Waking up in the tea house on a quiet, residential street in Kyoto yesterday, the first stop was Nishiki Market. Five years ago, I had been impressed by the shops selling beautiful poultry, fish, tofu, vegetables, and fruits, and now I’m still so moved that I salivated. It’s eel season in Japan, especially here in the west, and conger, known as hamo, is from the sea and it’s wonderful. Made a good addition to breakfast.
But: on a second visit on the same day, I thought the food looked nearly great. So I went to the basement of Takeshimaya where truly the world’s best and most astonishing food is sold. Toro, yuba, sake later, it was pre-game at home before going to Matsuno, a good, but old school, and tired unagi place on the main drag. Other joints were either closed or had signage I could not decipher.
In-between meals, we walked slowly in the festival crowds and crazy heat. Respite came in the form of Ippodo, a tea shop I’d read about. For $7, I had four cups of astonishing, iced green tea. The tea and the shop were the best I had ever enjoyed.
The goals for the week? Find decent places for dinner. Not as easy as it might seem: Kyoto is not a city with many good restaurants…