Eating in Rabat Part 2: A Muddy Medina, Couscous, and More Baby Tagines…

2-3 February 2017

After another frustrating early morning not being able to figure out what to do — thanks to the nearly non-functional Wifi — I ended up heading out a little later than planned. I just wandered around the Medina and to the crazier parts of it. It is a madhouse at times, with stray cats clawing at a person cleaning fish and old ladies clawing at hucks of greying tripe that even flies don’t go near. And how many damn shoe stores do you need in one town, not to mention one small block of the Medina?

And because it had been raining, the place was a muddy mess…especially that street with all the live produce and fresh butchering…

After awhile I had about enough and sought out a much-liked restaurant near the south-east corner of the Medina called Dar Zaki. I got there just as it opened and the very friendly proprietor led me to my table. I relaxed and soon ordered. Being in the Medina, this lunch is going to be booze-free, and that’s just fine by me.

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I relaxed and just sipped on water for a bit before my starter arrived, the briouat stuffed with kefta. It was a little bland to be honest, but cooked well. And was hearty, so that’s fine — knowing the main was going to be tasty and big. I chilled and drank more water before it arrived, and I began drooling…

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I’m usually not a great fan of couscous, partly because so many people screw up its prep. This place is well known for this dish, and it did not disappoint. The sauce (jus) was just brilliant, I wish there was more as the thirsty couscous drank it up quickly. The veggies were excellent, the veal was totally soft and delicious. An excellent dish, and good size too.

Some other diners had come in and this family-run place was starting to come alive this lunchtime. I asked for some mint tea and orange with cinnamon, and after a bit it arrived.

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A nice dessert for me, as it was not too sweet but added just the perfect touch to a good lunch. I thanked the proprietor and headed out. A nice lunch. Now the challenge was to fight through some busy alleys in the Medina to get back to my hotel. Got a few things to do for my departure tomorrow…

I spent part of the afternoon sorting out logistics of getting back to New York and what I need to do there during my short stay before heading home. Also needed to sort out some stuff for the short stop in Madrid coming up. Not easy with a failing wifi, but I got it done.

I wandered out early into the Medina again for dinner. It was more of a rainy mess and a lot of the dirt in the Medina had already turned into mud, which made for a total mess to be honest. But eventually I got to my dinner destination, a place people rave about online called Dar El Medina.

The dining choices in Rabat is limited, so there’s only so much you can trust research. I didn’t feel like going too far, and I seem to get the grasp of this small Medina pretty well, so this was a good choice. I chilled and ordered, having to change something that wasn’t available… Soon came the opener.

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A simple salad. Hmmm… Nothing very special here, then the main…

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Huh? That’s it? No wonder it’s so dirt cheap, there’s almost nothing here. I hate empty filling potato-derived items… I was nowhere near full and the prices were dirt cheap, and they weren’t closing for another half hour, so I ordered another main. I didn’t imagine something of a similar price would be so, so different…

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Wow. Trida au poulet, and the portion was huge. Trida is a type of wheat pasta that’s eaten in the east of the country, and this was nice — although a bit baked to death near the edges. But very tasty, with plenty of chicken and veggies. But the portion nearly killed me…

I didn’t have any dessert, I just saundered back to my hotel with the rest of my water, full beyond comprehension… I was thinking of taking some wine, but nah…I’m done. I just need to get some rest. I’m exhausted from this trip. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Drained…

Another bad sleep but I didn’t care — I was ready to get out of here. I should have gone somewhere out of town yesterday like Meknes or even Casablanca, but oh well. I was ready to get out of this death-trap and managed to get my luggage to the ground floor without killing myself — though I did bang my head…

I headed out into the Medina for a final lunch and lo and behold, where I went, Dinarjat, was shut. Great. Not wanting to waste time exploring as the airline told me not to go to the airport too late, I decided to go back to Dar Rbatia — where I had my first meal in Rabat.

I relaxed in the side room and ordered, but told them I need to finish by a certain time due to my flight, so that’s that. I chilled and again, my table was graced with those cute baby tagines I didn’t manage to find for sale anywhere in the Medina for some reason…

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Another set of good salads, and terribly addictive. I pretty much emptied them with a good helping of bread. All this before my main arrived.

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This seafood pastilla was okay, but nowhere as good as the chicken on the first day. Very big and filled with seafood and vermicelli, it was indeed filling — which is what I needed since I won’t be eating until late tonight in Madrid. I chilled a little before they brought out my dessert — and mint tea at the same time, knowing my clock issues.

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A rather boring fruit dessert, but still better than the sweet pastilla the other day. I finished it off and paid my bill, not waiting for the change as the main dining room was lousy with a Chinese tour group, so I got the hell out of there. Got back to my hotel and was off to the airport.

Well, Rabat, it’s been interesting…off to MAD-ness…

Dar Zaki
23 Rue Moulay Brahim

Dar El Medina
3 Rue Benjelloune

Dar Rbatia
6 Rue Farane Khachane
Rabat, Morocco

PS: Well, Royal Air Maroc told me to go 3 hours before my flight due to enhanced security. Huh? I got there 2.5 hours before and no one was ready, not even security… Rushed for no reason…

Eating in Rabat Part 1: Camel, Rosé and Baby Tagines…

31 January – 1 February 2017

I quickly adjusted to being in North Africa and if my room was not so weird and hazardous I would have given myself time to mourn the loss of someone very dear to me earlier in the day. The lunch at Antica Boheme in Rome helped, but the horrible wait and flight really put my head in a tailspin…

I needed some food, and definitely no booze.I don’t want to fall into that spiral here in Rabat this first night, and the way my room is laid out I would fall and die if I drank, so… I headed out into the Medina and really, this is one of the most orderly, brightly-lit medinas I’ve ever seen. I found easily the place I was looking for, a restaurant named Dar Rbatia.

It’s a family-run place but it sure doesn’t look like it with the fancy interior. Cozy, and a very low-flame indoor heating lamp that I happily sat away from. They only have set menus as it is a small, family-run place, so I ordered from it and relaxed with a big ol’ bottle of still water. No booze tonight… I relaxed and tried to not think too much. Then soon my series of starters arrived, and it’s a colourful display certainly.

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These baby tagines had various salads in them, from eggplant and pepper to chickpeas, as well as some cauliflower and carrots. With bread, this was a nice way to start to enjoy each of them. I remembered, thank goodness, the thing about left hand eating, so didn’t get stared at… Good stuff! Then they brought out some varied briouat for me too…

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The chicken was nice, the cheese one was just pure joy, and the beef and spinach one was very nice too. Then the main dish arrived, chicken.

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Wonderful aroma, lovely sauce. May not look like much but this was a joy in a tagine. The sauce, still sizzling was graced by endless amounts of giblets that crusted near the bottom, which added to my enjoyment as an offal eater. The chicken was ridiculously tender and juicy, putting almost any chicken place in North America to total shame. Damn this was so juicy… I destroyed this plate and all of the salad and was a full and happy boy at this point.

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The dessert, the sweet pastilla, was a bit of a disappointment as it was hard to eat and seemed to be overdone. Anyway, otherwise this was a fantastic meal, and not too expensive at about 25 euro.

I thanked them for the excellent evening and I grabbed my water (there was still a litre left in the bottle!) and walked back to my hotel. Finally, some privacy and a dark room, and I could spend a little time mourning. A terribly sad day had finally come to an end…

It was a rough night, but I also managed to catch up on some sleep and sleep in a little in the morning. I felt drained and empty, and what was intolerable pain seems a little less this morning — unfortunately transforming from internal to external. I headed out for a long walk around Rabat, and of course a long-dormant plantar fasciitis problem returns at the worst time…

I walked it off as best as I could, and went towards the Oudayas and just hung out at the overlook to the beach below. I just relaxed, trying to avoid the hoardes of Chinese tourists that were so annoying I wanted to slap one of them. I ended up just watching some kids play football on an improvised pitch on the beach. Top skills for these youngsters, the dream is still burning in each and every one of them. But really, perhaps a metaphor for the national side, they need to work on their defense as there were so many dodgy plays that ended up gifting goals…

I walked over to the Hassan Tower and Mohamad V’s Mausoleum and kept walking. I went to where I was planning to have lunch — just to see it shuttered. Oh well, no info online about it shutting down… So I walked another 20 minutes in the other direction to where I had planned to go tomorrow, Tajine Wa Tanjia.

