|Copious pickled veg on offer in a little back alley bar off Ponto-chō|
My time at Fat Rice reemphasized what is too often a background note here in the States: the importance of texture as a player in the complex scheme of something being delicious. To re-quote a friend and believer: "There are two types of people in this world. Those who put chips in their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and those who hate life." I remember standing with Old Crazy Hair in the kitchen at Fat Rice as he sliced some tiny jellyfish, moving with his usual frenetic energy to toss them with loads of flavor via chilies and black vinegar and sesame and whatever else. He held a piece out for me to taste, and yeah, the flavoring was delicious, but what I remember the most is the texture--the snap and so-satisfying crunch these little guys had, with nothing backing up the fear of a coelenterate planet we in the States were raised with.
My time at Fat Rice also exhausted me (boo-hoo, I know, because the whole crew there and in so many other restaurants is still, and will still be doing it day in day out while some of us gallivant off to foreign lands to behave badly in karaoke bars at 3am) to the point that my palate became an absolutely plowed field, and the week between putting that last Arroz Gordo in the window and my departure to Kyoto allowed said field to rest and relax and prepare to attack some new tastes and flavors and textures. So off I went.
|Tai and Aji Sashimi, Kofu, Yamanashi|
The chef here took me horse racing the next day. Think cigarettes and paper bag booze--not tall boots and funny hats.
|Super tiny baby squid, crunchy and sweet|
|Monkfish liver torchon in ponzu sauce|