My husband came to Japan for Christmas week and we had some delicious eats. Vacation for us is walking 10 miles a day between meals and we did just that.
Pat’s first meal was my cooking, grilled beef with cabbage salad, and it was a bit off but he was jet lagged and didn’t care. We were able to have a Spaten beer at the Yokohama Christmas Market before dinner.
The following day we grabbed a steamed pork bun in Chinatown from a street vendor as our breakfast.
My favorite place in the Landmark building is a curry udon place, Konaya. Not only is it fun to wear bibs but the curry udon is remarkable.
For dinner, we were graciously hosted at a Notre Dame alum’s house where we enjoyed roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and a stuffing similar to my moms. Connecting with other American expats, particularly this lovely family, has been very nice. As I don’t have an oven, roast anything is the bomb.
The next day we headed out via Shinkasen to Kyoto. We walked (and walked, and walked) and stopped at a small shop on a side street. The restaurant sat 16 people or so. We were on the tatami mats.
We had a traditional keiseki meal in our ryokan for our first dinner in Kyoto which was Christmas Eve. It is a lot of food even for a big eater like myself.
A western breakfast of eggs and bacon was served in our room of the ryokan. It was much more fun than the sound of it because of the presentation.
We walked quite a bit the next day and found a traditional tofu restaurant, Kyoto Mamehachi. It was enjoyable because of not just amazing food but interaction with a wonderful and vibrant chef. Tofu for Christmas lunch is pretty unique!
Christmas dinner I thought would be fun in an izakaya to eat yakitori. We really hate that there is still smoking in some places but it was good and pretty fancy for a pub. In Japan, apparently KFC had a fried chicken promotion one Christmas and it stuck. Most people think Americans have fried chicken on Christmas!
Back to Yokohama to my favorite place in Bay Quarter, Kinkawooka, for oysters. We got raw oysters, katsu oysters, and some cooked concoction which was delicious. They source the oysters from Japan. In the summer, their rooftop deck is delightful.
Dinner was an amazing homemade pasta with truffles and another with lobster at Leone Marciano. I know, its Japan but it really is fantastic. Of course, they were so great, they offered to make us gnocchi on Saturday night.
We booked 2 nights at the Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo which was amazing.
Lunch was soba in Shin-Marunouchi building at Sobakitchi. Hot soba with a bowl of tuna and avocado on rice. The soba was probably the best I’ve had in Japan.
Our first dinner was at Peter in the Peninsula Hotel. The duck was very, very good. Fois gras appetizer was also delish.
Despite prior attempts to make a reservation at the restaurants from Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I planned that we have sushi at Tsujiki Fish Market – the world’s largest fish market. There are several famous spots and we happened upon Sushi Bun. It was 10:30am and we waited for an hour. It was worth it. The little shop has 13 seats and is 150 years old. There were only 3 choices for lunch – set A, B, or C. I got C, sashimi and Pat got B. Most people got B so the fish came out almost omakasei style. The restaurant was cleared and sat the next 13 people. Photos were not allowed but this banner is what I used to remember if it was one of the major shops (The length of queue is a dead give away, however).
I have a confession: we had pizza for dinner at A16 (of San Francisco decent). I’m sorry, I know we should have had ramen or some other Japanese staple but if you’ve been to Marunouchi Brick Square area, it is very romantic with all the lights and well, it is an excuse. We also had French wine at Marugo and if I lived in Tokyo, I would be there every night. They had a small, warm environment with fois gras that was amazing.
The next day, lunch was pork soup dumplings at Nan Xiang in Roppongi Hills. This was my first time having soup dumplings and I will be going back again. The menu was Japanese and there were no gaijin customers. I wanted Pat to have Chinese in Japan because it is so much better than in the US.
Last dinner was gnocchi at Leone Marciano. It is difficult to put into words the fluffy pillowy delight that these gnocchi have on your tongue. The best part of the night was after having my dish, I wanted to order some to eat for New Year’s Eve. The restaurant was very crowded and they said they could accomodate me but had to figure out some logistics. I remembered I just purchased a new bowl at Humpty Dumpty and gave it to them. Problem solved and hooray for me for dinner!
Sunday, we went for a walk in the rain to the Brick Warehouse and had a great breakfast at bills. I had ricotta pancakes and they were worth the wait. Pat had the Aussie breakfast which for those that haven’t been to Oz consists of eggs, sausage, grilled tomato, bacon, and sauteed mushrooms. The eggs must have had cream in them. They were amazing. It is worth mentioning that we waited 15 minutes for a cup of coffee after we were seated.
We had such a good week. Looking forward to sharing with you the temples and culture part next.