medium rare beef

Gottie’s Beef, Ginza, Tokyo

This is one of those posts where I’m going to let the pictures pretty much speak for themselves.

You see, I like to consider myself up on my Tokyo restaurants, especially where beef and uni are concerned, which is why I was so surprised I’d never heard of Gottie’s Beef before…

Especially once I saw popular Japanese foodie Fallin Debu post a picture of this beautiful bowl of red and orange…

House made roast beef, Hokkaido uni (sea urchin) and an egg yolk the color of the sunset…

Perfection on a plate. The kind of dish that looks almost too good to eat…

But then your appetite gets the better of you…

It turns out Gottie’s is also quite well known for their beef katsu, or deep fried steak…

Topped with a beef demi-glace that had a hint of tang to it, almost like a barbeque sauce…

Fried to medium rare…

Another lovely bite of beef…

Both dishes run around 2000 yen, or $20.00 US.

Gottie’s may be an American-style steak house, known for their aged beef, but I have to say, when I looked at the tables around me, most people were eating the same two Japanese preparations you see above!


Ginza Velvia Hall, 7F

2-4-6 Ginza

Chuo, Tokyo




Love the concept of Barry being a Fantasy Northerner so that he and Lup can have Diametrically Opposed Food Tolerances. 


  • Chugs Tabasco sauce for breakfast
  • Once shoved a fistful of powdered cinnamon into her mouth and nearly choked. 
  • Has never refused to eat a pepper when challenged. 
  • Has actually got capsaicin burns on her mouth before. 
  • Eats things from every part of the animal and reuses bones seven times in broth. 
  • Understands foraged vegetables and herbs from across the continent. 

Also Lup

  • Only recently learned how to start cooking beef (and only beef) medium rare after a childhood of very legitimate food poisoning concerns. 
  • Knows better than anyone not to shove strange food in her mouth. 
  • Highly suspicious of any bacteria cultures regardless of whether they’re supposed to be trusted or not. Has her eye on yeast. Fermentation? Dubious, except where alcohol is concerned. 
  • Still not entirely sure how cheese works. 
  • Refuses to salt her french fries because she wants to taste them how the cook intended. 

Barry Bluejeans

  • Cannot handle putting pepper on his mashed potatoes. 
  • Gets a rumbly tummy if he eats too fast
  • Once threw up because a curry was too strong. 
  • Sneezes if he gets near mustard. 
  • Has to eat bread and yogurt with all the twins’ food or the flavours overwhelm him. 

Also Barry Bluejeans

  • Lactose intolerant but keeps eating cheese and cultured milk products nevertheless. 
  • Terrified of questioning people and will eat anything given to him. Once nearly died from food poisoning because he unquestioningly ate some very bad bacon. 
  • Raised on far northern treats like boiled sheep’s head, pickled herring, and fermented urine soaked shark. 
  • Actively chooses to put anchovies on his pizza. 
  • Medically has no sense of smell, grossed out by nothing. 
  • Does not believe you can put enough salt on your french fries. Salt is how you know it’s well preserved for the winter!

Together they are a power couple of horrifying food. Lup will eat roasted insect wings and Barry will eat pig’s head cheese. Together they make it through a lot of lean years. 

Imagine Kili and Legolas fighting over who gets to court you


imagine || fic request || Averil of Fairlea || Song inspiration

A/N: To fit the setting, I made some slight modifications to the imagine & request. And also…no Tauriel. Story broken up into sections.


The monstrous spiders were dead - not you or any other member of Thorin Oakenshield’s company. Excellent.

But now there was another problem: you were on your way to a Mirkwood prison cell. Not so good.

What a way to spend your birthday.

To top things off, the Elf called Legolas kept looking back at you, as if he knew something about you – or liked something about you.

After several minutes, Legolas let another guard up front take the Dwarves he’d captured, including Thorin and his sword Orcrist. Legolas fell back and gently took your arm from another Elf.

