Where have I been?!

So I didn’t mean too but I haven’t posted in months!  I have been super busy with zero time…here is a recap of what I’ve been up to since my last post! I apologize in advance for this super long post!

I went to Japan!!!!!!

This was my second trip to Japan. You can read about my first trip here and here.  This trip was 2 full weeks with LOTS of travel, well over 30 train rides within the country…to recap the trip we started in Tokyo.  We spent a quick night and got up early the next day for a bowl of noodles before jumping on a train headed to see monkeys!

This is around 4am in Tokyo…best breakfast ever!

We headed to the Jigokudani Monkey Park – website here. We spent the day walking around the beautiful town and checking out the monkeys.

We stayed in a traditional onsen where we were given robes and sandals to walk around the resort in.  Our room had mats to sleep on and a tub on the balcony with hot water supplied by the hot springs. We had a traditional dinner in a private dining room with SO much food, probably around 10 different courses.  It was an experience.

The next day we headed to Kanazawa for a few nights.  Kanazawa boasts of a lot of really cool historic districts.  We started our day on the streets of the samurai district.

Guess I’m too tall to be a samurai!

From there we headed to the Kanazawa Castle and a gorgeous zen garden.  We completed our site seeing in Kanazawa by checking out the Geisha District.

we were able see a wedding!
Kanazawa is known for their gold leaf, this building is entirely gold leafed, inside and out!

From Kanazawa we headed to Amonohashidate where we headed across a land bridge, open ocean on one side and a pond on the other.

The land bridge took about 45 minutes to hike across and from there we grabbed a bus to the town of Ine.  Ine is fishing village with boat houses called funaya.  We were able to stay in a converted funaya – the garage used to pull in a boat was converted to a room to rent out.

I’m pointing to the funaya we stayed in

Ine is where you go if you want to disconnect.  It is a beautiful and friendly town with bicycles free to take for a spin.  Ine is hard to get to but worth the trip, and their tourism department is great – they booked our room for us and gave us restaurant recommendations.  You can check out their website here.

From Ine we headed to Arashiyama, home of the bamboo forest! 

From Arashiyama we headed to Kyoto. I really thought when we arrived in Kyoto it would not be able to top the other incredible places we had visited.  We took a knife sharpening class, did a pottery class and walked around the amazing city.

And out of all of Japan – Kyoto also boasts of my favorite place we visited – Fushimi Inari-taisha – a shrine with a pathway up a mountain with over 32,000 orange gates or torii to walk through.  Torii are donated as a thank you for something good happening in your life or business.  It was such a spiritual place to visit.  I will be going back, hopefully several more times in my lifetime.

Leaving Kyoto we headed to Mt Fuji.  Mt Fuji is a surreal place to visit – it’s such a crazy mountain.

this is one of our favorite pictures, we laughed so hard when we later looked at our pictures.

And at the base of the mountain is the Aokigahara Forest, also know as suicide forest. The forest has a floor of lava rock which the trees roots cannot grow in.  As a result the roots are exposed above the rock and get covered in moss.  Also the rock only allows for the trees to grow to a certain height, so the ceiling of the forest is all at the same height.  Under the forest are a series of ice caves, no rivers flow from Mt Fuji, all water from the mountain ends up under the lava rock in the caves.

And we ended back trip where we started in Tokyo, the fun Shibuya and Harajuku neighborhoods!

so many people!
and Tokyo still has Tower Records!
Just a normal night in Harajuku – a man taking his cats for a walk…


I catered a wedding!

After coming back home and recovering from jetlag I had my first wedding catering!  The event was a successful one – the bride, groom and wedding guest were very happy with the food.  One wedding down!  I know I can do bigger sized events, should I choose to pursue more of those!

I helped open a restaurant!

And a week after the wedding I opened The Grand Cantina in Ford City Windsor!  Cantina is the second restaurant for Tom Scully and John Alvarez who also own F&B Walkerville (where I also still work!)  The menu at Cantina boasts of 10 different kind of tacos and several snacks inspired by international street foods.

beginning of construction!
to a restaurant!

And a busy restaurant at that.  The Grand Cantina is on week number 2 and has sold well over 3600 tacos! 

the end of opening day – figuring out what we need to prep…everything…for the next day!

So that sums it up….my next post I promise to include a recipe!