I decided to go to Caffé Central for some coffee and a strawberry pastry whose name escapes me. The strawberries were fresh and the pastry wasn’t overly sweet. It was very soft, feeling almost like a marshmallow against your lips. Or a kiss.
Japantown is a late starter. So I wandered around a bit to kill time.
The first night, I saw a girl holding a smoking dessert. I learned online that it was the Dragon’s Breath from Chocolate Chair which is basically cereal puffs supercooled in liquid nitrogen. They tasted like a less sweet Trix but the experience of eating them was interesting and surreal. I also sort of burnt my tongue a little. Worth it.
For lunch, I took an Uber over to Beach Chalet and ordered the Bourbon Maple Chicken Lollipops. They were dry, flavorless and had random bones in places I didn’t know chickens could have bones. The tomato-bacon jam was decent but didn’t make up for the chicken. That said, the atmosphere, view, service, and beer were top notch.
I then crossed the street over to Ocean Beach.
While in the area, I spent some time around the Sutro Bath ruins.
I stopped by Cliff House and ordered 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon but was given an IPA instead. I tried the melon beer when I got back to Vegas. It tasted more like the rind of a watermelon and was kind of flat.
Afterwards, I headed back into town via Golden Gate Park.
I dropped into Amoeba Music to check on their selection of Japanese Rock.
I grabbed some sushi and a sake flight at Ginza. The sake included Otokoyama which was dry and not very sweet, Mizbasho which was very fruity with cantaloupe and strawberry notes, and finally Sayuri – a creamy, sweet nigori (unfiltered) that tasted like honeydew.
The sushi was sort of a mixed bag. The eel was lukewarm, dry and chewy. The sea urchin was the best I’ve ever had. They were out of the domestic variety, so I got some that came directly from Japan. It was creamy, nutty and I need more of it right now and indefinitely. The monkfish, which I’d never had, was an interesting midpoint between sea urchin and albacore both in taste and texture.
Right after I walked outside, I noticed a small bakery called Anda Piroshki next door and decided to grab something for the road. A piroshki is a Russian meat pie. It was buttery and cheesy but not overwhelmingly so. The seasoning was light and the crust was nice and flakey. Basically imagine if a Hot Pocket was actually real food.
Outside Hobson’s Choice, I noticed a sign claiming they had the best Bloody Mary’s. So I gave it a shot. It was a self serve setup, so basically they make the best if you know how to make the best. I do not. I added a liberal amount of a ghost pepper sauce which caught me off guard. Having a slightly frostbitten tongue didn’t help.
It still wasn’t nearly as bad as my old nemesis: ghost pepper extract.
Realizing that I needed to start heading to the airport, I did a quick pass through the next few blocks before taking an Uber to Mission & 16th Street to get on the BART.
Before boarding my flight back to Las Vegas, I got one last drink at Lark Creek Grill.