Ktchntrvwr Leading the Blind? Japan 2013 Starts NOW

March 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

SO EXCITED for the next great adventure, this time navigated with co-captain Mr. Steve Berry. First order of business at team dinner numero uno will be to toast all the amazing people who generously helped plan with us — some with email chains 50 threads long, others with the best 5 text messages a tempura-lover could ever hope to receive. Gratitude hardly captures it.  Thank you Kevin, Paul, and Shin and Toshi especially for the ryokan booking help during our very local (no english!) middle leg.  And, as always, I’m looking forward to filling in the blanks : ) Excited to have my world turned upside down. Sayonara. KAMPAI! Let’s do this!

BLIND KTCHNTRVWR JAPAN 2013 

ITINERARY

Time Difference

JST is EST +13 hours; EST is JST -13 hours

e.g. 6:00 a.m. JST is 5:00 p.m. EST; 10:00 p.m. JST is 9:00 a.m. EST

Monday, March 25 (Miami)

 

PM – Jacquelyn Sayet Flight 1: American Airlines 1048

Miami (MIA)

March 25, 2013 01:10 PM

Travel Time : 2 h 55 m

New York (JFK)

March 25, 2013 04:05 PM

Jacquelyn Sayet Flight 2: American Airlines 135

New York (JFK)

March 25, 2013 07:05 PM

Travel Time : 14 h 10 m

Tuesday, March 26 (Miami/Tokyo)
PM – Jacquelyn Sayet Flight 2 (cont): American Airlines 135

Arrive Tokyo (HND)

March 26, 2013 10:15 PM
Hotel 1 (booked by Jackie): Hyatt Regency Tokyo

2-7-2 Nishi-Shinjuku

Shinjuku-Ku, Japan 160-0023

Wednesday, March 27 (Miami/Tokyo)

AM – Sky Tree
Steve Berry Flight 1: American Airlines 2025

Departure Date: Wed, Mar 27, 2013

Departure Airport: MIA

Scheduled Departure Time: 9:00AM

Arrival Airport: ORD

Scheduled Arrival Time: 11:15AM
PM – Park Hyatt. The traditional Japanese restaurant in the Park Hyatt is amazing if only for the kimonos that the servers wear. Great lunch and some cool adjacent shopping. Also, the New York grill up top of park Hyatt is where they filmed lost in translation. Have a whiskey and check the view.

Steve Berry Flight 2: AMERICAN AIRLINES 153

Departure Date: Wed, Mar 27, 2013

Departure Airport: ORD

Scheduled Departure Time: 1:25PM

 

Thursday, March 28 (Tokyo)

AM – http://www.gojapango.com/tokyo/shinjuku_gyoen.htm

(cherry blossoms)

PM – Steve Berry Flight 2 (cont): AMERICAN AIRLINES 153

Arrival Airport: NRT

Scheduled Arrival Time: 4:40PM

Steve arrives to Hotel 1: Hyatt Regency Tokyo

2-7-2 Nishi-Shinjuku

Shinjuku-Ku, Japan 160-0023

Tel: +81 3 3348 1234  Fax: +81 3 3344 5575

First team dinner in Japan!

Friday, March 29 (Tokyo)

AM – Raku-tei for lunch, the amazing Michelin 2 star tempura.
Address: 6-8-1 Akasaka , Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0052, Japan

Phone:+81 3-3585-3743

Wednesday 12:00–2:00 pm, 5:00–8:30 pm

PM – Yakatori alley next to the Shinjuku train station. On the left when you enter from station about half a block. Maybe block and a half… Yakatori late… Then wander around late late in the seedy area they call The Golden Guy. Hundreds of small whacky bars. Fun! (thanks Paul!)

Saturday, March 30 (Tokyo)

AM – Fish market. Visit train station to activate JR pass and book Sunday’s tickets.

PM – Nihonryori RyuGin* is a 3 star, truly amazing modern Japanese food.
Address: Telephone: +81 (0)3 3423-8006

Side Roppongi Bldg. 1F, 7-17-24 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo

*Need to call for reservation b/w 11:30am-6:00pm JST  http://www.nihonryori-ryugin.com/en/reserve/

Sunday, March 31 (Kanazawa)

AM – Check out Hyatt Regency Tokyo and train to Kanazawa.

Kevin says when you get off the train, find the tourist info center towards those famous architectural pillars.  they speak a lil english and have maps and guides in english too.

