So while I was uploading blog pics last night, I received an email from my friend Akemi asking me if it would be alright if she dropped by in the morning.  I told her sure.  Well, this morning, at around 10:45 a.m., there was a knock at the door.  It was Akemi – and she came  bearing more gifts.  Last night at dinner, I had mentioned my chocolate party and how I would have loved to include a Japanese representative in the mix.  The one that came to mind was Madame Setsuko.  This surprised her because, apparently, Madame Setsuko is based in Akemi’s hometown.  So, this morning, she dropped by one of the shops and picked me up a couple of beautiful assortments…

Very sweet of her.

For lunch on this day, I was scheduled to meet Jessica and Stefan at Miravile in Komaba.  It was a bit of a haul, almost a half an hour by taxi.  I wore my coat on the advice of someone at the hotel but, by the time I got there, the clouds had disappeared and the sun had come out.  I arrived to find Stefan seated outside the front of the restaurant, eyes closed, soaking up the rays.  “Yeah,”I quipped.  “I think your top is nice and toasty.  You might want to flip over and do the other side.”

As it turned out, Stefan had come bearing gifts as well – a bar of 70% Maracaibo Bitter dark chocolate from Takashimaya.  Aw shucks.  And it wasn’t even my birthday.  Actually, it was Stefan’s birthday.  No kidding.

Jessica arrived and we headed inside to celebrate with the Miravile prix fix lunch which gets you a multi-course lunch for 3900 yen, by far the least expensive meal I’ve had on this trip.  And pretty damn good one.

The entire restaurant seats maybe 25. If you're going to go - you'll be hardpressed to find a better deal - call ahead.

Lunch was a blast.  Stefan and Jessica chatted away almost non-stop between the point we sat down to the moment we left the place, covering everything from the Ivy League to cheese sales to dining on grouse in most barbaric fashion.  Meanwhile, our meal was comprised of…

To start: A sweet potato soup topped with sesame. Fine but given the similarly-themed dishes I've had in Tokyo, this one was lacking in sweet potato flavor.
Jessica.
Moving on to the appetizers: Jessica went with a wonderful little boar terrine.
For an extra thousand yen, I went with the foie gras and beef tongue mille-feuille. Fabulous.
Stefan had the shirako brandade. Also very good.
Another great pic of Jessica.
Next was the fish of the day, served with a salad.

And, finally, the mains: I went with the duck and chestnut. The duck had a terrfic smoky flavor.
The lamb for Stefan. Great.
Jessica had the cabbage-stuffed quail. I liked the quail but was less of a fan of the cabbage that I find tends to overwhelm.
Jessica practicing for her appearance in the next World Series of Poker.
I say he should pick up a pair.
Desserts: Jessica had a lovely little fruit island. Nestled at its heart, a delicious sweet cream.
The house special Gateau au Chocolat made with 100% cacao topped with homemade vanilla ice cream. Packed a nice chocolatey punch.
Stefan had the sorbet trio: beet, yuzu, and carrot. He loved 'em.
Me and Chef Seiji Tsushimi

After lunch, we took a long stroll back to Shibuya…

No idea what the hell these were. I figure maybe they erect these tall blocks, then hollow them out and put in apartments. Not much of a view, but certainly cozy.
I thought this was a pretty oasis amid the surrrounding concrete and chaos.
A statue commemorating Hachiko, Japan's most dog. The akita would visit the train station at the end of every workday to meet his owner. His owner died, but Hachiko kept turning up, every night, until his death ten years later.
Ginza at night.

For dinner, I met up with Maro and we headed over to Ebisu to one of the city’s most talked-up Italian eateries: Ristorante Aso.  The restaurant itself is a somewhat befuddling mix of casual cafe  setting (up front), sophisticated dining rooms (upstairs), wedding hall chic (main floor), and garden area.  We were seated upstairs in the dining room…

…where we were presented with a drink list, our dinner menu, and some eight different breads (rosemary, walnut, chestnut, tomato to name a few) and three kinds of whipped butter (regular, olive oil, and smoky).

Yeah, the Anal Colica. What exactly goes into one of those? Oh, never mind. I'll just go with the beer.

On to the meal…

To start: Angel hair pasta with caviar. Hmmm. While, on the one hand, the preparation of the capellini certainly brought out the flavor of the caviar, my Italian sensibilities reared at the prospect of cold pasta.

On the other hand, this one I loved: Foie gras canelloni.  Reminds me of a dish I made way back when, a foie-grass stuffed pasta with black truffle cream that Marty G. dubbed “meat candy”.  Aso’s version was much, much better however.

