December 31, 2019

The best dishes I had in 2019

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It's been a busy year at work, thanks to me changing jobs at the start of the year.  I definitely did not take as many holidays as I had planned, and in fact I ended up eating out less altogether.  That being said, I still found plenty of opportunities to pig out all over the world.

As in previous years, I have put together a list of the dishes which I thought were "the best", in the sense that they elicited the most amount of positive emotions from me.  They are listed in chronological order here:

Deep-fried garoupa filet (吉列老虎班球), from The Sports Club (五陵會), Hong Kong - there's something about battered and deep-fried fish, and this was probably the best version I've ever had.  I was totally amazed that something like this could be executed at this level... with light and crispy batter enveloping very fluffy and soft fish.  And that starchy egg drop and corn sauce was beautiful.

Braised stuffed sea cucumber (海參鑲肉), from mom - OK, so I'll never grow tired of eating this dish from mom.  Soft and wobbly sea cucumber stuffed with minced pork.  I'm so lucky that mom is a wonderful cook.

Last stars of the decade

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I pinged Hairy Legs this morning.  I had something for Bilbaobab, and could I just drop it off with him at the restaurant during my lunch hour?  Being the kind friend that he is, Hairy Legs offered to make me a few dishes for lunch.  While I politely declined and told him that I was happy to eat something simple so that I could return to my desk, he insisted that I should not leave the restaurant hungry.

That's how I found myself sitting at the chef's table behind the open kitchen at Caprice, on the last day of the year - nay, of the decade.  I came delivering a small package of pop corn, and ended up staying for a multi-course lunch.

Victor came in with a magnum of bubbly. I guess it made sense to have some... with less than 12 hours to go.

Vouette et Sorbée Fidèle, en magnum, dégorgée le 16 Octobre 2018 - more pronounced mineral notes, caramelized on the edges.  The acidity on the palate was balanced by some ripeness.

December 28, 2019

The path continues

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I'm back home spending Christmas with the Parental Units, which I haven't done in a few years.  Much to my surprise, mom suggested that we go out for dinner one night.  I guess she felt that she's been keeping dad on a pretty tight leash over the last few months... and he deserved a little break.  Hello Kitty figured that sushi might be the best fit for mom's dietary requirements, so I booked us a few seats at the counter at Yu Dow Son (魚道生) - my old favorite during the year I moved back to Taipei.

The place was just as I remembered, and the four of us were seated at the corner of the L-shaped counter.  Chef Liu Ji An (劉技安) still mans the counter and makes almost all the pieces.  And the place still has flower arrangements, as one of the owners is apparently a florist.  In fact, the restaurant is named after a type of ikebana (生花) arrangement called gyodoike (魚道生).

Mom was treating us to this dinner, so we decided to forgo the regular set menus and took the basic level omakase.

Olive flounder (鮃) - presented as petals of a rose, and sprinkled with ground shrimp as if it were snow.

December 23, 2019

Pre-holiday FUK: late-night eats

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Maybe it's that late-night session last month... I don't know... but for someone who very rarely goes out for late-night supper after dinner, I inexplicably felt the need to binge while I was in Fukuoka.  I just felt that there were things I wanted to eat and places I wanted to hit during my slightly longer stay this time around.

On my first night, after a sake session, I was dead set on getting some motsunabe (もつ鍋).  It's something that originated from this part of Japan, and I didn't get around to having some during my short trip last month.  So I's gonna git some!

It was past 1:30 a.m. and many shops selling motsunabe were already closed or closing... and I was by myself.  I left the Grand Hyatt Fukuoka on foot and headed in the direction of Tenjin.  The sign outside the Haruyoshi (春吉) branch of Ryu no Su (龍の巣) advertised motsunabe, since they specialize in horumon (ホルモン), so I sat down and ordered one up.

First, a little appetizer...

Original kasu motsunabe (元祖かすもつ鍋) - I've never had a real authentic motsunabe, so this was all new to me.  We've got mostly cabbage and chives, along with raw cow intestines, and surprisingly deep-fried intestines and fat (かす)... all seasoned with some garlic and sesame.

