Before the 30th Anniversary Music Party, there was Contessa.  Great food with a superb city view and militant eastern european staff.  Not sure I would make a habit of it.  Dining with two of my favorite women tips the scales radically.  But honestly, Contessa thinks too much of itself.   It is aptly named.

After the 30th Anniversary Music Party, the pool at The Verb Hotel (right next to Fenway) was bait.  Honestly we felt a bit baited (and switched).  The Verb is trying so hard to be hip and cool.  But they are falling short due to a number of factors mostly involving an actual demographic of families with kids, a terrible breakfast situation, and a very small dingy pool.  Oh well.  It was a great plan.

We paid for a pool view room.  Whatever.  We were on the second floor a nice hike from everything past many hallways of refrigerated hamster cages.

This may be one of the only times and actual touring musician has ever stayed at The Verb.  Too much veneer and not enough reality makes NPS a grumpy poster.

The Pool.  Such a great idea, and so not what it needs to be.  We did use it.  And we had some great Mai Tais from next door.

At least the shower is not plastic.

The real record player was a nice touch and fun. Many of the records were in terrible shape though.


It was great to be in Boston for the night.  We had fun.

Sunday Jazz at the Mad Monkfish.

All in all, not a plan to repeat but one that was worth doing once.  The Verb Hotel earns two showerheads and is summarily dismissed from the target list.

The Thousand Kyoto

November 28, 2019

Outside art at The Thousand

The brand spanking new hotel called The Thousand in Kyoto is a high design treat. Open, artful, tasteful, and gorgeous. We arrived via Shinkansen from Tokyo and walked the few hundred feet to the hotel. We had some tea.

Green Tea at The Thousand Tea Room

Yoshi meets the progeny

Kubota Ramen

Our first order of business was meeting Yoshi (@kemono4shikazu) who NPS met last time around in Kyoto. Yoshi is a delightful person. He took us to Kubota Ramen, a great way to start out a visit to Kyoto.

We stopped by Saredo coffee on the way back to check in.

Check out Yoshi’s super terrific band!

We booked an incredible Japanese style suite at The Thousand and were assigned 803. An amazing room indeed!

Leave your shoes in the anteroom

Pile your suitcases by the closet

Suite 803

The suite features a terrace overlooking the train station.

Of course the shower here is NPS approved.

The shower room includes a tub

And also of course, the toilet is complicated (and plugs in for power). Not sure what

Plug in your toilet

Not sure we even want to know what “pulsate” does.

After stashing our stuff and a short respite, we headed out to Nishiki market for some consumer spending.

Bees Knees Kyoto is a great bar

As it was cocktail hour, we stopped in at the incomparable Bees Knees bar. Great cocktails and super people. We had some Japanese renditions of classics (CR#2, Last Word, Aperol Spritz), and then it was
off to dinner.

We wandered into Steak and Wine Ginjiro for a very touristy meal of Kobe beef and bad wine. These kinds of restaurants pervade Nishi-kiyacho Ally and can probably be safely skipped. The food was good nonetheless.

Table art at Ginjiro

Never flown


Our attempt to visit the French bar was thwarted by crowds of tourists so we had some ice cream and refactored our plan. Next we went to Nokishita711 for some gin. Simply put, Nokishita711 is a very strange place. NPS is not so sure whether that is good or bad. A “root of all evil” cocktail was interesting indeed. But the whole scene is just a little too too.


Um, a cocktail?

And then for the last few cocktails and shots of the evening, it was back to Bees Knees. We had a few with the owner. Too many shots later, we somehow managed to make it home.

We bow to the owner of Bees Knees


Sleeping in late was mandatory after the raging party at Bees Knees. It was all those extra shots all around that did it.

The good news is that there is no more perfect food to cure a hangover than ramen. In Japan, evemn commercial ramen is great.

A visit to Fushimi Inari in the late afternoon put us at the top in perfect time for sunset. Magical. See lots of pictures and videos on apothecaryshed.

Get a fried chicken dinner at Sugar Hill. Delicious.

The gym at The Thousand is pretty standard issue for a hotel. Seems bigger because of mirrors. Up early to work out is good.

Breakfast on day two Kyoto was at Kawa Cafe, a French/Japanese fusion place right on the river. Highly recommended (though it is rather strange that a cafe can’t make a macchiato!).

