Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Off-Convoy: JAPAN PART 2!

Okay, I was not in Japan this time for a happy reason.  However, with my brothers, family, and friends, who all love to eat as much as I do (which is saying a lot), we were obviously going to dedicate every second of free time and every bit of stomach space to finding delicious consumables.

This is my adorable great-uncle, who owns a popular beachside cafe called Tsuboya
(and his cat, who only likes him).
You should visit if you are ever in Shimoda; it is charming.

Soba with a fried shrimp topping.  It was shockingly delicious.

Izu has tons of natural hot springs,
which means they have a lot of free footbaths in parks.

My uncle treated my brother and me to a night at a fancypants hotel.
The hotel gives you jammies, which everyone wanders around in all day,
including to dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Speaking of dinner, it was endless.  Let's count the dishes, shall we?
Okay, here's 1. Appetizers.

2. Shabu shabu.

Yum, drinks!  There are lots of oranges grown in this region, so I got the juice cocktail.

3. Sashimi.

4. Teriyaki fish steak.  What kind of fish?  I don't remember.
There's probably not an English name for it anyway.

5. Taro root manju.

6. Beef stew.  (At this point, my stomach was starting to seriously hurt.)

7. Seafood chawanmushi.  I couldn't even eat this because I was too full.

8. Pickles.

9. Dessert!  Thank God, we made it!

10. Oh wait, nm, here's a giant dish of complimentary fruit
because your aunt's sister works here.
We had to take this back to our room and eat it in the morning.
We felt like we would never be hungry again.

You know what is delicious?  Japanese milk.
It is fatty and full-flavored.
It's standard to serve milk to drink after going in the hot springs baths.
Sounds like a great recipe for lactose intolerance-induced upset stomach, but I was fine!

Speaking of Japanese dairy products, their soft serve is ridiculously good.
American soft serve tastes like garbage in comparison.

This is the owner of Malukoh, an old-school cafe where he's been serving soft serve and hotcakes for 40 years.  We love him.

At Kura, a tiny place where housewives cook meals
out of local ingredients from the area farms.

This was 500 yen.  (Less than 5 bucks.)

If you go to Japan, get the menchi, katsu, and croquettes from a local butcher.
They fry everything in lard.

Everyone says Japan is expensive, but dude, these skewers are CHEAP.
The chicken is only 50 cents a pop.

Japanese spiny lobster in butter sauce with salmon roe over pasta.
Everything perfectly cooked and seasoned.

The foam on this beer is frozen like a slushy!

An awesome street of tiny bars in Oimachi.

Our cousin treated us to Yamazaki whiskey. Jim Murray's World Whiskey Bible named Yamazaki as the best whiskey in the world. To name a Japanese whiskey over Scotch or Irish -- that is as shocking as when the California wine won the French competition.

Tsukemen.  Oh, this pork -- it melted in your mouth.