Monday, August 1, 2011

The BIG Six One

Today was a rather simple day, but a special one as it was Mom's birthday and also the joint celebration of Yoko's birthday which is in early August. I woke up early after a small earthquake in the early morning (!) and so decided to take a walk in the mountains and stopped by the convenience store and bought some fruit to make a fruit salad.
I bought some Kiwis from New Zealand that are yellow, compared to our green ones, a bunch of small grapes that came clustered so closely on a vine that the bunch seemed like a fruit in itself, and a giant peach of the type that we've seen being sold all over Japan. I sliced it all up and then entertained myself by arranging it all on 5 little plates, and needless to say, it was a nice start to mom's birthday.
After a slow morning we took the series of trains back to Tokyo and then made a quick, but awesome visit to the Tokyo Sword Museum, home to hundreds of beautifully crafted ancient and modern Samurai swords, and then we headed home for the party that was being thrown for Mom and Yoko's birthdays.
And boy, does this family know how to entertain. There was food and drink aplenty, and i strayed from my usual sake and went with shochu and lemon, the Japanese answer to vodka, but more mild in flavor and somehow water-like.
As for the food we started with fresh edamame and then a marinated eggplant salad with garlic and a tofu, scallion and fish cake salad with sesame dressing. There was also Vietnamese style chicken and pork croquettes, skewered on sprigs of lemongrass and a plate of fresh veggies and dip. Next came out what turned out to be the best chicken wings I've ever had, coated in a sweet and spicy ginger sauce that were crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and did I mention that they were the best I ever had?

And finally, came the "main" course which was a stew of pork, carrots, and mushroom in a tomato-chili broth served over couscous, that, though not exactly Japanese, was good all the same.
For dessert we had a fruit tart, the kind with the glazed fruit over custard in a pastry shell, but by then the shochu had done its job and I forgot to take a picture...

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