Tokyo Akihabara Electric Town | Geeks – Anime – Shopping

Akihabara (秋葉原) or fondly called as ‘Akiba’ alone is a venue that commercial tour operators usually forget to include in their itinerary. Yet, there is nothing to upset about if it is missing. Getting to Akibahara is pretty straight forward. Hop on a train (JR Yamanote Line) and get off at ‘Akihabara Electric Town’ station. And it is like taking your right to the door step of Akihabara Electric Town! In order words, welcome to the geek city!

JR Yamanote Line across the main road in Akihabara
JR Yamanote Line across the main road in Akihabara

Immediately as I got out from the train station, modern and tall skyscrapers sight started to fill up my eye line. For visitors, nothing else is best to do here except shopping.
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Texas Hill Country Wine Tasting | Driftwood Estate Vineyards

Talking about Hill Country, it is one of the regions in Texas most sought after for great wines. One of our summer adventures brought us to Driftwood for The Salt Lick BBQ, followed by the indulgence in wine tasting at Driftwood Estate Vineyards.
Wine tasting room
What's your pick?
A long list to taste!
Sweet wine from a combo of Touriga, Souzao, Tinto Cao and Alvarelhao
Open daily from 10 am through 6 pm (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year), Driftwood Winery offers an experience to attempt five flavors of in-house wines with only a fee of $5. For premium wine such as Portejas, one has to fork out additional few bucks to try. You may also order for bottles or glasses of your favorite and have them outside the tasting room. Picnic tables and lawn chairs are provided within the premise if you are into gathering or outdoor feasting with family and friends.

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Tokyo Akihabara | Maid Cafe and Animation Studio

In the recent years, cosplay restaurants or better known as maid cafe or butler cafe are booming all over Japan. Akihabara or the electric capital of Tokyo, is one of the best place to catch this bizarre experience in Tokyo. Despite the name says ‘cafe’, the concept of maid cafe presents more like a relaxation center for Otaku (geeks) rather than a place to chow down.
The haven for geeks
Maid cafes are typically operated by a group of young girls dressed up like French maids with Victorian style pinafore, apron and long stoking. Occasionally, one may see maids with rabbit ears head ban or armed with butcher’s knife behind her back. Besides serving food and drinks, each maid cafe usually provides additional services such as singing, taking picture or playing games with ‘master’.

We did not do much homework about maid cafe so we just jumped into the first we found. Located at second floor in the heart of Akiba, it is called ‘Maid Cafe and Animation Studio’.

Spotted 2 maids with posters?
Spotted 2 maids with posters?

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Home Kitchen Recipe | Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts

There are several variations on how to cook a platter of stir-fried bean sprouts. Despite it is a simple dish, the overcooked bean sprouts do not taste as good as the optimum tossed bean sprouts which are fresh and crunchy. Some cooks even go to the extend to only scald it so that the sprouts would retain its water content.

Everyone in our family love bean sprouts so we sort of grow up eating bean sprout day in day out. This is just one of my mom variations, prepared with shrimps, carrot, green pepper, tofu (medium-hard) and some green onion for garnishing.
Stir-fried bean sprouts
Ready to check out how I do it?
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Home Kitchen Recipe | Chicken Soup With Pumpkin

Pumpkin is known to be rich in nutrition as what I elaborated in the last recipe of Pumpkin Soup. This attempt would talk about preparing savory pumpkin soup of Chinese-style. I was not aware that a typical Chinese soup brings pumpkin into the picture until I found this recipe from a recipe book entitled ‘The World of Nourishing & Fine Soups’.
Chicken Soup with Pumpkin
The recipe I am going to share is adapted from a classic Chicken Soup with pumpkin and oyster. However, as usual I would exclude seafood or in this soup oyster in particular.  
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Austin Vietnamese Snacks | Tam Deli and Cafe

Looking for a variety of light Asian snacks and a cuppa of coffee in Austin? Tam Deli & Cafe is perhaps a good choice. Located at in a strip of single story mall along North Lamar Blvd, Tam Deli & Cafe is a small deli but offers a long list of menu. When food is good, size does not matter.

Banh mi - Vietnamese sandwich with egg and shrimps
Banh mi – Vietnamese sandwich with egg and shrimps

Online review claims that Tam serves one of the best Bánh mì in Austin and that was the main reason that brought us there. Banh mi or sometimes written as Banh my is commonly referred as Vietnamese sandwich that is prepared from baguette bread. Banh mi was created after French colonization and today it serves as an alternative for a typical Vietnamese breakfast. Made from both wheat and rice flour, the  baguette bread is sometimes toasted, filled with fresh or pickled vegetables and various meat fillings include pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, egg and sausage.
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Texas Barbecue Restaurant | Driftwood Salt Lick BBQ

Ever since the first day I arrived in Texas, all I heard from people was ‘If you want BBQ, you have to try Salt Lick!’. Fine, my first year is almost up and we decided to trek a fair bit from Austin (where we live) to Driftwood to get the feel of ‘real’ Texas barbecue.

Farm atmosphere in Driftwood
Farm atmosphere in Driftwood

BBQ of Texas country style
It has never came across my mind that the mission of The Salt Lick BBQ was an adventure, passing through cowboy land where signposts of wild animal are prominent and I did not even realize when we arrived. Guess what, the place was not what I expected. Nothing luxury, everything is back to basic!
Huge BBQ pit
Smoke is in the air!
Oak wood gives fantastic flavor
Nestled against the country ranches, The Salt Lick BBQ holds a charming farm atmosphere. Parking area occupies the area behind. Rustic wood structure with triangle roof-top on one end is where the restaurant or indoor dining area is located. Opposite is an open space with wood benches and tables, serves a great waiting corner as s well as the spot for picnic-style dining ‘The Salt Lick BBQ’ (to-go) and BYOB. At the same time, you would be entertained by live country music. This feature tends to let us forget about how long we had waited since we were there on the Independence’s Day weekend!
Appealing Pecan Pie
Bar-B-Que like no other!
In less than 30 minutes, our turn was called and we headed into the rustic building. Oh my, the huge traditional BBQ pit is right after the entrance, behind the counter. With the smoke from open fire oak, appealing aroma in the air and the sight of sausages, briskets and ribs lying on the pit, I am convinced that this is right place for Texas BBQ!
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