Tag Archives: French food

Torizara, S’il Vous Plait

Today a look at a French restaurant that’s gotten quite a following as a stylish lunch venue in Tajimi: Cherlan, in the same general area between routes 19 and 248 that encompasses Grandir, Chez Shibata, Hanagyuu yakiniku, Denny’s, and Marino Italian restaurant.

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Cherlan’s mission is to make authentic French dining more accessible and casual than most people’s image. More like the shared style you find at izakaya drinking restaurants, but indisputably French. There are in fact more counter seats than table seats, though it didn’t strike me that way.

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Lunches range from the ¥1550 pasta course to the ¥1900 entrée course, to a ¥2500 combination for those with waistline impunity/indifference. Delectable dessert included. Pictured here is an appetizer combination I’ve since forgotten (but it was good). Service did take a while. The bathrooms were very clean and stylish.

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Reservations aren’t required, but it does fill up fast, starting at 11:30. Also open for dinner from 6 to 10 (last call 9:00). Closed Wednesdays and the third Tuesday. The location is just behind Chez Shibata.

Notice

Today I expose a unique little cafe not far from Tajimi station that managed to slip under my radar until now, with the emphasis on under.

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The disc-launching stealth restaurant is Trent Douw, a cafe specializing in galletes. Besides referring to a large cookie-like French pastry, galletes are basically large crepes made with buckweat instead of regular flour, topped with savory fillings instead of sweet. The buckwheat custom sounds like a classic Japanese twist on a foreign import, but it actually originated in Brittany, where the hardy-grain hotcakes became something of a staple where wheat was harder to grow.

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A linguistic variant of trent-deux, referring to the owner’s age of 32 when he first opened, the stylish casual lunch and dinner spot is tucked away between Kokoro restaurant, which I’ve written about before, and the (here) infamous low-clearance train underpass just west of the station. It appears on the map just north of the underpass in this post. Though it’s not far from my usual haunts, it’s not on the way to or from any of them, so it can go unnoticed.

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Lunch specials entail a variety of galette fillings, or pastas. You get a galette, a drink, and a dessert crepe for ¥1050. Relaxing bossa nova played in the background while I was there, and the overall atmosphere is chic and cozy, not intimidating. Closed Tuesdays (open on Tuesday holidays), last call for lunch 1:30.

A Little French in Mizunami

Sometime soon after La Belle Équipe French restaurant in Mizunami opened several years ago, I had an enjoyable lunch there, and had always meant to get back. So recently I finally did.

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Originally, the little restaurant had only a few tables, all dugout-style Japanese seating. They’ve since expanded with regular tables in intimate nooks. This appetizer was a quiche I unfortunately can’t remember what was in (I can at least vouch for acorn squash), but it was good.

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I had the oniku (meat) lunch, which was a unique-tasting tender pork with walnut, whose other ingredients (while certainly memorable, clearly not memory food) I’ve also forgotten.

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Brilliant Corners

After a beautiful day, the skies had a show in store for us as most folks headed home.  Below, the horizon reflected off a tiled column at work.

The sunset itself today wasn’t as nice as the past couple of nights, but after a while the fireworks began.

Below, the Tajimi skyline and our Himalayan cypress reflected off the Reverie et restaurant window, drapery behind.  Vaguely makes me think of the Grand Canyon.

All unenhanced.  A little jazz piano improvisation at work, including “Over the Rainbow,” topped the night off.

Three Simply Unrelated Things, With Strings Attached

Three randomly chosen words for today’s blog:

  1. spring chicken
  2. atlas
  3. candy-striped

Okk-kaaay…

Well, I’ve sometimes had spring chicken to eat downstairs (yes, we’ve moved our design studio and school offices to the second floor) at Reverie et restaurant, and it’s very good.  But I myself am no spring chicken, I have to say.

I’ve always enjoyed browsing through atlases, even accumulating a modest collection of mostly antique maps and atlases.  Gosh, it’s looking to be hopeless to try to tie these three together.  Headlong into word three.

I was thinking the other day as I saw a rotating candy-striped barber pole that if businesses all agreed, some electricity could be saved to make up for the lack created by closing the Hamaoka nuclear plant by voluntarily turning off moving or heavily lit signage.  People could be encouraged to give their patronage to businesses cooperating in the practice.  No single one of us has to carry the weight of the whole world on our shoulders like Atlas.  We can each just do our share.  Boy, is this platitudinous.

As I was typing, my colleague was just strumming “Every Breath You Take” on, yes, this guitalele.  I’d never heard of that name until now.  It’s a six-stringed ukulele.  Now, you may know Sting, who created that song with The Police, got his nickname from the black and yellow candy-striped rugby shirt he used to wear, which gave him the appearance of a bee.  Though strictly speaking, I found candy-striped means white alternating with another color.  I suppose Sting is no spring chicken, either, but still exudes a young spirit.  I feel more like a spring chicken now, only learning of the guitalele at this stage.

Okay, I’ll leave it at this.  Yick.

Further Review

Day two of my report from the expanded Reverie et restaurant.

You can still buy sweets baked on the premises.  In the picture above, they’re on the table beneath the stained-glass window.  They change with the season and the week or day too, so you never know what you might find.  Today the only evidence of the snowball cookies was the sign where they used to be before they sold out.  Moral: Get ‘em quick.

Open Sesame

There are lots of nooks and crannies to poke your head into. I always like to check out whatever carefully picked (and often hard-to-find) fresh fruits, vegetables or other ingredients in various stages of preparation the chef has out on the counter (above, center-right middle ground). Yesterday there were drying strawberry slices for desserts or baking, and sesame seeds in a square pan for dipping or coating something. If you sit at the counter you can watch the chef at work.

