Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Pizza

Gore Creek Campground

Monday was our last night of camping. When I booked a spot at the Gore Creek Campground I thought they had running water. Nope. Rookie mistake. I assumed when using Reservation.gov if the campground didn’t specifically say “no water” then water was available. Not the case. Always be sure to check that it says “water” as an amenity. Fortunately, it was our last night camping and the next night would be in a hotel.

Our campsite in the Aspen grove

Speaking of water, I purchased a solar shower before we left. Up until Monday morning I was super pleased with Dr. Prepare. And then I wasn’t. Sadira went to fill it up Monday morning and the hose disconnected from the bag. We tried to duct tape it. But, it just didn’t work. I don’t recommend the Dr. Prepare. It only last 4 days for us. That’s ridiculous.

Dr. Unprepared

After settling into our campsite, we decided to take a short hike. According to AllTrails, the trail was a 1.4 mile loop. We found the trail easily and set off. We hiked up and enjoyed the view as we climbed. A little over a mile in, we became concerned because we hadn’t looped around. When I checked AllTrails, no surprise. We were off the trail… again! We double backed and couldn’t find where the trail was supposed to turn. It looked liked it had been blocked. We continued back down the way we came and our 1.4 mile loop turned into a 2.5 out and back! Haha

Despite the extra distance hiked – the views of the mountains were beautiful.

Sunflowers and Aspen
A trail through Aspens
Almost clear skies
Happy hikers
We think this was some sort of mushroom.

After our hike, we prepped the tent one last time and Sadira made us quesadillas for dinner!

Campground sunset
Campground Chef

Tuesday morning we packed up for the last time. We headed to Denver for the day. We stayed close to the airport Tuesday night so I could fly home easily Wednesday. Tuesday we had lunch at Lowdown Brewery. We split a mushroom pizza and salad. Yummmmm!

One last selfie

It was a fun and relaxing camping trip. We had a few hiccups throughout the week… but, overall it was a success. As always, thanks for following along!

Moving Day

Today we traveled from Moab to Park City. As we drove over the first mountain there was a noticeable difference in vegetation as we transitioned out of the desert. Once we passed through SLC and went up and over the mountains again, there was even more noticeable difference. Ecosystems are amazing. On our way to Park City, we stopped at Sundance. It was beautiful. This picture was my favorite.

My Love at Sundance

Moving on, we stopped in Park City for lunch at Squatters Brewery. Dave had a lager and I enjoyed a “Juicy IPA”. We split the “New York Cheesesteak” – despite everything wrong with that name, it was delicious.

Squatters Brewery

After lunch, we goofed around Park City until it was time to check in. We are staying at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley. It’s absolutely amazing. Our room is fantastic. Amazing views, full kitchen, two fireplaces, two bathrooms, amazing bed and did I mention the view. I was so excited about everything… and then the bellhop told me about the laundry room with complimentary detergent. I felt like I landed in vacation heaven. A comfortable bed AND free laundry after being in the desert for 3 days… yes, please!

Kitchen and den
Bedroom – views of the mountains
View out the back
Main bathroom
Den
Washer & Dryer. This Dwyer is HAPPY

Our elevation is about 8,500 feet. We are surrounded by green ski slopes, evergreens and aspens. Once we checked in, (started laundry) we walked around to enjoy the view.

These beautiful planters are Everywhere!
I took this picture around 4:30pm.

We finished up laundry, dealt with an A/C issue and were ready for dinner. Yes, at this point in the day the sun was blazing hot and shining into the room. The A/C was at 75 and only going up. The repair man was there in minutes and had it working in 15 minutes. Ironically, a storm was coming at the same time and it became super cold. However, the storm coming over the mountains was beautiful.

Around 6:30. Storm moving in!

We went to the Champions pub/ game room for dinner. Pizza & Salad. On our way there, we found the Clown Car. we were pleased to see he was tucked away for the next couple of days. The resort shuttle will take us to trails, dinner and anywhere else (in a 5 mile radius).

Good night everyone. I’m officially relaxing and on vacation…. Tomorrow is a new day with lots of trails to find!

View from the balcony
Deer friend from our balcony

Piacere Pizza & Wine

Miki and I met for lunch in Yokosuka on Tuesday. She took me to a delicious restaurant off the beaten path and down a back alley. Literally.

Piacere Pizza & Wine offers a delicious lunch set for ¥1,000 ($10.00). The set includes a small salad, your choice of pizza or pasta, dessert, and coffee or tea. The salad and bread were perfect for making a small sandwich!

I selected the wood fired margarita pizza and Miki ordered the spaghetti with vegetables. We shared them both and they were delicious. This might take the number one spot in my list of “favorite pizza in Yokosuka.”

For dessert we enjoyed coffee jello. I wasn’t sure if I would like it at first, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was delicious.

