Monday, July 29, 2013

Toyoko Line Love: Myorenji

We made many failed phonecalls, and stopped by whenever it seemed like a table was empty, all to no avail...
But recently we finally managed to reserve a table at Booo, a little Italian/French restaurant in Myorenji that had been tantalizing us for months!
It is exceedingly tiny, with only 4-5 tables, and the menu is very creative and well-priced (most dishes are 500 yen), which probably both explain why it is so popular with the neighbourhood crowd.
We settled on appetizers of caponata, wonderfully fresh and laced with sweet raisins, and potato-blue cheese packets, which are unbelievable.

Since Matcha-kun is not a vegetarian, he moved on to a salmon salad (and from the cat-like look of glee on his face, I can assume it was tasty) and I had a plate of salt-roasted seasonal vegetables. The chef uses a lot of heirloom and unusual veggies, like star-shaped zucchini and miniature daikon, all of which were top notch.
Dessert was a fresh cherry clafoutis, something I have not eaten since leaving Paris. A real classic of French home-style cuisine, it paired wonderfully with the last of our tart Zynfandel. The bill was another pleasant surprise, especially considering the level of the food and wine options.

In short: Live near Yokohama? Speak enough Japanese to make reservations? If your answer is yes, GO!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Days

One of the most awesome benefits of my sharehouse: free, fresh cherry tomatoes, still warm from the sun. Truly the most perfect food known to man.

Summer has arrived with its usual sudden slam of heat, leaving those of us stuck at our desks in a state of stupor. We lump around like annoyed cats, trying to keep out of the sun, and spend small fortunes on sunscreen and cold tea.

I used to be fine with the heat, but for some reason this year it is getting to me. Must be that one extra year that has just been tacked on, officially taking me over to 'the dark side' of my twenties. Running the same distances I did with ease two weeks ago, when the breeze was still cool, now seems to take superhuman efforts.
 Thankfully the gorgeous Yokohama summer sunsets work overtime to keep my mind occupied.

Soon it will be matsuri and fireworks time, and Matcha-kun will return from Singapore. Looking forward to both things.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hydrangeas and the time in between

As Matcha-kun goes off for a two hour professional coaching session, I head towards Shinjukugyoen, one of my favorite places in the whole world, to pass the time and ponder.I love this park in every season, as it encompasses several different worlds in garden form.
 My aim is to find some hydrangeas, my spring/summer obsession (to balance the fall/winter obsession with koyo leaves). As I wander there seem to be so few. Slightly disappointed, I head toward my very favorite part of the park, towards the back.
 Two long lanes, flanked by sky tickling trees (which in the autumn turn the most stunning shades of russet) transport me, without having to deal with the trouble and expense of planes, to Paris' Bois de Boulogne. In the middle is a sprawling collection of roses, reminiscent of yet another beloved spot in London's Regents Park.
And I can't help but smile, when I see the familiar clumps of sunset colours. All of Shinjukugyoen's hydrangeas cluster here, in this place which seems to exist to please my senses. My camera loses power after a couple shots, so my phone has to make due to remind me of this happy coincidence.

But all good things must come to an end. The strains of Auld Lang Syne fill the air, an unobtrusive signal that they are closing for the day. I take off my shoes and take the long route back, through the clean, soft grass. It is nice to tread a little more lightly on the Earth, and a reward for my hard working feet, usually battered by hard concrete and asphalt.

Back to reality, and my date :)