After having a nice dinner in Tokyo the night before; we awoke nice and refreshed. We wouldn't be leaving for Nagoya until 130pm, so the Missus was really interested in checking things out. She was really excited about getting to see the Sakura. I'd been monitoring the Cherry Blossom Forecast and told the Missus we'd probably be missing things in Tokyo (until we returned) and Nagoya, but looked like we were on schedule for Kyoto. Still, I decided we should go to Ueno Park.
But first, breakfast. The Missus really enjoyed breakfast at Yaesu Hatsufuji on our last trip and wanted to eat the simple, but satisfying Japanese breakfast here again. We found a convenient locker, near the JR office, stowed our bags, and found the restaurant soon after.
It was still early, so we strolled around a bit. When we got back to the restaurant, there was already a line!
As the place opened, the line to the ticket machine moved quickly. We made our choices, paid, got our tickets...walked into the place, gave the woman our tickets and were guided to a table.
The Missus enjoys the tea that is provided. She went with the Natto Set (620¥) again; which She loves.
What really surprised me this time around was how good the sashimi was!
I got the Tonjiro Set (520¥), with the exchange rate a bargain at about $4.75!
The miso and pork based soup/stew was quite comforting, not too salty....in spite of being the end of March, there was still a bit of a chill in the air in the morning and this did the trick. Man, that rice was really good too......something that I notice about the Japan.
This place is a favorite of ours. I've posted on it before, so I'll leave it at that.
Yaesu Hatsufuji Yaesu underground shopping center North 1, 2-1, Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 103-0028
So, this is Japan. You eat and get the heck out of dodge....breakfast was less than 20 minutes long so it was not long before we caught the JR Yamanote Line, getting off in Ueno in less than ten minutes.
Ueno Park is pretty large, with a number of Museums and a Zoo on its property. But, we were here for the cherry blossoms. The thing that stuck with us the most about our visit here is learning about the phenomenon of the Hanami Party.
So Hanami basically means "flower viewing" and it's obvious that in this case it means Cherry Blossom viewing. But there's this kind of interesting, for us, a bit goofy, thing called a Hanami Party. Here it seems like folks reserve a spot....setting our plastic tarps to celebrate. It looks like someone needs to keep on the reserved bit of real estate until the party. Man, it was still pretty darn cold at night here.....that's kind of nuts. It does seem like the "spring renewal" has an effect on people....there's this infectious, well, goofiness that is all around. Hope springs eternal.
And for all the partiers, there're the folks who can't walk past a tree without taking a photo.....two interesting groups.....
And while things weren't quite perfect yet....those folks will probably be spending a few more cold nights sleeping on tarps in the park, the transposition of colors is still quite stunning.
I saw a small folded tarp with one guy lying on it....just enough space for him.....which is when I asked the Missus; "is there such a thing as a hanami party for one?"
Ed (from Yuma) finally has the functional tools and the time he needs to write a post for the blog. Kirk and Cathy get a break today.
Not long before my computer became nonfunctional, Tina and I were in the Phoenix area to get together with her brother and wife and catch a spring training game. But we also wanted to have another lunch at Buck & Rider since our last meal there had been pretty good, and their menu contained a lot of dishes that we wanted to try. We arrived soon after they opened:
Since we were heading home after lunch, we decided to avoid drowsy driving and stick to sparkling water, refreshing on that hot day:
The choices of oysters were impressive considering Phoenix is in the middle of the desert:
We could watch the shucker (or is it shuckster?) at work:
We could even look at the oysters in their shells and inspect their documentation (papers please):
We ordered two High Rollers from Washington (Hood Canal) on the right of the picture, and two Madhouse from the Maryland Chesapeake:
They were served with lemon wedges and our choice of condiments; we picked cocktail sauce, which was spicy and tangy (but which I didn't use) and horseradish, which was pungent and freshly ground. With the horseradish, the taste of the bivalve was emphasized.
