Museum to Remember
Out, Kyoto Style
and September Eleventh
Out, Tokyo Style
FROM THE FIELD --
JAPAN : 2001
OUT, KYOTO STYLE
Last evening the Tour Manager, H. L. Todd, and I led a hardy group of
eleven others "out on the town" for dinner. We had considered
a number of possibilities, everything from sushi to "street
food" to comfort food from home -- a Hagen-Daz ice cream cone, perhaps,
or a cup of Starbucks Coffee.
In the end we trooped off to the Gion area for some Kyoto-style cuisine.
When we arrived at our destination and popped our heads into the tiny
restaurant space (five tables, a small counter space and a VERY small
kitchen) to announce that there were thirteen of us, the owner summarily
declared there was no way we could be accommodated, especially in light
of the six or seven diners already contentedly eating. Todd turned on
his charm, however, and soon we were in place, four perched at a high
table; the rest, seated on a raised platform around three low tables.
Todd next perused the seasonal menu and made some apt selections, having
first conferred with the owner and members of her staff as to what our
per person spending limit was, whether beer and sake were to be
included and what we might want to avoid in the way of ingredients. Then
the fun began!
Dishes of every imaginable shape and size began to appear, some rustic
and hand thrown, others glazed and finely decorated, filled with burdock
root and finely diced tofu and pickled eggplant and smoked mini-sardines
and slightly cooked daikon (a kind of large white radish) and on
and on, ending with a wonderful soup and some rice gruel into which several
other ingredients had been mixed. Every dish was superb, an exquisite
example of the Kyoto style approach to fine dining: the finest natural
ingredients of the season lightly prepared to enhanced the subtle flavors
inherent in the food itself.
We kept at it for a couple of hours, then fully satiated, totaled up the
damage and ended up shelling out around twenty-five dollars apiece for
one of the best meals I have ever eaten!
Life is good!
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