Last Sunday we tried a new soba restaurant. I don’t know the name of it, but it is in a little house by the river, so we’ll call it Riverside Soba. Here they serve two kinds of handmade soba, 2-8, which means 80% buckwheat flour to 20% wheat flour, and ju-wari, which is 100% buckwheat flour. We decided to get the lunch set, which was green tea, seasonal tempura, a plate of cold soba with dipping sauce, dessert, and black tea or coffee. We also tried the maitake tempura. The ju-wari soba was chewy and delicious, while the tempura was crisp and fresh tasting. The lunch set was 1000 yen, or about 10 dollars, and the maitake tempura was 300 yen; an excellent price for an excellent meal.
After lunch we went to Annaka-machi to view the ume (plum) blossoms. Although it was still a bit too early in the season for most of the trees, some of them were in bloom. It looks like it will be really beautiful by next weekend. Of course, that means it will probably be ridiculously crowded, too. We were able to enjoy a pleasant stroll around the plum blossom park in relative solitude and could still enjoy seeing the blossoms on the few trees that were flowering. We also found Obāchan’s Umeboshi, where a local family was selling their homemade fruit products outside their house. We bought some ume jam and neri ume (umeboshi paste).
update: the name of the restaurant is Shunmi, which means the essence of flavor.