Re-entry into the American lifestyle–

What better way to “get back into the groove” of American life than to go eat breakfast at IHOP?

Yes, I went to eat breakfast at IHOP today:

1) I was craving it when I woke up
2) I have no food in my apartment at the moment due to my month-long vacation away from the apartment
3) IHOP is just one block away from my apartment.

This was the first time I was able to venture outside since I arrived back in San Francisco on Wednesday. It felt strange to enter into a restaurant and not have someone say to me “Welcome!” in Japanese. The service was faster, the people were still polite, but ah-ha–today I finally had to leave a tip (in Japan, it’s not part of their custom to leave tips). Well, the meal was good, all-American: stuffed French toast, sausage, eggs, hash browns.

Yes, I’m back in America, and today I finally can feel it from this experience.

Sasebo Burger

This is a Sasebo burger–apparently the first “Japanese hamburger” originating from Sasebo located in Nagasaki. My friend Mayumi told me about the burger, and said that we should go eat it since she was going to be in Tokyo for the day.

I didn’t really know much about the burger, what made it special–but biting into it, I realized it was indeed unique. There’s egg included, and the burger is made fresh–this isn’t a fast food burger. We ate it at Zat’s Burger Cafe in Nakano; apparently Sasebo Burger is also available in Tachikawa at a small burger stand by the south entrance of the station.

The burger looks a little thick from the picture, but I felt it was a good enough portion for me. The restaurant was fun, relaxing–couches to sit on upstairs, just like a “regular” cafe. I wish I had known about this burger earlier on! I probably would eat it more if it weren’t for the abundance of burgers in the US already. Granted, I can’t get a Sasebo Burger in the US, but still, the idea of eating a lot of burgers in Japan makes me feel awkward.

Ramen shop.

I was craving ramen today, and happened to stumble upon a chain ramen shop by the Tachikawa station. Unfortunately, I felt a little embarrassed at the restaurant since I couldn’t find the “Call” button (it was located on the wall behind me), and a nice man gave me a coupon that I couldn’t read/understand until after I ordered my meal. Oops.

But, still, the ramen was tasty and quick. Wish there were ramen shops like this in the US.

Quizno’s on Celebrity Apprentice

(Screenshot of Quizno’s website)

Last week I went to Quizno’s for dinner and I remember seeing some promotions in the store saying how they were going to be featured on “Celebrity Apprentice“. Tonight, I was just wondering when that would happen and was delighted to see that Quizno’s was in fact featured on tonight’s episode.

The project for the episode was to create a new sandwich and sell it to the lunch rush in NYC (two hours); whoever sold the most sandwiches would win the challenge.

Both sandwiches created (The Champ sandwich and The Prime Rib Cowboy sandwich) sound really really tasty. I didn’t think that the sandwiches would actually be available for purchase at Quizno’s, but they are available up until March 21st (well, they HAVE to feature the sandwiches now since Celebrity Apprentice gave them a “free” plug on the show).

Anyway, The Prime Rib Cowboy sandwich features prime rib, mozzarella, bacon, and onion on their SAMMIE bread; The Champ sandwhich is turkey and cheddar on SAMMIE bread. I tried Quizno’s flatbread last week and I must say, it was very heavenly. Soft, warm, and fresh. Which sandwich should I go for? Which would you choose?

Quizno’s: More than Sub Sandwiches.

I don’t think many people know that Quizno’s actually sells other food items other than subs. Well, at least that’s what I had always thought. I always thought, “Quizno’s only sells subs; therefore, they are competing with Subway.”

Yes, they compete against Subway, but I feel in many ways, Quizno’s is the better of the two. Granted, I did not try one of their subs when I went there today, but I have to say, I rather enjoyed the quality of my Raspberry Chipotle Chicken Salad tonight. Very high in quality, but at a great, affordable price. Plus, the atmosphere at the Quizno’s I was at (on 3rd Street @ Market) was similar to the atmosphere at any yuppie cafe/eatery: swank yet at a good value.

I regret that I didn’t go to Quizno’s earlier; one of my friend’s friends recommended Quizno’s to me last year, and my former manager actually recommended it to me, too. I rarely ate out before this month though, so that would probably explain the lack of visits to Quizno’s. With a hectic work schedule and lack of time to cook healthy meals at home, I do have to resort to eating out a lot more often. I don’t like it, but it can’t be helped right now. Sigh.