Friday, May 1, 2009

Words cannot describe...

Today was a big day. Like, really big.

My friend Jenn and I went to Shibuya first. We paid a short visit to the "busiest Starbuck's" for a little pick-me-up before our long day of walking, where I tried to take a picture and was Japanese...and I caught it all in this photo!

Apparently, you are not allowed to take photos at the Starbuck's in Shibuya across from the train station. This is second time I have experienced this (the first time, Brad was trying to take my picture and get a video). Apparently we are not allowed to steel their "this is how people stand in line at the Shibuya Starbuck's" secrets. Whatever.

After our caffeine fix, we went to Omotesando. Here we stopped by Omotesando Hills (a high end shopping mall), then went to Fujimamas, an Asian fusion restaurant near Harajuku. We had a large dinner planned, so we split the Swordfish burger with black sesame mayonaise and a sweet, gingery salsa. Their cheesecake looked dynamite as well, but we had to pass.

After taking a stroll around Meiji Gardens, we headed back home to freshen up before a much anticipated dining experience. Matsusakyagyu is a yakiniku in the Futakotamagawa area, very close to the train station. Yakiniku basically means BBQ'd meat. There are charcoal grills in the center of the tables where you cook your own bite-sized pieces of meat.

Our first courses included steak tar tar, kimchee, and beef tendon in a delicious sauce served over greens. This was only the beginning of the meat experience.

The waiter sets three different dipping options in front of each person at the table. One is soy sauce, to which you add freshly grated wasabi (another do-it-yourself experience), the second is a sesame sauce, and the third is a delicious salt flavored with what I think was sesame.

After ordering, the waiter bring a cube of fat to the table. Using bamboo tongs, the fat is rubbed on the grill to keep the meat from sticking. Now comes the exciting part...

The first plate was thinly sliced beef tongue. Not usually my first choice, as my experiences with tongue have been tough and chewy, but this was different. The meat was tender and delicious. The next platter was incredible- beautiful pieces of beef tenderloin, beef cheek and rib. The meat grills beautifully and ends up with a crispy layer on the outside (the marbeling in the meat is perfect, as you can see in the photos).

After you have grilled your beef to your liking, it goes straight from the grill, into one of the dipping options, then straight into your mouth for savoring. Wash it all down with a sip of Malbec. Amazing. The final touch was a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and some barley tea. At the end of the meal, you don't feel bogged down and painfully full either. The portions are reasonable and the food high quality. LOVE it.

Jenn and I ended the day at a restaurant our friend in Tokyo call the "Plywood Place" because we don't know the name. It is just a little izakaya with a very 'local' feel. Over an appetizer that resembled the bottom of a lake, some cold sake and ika karage (fried squid), Jenn and I indulged in some girl talk.

I love having Jenn here. It has been wonderful sharing these experiences and I hope we can do it with more visitors in the future (hint hint...)! For even more about our day, check out her blog for the Minnesota Image Company.

1 comment:

vicarious said...

Sounds like you girls had a really nice day. That's great! What memories you're making! Enjoy!
Thanks for the blogs. We really enjoy our "vicariousness."

PS: Continue to wash your hands frequently.