there is a japanese restaurant tradition called kaiseki, and we happen to have an almost unbelievably refined kaiseki restaurant in minneapolis. kaiseki is a form of dining where the chef creates a 10 or 12 course meal, that is seasonally based, and also symbolic. it is like a tasting menu but distilled even further into refinement. i once ate a dish at this kaiseki restaurant, that was made up of a chessboard pattern of carrot batons simmered in hibiscus to render them closer to red than to orange, alternated with batons of burdock root, which grows extremely deep, and is therefore a symbol of rootedness and stability. i have spent some time recently thinking about how much affinity i have for japanese aesthetics and restraint. that meal was perhaps one careful step closer to an education stay in kyoto. we will see.
burdock thistle flowers in july