Clean Getaways: Tokyo This Summer

While we love New York City and do our best to service the millions of hardworking, coffee-drinking dreamers living in the five boroughs, Maid Sailors knows an out-of-city vacation makes sense. Keeping your own place clean is hard enough – it’s no surprise that keeping New York City clean is an impossible task. Instead of holding out for something that’ll (probably) never happen, take a vacation this summer and experience a squeaky clean modern city to gain some perspective on how the cleaner half actually lives.

Culture of Clean

Tokyo is a shining (if not shocking) example of how a modern, Western city can operate on a completely clean basis. The citizens of Tokyo embody a “culture of clean” that flows through every alleyway, highway and subway. Take this to your head: Tokyo rarely has garbage cans laying on street corners. Why? People are expected to either dispose of their trash in their homes or in restaurants; if individuals manage to “create” trash on the street, they keep it with them and dispose of it in in their homes. Because there are rarely any trash cans, people don’t bother relying on the streets because they know they’ll be married to it for the hours they remain outside. Next time you see a “filled to the brim”, brown-and-green trash can in Manhattan, remember: the city might actually be better off without it.

Rats? What are those?

You can eat off the floor in Tokyo’s subways. Well, maybe this isn’t true for all of them, but one of our clients recently came back from a trip from Tokyo’s Shinjuku region (where there are very many office buildings), and glowingly commented on the pristine and organized nature of Tokyo’s subways. Trains are timely, people rush politely and dispose of trash rarely. If a rat were to find itself lost in the subway, it would certainly die even if a single train never came. Why? Because there’s no pizza to nibble on or leftover Coca Cola to drink. Tokyo’s public transportation is (generally) rodent and insect free because there’s no food for them to thrive on – keep this in mind next time you’re waiting for the F train.

High-end Bars Live Up to the Hype

Ironically, there’s an immaculate place called “New York Bar” at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo. In an admittedly cute homage to New York, the restaurant serves expensive steak, plays live jazz, has heavy cocktails and allows smoking. Aside from Marlboro fumes permeating the air, the restaurant is a fantastic place to experience what a clean, immaculate New York could look and feel like. Not to mention, the restaurant is on the top floor and gives you an absolutely breathtaking view of Tokyo’s beautiful city (partially pictured above). An experience at this restaurant alone is worth the 12 hour flight.

Concluding Remarks

If you’re looking for a clean urban experience this summer, look no further than Tokyo. The business district offers the Western dining, drinking and shopping experiences you’ve grown accustomed to while maintaining its unique exoticness. While you’ll return to the city rejuvenated, you’ll feel frustrated as you wonder: if Tokyo’s so clean, why can’t New York be the same way?

 

Grilling Those Steaks and Cleaning Those Grills

This weekend (and every weekend until Labor Day), you’ll have the opportunity (or urge) to grill outdoors. Let’s review how to “hook up a steak” while keeping the grill “so fresh and so clean, clean”.

Meating and Greeting

Good cuts of steak are expensive and it only makes sense to eat good cuts this summer. If you’re buying expensive steaks, you must prepare them correctly. First, regarding your grill (not the Paul Wall kind), you have to use either a propane or charcoal one.

Focus on buying one of the following cuts: rib-eye, strip, tenderloin or t-bone/porterhouse. These are higher-end cuts that will justify the grilling expedition.

To prepare the cuts, you must salt your steaks properly. First, make sure to buy kosher salt; table salt won’t be helpful here (believe it or not, all salt is not created equally). Second, salt your steak a few days in advance. This window of time is optimal because the salt will have enough time to work its way into the meat. If you’re pressed for time, you can salt your steak 40 minutes before it hits the hot steel.

For higher-end cuts, we’d recommend skipping any marinating or steak-rubbing. A well-salted steak will taste fine after you’ve grilled it properly.

Grilling

Pre-grilling, bring your meat up to room temperature to ensure it will cook evenly. Charcoal grills, unsurprisingly, will give your meat a “smoky” taste that propane grills will not.

While grilling, make sure to start your process by throwing the steak onto the cooler side of the grill and closing the lid. We recommend flipping your steak multiple times to ensure even-heating. Allowing the steak to cook “up to” the proper temperature before flipping onto the “hot side” of the grill will retain maximum moisture and flavor. Use an instant-grill thermometer to gauge whether your steak has cooked to your desired level.

Cleaning the Grill Afterwards

Staring down at your blackened grill, you’ll start wondering if cleaning is harder than grilling. Cleaning your grill (especially if it’s charcoal-based) is necessary because if you don’t, disgusting flavors will blend into your meat during your outdoor bonanza. You can make this process much easier for yourself by splitting the work. First, perform some brushing while the girl still relatively hot; this will allow you to tackle large deposits of residue that have not yet hardened or crystalized.

After your festivities, empty all of the ash out of the bowl. The good news here is that if you’re not willing to buy any grill-specific cleaning products, you don’t need to. Use a healthy mix of dish soap and water to clean the bottom of your grill – aim to remove any residue and ash remnants.

Last but not least, turn the lid upside down and “clean if it’s brown”. Use the same solution (dish soap + water) to thoroughly clean any residue; if you don’t, you’ll be tasting it later.

Concluding Remarks

Grilling is only fun if you’re doing it properly. Buy a high-quality cut of meat, use kosher salt to season it properly and grill it thoroughly. Afterward, spend a considerable amount of time removing any residue or ash from your charcoal grill in order to ensure you won’t be tasting the crisp flavors of combustion next time.