My favorite Bar I have been to is Bar零. It is located in Tokyo, Japan. It is easiest to find Bar零 by getting off at the Ikebukuro Station. You will have to look for the dark wooden door off to the side of the bustling street with the small sign.
Once through the door, you walk down the narrow staircase to another door and are greeted by the owner, and are seated at the beautiful, dimly lit, traditional Japanese bar.
The bar is the perfect spot for a quiet date night drink because of the intimate size, highly skilled bartender and wonderful cocktails.
The owner is extremely kind and speaks English very well. He will love to have a nice conversation with you. He has owned and operated the bar for sixteen years.
Once you order a drink, be sure to watch him make it. He uses perfected skill and precision to cut each ice cube to the correct size so it will slowly melt and to drop into your glass at the exact moment he pours your drink.
I highly recommend spending a night at Bar零 if you are ever in Tokyo. It will be a truly unique experience.
My first stop in Japan was Tokyo. I knew I would like Tokyo, but I unexpectedly fell in love with the city life, ease of transportation, such kind and helpful people, and of course the food. The first day I spent in Tokyo was at a sushi making class. Cooking School Yuka Mazda was my favorite cooking class I ever went to! If you’re planning on visiting Tokyo I highly recommend that you take one of Yuka’s traditional Japanese cooking classes. She offers sushi, tempura, teriyaki, and gyoza with wagyu beef cooking classes as well. Yuka was the chef that taught the sushi class. She was incredibly kind, funny, and extremely knowledgeable of traditional Japanese cooking. Yuka helped each of us to cut the sushi fish correctly which was not as easy as it looked. She bought us the finest fresh ingredients and taught us not only how to make sushi but how to properly cook Miso soup and how to make sushi rice…the correct way. You will not go hungry after leaving Yuka’s sushi class. We made so much sushi and had extra rice, fish and vegetables to eat as well as homemade Miso soup, tofu, tea, and even a sweet dorayaki (Japanese red bean cake.)Of all the sushi and even Miso soup that I ate in Japan, the food that I had at this cooking class was by far the best quality and taste.I learned so much about sushi making, Japanese food and culture. It was a great start to my trip in Japan. I am definitely going back to Tokyo some day and cannot wait to go to Yuka’s cooking class again!
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and is located at the bottom of the North Island.
It is a bustling city on the water and has many shops, restaurants, farmers markets and free museums. (Which are good to see on the many rainy days.)
There are several hikes through forests and on beaches that are beautiful to see when you need a break from the city area.
I unfortunately didn’t realize that these shells I stumbled upon were the famous New Zealand paua shells. They are used for jewelry and are very expensive to buy in stores. I only brought one back home though…Oh well. Sorry to anyone who wanted one.
Below is a fresh new fern growing. It is one of my favorite things to see on a hike. The ferns grow outwards in a spiral-like fashion. Throughout New Zealand the spiral symbol is seen everywhere.
New Zealand is very good at making delicious hot chocolate. This was one of the best hot chocolates I have had in New Zealand at Nikau Cafe.
Also, I have started a new obsession with avocado toast in New Zealand. Pictured below (also from Nikau Cafe) is an avocado toast with goat cheese, pistachios, pickled turnips, sprouts and herbs.
At The Library, on Tuesday nights the adesserts re two for the price of one…so of course I took advantage of this sweet opportunity. Chocolate Cube: chocolate orange icecream with pistachios and a cube of dark chocolate ganache cake.
The second dessert I had was a vanilla ice cream topped with carmel popcorn and peanuts.
Being in Wellington during December was neat to see how Christmas is celebrated. There was a big Christmas festival and parade one weekend that was weird to see people dressed up and it being 70 degrees outside. Definitely didn’t feel like Christmas to me.
To bring some wintery Christmas to the children, the festival had set up a snow dome which had man made snow inside where the children could play in the snow.
Lake Tekapo is a gorgeous lake that is home to beautiful views, the Church of the Good Shepherd and clear starry night skies.
The famous Church of the Good Shepherd is a big tourist attraction…so be warned of the crowds in the day time. This picture was taken around dusk and thankfully many tourists were away eating dinner.
The beautiful colored flowers are called lupins and are seen in high density all over the landscape.
In the tiny one street town of Lake Tekapo is home to a few very delicious restaurants…
Above is a gluten free brownie and below is a mini donut ice cream dessert…
Hot chocolate…with pink Marshmallow of course…
Fresh salmon quinoa vegetable salad from Reflections Cafe.
and finally also pad see ew from Kohan Restaurant.
After a long first day in New Zealand, I knew exactly what I wanted for dinner. I went to BannSang in Auckland. Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish made in a hot stone bowl with lots of vegetables, egg, meat or tofu and spices. The rice is on the bottom of the bowl and some of the rice crisps and browns from the hot stone to add an amazing crunch to the dish.
The Gin Room in Auckland has various selections of gin and tonics and I actually found a drink that I liked.
The first food that I ate in New Zealand was icecream. This famous icecream place in the center of the city called, Giapo creates delicious art out of unique icecream flavors and various toppings. The counter is different than your traditional icecream shop…you are not allowed to see the icecream flavors in the case. Giapo wants you to try each flavor and decide which flavor you want only through your sense of taste.
After tasting different icecream flavors I chose a chocolate yorkshire pudding flavor. The icecream was artfully situated on top of a chocolate pastry bun, topped with chocolate mousse and sprinkled with a mysterious sweet/sour-ish pink crumble. Although it was cold outside, the icecream was delicious and brightened the rainy day.