I have never had apple juice that tastes as good as this from Nagano, Japan. It tastes like biting into a fresh apple, without the effort, of course. I drank a whole bottle in one day because it was so amazing.
They also make a Fuji apple sake that tastes like fresh apples, but with an alcoholic kick. Yum..
Skilled in hand forging blades, craftsmen produce knife blades employing Edo Era tools at Takefu Knife Village in Eichizen, an area in Fukui Prefecture in west central Honshu Island. The Takefu smiths produce world class quality kitchen knives by hand and travel the world instructing gourmet chefs on the appropriate use of the wide variety of blades they craft.
Today’s Takefu knife makers benefit from the history of Eichizen blade production that stretches back 700 years. As legend has it, in 1337, a master swordsmith from Kyoto, Kuniyasu Chiyozuru, discovered water suitable in the forging of blades and settled near Takefu. He and his successors smithed Eichizen blades for farmers to use in harvesting grains and for Samurai warriors to wield in protecting their shogun lords.
In the past blade smiths forged the blades by hand. They beat the heated steel with a hammer, laminating iron and steel into a blank that is light and tough and with a keen edge. Today, the Takefu smiths grasp the white hot blanks with tongs and operate electrically powered hammers to pound the metal.
After we helped staff put handles on finished knife blades, we got to help finish our knives. Our tour of the foundry included instruction on the proper way to sharpen the finished kitchen knife blade so that it would cut paper. We came away with a kitchen knife that passed the paper slicing test and, we found to our delight, also sliced and diced veggies in our own kitchen.
What aspects of a knife do you find important? Do you think it would feel different to slice vegetables with a knife you had helped make?
All my friends have been wondering “where are the market pictures?” Well here they are. This is the retail market ( as opposed to the wholesale fish market that is more famous and is moving soon.) I’ll add an occasional caption, but the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy a quick walk through the market. This is a small fraction of the sites. It is huge!
Albuquerque has spectacular views from its extremely safe Sandia tramway. According to the tramway, “it ascends from a base elevationof 6,559 feet (1,999 m) to a topelevationof 10,378 feet (3,163 m).”
Afterwards, we stopped for food and drinks at the delightful Sandiago Grill at the base of the tram. In addition to fabulous views from inside and outside seating, their menu offerings have been jazzed up. The prices seemed a little higher than the last time I was there but are reasonable for the quality. My fish tacos were delicious. Unfortunately, this picture was taken after I’d messed up their plating. Forgive me, I was hungry!
As you might imagine, our noodles weren’t done as quickly or as evenly as the instructor’s. It was a easy-sounding process in theory: lean the knife into the dough, cut, repeat. In reality, not so easy.
The soup can be served hot or cold. In this case it was cold. While I much prefer it hot, cold soba soup and eels are considered cooling dishes for hot days.
Several world class beer labels call Japan home, including Sapporo and Kirin.
The image below is the headquarters of a third, Asahi.
The tall gold building represents a glass of beer with its (blue?) foaming head The shorter one to its right purports to be a mug of beer topped by a Flame d’Or, symbolizing the burning heart of Asahi beer. Some jaded Tokyoites refer to it in more earthy terms.
Anonymous draft beer is also served, and local craft beer, such as offered by this pub in Matsumoto. One brand in Kyoto prints labels with the face of a famous historical figure.