This place near the train station seems to have some dishes that are harder to find, so I was happy to check it out. I was the only customer as this was the priciest place on this street next to the train station. The slow-moving elderly server was friendly but whenever I didn’t go with his recommendation he seemed to move even slower. My French is awful, especially when it’s strewn with local terms, so that took ages to figure out what to order. But then I did and also decided to have some wine.

I relaxed and they brought the wine. A cheap but wonderful locally-produced rosé. What a great find, crispy and smooth, easy to drink and tasty. My goodness I can imagine this becoming a huge sorority hit in the US… In any case, I enjoyed this as they also brought out some soup and nice spicy olives.

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Enjoyed all this slowly before the starter arrived, the pastilla with seafood. Rather good, stuffed with vermicelli and all sorts of chopped seafood. Nice and tasty, a good start. Worked so well with this rosé as well…

Not soon after I see this terracotta urn, or a tanjia, brought out — it’s my main. The server demonstratively punches a hole in the sealed top and pours out the contents into a dish…and it’s still heavily sizzling…

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This is a traditional camel stew with a wonderful base that just begs for lots of bread to mop up. The camel was very good, with different types of chunks that featured the meat, a little fatty bits, and even some tendon that worked beautifully stewed. Solid dish, and it was indeed soaked up by a lot of bread.

And for those of you wondering? Yes, it tastes like pork. Nearly everyone I know who have accidentally eaten pork in this part of the world have told me it tasted like camel…

That was nice. I had a bit more wine so I ordered a dessert. They were out of my first choice, so I went with the cheese-filled briouat. I could hear it frying up in the kitchen and it soon arrived…

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Nice, not too sweet the cheese inside. Though I couldn’t really taste any caramel that the menu promised. Not bad, and I’m totally full. I thanked them and settled up and headed out.

I was stuffed and it was hot outside, 21c…ugh… By the time I walked back to my hotel in about 20 minutes of my usual fast pace I was soaked in sweat…and once again stared at by everyone (who were all wearing coats)…

A frustrating afternoon trying to sort out some trip logistics and other unexpected surprises that arrived via email, problems compounded by a really crappy wifi at my ryad. Not impressed by this place at all. Friendly is one thing, but when your room is a death trap, with failing wifi and people outside able to watch you in the shower? No. This place, L’Alcazar, I cannot recommend…

I headed out just as the entire city seemed to be out on their evening stroll. My goodness, the amount of people walking slower than snails all arm-linked makes Italy look like a bunch of zipping cats… It was a disaster fighting through the people through the Medina, and throw in a few idiots on motorbikes fighting with elderly ladies pulling full carts and it just turns into human gridlock…

By the time I got near the train station I was drained…not physically, but mentally. I really don’t have the mental patience to deal with places like this for more than 2 days, and I was gonna be here for 3 — to be honest, at least 1 too long… I should have kept my stay here at 2 days…too late now.

I got to Le Petit Beur, my dinner destination. I sat down and chilled out and fought the menu a bit as the French was a bit more challenging here since the dishes were more intricate. And of course the blackboard specials, which ironically was easy to read…

I ordered and needed to unwind, so unwisely I ordered a whole bottle of rosé. Another nice local one, though not as good as the one at lunch. I chilled until the first item arrived, and my heart sank…

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This is supposed to be cream of beans and peas, but all I see is an oil slick with something coagulated on the bottom. This was pretty disgusting to be honest… I didn’t get through much of it, since thank goodness my starter also arrived.

