December 26, 2015

Nakamura Tokichi Hong Kong - 中村藤吉香港店

Nakamura Tokichi, originally from Kyoto, Japan, is one of those new spots in town Hong Kongers are crazy about. The queue can be of one hour if you're lucky. We were extremely lucky (as I think we always are, thank God!) because we run into one of J's friend who had taken 45 minutes ago 2 tickets: numbers 92 & 99, in case her wife didn't make it for the first one, since he arrived early. The wife made it for the 92 and he gave us the 99, instead of the 122 we had taken ourselves! Awesome!!!

I was surprised by the beautiful Japanese decor and the amazing views of the harbour and Hong Kong's skyline.

Nakamura Tokichi is famous for its Matcha Zaru Soba (cold noodles), and for its green tea desserts. Since we went there for tea, we had two desserts. One (Kyo no Fukiyose) had cakes and matcha ice cream (best matcha ice cream ever!), and the other was a hot matcha sweet soup with rice balls and azuki (red bean). They were really yummy and I was glad we went, although I won't be going again if the queue continues to be as crazy as now.  
During our visit, a tea ceremony expert from Japan dressed in a kimono was there to teach a tea ceremony class in the tatami. From what I saw from Nakamura Tokichi's instagram, she flew in from Japan for three days exclusively to teach this class (three times each day I think). It looked really interesting, and was priced at $HK150 per person.

Visited on: December 24th, 2015
Overall Quality: 4,5* (venue is great; food really yummy; long queue is horrible (not their fault, though!)) I particularly didn't like the fact that one of their most coveted desserts, a matcha mochi kind of slices, was sold out when we went, and apparently is sold out early everyday. Why not simply make more?!
Price: pricey at around HK$65 for a matcha latte and between $HK80-100 for a dessert.
Value for Money: 4*
Would I recommend it? I do and I don't at the same time. I think the craze needs to ease down a bit, otherwise queuing for an hour and a half is simply nuts. There's other places in town with yummy matcha desserts like this one!

Nakamura Tokichi - 中村藤吉香港店

18/F, The One, Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui

December 20, 2015


AMWF Japan
When planning for a short trip in Asia for our 3-week stay in Hong Kong, I always had beach&sun in mind: Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, you name it. But the hubby was determined to go to cold Tokyo. It took us several weeks to reach an agreement, because I had been in Tokyo in January 7 years ago and almost frozen myself to death, and we had plans for a second pregnancy which meant I wouldn't be able to enjoy any of the deliciousness involving raw fish. 
Never ending sushi boxes at the Tsukiji Fish Market
After discussing it for several weeks and not finding any interesting beach resort we REALLY wanted to go to, I started considering the idea of postponing my second pregnancy until after the trip. And when I came to terms with that, it was much easier to accept that it might be cold, because Tokyo is an amazing city and that's no reason to not visit it in this time of the year. And so our mind was set: Tokyo it was!

Truth be told, I couldn't be happier with choice. I have to admit the hubby always has the best ideas. We have enjoyed our trip in every possible way: we ate all we wanted to:

Zaru Soba
A5 Beef Yakiniku

And Totoro Cakes!!! <3  I wasn't expecting them to taste too good but they actually did! We chose the ones filled with custard and accompanied with a yummy matcha latte :) This was at Shiro-Hige's Cream Puff Factory, a super cute cafe specialized in Totoro, which I absolutely loved! I'm looking forward to share my YouTube video with all of you so you can see how cute this place was =D

Totoro Cakes Tokyo

We visited the main districts:
Tsukiji Fish Market
J at the Tsukiji Fish Market eating Japanese omelette

Tokyo Tower!

We got to do things I'll never forget:
- Going to a bunny cafe (Ms. Bunny in Roppongi) with bunnies and hedgehogs that you get to cuddle while having a drink!

- Meeting the adorable Grace from Texan in Tokyo, (and her husband Ryosuke!), whose hilarious comics I blogged about some months ago. We had lunch and did some shopping together and it was one of the highlights of the whole trip!

You can check out her amazing comics on her blog! I'm working on the YouTube videos for my channel where hopefully you get to see more than pictures can tell (that's what I love about videos!), so stay tunned!

