Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beef, It's What's For Dinner

This day started out rough. Dad's feet haven't fared well with all the walking, and some seriously ghastly blisters made a trip to the public clinic necessary. Thankfully they patched the poor guy up and he's keeping in high spirits, especially when you feed him pastries for breakfast. I continue to indulge my love for red beans and bought another red bean roll, this one something akin to a pillowy-soft dinner roll filled with the sweet bean paste, that I enjoyed along with the largest and most beautiful banana I have ever seen that came individually wrapped in it's very own shiny wrapper and golden twisty-tie...
Next, we let the injured warrior rest up in the hotel for the day while we toured Osaka. First we went to a woodblock print museum which was, in my oppinion, one of the coolest things seen so far, housing elaborate prints of scenes from Kabuki plays. Next we went to Tenjin Temple, which dates from the 500s and climbed the pagoda there, and then had enough time to walk through the grounds of the relativley new Osaka Castle which was rebuilt after being completley destroyed in heavy bombing during WWII.
And then it was off to Kobe for, you guessed it, BEEF! And oh my friend, beef there was.
We went to a restaurant where we were again spoiled with our very own tatami room and kimonoed waitress/cook/helper/drink pourer. I of course ordered Sake, which our friendly and observant woman was more than happy to refill continuously, leading me to polish off three bottles of the stuff, which I choose to blame totally on her... but at least there was plenty of food to soak it up.
First off was an "appetizer" of seared beef which was eaten with a tangy soy jelly and also pieces of beef cooked on individual hibachis with onions and peppers and cabbage. Now, friends, let me stop here and tell you that, without exageration, this is hands down the BEST beef that I have, and probably ever will have, had. It is deeply flavorful, unimaginably tender, and being so intricatley marbled with fat, melts in your mouth like butter. Like beef butter...
Next came the main entree, called Shabu-Shabu. The beef came out, beautifully aranged on a huge platter with a tag attesting to its authenticity, as if we had any doubts after the appetizer.
With Shabu-Shabu, you (or your kimono woman) dip the beef in a pot of boiling seaweed water to your desired doneness (about 1 second) and then you dip it in one of two sauces; sweet soy or sesame. Repeat this process for cabbage, mushrooms, onions, chrysanthemum leaves, tofu, then beef again, than all that stuff again, then beef again, and more of that stuff, and then more beef and more beef, and you've got yourself a meal.
Lastly, I want to remind you that yes, the stories are true, this is the best beef you will ever have!

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