Tag Archives: Food

Higashiyama Ward – Kyoto, Japan

Higashiyama

Kyoto’s Higashiyama is a happening area with souvenir stores, cafes, restaurants galleries and more.  Yes, it is very touristic, but try not to apply a regular tourist stop mentality that one dons in other counties.  Everything is priced accordingly to quality .

Guidebooks (and the actual guides) fail to give good directions on how find this district (1 of 11 in all Kyoto).   They all seemed to claim ‘no definite address‘!   After butting heads with taxi drivers and walking and walking and walking …  we came to the conclusion the best way to get there is asking directions to The Ryōzen Kannon; a war memorial and giant white concrete statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.  Across the main street entrance to the memorial  is an uphill walking street.  This is the best place to start your walk. See map at the end of the post.  (In our opinon, The Ryōzen Kannon is not worth the time in a city of more interesting temples and shrines.)

Start  early before the crowds arrive at Kōdai-ji.  Take a taxi to The Ryōzen Kannon – walk up and around  the Higashiyama streets,  stop for lunch wheverer catches your eye (or just enjoy all the street samples!).  Follow this with a short walk to the Hokan-ji (Yasaka Pagoda)  and walk back uphill  and continue to Kiyomizu-dera for  the astounding evening lights.

I you want to do something fun you can rent a Kimono (his & hers) at    at the beginning of the Higashiyama walk . Most Japanese woman and a few men rent Kimonos to tour Kyoto and other historical cities. It  is super cute, lends to wonderful photos! The rental house will also do your hair and accessorize! Returns are very easy.

Highly recommended is the the ume boshi store.  It is one of the best we found in all Japan.  We didn’t purchase enough at the cheaper tourist price and found the same brand at the Ginza Mitsokishi department store, but at a higher price.

seasoned rice crackers _ amazing!!
amazake stand – a must during the cold months

Amazake is a sweet, slightly fermented rice drink with  kome kōji (malted rice) can be mixed with spices and  served hot

  
street gallery
  
Hokan-ji (Yasaka Pagoda)
Hokan-ji (Yasaka Pagoda)
Hokan-ji (Yasaka Pagoda)
Hokan-ji (Yasaka Pagoda)

suggestedroute in pink – top right Kiyomizu-dera

 

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Ginza Kyubey – Tokyo, Japan

Kyubei Sushi 030Otoro

Ginza Kyubey

(81)  33.571-6523
8-7-6 Ginza, Chuo,
Tokyo 104-0061, Japan

www.kyubey.jp

Open Hours:
11:00 – 14:00    Monday – Saturdays
17:00 – 22:00    Monday – Saturdays

Kyubey is a restaurant you may be better off never going to.

Since our meal, over a year ago, we have yet to be truly satisfied and happy at any other eatery.  Kyubey was that good.

Everything about this flagship location is perfect.  You feel at home at the sushi bar.  It somehow remains intimate, even though 8 chefs line the bar and 10 private rooms co-exist over 5 floors above you.  It is a t once high-end and relaxed; perfectly crafted and slightly debauched. Kyube proves that when you reach the highest perfection, you don’t have to put up any front.

Kyubey is considered the epitome of sushi restaurants in Japan.  Rightfully so.  It is a bit hard to describe how a piece of raw fish can be that much better then another piece of raw fish.  Other then to say … The sushi and sashimi at Kyube is THAT much better then any other we’ve ever had.

Our experience began with a rousing welcome chant ” irasshaimase” and was just a ride of perfection.  Piece after piece, laugh after laugh, sake after sake, it was a rock-concert of flavor.

It was only several weeks after when, again,  we were walking away from another highly anticipated gourmet meal  that we realized what was giving us this vague feeling of un-satisfaction.  It was our meal at Kyube that raised the high-bar.

So be warned,  but please go and be rewarded!

Kyubei Sushi 002

Kyubei Sushi 005sushi shokunin Taira San
Kyubei Sushi 017Otoro
Kyubei Sushi 026
Kyubei Sushi 018
Kyubei Sushi 011Scallop
Kyubei Sushi 014Hamaguri  a large variety of Japanese clam, first simmered in a broth and then touched with a sweet sauce.
Kyubei Sushi 012Live Kurumaebi (sweet shrimp) sprinkled with sea salt
Kyubei Sushi 025Head from the Kurumaebi
Kyubei Sushi 024Ika (squid)
Kyubei Sushi 013Shimaaji,  (Striped Horsemackerel)
Kyubei Sushi 008Kohada with ginger
Kyubei Sushi 010Kohada, similar to mackerel
Kyubei Sushi 022Uni Big Fin Reef Squid
Kyubei Sushi 023Uni

kyubey

Les Cols – Olot, Spain

LesCols_Hisao_00 above photo © Hisao Suzuki – Les Cols

Les Cols

(34) 69 – 981 3817
Avinguda de les Cols, 2
17800 Olot, Girona, Spain

www.lescols.com

Open Hours:
13:00 – 15:30    Lunch  – Tuesday to Sunday
20:30 – 22:30    Diner  – Tuesday to Saturday

In the remote town of Olot  in la Garrotxa, a volcanic area in the north of Catalonia; chef Fina Puigdevall – with the help of RCR Architects –  put forth  Les Cols;  a stunning two star Michelin restaurant; voted most beautiful in the world by a handful of publications.

Puigdevall’s culinary proposals are rooted in the surrounding landscape.  The majority of the ingredients are grown and raised at the restaurant, maintaining an ultra local and organic practices.  It is beyond “farm to table” as the table is at this beautiful 13th century farm.

Our three hour long meal started with a glass of cava and mini hot cheese buckwheat crust sandwiches in the garden, them we where guided to our table

Dishes were paraded through the golden room to vanish soon after!

Buckwheat spaghetti in a smoked broth turned out to be a gelatinous signature dish.
Early spring brought us calçots in a charcoal tempura with beetroot romesco (Catalan nut and red pepper based sauce).  This is a Catalan delicacy – and truthfully we coud have repeated this for a few more plates!

The lovely Pumpkin 5 different ways, was educational and delicious!  It turns out the five was are: grated, cold xantana, crouton, soup, & a sliced with black olive oil !

Overall service was good, attentive, and knowledgeable … not to mention patient!  We asked all the questions and  they indulged our curiosity, even letting us explore the entire place, including the kitchen.

Keep in mind this is a really large meal, so don’t eat a big lunch!  Afterwords, we couldn’t move much and sort of rolled back to our hotel!  (Also beware the herbal liquor if you are not used to it .. it is where curiosity crosses to indigestion!)

Les-Cols_010truffles in chanterelle mushroom royal sauce
Les-Cols_012grilled lettuce with lemon- apple vinegar
Les-Cols_005artichoke with tangerine mayonnaise and artichoke chips
Les-Cols_011grilled Brussels sprouts with olive oil and potato puree
Les-Cols_008sweet onion crumble from Croscat, with cheese from Farró and fried herbs
  Les-Cols_018vanilla, thyme, rosemary and orange ice cream
Les-Cols_019
Les-Cols_027
Les-Cols_029
Les-Cols_030
LesCols_Hisao_01above photo © Hisao Suzuki – Les Cols
LesCols_Hisao_03above photo © Hisao Suzuki – Les Cols
Les-Cols_035
Les-Cols_040Les Cols event space
Les-Cols_043Les Cols event space
Les-Cols_047Les Cols event space
Les-Cols_049Les Cols event space
Les-Cols_042Les Cols event space