First beer of the night is firestone walkers interpretation of an English style bitter. Primary fermented in oak barrels this beer picks up a lot of characteristics from the barrel leading to a smooth vanilla note on both the nose and aftertaste. The hops are muted, using noble varieties. A deep caramel flavor and crisp mouthfeel make it an excellent representation of the style and an overall great brew.
My second day on this trip. I had lunch at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in the Atre section of the Shinagawa Train Station in Tokyo. This seafood plate had the fried oysters on the left, scallops in the middle and some grilled fish on the right. I was hungry, but this isn't very much food. The fish portion is barely over an inch wide. I'm not a fan of fried oysters, but the fresh ones were over $5 each, which is too much for me, even if the company is paying for it. The grilled fish was good, but the portion size was ridiculously small. The scallops were rubbery and had no texture of a real scallop. I think they were fake. This plate costs over $15. Did I mention that Tokyo is very expensive?
The food at the 82 Ale House was much better and cheaper! There were 4 shrimp here and it was only 350 or 400 Yen. Which is around $4 or $5 bucks. The beer is the house ale. Not sure if it's brewed independently or if it's just relabeled, but it was good too.
Another appetizer from 82 Ale House. This is the duck. It was 350 Yen.
Breakfast buffet at the Top of the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. Keeping it light, and that's not a beer in that glass in the back.
Here's a Japanese breakfast from a buffet. I'm staying at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel and I have breakfasts included every day. I get to choose from any 5 of their restaurants. This wasn't very tasty. Clockwise, from the salmon on the left: 6 type rice mix, miso soup, udon noodles, pickled seaweed?, and I forgot what the white ball, I didn't like it.
Here's a Sashimi plate that I had for lunch in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo. The restaurant's name was Tofu-Ya. It included crab claw, shrimp, maguro (tuna), salmon, salmon eggs, squid, mackeral, white fish, and some pink loose stuff. It also came with a bowl of miso soup with some fish in it. I'm drinking an Asahi draft. Though it didn't quite match the picture, it was pretty good.
I bought these plates last year. When I went to the DMV to pick them up, I was asked for the car that they were going on. I told them I hadn't bought it yet. I had to come back with old plates, which I used my old 1985 RX-7. It's original plates, "MANYS RX" were switched to the 2004 RX-8 when it was new.
I was ecstatic when my offer of almost $5000 off the dealer's asking price for my 2007 Cayman S was accepted within a minute. Could I have gotten it for a little less? Maybe, but I would have hated to lose this almost new Cayman S in Lapis Blue. 19,049 is what the odometer read when I cranked up the engine for the first time. I didn't even test drive it. I just wanted to take it home.
I believe there are many more bargains to be had. It's a buyers market and 2010 is the year '07s will be coming off leases. I track my Cayman's using AutoTrader.com. I do poke around other sites, but AT let's me keep 25 favorite cars and 10 saved searches. It tracks when I saved it, and with my naming convention, I track the original asking price.
This 2007 Cayman is currently listed at $29,990 in Cleveland. It's black with the Sand Beige interior. A great color combination. I've had it on my list since November 11, listing originally at $32,990. My car being an S, plus it's CPO warranty is worth IMHO at least $9000 more than this one. This car has 27,000 miles, mine 19,000. That's worth $1000 at least. The CPO warranty, at least $2000 and Cayman S vs. base, another $6,000. I'd offer $25,000 for this one if I were in that area and market. I also imagine that winter is also a good time for bargains in the colder weather states. Less so, here in southern California. It's a beautiful weekend here with temps in the low 80's. Almost hot, not bad for February.
$4500 off! Another heavily discounted Cayman. I've had this car on my list since September 21. Originally listed at $37,559, it's now going for $32,990. This car has 30,000 miles and it's in Florida. A car that has sat at the dealer for 5 months is begging to get sold.
This unusually high mileage Cayman S is a 2008 with 34,800 miles. It was first listed November 3 at $39,995. It's now $35,995. It's an awesome price for a 2 year old Cayman S, though it has the miles of 3 or 4 year old Porsche.
