Restaurant #14: Brasserie Avion, Sapporo

Appetizer (Plate: Hana Sarasa, Noritake)

Today was a great day. My friend called me to have lunch together. This restaurant, Brasserie Avion, was the one that she tried to take me a few months ago, but unfortunately, the restaurant was booked for a private party on that day. So finally, I could visit there with my friend. She recommended me because she loved their lunch course. Okay let’s try!

The restaurant is located in near Hokkaido University, so it is easy to access. You may take a walk on campus after you eat delicious lunch. The restaurant was pretty quiet. The décor was organized and beautifully decorated! It was interesting that the chef sometimes draw cute pictures on the wall. I saw some recipe books on the shelf and some ingredients. There are one chief and a waitress. Waitress was friendly, and each time she served foods, she explained about the dishes. If you want to go, it is better to make a reservation.

They provide three lunch courses; 1700, 1800 and 2000 yen. Each have slightly different, and also their main dishes are also different. I ordered 1700 yen course, and my friend ordered 1800 yen. The difference was that my order came with the pasta, instead of today’s special soup which came with my friend’s order.

Hot Lemon

They served a hot lemon for to serve my tea at the end with the dessert. This hot lemon was actually home made my friend. I asked them, and it was not sweet that much when it was hot. After 5 min, sweetness became stronger.


All the dishes came with beautiful Noritake plates. One was with a new design called Hana Sarasa, my recent favorite from Noritake. Appetizers looked gorgeous with beautiful layout. Five pieces of appetizers on a plate: spinach Spanish omelet (ほうれん草のスパニッシュ・オムレツ), beet bavarois with Italian herb (ビーツのババロア、イタリアン・ハーブ添え), lotus root pizza (レンコンのピッザ風), “Awakening of Inca” potato gratin style (インカの目覚めグラタン風), and their homemade smoked salmon (自家製スモークサーモン). All items tasted fantastic. I especially liked “Awakening of Incas” gratin style. “Awakening of Incas” is a new brand for potatoes, produced in Hokkaido. The color is yellowish and sweet. Gratin is my favorite dish so far in my life, and this one was pretty tasty as I expected. Smoked salmon was also delicious.

Potage of Purple Broccoli

After the delicious appetizers, my friend’s special soup and my pasta were served. The special soup of the day was “purple broccoli’s potage” (紫ブロッコリのスープ). I just tasted one spoon, but right after I put the spoon in my mouth, the smell of the broccoli spread. The soup was, of course, tasty, but more I enjoyed the joy of vegetable!

Tomato Spaghetti with Shrimp and Seasonable Vegetable

Tomato Spaghetti with Shrimp and Seasonable Vegetable (エビと季節野菜のパスタ) was pretty tasty, but I felt that it was a little bit less shrimps. They only used two shrimps and one was cut in half. It could be possible that the chef somehow used a seafood broth, but I wanted to see a bit more shrimps. The chef used fresh Komatsuna. Vegetable magic—wonderful.

Homemade Bread

Before they served the main dishes, homemade bread just was finished baked. It was cute, small bread, and it just came out from the oven. Hot, hot, hot! Extra virgin oil was crystal clear, and my friend even drank it all! It is healthy. We quickly finished eating all, so the waitress gave us another one.

Roasted Pork

Main dishes were finally served. My friend’s dish was roasted pork, with some slices of a turnip and fresh tomatoes with pure virgin oil dressing. Pork was nicely salted, and the pepper was just grinded. It looked, though, a bit small for my friend’s lunch course. It would be nice that if it came with more vegetable or extra bread.

Roasted Chicken

My dish was roasted chicken with green beans and mushroom. The chicken was cooked perfectly. Interestingly, the green beans were a bit hard, which gave me a hit of vegetable magic again. I felt the chicken was a little bit salty, but the portion was appropriate, so it should be no problem for other people.

Dessert Plate

Three desserts on the plate: fig, persimmon sorbet and Miso pudding. I was surprised when I heard Miso pudding. It was sweet but basically tasted miso. Among those three items I definitely loved Miso pudding.

Overall, I liked their delicious food as well as their pretty décor. The chef was welcomed us personally, even though he was busy for cooking. The waitress was well trained and friendly. In addition, they saved the best seats for us! Great hospitality.

