Tuesday, November 13, 2007

11/7/07: Day 6 in Japan - Evening around Osaka

Today was supposed to be a quiet, lazy day. (Note the existence of the phrase, "supposed to be"). I was returning to Osaka, with nothing on schedule. I would have been perfectly content walking around the vicinity of the hotel, then totally vegging out in the evening decompressing. But, apparently, there seems to be a nation-wide conspiracy to enfatten (is that even a word?!) me in Japan. Let me explain.

After returning from Hiroshima, I visit the office of Motohiko to say thanks and give his office a little gift from Hiroshima as a token of my appreciation. He introduces me to some of his associates, and before you know it, Mr. Takano asks my evening plans. Upon hearing it's open, he says, "well, we must go out for dinner!"

Mercifully, Mr. Takano understood that I could do without carbohydrates, so he suggested going to Amou (天羽), a local small sushi/sashimi joint. We sat at the counter, bantering with the chef, and ordering today's specials:

Fugu, with some type of dry nama (unobtrusive, good match with the food)

Sashimi set

Fresh Kinki fish

Kinki, cooked

Fresh crab

Cooked crab

After the evening of fine local cuisine, we were introduced to Magari, a wine bar inspired by the Super Tuscan bottling by famed Gaja winery. (While Gaja is known in Piedmont for their Barolo and Barbaresco, Magari is one of the bottling for their second estate in Tuscany...)

As added bonus to Nihonshudo, here we have the rare wine-tasting notes:

2004 Lyonnat (St. Emilion). Typical merlot-dominated style - young yet soft, fruity, and approachable with soft and short finish.

2003 Ch. Les Graves de Bammau (Graves). Features the typically earthy, sticks and gravel notes known from 2003. Pretty balanced considering the challenging vintage. Noticably more firm on the mineral-laden finish.

My friend Motohiko, looking very happy with the lovely proprietor

No comments: