Source: Japan Cheapo
Exploring Kanazawa is a feat of cycling, strolling and sightseeing, so you’re certain to work up an appetite. Luckily enough, the city has a practical buffet of delicous options, including black miso ramen, roll-your-own sushi, homemade pasta and incredible burgers, to name a few.
For ramen in Yoyogi, Isoji (麺恋処 いそじ) claims first place. The ramen portions are generous and feature extra chewy, homemade noodles made with tapioca flour.
What to Order
Isoji serves “Chukasoba”, Miso Ramen, Tsukemen, and Miso Tsukemen. Order the chukasoba if it’s your first time.
Chukasoba normally refers to old-school soy sauce ramen. But the chukasoba at Isoji is an updated interpretation.
The chukasoba soup is pork bones, chicken bones, and niboshi fish. The soup reminds a little bit of Ikebukuro ramen shop Uchi (now closed). But the broth isn’t nearly as thick or heavy as it was there.
Despite being more watery, the soup at Isoji is still scrumptious. Yes, I used the word scrumptious. There’s a hint of yuzu citrus, and this helps balance out meaty richness. T
The homemade noodles are uniquely made with tapioca flour and are super chewy. The bamboo shoot toppings are also extra chewy. Isoji is generous with portions. The standard is 210 grams of noodles. Upgrading to 315 grams is free.
No. 1 Ramen in Yoyogi
Yoyogi is a quaint residential neighborhood. It’s just one stop from Shinjuku, but without the crazy crowds and overall madness there. You can expect a quiet meal at Isoji.
They’re popular at lunch, but …continue reading
It may seem too good to be true, but natural wine is very much the magical “Jesus juice” we all hope to find when it comes to fun drinking without the concern of a hangover the next morning. Not sure why? Read on, but be warned — you’ll get naturally (and pleasantly) dizzy.
What is “natural wine”?
Natural wine, also known as “unadulterated wine,” is made up of organic grapes in a process that uses minimal chemical and technological manipulation. Unlike organic wine, which usually just means, “made of organic grapes,” natural wine goes beyond the grape, ensuring an entirely organic process from start to finish, also using minimal sulfates.
One of the first major adopters of the movement, Japan has had an obsession with natural wine since the ’90s. It wasn’t until 2000 that natural wine peaked in France, and if it weren’t for Japan drinking 75 percent of it by then, many of those small French wineries would have shut down.
Still today, natural wine is not (yet) well known in many countries. On a recent trip to Los Angeles, a waiter actually scoffed at me when I asked if they had any natural wine available, sarcastically assuring me “there’s no such thing.” Fair enough, there is no one official certification process or legal definition for deeming wine all-natural, which makes things more complicated, but for those who know it, they know that it’s very much different from “regular” wine.
What makes it so drinkable?
There’s a funk to natural wine that makes me tingle with warmth inside. There’s an earthiness to it — a flavor that only …continue reading
This trendy ramen and tsukemen shop is outfitted with a “research laboratory” in the back where the chefs experiment with innovative techniques and combinations of ingredients. Some notable results include Mensho’s richly flavored lamb tonkotsu tsukemen and their lamb-based soupless mazemen.
The latter consists of thick noodles sprinkled with scallions, cilantro and strips of nori, sitting atop a heavy, deliciously meaty sludge that you stir up from the bottom of the bowl. The overall seasoning is on the peppery side, and you can add various condiments from the counter to fine-tune the flavors.
In addition to counter seating there are several tables to accommodate groups. The interior is fancier than average, with an attractive dried-fish chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The well-lit laboratory kitchen at the back of the shop, visible through a plate-glass window, adds some personality to the shop’s decor even when the staff aren’t in there fiddling with new recipes. …continue reading
Run by Kiuchi Brewery, the sake brewer behind the popular Hitachino Nest beer brand, this dining bar is devoted to craft spirits, craft beers and premium beef and pork from Ibaraki Prefecture. Drinks options include ten types of craft whisky (priced from Y750), seven craft beers on tap (Y750-880), and gin-based liqueurs flavored with lime, rosemary, toasted yuzu and kelp.
Grilled meats, sausages and charcuterie platters make up the bulk of the meat-centered food menu, with salads and meat-topped pastas providing balance. The decor is typical brewpub dining-bar in style, with giant tanks providing a festive industrial backdrop. Budget around Y3500 at dinnertime for drinks and meat. …continue reading