Shin (慎) Udon’s Carbonara Udon is the best bowl in Tokyo… Which would put it high in the running for best world wide. Yes, it’s not traditional, but so what, I’m a non-traditional kind of guy. I’m also of Italian descent and I will never say no to carbonara (Editor’s note: It’s true. He once ordered it in the Venice airport… it was actually pretty damn good). Udon Shin (うどん 慎), in Minami-Shinjuku (just southwest of shinjuku station, Exit A9 from Tokyo Metro or South exit from JR lines), is one of the top 100 udon restaurant in Japan and one of the top 5000 of all restaurants. “Ohhh.. big deal. Top 5000…” you mutter sarcastically. Well…actually…. With 700,000 restaurants in Japan and an estimated 150,000 in Tokyo, that means it’s the top 1% of all restaurants in Japan. Not bad when you think about it that way. Because of this fact, Shin Udon is very popular. Much like Fuunji (風雲児 ), the tsukemen (ramen with dipping sauce) shop right around the corner, there is ALWAYS a line. Pro tip (and yes, I am a professional), get there 30 minutes before they open, that way you get in on first seating and don’t have to wait 45 minutes to an hour and a half. No, I’m not joking…yes, an hour and a half, and yes, it’s worth it. (god… you people and your questions. You’d think you’d trust me by now). While you are waiting on line, one of the servers will hand you a menu and quickly take your order. They have Japanese, and English / Korean menus, both with gorgeous photographs of all the udon available. They have hot udon and cold udon. Both are sublime, especially any with sudachi or yuzu, (different types of Japanese citrus). But, since you followed my advice and showed up at 10:30, it’s basically breakfast time, and you are here for one reason and one reason only, the udon carbonara. The purpose of ordering in advance is two-fold, yes it speeds up the line but it’s also about freshness. The chef will will drop the noodles, (the ones he mixed, stretched & cut just minutes earlier), as soon as you sit-down, making this possibly the freshest handmade noodles you will ever have. (More)
As I do more food writing and consulting, I constantly get asked “what’s the best ____, where’s your favorite ____ “ (insert any food or drink or city or country or neighborhood) I’ll probably have at least a few options and some strongly held opinions. With that in mind I’m starting a new thing here where myself (and guests) highlight some of our all-time favourite foods, specific dishes and where to get them, interspersed with witty or informative anecdotes. This probably won’t be brief... but if you know me, you’re not surprised. [後に日本語翻訳はあります。でもじょうずじゃない] First up.... The Bacon, Egg and Cheese Ahh, the humble bacon, egg and cheese (BEC for the kids that love the acronyms). I am constantly perplexed as to how this is not a “thing” anywhere else in the world. Like dancing at a punk rock show... there’s no right way to do it but there is certainly a wrong way. So simple. Just 4 rules. 1. Eggs any style. (I mean... except poached. But that goes without saying. What kind of monster are you?) I prefer over medium so the eggs are a little runny and you don’t embarrass yourself at your desk at work, on the subway, or wherever you choose to eat it (I chose Madison Square Park) 2. Bacon. “American bacon”...“real bacon”. Pork belly. cured. sliced. cooked on a flat top 3. Cheese. American. (Or mild cheddar..Don’t give me any of this Gruyere or Muenster) 4. Hard roll (aka “Kaiser” roll. Quotes because it’s not really a German kaiser roll, just a New York bastardization… which as we know, New York bastards yield the best results.) Having eaten versions of the BEC around the world, and outside NYC, It’s this element that’s the MOST important. Hard on the outside with a hollow sounding ::thump:: when tapped. Preferably with poppy seeds. Pillowy soft white bread on the inside. Must be the water or something, because nowhere else seems to make it “right”. No other bread will do. Brioche for a hamburger, or potato roll but I’m sorry @shakeshack, not for this egg sandwich. @cloverclubny your BLT with egg and cheese on sourdough holds a very special place in my heart, but it’s not a bacon egg and cheese. (More below)
Ok. One last Cherry Blossom pic. No, really New York... it’s adorable how your cherry blossoms bloom in May. #latebloomer . . . . . . #cherryblossom #astoria #newyorkcity #queens #madisonsquarepark #pink #dspink #vintage #rowhouse #ニューヨーク #クイーンズ #ピンク #さくら #花見
During Sakura (cherry blossom season) the Japanese people celebrate with hanami (花見). Hana is flower and mi is to see. So, literally looking at flowers. In practice, this involves gathering with your friends under the cherry blossoms on a blanket or tarp and having a picnic with as much alcohol as you could manage to bring with you. It's joyous, drunken and orderly. Something that could never happen anywhere else in the world. [花見は説明した] (swipe left to see @jaimiebot dressed seasonally appropriate.) #花見 #後で #飲み会 #世田谷 #酔っ払い #spring #daydrinking #cherryblossom #nature #naturekenny
Ok. Fine! Calm down everybody. I'll post a Sakura picture... . . . . . . . #sakura #meguroriver #pink #dspink #meguroisthenewnakameguro #目黒区 #目黒駅 #ピンク #花見 #祝福
No. 3 in the inspiring art and design of 2017 is the Riot Grrl window display @baycrews. Yes... it's being used to sell my childhood... but it's a start for Tokyo.