Published April 17, 2017
Cafes & Cute Food , Food , Living in Tokyo
Tags: American Cherry Pie Frappuccino, Food, japan, Japanese food, Photography, Photos, Sakura, Starbucks, tokyo, Travel
Sakura trees are losing the pink and sprouting the green—the season’s crossed over the threshold of spring and said goodbye to those photogenic flowers for another year.
Here’re the last of my sakura food snaps—if I wasn’t taking pictures of the flowers I was walking around Tokyo looking for everything pink and limited edition, like this cupcake I found in a bakery cafe at Nishi-Ogikubo. It’s amazing how much difference one sakura leaf makes to a plain cupcake. Really though, it was salty and sweet and an unforgettable ten minutes spent on a dessert.
Something homemade for a change! Except the pasta. When you walk into a store and see a packet of pastel pink sakura-shaped pasta, there’s no question about it—it sails straight into your basket and then you litter it all over your bento later because it’s just so cute.
A rare choice of drink: Pricey, hyped and taking over my Instagram explore feed, but if there’s anything that can make me go to Starbucks it’s a domed pie crust over a frappe. Creativity right there! The American Cherry Pie Frappuccino came out last week in Japan, and it’s already become a star. I liked the drink okay enough, but the real satisfaction for me was in breaking up that crust and scooping up with the drink.
On to a tale of more humble beverage. I went to the supermarket and saw all these boxes of soy milk, so I swiped them off the shelf and finished them in two days. It’s easy to become a serial soy milk drinker when they come in packaging and flavours as fabulous as the Kikkoman range. I mean…mango soy milk? It was calling my name!
Getting some egg action with the most beautifully constructed quiche. I don’t actually love egg’s benedict—I’m not usually a fan of gooey food that runs all over the plate and leaves a mess, until it comes protected in a buttery quiche crust. This was at Quiche Yorozuika in Omotesando! They just don’t do anything but make really good quiche.
All filled up and ready for the new week!
The cherry blossoms are out to play again! Unlike me, because it’s the start of the new school semester. But I’m still seeing sakura everywhere in the streets and loving it.
Last year I saw them for the first time and went all out going for hanami seven days a week, but this year there’s less time to be crazy so I’ve been content with just walking under all those pink trees. And maybe a picnic or two.
Of course my camera is still being stuffed with a massive load of sakura pictures. Everything in the memory card’s been pink for the past few days.
I went to Ueno Park again and had my fill at the food stalls. Everything was up and festive and I got a stick of dango just like last year. Except this time it was pink! Sakura dango, a stick of the softest mochi I’ve ever had.
It got paraded around for a bit too, while I was trying to get the best photo position with the sakura trees in the background.
It’s so fun seeing everyone out in the streets looking excited about seeing the flowers. There’re so many people walking around appreciating the sakura that it just makes you feel better about starting the new school year.
And if you see a bunch of old grandpas with their heavy duty tripods and full-frame DSLRs lined up, you know it’s a good photo spot.
Sakura at sunset is also beautiful and unexpectedly photogenic, as I found out at Rikugien the other day.
Published March 28, 2017
Cafes & Cute Food , Food , Living in Tokyo
Tags: Cafe, Food, japan, Japanese food, Photography, Photos, tokyo, Travel
Cafe itonowa! It’s been making its rounds on Instagram and their seasonal strawberry cakes are something of a poster child so I went to try it for myself. Twice, in fact.
It’s one of those small, Instagrammy cafes where everything is in shades of white and tan and customers walk in with little else but a camera. It was near Asakusa and a bit far out from the city centre, but at opening time there was already a queue. It’s popular!
Their menu is pretty uncluttered, with just a few main items and drinks. And lunch sets, to coax customers into getting a dessert along with their food.
I had the toast set which came with cream of spinach soup, so that was healthy.
On my next visit I tried the curry rice, and that was satisfying too. Brown rice doused in grainy curry with a half-boiled egg cracked on top. And a broccoli for some greens, yum.
If you search itonowa up on Instagram, this is the one that’ll probably show up the most. I’d gone all the way there with the intention of getting their famous strawberry roll cake, so I had it with a cup of hot houjicha milk (hooray for lunch sets). Expectations met
These cafes really make you work; travelling there and looking for them in the maze of streets they tend to hide in takes effort, but so far they’ve been worth the trip. I even went to itonowa a second time! It’s a special kind of joy going to a cafe alone and seeing you’re not the only one alone (ha, the irony).