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Now these briouat were quite excennet, filled with all sorts of goodies featuring prawns. Very tasty, which gave me a perfect excuse to abandon that awful “soup” to the side. Really nice. After a bit they cleared all of it, realising that I was not touching the soup again.

I kept at the wine and the place was filling up a bit. Seems popular with the French ex-pat community here… But then my main arrived, the lamb tagine with pear.

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This was one of the chalkboard specials so I had hoped for a lot. It was tasty, good with bread, but there was almost no meat on the lamb itself. That was too bad. I guess the bread is how you fill yourself up. But the sauce was excellent, no doubt about that.

Since I had more wine left I stupidly ordered a dessert — the milk pastilla. I’ve not had good ones since I arrived (any dessert pastillas) and guess what?

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That didn’t change. Not good. Tasteless, stuff all over the place, filling barely showed up. Oh well. Gave me time to finish my wine and prepare for the trek back. I thanked the staff and headed out.

Walk back was far more manageable now it was a bit later, but still enough roadblocks to make it a living video game. And of course, the wifi was still barely working when I got back. How lovely… I need to just collapse — without dying in this hazardous room…

Dar Rbatia
6 Rue Farane Khachane

Tajine Wa Tanjia
9 Rue Baghdad

Le Petit Beur
8 Rue Damas
Rabat, Morocco

Review: Antica Boheme

31 January 2017

I barely slept for some reason, I was just feeling odd. I got up at about 0430 without an alarm not sure why, because I had planned to get up at about 0600. Oh well. I dressed and packed and headed out at about 0600 towards the Vatican. Got there early to beat the crowd, and to get some pre-sunrise photos.

I got there just before 0630 and there was this eerie feeling as birds started to squawk like mad and circle the place. I looked at the clouds and it looked ominous and foreboding…and I shuddered for a second. Like a bad feeling passed over me… I headed in and watched the other people sprint towards John Paul II’s tomb — before the security yelled at them to leave as it was reserved for private mass. I just wandered around the nearly abandoned place…really, have you ever seen St Peter’s Basilica so empty?

It felt like it was my private tour. My goodness, at times there was not a single soul in sight, not even security. Not even the Pope has this few people around… But the entire time I had a strange feeling. I waited until they opened the grotto, which was closed until 0900 due to a private mass. I headed down and they had cordoned off a good part of it, so I was disappointed and headed out. And I see the massive crowd outside…geez folks, just wake up a little earlier and skip breakfast!

I headed back to my hotel and then I saw the horrific news, that someone truly dear to me had died this morning — within minutes of me taking that photo. It’s like I sensed something horrible, and I was right indeed… This just destroyed me…I sat for an hour like a rock, just not moving…

But I had to check out, so I did at midday. I walked to a nearby restaurant called Antica Boheme, and was the first to arrive as they opened. Again, the server warmed up once he realised I was speaking Italian happily. And the service was just spot on from that point on. I ordered and went with only a half bottle of house red, because I know I could lose control very easily, and I have to head to Ciampino Airport after this for a flight to Morocco…

amatriciana

After a little bit my pasta arrived, and finally I go for the amatriciana. Excellent, they do it with gusto here indeed. And of course, perfect pasta. Lovely stuff. Simple but when done perfectly, it’s worth its weight in gold. Lovely. I drained a bit more of that wine and asked for a second… I still can’t get over the price of these house wines, almost cheaper than water…

I tried not to think about this morning and thank goodness the mobile signal was so poor down below in the dining room I didn’t read stuff online about his passing, which was spreading quickly. Then the second came, a seafood mixed grill.

misto

Lovely stuff, from a beautiful slice of salmonette to juicy, brainy prawns. I always loved this dish since my first trip to Italy in the early 90s, enjoying the different approaches to it they would have in Venezia, Genova, Napoli, Palermo, and stupid me even Aosta! This was excellent.

