Sunday, July 7, 2019

Last Days in Tokyo and Kyoto

I haven't forgotten.  It still hasn't been a year from our Japan trip.  Last installment.

Saturday, last full day in Tokyo.

Aoyama Farmer's Market:
Sparse crowds due to rain
We did see some transients with disposable raincoats.

No Vegan Pizza at the Farmer's Market this trip.

The kids and Connie wanted to go the Vegan place, Loving Hut, with locations worldwide.  There's one in Jimbocho.  We decide to go there.

Whoops, I had to have non Vegan food, and there was a convenient McDonalds right near there.

Loving Hut Jimbocho.  I don't know what this is.  I wasn't there.  But I can tell you that I had a Coke, fries, and a Big Mac!

I bought a Macha Melon Pan from a shop in Jimbocho, while walking back from McD's.  Here are Connie and Sammie eating it at Shinjuku Station.

Connie and I decide to have comfort food.  In Japan, that could mean Ramen.  Vegan? No.  Sushi?  No, unless it is Kaiten with plenty of Biru.  Steak?  No, too heavy.  

Tonkatsu!  Since we're in Shinjuku, back to Katsukura.  As per our usual routine, Connie gets the very basic Set, and I get a small Premium Set, both Rosu (never Hire).  It varies by location, and this location features Kinka Pork, which I have no clue about.

As usual, this is very consistent and I love their crust, not oily and extremely crisp.

The girls insist on being Vegan.  There is a Din Tai Fung in Takashimaya too, just around the corner from Katsukura. Amazing that it isn't really crowded at either restaurant.  If Katsukura were in the USA, it would be both extremely crowded and likely substandard.  You folks already know how Din Tai Fung San Jose is like.

I wasn't there, but the girls say they had:

Sautéed garlic veggies (two of 'em). Sam ordered and ate non vegan noodle soup. I think they were tan tan noodles or something with ground meat. My notes say that she wasn't interested in it and didn't finish it. Black sesame bun.

Above, please note my Bento's from Tokyo Station.  Yes, both were mine! Mmmm.

Arrive in Kyoto, check in to the Royal Daiwa, and then head out.  Em and Connie decided to go to make pottery at a place in Northeast Kyoto.  Em had done this earlier during one of her down times in Kyoto while attending school.

We eat dinner at:

Morpho cafe, between Nijo-jo and the Kyoto Imperial Palace.  We tried to get in a week or two before, but they were full.  A Vegan place, full?  It is small.

It was actually quite tasty!  Even a year later, I remember clearly that it was good.

Walking to Premarche Gelateria for dessert!

Monday noon reservations at Ajiro near Hanazono station.  We were here last year.  They had a Michelin star, but I think the place is somewhat dated, with service not impeccable.  But the food, while vegan, is fabulous.

Avocado half with Shiso

Fried soft tofu filled with mustard

Goma Doufu with a Squash blossom

Hozuki flowers with stuffings, from top left, spinash, fried corn, mushroom-rice-renkon-shiso, tomato.  Yamaimo with edamame and greens

Sunomono with rice, nori, and sudachi slice

Somen, with tomato, cucumber, ginger, okra, myoga, nasu

Nasu, renkon miso, green fuyuha

Yamaimo, konyaku, mushroom, shredded daikon, and Shiitake

Miso soup, tsukemono, and rice

Mixed fruit, melon, momo, peeled grapes

Bitter macha, renkon mochi

Throughout the meal, we made our own Yuba doufu

I would go back again, but it isn't really cheap.  I would actually prefer a larger room, with other patrons, rather than a private room.  I have no real negatives, just somewhat dated.  Maybe cuz I've been there twice now.

Myoshinji Temple complex adjacent to Ajiro.

Black sesame ice cream from Nishiki Market, on the way back to the Hotel from Ajiro

OK, we eat the obligatory (complimentary) afternoon snack in our hotel, since we're still really full from lunch.  We're playing Hana.

This is our Tuesday breakfast! Again at the hotel!

Tuesday to Osaka for a Macrobiotic Vegan lunch, where we actually make the food.  Naoko and Noriko Yoshida in Ikeda, Osaka. They make their own Miso, so Emily made a batch upon return.  It's still in our pantry. We had a credit due to the AirBNB fiasco, so we were able to book two food tours.

They used homemade Miso, which Connie and Em have decided to make at home.

The food and the experience were really nice!  I'd highly recommend.  We literally stuck our (clean) hands into the food and made the whole thing (except for the vegan pear tarts and the coffee that Ojisan made).  That night, upon returning to Kyoto Station, we had another hankering for Kaitenzushi.  This place on the Shinkansen side of Kyoto Station always has a long line.  I thought the food was very fresh and good, but the others preferred the Kaitenzushi at Sensoji.

As you can see, we ate a lot.

Some of you may have heard of Ryoma Sakamoto.  Born in Kochi, in Shikoku, he was very prominent in the overthrow of the Tokugawa Bakufu, and the Meiji restoration. He was murdered at age 31 by his foes.  This is Ryoma below with a couple of his cohorts, Fumie and Kimie. Fumie is widely credited with inventing sunglasses.

Daifuku at a night market, near Kyoto Station.  Our last night!

Beet fruit


Back home.  I decided I needed to make my ramen; these things don't age well.  It was ok; tasted like packaged ramen.  Whoever made it needs help.