When I saw tai (sea breem) on the menu, I was less than enthused. But I was pleasantly surprised by this dish. The fish is placed in a pot along with a bundle of herbs, then steamed for approximately three minutes and served.
Topped with prosciutto. Hands down the best preparation of sea breem on this trip.
The main course: Grilled steak with polenta. The odd-tasting mascarpone-based dollop was the only misstep in an otherwise accomplished dish. The steak was well-marbled and as tasty as Japanese beef gets.
A surprise refreshment course. We were instructed to rake the leaves lining the bowl's perimeter...
...with this handy rake and then apply the dressing. I did as instructed, raking the multi-colored leaves into a neat little pile which I resisted burning and ate instead. And quite enjoyed. The addition of the yuzu was wonderful.

We were then served some sort of pre-dessert that was a cross between a foam and a sorbet.  Neither of us were enamored of it.

Moro and I both went with the salted caramel and coconut ice cream. But here's the kicker...
You add your own salt. Our server provided us with a choice of three (ranging from the lighter tasting white one on the left to the stronger tasting black one on the right), along with a salt grater(?). We kept grinding away with the white blocks with no discernible effect and it reached the point where I suspected we were actually given rocks. In the end, all that was required was a little elbow grease. I preferred the pink salt. As for the black one - its flavor and odor were slightly...how shall I put it...sulphurous? At meal's end, we were gifted all three. I suggested Moro grind some of the black salt onto her co-worker's lunch as a gag.
In the garden with Ristorante Aso's head chef.

I’m in the home stretch.  Only four and half more days and I’m Vancouver-bound.  That’s still 9 more meals.  Given this wonderful two week experience, I think that on my next trip, I’ll limit the high-end dining to dinners and leave the lunches open to hole-in-the-wall restaurants and those off-the-wall eateries that serve up grilled chicken spleen.  In fact, I’m thinking of swapping out my last high-end sushi lunch for something a little more casual, maybe yakitori or shabu shabu, something a little more fun for a group outing.

Hey, what’s happening where you are?  Are the Saints still undefeated?  Are the Democrats still in the White House?  Is Tiger Woods still the poster child for low-key, scandal-free athletes?  What have I been missing?

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Thornyrose
Thornyrose

British Columbia and Alberta have secceeded from Canada and are now states fifty one and fifty two. When you get home you can replace your current passport. Other than that, no news….
Thanks for the ongoing reports. Looking forward to the final reports. As for next year, we still have the back half of season one, the chocolate party, and the work on season two to keep us entertained for quite some time. Not to mention guest appearances by the dogs, Baron Destructo, and incriminating pictures of Carl.

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Tiger Woods?

Sorry. Just started watching SGU – will have to get back to you on that… wink

Oh, and I want a box of those chocolates! (please! smile )

Yeah…fat chance. Just do me a favor and eat one for me…maybe I’ll be able to enjoy the experience telepathically, or something.

Gotta run!

das

Oscar Hillerstrom

What are your thoughts on Royce Chocolate?

Barbaro
Barbaro

Nope, not so much news. But your blog’s snowflakes may be falling on my head tomorrow. Possibly 1-3″ of snow here in PA.
Love all your culinary adventures, Joe. I’m stuffed just reading about it.

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

Just a quick huzzah for finally doing something with Chloe. I’m beginning to feel a little love here, as all the political machinations brew up nicely.

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Suddenly I’m in love with Chloe…the girl has some balls. (Oh, and I officially hate Wray. grin Heh…and I though Chloe was gonna be the biatch. )

das

DP
DP

Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods, sorry, I don’t follow baseball.

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Oooh…uh-oh. I smell a ‘red shirt’….

das

Maddog316
Maddog316

Just Finished watching “Justice”. Now thats Stargate! I Have Loved SGU from the Begining and that was my Fav. Episode. Cant wait for the 2nd half of the season. To you Joe, all the Crew and actors and producers. Thank you! Thank you for SG1, Atlantis and now SGU!

susan the tartan turtle

The food looks absolutely amazing – especially the desserts.

Tiger Woods – it makes me chuckle to think that he almost met his maker after being beatien with one of his own golf clubs.

Susan

Deni
Deni

Hi Joe, no time to read the blog right now (will catch up next time I’m awake, like at 1 or 2 or 3 a.m.), but must tell you, this was the first episode that really got my interest. Wow! Like Das, I hate Wray. Good stuff, maybe I’ll stick with it after all!

Ivon Bartok
Ivon Bartok

Joe,

What a trip… I have loved every entry. The food has been killing me, due to still being on “the program.”