A close-up of a High Roller:
And a Madhouse:
While both were certified extra small, both were extra tasty, especially the one from the Hood Canal. Outstanding.
Tina's tuna burger, the next item to arrive at the table, fell short of outstanding:
The slaw was probably very healthy and certainly very bland. The bun was homemade and nicely grilled. The burger itself was large, filled with ground ahi, breaded and fried. The avocado portion was generous, but the sandwich never came together to my taste. The teriyaki like sauce on the burger and the chipotle mayo spread on the bun seemed an odd combination. And the fried exterior seemed an odd complement to the raw interior:
Likewise, the fries were just okay:
The portion was generous and the potatoes tasted fresh, but they lacked crispness and maybe had sat under a heat lamp for a little too long.
So I felt like I'd hit the jackpot by ordering the Port St. Lucie French Seabass sandwich:
Except for the slaw, this was excellent. The fish tasted fresh and flavorful. The roll, the breaded filet, the tomato, and the tartar sauce along with generous dill pickle made a flavorful combination.
Here's the check:
Was it worth it? Heck yes. The oysters (even though pretty spendy) and the seabass sandwich were outstanding. The tuna burger and the fries were okay; only the slaw was truly disappointing. We'd come back again.
Buck & Rider, 4225 East Camelback Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85018, (602) 346-0110. website
Yet another one of these "Chi-poke", fast casual places. This one in the food court of Zion Market. The now ubiquitous, pick the seafood, pick the toppings, pick the sauce.......kind of place.
It's the typical drill, you pick what you want...rice or salad, etc.....fish scooped with what looks like a 1/2 ounce scooper....and you get....
Well, not that. That's a real poke bowl....from Ono Seafood. This was $7.50 back when we visited; I think it's now like eight bucks or so.
Here's the $9.95 bowl + $1 for avocado since looking at the fish, I thought I'd needs something with a bit of creaminess to set things off.
Folks were nice....they gave me some miso soup...pretty dark looking stuff, but it was not bad. Not too salty. The tuna and salmon looked just barely passable and the albacore not too good, so I went with tuna, salmon, and two scoops of scallops, which was a mistake as the scallops were still slightly frozen and had none of the nice sea-salty sweetness I enjoy. The tuna was on the dry side, the salmon passable. The rice was adequately prepared; though the cho-jang like sauce was watered down and lacked enough of the sweetness of versions I enjoy.
Still, two of the good things about the place is; they open at 1030 and I often have weird lunch hours, and they are fairly close by in the Zion Market Food Court....where I usually don't have to fight tooth and nail for parking.
A couple of weeks later I returned.
In the mood for something lighter, I went with the salad version of the medium bowl...again $9.95 + $1 for avocado.
This time around I had some albacore, which wasn't very good, slightly off tasting. The salmon had a lot of connective tissue....the tuna looked decent and I got a double scoop, which was good move. The soy-mustard dressing added enough moisture to things....as you can tell it's rather dried out; though not as bad as what I recently had at Poki One and Half....plus they know how to spell poke.
What did make me laugh was when one of my coworkers accidentally called this place "Pork U"..... The shop also makes everything else the other places in the food court don't...from ramen to teriyaki bowls to (con) fusion "nachos".
As for all these poke places? Well, it'll be interesting to see what happens when we hit saturation point. So far; I think the best of these places, not including the ones that actually "make" poke might be Tokyo Deli Downtown?
Poke U (In the Zion Market Food Court) 7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111 Open Daily 1030am - 830pm
For various reasons; I ended up eating at both Spicy House and Szechuan Chef over the last week; go figure. I guess it makes a nice twofer....
Is usually reserved for when some good friends of mine visit. They like the place....I'm thinking because as a whole they don't like their Sichuan too spicy? Anyway, we were headed to the new hot pot place Red Cate. The lighted sign said open; it was just after 11, but they looked at us like we were from Mars when we entered. Apparently they don't open until noon. Sigh....