Pre-holiday FUK: late-night drinks

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There's bound to be drinking when DaRC is involved, and on this trip I went out for drinks each night after dinner - to a variety of bars.

After our dinner on the first night, we rushed over to Shuho (酒峰) for some sake.  We arrived at an earlier hour compared to my last visit, and it suddenly hit me that people do come here for food as well as sake...

We started with a round of something DaRC and I both like a lot:

Azumaichi Junmai Daiginjo Tobintori Show Selection (東一 純米大吟醸 斗瓶取り 選抜酒), BY28 - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 39%.  Initially served too cold, showing banana notes but kinda oxidized.  Very smooth on the palate.  Sweet at first but gets a little drier.

I've been dying to open a particular bottle ever since my last visit...

Pre-holiday FUK day 4: take it easy

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It's our last full day in Fukuoka, and DaRC hadn't planned anything so we thought we'd just take it easy.  I missed out on visiting Goh-san at his restaurant when I was in town last month, and since I only confirmed our visit two weeks ago, La Maison de la Nature Goh had already been booked up.  Thankfully Goh-san was still kind enough to make time for us, and took us to Iihi Tonkatsu (いい日とん勝) - his favorite tonkatsu (とんかつ) shop near his home.

Unfortunately for us, the restaurant didn't have any of their Bimiton loin cutlet (美味豚ロースカツ) from Kagoshima Prefecture (鹿児島県), but Goh-san did manage to get a little something special for us.

Pork loin cutlet set (ロースカツ膳) - just look at the gorgeous pieces of pork, covered in panko (パン粉)!

December 22, 2019

Pre-holiday FUK day 3: Chinese Island

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Our only meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant on this trip was dinner tonight.  Sushi Karashima (鮨 唐島) has been open for a little more than a year and a half, and already grabbed a coveted Michelin star shortly after opening.   This was all the more impressive because, while Karashima-san has been cooking for a few years, his experience with a sushiya started relatively recently.

Tilefish dashi chawanmushi (甘鯛出汁茶碗蒸し) - made with dashi (出汁) from tilefish (甘鯛) and a specific type of egg from Ukiha City (うちは市), which has a more white-ish yolk.  Served with some shaved yuzu (柚子) zest for fragrance.

Karashima-san started prepping the shari (シャリ), and I could really smell the vinegar in the rice... and it was very similar to the black Chinkiang vinegar (鎮江醋) I grew up with.

Pre-holiday FUK day 3: American ro ro

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After two days of having no meat, Ro Ro was dying for some ro ro.  Thankfully DaRC had arranged lunch at Authentic Living Butcher NYC - a place where they serve dry-aged beef.

Being a fan of Japanese Hamburg steak, I chose the Aging Humberg and Hanging Tender Steak Course.  It's been a while since I had Hamburg steak in Japan...

We started with a few amuses bouches:
Spiced popcorn

Pork liver gougères

Chiffon cake with Marscapone

December 21, 2019

Pre-holiday FUK day 2: hidden on the side

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We had real trouble finding Daidokoro (大所).  The address points to an apartment building, but there didn't seem to be a door leading to any restaurant on the ground level... or was there?  We did see an innocuous wooden door on the side of the building's main entrance, but we forgot to check the pictures on Tabelog.  In the end I had to call DaRC, who walked out of the same wooden door we had ignored...

Napa cabbage and conpoy soup (白菜と貝柱のすり流し) - very nice with a little bit of yuzu (柚子) added, and a few black sesame seeds.  Interesting texture, too.

Next came a series of appetizers, starting with cream cheese flavored with dried persimmon (あんぽ柿), topped with a piece of kumquat (金柑) from Miyazaki (宮崎).  This was kinda interesting.

Pre-holiday FUK day 2: ramen and shopping

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Hello Kitty and I desperately needed to catch up on sleep, so we decided to sleep in today.  After eventually dragging our butts out of bed, we made our way to the original shop (本店) of Hakata Ramen ShinShin (博多らーめん ShinShin) in Tenjin (天神).

