I woke up from my previous night’s sleep well-rested, with ten hours of uninterrupted snoozing under my zzzzz belt, ready for a big day. The great thing about traveling to Asia is that jet lag actually works to your benefit provided you’re not a night owl looking to party. By the time 10:00 p.m. rolls around, you’re utterly exhausted but when the sun comes up at 7:00 a.m., you’re ready to go! Or, in my case, update my blog! One of these days, I’m going to take the aryl morning stroll down to the Tsukiji Market for a sushi breakfast or actually hit the hotel gym for a rare vacation work-out or, at the very least, put on my running shoes and sweat pants and walk down to find out where the gym is located.
Anyway, yesterday, following a leisurely morning lounge, I met up with my good friend Moro-san, my guide on this day…
It was my first time visiting the Naka-Meguro neighborhood which, I suppose, I would have enjoyed more had it not been so damn cold outside. And windy! Moro-san was surprised, assuming I’d be used to this sort of weather coming from Canada and all. I informed her that, while certain parts of Canada are certainly much colder, Vancouver is actually much more pleasant – minus the rain.
Moro was calling the shots on the day and suggested we go have pizza for lunch. I’d had pizza for dinner the previous night so I wasn’t as enthusiastic as I could have been but, hey, I’m just a guest. And so, we wound our way through Naka-Meguro to find the unassuming little Pizza Serinkan…
Although the menu offered host of starters, when it came down to the star of the show – the pizzas – there were only two choices: Margherita and/or Marinara. No “pepperoni and cheese” or “well-dressed” or “with corn and mayonnaise”, the topping I’ve heard the Japanese enjoy but that every Japanese person I’ve ever mentioned it to denies having ever eaten. I needed some convincing…
And boy, was I ever convinced. I guess simple is best because the pizza at Pizza Serinkan was the best pizza I’ve ever had. Fresh tomatoes, cheese, garlic, basil and olive oil topping an astoundingly tasty pizza dough. It was all about that delicious, slightly chewy dough! These pizzas were nothing short of revelatory and I vowed I’d be back! Provided I could find the place again!
We headed downstairs to thank Chef and Owner Kakinuma Susumu. I waited patiently while he manned the oven, carefully turning a pizza, eyeing it’s progress, before pulling it out and depositing it onto a plate – then moving onto the next one. He took a break to say hello. On my second day in Tokyo, my French came in handy as most of the chefs I ended up speaking to – including Le Bourguignon’s Japanese head chef – spoke French. In this case, thank goodness for my Italian as Kakinuma-san had evidently spent some time in Italy and we were able to communicate just fine.
Anyway, there you have it: the greatest pizza in the world. And it’s in Tokyo. You’re job is to find it. I leave you this clue: 聖林館 (せいりんかん)
After lunch, we ventured out into the Tokyo cold for dessert at Cacahouette, a tiny little patisserie on a side street in Naka-Meguro.
We worked off our meal and dessert by grabbing the metro to Roppongi where we checked out a ukiyo-e (Japanese wood-block prints and paintings) collection by Utawa Kuniyoshi.
Having worked up an appetite walking around the exhibit, we headed over to Tokyo Midtown for a quick pick-me-up at Sadaharu Aoki…
We also sampled some chocolate-dipped macarons which sounded a lot better in theory than they actually tasted.
Fortified, we caught the escalator up to the next floor to visit the Pet Station, a pet boutique offering pet food, treats, outfits and – the reason I was there – spa services for dogs. You can watch the dogs being clipped, manicured and blow-dried behind a glass wall. Well, my gamble paid off. As I walked in, two dogs were being walked out of the spa area – an English bulldog mix and a boxy French bulldog with who I instantly bonded!
We ended up running into Akemi and her mother who were spending some quality catch-up time together. We said our hello’s, then went our separate ways, they to enjoy a vegetarian meal at Yasaiya Mei, we to enjoy a sushi dinner in Ginza.
For dinner, Moro and I went to Harutaka. The sushi was very good. Rather than give you the blow by blow, why not just check out some snaps of the evening’s offerings…
By the time we were done, it was still early. I asked Moro-san if she wanted to grab a dessert and, not surprisingly, she declined. And so, we went for dessert of another sort instead, heading over to my home away from home in Tokyo – no, not The Imperial Hotel…Star Bar.
We arrived early enough that we were the only ones at the bar. We chatted with Yamasaki-san who made us our drinks (a Moscow Mule for me, natch). About a half an hour later, Master Bartender Hisashi Kishi arrived. He’d just come back from an event in Osaka where he’d been mixing drinks to accompany a special meal at one of the city’s 3-star Michelin restaurants. For my money, I couldn’t think of a better person to do the honors.
Apparently, Kishi-san has been checking out my blog, on and off, since I lasted visited with Ivon (both he and Yamasaki-san say “hello to my tall friend” by the way). Being a dog lover himself (he has a six year old Shiba who greets him without fail upon his late-night returns home – while the rest of the family sleeps) he asked about my brood. I told him about Maximus and he was very sympathetic, passing along his condolences – and almost choking me up.
We stayed for two drinks and then called it a night.
Back at the hotel, I checked out some chocolates I picked up from a Kyoto-based chocolatier…
The chocolates are little edible works of art. Much prettier than they were tasty.
Today, it’s L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon for lunch and Ishikawa (third visit!) for dinner. Wish me luck!