literally next door to the concert venue. Because of the extreme convenience, we decided to stay there again. The hotel is the Wyndham New Yorker, which unfortunately isn’t my favorite. The rooms are very tiny and they don’t really have many amenties, not to mention the age of the hotel makes it feel a bit rustic. I’ve found that it’s quite difficult to find a nice hotel room in the city in general, so we take what we can get.
  4. The first night we were there we had a nice Italian dinner at Casa Nonna which was a few blocks from where we were staying. I found it randomly while searching nearby restaurants on Google maps. I had a spaghetti dish with marinara sauce, tomatoes, basil and garlic. Delicious!
    Casa Nonna - Vegetarian Dish
  5. On day 2 of the trip, we had reserved tickets to see a small gallery exhibit that was featuring Perfume for the weekend. The gallery was displaying all sorts of fashion featured in Perfume’s music videos and concerts as well as some of the technology they use as well. It was a nice complement to the show.
    Perfume Gallery Dresses
  6. Threats of Hurricane Hermine followed us the whole weekend. On the drive down, it seemed like we were heading directly into the path of the storm, and every few hours a news alert would be issued on my phone from Weatherbug. However, we didn’t see a drop of rain the entire weekend. Definitely a false alarm.
  7. On the second day, we decided to just go wandering a little further uptown, so we meandered through the streets of Times Square and slightly north of the area. I’m not sure what was going on there, but it seemed to be some kind of Brazilian festival. There was some awesome live music being played and tons of food tents and vendors selling hand made goods. It went on for blocks and blocks. It was cool to stumble on something like that!
    NYC Times Square Brazilian Festival
  8. In the evening after we finished our exploring and dining, we settled into the room with some wine and watched random movies on TV. This trip, we happened to catch the two most recent Muppets movies. They were surprisingly funny!
  9. Another very New York thing we ended up doing: eating $1 pizza slices on the side of the street! We had walked by this pizza shop earlier in the trip, and the food just smelled amazing. It was kind of fun to just stand up at one of the outdoor tables and watch people walk by as we ate. New York pizza is the best.
  10. The drive to New York generally takes us about 4.5 hours, which used to seem like a long drive, but now goes by pretty fast. Thankfully D is okay with doing the city driving when we arrive (we usually drive to our hotel and then keep the car in a lot until we’re ready to go back home). I’m a fairly nervous driver as it is and I can’t imagine navigating the streets of NYC in a car myself!

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Have you ever been to NYC? What’s your favorite thing to do there?

What destinations are within driving distance of where you live?

Currently | September 2016

by Lisa on Wednesday: Sep 07, 2016

Today I’m linking up with The Beth Next Door and Anne in Residence for the September Currently link up.

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Reading… This month, I’m still finishing up one of the books I picked up at the airport on the way to Japan: “Killing Monica” by Candace Bushnell. I’ve just been reading a few pages here and there before bed, but it’s a light, fun read and as you would expect, is reminiscent of Sex and the City.

Outside of books, I’m also reading blogs like a crazy person as always.

Trying… to get back into a workout routine. I’ve been having trouble getting back into the swing of things since the wedding, and it’s high time I start making some changes. D and I both signed up for gym memberships recently, and I’m hoping I can kick start my motivation again.

Hoping… for an easy winter. Last winter was actually great because we only had a few significant snowstorms, and it wasn’t terribly cold. Hoping for the same this year!

Decorating… for fall! I’ve never been very into doing much to decorate the house for holidays or seasons, but this year I feel like it’s going to be fun for a change. We took a quick trip to NYC this past weekend and while in the Macy’s on 34th, we found this cute Halloween pop-up shop inside. It was filled with Halloween and fall decorations, and we picked up a few things for the house.

Macy's Herald Square Halloween

Macy's Herald Square Halloween

To-do Listing… I am always to-do listing! Currently, I’m focusing on doing some fall cleaning and organizing around the house, so that is what is occupying much of my home to do list.

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What are you currently to-do listing?

Any book recommendations?

Play! by Sephora August Review | Subscription Box

by Lisa on Monday: Aug 29, 2016

As you know if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, I really love subscription boxes. I’ve been subscribed to the Play! by Sephora box since they launched, and for the low price of $10, it really can’t be beat.

Sephora Play August Box

This post is not sponsored and I pay for this subscription with my own money. It’s just fun to share!

