In the Tiny Village of Tsumago
11.22.2012 - 11.22.2012
We have loved our stay in Tsumago--more on that later. But we did take photos of our second dinner there. Alas, it was not quite as complex or visually stunning as our first, but it was very tasty nonethless. First off was shabu shabu, with the same apple/beer fed and massaged beef as the previous night, this time sliced paper thin with some shredded cabbage, onions, and enoki mushrooms.
There's a small vat of boiling water on a hot plate at the table and you dump a portion of the veggies in and then take a slice of the beef and swish it around in the water for about 5 seconds--the swishing sound being "shabu shabu"--then pop the meat and the veggies in a most delicious dipping sauce--maybe ground sesame and rice vinegar. Pop it in your mouth--heaven! I would have been happy making a meal of that alone (with rice, of course) There was also what the menu billed as slices of "roast beef", but it was quite rare and delicious.
Second up was the local trout. This time, instead of being grilled, it had been simmered on low heat for 24 hours (!!!) in a mixture of shoyu, sugar, honey and sake. We forgot to take a photo until after we had cut into it.
Our host explained that it was now so soft that we should eat the whole thing, from tip of the snout to the end of the tail! When we did (it was delicious--almost but not quite a paste, but very rich), he seemed utterly delighted, attributing it to my having Japanese blood and Dick being intimately associated with me!
Then we had tempura veggies, with a little flower blossom made of tempura'd noodles. Yummy.
[/float] This was followed by wild mushrooms picked by a local farmer. They were roasted until tender but still firm with hot chiles. Quite delicious!
Finally,we had sweet rice with chicken bits steamed in the husk of a bamboo shoot.
Our wonderful meal was topped off by slices of fresh persimmon, a few large and luscious grapes, and a delicious homebaked fruitcake.
After dinner, we went out for a quick walk down the main street of the village, which looks much like it did several hundred years ago.
It was a magical night--so dark, but clear enough that the starts were out, and in the distance we heard drums. It felt like we were in the middle of a Kurosawa samurai movie!