I went with a typical fruit salad to finish the lunch off and my wine, and took down a grappa to close. Enjoyed this very much, saved me from a breakdown actually. I felt human still… As I left, my server walked me out and shook my hand. Now when was the last time you had this? I do have a weird rapport with Italians, especially restaurant folks…

I re-entered the dark world, back to my hotel, and sat stoically in my cab to Ciampino, the long wait, the 3-hour miserable flight to Rabat, and the ride to my ryad…and kept it as together as I could. I can mourn when I have a private moment…

Antica Boheme
Via Napoli 4
Roma, Italia

Review #2: Sakagura

20 January 2017

I had a quiet day in NYC, having arrived yesterday. I did not want to be in DC for the Inauguration of Drumpf, so I escaped to NYC early before my flight on Saturday to Madrid. But on Inauguration Day I was so depressed I needed a good night, so I headed to a place I infrequently go — because I could get addicted — Sakagura.

Sakagura is an izakaya in a non-descript office building’s basement, so it reminds me of Tokyo already. I’ve been here quietly a few times since my first visit a few years back, and have completely changed my tone on sake… And as usual, I took a bar seat and chilled. I’m glad I got a walk-in as there was a queue already before it opened (as there is always).

I ordered some sake and a plethora of dishes and chilled. One great thing about Sakagura is that you’re in the basement, so no signal. Meaning I don’t have to read the awful news coming from DC…a peaceful oasis for awhile… Then the food began arriving to complement my sake. First up, mentaiko

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Delicious and condusive to more drinking! Then some boiled tako (octopus) with fresh, real wasabi…

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Oh I so love fresh wasabi, eating it like a snack! Then some of my favourites, shishamo!

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Oh these are so good, they were stuffed to the gill with eggs…so perfect!

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Then ika shiokara, squid in its own liver sauce, another common Japanese dish to induce drinking. Lovely set! I enjoyed some more drinking before I ordered a second set of dishes. Took a bit longer to come out, but was worth waiting for.

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First was some very nice cold kisu (shillago), a fish you almost never see outside of Japan. Lovely flavours here in a salad format. Then some more shishamo!

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I can eat these things all night! And then some amaebi shutouae — prawns cured in a bonito liver sauce — which prompted more drinking!

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And then finally, some uni in tamago…

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This was not too good, tho the tamago was excellent. Prob was there was no eel in half of the pieces… Oh well. I carried on drinking until much later, chatting with other disgruntled folks about the elections… I ended up having a final few drinks and one more order of shishamo before I headed out. A fabulous time, as always…

The rest of the night was a bit of a blur, but so is my beloved country at this point… I fear for the future…

Sakagura
211 East 43rd Street
New York, New York

Review: Chim Sáo

14 December 2016

I made my way to Vietnam the following day, happy to have escaped Hong Kong (for now). Not long during the trek into the city, I had to re-adjust so many things mentally — especially the concept of traffic. Now being a veteran of il Mezzogiorno I’m not too freaked about out-of-control motorbike traffic, but with a combination of jetlag and being in a new country, I needed a little time to acclimatise.

I didn’t want to do much that afternoon except get my bearings, and to figure out dinner plans. I was staying south of the Old Quarter, where most visitors tend to be. However, I honestly do not want to be around stupid backpackers who bitch and moan about everything; I don’t mind spending a few bob more to be comfortable.

But being a bit further south, staying at the rather excellent Hilton Garden Inn (highly recommended, with excellent friendly staff — thank you for the upgrade too!), means a bit more walking involved, which doesn’t really bother me since I like to walk. I just hope the weather doesn’t heat up too much tho…

I decided to stay south of the Old Quarter for dinner this evening, choosing a place I had heard about before called Chim Sáo. I made my way there, crossing several of those completely chaotic wide lanes — and a signal-less 5-road star junction. Fun times. After the second one you get used to it, so if anything what was more of a concern was dodgy pavement and the always-possible ankle-twisting defects…

I made it to Chim Sáo in one piece and had a table near the back of the main hall. Many people seem to like the upstairs, which you sit on the floor, but frankly my back really doesn’t like those things these days. I’m happy with a proper table. They brought me out a salad-y amuse…mmm…welcome in Vietnam indeed!