“Get your mitts off her!” Kili snapped from the very back of the line. He had also seen how Legolas looked at you.

“Kili, we’re about to be locked up,” you called. “He’s not going to carry me to the cell!”

Legolas flashed his eyes at you.

“I could carry you, Gilgalad.

You didn’t know what “gilgalad” meant but now it was obvious that the handsome Elf liked you. You blushed, your eyes wide.

Kili started twisting in the grip of the guard who had him by the arm.


Legolas stopped and just stared at Kili for a moment. The guard who had the Dwarf also stood still, and Kili settled down, returning Legolas’ stare. All the other Dwarves and guards continued walking.

Gilgalad,” Legolas repeated.

“WHAT?! If anyone’s a ‘gilded lad,’ it’s you, blondie!”

“Oh Kili…” You pinched the bridge of your nose.

Gil-ga-lad. It means starlight.” Legolas glanced at the five-pointed diamond pendant on a gold chain peeking from the top of your shirt. You were impressed: no one ever noticed the heirloom, more dear to you than any other possession.

Legolas began walking again. Kili felt like a fool and bit his lip as the guard pulled on him to keep going.

 Then Kili had an idea.

                               “The Better Archer”

“Hey, Gilded Lad! It’s the lady’s birthday. I think she deserves a special dinner with a special companion, despite the circumstances.”

You turned around and narrowed your eyes at Kili, wondering where he was going with this.

“And who do you think this ‘special companion’ should be, pray tell?” Legolas asked.

“The better archer.”

You threw your head back for several seconds and looked at the canopy above, not believing Kili’s audacity - but loving him for it, too.

When you refocused on Legolas, he had a hint of smugness in his eye. In Sindarin, he ordered Kili’s guard to return to Mirkwood’s halls.

The three of you were now alone. Legolas retrieved his knife from its sheath on his hip and pointed it at Kili so the Dwarf wouldn’t try any funny business while he talked to you.

“A birthday dinner for you and a companion of your choosing, beautiful lady, can be secretly arranged,” Legolas said, “but is this your desire, or his?”

“My desire is that you let my friends and me go.”

Legolas slowly shook his head. That wish obviously wasn’t going to come true.

An archery contest? This is so stupid, you thought. But you had to admit, it was a bit flattering, and entertaining, to have two gorgeous fellows compete for your company - and on your birthday, no less.

“Fine,” you said. “I’ll set the rules.”

You took a quick look around the landscape, immediately noticing a curved row of four pine trees, amply spaced. The last one in the line was nearly a half a kilometer away.

“Shoot each of these trunks - no missing, no flubbing.” You pointed to the tree line. “Start with the furthest, and…”

Your directions were cut off by both Legolas’ and Kili’s muffled laughter.

“Too easy,” Kili mumbled. “I’ll have roast beef for my dinner, please.”

“These trees were my target practice 600 years ago,” Legolas said, looking pitifully at Kili. “I was practically still in diapers when I pierced them.”

“You didn’t let me finish,” you said. “You must be blindfolded, and your feet fixed in the same position for each target. The one to hit all the trees, following all the rules, wins.”

The laughing stopped.


“You expect me to let prisoners blindfold me?” Legolas asked you skeptically. He tucked away his blade and stepped up to you both, preparing to grab your arms. “Sorry, this contest is canceled.”

“Here!” You reached behind your neck, unfastened your cherished necklace, and offered it to Legolas. “This is the only worldly possession I have. It’s been in my family forever. Keep it as my vow not to harm you. And Dwarves keep their word! Neither of us will hurt you, right Kili?”

Kili shrugged and said “sure.” Legolas took the necklace in his hand, admiring its subtle beauty.

“Agreed,” the Elf said, slipping the chain in his boot.

You pulled your long tattered scarf from your waist as Legolas painstakingly chose the best position to stand in. Once he secured his footing, you handed him the scarf.

