We’re heading to… Japan!

Love & Lemons, Japan trip

We’re going to Japan! I know, I’m surprised too… it kind of came up at the last minute, but here we go… Right now I’m en route to Seattle to meet up with Jack. Later this week we’ll be off to Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, and back to Tokyo… followed by a couple of days in San Francisco before we head home.

We spent some time in Japan a few years ago (pic above), but of course if you have any must-try food suggestions, let me know!! We’re so excited to fill up on sushi, ramen, udon, soba, kyoto vegetables and japanese pickles, (to name a few). I’m starving just thinking about it and these airplane peanuts sure aren’t helping.

So for a few weeks things might look a bit different around here, but hopefully in a good way… I promise this won’t become Jack and Jeanine’s vacation album, but I’m excited to share some highlights as we go. For the full journey, you can follow along on Instagram. And not to worry, if travel & Japan aren’t your cup of (green) tea, I have a few regular recipe posts in the hopper.

Oh, and Seattle recs are also welcome! We’ll be there for 3 days and I’ve never been…

I hope you all are having a fun & relaxing Labor Day weekend!


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  1. Jordan

    Welcome to Tokyo! There’s a lot of great veggie places to eat here. My favorite ramen place is T’s Tantan right inside Tokyo Station: http://ts-restaurant.jp/ or http://www.happycow.net/reviews/ts-tantan-tokyo-29533 . Try the Brown Rice Cafe in Harajuku/Omotesando for fancy Japanese-inspired meals: http://www.brown.co.jp/english/index.html. Nagi Shokudo, west of Shibuya Station, is funky and cozy: http://www.happycow.net/reviews/nagi-shokudo-tokyo-13435 And finally I like both Ain Soph restaurants, one in Ginza and one in Shinjuku, for more western-style food (though skip the tomato soup… toooo sweet) and desserts: http://ain-soph.jp/pg185.html

    If you need anything while you’re in Tokyo feel free to drop me a line. Happy travels!

    • jeanine

      thank you!! I’m so excited I have a reader in Tokyo!

  2. I just found your blog today via 101 Cookbooks and your food looks amazing! Excited to try the chipotle cashew cream. Noticed you are in Seattle right about now and are looking for restaurant recommendations. If you aren’t booked to pieces, check out Revel http://www.revelseattle.com. One of me and my husbands favorites. Brunch is especially terrific. Safe travels!

    • jeanine

      Hi Autumn, thanks!

      We’re not booked to pieces, we’re very last minute planners :). Can’t wait to see Seattle!

  3. Katherine

    You have to try Ma’ono in West Seattle! Everything there is delicious, but they’re famous for their fried chicken (my favorite sauce is the Chinese mustard one). I also love their brunches with bottomless mimosas. Safe travels!

  4. Allie from ginger-allie.blogspot.com

    For Seattle, a few suggestions: Paseo for the best Cuban sandwiches ever, Walrus and the Carpenter for fresh oysters, Macrina Bakery for coffee and pastries, Red Mill Burgers for burgers and fries, and Portage Bay for brunch!

    • jeanine

      Thanks Allie! We went to Macrina Bakery this morning – so good! Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. Kathryne from cookieandkate.com

    Ooh, can I come?! I’d love to go to Japan someday. I suppose I’ll just have to live vicariously through the pictures of your adventures! I’ve been wanting to go to a veg restaurant called Cafe Flora in Seattle. Bon voyage!

  6. Erin from shecooksshegardens.com

    Fabulous! I will be following along studiously as we are Japan-bound in November. Have a blast!

  7. Ann

    Hi. I’ve just spent two months in Seattle. There are a huge number of wonderful eating places in Seattle, and looking on The Weekly site, or Seattle Met will give you good lists. The must-see place for food and views is Pike Place Market, downtown. I went to Pike Place Chowder and it was divine, but busy. You could buy a Dungeness crab, and bread and whatever, and have a picnic! Also, because it is the essence of Seattle: Dick’s burgers. Seattle is a beautiful place; you could even pick wild blackberries in one of the great parks.

  8. susanna

    1. Hotel: Claska, 1-3-18 Chuo-cho, Meguro-ku, 3-3719-8121


    Do: shop / gallery in the Claska

    ‘And a well-made hotel it is — possibly the finest small hotel we have come across, and certainly the coolest. The Japanese culture has a way of seizing upon and then perfecting trends born elsewhere, so it is not surprising that the original Tokyo boutique hotel is possibly the definitive entry in the genre. The interior design is beyond cutting-edge, from the entryway by the English design firm Tomato, to the rooms and lobby lounge by a motley crew of hip Japanese designers, to the D.I.Y. rooms — not for you to do yourself, but done from bottom to top by three celebrated contemporary Japanese designers. Vestiges of the original New Meguro Hotel (sort of a Sixties jet-set business hotel) remain, adding an authenticity that elevates the interiors beyond mere set design’

    2. Tempura Kondo, 5-5-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 3-5568-0923

    ‘Owner-chef Fumio Kondo travels the country in search of good produce, like asparagus and corn from Hokkaido, and log-cultivated shiitake mushrooms from Iwate. The Edomae tempura fried in light sesame oil uses staple ingredients such as shrimp, sillago and an abundance of vegetables. Try sweet potato – after frying, the cylindrical slices are left to cook in the remaining heat; or zucchini stuffed with yuba, his original recipe’

    3. Book / iphone app

    iphone app:

    4. ‘maison martin margiela’s store in tokyo is housed in an old electrical products factory building’

    5. We ate at a restaurant where only the chef could speak a little english and he said that we should tell him how much we wanted to spend and he will cook for us a meal: seasonal and traditional!

