The aspen colors are at their height right now, so the other day we took a drive up Hyde Park Road to the Ski Basin. Although my knees and back are not as limber as they once were, we walked up a couple of our favorite trails, and I took pictures, in spite of already having hundreds images of golden aspens. The colors are not as multi-hued as they are in New England, but an entire mountainside clothed in bright yellow still elicits a gasp from me, along with the need to take yet another image.
We avoid the weekends looking at the colors. It seems as though the entire city makes the pilgrimage on Sunday so that there are traffic jams on the winding mountain roads. During the week, the crowds are smaller, and there is an additional excuse to stop for a late lunch after our viewing and shooting.
Toward the bottom of the mountain is one of our favorite restaurants. Izanami has been carefully and beautifully built to resemble a Japanese inn and to afford spectacular mountain views in all directions. . The food and service are also Japanese. The restaurant only opened months ago, and it was a semifinalist for the national James Beard New Restaurant of the Year Award. The food is delicious and so far as I know, authentic (I’ve never been to Japan). Some detractors complain that their peanut sauce is not truly authentic, even though I can find recipes for Japanese peanut sauce on the web.
Whatever, the restaurant is the latest addition to Ten Thousand Waves Spa. There are communal baths, massages, and therapies, and Japanese-style lodging. People come from all over the world to enjoy the luxury, and now they have delicious Japanese food to add to the experience.
The menu offers many choices, all with Japanese-sounding names. One of our favorites is kinpira gobo (slivered burdock root and carrot served with a sesame soy dressing). Other good choices include red pepper-tomato soup, tofu dengaku (tofu cubes glazed with yuzu-miso), pork belly kakuni, and tonkatsu (panko-breaded pork loin cutlets with hot mustard and miso katsu sauce).
A short trip back home, and it was time for a nap. All in all, a great day.