Food

Ejo #94 – Drunk In….. Lisbon

Sometimes the inspiration to write a “Drunk In…..” post hits me long after the fact, when it dawns on me that I’ve got heaps of photos of us being drunken fools in some foreign city.  Other times I just know that a city is going to be excellent “Drunk In…..” material before we even set foot in it.  Lisboans are renowned for their love of eating, drinking and staying up way past their bedtimes.  As you know kids, that’s my kinda town.

 

TIME OUT MARKET (a.k.a. MERCADO DA RIBEIRA) 

So, we got to town, dropped off our bags and hit the street.  No point dilly dallying.  We were staying right around the corner from the Mercado da Ribeira (officially known as the Time Out Market…. blech!).  The market is known as a world-class food hall but we had a fancy dinner booked that night and didn’t want to ruin our appetites.  We were, however, looking for a drink (natch!) and we also just wanted to scope the place.  It was buzzing on a Monday afternoon which is always a good sign.  We grabbed a couple of large glasses of white sangria to ease into the spirit of things and figure out our next move.

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A food hall is a great way to eat a quick bite of really good food.  Time Out Market only includes vendors that rate four or five in their reviews, ensuring the quality stays high.

 

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White sangria is the shizzle!!  Delicious and refreshing and alcoholic.

INFO:
481 Av. 24 de Julho
Sun-Wed: 1000-0000
Thurs-Sat: 1000-0200
CLICK FOR MAP

 

MANTEIGARIA

Unsurprisingly, our next move was a quick recon to find the best pastéis de nata in our ‘hood, Cais do Sodré.  You might recognise these little delights as Portuguese tarts, but don’t you dare call them that in Portugal.  You call them pastéis de nata or you just go home right now.  I have a feeling that some of you might think you know what these things taste like.  I’mma stop you right there.  You don’t know, you just think you know.  Don’t worry about it, we thought we knew, and we didn’t know.  That first bite totally blew our minds.  How on earth could something taste so good?  I’m talking next level.  I won’t tell you how many of these we had during our four days in Lisbon.  Not because I’m embarrassed.  I just lost count.  Let’s say a ludicrously large number.

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Look for this sign to enter pastry heaven.

 

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LOOK AT THEM!!!  THEY’RE STILL WARM!!!!!

 

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O.  M.  F.  G.

INFO:
Rua do Loreto 2,
0800-0000
+351 21 347 1492
CLICK FOR MAP

 

PENSÃO AMOR

Pensão Amor was one of those perfectly serendipitous discoveries that totally begets a “Drunk In…..” post.  We’d been walking around for hours and were in need of a refreshing libation (and also a toilet), when lo and behold there it was, in all its quirky glory.  A lot of cocktail bars don’t open until evening, but the great thing about Pensão Amor is that they appreciate the merits of daytime drinking and, thoughtfully, fling open their doors at 2pm. David ordered cocktails while I went in search of the loo, which ended up being a very small, candle-lit, graffiti-splattered cubicle with a very curious, but delightful, display of Barbie dolls doing unspeakable things to each other to entertain you while you do your business (I did say quirky, right?).

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David’s Pisco Punch (kinda like a Hawaiian Pisco sour – which actually really works) and my Hemingway (yeah, sometimes I can be a classy bitch).

 

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The bar has several rooms – this one is the Wild West saloon style room with a projector showing silent black and white movies of circus freak shows from the 1920s.   Quirky. 

INFO:
Rua Alecrim 19
Sun-Wed: 1400-0300
Thur-Sat: 1400-0400
+351 21 314 3399
CLICK FOR MAP

 

A CEVICHERIA

A Cevicheria is a very fashionable, very well-reviewed ceviche restaurant that doesn’t take reservations (booooo!).  What makes this place so great is that, since they’re making people wait on the street, they’ve opened up a little window on the side from which they serve delicious Pisco sours.  Yay, Pisco sours!!  And you don’t even need to be waiting for a table to get them.  You just roll on up and drink them in the street before carrying on with your business.  Have you ever heard of anything so civilised????

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The shop front, with the Pisco Bar on the right hand side. 

 

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Gotta have limes if you’re making Pisco Sours. 

