A Famous Caramel That Tastes Awful

There're so many local souvenirs including snacks which contain the local foods and ingredients and sure Hokkaido has one.
Hokkaido has created a lot of flavorful and tasty snacks with dairy products, vegetables like potatoes.
And one of them is really famous for being disgusting.
It's a caramel called "Genghis Khan Caramel."

Even thought it's called Genghis Khan Caramel, it doesn't contain any lamb.
I researched the product a little bit and the summary of the flavor is the following.
"It doesn't contain any meat, so you can't expect the meat flavor. Technically, it tastes like after removal of lamb (including the broth) from Genghis Khan.
And more particularly, it has sweet caramel flavor and also spices like garlic and leek.
Besides having those weird combination, the spices are not added slightly but strongly.
Thus, the 2 different flavors never mix in your mouth and they fight against each other."

And more interestingly, when they improved the flavor to make it tastier, they received complains about being not as bad as before and they had to use the original recipe to get the terrible flavor back.

When I read this, I got pretty scared to try...but I really wanted to try at least once to see how bad it is.
And a friend of mine goes to Hokkaido on business trip and she brought a box for me.

I got this middle of July but till today, August 28, I was too afraid to eat this.

First I thought the strong Genghis Khan flavor would leak when I opened the film, but it didn't smell at all.

Inside of the box, there're little cubes like Morinaga Milk Caramels and they're individually wrapped in a white paper.

This is a piece of caramel.

Finally I started smelling some spicy and salty flavor when I picked this up.
The color of the caramel is much more pale than other regular caramels, but the fine lines on the top and bottom and the size was almost the same.
I encouraged myself and ate it.
First it was sweet like tasty caramel.
However, in less than 5 seconds, I smelled and tasted weird and Genghis Khan flavor without using meat at all.

I tried to chew as much as I could but I just couldn't chew anymore.
And I spitted it out and drank diet cherry coke to make the taste go away.

It was seriously disgusting, awful, weird, terrible...

If you're looking for some crazy and unappreciated souvenir, this should be it.
*According to some site, you can buy this on internet.


Lunch Pack Collection:
Silky Coffee Cream

Opening the package, I could sense the same flavor of some milk coffee beverage sold in Japan. 

The coffee cream has light texture and sweet coffee flavor.
Yamazaki Gourmet Box: 

Gyoza (pork dumpling) with chili oil. 

The package warms it's spicy hot but I couldn't taste any chili oil ;(
Lunch Pack Collection:
Nectar Mix Cream

Uses purée and fruit juice cream of Fujiya "Nectar Mix." 

It's only fruit flavor cream and it'd have been nicer if it contained fruit chunks.
Lunch Pack Collection: 
Ganache (limited edition)

Cocoa flavored bread contains smooth chocolate ganache inside.

Ganache is slightly bitter and matches really well with cocoa bread.
Choi Paku Rusk: 

Using the crust which is cut off when they prepare Lunch Pack, and this is peanut flavor. 

They cut the crust into pieces and soaked in peanut flavored chocolate. 

224 kcal
Lunch Pack Collection: 
Sweet Potato & Margarine

They use sweet potato from Kagoshima pref. 

The paste was really smooth and I could taste the real flavor. 

158kcal each sammie.
Lunch Pack Collection:
Meiho Keichan (recommended by Meiho Keichan Association)

Stir fried chicken with miso based sauce plus soy sauce and garlic, usually cooked with seasonal vegetables. 

This dish has been handed down in Meiho, Gujo city, Gifu pref. 

For the filling they used ground breast meat, I think. Smelled good but the sauce was slimy and weird... I hope the real sauce is much nicer.
Lunch Pack Collection: 
Kitakami Croquette (recommended by Kitakami Croquette Goodwill Association)

Croquette made with satoimo (taro), onion, asparagus, beef, and pork.

This is famous in Kitakami city, Iwate pref.

The idea of this croquette was Kitakami city thought they should make local specialties using the local products.

Any croquette contains satoimo (taro), beef, pork, and asparagus is considered as Kitakami croquette according to the Kitakami city web page.

