John made a reservation for us at Caputo's Tipica for our a-couple-days-late anniversary dinner on Thursday.
Our reservation was at 9pm. It was still bright outside.
There it was.
We were led to a table right outside the restaurant, on the patio.
Looking out onto the patio.
An appetizer was brought out while we were deciding.
July menu. EVERYTHING sounded great!
We decided to order two items from each main menu section(!) to share. Ahh!
First the salads:
Shaved pecorino fulvi, dried peaches, basil moscatel vinaigrette. Oh my. My mom would never believe this, but I'd saying, "this salad is sooooo yummy."
Roasted Marrow Bone.
Pickled beef tongue, frisee, lemon-truffle vinaigrette, grilled baguette. Roasted bone marrow on toasted baguette = OMG yumminess. I have to admit we didn't finish the greens on this one... got to save room for more entrees.
For the pasta:
Arugula-Tarragon Pesto Bucatini.
... with edible flowers and 3-year-aged parmagiano reggiano. So rich and creamy. And to John - I was right about the temperature!
Piedmontese Beef and Porcini Ragout.
... with roasemary wheat pappardelle. Meaty rich and delicious!
And you thought we were done? Not quite. We ordered some more.
While waiting I took some photos. I really liked the lamp above my head.
And someone was being silly.
The sun went down. It was quiet and cool. I loved it!
We were sipping the wine our lovely server lady suggested, talking, and laughing. Good life.
And then the risotto came:
We were getting full at this point, but I MUST have the risotto!
Rich Seafood an Baby Tomato Carnaroli Risotto.
... with seared tuna, bergomot aioli. This was probably THE BEST risotto I had ever had. Enough said. I had about 95% of it (and "shared" the 5% with John,) as John told chef Adam.
Slide Ridge Pioneer Onion Vialone nano Risotto.
... I was totally occupied with the seafood risotto, but I did taste this dish, and it reminded me of some Taiwanese cooking... very comforting and delicious.
Another shot of the lamp above my head. I really like it.
And then of course there was dessert!
Pastry with figs.
... topped with rosemary(?) whipped cream. A very "grown-up" and delicious dessert.
To simply sum it up: The food was GREAT. The service was SPOT-ON. Chef Adam was AMAZING. It was AWESOME.
The officer guided us through a couple large gates (while instructing us to push "17 ando 18" on the English voice guide.
And then we saw this:
The officer quickly told us what the building was, but we really had no clue...
And then we saw a huge group of people, and an official Imperial Palace tour guide. Apparently the whole group was waiting for us!? We were a little embarrassed, but the people smiled and said hi. *blush*
Off we went with the group to see the whole Imperial Palace ground.
I think some government officials actually work in here.
The whole Imperial Palace ground was divided into different sections with huge stone walls and trees.
OK, so I don't really remember everything I heard on the English audio or from the tour guide, but I did enjoy the beautiful scenery and the people!
I love these rain guides.
The "Pine Cone." I believe the Royal family meets people on the belcony.
Looking toward the "outside."
A place the visitors couldn't get too closed to. We looked at it on a bridge.
Big lamps on the bridge. They were huge!
I wonder if anyone lives in there.
Whoever is in there should have a great view of the city.
I wonder if the members of the Royal Family are the only people who can go into these awesome buildings.
About a month before we took off to Tokyo I applied to the Imperial Palace and requested a tour through here.
We followed the instructions and applied for the tour at 1:30pm that day. (Two tours available that day: 10am and 1:30pm. I knew well I woulnd't make the 10am tour.)
Took train to the Otemacho Station.
There were a LOT of exits at Otemacho Station... Actually there were a LOT of exits for the Imperial Palace... We picked one that seems the closes to the Imperial Palace entrnce, and off we went.
We estimated the time we needed and saw the outside of the Imperial Palace not long after we stepped out of the train station.
But we couldn't find the Kikyomon Gate, which was the gate we had to meet the tour guide. We asked a few business people that walked by, and no one knew where exactly it was.
It was past 1:30 and we almost gave up. The Imperal Palace ground was huge! We then walked along the outskirt of the Palace ground... and finally saw this:
We ran and ran toward the gate. A police officer waved and greeted us. We pulled out the tour permit that we printed out, along with our passports, to show another officer (while apologizing for arriving late.) She immediately got on the phone with somebody, and then instructed us to wait for a little bit.
We waited by this gate. The officer didn't say much more. I was afraid they wouldn't even let us in since we were late.
After a few minutes another officer walked toward us from the other side of the gate. He greeted us and the other officers. The other officers said a lot of things to him (that I had no clue what about) and then "introduced" us to him. He took over the permits, handed us a couple of headphone radio sets, and gestured to us to follow him!
We were so grateful when he guided us through the gate and a couple of heavy metal doors into the Imperial palace ground.
Oden was one of my favorite late night snacks in Japan.
We usually get the oden at the convenience stores. There were times when we saw tiny little traditional oden shops where offwork salarymen eat oden, drink, talk, and laugh. I've never tried oden in these places. I wonder the oden would taste completely different than the convenience store kind?
Maybe next time we are in Japan we'd try one of the tiny little oden shops.
After the wet night at Daikanyama, John and I went back to the hotel, cleaned up, and watched funny Japanese TV shows for a while.
Then we got hungry after midnight(!) John remembered reading about a yakiniku (Japanese way of Korean-style barbeque) place that's not too far from the hotel. I checked it out online and learned that Yakiniku Joan was open until 5 in the morning... so off we went!
We walked through the Ikebukuro Station and exit from the East gate. We followed the map I drew (off its website) and found the restaurant!
Inside the restaurant there were still quite a few customers. I guess everyone wanted late night yakiniku. Yakiniku Joan offers three levels of "courses," where you choose from different menus, and it's an all-you-can-eat style. You order some items, finish them, and then order more.
I don't remember which course we chose... I'm thinking it was the top course. The meats and choices were great.
We didn't know which parts of beef we liked, so we chose a few different ones to start with.
And yes, we just pointed at the ones we would like to try. They were all really good!
After trying out the different kinds of beef, we sort of knew what we liked, and then we ordered a few rounds of different super yummy beef. There's a button on the table, and if you need the server you can get his attention by pushing the button (similar to the flight attendant button thingy on the plane.)
Some delicious fatty beef... they did shrink down after you grill them, though, since a lot of the fat will drip away...
I didn't take a picture of everything we got, but all I remember now was, "ahhh. Those were so yummy!"
There was also salad (with yummy dressing.)
And cold tofu with delicious sauces.
Many side dishes for people to choose from. The couple at the table next to ours were having rice, pickles, and other stuff. John and I each got a small bowl of rice... and then we just ate a bunch of yummy beef.