 

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We’re drinking Piscos, and you’re not. 

INFO:
R. Dom Pedro V 129
1200-0000
+351 21 803 8815
CLICK FOR MAP

 

FADO

Fado is a style of Portuguese music expressive of all the melancholy and malaise the Portuguese have experienced since… well, forever.  The country may now be enjoying an upswing in fortunes and, paradoxically, so is the popularity of this mournful music.  It’s definitely a must-do if you visit Lisbon, and the best place to see it is Alfama.  This neighbourhood is all small, narrow streets and cobblestoned, winding alleys.  Ramshackle houses, cracked and peeling, tumbling onto each other, but somehow still standing.  It’s historic, it’s sorrowful and it’s beautiful.  Just like fado itself.

We’d been told by a local that we “had to go” to Clube de Fado but sadly we arrived too late on a Saturday night (and without a reservation – rookie mistake).  We walked around looking for another reputable fado joint, but they were all full.  Determined, we followed the strains of soulful crooning emanating from an outdoor tasca and made a beeline for it, scoring a table for dinner.  Unlike Clube de Fado, where only professional singers perform, tascas are more an open-mic affair, and during the course of dinner we heard two great performances and one average one.  Next time we’re in Lisbon we’ll make a point of booking a table at Clube de Fado.

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Despite missing out on a professional fado performance, we were all smiles.  Lisbon can do that to you.  Also… wine. 

 

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Even average seafood in Lisbon is good seafood.  But it wasn’t good enough to rave about.  This “Drunk In…..” gig isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, friends.  Sometimes it’s a little hit and miss, but we put in the hard yards – just for you.  You’re welcome.

INFO:
CLICK FOR MAP

 

FABRICA COFFEE ROASTERS

Good coffee is an absolute necessity for “Drunk In…..” shenanigans.  It’s always such a pleasure when we find the perfect coffee place on our travels.  And in Lisbon, that place was Fabrica.  Consistently great coffee with always friendly, smiling service.  Exactly what you need when you’re recovering from a night of revelry.

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Absolutely perfect flat whites – every time. 

INFO:
Rua das Flores 63
0900-1800
+351 21 139 29 48
CLICK FOR MAP

 

TILES BAR

There was one reservation that we’d made in Lisbon that I absolutely didn’t want to miss, and being such eager beavers we turned up half an hour before they even opened.  What to do???  Tsk tsk, if you don’t know by now, you’ll never know.  Obviously we went in search of refreshments, and found them across the street at Tiles Bar in the form of our favourite Portuguese drink, white sangria.  Unfortunately it took them 25 minutes to serve, but they did make it from scratch, and it was yummy, so we couldn’t get too mad.

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The sangria you have when you’re thirty minutes early for your lunch reservation.

INFO:
R. Palma 312
Mon-Thur: 0900-0000
Fri: 0900-0200
Sat: 1100-0200
Sun: 1100-0000
+351 21 138 4724
CLICK FOR MAP

 

CERVEJARIA RAMIRO

After knocking back our sangria, we walked across the road to Cervejaria Ramiro, which by now had a throng of people waiting outside.  We were unsure if we should wait in line or push our way to the front, so we pushed our way to the front and hailed down a waiter to tell him we had a reservation.  Thanks to google we already knew which dishes we just had to have.  Clams Bulhão Pato, tiger prawns, lobster and red river shrimp.  We also knew to leave room for their specialty dessert of prego, otherwise known as a steak sandwich.  Yup, I said steak sandwich for dessert.  Do you see now, why we had to eat here.

During the course of the meal, we became progressively drunker and fell progressively more in love with our wonderful waiter who was everything a waiter should be.  Should I ever find myself in the predicament of having to order a “final meal”, I’d ask for a long, boozy lunch at Cervejaria Ramiro with João serving me seafood until it runs out.

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This is what they bring to the table right after you sit down.  DO NOT EAT THE BREAD!!!  It’s a trap!!!!  Save it for soaking up all the crustacean juices later on.  Trust me. 

 

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Why not beer AND wine?

