April 16, 2023

Japan Michelin tour 2023 day 2: boys are back in town

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We had read about C'est Très Bon from a guidebook that Foursheets bought, which piqued our interest because it's in Canal City Hakata just steps from our hotel. So we trudged over to take a look and see what we could get for breakfast. Their most popular item is apparently the petit milk baguette, which is a small baguette sliced open and filled with some sweet milk cream. Pretty nice, actually... as the sweetness worked with the light saltiness of the bread.

I did have the very last bite of Foursheets' croque monsieur and, MAN, THAT was delicious! I only got a bit of the edge of the pain de mie, plus a little bit of bechemel and cheese, but that tiny bite was enough to make my eyes open wide. We're definitely coming back tomorrow for more of this!

By the way, they have a Balmuda toaster here, so dine-in customers can heat up their goodies and make them extra tasty. A very nice touch.

The coffee and milk tea here, though, were pretty disappointing. As my mom would say, this is what you get when you rinse a cup that used to have coffee in it... 

After some shopping at the Sanrio Gallery in Canal City, we headed to Ohori Park (大濠公園) for some sightseeing. We had missed coming here on our last trip because, well, we were busy shopping and doing other things, so we made sure to stop and check it out this time. It's the tail end of the cherry blossom season, and we were grateful to be able to catch some trees in full bloom, and even nicer to watch the petals fall with the occasional breeze.

We strolled around the walking path around Ohori Pond (大濠池), and soon came upon the dock where swan boats were available for rent. It's something neither of us have done for years, but on a nice, sunny day light this it seemed like something we should do. So we took a 2-seater and paddled around for 30 minutes. As it isn't something we regularly do, initially we found it surprisingly taxing - especially when one is going against the current.

We hit Tenjin (天神) to do a little more shopping but needed to grab a late lunch first. No surprise that Foursheets wanted to go back to the honten (本店) of Hakata Ramen ShinShin (博多らーめん ShinShin). As it was close to 3 p.m. the line outside was thankfully short, and we got seated after less than 15 minutes.

I went for the baked pork ramen (チャーシューメン) this time, going back to the basics. Good, medium-bodied broth, and no stinky feet smell. The chasiu comes in thicker slices and I love how fatty they are.

We also shared a plate of gyoza (餃子), of course.

The boys from Bangkok arrived early this morning, and Goh-san arranged a dinner for all of us at Keigo Furuya (警固 ふるや). The restaurant serves both yakitori (焼き鳥) and seafood, and we have the entire 10-seat counter to ourselves.

Chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) - the eggs came from Takasaka chickens (高坂鶏), which is a well-known breed that Goh-san described as "very expensive chicken". The custard was very, very fluffy. We've also got with Hokkaido scallops in the custard, and and fresh, delicious corn on top.

Japanese horsehair crab (毛蟹) - from Hokkaido, with irizake (煎り酒), plum sauce, and a little bit of crab tomalley. A slight hint of bitterness on top of the sweetness of the crab meat.

Japanese whelk (つぶ貝) - served raw with wild asparagus spears.

Cutlass fish (太刀魚) - nice and tender, with a salsa of spring onions, water pepper (赤蓼), and radish on top. On the side we have myoga (茗荷) stems together with some sansho leaf miso (木の芽味噌).

Tilefish agedashi (甘鯛揚げ出し) - tilefish (甘鯛) is always tasty, and serving it as agedashi (揚げ出し) just makes it even better. The thickened sauce includes what looked like chrysanthemum petals, and we've got lots of shredded myoga on top.

Shredded fennel and banpeiyu (晩白柚) - and fennel fronds on top.

Next comes the yakitori portion of our meal.

Akoya pearl oyster abductor muscles (アコヤ貝柱) - these are the abductor muscles (貝柱) from Akoya pearl oysters grown in Tsushima (対馬) in Nagasaki Prefecture (長崎県).

Cucumber (胡瓜)

Chicken thigh (鶏モモ) - now we get different parts of the Takasaka chicken from Kyoto, starting with the thigh served together with leeks.

Chicken neck (せせり) - with perilla (紫蘇) leaf, served with yellow mustard. So tender and almost milky.

Bamboo shoot (筍) - very nicely scored to make it even more tender.

Wasabi stem (茎山葵) - marinated with soy sauce.

Gizzard (砂ずり) - this was really nice. Crunchy on the outside and still tender in the middle.

Bigeyed greeneye (目光) - this was very, very tender and came with the spine. Served with marinaed mustard seeds.

Chicken meat ball (つくね) - this was so, soooo juicy! Wow!

Pickled garlic leaf

We got a bowl of rice from a clay pot to go with our pickles.

Chuka soba with Takasaka chicken (高坂鶏の中華そば) - with sansho flowers (花山椒). Very happy.

Crema catalana with strawberries

This place had wine cellar that was far, far beyond my expectations, wine some of the most famous natural wines from France, Japan, and elsewhere. Too bad that some of the good stuff wasn't for sale, or reserved by other customers. Vlad picked out something while I chose something to Foursheets' liking.

2017 Pattes Loup Chablis 1er Cru Beauregard - good acidity here with some flint and minerality.

2021 Domaine Mont Dom Gris - color has turned rosé due to extended maceration. Fruity and sweet like red currants.

2017 Case Corini Achille - decanted for an hour and served. Very minty, lots of sweetness, very jammy on the nose. Still got grippy tannins.

The ever-generous Goh-san insisted on paying for dinner, and we were in no position to argue with him. The only thing we could do was to thank him.

Vlad and the boys wanted to hit a wine bar, so I followed them to Mahoroba amber (魔灯路場amber). There are apparently stories about Gaggan at this place... Anyway, Vlad asked to be taken to the cellar, and came back with these:

10R Nokofuku Rosé (ノコフク  ロゼ) - nice and easy to drink. Lots of red fruits but not very complex, with a little sulfur.

2018 Domaine de l'Anglore Nizon - lovely nose, very minty, cool fruit. Flat on the palate. Definitely a natural wine.

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