Tokyo 2015: Ueno Park, Brown Rice Cafe, and Eat More Greens

It feels like we were in Tokyo ages ago, even though it was only a couple of weeks ago.  Summer Break, come back!

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This was our seventh trip to Japan (how crazy is that?!), and each time we go, I swear I end up adding more stuff to my itinerary than what I cross off.  Work has been SO stressful lately, so I was looking forward to a nice, relaxing break in one of my most favorite cities, but, we ended up doing SO much stuff (mostly eating…), there was just no downtime to relax.  I guess that’s why the holiday just flew by in no time.  Boohoo.

So, on our previous visits to Tokyo, we’ve always ended up eating at the same places (particularly Pure Cafe, cuz it’s just the best.)  I really wanted to try out as many new places as possible this time around, and since we’ve actually become pretty well-acquainted with some areas in Tokyo, we weren’t as directionally-challenged as usual.  On our first evening in Tokyo, we visited one place I’d never been able to find on previous visits: Brown Rice Cafe.

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Brown Rice Cafe is located down a nondescript side street in Omotesando, located in the same complex as Neal’s Yard Remedies.  (It’s actually quite easy to find, once you know your way!  Take the first left out of Exit A1 from Omotesando Metro station.  The cafe is on the right.)

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The dishes are really fresh, and are made using Japanese vegetables, tofu in various forms, and, of course, brown rice!

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These crispy, pan-fried tofu squares were probably the least healthy things on the menu: pretty much everything else was raw or steamed.  We actually got two dinner sets as well, including an awesome Okinawan-style tofu cutlet, but the photos came out blurry.

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And, of course we got dessert!  Super scrummy choco-banana pie and some rose tea (which came with the cutest teeny tiny sand timer OMG.)

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Eoin also sampled some premium sake served in a gold gravy boat.

If you end up visiting Brown Rice Cafe, you should totally take a trip to the bathroom before you leave.  I’m not being a weirdo here, just hear me out:  So, since the Cafe is affiliated with Neal’s Yard Remedies, they have the nicest smelling bathrooms ever, (which are stocked with Neal’s Yard hand soap, of course!)  I can’t afford that stuff, so, it was like a treat for me.  And I smelled my hands all the way home.

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The next day, we ventured out to a new part of Tokyo: Azabujuban!  I think it’s worth going there just to say the name.  Even though we didn’t spend much time in this area, I really liked it; it had a funky, laid-back vibe.  Of course, our reason for coming here was food-based.  I’d read loads of good things about this hip little cafe, Eat More Greens, and was excited to check it out.

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It’s a vegan / vegetarian cafe, but we saw people from all walks of life there during our two visits: businessmen grabbing early morning coffees, office workers ending the evening with bottles of wine, old ladies taking a break from shopping, even a super cute couple wearing their colorful yukata.  It was a really lively cafe, and is obviously well-loved by the locals.

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Sesame spaghetti topped with eggplants and okra!  We ate SO MUCH okra in Tokyo.  I never ate those strange, hairy, gooey greens growing up, but going to college in the American South (or at least pretty close to it) meant okra with nearly every cafeteria meal (though it was usually deep-fried!)  Seriously, Seoul, why don’t you have okra?!

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AMAAAZING red curry, paired with fresh veggies and salad on top of purple rice.

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Mandatory dessert.  This miniscule slice of cheesecake was a tad overpriced, and I wasn’t too keen on its gelatinous texture, but it wasn’t bad.

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We came back a second time to sample some bits from their vegan tapas menu, which included various dips and bread.

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Crispy fried soy meat, and, of course…

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MORE DESSERT!!!  Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate.

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And super rich tiramisu.

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They also sell a range of handmade scones, cookies, and pies.  (The donuts, supplied by Doughnut Plant, were sadly non-vegan.)

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I couldn’t resist swinging by Ueno Park to check out their behemoth lily pond, even though it was ridonkulously hot (but thankfully breezy.)

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HELLO FRIENDS!  They were all standard terrapins, aside from that big weird dude.  WHAT IS THAT?!  Somebody, please tell me.  I think I love him and his oddball-ness just a little bit.

More Tokyo sights, sweets, and eats coming soon! xoxo

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