Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lunch, Kawasaki

I see this view a lot. It's right outside my computer room, so while I've been fabricating these little missives to you, I've been watching the progress of New Tokyo Tower, or the Sky Tree. It's really getting there! I think at this point all that's left is to erect the spire, the thin part at the top. It's been fun watching the construction company get it up.

But limited time for pondering the metaphysics of tower erection, because the Woodsman asked You and I to come over for lunch, en familie. Cheeahz mate! Gudonya. How did I end up here with a drinking/hiking/bathing buddy and a work colleague? One time I went to Hanakago with Woods (what a place), and You showed up. It was all down hill after that, mutual invitations, obligations, declinations, observations, favored nations, gyrations.

Shortly before we arrived, one of the smaller Woodsmen came up with the idea that we needed menus, and thus you can see in advance what we ate and drank. Or you can just look at the pictures below.

The man himself, well-satisfied with his menu development and secure in the company of his friendly bird.

I've been annoying my work colleagues with increasingly obscure versions of the "what's up?" question; the one last week was "?上" The bird's all over that.

Not to disparage the food or the company, but the wine was the real attraction here. And not to disparage the wine, but the Felton Road pinot was the real attraction. Since I went to the mainland of New Zealand around...2001? and visited this winery, it's had a special place in my mouth. You can get it here, but I don't, and I've been looking forward to drinking a bottle of this with Woody since...oh, since I met him! However I plan to continue our friendship even now that we've had the bottle. It's awesome stuff. The Krinklewood was a good young Hunter semillon, and let me not dwell on the various ages and virtues and rarities of Hunter semillon because this isn't a wine blog and I don't know enough, and the Matusalem 30-year oloroso was...geez, anything aged in a cask for 30 years must be pretty damn good, huh?

It's a jungle down in Kawasaki, filled with dangerous reptiles, amphibians, and one medium-sized tap-dancing lion. Fierce!

Right, lunch. The highlight of the zensai plate was surely the hard-won Norwegian smoked salmon back there under the lemon, secured at no small travail through a trip to Tsukiji and a search for fresh, not frozen, product. Then spinach, avocado, fried chicken, sauteed shrimp, and a bit of omelet. Yum! Good with the fresh, sour wine (it's last year's semillon, it's supposed to be like that).

The main event was Shepherd's Pie 'two ways' 'a la casa' 'chez wood'. That means one is baked with the potatoes on top, and one with the potatoes on the bottom. Bottom is better - soaks up the fat. Not just fat, actually, because the mince was soaked in wine overnight too.

Forgot to take a picture of the cheese, which was purchased from the good folks at Fermier in Tokyu Food Show in Shibuya. It's the best place to buy cheese, no question (second choice for me is Cheese Kingdom in Ginza Matsuzakaya). The highlight was unquestionably the Benedictine abbey-made "De la Pierre", which had a thick but tasty bloomy rind (think Camembert but more) and super-creamy paste, like a thinner Brie de Meaux or Affinois.

Two rounds of dessert - soy donuts with (organic) apple compote and a choice of 4 types of (organic) ice cream. Specially-ordered chocolate cake, yum.

Ahhhhh, happy times.

Charles, I hope your nose is better.

And I know your name isn't Charles. Don't worry.

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