    6. Kijima (1-23-3 Aobadai Towa Building, 3F; 81-3-5720-7366)
    Shabu Shabu

    7. ‘My Tokyo- a fashion and design shopping guide designed by the graphic & textile designer, Eloise Rapp’

    • jeanine

      Thanks! We’re actually staying at the Claska the first 2 nights in Tokyo (I was excited to get a room there – they seem to be pretty booked up in advance!). I just downloaded the tokyo-by-tokyo app, can’t wait to check it out…

  9. georgette

    safe trip you photos are great cant wait to see what you see.Have a great trip

  10. Lisa from nobhillstyle.com

    Hi Jeanine..Welcome to Seattle! In three days, you’ll barely scratch the surface but of course, a visit to the Pike Place Market is a must. There are lots of great place to try, in or near the market, “Place Pigalle”, “Steelhead Diner”, “Etta’s Seafood”,” Il Bistro”or “Wild Ginger”. Plan on spending a day there exploring. Another night, head to Ballard, near downtown. One of our foodie meccas. You’ll have to put your name on a wait list to get into “Walrus and the Carpenter” (it will be worth the wait), to enjoy the oysters, but there are so many great places to wait it out. Walk up the street to “Bastille” and have a drink, maybe absinthe, in the moody, Back Bar. Walk across the street to “Stoneburner” for an appie, then back down the block to wait for your table at the bar in “Staple and Fancy”. After dinner walk back up the street to “Hot Cakes Molten Hot Cakery” for a handcrafted s’more, a boozy shake or any number of other chocolately delights…even vegan.
    Your third night may spent be on Capitol Hill, again near downtown. “Sitka and Spruce” is such a delight, in the wonderful Melrose Market.
    No matter where you end up in our beautiful city…I wish you a very warm welcome and happy visit.

    • jeanine

      Thanks Lisa!

      I had Walrus and the Carpenter on my list so we’re going to head there (early) tonight and then check out the rest of your suggested places while we wait! I think I might need a second stomach 🙂

  11. Jessica

    I just returned from nearly 2 weeks in Seattle. Here are my favorites: Citizen Coffee (the lavender latte is amazing), Il Corvo (best pasta), Serious Biscuit, Whale Wins, Freemont Brewing Company, Delancey (best pizza). Great food and great fun in Seattle!

  12. Tami

    The Pink Door in Seattle at Pike Street Market is incredible. They have trapeze artists that perform above your table and their menu is seasonal and ingredients are from the Pike Street Market. The patio is amazing and overlooks the water. Just look for the pink door.

  13. Julia

    Welcome!! I would HIGHLY recommend Spinasse.

  14. Sini from myblueandwhitekitchen.com

    Have a wondeful time in Japan! Oh that food… Excited to see some pics and hear some stories.

  15. Nico

    Hi Jeanine,

    I’ve been working in the food industry in Seattle for nearly a decade and if you can make it to Spinasse or the Book Bindery, your time will be well spent.

    Spinasse is regarded as one of the best spots modern Italian cuisine. Some of the best pasta I have ever eaten!

    The Book Bindery’s food is some of the most beautiful and refined I’ve seen. The chef opened Per Se with Thomas Keller, and his food never fails to amaze me.

    I hope you enjoy this beautiful town.

  16. shannon

    In Seattle, try Harvest Vine in the Madison Valley for delicious Basque style tapas. Also in the same area Nishino is one of the best in the city for sushi. Have fun !

  17. Lynn

    You’ve got a great list to work with, but I wouldn’t miss Tamarind Tree if I were you! When Ruth Reichl was in Seattle she went there for lunch and wasn’t sorry. It is one of my favorite places to eat. Also, if you haven’t read Pretty Good Number One, consider taking it on the plane with you. Great primer on Tokyo food. Have fun!

  18. Michelle

    Enjoy! I look forward to reading about your adventure.

  19. It’s been my dream to go to Japan! I’ve been studying the language for 9 years, but still have not been! It’s my goal to go in the next 2 years though. I cannot wait to hear all about your trip! Take lots of photos!

  20. Beth

    I also found your blog recently through 101 cookbooks, and I am so happy I did! 🙂 I hope you have a fantastic time in Japan! If you have time when you arrive in SF, check out Pizzetta 211 – delicious, fresh pizzas and salads. Their Margherita is my favorite.

  21. Eleonora from eleonorafestari.com

    Lucky you! My travel dream is Japan 🙂
    Hope you enjoy the journey and have a great time! I don’t know any suggestions because unfortunately I have never been to Japan :'(

  22. Stacey tannheimer

    Agree with Revel, Spinasse and Paseo recommendations. Have fun!

  23. Shell from kittyandbuck.com

    Maybe I am too late, but we visited a wonderful vegan restaurant in Kyoto called Mikoan: http://www.deepkyoto.com/?p=44 It’s a little hard to find, so make sure you have directions written down, it’s down a little laneway through a tiny door on the street that is easy to miss.

    If you have time to go to Koyasan which is near Kyoto, we stayed in a temple called Shojoshi-In and were served an incredible vegetarian feast. Plus the accommodation was lovely and the mountain itself a peaceful and beautiful place: http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/ryokan-single/?ryokan=Shojoshin-in

    I am completely in love with Japan, I hope you have a great time

  24. tour from xn----ixf5agj5c1a3f5a5a8oc2d.blogspot.com

    Thank you for sharing, I miss japan so much.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.