Hotel 2 (booked by Steve): Hotel Nikko Kanazawa

Address: 2-15-1 Hon-machi, Kanazawa, 920-0853 Japan

PM – Kanazawa Castle (historical, hinoki) and Dinner at Tsurukou (da big cheese.) Chaya bar after dinner, on kazue machi (ie ‘street’)

Monday, April 1 (Kanazawa)

AM – Check out of Hotel Nikko Kanazawa. Omicho (Market), Eel shop, Sakuda gold leaf shop, Kotobukiya (shojin ryori)

PM – Hotel 3 (Booked by Shin) Yamanoo Ryokan

Address: 1-31-25 Higashiyama, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0831, Japan

Tuesday, April 2 (Kanazawa)

AM – Kenrokuen (top 3 garden of japan), Katamachi (izakayas,) Morihatchi (wagashi shop)

PM – Dinner at Suginoi (kaiseki)

Wednesday, April 3 (Kaga)

AM – Check out of Yamanoo Ryokan. Train to Kaga.

Hotel 4 (booked by Shin): Araya Totoan spa hotel, Arisugawa sanso.

Address: 18-119 Yamashiro Onsen, Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture 922-0242, Japan (Yamashiro Onsen)

PM – Eat at Kaga Ryori

Thursday, April 4 (Kaga)

AM – Kutani pottery at Museum Iroha Souan

PM – Kaga tea

Friday, April 5 (Osaka)

AM – Check out of Araya Totoan spa hotel. Train to Osaka.

PM – Hotel 5 (booked by Jackie): Cross Hotel Osaka

Address: Chuo-ku Shinsaibashisuji 2-5-15

Osaka, 5420085, Japan

Meet Shin!!!!

Saturday, April 6 (Osaka)

AM – Dotonburi

PM – TBD dinner etc

Sunday, April 7  (Kyoto)

AM – Check out of Cross Hotel Osaka. Train to Kyoto

PM – Hotel 6 (booked by Jackie):

Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto

Address: 1, Taimatsucho Shiokoji-sagaru, Higashi Horik

Kyoto, Japan, JP 600-8237

Monday, April 8  (Kyoto)

AM – Kyoto bamboo garden/Arashiyama

PM – TBD dinner etc

Tuesday, April 9  (Tokyo)

AM – Check out Rihga Royal Hotel Kyot. Train to Tokyo

PM – TBD Hotel 7 (perhaps we book Hyatt Regency on first leg…)

 

Wednesday, April 10 (Tokyo)

PM – Steve Berry Flight 3: AMERICAN AIRLINES 154

Departure Date: Wed, Apr 10, 2013

Departure Airport: NRT

Scheduled Departure Time: 6:15PM

Arrival Airport: ORD

Scheduled Arrival Time: 4:05PM

Steve Berry Flight 4: AMERICAN AIRLINES 1068

Departure Date: Wed, Apr 10, 2013

Departure Airport: ORD

Scheduled Departure Time: 6:00PM

Scheduled Arrival Time: 10:10PM

Arrival Airport: MIA

Thursday, April 11 (Tokyo/Miami) 

Jacquelyn Sayet Flight 3: American Airlines 60

Tokyo (NRT)

April 11, 2013 06:20 PM

Travel Time : 11 h 40 m

Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW)

April 11, 2013 04:00 PM

Jacquelyn Sayet Flight 4: American Airlines 60

Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW)

April 11, 2013 05:35 PM

Travel Time : 2 h 50 m

Miami (MIA)

April 11, 2013 09:25 PM

#Caymazing

February 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

pirateAs Ellie broke the sea
Its crystal blue waters frothed like a Paperman’s cappuccino,
I sipped liquid gold of another kind
Shipwrecked, feet in the sand soft
As powdered sugar, sweet and cool,
Melting into oblivion.
#Caymazing

The Sweet Smell of the Season

June 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

My first mango of summer 2012.

I don’t know when people started to use touch to test ripeness.  Smell your fruit, people.

It should be pungent, like this mango.  You’d have to be a Dustbuster to smell a mango from Guatemala at your neighborhood Whole Foods Market.

If you can smell your fruit, you won’t end up with a mealy, dry peach or a metallic-tasting mango.

If this isn’t a reminder I don’t know what is.

Let the Holiday Begin!

March 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

23E may be the very center of the Boeing 777. That’s where I’m sitting, and it might as well be first class. I wouldn’t know the difference right now with how excited I’m am, about to depart Miami on my first leg to Rome, via London, for a two week holiday touring mostly the northern regions of my favorite country in the world. I’ll be logging what I can via iPad here, as I make my way through Rome, Florence, Valle d’Aosta, Milan, Stresa and the lakes region of Lombardy, Bergamo, Orvieto and more. Buon viaggio!

20120310-191502.jpg

Dinner Party Fun: No Oven, No Problem

November 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

86 oven! #fail

About 2 hours before guests arrived to my mother’s dinner party last night, her gas range broke. The simple, delicious menu she had planned was a nimble one though, and with the manageable guest count of 10, was a success.

