Oh man, doing this series is making me hungry. It's a good thing I'm going to explore a new-to-me farmers market and plan on grabbing lunch there. If you've been lame and missed out on the previous parts to this series, you'll have to catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.
Jakkepoes, Jakkepoes, Jakkepoes. It's a name that I've been hearing for months and finally decided we needed to check it out. There is part of me that could eat here forever without having "American food", but it's really fun and interesting to check out "American style" restaurants. Even though the type of food is stuff we are use to in the US, there is always a Japanese flair to it. It's never quite the same as you'd get in the states, and it's really fun to see the local take on our food. About 20 minutes away from our house in Yomitan, tucked off the main roads through tiny streets, located within feet of the beach, is Jakkepoes, an American style pancake house, popular with both locals and visitors. They have a variety of pancakes and egg dishes, anything from savory (meatball pancakes - which I want to try next), to decadent (rum raisin petit stuffed pancakes), to classic (strawberry smothered pancakes). Aaron ordered the Banana pancakes which were plain pancakes smothered in sliced bananas, chocolate sauce, and a delicious homemade whipped cream. Below is my dish, which was called Anko Lovers (made with my favorite Azuki bean paste that is also in the Imagawayaki I talked about here.). All of the pancakes are plain, and although homemade and good, nothing terribly special (except for the fact you don't really find this style of pancakes very often in Okinawa). The delicious part was the toppings - which gave me some great ideas for me to use at home. My pancakes were liberally powdered with matcha and something else I couldn't really distinguish. Something vanilla-y and slightly brown sugary, I'm not sure what it was. A giant heaping of azuki, whipped cream and butter. We were also given syrup on the side, which I definitely didn't need since my entire dish was sweet. We thought it was a little high in price (I think around ¥900 each plus drinks), but it was tasty, filling, and a fun and friendly place to go to. What's nice is they are open later in the day, so I don't have to wake Aaron up too early on his days off to drag him to breakfast.
One of the first ramen places we were brought to was Ramen Kagetsu Arashi, which is one of the largest ramen chains in Japan. While it is good, reliable and comfortable, I'm often surprised by how many people think this is best ramen place around. While we haven't found our favorite, we are constantly exploring new ramen shops and finding super tasty ones every week. Maybe I'm turned off by the amount of Americans that eat there (locals also eat here too), maybe I'm a snobby bitch like that, but that's probably one of the reasons people like it so much...it's not too far out of their comfort zone. That being said, the food is good, and we don't turn down the opportunity to go with friends. They have both booth seating, bar seating, and tatami mat seating, which is my personal favorite. It feels cozy and more like a home-style meal. Another interesting thing about this restaurant is that you order your food off a ticket machine. As soon as you walk in, there is a vending machine with food options. You put your money in, make your selection, and it deposits both your change and a little tiny ticket that you hand to the waiter once you find a place to sit. While it is a ramen shop, people go here for their fried rice and gyoza, which is of course tasty as well. I really can't complain when this considered "fast food" here.
We are spoiled by living on base and having access to the commissary with American food, so we haven't really experienced any food withdrawals from back home. If we crave it, I just make it, although we really do eat quite a bit of Japanese food at home, since it's really our favorite. Once in a while we do want some sort of sandwich that I usually just whip up since sandwiches aren't really a 'thing' here. However, after hearing about a delicious gyro shop on the Sunabe Seawall, we thought we should really check it out. Aaron is right, we really are food snobs. After all, we are beyond skeptical when someone refers us to a restaurant or says it's great. We try it, but we don't get our hopes up. Sunabe Gyro totally lived up to the hype. I ordered their new fish gyro with fries and Aaron got the beef gyro. Aaron's was good, but my fish was where it's at. For 800¥ (approx. $8.07), you get a delicious gyro with fresh veggies, delicious taziki sauce, a soft yet crunchy pita, fries and a drink. And it's really good. The owners are really friends and fast getting your food out to you. They speak good English, and you can order take out, or sit upstairs on the roof (which we didn't learn about until after our meal). We'll be back for sure.
We had dinner and drinks (well, the girls had drinks and the boys drooled over them since active duty members were still on an off-base drinking ban at the time) with friends at Uroko, a great little place on the seawall. We had a large group and sat outside watching the most amazing sunset ever. It took a little while to get our food and drinks, and through some mis-communication someone never got their meal, but the staff was very apologetic and nice, we all agreed we would definitely give it another shot. They have a huge menu with some rotating specials, and an extensive drink menu (alcoholic and non alcoholic). Most of the dishes are small, so if going for a main meal, you might want to order a couple of them, which was totally fine with us since we wanted to try as much as possible. Below is a picture of my seafood caesar salad topped with raw tuna, salmon, and octopus. It was really delicious and I can't wait to go back!
Another Sunabe Seawall joint. I swear, we go other places than that neighborhood. In fact, we rarely go there, it just happens that I'm sharing a bunch of them with you today. Gordies Hamburger. The name even makes you want to go there. With probably a dozen or so burger options, they also have chicken and pork burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings, salad, non alcoholic drinks, shakes, floats, beer, and cocktails. They also serve breakfast everyday, which I need to check out. Everything is really fresh and crisp, they even make their own buns and grill everything over charcoal. They just recently opened up a patio, so I can't wait to go there to relax and grab a beer and burger one night.
This is one of my favorite sushi places we've been to so far. I don't even know the name of it and whenever I try to describe where it is to someone, they have no idea what I'm talking about. It's definitely a more traditional sushi place, and only seats a few people. The sushi was a bit more expensive than other places, but the quality was superior, so we were totally fine with that. There are so many types of sushi places, it really just depends on the day what we are in the mood for.
We have lots more to include in the Eating Japan series, so check back soon! Or even better, come and visit!!!
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