March 29, 2024

50 Best and then some day 9: no pictures, part 2

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I'm a man on a mission today. On my last day in Kyoto, I wanted to try a couple of the best crème caramel (プリン) served up by Japanese kissaten (喫茶店) in town. After doing a little research, I decided to hit two shops in close proximity to each other in Kawaramachi (河原町).

Franćois is a salon de thé in an alley next to Takase River (高瀬川). The shop was established in 1934, with the current interior dating back to around 1941. It became the first kissaten to be registered as a national tangible cultural property (登録有形文化財) in 2003.

I got myself a pudding set (プリンセット), which includes a crème caramel and a coffee.

House special pudding (特製プリン) - the flavors of this was fairly eggy, and the caramel was dark and rich. Loved the candied orange that came along. The texture was a little on the dense and firm side.

American coffee (アメリカンコーヒー)

I had another stop to make just a short walk away, as Otafuku Coffee (御多福珈琲) was also well-known for their crème caramel. Unfortunately, the boss was resolute about not allowing any photos inside the shop.

Pudding (プリン) - this was softer and more fluffy. There was more caramel sauce, and the caramel showed more bitterness.

House special blend coffee (当店自慢ブレンドコーヒー)

I've now had two crème caramels and almost 2 cups of coffee in the space of just over 1 hour... and it was time to move on and do some last-minute shopping for Uniqlo T-shirts.

For lunch, I decided to go back east and crossed the Kamo River (鴨川). I remembered one of the posts from the Man in White T-shirt was about a place that specializes in yakisoba (焼きそば), and they also offer yakisoba koppepan (焼きそばコッペパン). I was dying for some fresh yakisoba on bread, so I was pretty excited about checking this place out.

On the way to lunch, I happened to come across the bartender who served me Champagne last night at Coupe de Champagne. Pretty cool!

Oyaji (おやじ) is a simple place - with stools in front of an L-shaped counter in an open air shop front. My fellow diners were clearly construction workers on a project nearby, so that seems pretty legit.

Unfortunately, they also don't allow any photos in the shop...

I ordered the yakisoba with just one portion (1玉) of noodles, and in addition to the standard toppings of squid, chikuwa (竹輪), and cabbage already included with the order, I also asked for lard (ラード), pork cracklings (油かす), tendons (すじ肉). 

The counter is basically a giant teppan (鉄板), and the noodles are cooked a la plancha right in front of the diner. When it's ready, the diner simply uses their chopsticks to pick it up from the teppan while the remainder stays on the steel and keeps cooking. It can get kinda charred and burnt if one doesn't eat fast enough, but the boss will probably come and scoop it off the teppan before it gets too burnt. This was pretty decent, and I liked the smoky, charred flavors.

I was hoping to take away an order of yakisoba koppepan with me for the flight home, but apparently these had to be ordered a day in advance... so I left the place empty-handed...

After getting off the Hello Kitty Haruka at KIX, I stopped by a Family Mart and finally got the chance to pick up a Retro Pudding Ice Bar (喫茶店のレトロプリンアイスバー) from Andeico (アンデイコ) before I left Kyoto. They do try to recreate that kissaten taste with the bitterness in the caramel. This would be my third pudding today.

I had time to kill before boarding my flight, so I stopped by the KIX North Lounge for some refreshments. Sadly, CX does not have their own lounge here, so this would have to do.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see Daimon Sake when I'm in Osaka, so I decided to pour myself some.

Daimon Rikyubai Junmai Ginjo Shizuka (大門利休梅 純米吟醸 静香), 2023 - seimaibuai of 55%. This was in an ice bucket but not submerged, so it was served too warm for my liking. Very dry and spicy on the palate. The second pour was slightly cooler, a bit softer on the palate but the finish was still dry and spicy. Nose of starchy rice with a hint of banana.

I also found my favorite instant noodles in the world - the original Nissin Chicken Ramen (日清 チキンラーメン). This was the very first instant noodle in the world that was invented by Ando Momofuku (安藤百福). I love it because even without adding hot water to it, I could eat it dry because it's already fully-seasoned. In fact, my penchant for this became the inspiration for one of the fried chicken recipes in the Great One's Kung Pao and Beyond.

Well... it's been an interesting 9 days across two different cities... time to go home.

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