As they use satoimo (taro), the texture was smoother than potato croquette.
Lunch Pack Collection: 
Sweet Potato & Whipped Cream

Annou Imo is a type of sweet potato famous in Tanegashima. They use 2% of Annou Imo paste in this. 

Sweet potato is really rich and tasty. 

Highly recommended.
Lunch Pack Collection:
Namie Yakisoba

Supervised by Namie Yakisoba Taikoku. (Namie Taikoku is a place where to eat Namie Yakisoba originated in Fukushima pref. and a group of people spreads the fried noodle to everyone.)

Yakisoba is fried noodle and Namie Yakisoba's signatures are thick noodle, pork back ribs, and a lot of bean sprout with yakisoba sauce only.
This yakisoba has been out more than a half century.
Yamazaki Gourmet Box:
Karaage with Salty Sauce

Karaage is fried chicken. 

This contains a piece of fried chicken with salty sauce and naganegi onion. 

The sauce was pretty good but I wish it was white meat, so I didn't really enjoy the meat itself.
Lunch Pack Collection: 
Crunchy Chocolate Bar & whipped cream

One side is white bread and cocoa flavored bread hold crunchy chocolate bar and whipped cream as the image on the right top shows.

This one also has tiny piece of chocolate bar. I want bigger one like the picture.

Having 2 different taste of breads were nice though.


Almost Free Teppan-Yaki Lunch At A Hard-To-Find Restaurant Called Keyakizaka in Grand Hyatt Tokyo

In March, one of my friends had a wedding party and I attended the after party.
At the after party, they had quiz about the newly wed couple and I won a meal ticket when I got a correct answer.

The ticket lets me choose a restaurant from a list and depending on the restaurant, I could do either lunch or dinner.
As the ticket expires early in September, I finally booked a place and made a reservation.

Today, I and my husband went to have Teppan-Yaki lunch at Keyakizaka in Grand Hyatt in Roppongi.
We'd never been to the place, and it was really confusing since there's no notice on the wall at the hotel as it says it's located on the 4th floor in Grand Hyatt, we had to go up to the 6th floor by the hotel elevator and then had to take stairs to go down to the 4th floor....

Yet we found another elevator by the entrance of Keyakizaka, and the elevator is in Roppongi Hills.
Next time we go, I should remember to take the general elevator from Roppongi Hills which leads me to the entrance easily.

Ok, here we are in the end, at the entrance.
It's in a modern building, but the entrance is made with woods so it was creating a stylish but also warm atmosphere before going into the Teppan-yaki restaurant.
To the right side we went to, there's a big wooden door to go inside.
There're 2 big iron plates and each iron plate was in front of solid timber, which is a counter table.
And in front of us, there're various vegetables.

Behind the counter we sat, there're several tables, chairs, and sofas.

I booked lunch course and the menu was the following.
Chilled sea urchin egg custard, grilled sea urchin
雲丹の冷製フラン 焼き雲丹添え
US Prime beef tenderloin 120g (Japanese beef extra charge 1,500 yen)
USプライムビーフ テンダーロイン 120g(国産牛 追加料金1,500円)
Garlic fried rice
Miso soup
Japanese pickles
Coffee or tea
コーヒー または 紅茶

The menu above is a regular menu, but I made a request for my husband to switch sea urchin to some vegetables and they even printed out a different menu for him.
And when we're seated, a waiter came and asked if there's any other food restriction we'd like to mention at the table.
I thought it was really nice of them to be aware of the request I asked for and also to make sure again with us at the counter.
He also asked us if we're interested in wagyu (Japanese beef) and we could either switch the American beef to wagyu, or we could do order one wagyu and share American beef and wagyu so that we could taste the difference of the meat.
We decided to take the advice and ordered one wagyu to enjoy the difference.

Soon after, a waitress came and took our drink order after bringing hot towels.
And when they came back with drinks, they put orange color aprons for us.

Our chef was taking care of us to 3 groups at the same time.
He's not only cooking but also he's talking to us and explaining what he's serving.

First dish was Chilled sea urchin egg custard.
The chef started grilling on the hot iron for a while, then put it over egg custard.
The egg custard was already made and he put the grilled sea urchin over it, and finished up with yellow gold cubes made with dashi (broth) and vinegar, and he poured refreshing sauce over, then placed an edible green leaf (Japanese pepper, 山椒の葉).