 

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Clams, glorious clams.  This particular style is called Bulhão Pato, after the 19th century Portuguese poet António de Bulhão Pato who was particularly fond of his shellfish cooked in garlic, white wine and coriander.  I also, am particularly fond of my shellfish cooked that way.  These are exceptionally tasty and my mouth is watering just thinking about them!!!!

 

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Drooooooooool. 

 

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We asked for more lemon.  We got a large, hot serving dish of magnificent bubbling oil, chilli, lemon and garlic.  HOW DID THEY KNOW?????!!!!

 

 

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A steak sandwich?  For dessert??  Oh hell, yes!!!!

 

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When you both fall in love with your waiter, it’s only polite to ask what his name is.  His name was João.

 

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Marry us João!!  

INFO:
Av. Almirante Reis nº1 – H
1200-0030 (Closed on Mondays)
+351 21 885 1024
CLICK FOR MAP

 

A GINJINHA

After such a phenomenal meal, it only makes sense to wrap things up with a wee digestif.  And what better digestif than local delicacy ginjinha, a very tasty liqueur made from Morello cherries, brandy, sugar and cinnamon.  And what better place to get it than the iconic A Ginjinha, which has been serving this liquid deliciousness from a hole in the wall since 1840.  I am in no way ashamed to say we came here for some fortifying ginja several times a day during our visit.  Let me tell you, there’s nothing like joining all the old dudes in flat caps supping cherry liqueur in the middle of the street at 9 o’clock in the morning to make you feel like a local.  There’s usually a bit of a line but they serve very quickly and the only thing you need to tell them is whether you want it with or without the soused cherries.  Hint: get the cherries.

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Look for this sign.  Also, be prepared to wait as there is usually a line.  Luckily for you they pour pretty, pretty, pretty damn quickly – as you can see from the video below.  

 

 

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Cheers!  Oh, and you MUST get it with the cherries.  They pack an extra little punch, if you know what I mean.  

 

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We walked 1km carrying two little cups of ginjinha to the pastry shop just so we could see how good they tasted together.  Surprise, surprise!  If ever there was a more perfect combination than Pastéis de Nata and Ginjinha, I am yet to discover it.  

INFO:
Largo São Domingos 8
0900-2200
+351 21 814 5374
CLICK FOR MAP

 

SOL E PESCA

Did you know that food in a tin is a thing now?  I’m talking about tinned seafood in particular.  Oh, it’s a thing.  Look it up.  No longer the domain of camping cuisine, seafood in a can has been elevated to gourmet status.  Naturally, the hipster restaurants followed.  And so we went to the nautically themed Sol e Pesca to check out for ourselves exactly how this new wave of preserved seafood might differ from what John West has been offering for years.  The answer is: completely different league.  The menu is brought to you attached to a fishing rod (I mentioned the hipsters, right?) and is broken up into different sections: octopus, sardines, tuna, cavala (mackerel – yum!!!), herring etc.  And then within those sections you have all the different available flavours.  Pick the ones you want (with a bit of help from the gorgeous staff, as there is no English menu) and order a jug of white sangria to pass the time while the waiter opens up your cans and presents everything nicely on a plate.  Salut!

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The menu.  

 

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The white sangria. 

 

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The tins. 

 

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The octopus (with lemon and parsley). 

 

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The sardines (with garlic and oregano).

 

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The mackerel (with chilli and thyme). 

INFO:
R. Nova do Carvalho 44
Mon-Wed: 1200-0200
Thur-Sat: 1200-0400
(Closed on Sundays)
+351 21 346 7203
CLICK FOR MAP

 

RESTAURANTE PONTO FINAL

Across the Tagus River in Cacilhas, a little known area of Lisbon, lie a number of abandoned buildings, home to numerous cats and probably a fair share of squatters.  Also in Cacilhas is the wonderfully simple, but excellent restaurant Ponto Final.  This place serves good, honest, home-style cooking.  The menu consists of mostly seafood, as you’d expect, and that’s what we came for.  We were not disappointed.  Make a reservation, or come early like we did and grab a table with a view of the water and of the city of Lisbon shimmering on the other side.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny afternoon.

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The view of Lisbon from Cacilhas.

 

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When you’re offered an aperitif in Portugal, you’d better get Madeira.

