A Pretty Good Food Adventure in Tokyo (a book review)

Okay, it’s no big secret that I am deeply in love with Japan. I love all things Japanese, and I have fond memories of the almost three years I spent living on the Southern Japanese Island of Okinawa. I frequently find myself gravitating to Japanese things. I love reading about Japan, following YouTubers in Japan, watching Movies about Japan, and I even have taken numerous Japanese language and history courses since returning to the United States. For Christmas I got an awesome Kindle, and with it comes one free month of Kindle Unlimited. Looking under the Travel section of the books available for free reading I found a book called “Pretty Good Number One- An American Family Eats Tokyo

Book Cover

My favorite things- Japan and Japanese food. Matthew Amster-Burton writes in a way that you can see yourself walking down the streets of Tokyo, you can smell the Yakitori, You can almost feel the sweltering July heat. Maybe it’s partly because I am familiar with Japan, and I have seen streets as the ones he is describing, and I have smelled the smells, and tasted many of the flavors. The writing really comes to life, it felt as if he were writing from my own memories of Japan.

Matthew takes his family on a one month adventure to Tokyo and eats his way around the city, writing all of their adventures and misadventures. With his daughter Iris and his wife Laurie they try new foods, and experience old favorites in their country of origin. If you are familiar with Japan you will recognize many types of foods, and places they eat. Including Mister Donut, where you would find both sweet and savory donuts. Numerous times foods were described that I had never heard of before, but he does such an excellent job with his descriptions that once I got around to googling the foods he was describing the photos that came up matched what was in my mind.

To say the book made me homesick for Japan would be an understatement. Countless times as I was reading this book I would laugh out loud, or chuckle and read passages to my husband who also agreed that the descriptors of certain places and scenarios are spot on. Specifically certain foods and grocery stores. In one section Matthew talks about the music in the Japanese grocery store, in fact most stores have similarly catchy melodies, that just become a part of the fun shopping experience, even though they play the same 10 second tune over and over again.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Japanese food or Japan. The book will bring out the adventure foodie in you and make you wish to hop a plane to Japan for some fresh tempura and udon.

this post is totally my own and I have not been compensated in any way for this review. I read this book because I found it on Kindle and it looked like a good read, oh how right I was.
You can find more information on the book, including where to purchase, here: Pretty Good Number One

Home Made Sauerkraut

A little over a week ago I started some Sauerkraut from scratch.

The recipe I followed was incredibly easy and said that it would be good in 24 hours. So after the time passed I tried it and it was very salty. It didn’t taste like sauerkraut, and it didn’t taste bad, it just tasted like very salty cabbage, I was sure I screwed it up.

My worry sent me to Dr. Google and I googled the shit out of home made sauerkraut. (Further research is something I would suggest doing before trying a recipe that involves science such as fermentation.) I made the decision to remove some of the brine and add water to thin out the saltiness. I read that over salting can slow the fermentation process.


Trying a #diy #sauerkraut #recipe #yum! #food #foodie

A photo posted by Alana 🌺 (@alanamarie26) on

After watering it down a bit I left it alone. Over the course of a week I watched it, as it bubbled, and fermented. I will admit I was concerned that I had a rotting mess of cabbage on my counter top. However after a week I tasted it, and I was very pleased that not only was it good, but it was delicious! For the last couple days I have been eating it on everything.

My #sauerkraut is amazing.

A photo posted by Alana 🌺 (@alanamarie26) on

The finished product is awesome. I especially like it with scrambled eggs.

Sauerkraut is really good for your belly too. It’s got pro-biotics or something that makes your tummy happy.

You can read more about it if you are interested in making your own.

Sonnet’s Kitchen The original recipe I started with
Survival at home– another recipe with good science-y info

Has your Sauerkraut gone bad? – this helped me tremendously.

Dr. Weil
– About Sauerkraut
Health Impact News– Info on Health Benefits
Organic Facts– More info on health benefits

I googled lots of stuff, smelly sauerkraut when I thought it was smelling funny, floating saurkraut when I noticed the cabbage was floating up to the top, all kinds of stuff.

Also I think it’s important to mention, through this whole process I was pretty convinced that I had messed up and it would be terrible, but I kept going and didn’t abandon my kraut. I am very happy I held out because it turned out wonderful.

If you like sauerkraut, even a little, I highly recommend trying your hand at making your own. It really was very easy, and it can last for months.
You could easily do a smaller batch, I used a large head of cabbage, about 3 pounds and I ended up with about 50 oz or so of sauerkraut.

Perfect Picnic Pasta Salad

We are smoking some ribs and a tri-tip today and I wanted to make a good, filling side dish to go with all the meat we would be eating. My friend Amanda shared her family recipe, and I expanded on it. It came out perfect.

1 bag of multi color pasta
1 cup wishbone Italian dressing
2 8oz cans of sliced olives
2/3 cup of small pepperonis
1/4 cup of roasted red peppers
1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes
2 stalks of celery
1 fresh red pepper
1 fresh orange pepper
1 fresh green pepper
1 fresh yellow pepper
1/8 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
McCormick Perfect Pinch Salad Seasoning to taste

Cook your pasta until done. While pasta is cooking cut all your fresh veggies, roasted peppers and sun dried tomatoes into bite size pieces. When pasta is done rinse with cold water and place in large bowl. Mix in veggies with pasta. Drain olives and discard liquid add olives and pepperonis to salad. Add the dressing and seasonings.

All ingredients can be adjusted to taste.

Other good ideas for additions:
Red Onion
Cubes of cheese

pasta sala