I’ll write another time about the other lunch menu options, but the ¥1200 pasta lunches always have some version of one tomato-based (short-neck clam at the moment), a cream-based and a peperoncino type.

Lunch is served from 11:30 to 2 pm.  Reservations, though not necessary, are appreciated.

Reverie et

Somehow the colder weather seems to be the season for me to go to Reverie et French Restaurant.  Maybe it’s because of the warmth it generates.  Or maybe I was just looking forward to a more finished product of the remodelling process than I was seeing daily all through the summer and fall.

So it was that I had lunch there for the first time in a few months I think, despite it being literally in my own (work) front yard.  It was well worth the wait.

Lighting, openings, fabric, glass and wood create a kaleidoscope of abstract forms in unexpected places.

Above, the space that used to be the zakka (notions) shop can now handle larger parties wishing to use a single varied length table.  The original dining area can still be used for large groups too, putting tables together if necessary.  It just occurred to me that maybe for the occasional free live jazz events, the artists could play in this room, though the sound may still be better when they play opposite the main dining area with the indoor winows open.

Today I had the cream pasta lunch, which currently features green beans and shrimp.  Salad, today with salmon and arugula, and coffee or tea are included in the ¥1200 price.

It Came from a Porcelain Pod, or The Gecko That Ate Tajimi

It started out innocently enough.  But then so do certain tropical island moths, small farming nations named after Italian explorers with whose every hiccup the world economy comes to reverberate (tsk – those incorrigible hiccupping Italians and their vesuvial vino), and green blobs from Cleveland.  There have been no recent nuclear tests in this general area that I know of, nor has Toho Films begun filming the latest mutant enemy to be vanquished ineffectually fended off by plastic army people painstakingly created to look like Self Defense Force members by digitally displaced aging hobbyists snapping at the chance to once again display their neglected handiwork. So, perhaps a slight retracing of footsteps in order of occurence may be in order, in order to find a cause for this ceramic calamity.

What’s in an Order?

It was after a lunch of shio ramen and Taiwan chaahan at Fukuryuu (photo above, view Map) in Tajimi, where my Japanese cohorts and I had discussed origins of place names (which made me ask “why is Nihon or Nippon named what it is?  Nothing to do with the Land of the Rising Sun?”  They didn’t know, which gave me a certain sense of satisfaction (revenge?), knowing they might be better able to understand those times when I can’t answer something about my own native language or country.  They couldn’t readily explain Tajimi’s derivation either). They said Taiwan ramen, also on the menu at Fukuryuu, is only called that because it’s spicy hot, not because it’s from Taiwan, where apparently the locals have never heard of such a thing, and it isn’t even well known outside of Aichi and Gifu.  We passed on the taberu raayu condiment, which looked good, but whose garlic we deemed would compromise our sociability for the rest of the day.  Call us quaint, but we interact and network the old-fashioned way.

And it was after we came back to the office and, at Reverie et French restaurant located in our building, chatted over coffee and tea (normally only meals served) with friends of friends of friends visiting from India (the southern state of Kerala, which I learned means coconut, which every yard there has for the yummy taking and surprisingly mild currying).  I was pleased to learned Tajimi is not outdone by Kerala in high temperature, at least where these folks live, a kerala’s throw from the ocean (ok, a kerala-cannon’s firing from the ocean.  Think the Professor defending the island from a band of eternally-at-sea pirates’ descendants anchored just offshore while Gilligan and gang (save Mrs. Howell, ears plugged with white-gloved fingers) pass fibrous ordnance bucket-brigade style and the Skipper inevitably gets conked on the noggin as birds tweet around his head).  Didn’t see that episode?  Didn’t think so.  I just figured since this was my first foray into the socioblogosphere I should get the word “tweet” in somehow.

F(r) = (λ/r↑s) – (μ/r↑t)

It was some time later, on making use of a certain facility in a certain restroom, that I first espied the rascally reptile in question (see photo).  Yes, I speak of none other than the yamori, that formerly obscure star of the commercial screen capable of gravity-defying fleet feats of foot, authentic British accents on demand, and, superstition would have it, bringing good luck to homes it calls home (hence its name, meaning protector of the home). The Japanese gecko.  Maybe Tajimi is having a job fair for out-of-work TV ad actors.  Perhaps the creature came to inspect some specimens of Tajimi’s famous ceramic ware and got confused, I don’t know.  I’m not sure who was more surprised when we each saw something the other didn’t expect.  Neither any of my actions (somewhat to my relief) nor standard flushing, nor, eventually, the considerable passage of time seemed to stall its steadfast determination in holding its clearly slippery ground.  Subsequent intensive research A quick wikicheck revealed that some reach lengths of 60 centimeters, some females are capable of reproduction without males, and the famous stick-to-itiveness (except to Teflon!) may be partially due to the somewhat mysterious van der Waals force (see formula above), which it turns out has many interesting applications in its own right.

Is this the first trickle of a larger, more insidious invasion, or simply an isolated incident?  And was it brought about by some serendipitous synchronicity of Nagoyan Chinese for lunch, South Indian coconuts for tea, and the Maldivian sea cucumbers that sprouted up in a conversation later in the day? (You can get those freshly imported in Tajimi, you know.  That’s why they came up).  In fact I speak now not of the lavatory lizard, but of this very blog, of which this is the first entry, and of the tajimi.mobi website.  Only time will tell, but we hope to stick to it and hope you will too.  Your comments and condiment recipes are always welcome. I offer my apologies and a few (non-mobile-specific) links for what may be obscure references to American pop culture. I thought this (true) gecko story was not in the best of taste, but my boss insisted on going with it, so there it is.

Now it’s time to geckoing.