Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Pizza

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! 


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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