Sephora Play August Box - Wink Outside The Box

For the past few months, Sephora has been sending all the products in the box inside these cute little bags with makeup sayings on them. It’s a fun touch, though I never know what to do with these bags after I open the box. Keep them? Reuse them somehow? Maybe I’ll use them to hold stocking stuffers during Christmas.

Sephora Play August Box - Contents

This month’s box was a hit with me because I was able to use and enjoy every single product. There were no duds and no products that didn’t work on my skin tone. (This is a rare event!)

Sephora Play August Box - Eyeliner and Mascara

First up was the Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil in the shade “Flirting Game”. I used this as an eyeliner, though apparently you can use this as a smoky eyeshadow base (work fast when blending though – once it dries, it’s on there good). I was very impressed with it as an eyeliner and am always happy to have an eyeliner that won’t budge on me.

I had never before tried the Urban Decay Perversion Mascara, but it’s one I’d heard a lot about on Youtube. After trying it out for the first time, I have to say I’m a fan. It made my lashes look long and volumized. I liked it so much, I might rotate this sample into my mascara routine now rather than waiting until I run out of my current one.

Sephora Play August Box - Caudalie and Eyeshadow

The next item was the Caudalie Resveratrol Eye Lifting Balm. Because I have such troubled undereyes, I love trying out new eye balms/serums in subscription boxes. I’ve tried it a few times thus far and will keep at it to see if I notice any slight reduction of my dark circles.

I’m always excited to see a shimmery eyeshadow sample in boxes like this one, and the Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in the shade I-544 was no exception. This shade looked as pretty on the eye as it does in the pan.

Sephora Play August Box - Lancome and Perfume

The Lancome Energie de Vie Smoothing & Glowing Liquid Care Moisturizer is a very thin liquid, but it did do a good job of moisturizing my face. I used it right before putting on makeup and thanks to the fact that it absorbs into the skin quickly, it seems the perfect time to use it. I’m not sure if it made a huge difference in the appearance of my skin, but I will keep using it.

The last item in the box was the Clean Reserve Blonde Rose perfume sample. I’m very picky about my fragrances, especially because I work in an office and don’t like to wear anything very heavy that will overwhelm my coworkers. But this one was very fresh smelling and best of all – subtle. I’ve been wearing it regularly.

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Stay tuned later this week for a post about some of my vegetarian meal highlights from Tokyo!

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What was your last Sephora purchase?

Thinking out Loud Thursday

by Lisa on Thursday: Aug 25, 2016

Today I’m linking up with Running With Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Thinking Out Loud

  1. I’m writing this post at 5 in the morning, and I’ve already been awake for two hours! Yeah, not so good. I’ve been having a ton of trouble getting a full night of sleep lately and have taken to waking up between 2-4 AM and not being able to go back to sleep. Not very fun.
  2. On the flip side, at least I’m being productive during the extra hours I suddenly have during the day.
  3. Before starting on this post, I spent some time with my planner, looking ahead into the first few weeks in September. There’s just something so calming about working on my planner. Anyone else feel that way?
  4. I’m looking forward to the weekend because my birthday is on Sunday! D and I will be heading to my family’s house on Saturday to celebrate and then will be going out to eat on the day of. My birthday completely snuck up on me this year what with all the excitement from the wedding/honeymoon.
  5. Whenever we go out for dinner on my birthday, I inevitably end up picking a Mexican restaurant as my choice. Mexican food is my absolute favorite, and unfortunately it seems so difficult to be able to find a good one in the area where I live.
  6. For the first time in many years, I’m actually looking forward to the fall season. Generally, fall is a depressing season for me because I know that it means winter is around the corner, and where I live, winter is fairly bad. But this year, there is a lot less life stress in general, and I find myself actually looking forward to the subtleties of the season.
  7. In the meantime, I’m still enjoying the last remnants of summer. The weather hasn’t cooled off yet, which is fine with me, and I’ve been getting out and doing a lot of walking during the work week.
  8. Which is great because I recently joined a Step Bet. I’m in the last two weeks of the six week bet right now and I’m still hanging in there! I thought it would be a lot easier than it is, but the step goals they give you really keep you on your toes. I’ve been averaging 75,000 – 80,000 steps per week since I started.

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Are you looking forward to fall or dreading winter?

Do you have good Mexican restaurants where you live?