Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trip to Japan (5)

今日は両親と一緒にボストンに持って帰るお土産を買うために四条までやって来ました。まずは祇園近くを歩いていたのですが母が鍵善さんでくずきりを食べたいというのでへ行くことにしました。今まで何百回とお店の前を通っていますが実は中に入るのは初めてです! 写真は喫茶室から見える中庭。

Today my parents and I came to the city center (Shijo area) to buy souvenirs that I will bring back to Boston.  When we were walking around the Gion district, my mother requested to visit Kagizen,  a Japanese sweet shop famous for "kuzu-kiri" (noodle-like strips made of the starch powder from the root of the kuzu plant, served with brown sugar syrup for dipping).  I passe by in front of the shop several hundred times, but never tried their kuzu-kiri in my life.  This was the first time for me!

Their tea salon was decorated beautifully with flowers.
席に着くとまずお茶とお干菓子 (菊寿糖) が運ばれてきます。

As soon as we sat at the table, a cup of tea and the dried confectionery (called "higashi") were served.

My father ordered the namagashi (antonym of "higashi", freshly made Japanese sweets) and matcha.  You can pick one namagashi out of 5 or 6 choices, and my father chose this one (chestnut).

This is the matcha - real one (contains no sugar), not something you find in the US that is very sweet.  

My mother and I ordered the kuzu-kiri, which was served in this two-layered, big container.

Open the cover, and you find the small container with the brown sugar syrup (you can choose brown sugar or white sugar, but definitely brown sugar is better).
黒蜜の入っている容器を取り外すと、くずきりが出てきます。これを濃厚な黒蜜につけて食べると最高! もちろん吉野葛を使っているので歯ごたえがすごいです。

Take out the container with the syrup, then you see kuzu noodles swimming in the cold water.  Transfer the noodles into the syrup with chopsticks,  then eat it!  Mmmm, yummy.  The syrup is very rich and the noodle is chewy (in a good way).

This is the root of kuzu plant decorated at the entrance of the tea salon. 

After the shopping, we decided to have the late lunch at Owari-ya, a soba noodle(buckweat noodles) restaurant.
母はしっぽくそばのセット。私は子供の頃このしっぽく (私はおうどん派ですが) が大好きでした。

My mother ordered the set menu with "shippoku soba" (buckweat noodles with fishcakes, shiitake mushroom, egg and green vegetable).

The set came with the rice.

My father ordered the cold buckwheat noodles served with the dipping sauce on the side.   I ordered the same thing but with tempura.  Everything was very tasty.  Ahhhh, I love Japanese food.  I don't feel like going back to Boston!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trip to Japan (4)

今日はヨドバシカメラの1階にあるCôté Bistrot「コテ・ビストロ」に友人とお昼ご飯を食べに来ました。知らなかったのですが東京・青山のビストロ、Benoit プロデュースのお店らしい。ということはアラン・デュカスのプロデュースということなのでしょうか? その辺が余りよくわかりませんが、見た目はパリのビストロのようにおしゃれ。

Today my friend and I came to Côté Bistrot located on the 1st floor of the computer/electronic store (Yodobashi Camera) near Kyoto Station.  I didn’t know until later, but this restaurant is produced by Benoit (in Tokyo).  Does this mean it is produced by Alan Ducasse??   I am not sure..  But it looks like a bistro in Paris.

This bread was not very tasty…

My friend ordered today’s pasta (short pasta with bacon and mushrooms).  I liked the strong butter flavor – I guess lots of butter was used (tasty but not healthy?).

I ordered the roast chicken.  The chicken was very juicy.  The potatoes were crispy outside and soft inside – pretty good.

The lunch menu comes with a selection of drink and I ordered the espresso.  But you could choose a glass of wine as well and I saw many people having wine at oterh tables.