- I got to feel more close to the novels of Haruki Murakami, which I'm absolutely hooked to because they are simply perfect, and almost always take place in Tokyo. Recognising all the places I had read about in his novels was a real thrill! I also loved seeing the boys and girls in their uniforms, as I was totally addicted to anime when I was young and it marked part of my youth and teen years.
Sensoji Asakusa Temple

After this trip, I spent a while reflecting on which things of the Japanese culture I think should be imported to Europe, because they're simply genius:
- Heated toilet seats. Toilets in Japan have multiple functions that we've never even heard about in Europe. Besides the toilet seat being warm (which is the most incredible feeling ever, specially when it's cold outside), there's the option of cleaning yourself down there with warm water! I think we could pass without this one, but the heated seat is a must :)
- Removing your shoes at the entrance of home, which is what we already do in our home since it's common practice in Hong Kong as well, and it's way cleaner than not doing so. I know there's probably less than 5% of people in Spain who do this though.
- Removing your shoes before entering the changing rooms in any shop. Changing rooms in Japan have a carpet and trying your clothes there is super comfortable. I mean, how many times have you struggles trying to put on some pants in a shop in Europe after removing your shoes and not wanting to step on the filthy floor? It happens to me more often than not. By removing your shoes BEFORE entering the changing room, the changing room stays forever clean and everyone can step on it carefree instead of staying there disgusted on your tiptoes trying not to step on that floor with your bare feet.
- Politeness. This is the crucial one. I probably should have put it in the first place. Japanese people are so polite it blows my mind away. They will never have a bad face for you, nor will they seem upset. Everyone seems the most attentive, hospitable, educated person in the world. You're always greeted with a smile and I never felt as if I bothered someone, unlike what happens in Europe when you ask for directions or whichever other thing. When you buy something in a shop they will thank you at least 5 times, it may as well be 10.
- Attention to detail. I feel like Japanese shops and public areas (hence I'm guessing homes too?) are always extremely tidy and well organized. Everything is laid beautifully, clean, and paying attention to every single detail.
- Free hot tea with the sushi. I feel like this is a super important one, too! There is nothing better to accompany sushi than hot matcha tea (not matcha latte, just matcha powder with boiling water), and I hate that sushi restaurants in sushi don't offer it. If you ask for a tea (paying, of course) you get a small cup or a tiny tea pot if you're lucky whether in Japan each person has a hot water dispenser in front of them to keep refilling their tea. Because the sushi is cold, hot tea feels like heaven, and I think Japanese people would not understand sushi without it.
These are some of my ramblings from this awesome trip I couldn't be happier about, with the hubby, Liam and the in-laws. Hopefully the video on my YouTube channel can be up soon!

December 7, 2015

Merry Xmas 2015

Merry little Christmas, everyone! I know this comes a bit early but with these gorgeous pictures I got a couple days ago, I just couldn't wait any longer to show them all to you! I'm absolutely in love with how they came out, such a great memory for years to come of little Liam and his second Christmas. The pictures are by talented Nagira, to whom I'm so grateful for fitting us in even though I arrived when her Christmas schedule was already closed. Yay to these beautiful pictures, I couldn't like them any better!

AMWF Family

AMWF baby

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas 2015

December 1, 2015

Staycation at Praktik Bakery Hotel - Barcelona

You may remember last year around this time {exactly this day actually since today is J's birthday}, we went on a really nice staycation at the Praktik Rambla hotel. This year we decided to go on and try another of their nice hotels, this time the Praktik Bakery hotel. All of the Praktik hotels are in premium locations, all within 10 minutes walking distance one from another, along Passeig de Gràcia and Rambla Catalunya. This, their sleek design and the good price is the reason why Praktik hotels are always the ones I recommend to friends traveling to Barcelona from overseas. 

Even though our room at Praktik Rambla was way more amazing {hey, that's why they call it WOW Room!}, we enjoyed our stay at the Praktik Bakery just as much, the main reason being the amazing bakery on the first floor, where we enjoyed a yummy afternoon tea and breakfast buffet. 

Afternoon tea at Baluard Bakery

Breakfast buffet at Baluard Bakery

We also did a vlog of our stay at the Praktik Bakery that you can now watch on my YouTube channel. I hope you like it!

Praktik Bakery Hotel
Provença, 279