I received an email from my dog-sitter Christine who informs me Jelly, Bubba, and Lulu are doing well. The latter two can apparently go on endless walks while Jelly can only manage the occasional half block – but only if she’s enticed with treats. Anyway, Christine forwarded the following pics of the gang back on the home front…
After attempting to watch the Super Bowl online at about 10:00 a.m. Tokyo time, I got fed up and decided to go for an early lunch instead. To be honest, I didn’t really care about the game but was happy the Giants won nevertheless (or, more to the point, the Patriots lost!). So we bundled up and headed out, braving the rain to check out Kiji, an okonomiyaki restaurant near Tokyo Station.
What is okonomiyaki? Well, according to wikipedia it’s “a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients”: a batter base (flour, dashi, grated yam, eggs, and cabbage) + whatever else you’d like to add. We passed on the soba noodles and bean sprouts. Akemi went for the beef tendon while I did the “everything else”.
I liked it enough but actually thought the version Akemi makes much better. She could use her own spatter guard though.
After lunch, we headed over to Akihabara expressly so I could visit Hattendo and pick up a variety pack of those delicious cream buns. While there, we walked around and I snapped a pic of the following twosome. Not sure where they were headed but I would have loved to know…
We did some late afternoon shopping and then took a break at the Gucci Cafe (apparently, all the major designer shops have cafes now) where I enjoyed a very good Zuppa Inglese with Pistachio Cream while Akemi had some signature cocktail that contained honey, salt, grapefruit, kiwi, mint, some herb, and pink peppercorn. It was described as sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy. After sampling it, I would have also added “weird”.
Alas, that drink wasn’t the weirdest thing I consumed on the day. I ended up being taken to a dinner that tested the limits of what even I, an adventurous eater, could stomach. Already leery at the mere prospect, I prepared myself in advance by lining my stomach – with a whole other early dinner at the Sans Applause restaurant in the Imperial Hotel.
It was a great meal and I should have called it a night, retreated back to my hotel room, and started on the half-dozen cream buns I’d picked up from Hattendo earlier in the day. Instead, I ended up being taken to a baniku restaurant. “What,”you may ask, “is baniku?” Well…
I was informed that horse meat toughens when cooked so it’s customary to eat it raw, sashimi style. A sample plate was, apparently, the way to go for a first-timer. I wasn’t particularly hungry and figured I could get away with just a bite without offending. Following a luridly purple yet surprisingly good potato salad, the sample plate arrived:
It was comprised of lean and fatty cuts, and some suspiciously white chunks topped with an egg that our waiter claimed was meat from neck (although I could detect no discernible meat, just a lot of what appeared to be chopped raw gristle). The video of my sampling the latter is simply too horrific to screen – but nowhere near as horrific as what I went through trying to get it down. I was later informed by the chef that it wasn’t meat per se but “like pork lard only horse”. On this night, sake was my friend (well, an even better friend). I would also like to add that, despite being told that everyone ate the meat raw, on my way out I couldn’t help but notice a group seated around a hot pot, cooking theirs!
Last full day in Tokyo. While Akemi hangs around Ginza to get her nails done, I’m going to Shibuya to catch the first part of the Berserk trilogy. Check out the trailer:
Jealous? I know Carl is.
Today’s entry is dedicated to Debra.