Friday, December 23, 2016

Back in Japan (December 2016)...Winter Kaiseki at Ichirin

Every time I go back to Japan, I can never leave without visiting Mikizo-san's Ichirin. Tomoko and I went there for lunch this time. It was great to see Mikizo-san one last time before 2016 ends!

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How lucky I was to get to taste Kobako crab twice in one week! This was from Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture. Mikizo said he went up there to directly buy the best kinds from the market.

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Seasonal hassun, sake, and simmering crab in a mini donabe.

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Buri (yellowtail) and anago (sea eel) over warm sushi.

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I loved the kuri-kinton (chestnut dessert).

Thank you so much, Mikizo-san!

Then, after just a week-long stay, I went back to LA again.

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Returning flight was ANA and in this flight, they were featuring Tofu-ya Ukai's Japanese meal. It was quite good!

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And, the dessert was Pierre Hermé. Yay.

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I came back with a lot of omiyage (souvenirs) as I'm waiting for 2 more boxes to arrive.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Back in Japan (December 2016)...Donabe Dinner

I was invited to dinner at Takahiro & Akiyo's the other night. It's always great to see them and Isako, as they are like my second family. Takahiro made another amazing dinner.

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Lightly-grilled eel fillet was so tender.

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Kobako-gani! It's a very seasonal female crab from Sea of Japan. Takahiro carefully cooked the whole crab and made the layers of the legs with its roe and eggs inside. It was so fantastic.

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The main course was Shirako Nabe! It was shirako (cod sperm) and ama-dai (tilefish) cooked in a dashi broth with grated shogoin kabu (large turnip from Kyoto). Shirako was so creamy and sweet. Ama-dai was so delicate and I even got a head!

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"Shime" (finishing course) was udon noodles! And, the dessert was mango pudding.

What a fantastic dinner with wonderful people.

Happy donabe life.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Back in Japan (December 2016)...Teishoku, Soba, Home Dinner and Friends

Lunch time is happy time in Japan.

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I love teishoku (set lunch).

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I love soba. During winter time, I love hot soup soba.

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Something I always look forward to about coming back to Japan is my sister's homemade dishes. We paired them with wines I brought back from Sardinia. Panevino was insane!

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Dinner at a local sushi bar. Shirako (cod sperm), dressed in mentaiko (spicy cod roe) was so good.

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Time with friends from high school is always so precious.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Back in Japan (December 2016)...Sake night in Ebisu

I went back to Japan was already the 5th time this year!

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I happened to be one of the first customers to experience United Polaris Business Class (UA's new business class service), so when I got to my seat, a cute teddy bear was waiting for me!

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New designs.

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But, the food quality was the same as before...

I arrived in cold winter Tokyo.

The next day, I had an interview and photo shoot with a culinary magazine. I hope I can make an announcement about it soon. After the interview, we went out for dinner.

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The place is called Gem by Moto. It's a hidden sake bar/ izakaya run by a sake specialist, Marie-san.

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The menu is written in a chalkboard on the wall. Eclectic small plates have very high standard.

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Marie-san poured us different sake to pair with different dishes. Some sake are custom-made for her.

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Cod and cod sperm ("shirako") nabe. A soothing donabe hot pot dish, was followed by smoked nibbles.

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I loved the experience so much!

So happy to be back home.