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Tokyo Redux – Maguro Plate

Tokyo Redux - Maguro Plate

Cheating a bit, this isn’t really Tokyo, but actually Chiba, in a little town along the coast we call our second home, Ichinomiya. The restaurant called Super Kitchen is famous for American sized portions and wallet friendly prices. Case in point: this literal pile of maguro tuna with miso soup and a bottomless bowl of rice (yes, they will refill it if you ask) cost us a meager 900 yen.

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Road Trippin’ – In Search of Santa Maria BBQ Heaven

Road Trippin' - In Search of Santa Maria BBQ Heaven

On our way to a meeting in Southern California, my friend Phong and I took the long road, Highway 101 from the Bay Area. We were craving some of that famous Santa Maria BBQ, native to the area between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. There’s no pretense in Santa Maria BBQ; it’s simply good local beef from the Central Valley and the smoke from California Oak.

We settled on a place highlighted in Sunset Magazine as one of the best tri tip sandwiches in the area, the Garey Store in, you guessed it, Garey, California. Population 68. Apparently the Garey Store makes sandwiches for local ranchers and farmhands and Friday is their only day for tri tip. They make about 150 sandwiches, sell them all between noon and 2pm and when they’re out, they’re done. We called ahead from San Jose to make sure they’d have a couple for us.

To reach the Garey Store, you drive about 7 miles off the 101 until basically you’re 1000 miles from nowhere. The place is frequented by locals who probably think city folk driving that far off the freeway for a sandwich must be out of their hipster minds. The sandwich comes with salsa (very mild, almost Pace style) and sliced jalapeno peppers. That is all. Phong found some delicious maple bacon potato chips and we got some bottled water and soft drinks. We ate outside, along the dusty highway, watching the trucks roll on by.

If you like your BBQ simple, just the flavors of the meat and the smoke, this is definitely what you’re after. It will not blow your mind, but the experience of finding this tiny little place and knowing you’re eating a sandwich only a handful of people outside the local ranching community have eaten is something in itself.

Oh, one other important thing about Garey Store. No public restrooms. Because that would be pretentious.

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The Garey Store in Garey, CA. Population 68.

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Tokyo Redux – Lunch, Compartmentalized

Tokyo Redux - Lunch, Compartmentalized

Let this be a warning to you world travelers. If you love to take pictures of your food but you want to remember the actual restaurant that you ate in, it might be a good idea to photograph the name of the restaurant (menu, outside, or whatever) at the same general time. Otherwise, you end up with a great picture of your lunch and no way to explain to people where you ate it. Well, it’s somewhere in Lumine, Shinjuku. I’m sure you’ll find it.

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Tokyo Redux – Fruit Tart Amazing

Tokyo Redux - Fruit Tart Amazing

Note: While we are preparing to move to Japan, I am going through some of my photos taken over the past few years of things I’d like to share about my experience in Tokyo as a visitor. Even while we live there, I hope to never lose my sense of wonder about what an interesting and other-worldly place Tokyo truly is. These posts will be titled “Tokyo Redux”.

This was one of several incredible fruit tarts on sale by the slice in the depachika of Keio Department Store in Shinjuku. Depachika are the food sections of the department stores, found on the basement levels. While generally more expensive than grocery stores and other places to get take out prepared foods, the quality and selection of the depachika foods is something to marvel at. I encourage you to “window shop” but only on a full stomach!