Posts Tagged 'Japanese food'

Sakura Sweets 2018

Indeed it’s the end of May…but I’d really rather not wait till the next spring to come around again before posting all these things I ate.

Since it’s been a while and all how’s everyone doing? Before moving to Japan I always thought the May sickness was a total myth but it’s turned out to be pretty real, I kid you not. I can’t even remember what I did in April because all sense of time disappeared along with the sakura. But jpegs are forever, so I’m still left with all these pictures of sweets I ate (and maybe that weight I gained from them).

It was all just very pink. So much pink.

Once upon a time this year I actually had time to go to festivals and chow down endless sticks of mochi. They’re still my favourite, because they roasted right there in front of you and they’re all soft and chewy with the occasional roasted crisp.

This ice cream shop in Hiroo had a secret spring menu, so here’s a visually pleasing soft serve with the daintiest sprinkling of sakura powder and flowers.

The star of the season was definitely this one donut from Siretoco. Some sweets are just born for Instagram greatness

More pink mochi! I got this from 7-11, who persevered till the very end and kept these on the shelves well after cherry blossom season was over.

And this was my piteous attempt to be decorative. I tried hard to be creative and make a sort of hanami scenery on my toast, but the sakura marshmallows turned out a lot fatter than I’d thought (definitely not like the picture on the package) and it all just became a little blobby. But effort should not be wasted, so here it is

See you next week (maybe?!)

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Photobook Diner Megutama: Feast for the Stomach, Feast for the Eyes

I used to get mad if I didn’t keep up with my posts every week, but now it’s come to the point where I feel like I deserve a medal if I remember to update before the month is over…okay, no. I’ll try harder.

Recently I haven’t been going to a lot of places, but yesterday I went to a new cafe for the first time and I liked it so much I’m posting about it right away.

写真集食堂—Photobook Diner Megutama, a small cafe in Ebisu, Tokyo that’s essentially a cafe and a library all in one. It’s not just any kinds of books either but specifically photo books by hundreds of photographers from the famous to the obscure. I could spend hours looking through photo books so that’s what I did here. The next best part is the food, all simple homemade stuff made right there in the kitchen in front of you by the sweetest ladies. It’s like coming home to three moms.

I ended up coming here that day because plans got cancelled and I suddenly had nothing to do and no one to meet, so I made the trek all the way to Ebisu and walked a good distance before I found their sign off the main road.

Here the walls are covered with books and more books carefully lined up by chronology of publication, so you know exactly which decade you’re heading for. That day I picked out more than ten books from the contemporary end and sat for ages looking at everything.

I found my favourite photographers and photographers I’d never heard of before. It was all very worth it, because I paid only about ¥1000 for a whole meal and (since it wasn’t crowded at all) they let me take all the time I wanted after that just reading while popping back on occasion to give me more hot tea. I would honestly just move right in

The Nicest Cat-loving Cafe Owner in Tokyo

I’m writing this in a state of denial now because summer is ending and the new semester is just around the corner. I think it’s because I had so much time to myself and went to so many places (Home! Disneyland! Bali!) and now it’s jarring to sit myself back in the classroom.

But I’m sure I’ll be over it by the end of the week, so time to get cracking.

One of the places I went to recently was Kuroneko-sha, a small cafe near Machiya station in Tokyo. And I really want to talk about it because I had such a special time in that place and the cafe owner was one of the kindest I’d ever come across. He really likes cats by the way, which is why the cafe’s name literally means Black Cat House.

It’s a cozy space and very much like a kitchen straight out of a typical home…which I guess it kind of is. It’s sandwiched in the middle of a residential area, so it’s small and along a quiet street.

When I came and sat down at the cafe myself I realised that somewhere I’d gotten a cut on my leg (that’s another story I’ll never know about lol). It was a pretty big one, so the owner noticed me cleaning it up and offered me a bandage. Which was such a nice gesture of him, but I got kind of embarrassed and just said I was fine

And then he gave me cookies to eat while waiting for my food. (MY HEART)

I got the special Neko Musubi set, which came with two huge cat-shaped rice balls, miso soup and an even huger plate of side dishes. I need the world to understand how great this is, because this massive portion cost me only ¥750 and it was everything I could want in a meal

Grilled fish, fried chicken, pork, salad…you know a cook is generous when the side dishes are heavier than the actual main. Everything was cooked on the spot, so it was all hot and juicy and completely filling. After eating this I got full even before starting on my rice balls

Even the miso soup almost stole the show. I’ve never had a bowl that had more ingredients inside than the one I had at Kuroneko-sha. It’s usually just miso soup, and maybe a few scraps of seaweed and tofu, right? But there were so many other ingredients inside it was almost like opening a gift. A gift of meat and veggies.

So that was my meal! Or so I thought, until I got a surprise at the end.

He gave me scones on the houseAnd they’re cat-shaped. Cat-shaped. This is the way to my heart right here. I was more overjoyed than full at this point so I ate it all even though I was stuffed past the point of no return. And I was amazed at how generous he was in giving so many treats. My random little injury probably had something to do with it, but I really think he’s just a kind person who wants to make his customers feel good in his cafe. He told me to come back again someday, but I didn’t need to be told because I was already planning on it

So that was my story! Of the owner of a small cafe who loves cats and made a girl’s day by giving her such a good meal and more. The place is called 黒猫舎, so check it out if you’re in town!

