Monday, January 18, 2010

11/30/09: Day 11 in Japan, Part II - Return To Tsukushi No Ko

After freshening up, it was time for dinner at one of my favorite saké-centric izaaya in Tokyo:
Tsukushi No Ko.

Love the interior!

Started with "that beer," which is a Dassai sparkling nigori.

We started with some mackeral...

...and yellow tail as the first order.

The first saké was Wada Ryu (not pictutred), as my friend who accompanied me has a last name of Wada. Following that, we went with Juyondai Yamadanishiki.

Third saké was Masurao, which is a Yamahai Junmai Ginjo from Ishikawa Prefecture. I recalled liking it very much when I visited last year.

The second order included some rice noodles and fish roe balls...

...and marinated chicken liver. Yes, it was as intense as it looks!

The fourth saké was Hakuro Suishu Nama Genshu made using Miyama Nishiki.

By this time, we were getting more thirsty, so we ordered a 1.8L size of... water. That's a water used to brew saké, sent directly from the brewery.

Next food order included the Japanese staple of "Niku Jaga," which is stewed potatoes and minced meat...

...and order of tofu and stewed pork.

The fifth saké of the evening was Fukucho "Toru Special," which is a private bottling for Tsukushi No Ko.

Fukucho is headed by female Toji, Miho-san, and her picture graces the label.

The sixth saké was Azumaichi made from Yamadanishiki polished down to 50% from Saga Prefecture in Kyushu.

We ended up drinking 2 mega bottles of water. The second bottle was from Aoki Shuzo in Niigata.

Our last food order was Japanese omlet, which is slightly slight and very fluffy. Perfect end to a perfect evening!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

11/30/09: Day 11 in Japan, Part I - Enoshima Island

Believe it or not, I made it to breakfast.

After fueling up, it was time to board the Yokosuka Line on the way to Enoshima Island.

At Ofuna Station, I transferred to the Shonan Monorail, which runs direct to Enoshima. Believe it or not, it's my first time ever boarding the monorail. The design reminds you of these guys, no?

View of Kita-Kamakura from the monorail.

Going to Enoshima is a good exercise. After walking 15 minutes, you arrive at the 600 m long Enoshima-ohashi bridge.

The main street of Enoshima is full of souvenir shops and seafood stands.

Statue on the way to Enoshima Shrine.

Evidently, going through this rope will cleanse your spirt.

Although Enoshima is a small island, it is very hilly. Here is a view towards the mainland.

After much walking, it was time to refuel. I came across "Enoshima-Tei" specializing in local seafood.

The restaurant feature spectacular view of the ocean and mainland looking west.

My order was seafood rice bowl, featuring fried oyster and shirasu fish.

At the rear of the island, fisherman is seeking out crabs and shells during the low tide.

More view of the rear of the island. You can easily spend some time being mesmerized by the movement of the ocean current.

After walking around the island, it was time to head back to Tokyo. From Enoshima, I rode my favorite local train, Enoden.

From Enoshima, it runs along the streets like a trolley in San Francisco, before running seaside where you can see Enoshima fade into the distance.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

11/29/09: Day 10 in Japan - Dinner in Yokohama

After a restful night of sleep, I was on my way back to Tokyo. At the JR Shin-Osaka Station, I called my friend to set up plans for the evening.

As we decided on a feast at my friend's place in Yokohama, I picked up few dinner items for the night. Accordingly, my lunch was relatively light pork cutlet sandwich.

My hotel was in Shinbashi, located between Tokyo and Yokohama.

My friend lived in a nice apartment near the harbor area. Before we got to his place, we went grocery and saké shopping at a nearby depachika of Sogo.

Once at his place, we toasted with the sparkling version of Kariho "Rokushu".

Now on to the feast. We started with the sashimi selection...

...and takoyaki from Osaka.

Then came pork served in three different ways: plumpy kuro-buta (berkshire pork) shumai...

...flavorfully marinated buta-yaki (roasted pork, also from Osaka)...

...and incredibly soft and juicy kuro-buta kakuni (braised pork belly).

At Sogo, I caught eye of one of my favorite fish, hata hata. Fatty by nature, it's perfect for grilling and great with saké.

As a signal to end the meal, Yucca prepared suiton, which is a soup with gnocchi-like dumpings. Just a perfect way to end the meal.

The real finish was of course, dessert. When in Japan, I had to have the gigantic Kyoho grapes, which are phenomenal.

For the evening, we went through 3.5 bottles: Ama No To Umashine that I opened three days earlier, the aforementioned Rokushu sparkler, Tenzan "Extra Dry" Honjozo I received at the brewery...

...and Jokigen (Ishikawa Prefecture) Yamahai Junmai Ginjo. Loaded with umami towards the finish, this may have been the best saké I had this year.

Here are the gracious hosts. You can read Yucca's account of my visit here.

Just like the last timewe sure had a great time!!!