I enjoyed our lunch today. I was appreciative of Miki taking me to a place I haven’t been and one with delicious pizza! I truly appreciate our friendship.

After lunch, I had several errands to do on main base. The first, picking up the Hooptie after an oil change. I’m happy to report she is still doing well and keeping us safely transiting around our local area. I dropped Hooptie off with Dave and was lucky enough to catch him in his office doing what he does best, fixing ships!

The second, was to book two trips for upcoming family and friends we have visiting. As I have said before, Julia Tours are completely customizable and aim to provide a memorable experience. I set up trips to Kyoto and Hiroshima for our upcoming guests. Please let me know soon when and where you would like to go during your visit! I’m ready to plan it for you!!

Tokyo Shopping

Dave and I went up to Tokyo on Sunday for two reasons.

1. Pizzeria da Michele for lunch.

2. I needed to go shopping!

Since we weren’t running a marathon the next day, like the last time we enjoyed a pizza lunch at Pizzeria da Michele, we shared a small caprese salad and a pizza. The pizza was incredible.


After our lunch, we went to Harajuku for my “American” shopping. I wanted to go to GAP for a few staples for an upcoming trip. I was able to find just what I needed!


As we were walking around, I mentioned to Dave that I have bought more GAP clothing in the past year living in Japan than I have in the past five years living in the U.S. The style is classic and more importantly, they have American sized clothes.

I did make one super fun purchase. I’ve seen summer hats with cat ears on a couple of people. Dave found me one on Takeshita street! I love it!


Dave was quite the sport as we walked around. Harajuku is always crowded and more so on a Sunday. I snapped this picture as we started walking down Takeshita street.


When you visit, we will definitely walk around the Harajuku area. Let’s just try to avoid the Sunday crowd!!

Patio Weather

The weather has been so delightful the past week. I like to describe it as patio weather. For lunch, Dave and I went to one of our favorite patios in Yokosuka. Napoli’s pizza. We started with a salad. 


And ended with a pizza. I ordered a four cheese pizza. They suggest honey to be added. It sounds weird but, tastes amazing. 


Patio, pizza, and beer. It was a nice lunch. 

For dinner, we decided to avoid the crowds of Golden Week and instead visit our favorite patio in Zushi. Ours. We set up our table top grills and enjoyed our Japanese style meal. We started with edamame and Sake.


Dave was my personal chef. He made veggies (cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts) on the hot plate in the ceramic bowl and grilled steak and pumpkin. I nicely displayed the tuna sashimi and tuna rolls. 


It was a team effort of deliciousness. 


I hope when you visit we are able to enjoy patio weather. 

PS. Saturday we had the pleasure to welcome friends from Great Lakes who just moved to Japan. It was very fun to see familiar faces. We took them to the first place we had ramen in Yokosuka. Seemed appropriate. Welcome, Jenn, Heath, Hayden, and Mady! We are happy to have you in Japan with us!! I also promise to take a better photo next time we are together! 😉 in the meantime, ramen. 

AWkitchen Garden 

One of our favorite restaurants, Farm To You, in Kamakura closed in March. Dina first took me there in November. I’m not officially sure but, I think it might have changed ownership and then the restaurant was given a new name. Regardless, it has reopened as AWkitchen Garden. Dina and I set out to indulge in a deliciously fresh lunch. We were not disappointed!


They are open daily according to the sign.


We arrived at 11:50 and had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. While we waited, we snapped a couple pictures of the Endoshima Line train and the gardens of the restaurant. Everyone LOVES the Endoshima Line train!


Once we were seated, we learned The lunch menu is only offered as a set. The set included: a salad, soup, and a choice of pizza or pasta. We both selected the Margherita pizza.

The table was set with two types of vinegar, strawberry, and kiwi. Also, two types of salt, balsamic dressing, lemon – rosemary water, and our glasses of wine.


First up, an amazingly fresh salad. This would be Dave’s favorite! It was so beautiful, I had to take a couple pictures from different angles.


The soup was a fresh onion gazpacho. It was fresh and oniony.


The Margherita pizza was very good. It was wood-fired with fresh basil, buffalo mozzarella, and a delicious tomato purée sauce.


The wood fired crust was my favorite. Dina snapped a picture of the oven for me. Notice the original FTY (Farm to You) logo.


This remains on my list of favorites in Kamakura. Mainly for the salad and the atmosphere. The pizza wins an honorable mention by U.S. pizza standards and a place winner in Japan. I’m not sure I would recommend we go when you visit. Mainly because I know the pizza will disappoint you. Unless you want an amazing salad after eating so much ramen! Or we need a vegetarian option.

Pizzeria da Michele

One of my top five favorite books is “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you are familiar with the book or movie, you might remember the part when she is in Italy and takes a trip to Naples. The Tandem Exchange twins she met in Rome, are from Naples and tell her she must go and eat pizza at Pizzeria da Michele.

Here is a quote from her description of the pizza from page 80 of the paperback edition.
“There’s not a menu. They have only two varieties of pizza here – regular and extra cheese. None of this new age southern California olives-and-sundried-tomato wannabe pizza twaddle. The dough, it takes me half my meal to figure out, tastes more like Indian nan than like any pizza dough I every tried. It’s soft and chewy and yielding, but incredibly thin. I always thought we only had two choices in our lives when it came to pizza crust – thin and crispy, or thick and doughy. How was I to have known there could be a crust in this world that was thin and doughy? Holy of holies! Thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise. On top, there is a sweet tomato sauce that foams up all bubbly and creamy when it melts the fresh buffalo mozzarella, and the one sprig of basil in the middle of the whole deal somehow infuses the entire pizza with herbal radiance, much the same way one shimmering movie star in the middle of a party brings a contact high of glamour to everyone around her. It’s technically impossible to eat this thing, of course. You try to take a bite off your slice and the gummy crust folds, and the hot cheese runs away like a topsoil in a landslide, makes a mess of you and your surroundings, but just deal with it.”

I remember the first time I read that passage in 2008. Dave and I were driving home to Germantown, TN from our spring break trip to St. Pete’s Beach, FL. I was reading as he drove and read the passage aloud to him saying something like, listen to how good this pizza sounds. Much to my surprise and to my delight, there is also a Pizzeria da Michele in Tokyo. Both are owned by the same franchise. A friend told me about it and I marked it in Google Maps. When I was looking at Google Maps to see what was around our hotel, I saw the star I had placed last week. Seemed like the perfect Saturday pre-marathon carbo load lunch! We are the gray dot next to Shinjuku station and Pizzeria da Michele is the gold star by Ebisu station. Only 5 train stops away on the Yamanote line.

We arrived at 11:21 am. The restaurant opens at 11:30. We were first in line. By the time they opened the doors, there were 2 groups behind us. When we left an hour later, the restaurant was full and several groups were waiting for a table.

This menu was on the wall outside the restaurant.

We were seated at a table for two and we were given a menu. The menu included several appetizers and only two kinds of pizza. With or without cheese.

While we waited for our food, we watched them preparing pizzas. The pizza maker is behind the glass partition. He hand rolls the dough and adds the toppings. The pizza baker is standing in front of the oven. One person makes the pizza, one person bakes the pizza.

The oven was HUGE.

We started our meal with a green salad. The lettuce was so fresh and tender.

We finished our meal with the double mozzarella pizza.

It was just as delicious as Elizabeth Gilbert described. The first bite!

The pizza doesn’t come cut. On the table are knives and forks so you can cut your slice.

I found it easiest to fold and roll the slice and then bite. None the less, I had grease all over my hands and pants by the time I was finished.

It was an expensive pizza experience. The double mozzarella pizza costs ¥2000 about $18.50. Every bite was worth it and it was cheaper than flying to Italy!

I boldly stated to Dave, the pizza made it on my list of top 5 pizzas ever and  it was by far the best pizza we have had in Japan. I did make it clear it wasn’t better than Piece in Chicago. He said it was good and would go back. He thought the mozzarella and sauce were a little too liquidity. Maybe, but that crust!

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A short follow-up to yesterday’s post about our hotel. Here is a picture of the view from the room this morning. Mt. Fuji!

Also, I learned the hotel has Hello Kitty themed rooms. How did I miss this!?! I looked up the price of the room. A one night stay with breakfast included is ¥74,056 or about $660. Seems like I should be staying in one of those rooms for free considering my running outfit for tomorrow!!

Honorable Mention

We haven’t had too much luck with finding a good pizza spot in Japan. We have tried several different pizza joints from Yokosuka to Zushi to Yokohama to Tokyo. The one thing in common all of these pizza places had was offering corn as a topping. Yes, corn. Almost as gross as a squid eyeball pizza. Just kidding, that’s not a thing. 

Well, I have good news. This weekend Dave and I tried a new pizza restaurant, called Pizzeria Bar Napoli, on Blue Street (the Main Street in Yokosuka). 

Pizzeria Bar Napoli deserves an honorable mention. Pizzeria Bar Napoli is a small, cute little restaurant with a delicious margarita pizza for only ¥500. There is a small bar downstairs with seating upstairs. Also, they have an outdoor seating area when the weather is a little warmer. 
Here was our meal. Two individual sized pizzas and a salmon Caesar salad to share. Oh, and my beer! 


You can see from the picture, my pizza crust was a little burned. It was still good. Dave’s pizza didn’t have the over cooked crust issue so, I’m willing to give them one more shot to make the brick oven pizza we have been searching for since we moved here. 

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