I’d been thinking about it since my last trip here and, finally, yesterday, I finally got a chance to pay a return visit to Pizza Seirinkan. Joining me this time were Akemi and her friend Yukina…
After lunch, we headed over to Electric Town, Akihabara, so I could track down a new Evangelion iPhone case and, of course, one of my favorite desserts –
Akemi and I kept the subsequent snacking to a minimum because we had a 6:00 p.m. dinner reservation at The Molecular Tapas Bar. This would make my fourth visit, but we really went because Akemi was dying to try it. It’s always an experience…
From left to right: A porcini puff, mushroom cappuccino, crispy gingko, truffled potato, hunting pig (a bacon biscuit), matsutake gohan (a matsutake mushroom rice cracker), and an apple-manchego cigar.
On to the mains…
And then it was on to dessert. We started with the “puff”, liquid nitrogen-dipped meringues that literally puffed in your mouth when chewed, venting its smokey self out of the nose’s of unsuspecting diners.
An intricate and beautiful dish. Those maple leaves are painstakingly constructed from wonton wrappers. But the highlight for me was the acorn ice cream.
Clockwise from the top: Buttery-great popcorn cotton candy, a lemon-olive oil gummy, szechuan meringue, uber-tart raspberry soda (in wafer for), and chocolate pumice.
We were instructed to sample the various fruit – sweet orange, tart lemon and lime – then told to pop the little red miracle fruit into our mouths. We chewed the fruit around the stone, moved it around our mouths and then, when a minute was up, we spat out the stone and tasted the fruit again. The lemon and limes were miraculously sweet. How is this possible? Oh, you can read all about it here: Miracle fruit – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I’ve got to find a source so I can throw my own miracle fruit party where I can serve lemon wedges and vinegar shots.
Another day in Tokyo, then hopping on the bullet train and heading over to Osaka for a couple of days.
Back in Vancouver when I was organizing this trip (a.k.a. = our eating schedule) I asked Ivon if there was any particular food or restaurant he wanted to try. To his credit, he wanted to try everything – but there was one place in particular place he wanted to visit while in town: The Molecular Tapas Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the home of molecular gastronomy here in Tokyo. Yesterday marked my third visit to the restaurant and, as always, Chef Jeff Ramsey (a student of José Andrés back in Washington, D.C.) never fails to impress.
There were three of us at the late 8:30 p.m. seating (Ivon, Keiko, and myself) so there was plenty of opportunity to chat with the affable and entertaining Chef Ramsey while we enjoyed our meals…
Chef Ramsey then demonstrated the process by which he creates veggie caviar…
And then it was on to desserts. First up, something called Puff…
The verdict? Fantastic. Ivon was particularly pleased since he found the experience educational and entertaining. And, of course, delicious. As for me – as I said, it was my third visit and, like my return visits to Tokyo itself, I love the fact that it offers the best of both worlds: a familiarity sprinkled with plenty of surprises.
By the time dinner wrapped up it was ticking past 11:00 p.m. and way past our bedtime. Yet again, we elected to forego a night of partying in favor of the errratically fluctuating temperatures of our respective hotel rooms. And bed.
I woke up the next morning parched, bleary-eyed, and feeling slightly hangover. This despite the fact that I had maybe one drink the previous night. I figure if I’m going to feel like this every morning, then, hell, I may as well drink!
Following a leisurely morning, we headed to Shinjuku where I could pick up some of the bare necessities Akemi requested (at Barney’s of New York). It was a rainy, cold day, so we ended up buying crappy umbrellas and – yet again – losing our way. But it was perfect ramen weather, and we wound up finding the perfect lunch stop: Hokkaido Ramen Toro.
The second we walked in, we were greeted by this –
You put your money in, then choose your ramen base (I chose the spicy), your extras (I chose extra pork), and other side dishes you may or may not get (I chose the gyoza that never came). Once we’d paid and made our selections, the machine spat out these tiny tickets with our order which we handed our super-lovely waitress, then we grabbed our seats.
It was a dreary day, so we focused most of our sight-seeing on the underground malls – and subway sweet shops like this place –
So-so. Ivon finished his only because he didn’t want to carry it around like that empty can of Coke he held onto for two hours because garbage bins in Tokyo are about as rare as panda sighting. I only took a few bites of mine, then ended up carrying the half-eaten waffle around, getting cream all over my hands while Ivon continually reminded me how much I was shaming him.
Eventually, Ivon headed back to the hotel while I headed over to the Pierre Marcolini Cafe to say hi to the girls, then to Mitsukoshi where I picked up three desserts from one of the basement patisseries (Chocolate Bel Amer)…
When I got back to the hotel, I found a FedEx envelope awaiting me. What was inside?
Awesome! I hurried over to my new laptop to watch them – only discover my new laptop doesn’t have a cd/dvd drive. And so, I ended heading down to the business center to watch ’em.