njoying a transcendent meal is a little like having a wedding or a car accident—time slows to a crawl. That’s the sensation I had in Kyoto while I negotiated biting into an umeboshi plum sheathed in translucent tempura batter, a dish so lovely that I nearly couldn’t bring myself to eat it. So many others arrived as part of this unforgettable three-hour lunch that I began to lose track: a perfect sphere of seafoam shiso sorbet; a clay teapot filled with a dark broth of shiitake mushrooms, gingko nuts, and custardlike tofu; pearly squares of wheat gluten fragrant with the aroma of yuzu. More memorable still was a cube with the color and consistency of the freshest buffalo-milk burrata. I pointed at it and the server spoke the words ebi imo. After fumbling with a translation app, I learned that I’d eaten a taro native to the Kansai Plain called a shrimp potato. Count me among its fans.