you don"t need to save the crystal for a special day, even water tastes better in a "Fancy Glass"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Modest fun and delicious…

The photos did not come out well. I was in too big a hurry to eat. But the food was yummy and it made for a very nice evening with my Hubby.

We were facing our usual dilemma of trying to figure out what to have for dinner after a long day at work. For foodies, I must say, our evening fare is not all that inspiring during the week nights. But we had the idea as we stood near the crossing in Shibuya to do a “Tokyo Department Store Picnic.”

Let me explain… The first floor or often Basement floor of most department stores in Japan and also many train stations, is a food floor. Not a food court like they have in the USA/ fast food and all that… but a food floor of small booths of different kinds of prepared and unprepared / gourmet/ and down home foods. From 60$ Melons (OUTRAGEOUS) to humble rice balls to imported chocolates/ you can find it all. It is my theory that the outdoor markets of Japan moved inside because of all the rain. So it is a lot like being in a very clean, bright, chic inside version of an outdoor Asian market.

I will follow up with more food-floor posts in the near future. But for this outing we were focused on some quick take out dinner fare.

A bit of this and that, with some coins and a few bills in my pocket and we had a lovely dinner. Some of the features were a miso-basted fish / crab fried rice / steamed Chinese Shumai dumplings/ and a very yummy simple tuna rice ball (Onigiri) This was from the Tokyu Food Floor at Shibuya Station.

By the way… at this spot you can also buy from Dean and DeLuca / Starbucks / Godiva and other world wide well known shops.

Lots of fun. And the best is, if you go just before closing time at 8pm, you can get discounts on a lot of the fresh prepared foods. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 16, 2005

still no time .... argh

well, this end of year season has just been crazy at Fujimamas. No time to think. and I keep losing my camera charger in various black holes around my desk at work and our tokyo tiny apartment... so even when I have had some good holiday food experiences I've had no camera to capture it... very frustrating. Anyway the restaurant is doing well. Lots of company parties booked for christmas and the end of the year. good catering schedule, lots going on. So many foodbloggers are writing great holiday posts though, I am jealous.

I had a day off today, even though it was a friday. I was a bit selfish, but then I had not taken any time off for 13 days, so it was time. I was getting cranky, never a good sign.

I bought some great teas today from a gorgeous little shop. Cha No Yu in the Hiroo neighborhood of Tokyo. This was after going to the popular foriegn foods supermarket National Azabu. I got some tasty holiday treats, including cookies, egg nog and some bagels for breakfast tomorrow morning before I head back in to do the opening shift at the restaurant. I also stocked up on food magazines and wrapping paper, since they have a sort of book-store-card-shop upstairs.

Anyway, not much going on except work work work. But hopefully i will save up some good stories and get back into posting here as soon as we finish up this big holiday rush.

Oh and in other news, I will be headed over to work for a couple of weeks in Hawaii, in Fujimamas new restaurant in Kona, on the Big Island. We were already written about over on chowhound So I will have some new hawaii adventures to relate I hope.

ok, bed time.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

ben and jerry's blogthing personality quiz

You Are In a Crunch Ice Cream

The perfect combo: a completely nuts person who likes to be touched

Monday, November 28, 2005

How did you spend your Friday Night?

This weekend I had quite an experience. A team from our restaurant went to a huge convention center event to run a food booth. This was not any event though, but an annual all night RAVE called Electroglide. So that meant we would be selling food from 9pm at night till 7am in the morning.

We did this same event two years ago, along with 9 other restaurants, but this year was quite a bit different. First off, the event itself was larger. Roughl7 20,000 people attending. And then this year, instead of 10 food stands there were only 4!

we decided on a nice menu of 3 kinds of things served on rice. Vegetable Thai Curry, Beef and veggies, and Chicken Terriyaki. So far so good.

After a week of prep in the restaurant, at the same times as preparing for service for thanksgiving dinner for 300 the day before--- we loaded up our vans, and headed to the convention center spot, Makuhari Messe, about 1 hour outside of tokyo. Arrived, set up, and were feeling really good about ourselves.


we started service, our booth was instantly popular (we were also selling vanilla brownies!) and the masses started to swarm. Suddenly, two things happend.

