I have a simple rule when I am traveling or doing my wandering thing: when I see a line of locals waiting for a restaurant, I must abandon my plans and also get in line. Even if I have just eaten, it does not matter, because this has nothing to do with hunger. Traveling is about experience and if you can, experiencing a place like a local as much as you can. I know that the chance that I will ever return to a place I have visited is very low, so these are always once a lifetime opportunities.
My cousin who lives in Tokyo took me to this soba place in Chiyoda and the day was sunny and hot and the line was long, wrapping around the corner. She apologized profusely and suggested that we go someplace else. I told her I was fine with waiting because the long line of locals was very enticing. We waited about 45 minutes to get a table.
My God, that is some soba. One of the best meals I had in Japan and there were many exceptional meals.
To read more about this restaurant, read this article from The Japan Times.
Taken from Mark Kurlansky’s amazing book Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World.
Take a cod of ten pounds, well cleaned, leaving on the skin. Cut into pieces one and a half pounds thick, preserving the head whole. Take one and a half pounds of clear, fat salt pork, cut into thin slices. Do the same with twelve potatoes. Take the largest pot you have. Try out the pork first, then take out the pieces of pork, leaving in the drippings. Add to that three parts of water, a layer of fish, so as to cover the bottom of the pot; next a layer of potatoes, then two tablespoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of peepper, then the pork, another layer of fish, and the remainder of the potatoes.
Fill the pot with water to cover the ingredients. Put over a good fire. Let the chowder boil twenty-five minutes. When this is done have a quart of boiling milk ready, and ten hard crackers split and dipped in cold water. Add milk and crackers. Let the whole boil five minutes. Then chowder is then ready to be first-rate if you have followed the directions. An onion may be aded if you like the flavor.
This chowder is suitable for a large fishing party.
– Daniel Webster, from The New England Yankee Cookbook, edited by Imogene Wolcott, 1939