Total: 3500 yen (for 2 people, including tax and tip)

Brasserie Avion, Itarian French
2F, Kensetsu Consal Bldg
5-1, Kita 13-jo Nishi 4-chome Kita-ku


Dessert #01: The Fruitscake Factory

I sometimes mentioned in my blog that I barely eat desserts. It is because I prefer salty stuff than sweet. I rather eat potato chips or senbei (Japanese crackers) than a slice of strawberry shortcake. I guess I do not like whipped cream… But now, I found some delicious patisserie; it is from “The Fruitscake Factory,” located in Daimaru department store. (Yeah I thought it was Cheesecake Factory at first.) They make tasty dolce, using fresh, sweet fruits from Hokkaido farms; it is organic and natural.

Kouhi and blueberry tart

Although the price is a bit expensive, it is worth to try. I am happy to eat those because all the fruits are organic and are from Hokkaido. Their signature item is a strawberry tart, but it was sold out when we went there. So we bought two slices of “pear and strawberry tart” (洋梨と苺のタルト) and a slice of “Kouhi and blueberry tart” (紅姫とブルーベリーのタルト). Kouhi (紅姫) is a new kind of kiwifruits—red flesh. It is rare, and is sweeter than a regular green flesh kiwifruit.

pear and strawberry tart

Both tarts tasted great, and it looked beautiful. I tried their tarts several times, and so far my favorite is pear and strawberry tart. Their pear is so fresh and juicy. They use some whipped cream, but it is not that much, so I can still eat it or take it on the side and eat some fruits and custard cream.

It is unfortunate that my photo skills are not good enough to show you how delicious these tarts are, but hopefully you’ll have a chance to try those soon. Their café just opened in this month, so I note the café’s address below.

The Fruitscake Factory
Minami 1-chome Nishi 4-chome, Chuo-ku


Restaurant #13: Ajisai, Sapporo

There is a place called “Ramen Kyowakoku” (ラーメン共和国), the 10th floor of the ESTA building, in front of Sapporo JR station. As a ramen lover, I frequently come here and try different ramen. You’ll find eight ramen shops from around Hokkaido and a gift shop in this ramen park. Shops are in and out every 6 months or a year, so visitors can always enjoy different shops. Don’t forget to stop by at the gift shop to find some ramen goodies. It would be fun to take a look at this park, because the décor is quite fascinating that they reproduced the old style Japanese small town.

It has been five years since this park was opened. In October, some new shops were opened; one of shops is called "Ajisai" (あじさい), from the city of Hakodate. Hakodate ramen is famous for shio taste broth. I tried another Hakodate ramen a few months ago, in Ramen Kyowakoku, and I liked it. So I was excited to try Ajisai’s Shio Ramen.

Ajisai’s menu was various; even though Shio is the most popular item of them, I found them trying to invent new items, such as curry ramen or ikasumi (イカ墨: squid ink) soup! I was really interested in ikasumi soup, but since it was my first time here, and I didn’t want to be adventurous, so I chose a simpler item. We ordered Ajisai Shio Ramen (750 yen), Seabura Ramen with Shoyu (850 yen), and Menma Ramen with Shio (850 yen).

Ajisai Shio Ramen (味彩塩拉麺)

I believe this is their signature menu. Simple is the best! I heard that their soup is crystal clear, and now I know it was true. The broth is made of pork and chicken based, added vegetable and seaweeds (昆布). All the extract essence from those is for a dignified taste. If you prefer heavy taste, then you might feel that something is missing. It might be the reason why there are many ingredients over the straightened noodle. Two thick slices of Chashu (roasted pork) were melted in my mouth and no need to chew. Negi (green onion) almost covered the clear soup. Because the soup’s taste is light, strong taste of negi gives more appetite.

Seabura Ramen, Shoyu (背脂拉麺: 醤油)

My choice. Seabura (背脂) is pork back fat, and it is popularly used in ramen. I usually don’t eat seabura that much, because it is too oily. This time, however, I know the soup taste lighter than my preference, so I tried this with Shoyu (soy sauce) taste. I actually chose the right one. Adding extra seabura pork lard, shoyu based soup had much richer taste and seaweed broth matched with shoyu. Amazing! Noodle was beautifully strengthen, and easily made me full. Tons of sliced negi and chashu (チャーシュー) covered over the tasty soup, and my favorite mizuna (水菜) gives a fresh taste. Lastly, a crispy fried wonton was laid under menma (メンマ: bamboo shoots).