“Don’t try anything,” he warned. You placed your hand over your heart, but he was really talking to Kili, who just stood there, arms folded, smirking.

Legolas tied the scarf around his eyes, lifted his bow and pulled an arrow from the quiver.

Ping!  The first arrow hit the furthest target with ease.

He grabbed another arrow, rotated at his waist, and shot:


Third arrow:




Legolas hit the closest tree, but it bounced off the tough bark and met the ground.

He yanked the blindfold off and let it slip from his fingers as he gazed, crestfallen, at the projectile lying in the leaves as if it had betrayed him.

Kili sauntered over and picked it up.

“Here you go,” Kili sang, tucking the arrow back in Legolas’ quiver.

The Elf stepped aside and tried to hide his embarrassment and disappointment.

                                  “A Deal is a Deal”

Kili reached for the crumpled scarf, fumbled with the knot in it, then tied it around his eyes. Without much consideration, he nailed a spot to stand in.

He picked up his bow, set his first arrow, and loosed it.

Hit. Slight pivot at waist. Release. Hit.

Each arrow seemed to speak, taunting Legolas:

I Like!

My Roast Beef!



Kili slid the scarf down to his neck and spread his lips into a wide grin. You couldn’t help it; you smiled, too.

“Shall I retrieve the arrows?” Kili started walking toward the trees.

“I’ll do it! Don’t move!” Legolas snarled.

Legolas stomped to each tree and ripped the arrows from the trunks. Kili pulled away the scarf and wrapped it back around your waist, smiling up at you cunningly.

When Legolas returned, he practically threw the arrows belonging to Kili in the Dwarf’s face.

After everyone’s arrows were back where they belonged, Legolas got between you and Kili, took you both by the upper arm and began walking toward the Mirkwood halls.

“A deal is a deal,” Legolas muttered after a few minutes of silence. “I’ll make the arrangements for dinner, but if a word of this gets out…”

“It won’t,” you promised, looking past him at a very, very proud Kili. “Thank you.”

Legolas abruptly stopped, remembering something. He let go of you and Kili and reached down into his boot. He pulled out the necklace, then stood behind you and secured it around your neck.

He offered you a genuinely friendly smile.

“Happy birthday, Gilgalad.”

Given gracielovesjesus‘s hatred of gay marriage because of her support for “Biblical marriage” I SINCERELY hope she follows all the rules of The Bible.

  • No bikinis at the beach/lake/pool. Not on a boat either. No bikinis ANYWHERE… one pieces should PROBABLY be avoided too, but that’s for you to take up with your God. “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety.” 1 Timothy 2:9 
  • No jewelry, costly garments (that means the prom dress I bet you wore, huh?) braided hair or really anything that exhibits pride. “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments.” 1 Timothy 2:9
  • No bacon, or really any pork in general. Which is a real shame, because bacon is delicious. But being such a devout Christian who follows the Bible so closely, you probably wouldn’t know, right? Also, you’re not really allowed to touch pigskin either, so I hope you don’t touch or handle any footballs. Yikes. “Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.” Leviticus 11:4 
    “And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.” Leviticus 11:7-8
  • No ripped jeans, yep, swear to God the Bible has a problem with ripped jeans. “And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.” Leviticus 10:6
  • No tattoos. Yeah, that dove, or prayer hands or “Jesus Loves Me” tattoo… you’re going to hell for that. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:28
  • No getting divorced or re-married. “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” Mark 10:11-12
  • No gossiping. Yep, even in it’s simplest form, it’s a straight up sin, according to your Bible. “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbor; I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:16
  • No pigging out at a slumber party with the girls, or after a drunken night. Basically never eat more than a single serving size, EVER. “… And put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” Proverbs 23:2
  • NO speaking in Chruch. As a woman, you’re supposed to keep silent. Not sure what your denomination is, but I hope you don’t shout out a praise-filled “Amen” when the spirit moves you, because that goes against the Bible. “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.” 1 Corinthians 14:34
  • No wearing polyester or any kind of fabric blends. (Even poly-cotton blends) so, I hope you don’t shop at Walmart. If it’s not 100% one fabric, it’s a sin. “You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.” Leviticus 19:19
  • No eating shellfish. Lobster, crab, scallops. Not acceptable to eat. At least there’s steak, right? Oh, wait…. “And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination.” Leviticus 10-11
  • No eating fatty or rare foods: cheeseburgers, rare/medium steaks, roast beef, brisket. Better stick to chicken on that special date. “It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.” Leviticus 3:17