I first learned about this place at the GohGanDen pop-up in Macau last year.  The crab curry finale featured noodles from ShinShin, and I was really impressed with the texture of those thin strands.  It seemed natural that we should check this place out while we were in town.

There was already a fairly long line across the street when we arrived, and for two people who normally refuse to line up for food beyond, say, 15 minutes or so, we ended up enduring a nearly 40-minute wait.

Ramen with cooked egg (煮玉子入りらーめん) - the most popular choice.  With an egg, some char siu (チャーシュー), spring onions, and wood ear.  The fatty pork belly was really delicious, as there were some smoky and charred flavors.  The soup was tasty yet light.

December 20, 2019

Pre-holiday FUK day 1: hidden upstairs

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We're off to Fukuoka for a few days before the Christmas holidays, and thanks to the need to transit through Taipei, we landed just one hour before dinner was to start.  Thankfully the immigration and baggage claim at Fukuoka airport was really efficient, and we managed to get to the restaurant right on time in spite of a little Friday night traffic.

But Sensui (千翠) doesn't have any obvious signage... which isn't uncommon for restaurants in Japan.  We saw a well-lit staircase leading upstairs, but there didn't seem to be anything indicating that it was the restaurant we were looking for - until Hello Kitty poked her head inside and saw the name of the restaurant in very small font on a small piece of wood on the side after checking for pictures of the restaurant exterior on Tabelog.

Once upstairs, we sat ourselves at the short end of the L-shaped counter with a mere 8 seats, which our group of 6 basically took over while ignoring the Japanese couple who had arrived earlier.

I didn't do any homework for this trip, and just let DaRC book all the restaurants.  I just follow lah... So I really didn't have much of an idea of what to expect for this meal.

We started with a trio of root vegetables tempura (天ぷら) - Jerusalem artichokes (菊芋), potatoes (馬鈴薯), and propagule (零余子).

December 18, 2019

I still haven't found what I'm looking for

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My friend V wanted to catch up before the holidays, and figured we could do with a casual meal.  There are only a couple of people I would normally call on for an occasion like this, and this time I decided to call on RAW Spam Bro again.  As it turned out, our friends at Ginsberg + Chan were doing their staff Christmas dinner at Nikushou tonight, so we had a chance to catch up and try some wines together.

We kicked off with female snow crab (香箱蟹), a seasonal specialty.  In addition to meat from the smaller female, there's also tomalley (蟹味噌), ovaries (内子), and I think some eggs (外子).  Not as decadent as the ones I had in Japan last December, but this will do.  Served with the packaged sushi rice from Sukiyabashi Jiro (すきやばし次郎).

December 13, 2019

Collared in the Hood

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My Birdbrain Favorite Cousin pinged me a few weeks ago, asking me to take her back to Neighborhood for the so-called "Peter menu".  Knowing that Mr. and Mrs. Birdiegolf also enjoy taking in the "Peter menu" at certain places in town, I figured I should rope them in for this dinner.  After all, I haven't been to my favorite restaurant in a couple of months, and certainly not since the white truffle season started...

Veal tartare / Burrata / hazelnut - Mr. Birdiegolf would have preferred beef over veal, but this was what we got.  And those shaved slices of white truffle certainly didn't hurt...  Very nice.

December 5, 2019

Days of numbing tongue: Sichuan feast

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Our day started at Kuanzhai Xiangzi Alleys (宽窄巷子), yet another historic touristy area of Chengdu.  After strolling around, exploring and learning a little something about the history of the area - including yet another Starbucks located in an old building - we went in search of something very local to eat...

Wumei Zhuji Intestine Noodles (五妹朱记肥肠粉) sells, you guessed it... bowls of noodles with pig intestines.  The main draw is this huge bowl of pig offal, with a separate bowl of pig intestines which have already been chopped up.