Anyway, the place filled up pretty quickly. We started with some liang cai, cold dishes.
The Fu Qui Fei Pian was the best of the lot, not too wet, cut perhaps a bit too thickly, but it at least had some of the nice salty-anise-chili tones along with a slight amount of "ma" (numbing), brought on by the Sichuan Peppercorns. The pig ears were cut too thin, which took away from the nice crunchiness and was pretty bland. The green beans....well, I know this sounds a bit strange, but I like this dish on the briny-salty side and this was kind of weak; though it had some numbingness to it.
Wanting something I hadn't had in a while; I ordered the Deep Fried Shrimp with Egg Yolk.
This was pretty good; though not nearly as savory and crisp as what Ba Ren used to serve (but what is?). It was still nicely crisp, if a bit too dense. The shrimp were fine, nice and moist, and there was even a bit of numbing in this as well. On the rich side; you can't eat too many, but pretty good overall.
It had been a while since I've had Shui Zhu Yu, so I decided to order that. Good lord, look at the portion size of this thing!
Strangely, this wasn't very spicy and lacked the doubian savory-spicy-beany flavor, or even anything to really cut the oil, making this seem a bit heavy and greasy. There was an abundance of fish; which hadn't been velveted too well, making it mealy and lacking the buttery texture of a masterfully prepared version of this. There were no off flavors though and in fact, the mung bean sprouts actually had a better flavor and texture than the fish had.
As is the new norm.....more about quantity than quality. Though, while the dishes had some of that good "ma" going, it was strangely short in the "la" (spicy) department.
Spicy House 3860 Convoy Street #105 San Diego, CA 92111
I'd been hearing that Szechuan Chef has been getting better over the last year or so. We couldn't figure out where to go for a relatively early lunch (just at 11), so we opted for here.
We shouldn't have opted for the liang cai, which was wasn't very good.
The Fu Qui Fei Pian lacked any hint if Sichuan Peppercorn and had some strange, almost Korean influenced type sauce on it. The pork stomach was very bland....I guess that makes the smacked cucumbers the winner by default?
I ordered what my favorite dish during my visits several years back; the Beef Sour Soup.
While not as bracingly sour; this was still pretty good. The preserved vegetable adding the nice sour tones and a good dose of white pepper keeps things interesting. This was nice and scalding hot; the thinly sliced hot pot cut beef was fine; but almost an after thought. A decent spice and mild ginger tones heightened the dish. This would be great stuff if you're ever under the weather.
Candice had mentioned a beef tendon dish that was really good. There were several on the menu; but I went with the Beef Tendon with Pickled Pepper (Pa Jiao). And while this really didn't have very much Pa Jiao in it; it was, by far, the best dish of the meal.
We really enjoyed the make-up of this dish. The tendon had been nicely cooked; toothsome, but not hard, some pieces almost buttery, and many slices had meat attached to it. What would usually be very tough meat, had become soft with an intense beefiness. Just spicy enough to help me develop a nice sheen on my forehead, this wasn't too hot. A touch of sour helped keep everything in balance.
The one clunker was the Stir Fried Kidney with Chilies.
As you can see; the kidney was over cooked, so it was like eating rubber bands. This wasn't very spicy and the overall flavor was pretty weak. I'm passing on this dish the next time.
Still, this was much better than meals I've had here before......really ncie service as well. Maybe because we were the only customers in the place?
Szechuan Chef 4344 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
So there you go....strangely, Spicy House, really lacked spice. And Szechuan Chef really lacked the numbing Sichuan Peppercorn flavor. So I guess that's the state of Sichuan food in San Diego....you have to choose "ma" (麻) or "la" (辣). Or perhaps the best Sichuan food in San Diego in made at a hybrid Dongbei "slash" Sichuan restaurant?
I'd had a revisit marked down on my "list", but other than one real quick take-out visit, really wasn't able to revisit. Until a couple of months ago.
