Wonderful Osaka Part 2
My favorite Japanese Guest Blogger had a wonderful lunch hosted by her Uncle at an Osaka restaurant, one of their favorites, called Harimaya House. I believe there are shoji screens or room dividers so each large party can have their own dining room in this efficient 65 seat restaurant. This restaurant has been around since 1949, and has been a family favorite for a long time. Harimaya totes itself as a restaurant with a long Japanese history, good food, and family and kid friendly. Just look at this restaurant 4 course lunch, it is quite intricate, beautiful and diverse. I am amazed at all the flavors and dishes that came with this lunch. Here is my Friend and she is describing each dish.
-Steamed white stump (of tree) with spinach with ginger
-Nappa or some other greens with white miso (fermented soybean paste)
-Raw white fish meat with soy sauce for a taste
These three dishes are a lovely way to begin any meal.
Main Course: clockwise from top center
-Steamed shimeji mushroom with ginkgo nut
-Egg-based pudding-like with crab meat on top
-Tempuras of lotus root (white) and burdock root (not sure) with dough made with extra-colorful "arare" (rice crackers)
-Steamed lotus root and taro potato
-Baked yellow-tail tuna
-Inside green leaf wrapping is sushi cake with ever so colorful vegetable ingredients
-Lastly, inside blue bowl is chives and ginger for tempura.
My Friend says: Per my uncle and aunt, there are old ladies who bring to restaurants these huge leaves for presentation purposes. The ladies show up with loads of leaves and make cash transactions with them. This may be my part-time job here... to be a leaf lady, or a Happa Obasan.
My Friend continues: Aaaa forgive me, how dare I miss the salad? It was tiny, in a white boat-shaped plate, with a few leaves and miso paste (fermented soybean paste)
Maitakegohan and osuimono course: clockwise from top center
-Pink is pickled white radish, sliced and folded in a triangular shape, along with cucumber and pickled and colored (brown) more cucumber
-"Osuimono" is literally "thing to suck" (no, not like that...) meaning soup. This one has a "hanpen" or pounded fish cake (per on-line dictionary) with shimeji mushroom and greens, featuring a very subtle howenver no fishy taste
-Rice is steamed "maitake" (type of mushrooms/bomboo family), with free second servings!
-Tofu-based chestnut cake with bitter coffee.
In my excitement I asked the family if coffee is locally harvested, and got a reply of "oh, don't know, maybe Columbia?" To visually reiterate the smallness of these yummies, my cousin decided to place one of my super-American souvenirs on the side. Now that I think about it, they have not yet mentioned if they even tried this peanut butter puppies.
Harimaya Strangers: The photo above is of total strangers having a traditional kid-related celebration lunch in the room next to us. Do you see the level of sophistication of this restaurant? My cousin might have implied to them that they may be superstars in the US.
Yuina chan: Here is my cousin and her 1 year old. Just showing this place is kid-friendly, as long as they do not punch through shouji doors pictured in the back.
My Friend, she is an architect with a great eye for design, including a eye for taking food photos. I had to do nothing with these photos, but post them to this blog. Also, this Osaka restaurant has an eye for artistry as well, and the dishes are beautifully designed. I like all the small tasting plates, and would like to have meals made for me that way all the time. Here in the USA, many dishes are giant portions of one thing, and monolithic. I like the idea of tapas, dim sum, small plates, and small tastes. Can you imagine the mise en place this restaurant must have?
I am having so much fun seeing my Friend's food adventures in Osaka. I would like to go there with my Friend one day and eat our way through the wonderful city. OK, I await Part 3!