 

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A feast for the eyes, the stomach and the soul.  For real.   The simplicity of this food is actually nurturing, comforting.  The wine is pretty nurturing too.

INFO:
R. do Ginjal 72, Almada
1200-2300 (Closed on Tuesdays)
+351 21 276 0743
CLICK FOR MAP

 

Ejo #78 – Drunk In….. Kyoto

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They know what’s up.

Well, it’s official.  David and I have fallen madly and deeply in love with Japan.  Our most recent visit in April totally put a ring on it, and we’re already planning another trip early next year.  We experienced twelve days of incredible food, hospitality, sake and exploring the culturally rich and different cities of Tokyo and Kyoto.  Long time readers will recall that my very first foray into the Drunk In….. series started in Tokyo.   Even though we’ve discovered so much more in Tokyo since then, I decided to open up a whole new drunken city to you.  Sure, Kyoto is a little milder than Tokyo when it comes to debauched after-hours activities, but that doesn’t mean the city doesn’t have a wildly beating heart hidden beneath its reserved patina.  And luckily for you, we’ve done all the hard work to find a bunch of fun things to do when you’re drunk in Kyoto.

 

NOKISHITA EDIBLE GARDEN

Housed in a seriously tiny alcove in front of an office building, Nokishita Edible Garden was our first stop after arriving in town.  We took a stroll along the cherry blossom festooned river, goggling at all the gorgeous geisha clad women out and about.  And when we got there we enjoyed a very refreshing Hendricks gin and tonic for about AUD6.  In fact, we enjoyed two each.  There’s no seating (and barely enough room to stand) so this isn’t a place to linger, but it’s certainly a fun start to a night out.

INFO:

〒604-8022 Kyoto Prefecture, 京都市中京区Nakagyo Ward, Minamikurumayacho, 282
+81 7 5746 5675
0400-0000 (closed Mondays)

CLICK FOR MAP

 

 

BAR ROCKING CHAIR

It’s a bar and it has rocking chairs.  It doesn’t have an English menu but it more than makes up for that with the amazing cocktails that come out when you say “osusume”* to the bartender.  We couldn’t stay long because we had a dinner reservation to get to.  And that’s probably a good thing as the cocktails we had were so delicious (and strong) we may have ended up spending the whole night there.  We each tried a couple of different whiskey cocktails, all of them made with seasonal, local fruit.

* “you decide

INFO:

〒600-8044 京都府京都市下京区御幸町通仏光寺下る橘町434−2
+81 7 5496 8679
1700-0200 (closed Tuesdays)

CLICK FOR MAP

 

 

TORITO YAKITORI

There are two of these yakitori shops.  We’d been to the other one before so decided to give this one a try.  First off, let me tell you that it’s very difficult to find (hopefully my google map helps you).  We actually got dropped off by the taxi driver nearby and literally followed our noses to peek behind a curtain where we found the tell-tale woodpecker welcoming us in.  So, yakitori is basically grilled chicken, but let me assure you that there’s nothing basic about the flavours.  The skewers are roasted over special coals, as well as marinated in an assortment of spices and secret ingredients, to impart some pretty damn juicy flavour.  The coal is such an important part of yakitori that the origin and species of wood are usually considered as important as terroir is to wine.  We ate a lot of chicken, including wings, skin, meatballs, cartilage and thigh.  We also asked to try some of their raw chicken sashimi but they were sold out.  And yes, we were disappointed.  😉

INFO:

〒604-8144 Kyoto Prefecture, 京都市中京区Motohonenji cho, 683 烏丸 錦 東入 ル 烏丸 錦 ビル
+81 75 211 3750

CLICK FOR (APPROXIMATE) MAP

 

 

BAR CHEZ QUASIMODO

We visited this wonderful little hidden bar on our first trip to Kyoto and have been wanting to go back ever since.  The owner and bartender basically chucked in his corporate job and opened up a speakeasy in his garage, specialising in his two passions – whiskey and jazz.  The first time we visited, in 2013, I didn’t really truly appreciate either of these things.  In the three years since, I have developed a passion of my own for both so I totally loved this bar.  We spent far longer than we should have, just trying new whiskies (neat, of course) and listening to some amazing music and feeling like the cat that got the milk in terms of being the only non-Japanese in the bar for the whole night.  This one is a favourite.

INFO:

Takakura Dori, Nijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku
+81 75 231 2488
Mon-Sat: 1800-0000

CLICK FOR MAP

 

 

DRIP & DROP COFFEE

Every good drinking city needs a good coffee joint for those mornings after.  Before our trip I compiled a list of third wave coffee places to try (something I do before every holiday) but we just happened upon Drip & Drop by accident and then never ventured from it – the coffee was that good.

INFO:

604-8074 京都市中京区富小路通三条下ル朝倉町531
ピースホステル三条 B1F,  +81 75 231 7222

1100-2200

CLICK FOR MAP

 

 

RAMEN SEN NO KAZE

So the sign outside this ramen place proudly claims that they are number one, not just in Kyoto but the world.  Bold.  The problem with making such claims is that there are just so many damn good ramen places in Kyoto (and even better ones in Tokyo, sorry RSNK).  But this one is definitely worth trying.  We arrived about 20 minutes before opening time to find ten people already queued up.  Unfortunately for us, this tiny little shop only has ten bar stools.  But fortunately for us, we were shown to a special little two seater table in the front window where we promptly ordered some beers (ain’t no better drink to have with ramen).  It was nice to have our own little table, but I must admit I’m a sucker for sitting at the bar where you can see all the action in the kitchen.  The ramen here is spicy and filling and absolutely delicious.  Perfect drinking food.

INFO:

らーめん千の風京都, 中京区中之町580, 京都市 京都府 604-8042
1200-2200 (closed Mondays)

CLICK FOR MAP

 

 

GION KINANA ICE-CREAM

The specialty at this ice-cream store is soy bean ice-cream.  Doesn’t sound very nice, but oh my lord, it’s very nice indeed.  The shop serves other flavours too, including green tea, black sesame, black sugar syrup, mugwort and sweet red bean.  These are all very traditional Japanese flavours, but hey, you’re in Japan (and they’re all delicious).  But my favourite is the basic soy-bean flavour, known as kinako, which is also the only flavour they serve freshly made (as opposed to frozen).  The fresh stuff is called dekitate and it is TO DIE FOR.  It is the smoothest, creamiest ice-cream I’ve ever had and luckily for us they serve it at the counter for when their upstairs restaurant is full (I’m not sure why, but you aren’t allowed to take the ice-cream away, you must eat it all in the shop).  When we visited it was a weekend, and the place was absolutely jam-packed upstairs, and downstairs too, with people waiting for a table.  But we got to skip the line and eat our dekitate kinako at the bar while everyone else had to wait.  Suckers!!!  The next time we went (oh yes, we went again – and again) we made sure it was a weekday and we didn’t have to wait at all.  Yum, yum, yum!!!!

INFO:

Higashiyama-ku, Gion-machi Minami-gawa 570-119
+81 75 525 8300
1100-1830

CLICK FOR MAP

 

 

NO NAME SMOOTHIE BAR

Sometimes the life of a Drunk In….. blogger isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  After lunch one day we went in search of a bar (any bar) to while away a few hours before dinner (OK, it actually is a pretty good life).  Sadly for us we just couldn’t find one.  Giving up, we decided to go home and chill out instead (where we knew that there was a bottle of whiskey with our names on it).  Walking home we happened upon a cute little house with pictures of drinks out the front.  Thinking that we had stumbled upon a bar after all, we got quite excited and prepared to enter.  But then I realised that the photos were of smoothies and fruity teas.  Deflated, we started walking away.  But then it hit us, why the hell not have a smoothie!!?  Why not indeed.  We knocked on the door and were greeted and welcomed (albeit with some surprise) into the home of a lovely little Japanese lady wearing a homely apron around her waist.  We took off our shoes and were led through her living room, which was set up as a juice bar, and into the tatami room beyond – the room reserved for esteemed guests!  Eeeek!!  We bowed as she retreated and sat down on our heels and just looked at each other and giggled.  Not a word had been exchanged between us and the lady and we were wondering what she thought we were doing there.  Not to worry, before long she reappeared with a menu (thank goodness it was one with photos) and we each selected a delicious looking drink which we could hear her whipping up with a blender in the other room.  It was kind of weird to be sitting in someone’s TV room with pictures of her kids on the mantle and completely unable to communicate.  But weird in a very fucking cool way.  I was really glad that we took a chance on that smoothie because not only was it delicious, it was an absolutely lovely experience.  And I think she thought so too.

