Sunday, April 15, 2007

Osaka, Day 0 and 1

On the first night when I got into town, we went to a local Izakaya called "Sommelier" where L knows the owner. We got some pasta there. Pretty simple, but done well. One of the dishes had thick slices of browned garlic in there. Mmm...


This is a big jug of chestnut shochu. I had a glass of this... it tasted familiar but I couldn't place it. It's on the stronger side (higher ABV than sake and Korean soju, but not as strong as western spirits). For a place called "Sommelier," they apparently didn't serve any wine until L pestered them about it which I found to be funny.

I can't remember what, if anything we had for breakfast the next day. We were up relatively early, so I think we just had some tea and then hopped on the train.

Outside of the Umeji castle, I bought some of these custard cake ball things. What a rip off! It cost 500Y (about $4) and they had the texture of stale dough balls. Not good eats.

Chicken on a stick. Much better eats. The sauce is sweeter and much saltier (soy based) than its common Korean counterpart. I actually thought this was perhaps a little too salty, but the Korean ones are sometimes a little too spicy. I need something in the middle.

For lunch, we had soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles).

L described this as an "Okinawan Doughnut," which we had purchased in one of the train stations. I thought it was a little too dry for my tastes. Might have been better with a cup of black coffee.

These are the octopus balls (Akashiyaki) that we went to the town of Akashi for. These are different from the more common takoyaki. The inside is almost custardy. I think I actually liked these better than the normal takoyaki which often ends up getting over sauced. This was also served with some sort of broth that you can immerse the Akashiyaki in, although I was happy eating them on their own. Combined with a cold beer, this was an excellent snack.

While wandering around Osaka castle, we ran into a guy selling fruit on a stick. We both got a chunk-of-pineapple-on-a-stick each. As the guy selling them said, "very sweet!"

Around the corner from the Osaka castle is an arena where they play concerts. We happened to wander by before the show started (Beyonce was performing that night), and so the area had plenty of souvenir stands and, more importantly, food stall stands. This is some sort of fried chicken... sort of what chicken nuggets are supposed to be. Very, very tasty and as healthy as they look! =P

Later that night we wandered through a fancy market at some point. Watermelon for 4200Y ($35) anyone?

The famous Kobe Beef. Didn't actually eat any during this trip.

For dinner, we went to a kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) place. Above are a couple of the items from round one. From the top left going clockwise: scallops, baby squid, unknown fish, and squilla.

This was a grey-looking paste that we did not know what it was. I decided to try to anyway since I had not seen it before. After checking with the waitress, it turns out that this is kani-miso (crab with fermented soybean). It wasn't all that good... I guess grey pastes usually aren't.

Another interesting one. This was filled with some sort of smallish fish (the white translucent things - you can see an eyeball here and there). The fish actually had a neat texture; sort of gelantinous but not in a gross squishy way. Also present are some fish eggs (probably tobiko or masago) and some cellophane noodles (I think).

Post dinner, we finished off our GI-tracts with some cake and coffee. I had fun laughing at the Engrish on the menu.

Mmmm... Coffe and Froats.

And "Heab"? I think it was supposed to be "Blended Herbal Teas" and maybe someone just got too excited about compressing things.

Anyway, here are the cakes and coffees. I got some sort of light fruit and shortcake-like object (bottom right). L ordered something from the case which looked like chocolate and strawberries... which it was, but then there were multiple other flavors in there as well. I only remember banana, but when we rechecked the case on the way out, the cake was aptly named "the whimsy of the chef" (which to me means random experimentation).

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