The egg custard was similar to Chawan-Mushi (茶碗蒸し) and smooth.
Inside of the egg custard, there're more sea urchin.
Usually I'm not a big fan of sea urchin but it was cooked and didn't smell weird in the eggs.
Also, the grilled sea urchin on the top was really interesting.
Outside was crispy and had roasted flavor, but inside, it's moist and soft like the fresh raw.

While we're enjoying the entree, the chef was preparing for the main.
American beef is on the left, and wagyu is on the right.
Also on the plate, there're eggplant, zucchini, and orange pepper.
Powder in the black square container is salt.

First he grilled veggies after he spread oil.

He asked us how we want the beefs cooked, so as always, I asked medium rare.
Beefs were sizzling and providing mouthwatering flavor in front of us.

The same waitress brought us two different sauces for streak.
On the left, it's sesame sauce and on the right, it's tomato salsa sauce.

Here's the main.
From the right, American beef, wagyu, and grilled vegetables.
Mmmm.... medium rare....
I usually like wagyu more than American beef, but somehow, I liked American beef better here.
American beef was softer and had more flavor in it and wagyu had some hard texture and also a bit of smell which I'm not familiar with.

I tried all the three sauces; salt, sesame sauce, and tomato salsa with beefs and veggies.
For the beefs, I liked eating with salt and for veggies, tomato salsa sauce was so perfect.
Sesame sauce wasn't only sweet but also had a little sourness that was my first time to have sour sesame sauce.

When the main was almost gone, chef came back and was about to make garlic rice.
Before he started cooking, he asked us and the group next to us if he could use green perilla and as none of us had a problem with that, he got back to cooking.
First he browned finely chopped garlic on the iron plate, and once garlic was lightly brown, he put it aside on a paper towel to drain oil. 
While draining the oil, he put asparagus over oil and and lightly stirred.
He put warm rice on the hot iron and fried a bit, then he gathered the rice into one pile and made a slight gap in the middle with spurtles he's been using for the whole menu, and put the garlic, asparagus, white sesame, and green perilla.
He was frying them all together and also he put a block of butter and poured soy sauce over and mixed them, and put over the garlic rice.
When the garlic rice was ready, he divided into 4 and put in bowls equally and served to us.
Soon, miso soup and Japanese pickles were brought by the waitress.

I was wondering if the butter soy sauce would give weird taste to the garlic rice but I didn't notice much butter flavor because of strong garlic flavor.
Garlic was so fine and it was about the same size as the sesame in the rice, but sesame was crispy and crunchy, and asparagus also added different texture, which was moist, crispy, and smooth inside.

Miso soup was using Aka-miso (red soy paste), seaweed, and leeks.

This is Japanese pickles.
White slices were daikon radish, and green was daikon leaves.
While having this last plate, the waitress brought us hot Japanese tea.

This course made us satisfied but when they brought us dessert menus, some looked interesting and I ordered "crispy peach tart" and my husband ordered "chocolate souffle."
They informed us chocolate souffle would take about 15 minutes to make, but we didn't have anything planned afterwards, we said it's ok.

They make sure little things like that, too and it was so nice to be asked and let us know the time to cook so that we won't run out of time or be late for something if we had plans.

The same chef brought chocolate mousse in a little white cocotte, and placed on the iron plate and spread water around it and covered.

He left it as it is and moved on to my dessert.
He brought fresh peach and orange and put them on the iron.
And he did flambe.

After this, we're led to a space behind us where some tables are with chairs and sofas.
Some teppan-yaki places serve us mains and when it comes to desserts, they'd guide us to another space to have sweets and teas.

This is the Crispy Peach Tart.
It came with raspberry ice cream and crispy caramel plate stuck in the ice cream.
At the bottom, it's a thick and sweet pastry like almond flavored dough wrapped with pie sheet.

Crispy parts was the caramel over the ice cream and the pie sheet around the bottom part.
Peach was fresh and sweet, and raspberry ice cream was a little bit sour and it balanced out the plate well.
Peach was flambe so I thought alcohol was gone but some how I got dizzy after finishing this all.
It could be because I'm lightweight and I haven't had any single alcohol so that I might have become much weaker, but it definitely had strong brandy flavor in the peach and the syrup.