CLICK FOR (APPROXIMATE) MAP

 

 

TEA CEREMONY EN

So, it’s not all about drinking and eating on our vacations.  We like to squeeze a little bit of culture in there from time to time and in Kyoto we did that with a private tea ceremony.  Now this experience was just awesome.  So much better and more fun than I’d expected (and definitely more than David expected).  It’s something I would recommend to everyone visiting Kyoto because it gives you an insight into a ritual that is fast disappearing.  The kids of today aren’t really interested in learning about it, so sadly, one day it might be lost for good.  I hope not because it’s something that is steeped in history and culture and ceremony and it’s a wonderful way to connect with people through structured conversation.  The 45 minute ceremony began with the host explaining the reason for the ritualistic aspects of the ceremony (including the utensils used) and then moved onto the four principles of every ceremony which are purity, respect, harmony and tranquility.  It’s super fascinating to discover that every single element of the ceremony, from the movements of the host, to the wood that is used to make the tea spoon represents something, means something.  In a world where meaning has been replaced by convenience, it was really nice to experience something meaningful.

INFO:

〒605-0063 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Matsubaracho, 272
+81 80 3782 2706

CLICK FOR MAP

 

 

MAN SA GAMA (POTTERY EXPERIENCE)      

So it’s springtime in Kyoto.  Which means that there are shitloads of stunning cherry blossoms to be seen everywhere.  But nowhere are there more to be seen than on the 2km long Philosopher’s Path.  This is an absolutely stunning walk (and the thousands of other people who were there that day obviously agreed).  Yes, it is tourist-ridden.  But it’s a must-do in Kyoto.  Another must-do?  Making your own cup at Mansagama Pottery, a little shop about half way through the walk.  When we saw dozens of little cups and bowls lining the shelves inside the shop we asked if we could buy them and were told they weren’t for sale.  But!!!  But, we could make our own!!!!  How exciting.  The whole process from jumping with glee at the prospect of getting my “Ghost” on, to washing my hands at the end took only 20 minutes.  We had them shipped to Australia so I still haven’t seen them but I’m super excited to have my own little cup (with my name etched on the bottom in Kanji).

INFO:

606-8404 Kyoto, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto Jodojishita Minamida-cho, 148
+81 75 751 8199
1100-1800 (irregular)

CLICK FOR MAP

 

 

NO NAME FRIED CHICKEN STAND

OK, so you’re thinking pottery, philosophy, blah blah blah.  Where’s all the drinking and eating?  Of course as we meandered down the Philosopher’s Path I was on the lookout for a little izakaya in which to quench our thirst – but to no avail.  Plenty of teahouses; not much in the way of sake houses.  But lo and behold, just when I was giving up all hope I looked across the canal to see a little handmade stand announcing that there was fried chicken and beer to be had.  I got mad excited, not so much for the beer or fried chicken but because this place was just fucking amazing.  A little lady had decided to set up shop on one of the most touristic routes in the country.  Brilliant!!!  She’d set up an esky with cold brews and she cooked the chicken fresh to order.  And it was delicious.  I just instantly fall in love with places like this.  I can’t guarantee that she’ll be there if you go visit, but if she is you must drop in.  Say hi from us.

CLICK FOR MAP OF PHILOSOPHER’S PATH – you’ll have to find the chicken stand yourself, but I’d say it’s about 3/4 of the way down if you’re heading south.