I did it. Brought it home last night. I ended up renting a car one-way to pick it up with my brother Dave. My work schedule ran a little late to catch the train at noon. At 2:30 pm, we got a rental from Avis and drove through the traffic and rain to The Auto Gallery, the Porsche dealer in Woodland Hills, CA. Los Angeles traffic is notoriously bad and with yesterday's all day rain, the drive took 4 1/2 hours for 140 miles. We arrived just past 7 pm, their closing time, but David Lang, Sales Manager, waited for us. Within an hour or so, we were back on the road to San Diego.
First off, I want to thank David Lang for his tremendous service. He dealt with me personally and even called me this morning to check that the car and I came home safe. Not only did I feel I got a deal-of-a-lifetime, I got it from an awesome dealership.
My offer of $35000 was accepted by the manager. It's a Lapis Blue, 2007 Porsche Cayman S, 19000 miles, and a new car warranty until July 2013! OMG, I can barely believe it. I'll be taking the train to Los Angeles, where I will be picked up. Then I get to drive it home, woohoo!
2010 Lizarraga Family Reunion, June 26th, Rohr Park, Chula Vista, California. We need help in planning and getting the word out. Please comment in Facebook or my blog with your name, contact info, and estimated number of people who'll go as your group. I may setup a separate blog or if anyone else has an idea how to help, let me know.
A wonderful double IPA during the San Diego Beer Week at the Blind Lady Ale House.
Pliny the Elder is brewed by Russian River Brewing, Santa Rosa, California.
Their story on the name, who it is and about the beer:
Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist,
scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Although not
considered his most important work, Pliny and his contemporaries
created the botanical name for hops, "Lupus salictarius", meaning wolf
among scrubs." Hops at that time grew wild among willows, much like a
wolf in the forest. Later the current botanical name, Humulus lupulus,
was adopted. Pliny died in 79 AD while observing the eruption of Mount
Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who
continued his uncle's legacy by documenting much of what he observed
during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
8.0%ABV, 1.071 O.G
Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Cup (Double IPA Category)
Gold Medal, 2005 GABF (Double IPA Category)
Another stout Japanese beer. Smooth malty taste, very good, 4 stars.
This was odd in that the menu said Hoppy Black, so it sounded good. I was given a mug with ice and some liquid on the bottom, maybe a little less than 1/4 of the glass. I thought it was water. The waiter explained that I should pour the bottle into the glass, I complied. I poured it in and stirred. Never had a beer like this, but it was OK. 3 stars.
Not only do I experience brand new Japanese beers, almost on a daily basis, sometimes, I run into a special place like Haldous Belgium Beer Bar in the Ginza district of Tokyo. I asked the bartender for a hoppy beer and this was it, Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor. It's a Belgian style IPA, 8% Alc.. It was delicious. 5 stars.
I next had a Hoegaarden Forbidden Fruit. Another super tasty beer. I want to point out that this beer bar in Tokyo took their beer seriously. They took great car how a beer was presented. I was given a matching glass, matching coaster, and the cap was given also. They took great care in pouring, I had to have patience to let them do their job. It was quite an experience. Great beer, pizza, and service. 8.5% alc. 5 stars.
My night cap. A Trappistes Rochefort 10, 11.3% alc. Wow, another great beer. Note the matching glass and coaster. These guys are great. 5 stars.
Wrapping up a great evening in Tokyo. Thanks for reading my blog. I have a great time writing it!
June 4, 2007 - With a blue line drawn on my wall. I grab the rented concrete cutting saw. It's the middle of the day and hot. The "blades" to cut wear down as you go. I bought 2 at Home Depot. I think they were $10 bucks each.
The cutter is giving me a hard time in starting. I'm hot and thirsty. BTW, I'm wearing my favorite t-shirt.
My son starts it for me and hands it to me while it is running. I feel I'm ready for it.
I start cutting into the wall. I use the pipe to help guide me down straight. The concrete cutter is heavy, loud, and the vibrations go through my body. Notice all the dust from cutting? That's why the eye protection, plus the breathing mask were important.