Menma Ramen, Shio (メンマ拉麺: 塩)

Basically, it was Shio Ramen, with extra menma (bamboo shoots). However, the soup became much richer flavored because of extract essence from menma. If you like menma, go for it. My brother ordered this, and he loved it.

Overall, I enjoyed their taste. It really depends on your preference when you enjoy ramen. Soup, noodle and ingredients… The best way to find your own favorite is keep eating all kinds of ramen and know what you like the most.

Sooner, I need to go back to Ramen Kyowakoku, because “Nantsuttei” (なんつッ亭) from Kanagawa just opened! I just need a little more time to save some money…

Total: 2450 yen (for 3 people)

at Sapporo Ramen Kyowakoku
10F, Sapporo ESTA building
Kita 5-jo Nishi 2-chome, Chuo-ku
http://www.sapporo-esta.jp/ramen/ (Sapporo Ramen Kyowakoku)
http://www.ajisai.tv/index.php (Ajisai Official Web)


FastFood #01: Chicken Pot Pie @ KFC

I love junk food, even though I know it is not healthy. I just can’t stop eating those. When I was in the U.S., I usually went to In’n’Out, which is my favorite so far. Unfortunately, there is, I believe, no In’n’Out in Japan yet, and no Burger King in Sapporo, but we have some good fast food chains, such as Mos Burgers and Lotteria. Slowly, I will update some Japanese hamburger chains and their original menu.

Today, I went to KFC and stayed there reading some books for hours. It only takes a few minutes from my house to get there, and their place is always quiet. That is the reason why I frequently go there. I usually drink a cup of coffee or have lunch, but today I found a seasonable item on the menu—Chicken Pot Pie! It is available only in fall and winter seasons. Wow, I haven’t eaten this for a long time. So I bought this as a snack.

The item came in the box, which was fun to open it. A pie was in the box, of course. LoL By using the spoon and opened the pie’s cover to see what was inside. The creamy chicken soup said hello! The taste was a bit strong, but it was warm and pretty good. It is fun to try if you have never eaten this. The only problem is that it costs 350 yen. I think it is quiet expensive if I compared with the quantity. 280 to 300 yen would be an appropriate price, or the quantity should be increased more.

Anyways, I finally finished reading "Musicophilia" by Oliver Sacks. What should I read next?

Total: 300 yen (with a coupon. Original price, I believe, is 350 yen)

KFC: ケンタッキーフライドチキン


Sapporo Autumn Fest 2009: Part 3

Let’s move to 7-chome site. This site was for sake and Japanese-style small dishes, good with drinks. Beef and seafood BBQ smelled really good!

Curved Organic Sausage (巻き巻きソーセージ)

The picture was taken after we cut it in pieces, but it was really long. I have tried Chinese, German, Italian and American sausage before, but I like Japanese sausage the most. The reason is simple, I just got used to the taste. The outside of the sausage was crispy, and it was juicy inside. I can tell that it was very fresh.

Baked Scallops (ホタテ焼き) (300 yen)

Hot and delicious! Salty enough with the ocean taste, and melted butter gave an accent. This must be great with a glass of beer.

My uncle tried some Japanese sake. The fresh spring water in Hokkaido makes great Sake (酒) and Shochu (焼酎).

Beef Steak Don (ステーキ丼) (800 yen)

At second visit, I tried Beef Steak Don, my friend recommended me to try it out. It was surprisingly reasonable price; 800 yen! I wish I could’ve gone back and try this again. I still remember the delicious taste. The steak was thick, tender and juicy, and no need to put any sauce. It was already in perfect taste. Rice was too tender, but I was satisfied with their thick steak.

8-chome site eventually became my favorite. This site was the huge, lively food market, barbequing fresh seafood and meats from all area of Hokkaido. It is a place for seafood and local dishes lovers. At my first visit, I couldn’t eat anything because I was too full, but I tried some at my second visit.

Crab Miso Soup (毛がに汁) from Esashi (枝幸町)

There was a long line in front of this booth. No wonder, they gave us free crab miso soup. Yes, it was FREE! They prepared 100 cups of soup for free. Broth was perfect, and we enjoyed it.

Takoyaki with cheese and yam (チーズと山芋のたこ焼き) from Ozora (大空町)

This item was interesting. Takoyaki (たこ焼き) is a popular food in Osaka, Japan. In addition to a piece of octopus, this owner also put creamy cheese and grated yam together. Just a simple idea made the takoyaki tender and rich flavored.