And obviously it goes without saying that porn, pre-marital sex, masturbation and defying a man are all also sins. So, none of that either! 

Sticking to all these rules to comply with the Bible must be exhausting! No wonder you’re so angry about the thought of others having happiness! Jeez. 

Some things passengers have said:

“Can I see the cocktail menu?” (in economy on a short flight)

“I’ll have a scotch on the rocks, without ice”

“I’ll have the beef medium rare” (in business class, short haul flight)

“Can you ask the captain if we can go back to the terminal? I left my pastry there”

“You DON’T have camomile tea?! I REALLY think you need to make an announcement to warn people about that!” (in economy)

“Can you make that noise stop?” (about the hydraulics, mid flight… pretty sure none of us want that to stop…)

“Are you scared of flying?” (yeah… terrified)

“It’s so cold, we’re going to DIE” (grown man on a 1 hour flight to FRA, even complained to the flight deck on the way out… it wasn’t that cold)

“Can I have a coke please?” (ringing the call bell, just after a colleague made a PA for a doctor because a woman was having a seizure)

“I was up at FIVE o’clock this morning!!” (that’s a lie in for most of us thanks!)

North American Tour week 1

Our first week of our seven in North America has been a frantic affair but we’ve many stories to tell. Now that South By South West is over and done with I felt the first blog was due.

 We began at Heathrow on Sunday 7th March, where after mummifying our guitars and a few cases with baggage wrapping, we ate a fried breakfast whose price to size/quality graph featured a strong negative correlation. The waitress almost threw a tantrum at our request to split the bill, something we have yet to encounter over here, where the service is sublime and the tipping reflects this.

Taffel demonstrates the travelling stoner look, with mummified bag to the left.

Taffel unwrapped his birthday presents with an unusual ferocity. 

The flights themselves were relatively painless, despite their length. The excitement felt by all kept us in high spirits, despite essentially travelling back in time. I had a mild seizure upon our arrival after discovering that the airline had put my bag on the flight after the one we actually flew on. Once I’d recovered we had soon arrived in our hotel in Nashville. After so long confined in tin cans 30,000 feet up in the air it was great to be able to spread all four limbs as far as possible on a master bed. Taffel and I then ordered a burger that instantly became the best we’d ever had (this has happened thrice since). I managed to have an accident with a freakishly high-pressured ketchup sachet that exploded into my face, hair and onto the mirror behind me. This gave me the appearance of a gunshot victim before I’d even had the chance to irritate any American into drawing a weapon.

Ketchup: Heinz, face: model’s own.

After a dab down we headed into town to a bar called Soulshine that upon entry smelled like a cheese factory. The music that had drawn us took the form of a blues jam night and the standard was ferociously high. Every fifth male in Nashville looked like ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill in a trucker hat and all were steeped in the blues. After a couple of hours we fell into bed and attempted to cheat the jet lag.

Picture drawn by me in the van. 

The next day we picked up the mighty vessel we will call home until 1st May. With its plush leather seats and onboard wifi, this is a van like none we’ve driven before and we’re pretty pleased with it. The fact that we were still saying that after a 14 hour journey down to Austin is testament to its charms.