I’m simple when it comes to pancakes, but when they appear on a plate at one of the most sophisticated restaurants in Daikanyama i.e. one of the most sophisticated places in Tokyo, the bar is set high.
It’s literally a plate of three pancakes and cream, but that huge, smooth scoop of cream has such an elegant presence for a breakfast dish.
The atmosphere of the whole place was so neat and upscale and unlike any other cafe I’d been to in Japan. High ceilings! Wooden furnishings! It made me feel fancy just walking through it. Also rewarded, because we’d just spent 40 minutes waiting for a table.
Needless to say everything on the menu is pricey, which is why we only got pancakes. But here’s a story! I ordered pancakes with extra fruits and berries, which costs more—but the waiter made a mistake and forgot to bring me my toppings. So when I asked about the missing berries they apologised and brought them to me at no extra cost. So kind
There were lots of stylish people enjoying their Saturday brunch at Ivy Place, and it was fun to feel like part of that crowd. Even if we didn’t order anything except pancakes (“just water, please”). It was really a special occasion, so I’m glad I got to try it once! And at least I can affirm that their pancakes are, indeed, delicious.
Published January 28, 2017
Cafes & Cute Food , Everyday Life , Living in Tokyo
Tags: Conbini, Food, japan, Japanese food, Photography, Photos, tokyo, Travel
It’s been a while since I did a conbini post! Been a while since I posted at all, really. Technically I just skipped a week of posting, but during finals period everything feels like an eternity when you have to study instead.
If I can’t go out to cafes then at least I’ll make sure I eat good stuff from the convenience stores.
I’m going to start with this since today is actually the first day of Chinese New Year and it’s the year of the rooster! Lawson was selling this chicken steamed bun that looks like a rooster—I love chuukaman even when they don’t come in animal form.
Remember the last post about the illustrator Kanahei’s exhibition? To continue about her success, here’s a limited edition Kanahei collaboration Pocky that’s everywhere in the supermarkets and conbini. There’re strawberry and chocolate flavours, so of course I bought them both
Ooh. Here’s the fun one. Sometime last year I was amazed when I saw Family Mart selling macarons, and now they’ve even gone on to make it DIY. The macaron shells come neatly packaged in a cup with jam, and then you assemble everything yourself.
I just wish they had buttercream instead of jam for filling, but I can’t really be picky when this is obviously more of an activity than a dessert anyway.
And there’re some other cute stuff too, like this heart-shaped chocolate steamed bun from Seven ElevenThis thing just oozes with so much filling! It’s so comforting to be able to just drop by a convenience store round the corner and get a hot chocolatey heart to go.
Counting down to spring break…
Wishing everyone a happy Christmas wherever you are! Winter break has come and I’m feeling warm and cosy spending time with my favourite people in the world and forgetting about finals just for a while. So I hope the holiday season gives you some joy too
Every year Christmas gets more and more quiet, but there’s nothing I need more than going to church with my family and appreciating God’s blessingsPlus there’re so many Christmas snacks around. I’m so happy and well fed right now.
I had a Santa donut from the convenience store the other day, and it’s cute how festive they’re able to make a simple donut with packaging alone. Shoutout to 7-11 for having such an adorable (and cheap) line-up of Christmas sweets.
They also had a snowman mousse which I got yesterday—it’s not snowing in Tokyo but at least I can still enjoy the cold winter with appropriately seasonal sweets. 7-11 has been having the best Christmas sweets among all the convenience stores so far this year.
Christmas in the Forest cake from Crayon House! I went there again the day before and they were having a whole bunch of holiday-themed cakes. There was the typical log cake too, but I went with the cuter one. It’s a good time of the year for special desserts
Enjoy the last few days of the year!
Published November 15, 2016
Cafes & Cute Food , Food , Living in Tokyo
Tags: Food, japan, Japanese food, McDonalds, Photography, Photos, Pompompurin, Sanrio, tokyo
More character sweets in Japan! This time it’s a Pompompurin-themed McFlurry courtesy of McDonaldsAnd by themed I mean it comes in a cup with the character printed on the front. (But you know it’s enough to make me and a few hundred thousand other people buy it anyway)
Since it’s Pompompurin it makes sense for it to come in a caramel flavour. There were little marshmallow chunks hiding inside, and even more caramel sauce just to make it even sweeter than it already is. A good treat to myself! You know Sanrio’s power is strong when they get you to buy a McFlurry for the first time in almost a decade.