After lunch we moved to another place (for dessert!) to continue our conversations.  I had a great time!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trip to Japan (3)

今夜は京都駅八条口から西へちょっと行ったところ (新幹線高架下) に新しくできたお店、美山さんへやって来ました。実家から歩いて5分ほどのところにあります。2~3ヶ月前にオープン (以前はお寿司屋さん、その前は居酒屋さんでした) してから両親が何度か来て、気に入ったそうで (一品の量が少ないのがいいらしいです) 私も試してみることに。

Tonight my parents and I came to a small restaurant, Miyama, located near Kyoto Station (very close to my parents’ home, ~5 min walk).  It opened 2~3 months ago and since then my parents visited here several times and like it, so I wanted to try.

Three kinds of amuse bouche – salmon sushi, chawan mushi (savory egg custard dish) and fried fish dipped in sweet & sour sauce.

Skipjack tuna tataki (seared very briefly over a hot flame).

Blood cockle sashimi.

Kushikatsu (Japanese-style of deep-fried kebabs) plate.

Grilled beef tongue.  The meat was a bit tough.

Simmered octopus.  The octopus was very tender.

Beef tendon stew.  The tendon was very tender and melted in my mouth.  Very good.

Dobin mushi (traditional Japanese seafood broth, steamed and served in a dobin tea pot with matsutake mushroom and daggertooth pike conger).

This dish was not expensive but had a lot of matsutake mushrooms (which are very expensive).

Octopus tempura. I love octopus, so I have to order it every time I see it on menu.

Grilled free range chicken.  It was very tender and flavorful – one of my favorites today.

Thinly sliced beef cooked with eggs and broth.

The salad had roast beef, smoked salmon, bacon, etc.
最後に鯛茶漬け。もうおなかいっぱいです。確かに一品の量は少なめ (でもお料理によっては結構ボリュームのあるものもあります) ですが、その分色々なお料理が楽しめます。値段もかなり安く、お店は繁盛しているようでした。こんなお店が家の近所にもあればいいのですが、ボストンではまあ無理でしょうね。 

And finally, tai (red snapper) chazuke (Japanese dish made by pouring green tea or dashi broth over cooked rice.  The red snapper was overcooked for my taste, but the broth was very good.  At the end, we all were very stuffed.  Portions are small (but some are in good amounts), so you can enjoy many different dishes.  I wish I had such a restaurant near our home in Boston…

Monday, October 24, 2011

Trip to Japan (2)

今夜は両親と一緒に祇園にある阪川さんに夕食を食べにやって来ました! ここはミシュラン一つ星の割烹です。

Tonight we came to the Japanese restaurant, Sakagawa, located in the Gion district for dinner with my parents.  This restaurant has Michelin one star. 

We sat at the counter.  The table is made of Japanese cypress, polished very well and it looked like new.

Ankimo (monkfish liver).  Very good with the ponzu sauce.

Duck and cucumber marinated with rice vinegar and mustard.

Seaweed with rice vinegar.

Sashimi plate with toro (futty tuna), red snapper, squid and uni (sea urchin).  The toro melted in my mouth.  And the uni was unbelievably sweet - I've never had such sweet uni before.
お椀は自然薯と百合根のお団子 (?) のあんかけ。

This is made of yamaimo (a kind of yam) and yurine (lily bulb).

Inside it had some chestnut and namafu (made of wheat gluten).  

 Grilled hilgendorf saucord (I am not sure if this is the correct English name).  It was very fatty (in a good way) and delicious.

My favorite, dobin mushi (Japanese seafood broth served in a dobin tea pot).


It had matsutake mushroom and hamo (daggertooth pike conger).  Wonderful aroma from the matsutake mushroom.  Ahhhh, so good.

The next one was kumoko (cod milt).  It was very rich and creamy.

Ayu (sweet fish) (with its roe) cooked with Japanese pepper.  It looked sweet, but actually was not, and very, very tasty.  It was so soft and I ate everything from head to tail (including bones). 

Tempura plate - sweet potato, lotus root, myoga (a kind of ginger) and kue (kelp bass).  I'd never had kelp bass tempura before, but it was fatty and good.

And finally white rice and a cup of miso soup.  We were very, very full.

This is the dessert.

Various fruits (7 or 8 different kinds) were in wine jelly.  It was very refreshing.  Everything was very tasty and we could talk with the chef who was cooking in front of us.  We had a wonderful time.