The Little Nomsters are celebrating the Oshogatsu Festival, Year of the Dragon at the Morikami Gardens Museum and Japanese Gardens! Let me begin by saying Morikami Gardens is a beautiful place. The gardens offer great scenic locations for any occasion and we were lucky enough and blessed with spectacular 75º Florida weather. We saw taiko drummers play loud and rhythmic drum sessions, a walked into an authentic style Japanese home/museum, and of course delicious Asian food from fried rice, noodles, and sushi.
The Oshogatsu menu offered foods from both the vendors or their very own in-house café the Cornell Café. We decided to step out the sun and walk the garden path from the festival grounds to the café for some sushi.
Walking over to the café from the fairgrounds alongside the blue lake made for a great time for reflection. The path lead us to a man-made waterfall which bubbled over and emptied into the lake underneath a wooden bridge. A pebble walkway surrounded the lake with vista views of a large wooden bridge and green lush islands against the Florida forest backdrop.
As we reached the end of the line to enter the café we saw a demonstration on how to prepare traditional rice cakes and to our surprise, we saw many fans of Oshogatsu dressed up in costumes ranging from geisha to anime characters.
As for the food, we ordered egg rolls, cold sesame noodles, shrimp tempura rolls, and the dumplings. The egg rolls were lightly fried, but the taste wasn’t heavy and wasn’t greasy at all. The shrimp tempura wasn’t the best I’ve had, but was tasty nonetheless, the rolls were small but carried a distinctly fresh taste and flavor. The dumplings weren’t steamed like how I would have preferred but again lightly fried and the pork inside was a little bland, however, a dunk in the lightly salted soy sauce helped. The home-run food was the cold sesame noodles. The noodles were whole wheat, served with mild peanut sauce, with shredded carrots and cucumbers. They were great. Eating them was fun and the café gave us an entire carton box full, I clearly looked like an anime character stuffing and slurping my face with noodles.
At the end of the day, we strolled around the gardens more taking in the sights and sounds of Florida nature. I can’t say enough about Morikami Gardens and the Oshugatsu Festival. We highly recommend this event and if you ever want to wander and learn some culture visit the Morikami Gardens.
Morikami lies west of I-95 in Delray Beach and encompasses both a museum with artifacts from the Yamato Colony in Florida and a beautiful and serene 200+ acre gardens and natural surroundings.