And they were doing some major business on this day. There's a definite demographic that makes up the customer base here....they are mostly those that are much more hip and as whole a lot younger than I am. Still, it's good to see folks, going for good "sea to table" grub. It must make Mr Grumpy'sTommy Gomes's heart warm.
As you would expect....SS seems to be always doing new "stuffs"...there's now soups, ice cream sandwiches (see Kirbie's post), and other sandwiches to choose from. But you know me......I decided to go with my favorite....The Siren.
For me, this sandwich is a bit of a tight rope walk. The brioche bun rides on being just a bit too sweet and buttery; the aioli too rich and spicy.....but it just seems to work here as the shrimp were nice and plump...and the flavor of the shrimp stood up to the spice and sweetness. If anything, I think they could knock out the garlic and we wouldn't even notice. It is a good, messy (I always get "mayo-hands" here), satisfying sandwich.
It's always comforting to know that a favorite is still going strong....or even stronger for that matter.
And I know, I've got try out some other things here....I'll save that for my next visit.....at least that's what I always tell myself.
SuperNatural Sandwiches 7094 Miramar Rd. #122 San Diego, CA 92121 Hours: Mon - Fri 9am - 8pm Sat 10am - 8pm Sun 10am - 4pm
I'm not sure why I take so long doing "last" posts on places we visit. Perhaps it's because I really didn't want our trip to end....or maybe I'm just too darn lazy? Go figure. Anyway, since I just posted on our last meal in Madrid, I figure I need to get Lima done as well.
The Missus's favorite eating spot on this trip was El Veridico de Fidel. She enjoyed Her meal so much, that before we left, we made reservations for dinner on our last evening in Lima here.
In contrast to our previous visit, which was during an early lunch, the place was humming!
When we arrived; the really nice young lady....the only one who we noticed that spoke English saw us, waved, and immediately came over....dropping off our menus, canchita, and even aji limo! I guess She remembered we enjoyed things "picante"! Great service.
As I mentioned earlier; our last visit was for a pretty early lunch. This time though.....we had no qualms about getting some beer and a pisco sour of course!
The Missus requested Her Pisco easy on the sugar and She really enjoyed it.
The Missus went straight for the Cebiche Lenguado; basically sole, and She really enjoyed the bracing, yet, not too sour leche de tigre.
The fish had been marinated well; it wasn't too "cooked" by the citrus and still had a nice tender, yet toothsome texture. Nice flavors all around. The Missus enjoyed a touch of the aji limo, which added a decent amount of fragrant heat to the dish.
Much had changed since our last trip to Lima all those years ago; I hadn't remembered seeing the interesting, creamy "leche de tigre" type dishes on menus before. Like a chilled, creamy, citrusy, savory cold soup. I had enjoyed the version eaten on my previous visit. So this time went with the version with chicharron de calamari. Basically, fried calamari....something I'd usually avoid in most restaurants.
Of course the Missus poached the camote (simmered sweet potato). The fried calamari was quite tender, the crunch of the batter and the texture of the squid really set a nice contrast to the refreshing; tongue coating, slightly tangy-sour leche de tigre. It was so refreshing and satisfying.
One of the "new dishes", that is, something I don't recall seeing during our first trip to Peru back in 2007 is Tacu Tacu con Lomo Saltado. Our Driver, Benjamin, introduced this dish to us on the way back from checking out the Nazca Lines. I saw that on the menu here and just had to try it.
First off, the beef was really tender and we loved the flavor of the peppers, nicely sweet. The flavor of the tacu tacu was quite mild and not very "beany" and the sauce could have had a bit more umami and saltiness for our taste. It was very filling and we were done after this dish.
We really enjoyed El Veridico de Fidel and will definitely return if/when we're back in Peru. Hopefully, it won't take another ten years!
El Veridico de Fidel Calle Colon 246 Lima 18, Peru
We took a very roundabout way back to our hotel. I think there was a football game going on that day; this group of folks seemed to be celebrating something.
