First and foremost, Sarah Hoover is an art dealer at Gagosian. After that, she's a mother, and married (to Tom Sachs). But mostly, she's hilarious. Follow her Instagram for highly unfiltered—in more ways than one—moments of her life, which she spends mostly in Chanel. She entertains with fashion commentary, takes us inside the art world, and documents every last morsel of food she consumes. So when she and her family recently returned from a two-week sojourn through Japan, Hoover came home with a photo stream filled with shots of sushi, matcha ice cream, and plastic groceries. Scroll through all these moments and more.
Baby Guy and I landed in Tokyo and needed to immediately shed our New York looks, don some color, and head to breakfast. I am an art dealer at Gagosian Gallery, and my husband is an artist. We came to Japan for his museum opening at Tokyo Opera City Gallery, and his exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery...and because Japan is truly one of the most special places on earth. It has retained its wonderful culture over time so visiting is a unique experience.
I couldn't tell you the last time I ate breakfast in New York, but it's not something you miss in Japan if you know what you're doing. Because breakfast here is Japanese, and it's savory. You get fish, rice, nori, soup, maybe some fruit, and the tea and coffee in Japan is absolutely perfect. It also comes in beautiful lacquered boxes, and opening each one is like giving yourself a present. A delicious, beautiful, and perfectly cooked present.
Now we let "Operation Keep Baby Guy Awake Until Proper Nap Time" commence, by going to a mini Pig cafe. Which is about the only thing on earth that could possibly accomplish this task, unless there were Baby Shark cafes, and let's all hope that doesn't become a thing.
Post pig cafe, I needed to hydrate. And what's the best way to hydrate in Japan? No not water—don't be ridiculous—it's Ramen broth. However, I don't eat pork and having just been around the sweet baby pigs, I was not about to start eating pork. So off we went to Afuri Ramen, which offers Chicken and Veggie options, and has a special yuzu scented broth.
I needed a sweet treat after my salty lunch, so next up was the Harajuku Kawaii Monster Cafe, which I thought baby Guy would love. He was terrified and not just at the thought of his Mom eating this entire sundae. Unfortunately, it really, really was time for this child to nap, so I only got a few bites before we went to rest.
Just when I thought I was going to have some down time, my baby niece Gray Sorrenti arrived from the airport. And like any good older and wiser Auntie, I took her to the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt and made her drink Espresso Martinis so she could stay up all night with me.
Post drinking, any self-respecting chef will tell you that there is no better snack than the infamous Japanese 7-11 peanut butter sandwich. I am not kidding—look at any of their Instagrams—this sandwich appears on all of them. This is a next level peanut butter experience, where the filling is a soufflé consistency and the bread is as soft and sweet as you remember it being when you were a little kid. And it comes with the crust already cut off so it's like your mom made it, but it tastes better.
As Anthony Bourdain, our lord and savior taught us, you must always visit a local grocery store. The most astounding thing about grocery stores in Tokyo is how perfect and expensive the fruit is. I saw 35 cherries for $108.00, which made this $11 "premium Hello Kitty banana" feel like a bargain when baby Guy asked for it.
Another interesting sight in a Japanese grocery store is the entire aisle devoted to plastic food.
A beautiful street-side oyster bar in Ebisu.
My sweet sweet baby Guy learned how to use a fork in Japan. This really has nothing to do with Japan I just wanted to brag. If he doesn't learn how to use chopsticks on the next trip, he and I are going to have to have a serious talk.
Not to be outdone by my ice cream from the day prior, I made a priority of going back to Harajuku to taste test Eddy's Ice Cream Parlor—a pastel heaven dedicated to frozen yogurt style, candy-dipped cones.
This rolled straight into dinner at the finest steak restaurant in the world, Steak Shima. This statement is a hill I'm willing to die on because whatever you think about eating animals, if you are going to do it, this is the place. The beef comes from cows who are fed sake, massaged daily, and who listen to classical music...and you get your leftovers in sandwich-form for later.
The most special and beautiful drinks experience you can imagine occurs with the great mixologist and host, Gen Yamamoto-san, who presents a prix fixe 6, 8, or 10-course cocktail menu. True elegance.
Could there be a more perfect way to spend a Tokyo evening than doing karaoke with Sofia Coppola in the karaoke room from Lost In Translation on the 16 year anniversary of the movie's debut? Here is the most fun, kind and incredible director with Kunichi Nomura, international movie star and Japan's most infamous partier.
Baby Guy and I took a short trip to the surf town of Kamakura, about 1.5 hours from Tokyo, to celebrate my husband's Nike collection release (which I'm wearing head-to-toe) and to surf with our friends from Hurley (hi @punkerpat!). Kamakura has some lovely temples and bamboo forests, and we needed some chill after the rush of Tokyo.
Monks at the temple perform a short tea ceremony and make bowls of matcha with a sweet on the side.
It was at this point in the trip where I started to miss my intense high fat, high cholesterol diet. Luckily, Japan has absolutely amazing food of every genre, and this includes pizza. Here, from Garden House in Kamakura.
Including this because it made me so happy and I think you all deserve to see it too. Dogs at Garden House receive a placemat and proper seat, as they should.
Back in Tokyo, and I have to fuel up for a final night on the town. Of all the wonderful kissaten (coffee houses) in Tokyo, Cafe De L'Ambre is a favorite for its old fashioned vibe and aged coffee beans. Some are from the 1970s, which I've never seen anywhere else! Please note that I don't drink coffee in New York very often, so one tiny cup of aged coffee and I'm ready to drink all the sake in Tokyo, and then maybe write a novel real quick.
A final night out with the incredible fashion designer Yoon Ambush (who made my necklaces, and the outfits and jewelry of my friends Sam Ratanarat and Erum Shah).
And the last drinks at Bloody Angle, a great record bar in Shibuya. Of course here the ice is perfectly spherical and made from the clearest filtered water. It might have been the only water I had the whole trip, and it was amazing.
My dessert stomach got jealous of my alcohol stomach, and I had to make a final matcha ice cream stop. It's not in the most obvious of neighborhoods, but Suzukien Asakusa is a veritable paradise, where you can choose the intensity of your green tea flavoring. I'm weak and went with the second to lightest, but it was the most perfect goodbye to my favorite city.