The NOMA team left Kyoto yesterday morning just before 11 A.M. although the chef, Rene Redzepi, remained behind for a few days of privacy with his wife and three young daughters.
I spent a big part of the day walking around Kyoto with M. She grew up here, and has since moved to a remote farming area to work on her art. She is photographing for my work here, and as she put it, “I am your eyes.”
M and I were invited then to a long, delicious three hour kaiseki lunch at Ritz Carleton. As is often true here in Japan, I learned something new about the food and culture. The traditional, multi-course kaiseki meal, which I have enjoyed before many times, is an original tasting menu very deep in seasonality that emerges through 5 colors, 5 tastes, and 5 ways of preparing the food.
Later in the day, I met up with K. He and I hit a terrific Italian restaurant and followed that with visits to “Invitation Only” haunts in Gion for whiskies, shochu, and gawking. Real geishas, old school jazz, the cultural mix was jarring and inspiring.
And now it is time to fly to Niigata to see T and visit microbreweries, two sake breweries, and a dairy farm.