See you next year!

I wish the weather could be warmer, but we had a great time together. Many visitors seemed to enjoy this event. It made me happy to see my home town become crowded and active. We need more lively events to provoke our economy! Next year would be from September 17, 2010. Mark it on your calendar, and visit the city of Sapporo during this wonderful event!

Sapporo Autumn Fest 2009


Sapporo Autumn Fest 2009: Part 2

After eating at 5-chome site, my family and I moved to 6-chome site. Soon we regretted that we should’ve waited until we checked all the food before we ate. At this moment, I was already full, but this 6-chome site has more delicious dishes. We couldn’t resist. We bought some dishes again! 6-chome site provided many international tapas and a wine/beer bar. I saw some Indian and Spanish restaurants, and some European beer and wine. My uncle tried German beer and he loved it.

“Miso Motsu" (味噌モツ煮込み) with Sapporo Beer

If you like Japanese or Korean BBQ, you know we eat guts. This was stewed guts with miso. Guts became very tender and no needed to chew. Taste perfect with the beer. Sapporo Ichiban!

“Vegetable Samosa” (500 yen)

It was a first time to eat samosa, a popular Indian snack. Unfortunately, it was already cooked and was cold. Yet, it was still tasty and I was surprised that this little thing made me full very quickly. Mashed potatoes were mixed with curry powder and some spices.

“Crème Brûlée”

It was tasty, but was too sweet for me. I only ate half.

Soba Making

We saw some Japanese noodle restaurants as well as other international food booths. There was a booth that you could actually experience how to make Soba, Japanese noodle. It was cool! Japanese noodle has long traditional history. When you experience it, you will understand the reason why Japanese appreciates the tradition.

to be continued...

Sapporo Autumn Fest 2009: Part 1

Sapporo Autumn Fest is a wonderful event that people can enjoy the richness of food production around Hokkaido, share the travel information, and celebrate the autumn harvest from all over Hokkaido. This wonderful event just started last year, but it already became one of popular events in Sapporo. There are some well-known events in Sapporo; Yosakoi Soran Festival (in June), Pacific Music Festival (PMF: in July) and Sapporo Snow Festival (in Feb.). I hope this Autumn Fest would be a big event in the fall season.

Sapporo TV Tower and and visitors

There are two things that I liked about this event. First of all, the event was held from 9/18 to 10/4; yes it’s almost two weeks! During this period, the restaurants had been changed frequently to serve different dishes, so visitors had never got bored. I only visited twice. I wish I could’ve visited more… Second thing is the location. The event was held in the Odori Park (大通公園), the symbolic sightseeing spot in Sapporo. The five sites along the Odori Park bring us to the food and cultural world of Hokkaido. This event showcases not only the delicious food but also wonderful culture and people involved in this event.

My family and I went there on Monday, Sept 21. The weather was cloudy, and it was pretty cold. We started walking from 4-chome site. This site provided some pottery and craft works. I should have taken a walk slowly, but we were so hungry and rushed to 5-chome site.

5-chome site was a huge food court. There were about ten restaurants providing Ramen noodles and local dishes. Since this event is for Hokkaido, the basic rule for the restaurants was to use all ingredients from Hokkaido. We chose two ramen noodles and two local dishes.

“Asahikawa Shoyu Ramen” from Asahikawa

Asahikawa Ramen (旭川ラーメン) is famous for soy sauce taste. This Asahikawa Shoyu Ramen (旭川醤油ラーメン) was 700 yen. The noodle was made of Hokkaido wheat, and Chashu (チャーシュー), roasted pork, was delicious! The pork was also grown in Hokkaido. It was simple, but the broth was well cooked carefully.

“Hokki Clam Miso Ramen” from Tomakomai

Hokki Clam Miso Ramen (苫小牧ホッキ貝味噌ラーメン) (700 yen) was an interesting noodle I even had. This noodle soup was pretty strong taste of Miso (fermented soybean paste) and seafood. I usually do not like seafood ramen, but this one was pretty tasty. I thought the taste of Hokki clam would be too strong, but miso taste kept the good balance between. I liked other ingredients: sprouts and seaweeds.

