One lazy Sunday after church, the sun was shining on Misawa and the temperature was on the rise. As we walked to our car, I asked my wife, Melissa, if she wanted to go to lunch on this beautiful day. The answer was yes and we headed out into Misawa City. We were not sure where we wanted to go, we just knew we were hungry. Several options presented themselves: sushi, ramen, yakiniku, yakitori, okonomiyaki, tonkatsu…the list was immense. And don’t forget McDonalds!
We ended up feasting at Isshintei Yakiniku Restaurant. Yakiniku is the Japanese term for grilled meat. The unique thing about yakiniku restaurants is that you are in charge of grilling your own entrees and vegetable side items. Melissa and I ordered Shabu-shabu Japanese Beef Short Ribs with Salted Diced Green Onion, a side of mushrooms, and white rice. Our attentive waitress took our order and fired up our table top grill. When our shabu-shabu Japanese beef rib meat arrived, we threw a few pieces on the grill along with some garlic and diced salted green onions and began the ever watchful art of not overcooking our beef!
There are many different schools of thought about how to eat yakiniku. A lot of people like to throw all the meat on the grill and cover it with garlic and vegetables, while others like to throw all the vegetables on the grill and place the meat on top for a slow cook. Still others like to put a few pieces of meat on the grill, surround it with vegetables, and top each piece with garlic and other condiments like salted diced green onion. It is the latter category that Melissa and I fall into when it comes to yakiniku. It seems we can control the cook of the meat better and it helps stretch out our eating time so we can truly enjoy the bounty of food.
Once the meat is cooked the way we like, it is gathered up and dipped in a soy based sauce and consumed with delight, along with the rice and mushrooms. We had a great lunch and spent the rest of the beautiful day driving around and exploring Misawa and the surrounding area. We always find new sights and often marvel at the landscape of rural northern Japan. It truly is a beautiful place.
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