after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Remainder of Kyoto

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t says:  Kyoto was a fun city to visit.  However, we do have to confess that two things make it significantly less fun: rain and tourists.  On our second day, we encountered both in large quantities.  It started with our determined efforts to see the vermillion gates at the Fushima Inari Shrine.  We started out early in the morning, thinking if we got there before breakfast, then no one else would be there yet … certainly not in the rain … we were wrong.

I will put up the food finds, first:IMG-5493.jpg

We started off by ducking out of the rain into a little tea house.  Not quite knowing the protocol, we assumed we should remove our shoes to sit on the elevated tables with our legs folded.  Fortunately, when others arrived and did the same, our guess was confirmed.  Hooray!  The only thing we didn’t do was put the umbrellas into the umbrella stand at the entry of the shop – d’oh!

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This place specialized in rice-related confections to go along with the teas.  I went for this one, which essentially is a charred mochi (no filling), topped with sweet red beans.  It was superb.  I don’t know if most people will like it, but for me, I ate a lot of red bean sweets as a child (my parents lied to me and told me it was “chocolate”).  So for me, this is like childhood 2.0.  And the savory qualities of the grilled rice cake really balanced nicely against the sweetness of the bean.  Now, there were a LOT of places to eat around the shrine/gates.  There were vendors hawking every type of grillable food.  There was even an awesome fresh-made mochi place (I got the one filled with red bean – surprise!).  It really is a tourist’s wonderland – so go hungry and see what you find!

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For lunch, we went a bit rogue and sought out someplace away from the main flow of tourists.  Between google and some poorly translated websites, we decided to go to a ramen shop called Hiwamatanoboru Ramen.  We were greeted politely and pointed towards a machine to order.  This was a moment that g and I had feared: we had no idea how to use such machines.  Fortunately – we changed the language setting to English and bam! We could order without issue.  We placed our orders, gave them to the host who pointed at some seats for us, and waited patiently.

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This was one hearty bowl of ramen.  The noodles were thick and flecked with what appeared to be some kind of grain (?whole wheat ramen noodles?).  The meat was smoked (we think) as it had that kind of texture, appearance, chew, and flavor).  The base was simple – like a well-porked tonkatsu.  Definitely a steal for $7.50.  I was particularly pleased that we appeared to be the only tourists in the joint – a lot of folks came in, freely spoke in Japanese, and ate alone before leaving, so I [perhaps wrongly] assume they were locals.  A pretty good spot!

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And the shrine!!  So this is a shot from the outside of the row of gates – I took it because the gates were full of people, and this looked much more serene.  Some tourist photobombed me and I didn’t realize it ’til later (look closely in the center).  Oh well.

And there we go!  Our last half-day in Kyoto: good food and pretty sites!

OH – and there is one place that we did not take pictures: Tempura Matsu.  Our “splurge” meal for the trip, this “modern kaiseki” joint is run by father-and-dad team (although dad isn’t around much as he is older).  It combines some of the classics (tempura) with some new-fangled, including the dish for which they seem to be the most famous: udon served in an ice cube (google it).  We sat at the counter, and we have to say that it was a wonderful experience.  We watched as they prepped our food and served it to us, explaining the ingredients and how to eat everything.  From the first dish (corn soup served on a giant leaf that covered the grilled eel in the bowl underneath) all the way to that ice cube, it was great!  My favorite was a yellow-tail that they topped with some kind of roe+yuzu combo – delish!  g especially liked the toro-topped rice dish.  I’d say that the $100 and $150 would be worth it here – I’m not quite sure the $200 could be (although I’ll never know).  The staff is warm, and the mom is ever so proud of her son, who was featured in the Rice Noodle Fish soup and did stages all over the world.  Adorable!

 

 

Written by afterdinnersneeze

18 October 2017 at 6:38pm

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