“Shrimp & Octopus Dumpling” from Haboro

Shrimp & Octopus Dumpling (羽幌えびタコ焼き餃子) (600 yen) was the most popular item of that day. There was a long line in front of the booth. I waited for 45 minutes only for this dumpling. You might think it is not smart. Yet, this was delicious! It was worth to wait! They used the small Sakura Ebi (桜えび: sakura shrimp) yet it had rich flavor, and Tako (たこ: octopus) was amazingly delicious! Of course, all ingredients were made of Hokkaido. You dip it into the sauce or eat it simply with shrimp flavored salt.

“Omelet Curry” from Furano

Unfortunately, Frano Omelet Curry (富良野オムカレー) (700 yen) was already eaten by other family members while I was waiting for dumpling and I couldn’t taste it… (ToT)

to be continued...


Bakery #01: Johan Paris, Sapporo

Ham and Creamy Cheese, Sausage & Potato Salad, and a cup of tea

For recent years, the competition among department stores in Sapporo area has been heated up, and several stores unfortunately already closed. Since Daimaru department store opened in front of Sapporo JR station, people does not go to Odori Park area anymore, the area Mitsukoshi and Marui-Imai were popular. Now, an old-established store, Mitsukoshi department store, is in danger. I barely go to Odori area, but I had an appointment on that day, so I stopped by at Mitsukoshi. This department store is for rich, elder people. They do not have much clothes or bags for younger people; the price is expensive. There are a few things that I liked, which is “Le Salon de Nina’s”, a tea station, and “Johan”, a popular bakery from Paris, are located in this store.

I am not a huge fun of bread, but I have not eaten any from Johan for a long time. So I bought some pieces looking-good bread. It was on Saturday afternoon, but the choice was a bit limited. I chose some non-sweet breads; Ham & Creamy Cheese, and Sausage & Potato Salad. It looked fine, and I ate those for dinner on that day.

When I bit Ham & Creamy Cheese, I was surprised that the firmness is perfect; not too hard, not to tender—well baked. Ham was nothing special, but I really liked the cheese. It was creamy camembert cheese, gives some tenderness in my mouth. Rich flavor of the cheese kept the good balance of the smell of the ham. I liked it. The other one, sausage & potato salad, was also pretty good. Potato salad is one of my favorite dishes, and it was actually quite match with a taste of sausage. The bread was shiny, and it was fun to eat. The ingredients are fully baked with fresh breads, and there is no space between them.

Both were tasty, and were quite better taste than years ago. I believe Johan has been improving to beat up other stores, and keeps creating some new ideas. It would be fun to take a look what their new ideas are sometimes.

Total: 357 yen

Johan the Bakery, Paris
B1F, Mitsukoshi department store
8, Minami 1-jo Nishi 3-chome, Chuou-ku


Restaurant #12: Hathi, Sapporo

Hathi is an Asian food restaurant at Daimaru department store. Yes, again at Daimaru. You know the reason why I often go to Daimaru department store is because their restaurants are all non-smoking. Believe or not, a developed country, Japan, still allow people to smoke at public restaurants. Come on! Now they have been trying to make more non-smoking areas, but still not enough. Izakaya or small restaurants cannot be banned smoking yet. I believe the right for smokers, yet please, public restaurants should be non-smoking…

Hathi has Vietnamese food as well as Thai food. I barely eat Vietnamese food since I saw how much MSG they had used, but I was attracted by their lunch menu. Therefore, I decided to try out. I ordered Grilled Chicken Lunch Plate (1380 yen).

I liked their menu. The price is affordable, and they have variety of small dishes and set menus. The décor, however, is old-fashioned. The space was large enough and possible to decorate much better. Yet, they used terrible table cross and chair. The food price is not cheap, but the restaurant looks like it. I liked, though, the opened kitchen.

Grilled Chicken Lunch Plate

This lunch plate made me full easily; pork ciao mein, curry with rice, rosemary grilled chicken drumsticks and green salad, came with a cup of soup and a hot tea. You can choose drinks. In general, their taste was pretty strong to me, and I tasted MSG from their soup. The ciao mein was good, no MSG. They cooked with a slice of lemon—very tasty! Curry was sweet yet spicy—interesting taste. Does Vietnamese eat curry? It was like a keema curry… Rosemary chicken was a big hit! Juicy and crispy with fresh ground pepper. I really loved it!

If you like Vietnamese or Thai food, you perhaps enjoy this restaurant. I might go back there for lunch when I want to eat a lot.

Total: 1380 yen

Hathi, Asian Restaurant
8F, Daimaru department store
Kita 5-jo Nishi 4-chome, Chuou-ku