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Delicious. If anything, the next few days in Vietnam I felt like a bunny as I constantly just nibbled at all the wonderful fresh raw herbs available…

I ordered a plethora of dishes, being hungry as I’ve not eaten since that frustrating dinner at Yan Toh Heen in Hong Kong. But first up, some mountain apple wine…

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A bit too sweet for me, but it had a good enough bite to keep me going. Just love the shape of the container tho! Then the food began arriving, starting with some sausage.

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These are made in the style by those living in the mountains. Nice snack for drinking certainly. Then the series of dishes arrived. First was a mis-order, fried glutinous rice…

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I thought it was something else, but this did its job. Nothing special on their own, but works with other goodies, such as these sauteed eel…

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Mmmm, excellent. Different take from last night’s roasted sweet version, but a nice savoury, lightly-spicy version with lots of herbs. And finally, some grilled water buffalo.

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Excellent if simple flavours here, just to enjoy the lean and tasty meat. Quite a nice opening dinner here in Hanoi I must say. I finished the jug of wine just in time and thanked the proprietors and made my way back to my hotel.

This was 10 times better experience than last night in Hong Kong — and 10 times less expensive.

Traffic was lighter but the darkness actually made it more challenging for me (due again to the pavement), but again, I got my bearings quickly and frankly I had no issues for my entire 4-day stay in Hanoi. This should be a good first visit to somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for many, many years.

Good to be in Hanoi!

Chim Sáo
65-67 Ngõ Huế
Hai Bà Trưng
Hà Nội, Việt Nam

My Fave Japanese Duo in NYC

27 November 2016

I was still stuffed from Thanksgiving week, where at home I roasted a nice chicken and duck for the stressful week. I had to deal with an unplanned move and things were at a crunch. And to throw into the mix, I had to run to NYC for something unexpected and unpleasant…

I was on the 6am flight to NYC on Saturday morning where some moo cow cut in line and proceeded to blame me for complaining…I hate idiotic, self-centred people, even more at 6am before coffee. Whatever. I spent several hours hiking in Brooklyn at one of the best places to do it, Green-Wood Cemetery, enjoying not just the peaceful environment but taking in some seasonal sights like this.

That night I went back to my old haunt downstairs from my old apartment and re-lived a bit of what used to be my normal life. Good to see so many old drinking buddies. But time marches on, and it was a sad reminder of what used to be the best times of my life. How I miss those days…

The next day, with a raging hangover, I met an old friend and his family for a nice brunch. But that evening I had something else planned. With only 2 days and a ridiculously stressful morning coming up before I take a train to Philadelphia, I wanted to get all my old fixes in. So I came up with this “Japanese duo” thing and decided to do something dumb.

I was gonna have 2 dinners.

Yeah. I am gonna have one at 5pm, and another at 9pm. And an ugly night of drinking excess after that. And I’m gonna re-live my past for a night, just to escape to a happier time… So that started near my hotel at one of my regular haunts in the East Side, Yakiniku Gen.

Ever since I stumbled in here one late night by mistake I’ve dropped in here very frequently for late-nite offal and BBQ. Amazing quality stuff here, from wagyu beef to raw tripe, I love this place. They even joked that this was earlier than they usually see me!

With the “double” dinner coming up I knew I had to limit my ordering, so I did. With a beer in hand, I chilled out. Most people would appreciate the heat from the grill, but I always through it was too hot — and a great way to get me to drink more.

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Then the first snack appeared, octopus. A nice start, very tasty. Love the freshness of the chopped octopus with the wasabi, which was not very strong tho.

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Next up was one of the usual things I have here, sen-mai. Lovely to get good tripe like this, always loved this simple dish here. By then the grill got hot enough and the garlic was starting to cook nicely…

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Then the meats arrived. We went on a journey from rib fingers…

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…to flap…

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…then tongue…

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Excellent, all with their own special qualities, which is why I chose them so deliberately. Excellent meal. But knowing I have a “second dinner” coming later on, I called it a day and thanked the always gracious and friendly host here who always makes time for me. I know I’ll be back whenever I’m in NYC again.