Smiley Omurice

This blog isn’t dead! And neither am I! Which is a surprise, considering how much finals ravaged the last weeks of the semester. But anyway that’s all done with, so I’m ready for summer vacation

Recently I’ve been really into making omurice. When I didn’t have time to go out and eat I’d just get out the pan at home and toss in a bunch of eggs and rice. It isn’t complicated—literally omelette and rice—and it’s even fun. For every artist there are sketchbooks, canvases, doodle pads…and then there’s a nice yellow omelette with a big surface for drawing in ketchup. Nutrition and entertainment all in one.

Now I really want to have people and just cook omurice for them and draw different faces.

And then this was the day I wanted to eat pancakes but couldn’t have any so put a square of butter on a bun and made it look like pancakes instead. I actually thought I was being pretty innovative with this one. But then it made me think I definitely want to eat pancakes.

I mean I do have time now, but then so do a few million other school kids on summer break. So we’ll see

Anyway I’m sorry I have to resort to just showing you pictures of my breakfast and lunch at home…I haven’t been going out recently so there hasn’t been much I could showBut I’m going to take a break now and hopefully rake in the good stuff. Watch this space!!

Mugimaru 2: Steamed Buns in a Secret Alley

More hidden places! I’m starting to spend my free time just digging these up around Tokyo.

I found this place called Mugimaru 2—a tiny cafe along a narrow alley in Kagurazaka that serves traditional manju.  Lots of flavours and lots of fillings; they’re all handmade by the lady owner and delivered to you straight from the steamer.

The first time I actually walked right past because I didn’t see the entrance shrouded in all that ivy. How’s that for a hidden spot?! It was kind of like a treehouse, but on the ground. What a mysterious feel. You can’t even go inside without crouching so you don’t hit the low door frame.

But once you’re inside it’s a real gem of a placeEverything’s cosy and worn out, with lots of knick-knacks spilling out everywhere. The owner decorates the space with things she received from customers, so it was fun thinking about where it all came from. There’s supposed to be a cat too, apparently, but it wasn’t there that day I went.

This is my favourite bit! A Mount Fuji wall panel, plus a little round table and cushions to make you feel like you’re having tea by Mount Fuji haha.

Like I said last week, the ice cream cravings are starting for real. I’ll trade up my usual tea for a matcha float if it means getting a big scoop of soft serve ice cream in it. The debate is, do I eat my ice cream before it melts or the manju before they get cold?

I ate the ice cream first. But even though the manju did cool off a little while waiting they were still soft and fluffy with some warmth left in the thick bean paste. I just really love anything sweet and squishable. Plus I got a good combination of flavours—uguisu bean paste and chocolate.

I haven’t had this much fun coming to a cafe in a while. Mostly because there weren’t any other customers, so it just felt like I was at home surrounded by plants and rugs and the smell of buns steaming in kitchen downstairs. It’s not the most pristine or modern of interiors, but it’s full of soulI mean, those cracks in the paint don’t come without years of history.

Kosoan: Hidden Japanese Tea House in Tokyo

We’re on the cusp of summer, which means I’m going to be consuming a lot of ice cream for the next few months till we’re back to sweater weather. And Japanese desserts in the summer are just so good at cooling you downI went to Jiyugaoka to check out the teahouse Kosoan, mostly because it’s such a beautiful place and also because I wanted to eat some anmitsu.

It’s quite literally hidden. The place is just so shrouded with greenery you miss it if you don’t pay attention. It was built in 1954, so the traditional aesthetic is off the charts. Sitting inside made me feel like I was visiting someone’s old Japanese house, complete with tatami and potted plants.

They served the daintiest slice of cake I’d ever seen. I can’t even remember what flavour it was because my portion was gone in two bites, but it was a good side to the strawberry smoothie. And that was kind of underwhelming, but that’s Japanese sweets for you. Less pizzazz, more comfort.

The anmitsu was the real starThere’s nothing more attractive than a bowl snugly packed with fruits, chunky red bean and a big scoop of ice cream. I love having lots of colours and different tastes and textures, so this was a winner for me.

I’d willingly travel to Jiyugaoka again just for teatime at Kosoan, because it’s such a pretty enclave tucked away in the streets (plus with good dessert to boot). Plus the neighbourhood has tons of things to do and see, so you could really just spend a few hours walking around and looking at the shops.

The Farm in the City: Mr.FARMER Cafe

I get frequent assumptions that I live on a diet of pancakes and cafe sweets in Japan, but (once in a while) I actually go out of my way to have salad for lunch. Welcome to Mr.FARMER, a cafe in Tokyo that has successfully gotten lots of people to eat their veggies.

Healthy food, stylish ambience, and full of appropriately sophisticated customers—it’s a trendy place to be even for a neighbourhood like Omotesando. Plus you know a place is really putting itself out there when they serve water infused in three different combinations of fruits and vegetables.

(The only reason why I can’t come to places like this more often is because one salad could buy me a week of meals from the convenience store)

So while I’m here I need to get the best out of it. I had the Cobb salad plate, packed with ingredients and with a fancy arrangement of bread and baked potatoes on the side. My rule of thumb when it comes to salad: the more colours there are, the more likely I am to eat it. It was like eating a collage

And then because I am who I am, I couldn’t stop there and went on to get dessert. Their sweets are a lot more dinky than their massive salad bowls, but I very much enjoyed that stick of tiramisu

It was sunny, so lots of people were taking advantage of the weather and having their lunch out on the terrace.

Since it’s so popular, there was a queue all afternoon.

Health is wealth, which might explain the pricey meals at this cafe. But then everything was delicious, and the atmosphere had a way of making you feel like you belonged in that charming, airy aesthetic. I’d definitely want to go again the next time I want a nutrition splurge


▷ . Cheryl

A university student in Tokyo who takes pictures and puts them on the Internet

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