Wow… what a trip

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Whoa…just…whoooooaaaa…..

EXCELLENT episode – certainly my favorite of the first half of the season. I think we need a murder mystery each week! grin

Dang…I just checked…THAT was written by Alan?? Hell…what a shame he’s not with you guys anymore, because that was a great ep. It even bumps Time for my favorite out of the first ten. It had a great [sexless] shocker, and really had me on the edge of my seat. And I loved the toned-down Eli – I like the fact that he was much more serious in this, and less of a clown. Don’t get me wrong, I love funny Eli, but I really love his more sober side, too.

I could go on and on, but have Sanctuary to watch now!

das

susan the tartan turtle

“beatien” should, of course, be beaten.

Should have used the spell check!

smile

Garion55
Garion55

Pluses….

No stone usage. Showing people back on earth interacting with their families is an episode killer every time.

Little to no kino usage. I dont want to watch reality tv in space. But this episode it served a purpose at least as part of the discovery of the plot.

No music. Self explanatory.

Return to at least some semblance of sci-fi and stargate lore.

Minuses….

The first half hour of the Law & Order / NCIS andromeda galaxy show. Usually we get Days of our lives in space. This time we got 30 mins of Perry Mason. (look it up)

Playing the race card. He isn’t old enough to know what it was like not to be able to date white women (speaking of tiger woods) Lets keep the social commentary out of the show.

Chloe. Nuff Said.

Not enough Sci in the Fi. 4 minutes of the chair thats it? Dont they get 72 hours on a new planet and it took them 69 to find the ship? And by the time Rush gets there its time to leave already? And instead of him making a discovery about the ship an episode of WWE breaks out.

Lying about what happened to Rush. I figured Young would have hauled his ass back to the ship and cleared the record instead he beat his ass and left him to rot and lied about it. I thought better of him than that.

So I am guessing that unless Rush is no longer on the show he is going to figure out how to make the ship work or find a way to call another ship to the area and hook back up with destiny. Pretty predictable.

4/10.

better than last episode.

sylvia
sylvia

Justice – wow, brilliant and another one of them damned – you have to wait to see what happens. Patience shall prevail. I think.

Ivon posted on his twitter a comment attributed to his sister. Who know a Tiger could be a Cheetah? This should answer/address the question, eh?

Hayloh
Hayloh

Oh my. If I were Rush right now I would be feeling incredibly sick.

Great mid way ep.

BrandonW
BrandonW

Justice = sweet. Really looking forward to the next 10!

And thanks to Space in Canada, we’re going to get a 10 ep marathon. smile

Ponytail
Ponytail

Oh hey look, it’s Jessica. I recognized her hand. Wow, wow, and wow! Perhaps these are the best group of pictures yet. All the dishes look devine. The artistry is unbelieveable. Are you ordering everything on the menu at all these restaurants?

Here is what you’ve missed. Tiger is apparantly a naughty boy and Entertainment Tonight is “investigating”. The Dallas Cowboys are leading their division. (Will wonders ever cease?) Susan Boyle has a hit record. A couple of yahoos crashed a President Obama party at the White House. Soon they will be crashing in prison. Sarah Palin is touring the country promoting her new book. Does anybody care? But most importantly, I got a stupid speeding ticket! I’m waiting to hear how much it is going to cost me.

Enjoy your final days, then it will be back home going to Chili’s with Carl.

Tim Gaffney
Tim Gaffney

First, has anyone seen this story yet:
http://scifiwire.com/2009/12/man-spends-70k-building-h.php#more
I think this is amazing! I wish I could move in.

Now, WOW!!! Justice was as amazing as Time, probably even more so! I can’t believe we have to wait until April, hopefully the show won’t lose momentum.

Spoilers

Spoilers

Spoilers

Spoilers

As I said in commenting on Time, this is the kind of episode you should be making every week! You can have powerful and gripping character moments without using the sex stones. R. Carlyle and L. Ferreira were outstanding in their confrontation at the end of the episode. I didn’t start to suspect Rush until later in the episode, and I was right as to his motives. I loved how Rush actually put up a modest fight against a military man. I am really surprised at how many layers Rush has. I was stunned that Young left him on the planet. I thought he would drag his sorry butt back to the ship, as he is the most experienced with ancient tech. I was surprised because the print ads that advertised this episode said that something on the planet would cause problems for the crew. It didn’t seem like that was the case. I forsee problems between Greer and some of the other marines and Wray. They just don’t like each other, and if Young hadn’t come in there could have been a dangerous incident. Also, nice that after 10 episodes Chloe actually had something to do. I love how you ended the episode, with Rush looking up at the darkened sky. I can’t wait until April!!!

