The Kazue-machi area of Higashiyama has become a popular tourist destination, and it’s crowded on weekends. Canny Kanazawans have already noticed, and new cafes and guesthouse B&B’s have opened one after another. But even amid the latest money-making scramble, a few places go about their regular business, ignoring the first-time, last-time customers. It’s like the famous expression from a few years back, “Got nothin’ to do with me.” I like such places and encourage others to do business with them.
On a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon, I was on my way out for lunch with an old friend. We were threading our way through a crowd of foreign and domestic tourists, headed for our usual soba shop, when we passed the Chinese restaurant, Marichou-K. Through the window we noticed something unusual – empty seats. Moments later, we were pulling up our chairs. I ordered the noodles with vegetables and thick sauce (ankake). My friend ordered the garlic fried rice. This place is all about the noodles, and the aroma of flour fills the room. The chef ignores us, silently focusing on the food. No greetings and no small talk with the customers. Usually, in a situation like this, the chef’s lovely wife will pick up the slack and make sure the customers feel welcome. However, the chef here IS the lovely wife. What to do? Well, if the food’s good, you just have to get over it.
After our delicious Chinese meal, we decided to get coffee, so we walked over to the cake shop, Maison de Mizuki. My friend, a life-long, 60-year resident of Higashiyama, had never heard of it. It may look like a generic bakery, but I think Mizuki’s offerings are the best in Kanazawa.