Thursday, February 4, 2010

Japan: Kyoto Part 3

Every restaurant, fast food, and even convenient stores offers sanitary wipes with your food, even in Starbucks. Kyoto has a lot of Starbucks serving the large population of tourists and local gaijin. In fact, it was dubbed "the gaijin central" by the locals. The drink menu is pretty much the same, but Japan's Starbucks carries more savory food items and the disgusting sandwiches are replaced by delicious buns and sausage rolls. Like anywhere else in Japan, the washroom is immaculate, equipped with high tech toilet, seat warmer, bidet (separate buttons for the back and the front), and speakers (playing the sound of waterfall or running water with adjustable volume). The trash bins have strict instruction as to what you can and cannot put in each one: plastic, pepper, glass, and organic.

We were about a week and half into our trip at this point and getting pretty good at sniffing out tourist traps. We did not try any of the price gaugers in the geisha district and were eating cheap from convenient stores and ramen shops. Occasionally, we would be lured into unmarked alley (like this one in the picture) hoping it would end with a restaurant. This one indeed lead to some sort of food place, but it was closed and there was no sign. Our guess was a private invite-only restaurant similar to geisha houses. Neat eh?

We went back to What Is Beef again with Phil, breaking our don't-repeat-restaurant rule. With the help of Phil's irresistible charm and sleek tongue, the waiters gave us the information on each dish and the story behind the beef. He also introduced us to a hand-crafted dessert. It was warm red bean mochi with agave syrup and peanut powder. It had similar texture as jelly with more doughiness while the agave and peanut worked magic on my tongue. We got incredibly drunk, again. Hard not to when alcohol was this good and this cheap.

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