Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Umami

Umami, according to Wikipedia, is "one of the five basic tastes sensed by specialized receptor cells present on the human tongue. Umami is a loanword from Japanese meaning roughly "tasty", although "brothy", "meaty", or "savory" have been proposed as alternate translations."

Hanazono Asian Noodle House is the home of umami in the Pacific Northwest, in my humble opinion. You can find them in Port Townsend, Washington, at 225 Taylor Street, just off the main drag, Water Street, a few doors east of The Rose Theatre. Run, don't walk, to dine there. And I do mean dine. Nonie and I ate at Hanazono several times when we stayed in PT in early January. We dined there again several times during ArtFest, thrice for dinner and once for lunch. You can not go wrong with anything on their menu. I have loved every single thing I have tried.
This is all that's left of yaki nobu udon, perhaps my favorite item on the menu. It certainly would rank in the top three items... I must admit that udon are my favorite noodles of all time, and Hanazono does them to perfection.

But it's not only the food that make Hanazono so special a discovery, it is the whole atmosphere of the place. Long and narrow, with simple dark stained tables and chairs, the restaurant reminds me of places I ate in Japan. It's simple and homey and cozy and goooooood. The dishes used for plating set off the food and the ingredients to their advantage. Sometimes a very small detail can made a very big impression and the individual teapots stick out in my mind. They do not drip. They keep the tea hot. They are beautiful in a quiet wabi sabi sort of way. Very Zen.

P.S. For those Dear Readers who are anticipating photos from my recent holiday in the Caribbean I ask for patience. I have not been home more than a few days since returning from Antigua at the end of March. First my dear friend Bee came to stay, then we went to ArtFest, and now I am in Southern California with my daughter and her family. Photos and commentary will appear here as soon as I can slog my way through almost 2000 photos. You will not be asked to view them all......

5 comments:

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

These are great! They'll hold me over until you have a chance to post the Caribbean photos.

diane said...

What an interesting restaurant, wish I was near enough to try it one day, but I'd have to be with you to translate. I've only had Japanese food a few times because BB doesn't like it very much.

Gwen said...

Oooh, can't wait to go to PT again and try this new place! I love Japanese food when it is really good!

dianeptaylor@comcast.net said...

Your decription of the restaurant makes me wish I had gone during ArtFest. Yummy! Thanks for sharing.
Diane Taylor

Jill Holmes said...

I try to eat here at least once every time I visit Port Townsend. I love their food and the atmosphere is so relaxing, too.