Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kyoto Sunsets and Rainy Days

I can't help it. To me, Kyoto is so very beautiful  - no matter the weather or time of day - but the sunsets from our rooftop (on what happens to be one of the tallest buildings in Kyoto) were such a highlight that I simply must share some snaps. 

 Watching distressed maidens trying to cross the road on a very blustery, rainy day from the protection of our apartment was also pretty cool. Just because. 

Mumokuteki むもくてき

I'd seen a couple of outlets of Mumokuteki around Kyoto town but for some reason I'd avoided them. I could never put my finger on the reason why.
Then one day my good friend Liz suggested we try it, she eats a mainly vegetarian diet and had been there before... thought it was nice....  Turns out it is a vegan joint. 
The penny finally dropped. 
Only it looked more stylish than most Vegan places I'd ventured into. It was a lovely, airy, girly cafe with very decent food at very reasonable prices. A modern take on Shojin Ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cusine) and I LOVE Shojin Ryori. The lunch was fresh and tasty and there was plenty of it. I reckon that if you took a die hard meat eater here and ordered for them - they might not even notice there wasn't any flesh on their plate. Mmmm tastes like chicken...
My main course was deep fried fu (wheat gluten) with a slightly sweet/sour sauce.crisp salad, various pickles and sides including soup, rice, simmered daikon. A lovely wholesome lunch packed with flavour and at around $10AUD - I was pretty damn happy. 

Even if you don't stop for lunch it's a fab place for a coffee break.

The outlet most convenient for shopping in the downtown area is on Gokomachi dori near Takoyakushi dori (the street to the west of and running parallel to the Teramachi arcade)
There's even a handy little map at your table to show you were to shop next!

Checkout their website for a look around the venue and an idea of what's on the menu: Mumokuteki

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mount Tomah Botanical Gardens

Not long after returning from Japan we took a quick trip to the Blue Mountains and visited a few places I'd been meaning to take a squiz at for years - including the Mt Tomah Botanical Gardens. Both the day and the garden were absolutely stunning and I had to smack myself for not having previously made the effort. It was so wonderful that it was actually one of the few things that made the transition back into Australian life just that little bit easier. It's important to be reminded of the special beauty of your own country sometimes. I know I have taken it for granted. It also helped that the mountains remind me a little of Kyoto's own surrounds.... and the Koi pond was a nice touch! 

If you find yourself in the Blue Mountains Region do take the drive out to the gardens - you won't regret it. Here's the website

And if you are looking for somewhere nearby for lunch - check out the Apple Bar  in the  neighbouring town of Bilpin - the best place to eat in the area in my opinion. (Post coming soon).  And  if you are on your way back to Sydney make sure you grab some freshly picked fruit and veg at the roadside farm-stalls along the way. 

eeeek - Time to go...