For Koen’s birthday we celebrated at one of our favorite restaurants, Het Gebaar. Het Gebaar is a Michelin star restaurant by Roger Van Damme serving haute Belgian cuisine and magical, beautiful desserts. At the end Koen received a surprise from the restaurant! Our waitress brought out a giant cake with a special dessert for Koen on top! Continue reading →
Dining at the 3 star kaiseki restaurant Kikunoi in Kyoto for our 8th year wedding anniversary was a highlight of the trip. Kaiseki is Japanese haute cuisine, and a big influence of the Michelin tasting menus we know today. A kaiseki dinner is made up of many courses (our’s had 12) that change monthly with the season.
The Hamarikyu Gardens in the Chiyoda Ward of Tokyo, offer a bit of peace in the middle of the busy city. In stark contrast to the skyscrapers surrounding the garden, Hamarikyu is a beautiful oasis where you can enjoy a stroll along the pond or a bowl of matcha with sweets at the traditional teahouse.
Akihabara, aka Akihabara Electric Town, is the otaku cultural center of Tokyo. What is otaku? A Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly anime and manga. Akihabara is also a shopping district for gamers and gadget enthusiasts with many shops selling video games (like Super Potato) and consumer goods. We couldn’t wait to visit and end our evening with the best tonkatsu in Tokyo!
The Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is the largest and busiest fish market in the world. The market opens most mornings at 3AM, so it’s recommended to visit when you first arrive and are still jet lagged. So we headed to Tsukiji for a sushi breakfast on our first full day!
Koen and I arrived in Tokyo early in the morning, so by the time we settled into our apartment for the week we were ready for lunch. One place we were excited to visit was the Tokyo Ramen Street in the Tokyo Station. We first saw it in Mind of a Chef with David Chang and then read about it on various sites about the best ramen in Tokyo.
To celebrate my birthday a bit further, I organized a Dim Sum and tea brunch at Fong Mei with family and friends on Sunday. Dim Sum is especially fun with a big group, ordering a lot of dishes you can share with everyone! We’re lucky to have such a great Chinese restaurant closeby – Antwerp is actually the only city in Belgium with an official Chinatown.
I’ve been really fortunate the last few years to celebrate my birthday abroad – last year in Copenhagen, the two years previous in New York City – but with our upcoming trip to Japan, this year we kept it low key.
Luckily I was able to see Christina one more time before she headed back to the States. It doesn’t matter where we are – America, the Netherlands, Belgium – nothing beats a girls’ day. This time we were in Amsterdam!