Adventures in Shimokitazawa

My friend Emanuel gathered up some people for what was meant to be a night of hemp food, hookah, and beer. Shimokitazawa’s not the most touristy place on earth, but if you need a place for a night out with friends or a date, it’s perfect.

Sunday Night Adventure

The hemp restaurant turned out to be overpriced (3500/$35 a course), so we skipped it.

Hemp Restaurant

Shimokitazawa is a great little shopping district. Lots of fairly reasonable boutiques and funky restaurants line its narrow streets.

下北沢

I don’t quite get the cannabis connection; I can near-guarantee that the owners of these establishments have never smoked in their life.

420 Four Twenty

Upper-right corner

大麻堂

Mural

These guys could project! Seriously, I thought they had a microphone going, but I think it was just the acoustics of being under the bridge.

Street artists

There’s a whole roofed town of food stalls and tiny shops hidden next to the train tracks. Half the clientele sit on stools while the other half stand at this old-school eatery (I think it was a yaki-something shop, but I’m not 100% on that)

Street Eatery

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=100113964270635009957.000466e3b50f78805f4d8&ll=35.703868,139.710388&spn=0.226938,0.211487&z=12“>Spicia, the best Indian place in Tokyo. This didn’t quite have the fire of real Indian (or real San Francisco Indian, at least), but the rest of it was spot-on, and it was damned classy to boot. 1500 yen a person got us appetizers, curry, and the hands-down best specialty naan I’ve ever had. I’m not going to say I haven’t had better plain naan before, and the price difference stings, but their garlic cheese, sesame, and basil naans (3 varieties, not all on the same bread) were well worth the premium.

Spicia

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better Samosa, even at a proper indian place. Fried to perfection.

Samosas

Indian Tempura

The money Naan. Garlic-and-cheese flavorgasm.

Garlic Cheese Naan

The Spread

Sesame Naan

If you’ve ever eaten Indian outside of Japan, order 4-5 out of 5 on the spice scale. Anything less is barely detectable

Chicken Curry

Extra-Spicy Mutton Masala

Ice cream and black beer made a nice follow-up, though Suntory is my least favorite kuro-biiru out there.

Apple pie, ice cream, black beer.

Apple Pie, Ice cream, and black beer close-up

They don’t have this in America, right?

Heinz White Sauce

Weird poster.

Weird Poster

Shimokitazawa’s a quick hop from Shibuya on the Keio line, and if you’ve never been, you should take an evening and mosey over. Our original destination, the excellent Shisha hookah bar, was full up, we had fun anyway. If you’re really serious about getting the shisha going, show up early, in a group of <5.