salads

Japan: Tokyo/ Omotesando/ Gluten-Free (Natural Cream Kitchen)

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If you have food allergies like I do, you know how daunting traveling may be, particularly when it comes to overseas travel.  But, a great man once uttered, “Nothing is impossible,” and indeed with growing food allergy awareness, traveling with food allergies is becoming much easier than it used to be.  The only caveat is that you must do your homework ahead of time, which many of us who have allergies are accustomed to doing anyway.

In this new blog post, my purpose is to introduce you to a wonderful little café located in Omotesando, which offers all natural, gluten-free items on their menu.

Natural Cream Kitchen opened in spring of 2015 and bills itself as an “additive free sweets café.” However, sweets are not the only things offered on their menu. Here you will find delicious items such as chicken and roast beef entrees, meatloaf, pasta, sandwiches, quiche and salads.  Their drinks menu includes soft drinks, herbal teas, beer and wine! They even have a brunch menu featuring oatmeal and omelets among other items!  Everything is prepared using natural ingredients, no sugar and no additives.  Their tarts, breads and cakes are created with rice flour and sweetened with amazake  (a traditional sweet, low- or non-alcohol Japanese drink made from fermented rice) and sugar beets. Their signature roll cakes come plain and in chocolate cake flavors and are available in sizes up to 50cm (19.6 in). For Christmas you can order the Christmas cake version. Oh, and did I mention their sweets sampler tower?

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You can choose to dine in the cozy café decked out in a bright and soothing décor or take your food out. There are large vases filled with white flowers, white washed tables and chairs, exposed white brick walls and a giant chandelier comprised of eating utensils.

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The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, able to answer any questions you may have regarding the menu (provided you speak Japanese.)  Even if you can’t speak Japanese, the menu has pictures of the items available so you can just point to what you would like to order.

Whether you have food allergies, are health conscious or just want to try delicious tasting foods, Natural Cream Kitchen should be on your list of places to visit when in Tokyo! The café is open Mon-Sat from 10AM-8PM, Sun & Holidays 9AM-8PM. It is easily accessible via the Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin Lines) or the Omotesando Station (Ginza, Hanzomon, Chiyoda Lines).

 

Web page:                        https://naturalcreamkitchen.com/

Location:                           GYRE B1F 5-10-1 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001

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Japan: Tokyo/ Setagaya (Lupopo Cafe & Gallery)

The Setagaya ward in Tokyo has a reputation for being an upscale district and is home to the popular shopping district known as Sangenjaya. Here you will find a diverse gathering of affordable eating establishments, small boutiques and thrift stores selling everything from household items to clothing and just about everything in between. The area is easily accessible from Shibuya via the Tokyu Den-en-Toshi line, exit at Sangenjaya Station.

Just a short walk from Sangenjaya Station is a little café and gallery known as Lupopo. The shop is incredibly small but the Japanese are renowned for fully utilizing any space no matter how small.

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Upon entering the café you will notice a wall of wooden boxes containing tastefully displayed arts and crafts for sale. These items include jewelry, candles, stationary and small items created from felt. Certainly a great place to pick up that unique omiyage to bring to the folks at home. Overall the café offers a cozy, cottage-like atmosphere and depending on when you arrive, you could quite possibly have the café to yourself!

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The menu includes wonderful latte drinks, teas, lunch set items, salads, noodle dishes and desserts. You can also order a beer or a glass of wine for only ¥500. The latte drinks are served with a small container of brown sugar cubes and a little wooden spoon.

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On each table there is a small notebook and a container of various colored pens. Patrons to the café leave notes to the owners in these notebooks, messages like, “Thank you, the latte was oishii!”

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Maguro/ tuna salad

Maguro/ tuna salad

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Noodle dish

Noodle dish

So after browsing through the shops at Sangenjaya, won’t you take a moment to stop off at Lupopo Café & Gallery? You can just kick back and enjoy a nice cup of latte and browse the various wooden boxes and discover what they have to offer. The café is open from 11:30 AM until 7:30 PM. They are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

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Address:          1 Chome-35-20 Sangenjaya, Setagaya, Tokyo

Web page:       http://lupopo.net/

Japan: Narashino City (Cafe Little Zoo)

If you have been following my blog, by now you would have noticed that Japan is not just about sushi restaurants and ramen shops. As a matter of fact, Japan is where you can find some of the most unusual and quirky eateries imaginable! I have already written about several “animal” cafes in and around Tokyo and thought I would offer up one more, one suited more for those of you who aren’t exactly into the cute and cuddly.

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Located in Narashino city in northern Chiba Prefecture, Café Little Zoo (http://little-zoo.jp/) is home to snakes, iguanas, turtles, falcons and about half a dozen owls. The café operates out of an ordinary house and has the flavor of a neighborhood hangout frequented by regulars. It is open for business starting at noon until 9:00 PM (Fridays and Saturdays until 11:00 PM) and the menu includes casual items such as curry and rice, soups, salads, hamburger sets, fried chicken wings, spring rolls, hash brown potatoes and Camembert fondue. Some patrons gather at the café for a casual conversation with friends while enjoying cocktails, beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, tea, juice, cakes and others sweets.

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Let’s not forget about the animals, after all they are the main attraction. Each table has an alcohol based cleanser to keep your hands clean for your meal after handling the animals. The staff will even bring the animals right to your table, if you would like. The staff does not speak English therefore it would be beneficial for you to have someone who speaks Japanese with you. Many of the customers who frequent the café are bird lovers and bring their own owls to the café so they can play with the resident birds. It is recommended that you contact the café ahead of time if you plan to bring your own animals.

The café is located at Narashino-shi, Moto-Okubo 1-4-10. The telephone number is 047-455-3329.

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