When I travel to Tokyo, I usually stay at The Imperial Hotel. The service is great, the rooms very comfy, and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather spending my nights. With the exception of Star Bar, a truly awesome basement bar Ivon Bartok and I discovered on our trip here a couple of hears back. Like The Imperial Hotel, the service is great and the room is comfy. Also, the drinks are outstanding. Whenever I’m in town, I make it a point to drop by. Master bartender Hisashi Kishi and his right-hand man, Yamasaki Tsuyoshi, are now like members of my extended family. I’m always thrilled to see them and, conversely, sad to part ways with them whenever my trip comes to its inevitable end.
I stopped by twice on this visit and, as always, Master Kishi-san was always at his warm, jovial, and welcoming best, whipping up killer cocktails and Moscow Mules that I’ll dream about long after I return to Vancouver.
Master Kishi-san rocks the shaker:
Yamasaki-san follows suit:
And Master Kishi-san ended up surprising me by presenting me with my very own Star Bar copper (Moscow Mule) mug. It was totally unexpected and greatly appreciated. Oh, and much needed.
Last night, Akemi and I dined at Quintessence, a 3-star Michelin restaurant and, apparently, one of the top ten hardest places to book. Dinner was outstanding. Unfortunately, because of the no-photo policy (it may annoy the other guests), I wasn’t able to snap any pics of the culinary highlights. Fortunately, I was able to source some photos of the said culinary highlights from the internet:
After we were done and on our way out, the restaurant’s chef and owner, Shuzo Kishida, came out to meet us. At 34, he’s already been awarded 3 Michelin stars (four years in a row) for his work at Quintessence. We chatted, mostly in French, a language I assume he mastered while working in Paris at the 3 Michelin star l’Astrance. Unfortunately, I spent little time in Paris and it’s been a while since I practiced my French in Montreal so I was a bit…oh, let’s call it rusty. Still, I managed well enough to let him know what a spectacular it was – every dish brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed – as great as our first visit/my second date with Akemi three years ago: (December 4, 2009: Tokyo Travel Day #10 – Quintessence, Monnalisa Marunouchi, I hit the wall – and I’ve still got 11 restaurants to go!)
Well, looks like our Tokyo Trip Late 2012 (not to be confused with Tokyo Trip Early 2012) is drawing to a close. I can look forward to three final no-doubt-memorable meals (and maybe about a half dozen notable desserts) before I head off. And I look forward to them. But for now, I’m looking forward to a nice change of pace breakfast: