Last night I attended a shochu (an increasingly popular Japanese liqour) tasting at Koan Tokyo in Shinjuku hosted by Christopher Pellegrini. I contributed to his Kickstarter project for his English language book, The Shochu Handbook, which I received a free copy of for my support of his project. (I have started reading it and have gotten four chapters into it-there are 10-and have found it to be very informative). I have had an interest in shochu for several years and enjoy visiting Kyushu, which is the main region for production of shochu. Christopher started by having us do a blind tasting of two types of shochu and take notes. He then did a reveal and talked about the two types of shochu: A:Tomi no houzan (imo [sweet potato]) and B: Hakuten houzan (a different variety of imo shochu from the same company). After that there was a trivia contest where he gave out some prizes for answering shochu-related questions.
I have heard good things about Tonki, a tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet) restaurant in Meguro. I guess I thought I had seen it all living near another legendary tonkatsu shop, Maisen, when I lived in Harajuku. But I decided to check it out since it is at the next station over from Ebisu, Meguro, and it was sublime. They only do two types of tonkatsu: rōsu (fatty pork) or hire (lean).
I went with the hire (lean) teishokua (dinner set with oshinko (pickles), miso soup, and rice. recommended.
My first visit to the newest addition to the Mercer cafe empire, M House, located on the hillside down from Garden Place. Eggs benedict and steak and eggs. There are two eggs benedict optiosn that are two pairings of different toppings. A new luxury brunch choice.
Jin Din Rou has a new shop on the East side near Burger Mania. The lunch special was udon mabo (dofu) with a choice of shumai or sholonpro (soup dumplings) for ¥1000. Not spicy enough and didn't warm up the noodles enough. Good shumai though.
I had read about Zoshigaya in some histories of Tokyo I've read recently. But I had never been to the neighborhood that is one kilometer from Ikebukuro. My first stop was Zoshigaya Cemetery, where several well known cultural and historical figures are at rest.
This is th egrave of writer Kafu Nagai. I was planning on visitng the grave of Natsumi Soseki as well, but got lost and was too tired and hot to go back and find it. I might go back on a cooler day and find it.
El Pato is an American style restaurant and bar in Koenji. Their burger is mighty fine, but it might be second best burger joint in Koenji-see Fatz's Burgers. However, they do have two types of Shiga Kogen craft beer (one of my favorite Japanese beer makers) on tap and outdoor seating.
Today's appetizers, four in total, were included in the tan tan men set, which was a bargain at ¥1200.
A small bowl of soup also accompanied the meal. There was a choice of four styles of tan tan men. I chose the first, which was unusual in that there was very little soup, but was very flavorful nonetheless.