March 14, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 4: legendary pain

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It’s out last morning in Fukuoka on this leg of the trip, and we decided to take in a full breakfast at Hotel Miyako Hakata. Somewhere Restaurant on the top floor of the hotel provides a decent view of the city, provided one can snag a table by the window.

We chose the Japanese breakfast, which included a range of little nibbles starting from sashimi, mentaiko (明太子) - a local specialty in Fukuoka, grilled cherry salmon (桜鱒)… etc. It was pretty filling, and would give us a good start to the day.

We checked out of the hotel, left our new, third suitcase with the hotel bell desk, and wheeled our remaining luggage across the street to Hakata Station. The Shinkansen platforms were just inside the entrance on this side of the station, and we were onboard our train eastward in no time. I had pre-booked seats in the last row of the Green Car, which allowed us to park our oversized luggage just behind the seats.

We nibbled on the shrimp cutlet sando (海老カツサンド) from Family Mart, which we had been trying to find on the last few trips to Japan to no avail. Pretty happy we could taste this again.

The first leg of the journey was uneventful, and in 2½ hours we got off the train at Shin-Kobe Station (新神戸駅). We were a little short on time before boarding the next train, so I hurriedly bought 2 ekibens (駅弁) from a concession stand.

Considering we are in Kobe, I decided to buy this Kobe no sukiyaki and steak bento (神戸のすきやきとステーキ弁当) from Awajiya (淡路屋). Naturally everything was cold so the texture of the beef wasn’t the greatest, but it tasted just fine.

Kobe gourmet lunch (神戸を旅する駅弁)
also came from Awajiya (淡路屋), and featured a map showing famous attractions in Kobe. The contents included sukiyaki (すき焼き), grilled cherry salmon (桜鱒), marinated dried fish, pork meatballs, potato croquette (コロッケ), and various vegetables.

Almost exactly 6 hours after we boarded the first train, we arrived at Tokyo Station. From there it wasn’t too far to wheel our luggage to the Shangri-La Tokyo, which was at the Main Building of Marunouchi Trust Tower (丸の内トラストタワー) just next to the station.

Immediately after settling into our room, I went back down to Tokyo Station. I was on a mission to locate something I’d been wanting to try for months, and this would be the very first thing I eat in Tokyo.

I’ve never been interested in Tokyo Banana (東京ばな奈)’s cakes even though they’re wildly popular. But the in Tokyo Bananas (東京ばな奈s) outlet at Tokyoeki Ichibanmachi (東京駅一番街) in the basement of the station offers two exclusive items not available anywhere else, and I needed to scratch that itch.

I was much more interested in the curry bread (カレーパン), but I decided to buy the other item as well.

Tokyo Banana’s Legendary Curry Bread (東京ばな奈の伝説のカレーパン)
– this looked promising… it was certainly very pretty, and the crust was nice and crunchy. I liked the curry filling, but there was definitely more than a hint of banana here. I guess when it comes from Tokyo Banana, they gotta give ya that banana flavor!

Tokyo Banana’s Cream and Red Bean Donut (東京ばな奈のクレームあんドーナツ)
– very rich and sweet, as expected. Not bad at all.

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