Tonkatsu Wako at Kyoto Station

Kyoto Tower is across from Kyoto Station.

On our last morning in Kyoto, we got ready at the hotel, checked out and then headed to Kyoto Station. We actually planned to arrive hours early because there is so much going on just in the train station! This thing is massive. There are a couple shopping malls, a museum, a skywalk, an observation deck, a hotel, a movie theater and every kind of restaurant from fast food to high end. It’s 15 stories tall and also goes underground. Crazy. I read that it’s one of Japan’s largest buildings. And unlike the rest of Kyoto, that is very traditional, Kyoto Station is super modern.

I thought this was some weird knockoff Cafe du Monde, but it actually seems legit.

We shopped at the JR Kyoto Isetan department store, which is 11 stories tall. It was fun to look here, but most things were really high-end and out of our price range. Dallas looked at a coat he liked, but it was $350! Too much to even consider!

I miss getting these washcloths before every meal! At nice places it’s a real cloth, warmed up, but even at chains like this, you get a prepackaged moist towelette.

Nice chopsticks.

We started with fried chicken appetizer.

Tonkatsu Wako

The napkins were so cute! Scalloped edges.

This is what Dallas ordered. Rosukatsu Gohan: Another popular dish at Wako. A flavorful high-quality pork loin in which the original taste of pork can be savored.

This is what I got. Ajisai: 2 bite-size pork fillet cutlets, 2 fried shrimps, crabmeat cream croquette and a steamed egg savory custard.

Sijimi Clam Miso Soup came with both meals.

One of these is tea, but the others are some sauces. There was a tonkatsu sauce, shoyu, a dressing for the cabbage, and some kind of barbecue sauce, if I remember correctly.

Outside of Tonkatsu Wako.

We wanted to get lunch before we left and read that Tonkatsu Wako is a great place for tonkatsu, a favorite Japanese dish of ours. We didn’t realize it at the time, but Tonkatsu Wako is like the Starbucks of tonkatsu! I mean, the restaurant was pretty nice and the food was excellent, but we just saw last night that there are more than 250 locations in Japan! I wish we could get just one in Chicago. SO good.

I don’t know how, in Japan, they get the panko to be so light and fluffy. It’s like biting into cotton candy almost! The only thing I didn’t really care for was the steamed egg savory custard. Oh, and I was envisioning crab rangoon when my set included a crabmeat cream croquette, but the “cream” was actually like a mayo. I like Japanese mayo, but not hot and fried! Ew. Otherwise, everything was great. If we’d have known this was such a big chain we’d probably have eaten here again in Tokyo!

Fish Bar

Fish Bar :: Lakeview, Chicago

Fish Bar :: Lakeview, Chicago


All drinks are in jars

Calamari – “Federal Hill” style

Tuna Salad/Avocado – Celery, capers, etc.

Tater Tots with crack in them to make you want to eat more and more.

Oyster Po’Boy – Remoulade, spicy slaw. Favorite!

Scallops were on special. It was fall. I think that might be some kind of squash sauce.

Eastern Belly Clams – Tarter sauce.

Sara somehow had a bunch of free oyster shooter vouchers. Couldn’t let those go to waste!

Oyster shooters

Mindy Segal’s Key Lime Pie

A couple months ago Sara and Jessica introduced me to Fish Bar, a place where Sara is a bonafied regular. And. I loved it! It’s this tiny little place and the inside reminds me of something I’ve seen on The Cape. Or somewhere in Boston. Some old place that’s been there for a million years serving fresh seafood. And not fancying it up. Just serving it simple, how it should be. I know they’re doing this on purpose, manufacturing this look on the inside, but I didn’t care. I loved it. Maybe that is just a hint that I’m due for an East Coast visit, but I was all for it. Not to mention that the food was fantastic. I especially loved the fried oyster po’boy. Jess, Sara and I split everything, so I only had a third of it, but I swear, I could have eaten two full ones. It was so delicious. Also, where else in Chicago can you get clam strips WITH the bellies? Nowhere, I think. This is something I really only associate with Mass. and there it was on the menu! The desserts are done by Mindy Segal, so you know they’re good. They change regularly, according to Sara, the regular. We tried a slice of key lime pie. Not totally “my thing” but very tasty. Can’t wait to go back to Fish Bar… at least until my next trip to the East Coast!

Food From Jen’s 40 Years

Bucking the Reid family tradition of having elaborate games at 40th birthday parties (see Brian, Jill, Chad), Jen opted for a food and drink extravaganza in the backyard. Chad and Jen chose 4 different periods of Jen’s life and prepared food and drinks from each of those phases. What an awesome idea! Luckily the weather cooperated, because there were probably 30+ people there to celebrate with Jen. It was a little chilly, but overall good. I had so much fun stuffing my face on all of Jen’s favorite food and drinks! Plus, so many of our good friends were there. And it was sunny. Sunny! What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon/night.

Here’s what we had:

First course: Belgium, where Jen was born
Food: Cheese plate
Drinks: Leffe & Jupiler beer, white wine, or gimlets

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Second course: Newport, where Jen grew up
Food: Grilled shrimp, steamed clams & mussels
Drinks: Sam Adams Summer Ale, white wine, or more gimlets

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Third course: Virginia, where Jen went to college
Food: Assorted chips. Premade guacamole, salsa and taco dip.
Drinks: Cheap beer – Bud Light, MGD, cheap red wine, or more gimlets

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Fourth Course: Chicago, where Jen lives now
Food: Grilled sausages (assorted from Paulina Meat Market), baked beans
Drinks: Goose Island Summertime, red wine, or more gimlets

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Fifth Course: Kristin’s Homemade Cake

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Surprise Sixth Course, courtesy of beer. .. much beer.