Debra
Debra

HOLY SHIT how can you not be here to discuss this episode? Is IMDB misinformed about a certain actor no longer being around? OMG. WOW. OMG. Did I mention WOW?

Darkcraft
Darkcraft

I just found your Gateworld blog and read a few of your very old entries. I noticed this: “Help me out, Aussies. There’s this sweet shop about five minutes from my house that specializes in imported sweets. I picked up a box of these incredible cookies that I had intended to use for a future ice cream creation, but ended up eating all by their lonesome. The package says Arnott’s Kingston. What is the cookie called? When I go into the shop, am I asked for Arnott’s or am I asking for Kingstons?”

I’m a huge fan of those Kingstons too! They are too good. They probably don’t compare to all the fancy macarons you have (I want to try one some day), but for a simple chocolatey sugary hit they cannot be defeated.
Have you had any Aussie foods lately? Tried vegemite since your March 5, 2007 entry? It’s really not that bad as long as you spread it thinly.

Audrey
Audrey

Those chocolates look delicious! Very pretty looking. Truffles are my favourite; they’re part of the christmas baking every year.
So I should have been studying for finals (curse you, university) but instead I watched me some SGU. Justice was amazing! Quite the cliffie. Love how the Rush/Young tension has finally come to a head, but it can only get worse from here, me thinks. I wonder how everything is gonna come into play…Franklin w/ all that ancient-y knowledge, the conflicts that are brewing, etc. Looking forward to the second half, oh how I wish we didn’t have to wait till spring.
Out of curiosity, how long have they been on the ship by now? I’m guessing a couple months….but thats just a wild stab in the dark.

otros ojos
otros ojos

Hmm, as a non-golfer, why would you specifically inquire about Tiger Woods if you didn’t already know something was up? — Alan McCullough’s very nifty script is having a lingering effect on me. (Hah. My investigative prowess is notable primarily for my misperceptions. My bro still likes to call me Inspector Gadget.)

Very much enjoyed “Justice.” It’s hard not to speculate on events to come, but I’m sure developments will include something, or any number of things, I would never have thought of. Once again, kudos to the entire team. No matter how I look at it, SGU is quite simply excellent television.

Thanks for all the pics and for the time you’ve put into posting them, when you could be (let’s say) out hunting down previously undiscovered chocolatiers or other confectioners’ shops. The effort is greatly appreciated.

— Say, does WordPress have a widget yet that can screen for blood alcohol level when someone posts? My attempts at self-screening leave a fair amount to be desired. *dejected sigh* — Still, new SGU eps and new blog entries do quite well at restoring my spirits (no pun intended). And recorded eps will help a lot with getting through the long midseason break.

PBMom
PBMom

What’s happening? Well, it snowed today in Houston. I’m not kidding, really it did. Lots of moisture came in from the Gulf of Mexico combined with a frigid cold front from Canada and met here in perfect combination. They got 3 inches at least; it snowed 30 miles north of Houston for 6 hours and nothing stuck; however, the roads are now iced over and Houston isn’t prepared to deal with ice. Fortunately tomorrow is Saturday and most people are not going to work. After 9 a.m., it will be sunny, all will thaw out, dry up and we’ll go on. Seems like we’re getting 1 day of snowfall each year as of late. Christmas Day 2 years ago, Houston (and again parts south there — damn them) got 6 inches. If you are going to have snow, that is just the perfect setup. Beautiful, uplifting and gone in 1 day.

I also bought my official SG-1 Christmas ornament today. My husband and I enjoyed a nice lunch date while the child was at school (it’s been months since we’ve gone out). And we met with a local government agency about a program my son has finally come off the waiting list for….after 10 YEARS of being on it.

However, with all this excitement, I made no money today at work since I get paid by production ($5.00 for every thousand words I type) and I don’t get vacation days.

Also, we heard on Twitter that Alaina Huffman was in labor — in case you haven’t heard. Hopefully by the end of the weekend, her family will be welcoming their new baby into the world.

Well can I say about Justice without spoiling it for those who haven’t watched. WICKEDLY EVIL. Very unexpected behavior from many of the characters. Obviously it is well known there is a murder on board Destiny, and I just want to say how sad I am knowing who it is.

TPTB have got to come up with a more modern way of doing a series. This 10 episodes, wait 4 months, 10 more episodes is really so year 2000. When “24” discovered (and “Lost) that the viewers didn’t tune in after long, extended hiatuses, they changed their format to continuous viewing. I have never liked this about Syfy. As PG15 said on Twitter, “Imagine sooner.”