April 25, 2007

The Grand Finale

Amazing liquid nitrogen frozen dessert, cinnamon apple taste and of course Yamamoto-san's chocolate bar code. You can't help but smile while you eat it!! Please excuse the poor quality of these ryugin shots but the light was not good and I was in a feeding frenzy too.

A Fitting End

An elegant take on the traditional rice, pickles and soup. The rice is mixed with anago and stuffed squid, the pickles are asparagus, and the miso soup is made with smoky katsuo dashi and a slightly tart red miso from Chef Yamamoto's home island of Shikoku. Soul Food da zoooooooo!!!

Not a Towel

Good for chuckle though, this "towel" is made of cotton candy!!! with a strawberry inside. Another wonderful surprise at Ryugin.

Ryugin Uni Chawan Mushi

A rich egg custard with a luscious taste of sea urchin roe hidden inside, topped with yolk of onsen tamago--soft boiled egg yolk--seriously delicious

Ryugin Ebi Shinjo

Is there an ebi shinjo craze going on in Tokyo? Seen a lot of it around lately. But Ryugin's version of the shrimp meatball is deep. The taste is rich and the soup is clean and pure. UMAIIIIIIII!!!

2007 James Beard Cookbook Award Nominee

Kaiseki: The exquisite cuisine of ... Kikunoi, has been nominated for a 2007 James Beard foundation award for best food photography (for books published in 2006). I am so proud to be the editor of this book. It is gorgeous and informative and some of the recipes can actually be recreated in your kitchen. The photographer is the prodigiously talented Masashi Kuma. If he wins he may have trouble getting his enormous head through these tiny Japanese doorways, but it's a risk we have to take. If you are a cook or lover of beautiful photography and you open this book it is unlikely that you will be able to escape without buying a copy ... who would have thought raw fish could be so beautiful? Here is a link to a review by Mariko Kato who seems to have actually read the book and understood what I was trying to do. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fb20070401a1.html

April 24, 2007

Cyan UB

The Zanabazar Museum in Ulaan Baatar is home to some stunning masterpieces of Buddhist sculpture, but the exterior is pretty striking as well. Hmm this is turning into a photo blog, don't worry more food is coming soon. photo taken on Fuji Superia 400 with 1936 Zeiss Ikon Contax II camera and a 1978 Jupiter 12 35mm Soviet lens.

April 19, 2007

Going Home

Was headed home the other night, waiting for my train when I looked down and saw this picture happening, pulled out my neglected digi-cam and caught it. Love my film cameras but I always seem to get results with my trusty and obsolete Panasonic Lumix FZ5.

April 18, 2007

Zeiss Contameter

The Contameter is a set of 3 clip on close up lenses that allow a photographer to get in closer than the normal 1 meter length for a the 5cm lens. It takes some trial and error but once I get it figured out it could be interesting. The shots were taken with the contameter on a 1936 uncoated zeiss jena 5cm f.2 lens and a Soviet Kiev 4AM camera.

April 10, 2007

Ryugin 2 Amadai

Don't have much time to write about this now, but here is a perfect piece of amadai or tile fish. It has had hot oil poured over it and the scales are crisp and completely edible, it has also been grilled over charcoal for an added smoky deliciousness. The cork is a piece of gobo root that has been branded and the fish design has been silkscreened on the plate in squid ink and miso. Once again a wildly inventive presentation, but at heart a perfect piece of fish, carefully prepared makes the dish.

April 7, 2007

Quick Hors d'Oeuvres

Toasted baguette with smoked Tenerife cheese, Iberico ham and quince paste

French bread cut into 6mm thick slices

Smoked Tenerife goat cheese

Iberico Spanish cured ham slices

Quince paste

Olive oil

Lightly toast as many slices of French bread as you want. Sprinkle a little olive oil on the toasted bread. Top with the ham and a few thin slices of Tenerife goat cheese and a small piece of quince paste. Melt the cheese under the broiler and serve immediately.

Tomato Water Bread (right)

2 Tomatoes

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 garlic clove finely chopped

1 tsp of sherry vinegar

1/2 tsp chopped Italian parsley


Fresh ground pepper

Slice tomatoes in half and scoop out all the seeds into a strainer set in a bowl (reserve tomatoes for another use). Push the seeds and pulp around the strainer with a spoon to extract all the juice. Add vinegar and salt to the tomato water, then whisk in the olive oil and garlic. Sprinkle in parsley and spoon over slices of a good French crusty loaf. This also makes a beautiful sauce for Sea Scallops or any kind of fish.

April 5, 2007

Seiji Yamamoto--He Da Man

Twenty-Five Vegetables is a plate I can't get out of my mind, A "Rites of Spring" on porcelain. A symphonically complex dish with notes of smoked bonito and clean, clear tastes of herbs like kinome and lemongrass. Each of the 25 vegetables had a depth of flavor that is not easily forgotten. The man behind the plate is Seiji Yamamoto of Ryugin, in Roppongi, Tokyo. I could say a lot about this unassuming star chef, but for now I'll just distill it to the essential: "He Da Man." I want to add that I am not a man of means, and I ate at Ryugin on my own dime, (about 200 bucks worth of dimes) it was worth every single yen. More reports to follow as thoughts about this place percolate through my brain.

April 3, 2007

Ebisu Izakaya

Been spending a lot of time in izakaya (Japanese pubs) lately. This one called Horiyoi is a good little neighborhood joint with very fresh fish. Photo taken with Contax T and Fuji Neopan 400.

April 2, 2007


Just a taste of the high plains

Tokyo Public Nudity

But nobody seems to notice. Caught with a Contax IIa and Zeiss Opton Sonnar 5mm f1.5 on TriX

Tokyo International Forum

Such a lovely space captured on film with the mighty Contax T

Here is a recipe that first appeared in my newspaper column in Japan

Carpaccio of tai with daidai infused olive oil (serves 4).

1 180g fillet of tai or other white fleshed fish

1 daidai, a kind of sour Japanese citrus fruit looks like an orange

2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt as needed.

Fresh ground white pepper

With a vegetable peeler, take 4 strips of peel from the daidai, making sure you don’t get any of the white pith. Using a sharp knife, slice the peel into a very fine julienne. Put the julienned peel into a ramekin of other small container and add olive oil, let sit for at least 4 hours to infuse the oil. Sprinkle the fish with salt and let it rest for 30 mins. Slice fish into very thin slices with a sashimi knife or other very sharp knife and arrange on 4 plates. Slice the daidai in half and squeeze 1 Tbsp of juice into a small mixing bowl, add a good pinch of salt and mix in the olive oil with a whisk. Spoon over the fish slices and garnish each plate with a few strips of the daidai peel julienne. Note: if you can’t get a daidai don’t despair, you can substitute a lemon or a lime and a splash of orange juice.


Sit down and have a virtual glass of sunshine from the south of France at La Cantinetta. Ando san is the cantinero of this very cool wine bar for adults in southeast Tokyo. Shot on Fuji Neopan 1600 with a tiny Contax T rangefinder camera.