Farewell, Mitsuoka San

Food is a basic human need. Thankfully, humans learnt how to use fire and make food more palatable, so now we can eat things that are not berries and raw mammoth meat. Evolution allowed us to develop recipes, and hunger made the human race to evolve. It would be very boring to eat the same thing every day, so each culture started to develop their own recipes. Now, thanks to globalization, you can have tacos for breakfast, some pho for lunch and pizza for dinner. This would not be possible a few hundred years ago, and now multicultural meals are taken for granted.

I live in São Paulo, which is one of the biggest cities in the world. I also write for a blog, where I evaluate restaurants that are interesting and that promote a nice experience. It is not just about the food. I got to visit some pretty interesting places - including restaurants that are owned by Michelin Star chefs. They make amazing (and amazingly expensive) food, which makes me pretty happy... But my favourite place in town was a small restaurant that was hidden on the second floor of an old building. You know, the hole-in-a-wall type of place that is known mostly by locals. YODO was an amazing Japanese restaurant that served traditional Teishokus, which are basically, a complete lunch, served with several Kobachis (small side dishes or appetizers). It was probably my favourite restaurant in the whole world.

I believe that food is not only eaten, but also experienced. Of course, you can't probably experience a big mac that you are eating on your car, while stuck on a traffic jam. But you actually experience the food that a loved one made for you. You can tell that the food was made with care and love. And I felt this for the food from Yodo. The place was very simple - a rather large room with a wooden floor, some old-ish wooden tables and chairs and a tv sitting on the bar, that was decorated with a Japanese themed gazebo. The kitchen did not have a door, and its interior was also quite simple... But the place was very cosy. It was very quiet, and it made you feel completely isolated of the chaos of the city. Mrs Mitsuoka always said hi with a warm smile, who already knew what I would order. I always felt at peace there. And the food was always impeccable. There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of warm, fresh miso soup that forms a cloud on the bowl, with a few tofu squares in the bottom and some fresh green onions floating on top.

Food can be tasty. I mean, quite a lot of people think that a Subway sandwich is pretty good, but it is not made with passion (although some sandwich artists do truly love their jobs and their sandwiches). But there is something different when you go to such a special restaurant as Yodo. The food served there was part of Mr. and Mrs. Mitsuoka's lives. They grew up eating those meals, and this food also made them happy. There is something about the manual labour of cooking that makes eating someone's food a rather personal experience. So, for me, it was an honour to be able to eat that. Thank you for the meals, Mitsuoka. I will miss you.