On Tuesday we ventured into town for our first taste of SXSW. After a remarkably smooth accreditation process we were in need of sustenance. Several of our party had heard that the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was a decent eatery and a branch was was conveniently located just over the road. Unfortunately, IHOP was a major let down. Luckily the food since has been a blur of supreme medium rare beef and all things Mexican, which we’re now very well acquainted with after meeting some East LA Latino homeboys who gave us a detailed description of all their native food stuffs. They also promised us that they’d have our backs if we ever came to hang with them in their part of town. Having since discovered that their hood is about as safe Compton or Watts, we’ll be passing them up on their gracious offer.

American cuisine at its finest.

SXSW was a mass of humanity, with people trekking from far and wide to converge for the near-constant noises being emitted by the city. With the US music industry generally split between New York and LA (save the country hub of Nashville), Austin, Texas was a warm and welcoming middle ground where close to a thousand acts peddled their wares to any available ears. Brass bands, lone drummers and magicians lined the streets, and that was before you’d even got inside one of the myriad venues. We played a couple of sterling full shows as well as acoustic sessions, and almost featured in a Hip Hop video. No really. At an acoustic gig in a house just outside the heart of town we were peeping through the garden fence at an entire rap crew who were the absolute real deal, miming out a yard scene for their latest release. After enthusiastically inviting us to be involved they made their way over the road but unfortunately our packed schedule was against us and we just missed out on becoming the awkward-looking extras that the rest of the guests became. We did manage to complete another teen dream a few days later though, where at the same locale we played fully amped up in the front room of a house party, complete with the mythical red cups that we’ve all grown up seeing in the movies. 

Our amps, on loan from Orange, back up the local phrase that ‘everything’s bigger in Texas’ (thanks Orange!).

Taxis were hard to come by at SXSW. One night a trio of our troupe were out raving hard till late and had no option but to hitch a lift. With everyone being so much friendlier in the USA than in London, this wasn’t a problem. Here’s a transcript of what followed:

Ben (sheepishly): Can we pay you chaps $30 for a lift back to our hotel please sir?

Cody the driver (straight-faced): No problem man, but if you pull a knife on me I will shoot you.

As it turned out, Cody and his buddy Emerson were two of the coolest guys we could have hoped to meet, both self-titled ‘roughnecks’ who made a killing working on the Texan oil fields, and as such didn’t accept our money. They were also armed to the teeth, their pick up truck like an NRA convention on wheels. They came to our gig the next day and took Taffel out for several whiskeys, which resulted in him acquiring a small tattoo of the state of Texas on his upper back, which was classy.

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Josh 'Texas’ Taffel.

Our first week here can’t be accounted for without our accommodation getting a Trip Advisor-style mention. Austin Suites was the kind of place you would never book if you had any sort of a budget. The rooms were generally fine, although their whites wash could’ve done with around 100% extra bleach. A more pressing concern was the clientele. One man we met was a hardcore nicotine addict, asking us all nightly for a hallowed cigarette. It wasn’t until we were about to leave that we found out his name was Kevin but went by the alias of Igadda Bigadda. He claimed he’d been abducted by aliens, tried to give us drugs (‘I wanna help y’all party but don’t drive on these’) and carried a spray bottle around with him filled with chemicals that he’d aim at the eyes of any potential assailant before they could land their sucker punch. This is the type of person who hung around the gloomy, bloodstained landings of the Austin Suites hotel. As much as we’d enjoyed Austin there was definitely a part of us all that couldn’t wait to leave.

Our friend Kevin, also drawn by me in the van, who looks a lot less like Bob Dylan in reality.

We’re now heading north and if you’re an American or Canadian who fancies watching us, here’s where you can still do it:

I’ll speak to y'all soon.



En el 870 de la Peatonal Lavalle, una Parrilla con historia. Carnes Argentinas, especialidades de Cerdo, Chorizos, Bife de Chorizo, elegidos por locales y turistas por nuestra variedad de opciones para todos los bolsillo. Nos imitan, pero salvo un Asador de larga data NO HAY OTRA PARRILLA AL CARBÓN EN LA PEATONAL.