For immediate information on times, locations, and phone numbers click here. If you want to hear my apotheosis over heart attack inducing food stuffs then read this post - you are in the right place.
No matter how much Japanese restaurateurs import from the U.S.A. they will never have it all. There's always something they either forgot to order, or couldn't order for logistical reasons. Even the American wholesaler Cosctos, with their dozen or so branches in Japan, doesn't carry many of the home favourites many of us Americans have grown up with. Stuff like grits, and fatty bacon simply do not exist here Japan. Real Louisiana sausages, or hot links, as they are referred to where I'm from, are unheard of here. Whenever I try to explain these things to friends who are stateside, they simply fail to grasp it. They think all American food can be easily purchased anywhere in the world. It's as if they take so much of what they have at home for granted because many of them have never lived in a foreign country for an extended period of time. Japan is big on quality, meagre on quantity.
What the Japanese typically eat for breakfast is natto, fish, rice, and some pickles. Nowadays, the younger generation eat buttered toast and maybe even an egg. Breakfasts are typically light, no heavy stuff ladened with oils and trans fatty goodness.
I think it was Mr. Bill Granger who mentioned something about a pancake world, and how the pancake will be the next big thing in breakfast overseas, for it was he who laid the ground work for the breakfast revolution here in Japan. When he made is first forays into the Japanese restaurateur market in Tokyo, most Japanese had never even heard of a ricotta cheese pancake, or real scrambled eggs, but times have changed, and in typical fashion, the Japanese did what they do very well; change with the times.
So I made it, and without getting a ticket. Eggs 'n Things, is an American pancake house that specialises in traditional eggs, gourmet omlets, and hot cakes with an option to add a mountain of whip cream. In order to seat right away you need to be there about 30 minutes before doors open, as the lines are always long no matter what time of day or day you go. I was lucky because I knew one of the managers - someone I used to hit on constantly back when she was working at Hard Rock Cafe.
What pancakes are to Americans is a lot like what natto is to Japanese, the main staple to the morning meal. It is the quintessential Americana of breakfast, in other words. The hotcakes were thick and pillowy. Melted right in my mouth. The whip cream on top went perfectly with the texture and the aroma of hot cakes so well known by us American folks who were raised on them. There's a choice between three syrups: Maple, Coconut, and Tropical fruit.
The eggs were fluffy and cooked just right. For those who haven't tried Japanese scrambled eggs; there're not fluffy. They are over scrambled and beaten to death until they looks like scrambled pudding eggs instead of layered fluffy eggs. A tragedy.
Eggs 'n Things did it all right for me this morning, and is now a welcome edition to my sunday morning hangout. The bacon. Did I mention the bacon? Japan sells its bacon lean. There's almost no fat on them and skimpy on the serving sizes, too. Well, not here, the bacon pieces were full of fat and crispy.
Finally, a piece of Americana that's almost unbearable to live without is finally near my house. I can have that tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning, along with a hot cup of coffee to finish up with. I can catch up on my reading - iPad. I can finally get back to doing some of the things I had loved doing when I was living stateside. You cannot ask for a better morning.
Tokyo and Yokohama chefs are starting to realize that you cannot, nor shouldn't put a Japanese twist on American favorites, but you can take American favorites and make them the proper American way consistently very well. This is one such small realization. Even Japanese, nowadays, are aware of such an emerging fact that the days of making Chinese and American food the "Japanese Way" is over, and this is like I said is an emerging trend in the culinary world in here Japan. You shouldn't make Chinese cuisine with a Japanese twist, neither should you make an American style cheeseburger with eggs, like they do here at the local McDonalds. It just doesn't work. Or shouldn't work.
Ultimately, all ethnic cuisines taste better the traditional way! This should not be understated but highlighted, that the Japanese have come along ways in realizing this, and I am so happy. When I'm visiting places up in Shibuya, I can expect to get the real deal, and not something made with Japanese taste buds in mind. That's how it used to be, now cooks are focusing on the correct perception and taste of ethnic food. Don't get me wrong though, fusion is fusion, but we shouldn't get away from the essentials. Sometimes too much eclecticism is overdone whereby the originality certain dishes gets carried away.