I visited Japan (specifically Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka)  in July with my brother and my best friend. It was an incredible experience. This was the first international vacation I’d taken in a while (not counting visits back home to India) and I had a lot of fun.


Nijo Castle

If you’re planning to visit Japan (and I’d highly recommend doing so) here are some tips that might help you:

  • Visit Hiroshima. It is an intense, heart-wrenching, and emotionally moving experience. It will change you.

    The Hiroshima Peace Memorial
  • Get a Japan Rail (JR) pass. It allows you to use Japan’s excellent public rail system an unlimited number of times for a flat fee for 7, 14, or 21 days. It makes traveling between and within cities in Japan effortless. Make sure to also install the HyperDia app to help you plan your travels.
  • Throw out all your clothes before you leave for Japan and be prepared to acquire a whole new set of clothes when you’re back. Why? Because the food in Japan is SO GOOD that you’re going to eat A LOT and none of your old clothes will fit you anymore. To say that every meal I had in Japan was excellent would be an understatement. Highlights for me included my meal at Len, fatty tuna, Wagyu beef, tsukemen, and ochazuke.




One of the many highlights of my recent visit to Japan was a dinner I had at Len (also called Ren). Len is a two Michelin starred restaurant in Tokyo and I managed to get a 6pm dinner reservation there on my second last night in Japan.

The meal was phenomenal. I love Japanese food, and in my mind this meal exemplified everything that attracts me towards Japanese cuisine – simplicity, elegance, and the freshness of ingredients.

Restaurants that “ruin” a food item for me hold a special place in my heart. By “ruin” here I mean that they serve me such a perfect version of the food item in question that subsequent versions I eat elsewhere will (most likely) pale in comparison. This first happened to me at Quince where I had the best mac and cheese I’d ever had in my life, and it happened again at Len, where I had the most sublime and incredible rice and eel I’ve ever tasted. This is a simple dish, but in its simplicity lies perfection.

Here are some pictures from my dinner:

Sea urchin and steamed egg custard
Water melon and abalone soup.
Chef Jun Mishina charcoal grilling pike eel.
Charcoal grilled pike eel. This was my first time eating pike eel!
Japanese beef and eggplant with a plum sauce.
Steamed rice and eel with house-made pickles. Perfection.



I had my first taste of good whisky in 2013. It took me a couple of months after that to get accustomed to and develop an appreciation for this spirit. By 2014 whisky had become my preferred choice of alcoholic drink.

This week I had the opportunity to sample some Japanese whisky in San Francisco at an event organized by Nikka Whisky. The whiskies I drank were:

  • Taketsuru Pure Malt: first time drinking this; liked it the least.
  • Yoichi Single Malt: first time drinking this; pretty good.
  • Miyagikyo Single Malt: first time drinking this; LOVED it.
  • Coffey Grain: I’ve had this several times before and enjoy it. We were presented with a cocktail made from this whisky that had a strong aroma of coffee.
  • Coffey Malt: I’ve had this several times before and enjoy it. We were presented with an extremely delicious Halloween themed cocktail made with this whisky and pumpkin.

If you like whisky but have never had Japanese whisky before I highly recommend giving it a try. The Coffey Grain or Coffee Malt is an excellent place to begin.

My attempt at taking a nice picture of the whiskies I drank at the event.



Got a chance to check out Portland’s food cart scene today. I was quite impressed. I’ve eaten at a lot of food trucks in San Francisco so I was looking forward to trying something new/different in Portland. I was not disappointed.

The first cart I ate at was Mumbo Gumbo. Their seafood gumbo was quite excellent. I was starving and totally forgot to take a picture. But it was delicious.

Cart #2 was Kargi Gogo. I’ve never had food from the country of Georgia before so this was a first for me. I ordered the khinkali and it was amazing. It reminded me of xiaolongbao, another dish that I absolutely adore. Highly, highly recommend trying this place out.

So good.
So good.