December 4, 2019

Days of numbing tongue: hot pot experience

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I'm in Chengdu for a couple of days for a work trip, and I'm getting to see the city for the first time.  While it's interesting for me to experience some authentic Chengdu-style Sichuan cuisine, I am a little bummed that I won't get the chance to hit a couple of restaurants that come highly recommended by foodie friends.

To show us - more specifically, me - some local sights, we went to a branch of Da Miao Hot Pot (大妙 火锅) located inside the historic and touristy area of Jinli (锦里).  I guess hot pot is a must when one is in Chengdu...

Knowing a few of us can't handle the heat, we did the traditional double-flavored pot (鸳鸯锅). I mostly stuck to the non-spicy soup base, although I did enjoy dipping some of the ingredients into the mala (麻辣) side.

December 1, 2019

A classic Bordelais evening

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About two hours after landing in Hong Kong, I found myself back at the Grill Room of the Hong Kong Country Club... ready for another blind tasting with the MNSC boys.  After a weekend of dining in Singapore, I really couldn't care less about the food tonight.  Hell, I came for the wines!

The amuse bouche was crab meat and celeriac.

The sweetbreads were very milky, while the pickled fungus was crunchy and acidic.  There were some blue cheese flavors there somewhere...

November 30, 2019

3-star trip to Singapore: 3 stars too many

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We were meeting one of The Dining Austrian's old friends for dinner, but only after a few drinks first.  The last time I went to Que Pasa was probably around the year 2000, so it was nice to see that after all these years, the place was still thriving. After a quick round of cocktails - which turned out to be a more modified, more masculine Cosmopolitan - our host ordered a bottle of wine.

2014 Réserve de la Comtesse - ripe fruit, lots of dried herbs in the first whiff, then turned smoky and minty.

We moved on to dinner at Les Amis.  I haven't stepped foot in this restaurant for almost 20 years, and I also haven't tasted Sebastien Lepinoy's cuisine since just before Cépage closed 6 years ago.  Frankly, I haven't had much desire to come here.  I'm sure the cuisine is fine, but just from looking at all the pictures posted online, it just seems that the dishes and the plating still look like they belong at Robuchon.

But I'm playing the role of wingman, so here I was... hoping for surprises on the upside.  I couldn't have been more wrong.

We started with a little bubbly, and I chose a glass from a familiar name...

3-star trip to Singapore: local food crawl

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While the main purpose of our trip was hitting the two 3-star restaurants, we also wanted some simple, local food to balance things out.  I could have taken The Dining Austrian to a few of my old favorites, but it's always more interesting for someone local to show you places you've never been to.  So I roped in Gastronaut to show us around.

Our first stop was Da Dong Prawn Noodles (大东虾面) in Joo Chiat.  I have been hearing about this place so I was glad this was on our itinerary.  But first, my friend brought us some otak otak...

November 29, 2019

3-star trip to Singapore: revisiting grandma

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I'm on the road again this weekend, flying into the Lion City to spend a couple of days with The Dining Austrian.  Two months ago, the Rubberman announced the promotion of two establishments to the ultimate, 3-macaron level.  So naturally I had to prod my friend into making a trip - even though he had already visited both places earlier in the year.  Having done that, it was only right that I accompany him on his dining adventures.

My flight landed a little late, and by then it was Friday evening rush hour, with some rain earlier in the day to boot.  It became impossible to get a taxi or limo from the airport.  I did finally get transport via Grab, but ended up getting stuck in traffic on my way to Parkroyal on Pickering.  By the time we arrived for dinner at Odette, we were more than an hour late.

There were two dégustation menus to choose from - one was basically vegetarian, and the other "terre et mer".  Guess which one we picked?

A week ago, I found out through a post on FB that Julien Royer will actually be in Hong Kong this weekend, cooking at his restaurant Louise.  This was, of course, a little annoying.  You never want to fly in somewhere specifically to dine at a 3-star restaurant, only to find that the head chef isn't in the kitchen.  However, 3-star restaurants should run as well-oiled machines... so arguably nothing should be any different even without the head chef being in the kitchen.

First, a little bubbly to quench my thirst!