Strangely, at least for us, our flight didn't depart Lima until 1255 am. Luckily, we were flying Business, so we were able to take advantage of the Sumaq Lounge at Jorge Chavez International Airport. Based on how crowded the lounge was at 10pm; I'm guessing there are quite a few flights that depart at that rather late time.
The spread at the lounge was ok, but good golly, after being to a couple of these, I'm amazed at the feeding frenzy. It seems that folks are so focused on getting what they assume to be their money's worth I guess? I mean, really, do you actually need to have six mini-hamburguesas? Well whatever....to each their own......
I got a fair Pisco Sour as my "goodbye to Peru" gift.....for now!
We arrived back in Madrid on a rather, at least the time quiet late Sunday afternoon. In spite of really enjoying Seville we were pooped....and headed home the next day. Just as on our arrival, we stayed near Atocha Station at the AC Carlton in walking distance to the train station and bus to the airport.
We decided on something close by and the front desk folks recommended a steakhouse named El Rincon Asturiano II which was close by.
We walked in....there was a grill near the doorway and was met with quizzical looks. The folks asked if we had reservations and we said no, so they whisked us down the block to another El Rincon Asturiano II??? Go figure. Though this place looked a lot more, well, local....with a bar set-up.
We were told to return in 15 minutes and a table would be made ready. So we took a stroll and returned and they indeed had a table ready.
Like I said before; El Rincon is basically a steakhouse who raise their own cattle from the region of Asturias in Northwest Spain. We decided to order a couple of items that the Missus was interested in and try out one of the "smaller" steaks.
Things started out with a gratis chorizo wrapped in pastry.
The Missus wanted the mushroom with jamon - Setas asturianas con jamon iberico.
A rather simple, but satisfying dish....the jamon added a nice saltiness to things.
Seeing it on the menu; the Missus had to get the callos.
This was a meat lover's version of Callos Madrilenos (tripe stewed in the style of Madrid ). It was quite thick, though very mild in flavor, the tripe quite tender, the morcilla - blood sausage, was fairly bland. It was nice and hearty, but the Missus still preferred the version from Posada de la Villa.
I wanted to try the beef and went with a smaller portion of Solomillo a la plancha, basically sirloin, "en su punto"; medium rare. Which it was.
Well, perhaps more "poco hecho" (rare) as it was "vivo, que muja".....alive and still mooing! The steak had all characteristics of grass fed beef; an intense beefiness, with a chewy, toothsome texture. It was nicely salted without much else, which I enjoyed.
The chips were quite routine.
The Missus had a couple of glasses of wine; I had a couple of beers.
Quite a restrained last meal in Spain....but we wanted it that way.
El Rincon Asturiano Calle Delicias 26 Madrid, Spain
Along the way we passed a very peaceful demonstration.
And the Missus got to see what might be Her favorite landmark in Madrid; the Tio Pepe sign at night.
Unfortunately, our go to for jamon; Ferpal was closed. Luckily, we had a "plan B". The department store, El Cortes Ingles was open....just like Japan, there's a market/food area in the basement. One of the gourmet stores sells "5J" Jamon Bellotta Pata Negra and we picked up a pack of single use olive oil as well.
We wandered about the square....you never know what you'll see here. Like the guy I call the "Electric Cowboy". All lit up and shining brightly. I was a bit concerned that the drizzle was going to turn him into the "Electrocuted Cowboy", but he was safe on this evening.
We walked back to our hotel...passing familiar sights, like the "Vertical Garden" on Caxia Forum Square. All lit up brightly at night.
Things seemed so familiar now.....
As, unfortunately were the international gates at Madrid-Barajas Airport. But, having been through here before, we were "saved by the jamon" again!
For a few weeks before we left on our trip, the Missus was really into pizza. She's kind of over Bruno for now and wanted to try other places. Of the several we tried; two became Her favorites and warranted, in some cases multiple visits. One of these was a place recommended by my good friend Candice......Tribute Pizza.
