Sunday had to be most sauna-like day to date...this year. Still, we didn't want to stay at home, so we decided to check out the falls in Minoo Park.
From the Hankyu Minoo station to the falls it is 2.8 kilometers. Of course we couldn't just go straight to the falls, on the way we stopped into Hashimoto-tei for lunch.
Satoshi had the loco moco (900 yen about US$9), he knew when he ordered it that he may be disappointed, but ordered it anyway. When his plate arrived, he knew from the aroma that it would be different. He says that Kaka'ako Kitchen's is still his favorite.
I ordered the black curry (900 yen about US$9). This spicy concoction was delicious and had a lot of punch. It may look like a lot of rice, but with the amount of spiciness, you need it.
After re-fueling and cooling off a bit, we checked out the Konchukan (insectarium). The admission was 270 yen (about US$2.70) per person. Can you believe, that for all the years we have lived here, we had never stepped inside this place? We were glad we did though, there were lots of yucky bugs on display as well as a live butterfly area. I was amazed at how some of the butterflies had numbers written on their left wing--I think this is how they keep track of them.
From the insectarium, we continued walking toward the falls. There was another museum of sorts, but I can't tell you what it was (Satoshi didn't know what it was either)--at least there was no admission.
Right across the unknown museum, we stopped into yet another cafe (Yamamoto Coffee) along the way to keep cool. Satoshi had some coffee and I had an iced coffee (600 yen a piece--about US $6 each).
Just as we came out of the cafe and started to make our way up a slight incline, there was a man giving out samples of yamaguri (mountain chestnuts). It turns out that these are from Shiga prefecture, so they weren't local. But they were really easy to peel and delicious. We bought a bag to take home (600 yen or about US$6).
Finally, after 2 hours, we made it to the falls. There were many people in the waters below the falls. After re-energizing in front of the waterfall's spray and seeing a sign that said "beware of snakes" (eww), we started to head back.
You could hear tons of semi (cicada) in the trees and every so often a slight warm breeze would blow.
There were bursts of komorebi (sunbeams) which came through the trees.
Halfway out of the park, we were hungry again. So, this time, we stopped into Per Caffe Bianco. This cafe is right across the street from the train station.
I ordered the zuccotto (850 yen about US$8.50 comes with a drink) and Satoshi had a margherita pizza (1100 yen about US$11). Satoshi said that the pizza was really good, with lots of garlic in it.
The zuccotto had slices of grapefruit, lots of nuts and lots of cream inside. It went nicely with my cute cappuccino.
I think in the U.S. this is called latte art, but since this was a cappuccino...I love cappuccino art!
Not wanting to go out again to find dinner, we bought some ingredients to try a recipe which I saw on Deb's blog. (One thing you should know about us, no matter how much we eat during the day, we almost never skip a meal!)
Deb's ahi avocado towers with sesame-cilantro emulsion were delicious! I adapted the recipe and added diced tomatoes to 1/4 of a chopped red onion, diced 5 ounces (150 grams) of maguro (tuna), sprinkled some red alaea salt, put 1 tablespoon of shoyu, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and a pinch of black sesame seeds.
For the avocado layer, I used 2 small avocadoes. I couldn't find lime, so I used lemon juice from half a lemon without the zest.
As for the emulsion, I didn't have much cilantro, so we just used the few stalks that were on our lanai, and I added 1 tablespoon of EVOO and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. I didn't do the crab layer. On top of that, we couldn't find won ton wrappers or tortilla chips, so we ate our towers with okara (soy lees) chips. The chips were too small to layer onto, so we just ate them on the side. I've crushed and sprinkled these okara chips onto Chinese Chicken Salad as they have the same flavor as won ton pi chips.
I was so happy to be able to use my ring molds. Since I don't have 2 ring molds the same size, Satoshi's tower was bigger than mine and he was impressed as to how the tower was put together. The "leftovers" I put into a bowl, but that was eaten up too.
Boy, we sure ate a lot today! At least we bonded with nature while doing so.
Hope you enjoyed today as much as we did, have a great week!
Per Caffe Bianco
Closed on Mondays (UPDATE: hours have changed to 11:00-21:00)