Henri Giraud Fût de Chêne MV13 - nice and ripe, good depth on the palate, and almost a little bitter.

Grignotages - the nibbles came pretty quickly, before we had much time to settle in...

November 27, 2019

Visiting the truffle king

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It's been a while since I last dined at 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana.  A few years ago the restaurant was so popular with diners that it became difficult to book on short notice - or at least that was my impression.  So it gradually got phased out of my short list of go-to restaurants, and the interval between my visits became years instead of months.

So I was pretty surprised when word came via a friend that Chef Bombana would like to see The Great One and I, as neither of us have paid the restaurant a visit in some time.  We were, of course, only too happy to oblige... but I made it clear through my friend that we would be paying for our meal - that this would not be one of those freebies.

I arrived late and a little flustered, and quickly sat down at our corner table while apologizing to the ladies.  The smell of white truffle being shaved at neighboring tables filled the air.  Of course this was now the busy season for the restaurant, as Hong Kong was enjoying a short respite from the recent turmoil and diners returned for the white diamonds.

The menu was, of course, arranged by Chef Bombana.  I looked forward to what was in store for us - besides the truffle, that is.

Chanterelles with mushroom foam, and white truffle - nice, but way too small of a bowl.

November 26, 2019

Old Barolos from Mascarello

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A few months ago while we were having dinner together, J told me that Ginsberg + Chan was planning a dinner featuring old Mascarello Barolos. I don’t drink Barolo on a regular basis, but I have had a few decent bottles of Mascarello… and this would be an interesting opportunity to try out some old vintages. As DaRC was also with us and he’s a real big fan of Barolos, the two of us signed up for this dinner right away.

By the time I got to Giando tonight, I had already spent 3 nights in a row wining and dining. I told myself that the menu looked to be on the light side, and I would just take sips as I normally do.

We started with a magnum of Pierre Peters Champagne, although I didn’t quite catch the exact cuvee. This was very light on the palate initially but gained some depth with time. Some minerals, but the finish was short.

Insalata Piemontese : Piedmont salad in “bagna cauda” dressing with hazelnut, bell peppers and eggs

November 25, 2019

The pigeon in the shelter

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The MNSC boys have been a busy bunch this year, and we haven’t really found time to gathering for our tastings. Incredibly, enough of us were able to be available during the few days I am actually in Hong Kong this month… and it didn’t surprise me that Dr. Poon chose to host us at Arbor – which has become his “canteen” in recent times...

I have been here only once, and came away with mixed feelings. So I was really looking forward to trying it again to see what I was missing.

Always start with the warm brioche...

Sazae – the horned turban (栄螺) from Fukuoka (福岡) is steamed in herb oil and topped with pickled mustard seeds.  Came with aioli made from the whelk's liver, which was OK.

November 23, 2019

The continuous journey

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The Great One was missing Sato-san dishes at Ta Vie 旅 and wanted to go back.  I have been remiss this year, and have only visited my friend Sato-san once. So I didn’t hesitate to say “Yes” when asked. Besides, times have been tough for people in the F and B industry over the last few months, and I was more than happy to provide a tiny amount of help.

We always start with one of my favorite breads in town, along with homemade condiments. Tonight, though, there was a new addition.

Nukazuke bread - made with nukazuke (糠漬け). If I had a bottomless stomach, I would easily devour 3 to 4 of these. Nowadays, though, we are kept to just one as Sato-san has been baking other types of bread.

Homemade butter - the butter has been made in-house for the last 4 years. Always delicious.

November 18, 2019

Before and after takeoff

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After feeling very relaxed after a spa session at the Rosewood Sand Hill, we had a few hours to kill before our evening flight home.  While we could have ventured out for a nice dinner somewhere, the easiest thing to do seemed to be staying for yet another meal at Madera.

Grape and almond gazpacho

Potato leek soup, Yukon Gold potatoes, pickled pearl onions 

November 17, 2019

Breakfast, brunch, and dinner

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I'm chillin' out at the Rosewood Sand Hill over the weekend, and there's really nothing much in the 'hood.  Pretty much gotta get a ride to go anywhere or do anything.  So it kinda made sense that we would stick around the hotel for most of the day.