Located in the renewed and revitalized old Post Office on the corner of Grim and North Park Way, in what is now called the "North Park Post Office Lofts", and catty corner to one of my favorites, Lucky's Golden Phenix. We both liked the wide open industrial, but comfortable space, and the seats were in themselves fine. There's an interesting gastropub meets pizzeria vibe here. A big plus; the staff is very nice as well, with an ok beer list.
As you can tell in the photo on the right.....I guess some folks really want to take a photo of the place!
In addition to pizzas there's the now required cheese and charcuterie plates, which looked quite large and a couple of salads; like the "put on a egg on it brussels salad" ($11).
The Missus loves Her brussel sprouts and these were nicely shaved and topped with a lovely egg yolk. So you'd think She'd be just all over this. Strangely, She didn't care too much for this, as the dressing was a bit too sour and the egg yolk and pecorino romano really didn't add that mild savoriness and sweetness that brings out the best in brussel sprouts. In talking to our wonderful Server about this salad; we found out that we might...depending on how busy the kitchen is, get lardons and Balsamic on this salad as well....which would definitely make it a winna'. So perhaps in the future.....
Hands down, our favorite item here is the wonderful; yeasty, warm, slight crusty Sea Salt Focaccia paired with the spicy, spreadable salumi known as 'Nduja ($9).
The 'Nduja here has a nice bite to it and reminds us of a good porky spread tinged with Harissa.
When it comes to first trying out a new pizza place, the Missus prefers simple, and it doesn't get more basic than a Margherita ($13).
First off; the crust, like the focaccia, had a wonderful flavor and texture. For some reason, the rest fell rather flat. We didn't care for the tomato sauce, which we found watery and bland.......I look for that tangy-mild sweetness, that I call the "flavor of sunshine" and this didn't really have that. While I love the fork and knife style, slightly "wet", Neopolitan style pizza, the middle was way too soggy for us. The mozzarella was good, light milky-saltiness, but strangely, we found the basil tasteless. A mixed bag overall.
But the service had been great and we decided to return mainly for this.
And damn if this wasn't even better this time around; being a bit thicker and heartier.
If you've read enough posts, you know the Missus loves Her meatballs (yes, I know, there's a joke in there just waiting to come out), so we had to order it ($13).
We both loved the roasted peppers and onions; adding a bit of sweetness and pungency to a rather heavy version of meatballs. Ditto with the parmigiano reggiano, layering a bit of milky-saltiness. I actually enjoyed the very "meaty", yet moist and tender meatballs more than the Missus. She said these were a bit too heavy for Her, but still enjoyed them. The sauce was very hearty and thick, almost spreadable, a root vegetable marinara, that was very tasty.
Of course we had to try another pizza. And the theme of "Tribute", are well, tributes to other famous pizzas.....so we decided on the tribute to Chris Bianco's Pizzeria Bianco. If you're interested, Ed from Yuma has done posts on both Pane Bianco and Tratto. Anyway, we ordered the Biancoverde with Prosciutto de Parma ($18).
The crisp, slightly bitter arugula, savory-salty prosciutto, and garlic was such a nice match for the yeasty-bready crust. Chili flake kept your attention and the ricotta some creaminess and milky flavors along with the mozzarella. This was a nice pizza and one we'll have again.
For us, it seems that the star of the show at Tribute is the dough.....that focaccia and pizza crust is quite nice. We've really liked the friendly and helpful service as well. Interesting thing about ordering; when you walk in, you head up to the counter and can place your drink and/or food order there, before heading off to a table.
So, I guess the Missus is finally totally over Her "no-bread" phase in life....it makes for much better eating for us! And thanks as always for the recommendation Candice!
