August 21, 2010

Tokyo 2010 day 2: The birthday party

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Woke up early and jogged/walked around the Imperial Palace.  I was a little dehydrated from being drunk the night before, and I had the wrong shoes.  Nevermind... it was nice to do a loop around the place anyway.  The bellhop at the hotel handed me a towel and a bottle of Vittel as I came in all sweaty... That was a nice touch.

I had ramen (ラーメン) for lunch in Ginza - an interesting experience which will be part of another post just on ramen.

The hunt for Bijofu's Yuzu Liqueur was unsuccessful - for now.  I've got a few more days to hit some sake shops, and let's hope for the best.  I did manage to pick up the ponkan (ぽんかん) version made with shochu (焼酎).

After checking myself into the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, I rushed over to my friend Brian's house for the big party.  It's a joint birthday party for the couple, and the Cow had just hit the big four-O after recently becoming a mom.  I had to rush over because I was bringing Brian a 5-pound can of hoisin sauce - at his request.  The elves had helped me procure one of these cans from the professional supply side of Lee Kum Kee, and it definitely beats buying lots of those little jars...  The sauce was going to used to marinate meat for the party.

As usual with one of these big parties at Brian's, there was a ton of food.  Besides the usual finger foods like cold cuts, salads, gravlax, homemade dips and pesto penne... there was a ton of meat.  Brazilian sausage was pretty good and juicy, and the Brazilian spicy chicken breast was not bad, either.  I was surprised to see a big pot of feijoada on the stove, and scooped it over some rice.  This was really nice... Chunks of Brazilian sausage and pork among the black beans made for a very tasty meal... and the rice went down easy, even though I was already getting full.

The main event arrived on a big platter - barbecued baby back ribs in hoisin sauce.  The ribs had been grilled and now are dripping in the mixture of meat juices and hoisin sauce.  Very, very yummy and a real crowd pleaser.  The freshly cut coriander sprinkled on top worked very well to pick up the flavors a little.  I had 2, and was definitely thinking about more meat...

The crowd was getting full, so the lamb chops were filled on an order basis.  I had mine, of course, and it was as good as always.  Looking forward for more of them next Friday.

Amazingly, I stayed dry the entire evening.  I'm never sober at one of Brian's parties, but as I was pretty inebriated the prior evening, I decided to just drink tea the whole night.  I guess I'm saving the drinking part till next week...

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