I went over to Madera, the hotel restaurant with a macaron, to grab myself some breakfast.  I figured I couldn't go wrong with the challah French toast, which came with some walnuts.

November 15, 2019

One night in Chicago

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I'm back in the Windy City after 5 years, but unfortunately this time I only have one dinner slot.  I figured I needed to get together with some local experts to figure out where to go, so I pinged two ladies from halfway around the world, and they agreed to show me around.

Blondie suggested Smyth right off the bat, and I know it's one of her favorites so I had absolutely no problem with that.  Thanks to her relationship with the restaurant, they were able to accommodate us even when my travel itinerary changed.

After changing out of my monkey suit, I headed west and met the ladies at The Loyalist - the more casual eatery downstairs - for a drink.  I was a little flustered when I arrived and didn't really have a chance to figure out what I wanted, so someone very kindly plopped down a glass of bubbly.

Eventually we went upstairs to take our seats.  We had originally asked for a short, classic menu because we were to be joined by my friend who doesn't like long, tasting menus.  But since my friend wasn't joining us, I figured we could be a little more adventurous...

I didn't know what to order in terms of wine, so I guess I kinda got myself the wine pairing without specifically asking for it...

Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve

Horseradish root - pickled and compressed salsify, cooked in whey, wrapped in kombu (昆布) and horseradish.  The kick from horseradish wasn't too bad.

Maine uni glazed in egg yolk - a classic dish here, apparently.  The texture of Main sea urchin was more firm and solid.  Egg yolk sauce and egg white garum, along with habanero (?) oil.  The flavors here were interesting, with fruit fragrance which reminded me of citrus notes, along with good acidity.

November 12, 2019

The chef who smiles not, NY edition

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It's been more than 5 years since I was last in New York, and thankfully this time I'm staying a little longer than a day.  Unfortunately for me, I only have 2 nights in town, which really leaves just one slot for dinner.  There was never any question about which restaurant I'd hit, though... and my good friend The Dining Austrian very kindly hooked me up with Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare.

After changing out of my monkey suit into something more comfortable after a full day of meetings, I rushed over to the restaurant only to discover, to my horror, that I actually forgot to wear a jacket to dinner.  So I dutifully donned the loaner from the restaurant, and the two of us took our seats at the large, C-shaped counter.

César Ramirez seems to have a reputation for being a man of few words, although he did stop by and greeted us for more than 3 seconds since he knew one of us was friends with The Dining Austrian.  He never came near us again for the rest of the evening...

We started the evening with a glass of bubbly:

Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Cuvée de Réserve, dégorgée Mai 2019 - a little over-ripe, some acidity here.  Somehow this just wasn't great.

Caviar - a tartlet with wild yellowtail (鰤) topped with Kaluga Queen caviar (no specific type mentioned so I will assume it's huso dauricus), perilla flowers, and sansho leaves (木の芽).  I was surprised at the acidity here, which came from lemon juice on the yellowtail.  That kinda balanced out the salinity coming from the caviar, I guess.

November 9, 2019

27 hours in Fukuoka: ancient river

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It was tough waking up this morning after my late night run, but I needed to have one last lunch with The Dining Austrian before flying home.  Oryori Furukawa (御料理  古川) has gotten themselves two little macarons in the latest guide from the Rubberman just a year after opening, so naturally this was on my friend's hit list.  I was only too happy to go along with my friend.

Furukawa-san is apparently a friend of Tabara-san from last night, and had received a picture of us from Tabara-san... So it's a very small world, indeed...

Fried chicken mushrooms with spinach, soft tofu - on top of the very soft yuba (組み上げ湯葉) with the texture of cream cheese was a pile of spinach and fried chicken mushrooms (丹波しめじ).  We've also got a gelée made with chrysanthemum petals and flavored with a little wasabi.  This was very clean and refreshing, and a great way to kick off the meal.

