Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Posts Tagged ‘Tokyo

Whiskey and sushi?

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Omotesando neighborhood of Tokyo has a whisky bar delightfully named The Whisky Library with its wall to wall whisky collection. And these were not just empty display bottles, the servers were climbing ladders to serve. We tried two flights – one from the famous Suntory distillery and other from Nikka. Suntory family had a maple/woodsy finish and Nikka had a sake/salty finish. Both excellent.

Miyagikyo (single malt), Yoichi (single malt), and Taketsuru (blended malt) from Nikka distillery and Yamazaki (single malt), Hakushu (single malt) and Hibiki (blended) from Suntory.

The flights were followed by sushi at Tsukiji Tama Sushi Sasashigure at Omatesando Hills mall. Don’t frown at mall sushi – while the $300-$500 sushi at the likes of sushi master, Jiro, is no doubt sublime, a high end mall sushi meets expectations, particularly after a a few shots of delightful whisky.

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Written by locomotoring

August 10, 2017 at 6:26 am

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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Did someone say horse sashimi?

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Sora An restaurant was at the footsteps of our AirBnB. We went in for a bento lunch and ended up being repeat customers.

Super lean horse sashimi served with grated ginger and minced garlic

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Written by locomotoring

August 8, 2017 at 4:37 am

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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Cocktail tasting at Gen Yamamoto

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This is unlike any alcohol flight, the experience is closer to a sushi bar with 8 seats and a chef’s menu.

Slightly tart ume (plum) juice tart and sparkling sake with superfine cucumber dice

Tomato with sanshō pepper based gin, possibly Roku.

Unfiltered sake, edamame and milk

Finnish gin, Napue, peach and wasabi

Yamamoto whiskey on crushed ice and summer pomelo with a few pieces of unsweetened and candied sweet potato.

English Vodka, Black Cow brand made from milk, with green tea

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Written by locomotoring

August 7, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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Pierre Hermé’s millefeuille at Isetan

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From Isetan, Shinjuku

Millefeuille in Paris in 2010. Thankfully, a few things don’t change.

Isetan department store in Shinjuku is a delight for food voyeurs. Although the food court has everything,  Japanese and western desserts might be the crème de la crème of the court.  Weather permitting, the Isetan roof garden is a nice spot to enjoy these good eats.

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Written by locomotoring

August 7, 2017 at 9:10 am

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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Deus Ex Machina

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The decor of this coffee shop in Harajuku is modern, pour is perfect and barista more hipster than most.

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Written by locomotoring

August 7, 2017 at 6:21 am

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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AFURI ramen in Harajuku

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This ramen shop is located close to Harajuku station. It is a kitchen gleaming in steel. You order via a vending machine.

AFURI signature “Yuzu Shio Ramen” with chicken & dashi based shio (salt) broth, yuzu (a citrus), half nitamago (boiled egg marinated in soy and spices), chashu (marinated and braised pork belly), mizuna (mustard greens), menma (fermented bamboo shoots), nori (toasted seaweed).

AFURI website tells us that the shop is named after Mt. Afuri, located at Tanzawa mountains in Kanagawa prefecture. As per legend, Mt. Afuri is father of Mt Fuji. Afuri is known for its sweet water, and used to be considered the sacred mountain for good harvest. And the philosophy of this ramen shop is to bring the sacred of Mt. Afuri to the food and service.

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Written by locomotoring

August 4, 2017 at 6:02 am

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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Nature vs nurture

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Curated parks of Tokyo, this one is behind Nezu museum, present a surprising variety of vegetation.  At Yoyogi park, there is effort to bring varieties from all over Japan. And any patch of vegetation you look at, you are presented with a mix of textures and forms. Pines intermixed with broad leaf trees, grasses intermixed with ferns, trees mingling with vines. How very poetic.

Trees that are closer to walking paths are invariably trimmed to present the natural beauty of shapes. Emphasis is on organic fluidity as opposed to uniformity. Simply delightful.

Written by locomotoring

August 3, 2017 at 9:12 am

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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Dinnerware at Tamawarai

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Tamawarai is one of Harajuku’s best buckwheat noodle spots. With a seating of less than 20, it is quiet dining experience punctuated by sounds of enthusiastic slurping. The otherwise bare space with its small prison like windows was enlivened by eclectic dinnerware.

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Written by locomotoring

August 3, 2017 at 6:04 am

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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Unagi Irokawa in Asakusa

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Irokawa in Asakusa is a two woman operation, one cook and the other for the rest. The restaurant seats five at the bar and eight at the two tables. A backroom with its tatami floor holds waiting patrons. You wait, you eat and you leave. And you thank your stars that you are glad to be alive.

Eel, rice and a BBQ sauce ladled on top. This is an eel restaurant, it serves eel and eel parts. Normal portion has two skewers and large has three. You are served a bowl of broth, some pickled vegetables and hot tea with the meal.

Optional menu items, eel liver and neck, the former was slightly bitter and the later bony. The liver reminded me of a particularly Bengali dish, my father’s favorite, called “Tele bhaja”, translating to fish gizzard fried in oil.