1. We ran out of the rice we already had cooked much faster than we thought we would.
2. the large rental rice cooker we brought BROKE! and we had only one small one left!!!

so now with hundreds of people lined up in front of our booth, we had nothing but brownies and beer!!!

My boss drove all around the area and came back with noodles, and we quickly switched to noodles, while still making rice in the small cooker and selling it as quick as we could make it.

This kind of crazy frenzy went on for about 8 hours! when exhausted and having sold any food we could come up with, we finally finished the evening. We sold thousands of beers, hundreds of waters and orange juice, thousands of brownies, and then we all collapsed. My husband and two of my friends came out to work the event with us. We had a total staff of about 20 people. We definately learned a lot from this, and hopefully there will be a next time! But it was one of the craziest nights I've had in the food business... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 27, 2005

a japanese blog and the return of the Madeleline

the Espresso car I wrote about and photographed before... the one in the old citron, was gone from our neighborhood for a long time. Chris and I really missed it!

The young man who owns and runs it is so nice and a pretty serious coffee guy. He told us before he was going to a new spot in Daikanyama, an neighborhood not too far from here. But we were spoiled having him so close by and we never made it over to the new spot. Then suddenly today he returned. And I found out he has his own Madeleline blog over at It is in Japanese but you can get a sense of it if you use the online translator at Babel Fish!

anyway, it is great to have him back in the neighborhood- I had a chance to enjoy a cappucino tonight. It was fun to check out his blog too.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

yes, I do still eat...

it has been a sad state of affairs here at the fancy glass. I realized today it has been almost a month since I have written...!

the Restaurant I work in has been busy, as have I. and though I have been eating, I must admit food adventures that would inspire me to write have been few.

The news is good though, this week will be Thanksgiving. And once again, our restaurant Fujimamas will be making sure that americans living overseas in Tokyo will not go turkey-less. We are already sold out for two seatings in our 170 seat restaurant!

So pictures of turkey and pumpkin pie are coming soon!


Friday, October 28, 2005

Chocolate Porn

In 2000 when I visited Spain for the first time, I was in a small cafe somewhere and had chocolate in a cup... there is no other way to describe it. It wasn't hot chocolate or cocoa... it was as if someone had melted a whole candy bar and kept it liquid and served it up. It was an amazing experience. When I went back in 2002 I searched and found this amazing drink/dessert again. And found actually that some breakfast places served it with sweet and cinnamon churros.

This explanation is from a Spanish portal site I saw recently

"Hay Churros"
If you spot a sign in Spain saying 'Hay Churros' at breakfast time go in and ask for 'Chocolate y Churros por favor'. What will arrive is the thickest cup of hot chocolate you have ever seen with a plate of deep fried 'fritters'. You eat this by dipping the churros in the chocolate (this is perhaps not for weight watchers).
you can find a recipe here

So when we went to Barcelona last week I was eager to show my friend Terri this dream in a cup. After visiting the Sagrada Familia, the cathedral built by Gaudi, we meandered up the lovely old streets. We found a pastry shop with streetside tables and ordered a cup to share. Terri immediately dubbed the cup full of hot pudding like chocolate "Chocolate Porn" which is a pretty apt name... It really does spoil you for regular old hot cocoa.... The Cup we had was from a menu of different types. I chose the merangue one which had little dollops of crystalized eggwhites and sugar sprinkled on top. I definately do not want to wait years again to have this treat. So I will be trying the recipe at home, now that I have found one!

Here's to Chocolate Porn!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Traditional Fish Stew in Copenhagen

My Husband and a friend and I just returned from a short trip to Barcelona Spain for a political conference. Due to some crazy travel agent named Shazad (don't ask) we had to get to Spain via a one night stay over in Denmark. We got in to the very nice Copenhagen airport in the afternoon and then checked into the Hilton connected to the terminal. It is quite easy to get a train from the airport to downtown Copenhagen and so we decided to go in search of food adventures. It was a bit brisk and windy, but the city was lovely at dusk. We walked past the famous Tivoli gardens/park, currently closed until closer to Christmas... And then down through a main tourist and shopping area. Getting jet laggy, a bit cold and quite hungry We made our way to famous Nyhavn Street (pronounced New Hown), with it's canal to the sea. Found a cozy little place with friendly if a bit odd staff. And I had some fantastic fish stew. Served with cheese, crispy bread slices, and a spicy mustard sauce. We had main dishes after- but this stew is what I will really remember. Kind of a mix of flavors like a creamy bouillabaisse. Very warming on a chilly Denmark night.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Another Blog thing quiz... what kind of candy are you?

this is mine, click the link at the bottom and find out yours.