With her (also dying) electric oven still available, the vegetables that had been roasted earlier in the day could be tossed and re-heated in parsley sauce, made from the recipe in the MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD cookbook. What was to have been home-roasted garlic chicken thighs became store-roasted whole birds after a quick trip to Fresh Market. Expertly carved by brother Kevin, I swooped in with a homemade dressing of what was around the house: oranges and their juice, capers, a whole clove of smashed raw garlic, shaved wished-it-was-red white onion, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, rice wine vinegar, mixed olives, Teena’s Pride Farm CSA orange mint and fire sorrel, chaat masala, and Elizabeth’s amazing extra-virgin olive oil (Castillo de Tabernas) from Spain, to be spooned cool on top of the warm pieces of dark and white meat at plating.

Chateauneuf de Pape Millésime 2008 in our Burgundy glasses and in great company, all in all it was a fantastic meal!

Roasted winter vegetables with parsley sauce and arugula tossed with evoo, S&P and topped with shaved Cypress Grove "Midnight Moon" aged goat cheese.

Amazing peeta from a guest, with whole roast chicken and homemade orange dressing.

Bradley Ogden's Baked Persimmon Pudding with Mandarin Orange Curd.

Hand Drawn Noodles

June 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

It ain't a pretty scene, but it was damn good eating. Thank you Israel for Michael Solomonov.

Last week was all about Philadelphia, and its last impressions — a new taste of Israel and Chinatown’s hand drawn noodles.  I was there with Chef for two events, and true to form, we followed our noses to eat good food off the clock. In early May, we had booked dinner at Zahav (‘gold’ in Hebrew) immediately after Michael Solomonov won Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. After meeting him on his home turf, he insisted we change our reservation for later Thursday evening so he could be there. So at 9:30 we arrived to Society Hill in a light drizzle to drink Israeli sauvignon blanc and feast on salatim (a rainbow of small salads and pickled vegetables,) mina (beef brisket with crisp matzoh and coffee,) and the chef’s fall-off-the-bone lamb shoulder. The meat was tender and juicy, lacquered with pomegranate glaze and slow roasted whole for three days until it was rested atop crispy Lebanese rice dotted with nutty chick peas for us to devour.  And then Solomonov really did it. I’m not speaking of the other dishes paraded out of the kitchen nor of the genuine hospitality that had Arak (an anise flavored aperitif not unlike ouzo) flowing over ice-filled glasses in front of us. Though these gestures were beyond generous and appreciated, it was his recommendation for lunch before leaving the following day that really did us in, in the best of possible ways. With hot chili oil, pig ears, and hand drawn noodles! We were to head to 9th and Race to find it, although he couldn’t remember the name of the noodle shop. So the next morning, luggage safely in hotel storage, we set out due northeast following Solomonov’s trail of crumbs. They led to Zan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House and this awesome, humble lunch.

Dinner with Nanny: Chef Michael Schwartz’s Whole Roasted Chicken

May 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

My first whole roasted chicken.

It’s still hard for me to believe how many things I have not cooked before.  I’m finding this out as I make my way through my boss’s new cookbook, MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat.  Deviled eggs, homemade pickles…  Maybe it’s because I tend to wing it in the kitchen with ingredients and methods that are improvisation-friendly.  When specialized techniques are involved, and I don’t have them in my repertoire, it takes a good recipe to get me through.

I found a great one last night in Michael’s Whole Roasted Chicken with plumped raisins, toasted pine nuts, and arugula.  I made it for a roasted chicken connoisseur, my grandmother Lucille aka Nanny.  After a quick stop at her neighborhood Publix on the Beach for groceries, I was making myself at home in her circa 1950s kitchen.  The procedure is the epitome of Michael’s cooking, starting with very few high quality ingredients that when simply prepared produce nothing less than a magical result. It could not have been easier to make, even without the conveniences and equipment of cook’s kitchen.  Luckily she had just the right pan (the only possible one that could have worked!) and hot as hell old oven, the kind that overhang the stove top, in the spot where my Salamander is at home.  Aluminum pans did the trick for the plumping of raisins with rosemary, extra-virgin olive oil, and water, and the toasting of pine nuts (and some bread, borrowing from another recent heavenly chicken experience at Zuni Cafe with Michael.)

This was one serious bird and one bangin’ accurate recipe.  I know I nailed it because the crisp-skinned result, perfectly cooked and running with clear chickeny juices, incited such comments as “Chicken doesn’t taste like this.” and “This bird is just delicious. Incredible!” The raisins (which didn’t taste like raisins either – haha) and toasted pine nuts scored equally as high with my discerning grandma, a woman with impeccable taste in matters more than culinary.

So thank you Michael; I now have a new one for my can-do arsenal!  Nanny and her nurse now have lunch and dinner for the next few days, plus extra raisins and raisin-rosemary infused oil for drizzling on toast or tossing in chicken salad.  I am going to try plumping apricots the same way next time, for my next whole roasted chicken, which will no doubt happen soon.

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