Tribute Pizza 3077 N Park Way San Diego, CA 92104 Hours: Tues - Thurs 5pm - 10pm Fri 4pm - 11pm Sat 11am - 11pm Sun 11pm - 9pm
It was great being back in Japan. Because this was going to be a rather short trip, our days were going to be quite busy and we'd be making good use of our JR Pass and Suica Card. While our flight to Narita was going to be arriving at around 5pm; I figured that by the time we got thru customs (pretty quick in Japan), got our pocket wifi, activated our JR Pass, got our train tickets for the following day, get to Tokyo Station, and check into our hotel, it would be around 830 or so. Which was a good estimate. Even though 9 or even midnight is not especially late in Tokyo; I still didn't want to be hunting around for a place to eat.
We found the place with little problem; having downloaded a photo of the storefront and using Google Maps.
One of the few phrases in Japanese I do know is "Yoyaku shitemasu xxxx des." As in "I have a booking for....." And they did have seats ready for us in a tiny corner as the place was packed.
In spite of flying Business Class...the seats on the San Diego - Narita route 787s don't go all the way to 180 degrees, so we didn't get much shut eye and we were kind of tired. So, a nice cold "nama biru" was just the thing. The Missus had a nice HiBall.
Our table top grill was prepped and some vegetables brought out and we were on our way......
First up, what was called the "Root of Tongue" on the menu......
This is the rear portion of the beef tongue; it was seasoned perfectly, was surprisingly tender, and very "beefy".
We found that we didn't need to use any of the typical provided sauces for any of the cuts we had. all were nicely seasoned.
Next to arrive was the one cooked dish; the Stewed Beef Tendon.
The "sauce" was that tasty salty-sweet we associate with Japanese cuisine; with an added Korean (as is with most Yakiniku places) touch of spice.
The tendon and associated beef parts were amazingly tender and a joy to eat.
I love "Harami"; skirt steak, so we ordered the prime skirt.
Man, this was really tender and beefy, just needing a slight sear on the grill.....rare was the best way to have this.
And then the "offal-ness" of it all started, with a triple threat.
With....from the left to the right; sliced small intestine, thymus gland, and large intestine. The small intestine was superb; quite fatty, toothsome, with a mild, pleasant, and surprisingly "clean" flavor to it. The large intestine, as expected was much more chewy, more "offal-ly", though also enjoyable. When I saw thymus gland on the menu, I immediately thought "veal sweetbreads", which is what I'm used too. These were quite tough and chewy; I'm thinking they were taken from an adult cow? That was probably the least enjoyable item we had.
This was a very good meal to start off our trip. The Missus has really taken to yakiniku and horumon. I just wished we had more of it here.
As we slowly strolled back to our hotel, we took it all in, the bright lights, the immenseness of it all, yet balanced out with the clean, the quiet......it was great being back in Tokyo.
To a city that houses one of the "Three Great Gardens" of Japan.
Which was quite impressive.
As was the fact that there was gold leaf everywhere....even on our sashimi.
Though we loved the dried/fermented/preserved fish here......cheesy-salty-savory....an umami bomb.
And of course there was "Japanese Breakfast".
Our next stop was a familiar one.....though we'd never been here during the spring. We lucked out and the Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom. As were the people, who seemed to be really enjoying themselves. In spring; life starts anew......and it seems like everyone celebrates....
Everyone is out having a great time; family, friends, of the two legged and four legged kind.
And in this day and age; you absolutely need a "selfie".....
After all; who can deny how beautiful this is.
It's enough to make you want to massage a...ummmm.....cat?
All joking aside; it can be breathtakingly beautiful.
Of course we had to stop at the Missus's favorite Yakitori spot.
And how about some "Kogashi" (burned) Ramen?
And even a nice Izakaya stop with a wonderful shirako ponzu...loved the shiso flowers; which added just enough of that anise-basil flavor.
And then some what sadly, our time was almost up. And we ended up back in the city where we kicked things off.....though this time, staying in our favorite neighborhood.
Which meant a visit to our favorite restaurant.
And one final day trip.....
On a misty morning that added an air of mystery and drama to things.....