Kawa visitors

Deliciousness at the Kawa Cafe

The walk back down was beautiful.

Walking Kyoto

In fact, being in Kyoto for autumn is a thing. Do it!

Autumn in Kyoto is gorgeous

The obligatory trip to Arashiyama included the temple gardens. Should have done that last time!

Bamboo for you

Arishayama Shadow

Obu cafe is worth a visit.

Lunch in touristland

Excellent espresso in Japan can be found at Karusa Kyoto.

Best coffee in Kyoto?! Could well be.

The Straight bar makes an excellent Japanese Negroni.

A once (or twice) in a lifetime experience involves dinner at Pontocho Misoguigawa. Just wow.

Dinner at Pontocho Misoguigawa is not to be missed.

And to top off the evening, some jazz and a Gin Rickey at Hello Dolly.

Hello Dolly jazz

A gin rickey (DC’s signature drink) in Japan

Mount Fuji from the Shinkansen. See more on apothecaryshed.


Kyoto, NPS will be back for sure!!

Five very impressive showerheads for The Thousand Kyoto

Hello Chicago

Hello Chicago

Bye bye Westin, hello Chicago. The great East coast blizzard of 2016 has us stuck in the middle of the country until Sunday no make that Monday (at the earliest). But we don’t mind. We’ll make an adventure of the whole thing.

Job ? Secure some rooms at the Palomar for the C-level posse. An email to the fantastic staff at the Palomar made that happen. Thanks Brandon Massey, Nabeel Toubayly, and Benjamin Gress. Sadly, the artist suite is occupied. Happily that doesn’t matter. Rooms 1725 and 1726 are a great combo package and situate you right in the middle of the city with excellent views all around. And get this, rooms at the Palomar can be had at less than half the price of the suburban Westin. Just wow. The world is seriously confused.

1725 entryway

1725 entryway

Man is it nice to be back where style rules the roost and the staff is top notch. Kimpton takes the cake.

View from one side of the corner, 1725

View from one side of the corner, 1725

1725 bedroom

1725 bedroom

1726 sitting room

1726 sitting room

Of course, here at NPS we are obligated to talk about the showers. In 1725 you will find a glass cube design and a huge tub. Very Kimpton.

Wait for it

Wait for it

The long glass cube

The long glass cube

Bathroom area

Bathroom area

Other aspects of the Chicago Palomar fit right in with excellence in showers. Like John Stanton and the Sable bar. The bar at Sable (not to mention the restaurant itself) is great enough to be a destination of its own. If you’re in Chicago, pay a visit. Not staying at the Palomar? Who cares, come to Sable anyway.

The best part of Sable is seriously great craft cocktail capability. Every time NPS visits, we learn something. This time, we were wowed by the Scot Toddy (warm, mint, lemon, wow) and an experimental beverage that John created on the spot which we’ll call the
Shaped Charge:
1.5 Rye Whiskey (Wild Turkey 100)
.75 Suze
.25 Carpano antica
.25 Caffe moka
2 generous droppers of Bitterman’s Hellfire shrub
Stir down. Serve on a big cube. Express lemon peel.

Seriously though, Sable is great and it is always a delight to see John in action. Plus you can end the night with a taste of George T. Stagg (2015) just like at home.

Back to the situation at hand. If you’re going to be stuck in a city, pick Chicago. Want some deep dish Chicago-style pizza? Try Lou Malnati’s pies. Doughnut for breakfast? Glazed and Infused is the way to go.

Our posse’s Saturday plans included a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, some jazz at Green Mill and taking in an obscure Tenessee Williams play (The Mutilated) at the Red Orchid.

Doughnuts at Glazed and Infused

Doughnuts at Glazed and Infused

Dali details

Dali details

More art from the Art Institute of Chicago on apothecaryshed.

Green Mill for Paper Machete

Green Mill for Paper Machete

Irish coffee chaser for Malort shots

Irish coffee chaser for Malort shots

Red Orchid Theater: Set for Mutilations

Red Orchid Theater: Set for Mutilations

For providing a safe haven from 24 inches of snow at home, we award the Chicago Palomar the massive snowplow award and five showerheads forever. Thanks for being home in Chicago.