My RoTD on Yelp today/yesterday really got me pining for the days I spent gallivanting in a big city, seeking out all the best restaurants and bars in town and sharing my experiences with friends and the Yelp community. I know that if I wanted to, I could easily convert this into a personal food blog–and even if I didn’t, there’s a website here called Okinawahai where I could write as many restaurant reviews in English as I wanted, for 15 American dollars a pop no less! So far I’ve published one food review on Okinawahai, but it’s just not the same :(. Furthermore, Japanese food is great and all (one of my faves in fact), but what I miss most about living in a world-class city is the variety: an international marketplace of limitless flavors and options, where my tongue has the pleasure not only of choosing between Eritrean or Burmese for dinner, but which Eritrean or Burmese place it wants! (<– my picks)
And then, there’s wine.
Oh, how I miss good wine.
When someone in Japan asks you if you like wine, they’re asking if you like sake (which I do sometimes). When someone in Okinawa asks you if you like wine, they’re asking if you like awamori (which I don’t ever). They aren’t speaking of the gewürztraminers and pinots, the malbecs and tempranillos, that I grew to love (at all times) in the Bay Area wine snob scene.
Unfortunately it is a rare event where I get to indulge in a bottle of red in this country. But recently, a good friend and I had the chance to check out El Patio ( エルパティオ), a hip little wine and tapas bar in Naha recommended to me by a fellow ALT (who happens to hail from the wine capital of California’s Central Valley, so she knows her stuff!). Though the wine selection wasn’t huge, it certainly offered more than just “red” or “white.” The food, while not all “tapas” in the traditional sense (Japan seems to think that all Westernized restaurants are required to serve pizza and pasta), was still probably the best appetizers I’ve had from the international arena in Okinawa so far.
And, let me just say, that even though we walked in without reservations and thus spent our two hours there at a tall table near the door: eating/drinking while standing is the new trendy thing.
While no Fat Angel, El Patio satisfied my wine craving and was legit enough for me to almost forgot what part of the world I was in (almost). I’ll definitely be back–4 stars!