I headed out and took a breather back at the hotel. After all, it was just about 6pm and my “next” dinner wasn’t to start until 9pm at least… With an anticipated heavy drinking session afterwards, I need this fortification by food…

So after a bit I headed down to the East Village, my former haunt, and got to one of my all-time favourite haunts — Hakata Tonton. Always loved coming here, despite the utter difficulty in getting a space. It’s been a long time since I’ve been tho since I moved away from NYC… I got a counter space, which was always nice, and chilled.

To be honest service was a bit confused at first, but I put my order in. And eventually I got my sake… In any case, as I enjoyed the light drinking the first item arrived — some grilled mentaiko.

mentaiko

Perfect drinking snack, I love these things. Not as good as karasumi, but they do a great job. Then next up, the whelk sashimi.

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Now unfortunately these didn’t taste that great. Very flimsy compared to usual. Perhaps it’s the Sunday curse here. Then came the best dish of the night, the charsiu duck.

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These were fabulous, lovely flavours and texture. This is a newish dish I’ve not had before, and it worked perfectly! Then the next one was something I really looked forward to, motsu.

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Sadly this didn’t work that well. Motsu is great in a hot pot, or even better fried (like they usually do it here). But this is a boiled version cold. At the beginning it was good, but within minutes the fatty chitlins basically coagulated. And you’re eating cold fat most of the night. This is not a good way to serve this dish…

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Anyway, the last bits came next, the gyoza, as good as it usually is. I was beyond full at this point and called it a day. It took awhile to get the bill as the service was more chaotic than usual. I headed out very full, generally happy. Not as stellar as usual, but…

I needed all this fortification as I walked back to 8th Street, past what used to be my restaurant, and into our former de-stressing place, the 8th Street Wine Celler. And as usual, a lot of good chat, a crap load of wine into the night, and that’s all I’ll say about this final night in NYC…

For a few hours it felt like those days again, the best times of my life…just for a few hours…

Yakiniku Gen
250 East 52nd Street

Hakata Tonton
61 Grove Street
New York, New York

Review #2: Black Market

17 November 2016

My mini-trip to the region is over, and I’m just glad I’m headed home. I so need to wind down from the craziness and idiocy of the past few weeks… No better place to unwind the night before than at one of the best restaurants in the US, the amazing Black Market in Indianapolis.

My last meal here was amazing, one of the best ones of the year. I was hoping for another good one as I got there early. I had a cocktail by the fabulous and stunning bartender who made me some amazing drinks last year as I put in my order. So easy to relax here. In fact I actually considered moving to Indianapolis just because of this place! And didn’t take long before the first item arrived…

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Wow, this was an amazing tongue. You know they are real tongue lovers in that it is not rendered so soft it’s mushy, it retained all the needed texture without it being difficult to eat. Real tongue masters in that kitchen! Excellent, one of the best tongue dishes of the year, easily! More drinks and the next dish arrives.

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I apologise to my fellow bunny lovers, but this is indeed rabbit. The gravy is just glorious here, worked wonders with those dumplings. A fabulous dish, with some very strong flavours. Probably the best rabbit dish of the year! Then finally, the pork cheeks…

3-pork-cheek

Not totally sold by the crepe, but the root vegetables added to the dish so well. The cheeks were so soft and tasty, I could eat several more orders of this dish! Amazing stuff.

This dinner has more than equalled the previous one, so it’s gonna be hard to rate which is better! Fabulous stuff. I couldn’t say no to wee dessert…

4-dessert

This just closed off the meal perfectly. That gelato is just creamy and dreamy… I finished my drink and sadly had to run. Next time I am definitely taking the bus here and allocating many more hours! Sucks to have a time-table, but I had to run. But look at this bar…

bar

I’ll be back, Black Market, I’ll be back. Home in the morning…

Black Market
922 Massachusetts Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana