Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wednesday- Ginzan Onsen

;out  the window wednesday

I was up again at four, writing and editing pictures, And when Tim woke up, we figured it out. We could sleep till about 3 on the mats, until you wake up, and think, I'm not really comfortable. I managed to soldier through, tossing and turning until I got up at 4, and Tim just kept fighting the good fight to try to get some sleep.  I managed to get another hour at about five thirty, and then it was six thirty and time to get up and meet the day before heading down to the hot springs.

When we got back from the hot springs refreshed, I had actually been able to wrangle my hair into something that didn't look like I had plugged myself into a light socket,  we got dressed for the day and headed down to breakfast.
Breakfast Tray

The breakfasts are so good. It's not just that there's a lot of food, (because there is. A. Lot. Of. Food.  It's that the variety and progression of the food works so well. We had small portions of noodles with seaweed, steamed greens, grapefruit wedges,  Seaweed with beans, and pickled vegetables, along with steamed fish and cabbage with a ginger broth,  Fish and gingered pickle, Miso soup, rice, and a cherry flavored jelly-like gel.  We hung out in the room for awhile in the morning, listening to music and reading books. I finished Kitchen Confidential, which Tim brought (I definitely did not bring enough books this trip)  and we took some more pictures of our view.

We headed back into the village for lunch, and went to the Currybread place- where I got the sandwich that I got yesterday (YUM) and coffee, and Tim got a soup with vegetables and pork and noodles that he was happliy slurping away at.  (not really. Tim does not like to slurp. But he was enjoying it!)
blue sky!

When we were done with lunch, we came out of the shop, and miracle of miracles! the sun was out! and we could see blue sky! We didn't hesitate taking a bunch of pictures of the blue sky, the town, each other, and heading back to the hotel so that we could see what the view outside our window looks like with blue sky behind it. It turns out, it looks pretty amazing.

Blue Sky mountain

Back in the room, we listened to more music, and played cards and generally hung out and had fun.

I am guessing for the third night dinner, they pull out all the stops, because it was CRAZY AWESOME.

(An aside: the way that they serve dinner is not an -everybody gets the same dinner thing. From what we could tell, Everyone gets the same dinner on the first night they are there, and the second, and so forth. So we would see people who had come in the same night as us, who were on the same meal, but we also saw people who had just gotten there, who were having the meal that we had on the first night)

So onto dinner:  We started out with a shot of sweet sake, which was my favorite of the three nights- it was fruity and smooth.

After that was a cold dish of green beans and some kind of vegetable that I couldn't identify, but it was excellent. Next was pickled veggies with a pickled cherry (....interesting)
Some kind of mild pickled something

The composed plate was next, with a container of greens and noodle bits with seaweed.  Then a shell with a sweet and savory mussel mixture baked into it. Onion with bean paste on the end,  a toothpick with three natto beans on the end, that were starchy and tasty. Then a shrimp bite, and the last bite was very similar to the custard from the night before- when you bit down on it, the sweet custard filled your mouth. I could have eaten ten of them.
under the paper 5 dishes

After that was sushi- wonderful, fresh, amazing sushi. There were four kinds, an orange fish (maybe salmon?)  a white fish, a Langoustine, and another white fish. With the amazing wasabi and soy sauce. The sushi I've had here has definitely been the best I've ever had in my life. Creamy, and sweet, insanely fresh, and cut so that it melts in your mouth.  I think I will miss this sushi the most about my trip.

Best Beef stew EVER
And then there was the beef stew. It came in a small porcelain tureen with a lid, Tim lifted his lid off, smelled it, put the lid back on, and looked at me. I couldn't quite decode what his look meant, so I took the lid off of mine, and was hit with one of the most heavenly smells of my life. Inside the tureen was beef stew, with a carrot and a potato. The beef was so tender- so flavorful- the fat had melted and become one with the meat, so each bite that I brought to my mouth with my chopsticks was so tender it did not really require chewing. Bite after bite, Tim and I were silent, shaking our heads at each other, unable to believe how completely awesome it was. I know that I use the word awesome a lot- I am, after all, a child of the 90's. But this dish was awe-inspiring.  We could have ended the meal right there and been sated. I wanted to to into the kitchen and beg the chef for the recipe. (Not that he would have known what the hell I was saying)   Even now, at six am the next morning, when I'm writing this, I could go for a bowl of that beef stew.

We took a beat to compose ourselves, and then fell onto the king crab legs, which were steaming hot from the kitchen, sweet, with a huge amount of meat on them. Each time I thought i had gotten it all, i would put my crab utensil in, and was able to get more of the delicious meat out.
King Crab legs

After that, our soup, that our waitress had lit underneath when we arrived at the table was hot- a soup with onion, and beef, a light broth that was pretty complex.

It was at this point that I could not imagine eating anything else. The sake was getting to me a little, and when the watiress came with our next dish, I had a moment of "no! I cannot eat any more!"  but then she laid down the tempura.  Seaweed, a flower of some kind, Shrimp, and mushroom tempura. with a little container on the side of something salty to dip them in. The tempura was impossibly light and flavorful.

The next soup was a kind of custard tasting, savory soup with a thin cut vegetable that we couldn't quite identify- Tim thought it might have been onion or bamboo, but we are still puzzled. It was rich and creamy and delicious.

We had our rice,  and then the dessert, which was a lime/kiwi custard that was firm and melted easily on the tongue.

Impossibly full, we went back to the room, gathered our coats, resisted the urge to lie down on our beds and be one with the floor, and headed outside to see Ginzan Onsen at night.   It was still clear, and we could see some stars peeking out from behind clouds, as we headed down.  I monkied around with my camera a little to get the right settings for taking pictures at night, and then we headed into the town, taking pictures of the beautiful lights at night.

Red bridge

Night 10

When we were done, we walked back to the ryokan, and after watching a few minutes of an episode of the West Wing, I was asleep.
Picture of the room

1 comment:

  1. You are so epically cool! I just read all of your Japan entries on Google Reader. Wow Val, just wow! I can't wait to hear more about it!