 

GYOZA CHAO CHAO

The final stop on our Drunk In….. tour of Kyoto was Gyoza Chao Chao.  We had been hankering for gyoza (fried Japanese dumplings) from Day One, but had yet to find some.  On our last night I took to the internet to find “best gyoza in Kyoto” – hey, when you’re desperate, you go there.  And Gyoza Chao Chao came up.  So off we went to wait in line for about an hour in the chilly evening air.  Luckily we’d already had a few drinks so we didn’t feel the cold, or the time, too acutely.  And before we knew it we were summoned into the shop where, upon entering, the entire room shouted and cheered us in, as though we were old friends they’d been waiting for, for hours.  There’s something to be said for such a warm welcome.  It set a friendly, relaxed and fun tone for the meal ahead.  And what a meal it was.  We ordered about five serves of gyoza and devoured them as if we hadn’t eaten food in over a week.  They were delicious.  So much so we decided to also try their steamed dumplings.  I ALWAYS put on weight when we go to Japan and this is the reason why, but it’s totally, totally worth it.

INFO:

餃々 三条木屋町店
中京区木屋町三条下ル石屋町117
+81 75 251 0056
M-F: 1700-late, S-S: 1400-late

CLICK FOR MAP

Ejo #63 – Drunk In….. Tokyo

I’m often asked for recommendations on places to eat and drink in foreign cities. I’d go so far as to say that I’m actually a great person to ask for recommendations. Why? Because I’m a helluva researcher. That’s why! When David and I plan to visit a new city, I start googling weeks, if not months, before. Hey, I never said I had a life! It’s actually something I really enjoy doing, and it helps fill my days. So to give you an idea of the amount of research I do, I start by googling, for instance, “best ramen tokyo”. Usually what comes up are lists – blogger lists, magazine article lists etc. And even though they might agree on one or two places, there’s usually a large range of places considered “best ramen tokyo”. A typical search yields about ten ramen joints. So how do I know that bloggers like seriouseats or ladyironchef enjoy the same kind of ramen that I do? Well, I don’t. I don’t know these people from a bar of soap. We could have wildly different tastes, so while I’m happy to check out their recommendations further, I need to do some more research on my own. I then go on to read (on average) five or six more articles/blogs on that particular place (times ten) and then narrow it down to one or two that I’d like us to visit.

It’s, shall we say, time consuming.

But aren’t you lucky?!! I’ve decided to publish a new series called Drunk In….. in which I make my recommendations for awesome little places around the world that you might otherwise miss (because you’re not as anal as I am). And I’m going to start with Tokyo which we’ve just recently visited. I’m not going to include fancy, high-end restaurants (though there might be the occasional fancy bar). The purpose of this series is to clue you in on where to get great food or great drinks when you’re out and about enjoying a new city. Of course one of the best things about being on holiday is the spontaneous discovery – and I always leave room for those. Some of the best experiences we’ve had are in places we just drunkenly stumbled upon. Kampai!!

FUKU YAKITORI
Most yakitori places are a little rough around the edges – after all it’s basically barbecue food (though it feels blasphemous to even make that comparison). Fuku is a slightly classier affair (and even better, a non-smoking affair, a rarity in Tokyo). The chef expertly grills skewers of various parts of… READ MORE

ROKURINSHA TOKYO
This is no regular noodle joint. First of all it’s located in the basement of Tokyo Station in a section called Tokyo Ramen Street (and it’s not really easy to find – go to an information booth to get detailed directions). Secondly, they don’t serve regular ramen. This place specialises in… READ MORE

NO NAME TEPPENYAKI
We literally stumbled upon this place our first night in Tokyo (it was about ten metres from our apartment). It doesn’t have a sign in English so I have no idea what it’s called, but the food and hospitality are so good we… READ MORE

NAGI GOLDEN GAI
So, more ramen. But different ramen. The Golden Gai branch of Nagi Ramen is a second-storey, ten-seat restaurant about the size of your… READ MORE

BAR TRAM & BAR TRENCH
These two incredible bars are run by the Small Axe group, and if you are serious about your cocktails, you will most definitely want to make a stop at either (or both) bars. We, of course, in the name of research, went to both. The focus in both places is on… READ MORE

GOLDEN GAI
Golden Gai is a small city block (I make it out about 60m x 80m) in Shinjuku, Tokyo that should have been condemned and knocked down about 80 years ago. Within that area there are about 200 tiny little bars each with a capacity of just… READ MORE