The orange slices were served with my husband's Chocolate Souffle.
The souffle was so soft, warm, and smooth and sour orange sauce was really good.
Vanilla ice cream was on the top of the hot souffle and melting and making strips on the dark brown chocolate.
The color was more vivid than the dessert I ordered since this consists of dark brown, orange, and white.
It's worth waiting for 15 minutes I'd say.

From the entree to main, and to the dessert, all the plates were great.
Each portion was small but as they're flavorful, they filled me up in the end.
To have a certain waitress was nice too so that she knows what we ordered and what we preferred.

Keyakizaka / けやき坂
4F, Grand Hyatt Tokyo, 6-10-3, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
東京都港区六本木6-10-3 六本木ヒルズ グランドハイアット東京4F

Lunch: 11:30AM - 2:30PM (Weekends & holidays: 11:30AM - 3:00PM)
Dinner: 6:00PM - 9:00PM
ランチ: 11:30~14:30(土・日・祝 ~15:00)
ディナー: 18:00~21:30

*Reservation recommended.
*They're capable of switching foods when you book if you have any food restriction.


Seven Eleven Produced Donuts Collaborated With A Movie Called "Nazotoki Wa Dinner No Ato De"
セブンイレブン x 「謎解きはディナーのあとで」のドーナツ

"Nazotoki Wa Dinner No Ato De" is a Japanese TV drama series aired back in 2011 and is based on the mystery novel of the same name. 
The title means "Let us save the reveal for dessert" or "Dinner will be followed by the reveal."
An unique aspect of this drama was they sometimes used like a comic book technique; on the TV screen, not only the actors and actresses were on but also sentimento, onomatope, and mimetic word seen in manga book and they're "降伏/FAIL," "クビ/You're fired," and some others.

The TV drama was followed by 2-hour special episode and on August 3, 2013, a movie came out.

I've never seen the TV show closely but my husband wanted to see this movie when we saw the trailer at a movie theater and we watched the whole TV series and the special episode before the movie came out in a week with English subtitles.

Seven Eleven collaborated with this movie and they produced 2 kinds of donuts (sugar and chocolate).
There's only one donut left and it's sugar version.
The package has a little picture of the butler's tuxedo with a black bow tie and a white handkerchief in the pocket.

"Nazotoki Wa Do-natsu No Ato De (sugar)" 
*do-natsu means donuts
120 JPY
The name of this product has been changed to "donuts" from "dinner."

This collaborated donuts have stickers on the package with famous phrase which butler Mr. Kageyama says often to his milady, who is a rich heiress but she works as a detective with her identity concealed.
He's invective and says, "Are you stupid?" even though he's a butler.

There're 6 kinds of the phrase and the one I bought had the sticker below.
"Moshi sou de arunaraba, 'u~ke~u~' de gozaimasu.' " and the translation: "If it is so, I'd say, "It's so fuuuunnnnnyyyyy.' "
It's usually used young to mid-20s females and Mr. Kageyama said this to his milady, Ms. Reiko Hosho, when she can't solve mystery or tricks when she ask him for some idea.

Sugar donut was a sugar glazed old fashion.

Back side.

Looks like a little mountain in my hand.

It was one of the best donuts I've had and I liked the hard and dry texture inside and crispy outside.
Though I said it's dried inside, it's not bad way.
Personally, I like hard and dense textured donuts instead of soft and fragile ones.

It would have been still tasty without sugar coating.
I'd love Seven Eleven to keep selling this donuts continuously after the collaborated package is gone.
Sometimes I crave like this old fashion donuts but I can't always find this type at 24hr open conbini and most of the time the donuts they sell is soft ones, which I don't like that much to compare with this.

Calories: 457kcal
Protein: 2.8g
Fat: 33.7g
Carbohydrate: 35.6g
Natrium: 190mg

They didn't say how many donuts are available, but press says these're available while supply lasts so when I find another donut (chocolate version), I'd buy and see the taste and also the sticker what it says.