Kyoto Day 1: April 11th, 2015

Kyoto Day 1: April 11th, 2015

13.5miles. I walked 13.5 miles today. My feet and legs are a bit sore but I’m planning to walk around the city today again.  This is my friends’ first time to visit Kyoto and they wanted to visit Rokuonji (Kinkakji). Not my favorite but yet still impressive. My highlight of my the day was to visit Ryoanji zen Templar for the 4th time. This is my another chapter of my life started. I’m forever grateful for that. This is cherry blossom at Ryoanji.

   

 

It’s just before 7 in the morning. Let’s see what’s waiting for me to explore in this amazing city. 

Today’s Happy Thoughts: My Favorite Things

Today’s Happy Thoughts:  My Favorite Things

I saw someone was writing what 5 thing that make her happy on her blog.  I was inspired by her and here are 5 things make me happy at this moment, 10:56am on April 7th Tue (it changes slightly & often J)

The fact that my longtime friend Rika will be joining me in Kyoto this next week for 1.5 days.  I haven’t seen her since December 2008.  She is such a caring, kind, classy and beautiful (inside and out) person.  When I was younger, I always wonder why I didn’t grow up like her.  She has my highest regards.

Going to visit Kyoto in 1.5 days.  I am not completely excited yet but it makes me happy when I think about all these food I can eat (I will pig out when I am there!) and temples I visit just spend some time with myself.

Oh my god, I can’t believe I am writing about this.  This Japanese TV show called “Dr. Koto Shinryojo” is actually making me happy?  Yes it is.  Don’t judge.  It is a great human drama.  This one young genius surgeon arrived this small little farthest West island of Japan where takes 6-hour ferry ride just to get to the main land from the huge and prestigious hospital in Tokyo.  The island has a population of only 1,500 people and they have never had an established clinic with quality medical staff and services.  He struggles hard at first because people living on that island don’t trust him.  They are very resistant and not welcoming.  Because of his never-give-up personality, chill-ness and his talent, gradually he starts to earn everyone’s trust.  I did a Dr. Koto marathon this past weekend and watched 13 episodes in 2 days.  I feel like such a loser but what can I say?  Season 2 is waiting for me when I go home tonight (crap, I will have to pack for the trip!).  Again, please do not judge.

My Ginger.  Especially when she leans over in my bed and starts to snore.  She is almost 10 years old, stubborn and independent.  She loves corn kernels and white rice.  She also farts a lot.

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Archie.  My best friend, my person and partner in crime.

I lead a very happy life.

April 4th 3.0: mkt.

April 4th 3.0: mkt.

Ethan Stowell is beloved, down to earth kind of guy.  He owns 9 restaurants and 1 pizzeria all in Seattle.  He will be opening 3 more this year.  Yes, he is beloved and down to earth kind of guy, but he is also crazy.

He is crazy about food.  He is crazy about connection and relationships between food and people who eat his food.  Most of his restaurants are intimate settings.  Some have community table and some only seat 30 people or so.  Kitchens are not hidden, usually open.  Today is April 4th and it is a special day for me.  Archie was successful not to disclose where he was taking me this last Saturday night until we were almost there.

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Here is mkt.in Meridian neighborhood near Green Lake in Seattle.  When I opened the door, first thing you see is an small and open kitchen with 5-seat counter.  Very close to people sitting next to you.  We were seated right in front of Alvin. Perfect.  I was able to see what he was cooking and how he prepares the meal.  His expression and his voice.  I was feeling his and his crew’s energy flowing through this intimate restaurant.  They use Pacific Northwest Ingredients.  Alvin puts lots of care and just right amount of Jaconsen Salt and care.  American fare without any pretentiousness.  Great balance of boldness and sensitivities.

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My favorite restaurants always have great balance of 3-pillars, chef, service crew, food.   This place has food and chef covered.  OK, service crew.  Awesome.  Seth was our crew who tended to our  table and he was so much fun, cracking jokes, laughing with us, fist-bumping us, and cursing appropriately (yes, we curse a lot).  He is one of those people you actually want to eat dinner and share a bottle of red wine with.

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I am happy to say I found another excellent Seattle eatery that I want to go back many times more.  My April 4th was fulfilled with joy.

April 4th: Love Letter to the Best Friend

April 4th: Love Letter to the Best Friend

I’m overwhelmed with happiness when I am with you. I am so madly in love with you. I wish there was a better way to say it. I am not the most eloquent when saying this but I know what I feel. When I think about you or about us, the emotion build up inside and spill out. It’s embarrassing at times but I like the feelings that I feel for you. My favorite times with you are just being near you. It could be a rainy day at home or walking through the park or a lovely dinner for the two of us or traveling to some new exciting place, it doesn’t matter I just want you near me. Forever.  I love you so much – Jeff M.  

Good Luck Veggie: Renkon (Lotus Roots)

Good Luck Veggie: Renkon (Lotus Roots)

It is a good luck vegetable so Japanese people eat Lotus Roots as part of special New Year meal.  Why is this root vegetable is good luck?  As you can see you can see holes of Renkon as photo shown below.  It is said that you can see the future.  Also, Renkon produces tons of seeds, therefore it means “productivity.”  Kind of clever, huh?

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I am fortunate enough to be able to buy Renkon at Asian market in International District so I keep it in my fridge often.  I usually simply sautée it with different kinds of seasonings each time.  Last night, I sliced it in ½-inch thick, sautéed with sesame oil (I love sesame oil by the way, so fragrant), sprinkle of salt, splash of fish sauce and dash of black vinegar.  I am very enthusiastic about black vinegar.  This is one of  several fermented seasonings that I am in love with.  Black vinegar is very smooth, malty and mellow, not stingy.  When you cook vegetables, any meat or fish, your dish ALWAYS come out complex, yet mild, rich and delicious.  If you use black vinegar when making hot and sour soup, your soup would taste divine!

Anyway, here is last night’s magic.  Black vinegar and home-shaved bonito on top of sautéed renkon.  It only takes about 10 minutes to cook.  All you need besides the renkon dish is white rice.  Savory and comforting dinner is ready.

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