Wow, I'm cutting down the other side and pushing this thing harder. I'm deep in the wall. Look at all the smoke and dust!
I start making the horizontal cut and just get too tired. I can't finish it. I let Manuel O. finish it.
A shot of the finished cut waterfall slot and the debris and large boulders sitting at the bottom of my pond. I have to clear this stuff out. There is a reason I did not finish the wall on this side. Those rocks will not be an easy out.
May 28, 2007 - The "completed" wall. With San Diego Pond scheduled to come and survey the site before doing the plumbing, I felt done with this part. Nope, the pond guy seriously doubted the wall and after some research and a phone call to an engineer at the block company, I rebuilt the wall.
June 4, 2007 - Not only am I going down one row, I'm glueing the blocks together, plus building extra support on the ends and in the middle. Lots of work. Notice the sprinkler pipe going up the wall. I wasn't there when the sprinkler guy put it there. Stupid.
I also had some 3/4" rebar cut to the height of my wall. I am putting gravel and those bars through the blocks as they are laid down. I'm making it as strong and unmovable as possible.
My oldest is not happy with the fact that we had to do the wall all over again. I told him it was going to be better.
May 28, 2007. We've been working hard, my two boys and me, standing outside the hole. It's 3 blocks high and a lot of work. Starting everything level and mixing and matching the different pieces we had to work with, note the different sizes of the blocks. It's the theme of the project, natural. Yet, the shapes you see say formal. So, it's a natural formal pond. Doesn't the flagstone look great?!
We have to go deeper and try to move out some of these huge boulders at the base of my wall. The plumbing is roughed in. Manuel O. is placing the first of the fourth layer of block.
Some two hours after the photo at the top of this blog was taken, we finished. Four blocks high and the coping top flagstone in place, as the sun is going down.
The inside of the hole. Notice the height of the wall from the inside? The next day, after consulting with San Diego Pond, they warn me about the height and I called the block manufacturer and talked to an engineer. He told me, the block was never meant to hold back that much force and weight. There is a formula, that escapes me right now, that calculates the weight of water by cubic feet. The inside of my pond is roughly 6 feet by 12 feet, multiply that by the almost 3 feet of wall and you get 216 square feet of water.
This Kirin Draft in a can was my first in Japan. I bought it from a vending machine inside Osaka Kansei Airport. Tasted like your average American lager. They use rice as one of their main grains too. 3 stars
Asahi Black, a great find at the first Japanese restaurant. A typical Osaka eatery serving Okonomiyaki. It's a mixture of eggs, a batter, vegetables, cheese, and shrimp or something similar. A cross between an omelette and a pancake. This is a typical grill-it-yourself place, where the waitress/cook comes to your table with the raw ingredients of your order, mixes it up in front of you and places it on the grill in the middle of the table. It starts cooking and you take care of it, flipping it until it's done. Fun, good food, and good beer, both the food and beer - 4 stars.
A Kirin draft served at the Osaka Hilton. I love the Japanese crackers. The pink ones were shrimp flavored.
This Suntory Premium Malt cost about 10% more than the regular beers at the AM/PM store next to the hotel. There wasn't a lot of difference in taste, maybe just a bit more malt taste. There's a lot of 7-11 stores in Japan too.
On the bullet train from Osaka to Tokyo, I bought this beer at the station. The big cans are 500ml. It's a good size and stays cold on the train ride. Asahi "Super" Dry has a crisp lager taste. Easy and average - 3 stars.
The beverage cart girl was passing by my seat. I picked up this Sapporo. Average tasting lager - 3 stars.
The cart comes back again, this time it's a Kirin Beer. It says "Brewed for Good Times". You can see my adventure hat and Canon camera. Most of these beer shots are with my iPhone.
Yebisu, The Hop was another lager with bit more hops. I'll give them an extra star for trying - 4 stars.
While in Tokyo, I found another store with a bigger beer selection. Here's a Tokyo Black, it's a porter style. Very black, rich taste, delicious - 5 stars.