November 8, 2019

27 hours in Fukuoka: bar crawl

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Since Amano-san does not serve any alcohol at Tenzushi Kyomachiten (天寿し 京町店) so that diners could focus on the sushi, we felt we needed a few drinks after dinner. The natural choice would seem to be Stag, which is Amano-san’s hangout.

This place was dark and intimate, with a few seats at the counter while the table behind us seemed to be stacked full of bottles. In fact, the amount of alcohol here was pretty amazing. Among the large collection of whiskies and grappa, I spotted a bottle each of Fine de Bourgogne and Marc de Bourgogne from DRC.

I wanted something different, so I asked Wasai-san to pick something to surprise me. And surprise me, he did…

1957 Blandy’s Bual – nice and savory on the palate, kinda like Shaoxing (紹興酒) that has had salted plum (話梅) soaked in it. Only medium sweet since it’s Bual.

27 hours in Fukuoka: a magical star

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A few days after seeing The Dining Austrian in Tokyo, I'm flying up to Fukuoka to have another couple of meals with him.  The focus of my 27-hour stay in Fukuoka is dinner at Tenzushi Kyomachiten (天寿し  京町店) - the 6-seater restaurant that seems to be adored by a number of my friends.

I landed in Fukuoka about 2 hours before dinner, and I was so determined to make my way to Kogura (小倉) as quickly as possible in order not to be late for dinner.  Thankfully the International Terminal at Fukuoka Airport is not too busy, and pretty efficient.  I quickly collected my luggage, got on the bus to the Domestic Terminal, rode the subway to Hakata Station (博多駅) to take the next available Shinkansen (新幹線).  Less than a 20-minute ride later, I found myself at Kogura Station with an hour to spare...

It's a short walk from the station to Tenzushi, and The Dining Austrian and I walked through the door a few minutes before the appointed time. We were soon joined by our two other companions, taking up 4 out of the 6 seats at the restaurant’s counter. So the majority tonight would be non-Japanese…

The cucumber was lightly pickled and still crunchy.

Medium fatty tuna (中トロ) – surprised that our meal started with this, because this is not generally the order for edomae sushi (江戸前寿司). There was a strong hit of wasabi at the start, but this was quickly tempered by the flavors of the tuna itself. Wonderful soy sauce flavors on the tuna, and the shari (シャリ) had nice flavors, too.

November 2, 2019

Tokyo sushi day: drunken onion, episode 7

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After my filling sushi dinner, it was time for sake! I had called Master a few days ago and made a reservation, and dutifully made my way to Tamanegiya (酒たまねぎや). The Dining Austrian also joined me after his “all-you-can-eat” sushi dinner at one of the top sushiyas in town.

We've got the usual accompaniment of tomatoes and stewed fish head with ginger. The tomatoes are always so good here.

Since I don’t have Hello Kitty to help share my glass, I would be limited in what I could taste tonight. Oh well…

Tokyo sushi day: no pictures and no magic

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My original plan for dinner tonight was pretty simple. I was either going to check out a place recommended by a friend, which still serves the “real, traditional” edomae sushi (江戸前寿司) before things got refined, or I was simply gonna have a bowl of my favorite ramen at Hakata Tenjin (博多天神).

Then a week ago someone I know offered up two seats at Sushi Hashiguchi (鮨はしぐち), which is apparently ranked No. 5 for all Tokyo sushi restaurants on Tabelog. I remember reading other people posting about this place, and it is supposedly pretty difficult to book. So I figured that since I happened to be in town tonight, and had no fixed plans I couldn’t cancel, I might as well give this a try.

It turned out that my dining companion also lives in Hong Kong, and had flown up for the occasion. The two of us would be among the 6 foreigners at the 9-seat counter tonight.

Hashiguchi-san had not been told about his regular customer not showing up, so we kinda had to offer an explanation about the situation, and how we happen to know the customer. He was also curious about our backgrounds, and was a lot more chatty towards non-regular customers.

However, he is very strict about the no-photo policy at his restaurant… so the only picture one ever sees on Tabelog is that of the discreet signage out front.


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