03. Indian Oasis: Taj Mahal Restaurant (Sapporo)--KenOn our last night in Sapporo, we escaped the great, smoky, Gengis Khan meat-fry at the Historic Sapporo Beer Garden in search of safe, vegetarian harbor.
Sorry, conference organizers, with all due respect to your good intentions, that meal was a nightmare I was happy to wake up early from. Imagine 25 long tables with two central conical hot plate burners on each, and endless platters of meat (and maybe an onion or something). Before the staff turned on the burners, they went around with deep plastic bags and insisted that everyone stuff your jacket and tie in the bag. They knew well the sizzle-splash-splatter-fest that was coming. By the time we fled, the room was already filled with the smoke of a hundred cubes of beef fat and a thousand strips of something that we weren't eating.
A few vegetarians I knew didn't even show up to the event. Those of us who were left, Paul, Vivek, Kathryn, and I, followed Vivek like refugees into a cab and headed back downtown. Vivek led us first to the Famous Sapporo Clock Tower, then right, then left, then up a thin staircase--possibly by smell alone?--to the Taj Mahal Restaurant (Taj Mahal Kita 2 Jo Sapporo, Chuo-ku, North 2, West 3, Seimonkan bld, 2F).
We had a really nice vegetarian meal there, thali dinners all around. And despite the indoor smoking (which we could never get used to), the food was great. Yet, the best part of the meal was the conversation. We really enjoyed getting to know Vivek and Paul better, and we were all over the map: from extreme ultraviolet lithography to various meditation practices, toy stores (Toy Joy in Austin, Texas), Maui, and so much more.
(Sorry, no photos from that night).