28 2013 Dec

Full on Powder Day

Japan, NisekoTagged burger, food, hanazono, hirafu, izakaya, katsu curry, lodges, omurice, travel

The morning started with a nice coat of fresh snow along with a constant dusting. So of course, my buddy understood why we couldn’t wait around to ride with his friends. Coordinating on the mountain would always be impossible. But hearing that it’s a big group, I had a feeling we’d run into them. And just like that, we saw them at lunch. This resort was big, but not that big if you only board the groomers and hit the lodges for lunch. Oh and the top was still closed, so the chance to cross resorts was pretty slim unless you like to take a bus. No thanks, there’s powder to be had.

Instead of doing a post for the various lodges we ate at throughout the week, I’ll sum them up here. Do note that these are the base lodges and may have a different name. I didn’t catch any but one specific name of a restaurant.

Hirafu (Tanta-An)
My least favorite lodge even though it was the newest one. It’s a bit too fancy from the home school feel I loved about Niseko. This place serves up Western style dishes while trying to be the high end apres ski location. No thanks, the place to drink is at the shops around Hirafu.

Hanazono Lodge
Nice little cafeteria. It’s a little on the uppity side, but I didn’t mind. They had a ramen station. Enough said. There was plenty of seating for us, but we tended to eat early. All warmed up we hit more of the tree runs until this side got blown out.

Annupuri Lodge
The classic of classic cafeterias. The ones where you order from the vending machine and hand it to the cooks. Oh it felt like I was eating at home with the large bowls of food they served. The staff was older and friendlier. We stayed at this place until the lifts lightened up.

And those were the basically the lodges we ate at.

Then the day ended with us finally meeting up with my buddy’s friends. Who would have thought their group was so large and filled with fellow foodies. They decided to hit a place that Anthony Bourdain went to, a place a little drive away called Torimatsu. Okay, so you have to know, it’s Bourdain and he gets star treatment. That doesn’t mean you will too. Sure the food was good, but we had the worse service. That was, the food came out slow, very slow. Within an hour and a half, our pack of fifteen had about five dishes. Sure it’s Izakaya, but these dishes were small. Sadly, it seemed that other tables were getting served more than us. I can’t imagine them unequipped to handle large groups. They wouldn’t have our seating area if that was the case. No it was a mystery why we got shafted. We even wondered if we somehow were rude or obnoxious. Not the case with our group. We’re too old for that. So all in all, I haven’t had an experience like that in decades.

Torimatsu
North 3, West 1
Kutchan-cho, Hokkaido, Japan
0136-23-2893

Verdict: I’ll have to come back with a much much smaller group.

Original Burger @Hirafu Lodge

Not sure why you'd have a burger here, but in case you do, this place makes them pretty big and yes, Japanese style. The seasoning of the patty was different form the states and don't expect plain of ketchup and mayo. This came with a sorta ponzu sauce with Japanese mayo. My buddy finished his burger so it must have been alright. ¥1400JPY

Ox Impressions: 

Omelet Rice @Hirafu Lodge

I want to say this was omurice, but can't seem to do so. Sure it's got the major components, but altogether, it wasn't that warm goodness you expect from omurice. I think it was the pork gravy. A bit over the top and with too many chunks of fat. Uggh. ¥1500JPY

Ox Impressions: 

A Typical Morning

Like I said, the snow keeps coming down making this place so surreal at times, like when you're riding through it and you can't tell what's up and down. Scary, yes, but the price to pay to have your tracks covered by the next run.

Katsu Curry @Annupuri Lodge

On a cold tiring day, this stuff hit the spot. Crunchy thick cuts of pork covered in gravy. Again, a bit much with the pork gravy, which I suppose was more of a curry. Yet, the flavors didn't have the curry aspects. Still, I didn't care. It was stormy outside and there I was with a warm meal. ¥1000JPY

Ox Impressions: 

Scallop and Octopus @Torimatsu

This looked like a great start to our meal. But it did foreshadow the misery to follow. The scallop itself was great. Mix a little soy sauce with the wasabi and it was magic. Then it was off to the octopus, which was, not cooked consistently. One part was firm and the other was undercooked. Oh this would have been my favorite dish. And I don't think we ordered this off the menu.

Ox Impressions: 

Minced Chicken Skewers @Torimatsu

Good balls of fun, minced chicken balls to be exact. It was light and within seconds it was all gone.

Ox Impressions: 

Fermented Squid @Torimatu

A very small but potent dish. You can almost taste the ocean as you chew through a piece. And I mean that in a good way. The dish was a perfect companion to my beer.

Ox Impressions: 

Chicken Skin Skewers @Torimatu

What else can you say to grilled chicken skins except for yum! I do like how they add some onions to mix so you don't feel like a total pig. Onions are veggies right?

Ox Impressions: 

The OxPosted December 28, 2013 By the hungry ox


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