For the 4th of July, we decided to do the ultra-traditional hamburgers and hot dogs. I decided I’d like to try my hand at making hot dog buns. I had previously made some burger buns from a random recipe I found online. I didn’t realize that you can use the same formula for both hot dog and hamburger buns. This time I found another recipe on a random blog. For the most part I followed the recipe that was laid out (since this was my first time making it). I amended it due to the fact that I don’t have a stand mixer and therefore have to do all my mixing/kneading by hand. The recipe called for letting the dough rest in the fridge for up to 24 hours so I made up the dough the night before July 4th.
We awoke on our first full day in Kyoto with some big plans. There were quite a few locations we wanted to tick off our boxes in Kyoto and we only had so many days to see them. We decided to head over to the Imperial Palace as it was supposed to be prime sakura (cherry blossom) viewing. There is a web site that lists the various locales within Kyoto and the status of the cherry blossoms in that location – ranging from peak viewing to not blossomed. The Imperial Palace was a short subway ride and walk from our AirBnB.
The Imperial Palace actually sits in the middle of a very large park. Upon first entering the park, you could see that others had the same idea of checking out the cherry blossoms. With it still being mid-morning, the lighting was actually quite good for picture-taking and so we did like the other tourists and posted in and around the trees. We didn’t actually go to the front of the Palace and elected to check out the Shirakumo Shrine, which is located towards the south-eastern portion of the park.
I lost my original post for these days. Oh well, I’ll just re-start it and not try to re-create the old one that I had made.
So it was our last day in Tokyo and at the awesome Park Hyatt. Before leaving Tokyo I wanted to try to get at least one run in while in Japan. I decided to head up to the fitness center in the Park Hyatt. This is located up on the 47th floor. If you’ve seen the movie Lost in Translation, there is a scene where the main characters are swimming in this pool. I didn’t get any pictures because you’re not supposed to take pictures in the gym area. To actually get up to the fitness center you have to go through their spa (and actually tell them you’re a guest to get up there). They have a row of treadmills that face outward towards their floor-to-ceiling windows. You have this great overlook of the city and being so high up you get a bird’s eye view. It was a nice way to wake up for the day.
After sadly leaving the wonderful confines of the Park Hyatt, we made our way back to Tokyo Station by way of Shinjuku station for the ride over to Kyoto. Prior to taking the bullet train (Shinkansen), we needed some lunch. Within the underground mall area of Tokyo Station is Ramen Street. This was our first experience with ordering from a vending machine. So you walk up to a vending machine and can choose the type of Ramen you want (as well as any extras such as extra noodle, meat, other things), put money in the machine and then it spits out a ticket. You give the ticket to the attendant and wait in the line outside the restaurant. Once there is an open seat, they take you to it and then your food shows up. This place also had a paper bib for you to wear in case of splatter from the ramen. It was very tasty.
I woke up on Day 5 and was a bit sick (related to the previous night’s visit to the New York Bar). The sad part is that we had ordered the Girandole Japanese breakfast. Girandole is one of the restaurants in the building and the Japanese breakfast is supposed to be one of those “must haves” while in Tokyo. Unfortunately due to how I was feeling, I only had a small portion of it but it looked amazing.
It was our last full day in Tokyo so I tried to get my sh*t together and we headed out before noon. I wanted to see Tsukiji Fish Market and possibly get some fresh fish while there. Since we were arriving so late, I knew we probably wouldn’t see as much as if we went super early like most people. I learned that if you want to see the actual tuna auctions, you have to sign up because it was becoming too popular, that start super early like 4 am. Next to the marker were some tourist-filled small alleyways that were lined with restaurants and other shops. We ducked into a small sushi joint to get some lunch. I will say that the fish was definitely fresh and overall good. And for dessert, my wife had some taro ice cream. yum!
From Tsukiji Market, we walked over to Hamarikyu Gardens, which sits near the water.
Since my marathon recap post was kind of long, I decided to separate out the actual weekend part of marathon weekend. We decided to stay in Carmel because of the locations of the bus pickups to take us to the marathon start. Right in the heart of downtown Carmel was one of the pickup spots. Luckily there are a ton of small hotels, inns, and B&Bs in Carmel. Rather than leaving the dog in a boarding place in Sac, I found a place that allows pets (Carmel is historically and well-known as an extremely dog friendly place).
We made a pit stop in Fairfield to get some lunch on our way down on Friday. The wife found a sandwich spot called Joe’s Buffet . They made a tasty sandwich – I had a combo of pastrami and corned beef.
Once we reached Monterey and stopped to do my packet pickup, we swung by PeterB’s brewpub (right behind the expo area at Portola Hotel). I had the Belly Up Blonde since I wanted to keep it light.
Prior to our trip, I had done some research on dog-friendly restaurants in Carmel. A ton of places have outdoor sitting and allow dogs in their patio areas since so many people have dogs (either visiting or living there). The Inn that we stayed at also provided us with a list of some of the nearby dog friendly restaurants. Our living quarters for the weekend was the Svendsgaard’s Inn. This place ended up being only about 4-5 blocks from the bus pickup. The accomodations were nice and it was a small quaint little place. They had a small grassy area in a courtyard with poop bags available.
That first night in Carmel (I still don’t understand how the official city name is Carmel-By-The-Sea…such a mouthful), we walked over to Bistro Beaujolais for dinner.
Billed as a French restaurant, we ordered with this in mind. I had the French Onion soup, escargots, and sand dabs. My wife had a lemon chicken soup and the Steak Frites. The last time I was in the Monterey area is when I learned about Sand Dabs. I guess they’re a local fish that is wildly popular and served at pretty much every restaurant (doesn’t even matter if it is American, European, Mediterranean, etc). I was surprised and pleased to see that they had a Michigan beer and ordered the Founders Porter.