Written by locomotoring

August 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Japan, Massachusetts, Tokyo

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Pretty woman or Kimono experience at Sensō-ji

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Written by locomotoring

August 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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Fujimaki, a train station Izakaya

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Fujimaki is located next to Yoyogi station, on the top floor of a little nondescript mall. It would have been hard to find if we did not place ourselves in the hands of Google maps. Ten closely placed bar stools around the counter served by an elderly cook, accompanied by second who prepped the food and a third who did the dishwashing. The table fans whirred away but it was muggy and sweaty. It had just rained and it was cooler outside than inside. Jazz played in the background. Patrons were smoking, drinking large volumes of beer and sake and eating through the menu – mostly all parts of chicken – liver, gizzard, fatty tail and everything else in between. An occasional bacon wrapped okra or cherry tomato was a nod to the vegetables.

Chicken liver

Grated daikon/radish and pickled vegetables

Chicken skin

Cartilage of chicken breast

Eggplant with grated ginger

Okra wrapped in bacon

Chicken with roe and seaweed

Chicken with umeboshi paste and shiso leaves

Written by locomotoring

August 2, 2017 at 4:33 am

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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Onden Ippo in Harajuku

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Smooth jazz and eclectic “bar meet spa” decor are what you notice when you climb down to this basement restaurant.

Pickled cucumbers, and pickled bamboo shoots as appetizers.

Salad of cabbage, bitter greens, and a pretty little cherry tomato in a tangy mayo sauce.

Grilled mackerel.

Sashimi with sisho buds

The grilled mackerel is where my chopstick skills met its match. The fish was grilled crisp. If I were a cat, I could have just picked it up with my paws and munched it down head, spine and tail! I asked for a fork. To assemble, I picked up some of the grated daikon on my rice bowl and topped with some of the mackerel flakes before adding a dash of soy. Oh, it made me want grilled eel.

The customer next to me had ordered the mackerel as well. He was a dapper looking gentleman, and carried with him at least seventy five years of chopstick wielding experience. I was just a little embarrassed eating mackerel with fork, chopsticks and fingers. But I shouldn’t have been. The demolished  mackerel on our respective plates looked nearly identical. And I noted that both of us used fingers in coordination with our implements.

Written by locomotoring

July 31, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Japan, Tokyo, Uncategorized

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Sound of summer at the Yoyogi park

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Trees of Yoyogi park

Ikebana at Meiji Shrine

Jetlag in tokyo – Tsukiji market or Yoyogi park. In the end, the park won. It was closer. We headed out from our temporary home in Harujuku towards Meiji shrine. Tokyo has a delightful gadget called pocket wi-fi. So you can boldly go walkabout through narrow lanes without worrying about not leaving breadcrumb trails for the journey back home.

Tokyo is quiet for a big city. Early mornings should have been delightfully devoid of sound except for  an occasional cat prowling about. Instead, we were immersed in an inorganic buzzing sound.  At first, I wasn’t sure what it was,  the sound was localized around trees. Yet, no number of birds can create that racket. And when the sound got amplified in Yoyogi park, I remembered the cicadas. We were indeed hearing the sound of Japanese summer, the cacophony of cicadas. Early in the summer morning, the park wraps you in a wet warm blanket. You notice your breathing because it takes a tad extra effort in that viscous air.  The lack of sunlight on the wet musty ground lends a sense of  suspense. The wide variety of vegetation brings a wondrous quality to the perambulation. Yoyogi park casts a spell like Hayao Miyazaki’s world aided by the cicadas who drown out all thoughts with their cacophony.

Written by locomotoring

July 31, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Japan, Tokyo, Uncategorized

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Tokyo: Shibuya’s love hotels

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Love hotels of Shibuya

Love hotels of Shibuya

Shibuya is the little cousin of Times Square. A cacophony of lights and crowds. It is hard to tell that abutting Shibuya are the side streets of Love Hotel hill, where the cacophony ceases – no restaurants, no pachinko parlors, no bars, no shops, and no soliciting. Just the pink and green blinking lights offering comfortable ‘Rest’ and ‘Stay’. ‘Rest’ is a euphemism for a couple of hours of romantic encounter and ‘Stay’ indicates the entire night’s rates.

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Written by Ankur

September 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Japan, Tokyo

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Harajuku Bridge

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Harajuku bridge

Harajuku bridge

We were in Tokyo, it was a Sunday, and we had an appointment to keep with Gothlolis on the Harajuku bridge. Yes, even in the rain.

On Sundays Harajuku bridge becomes a promenade with variously dressed cosplayers arrayed along its length. Cosplayers is a combination of costume and roleplay, and essentially means dressing up as your favorite anime/manga/videogame character. But the facile description of cosplay belies the effort they put into both creating their costumes and playing their chosen roles. At least for the time they are on the bridge they seem to inhabit their roles quite thoroughly. When the metaverse finally arrives, they will be its first avatars.

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Written by Ankur

September 10, 2009 at 11:20 am

Tokyo Cafés: You are being served

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Click for Tokyo cafe slideshow

Click for Tokyo cafe slideshow

Contrary to popular assumption Japan is actually a big coffee drinking nation. Tokyo has many local and international cafés but the more interesting are the ones that offer ‘extra’ service.

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Written by Ankur

September 2, 2009 at 10:40 am

Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market: It’s see-food

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Early morning at the market Waiting for the rush hour to start Octopus on the menu

We were in Tokyo and we couldn’t possibly go back home without making a pilgrimage to Asia’s largest fish market. The only hitch was that the recommended visiting hours are 5am-8am. According to legend and Lonely Planet, the famous Tuna auction happens at 4am, which many websites informed us, is now closed to tourists. We were going to give it a shot anyway. Or not. At 4 am.

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Written by Ankur

August 14, 2009 at 10:19 am