Nutty and gooey - you always satisfy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Local Roasting

There is a wonderful tiny coffee bean shop near the train station where I live in nakameguro. They have terrific beans, lots of choices and they roast them for you while you wait.

The best part is it is by no means some big commercial affair. It is a small older Japanese couple. On our last visit the Man who runs the place told us that he has been in this business all his life as his father was a coffee trader too. The wife was so funny, when we asked what kind of coffee she liked- she said Oh- I am not the coffee person it is all him, and so we said "well, what do you like to drink?" She answered quite promptly "BEER!"

when asked "What Kind?" The answer came back just as fast... "All Kinds!"

So the fella, roasted us some fine beans. He roasts and prepares the beans based on what kind of coffee making devise you are using. In our case, we are a bit old fashioned. Chris makes espresso in a little stove top brewer like This one!

So we got a nice dark roast and they poured some lovely coffee for us to try while the roasting was going on. Very nice folks. We will definitely go back there!
They even sell fair trade coffee.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sleepy update on our DINE FOR AMERICA event

Well, I wanted to post before bed to say that thanks to our guests, and thanks to the owners of the restaurant where I am director- that agreed and supported the idea. Fujimamas was successful in our efforts to host a Dine For America event, and raised about 800.00 dollars USA to send to hurricane Katrina and Rita survivors, struggling to put their lives back together in the aftermath.

Being in Japan, and with the dateline and all those time zones, we were one of the first restaurants to hold our event. Some 17,000 restaurants are signed up all across the USA and in various countries around the world. You still have time to go out and make a reservation at a local restaurant check for your favorites at Dine For America

thanks to everyone who came out to eat at fujimamas tonight, and all the encouragement. If you did not get a chance to go to an event you can still support the effort by donating directly to the Dine For America campaign page

Thursday, September 29, 2005

sign in changes

Dear Fancy Glass friends. The fancy glass has been being accosted by spambots and other automated blog ads in the comment threads. So I have changed the settings. You will need to log in and also do the little verify thing... Sorry for the extra steps. Hope you will still post.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What kind of food are you?

Took this little food quiz today, easy and fun!
You Are Thai Food

Trendy yet complex.
People seek you out - though they're not sure why.

Fancy Glass RR- goes okinawan

Fancy Glass RR Restaurant Review for ICHARIBO-

The other night, looking for something new, My husband and I decided to try a cute Okinawan specialty restaurant in the neighborhood. We went on the early side, since it was sat. and I was tired and hungry after working a brunch service in my restaurant. We have been meaning to go there because for a bout a year they had a sign outside proudly declaring "We have English Menu!"

As luck would have it, they DID have an English menu, before they wrote this new menu, which they have not translated. But no worries, we could read most of the hiragana and katakana and there were lots of pictures in the menu. We sat on the first floor at a long bar-like counter. Actually we realized quickly that this place is also famous for Okinawan Alcohol and the bar layout is because it is probably a bit more like a bar than a table service restaurant. I have not checked out the second floor yet, maybe it is a more restaurant feeling up there.

The Place was beautiful. A little dark in the décor but very city-esque. There were lots of red ceramic dragons, typical of design from Okinawa and across asia.
The dishes were all served on gorgeous pottery. And the service was friendly. At least the first girl. Later in our meal, a rather snooty bartender came on duty and he did not add anything to the experience.

We started with a paper-thin, pastry-like- crepe sort of quesadilla thing… Quite thin, pretty and would have been good, except that it was laden with eggplant. The funny thing about eggplant is that I like it pickled which is one way it is served in Japan, but I don’t really like any other way…. Cooked, baked, broiled, grilled all not to my liking. This was alright though. Of course I wouldn’t order it again but Chris enjoyed it, so that was nice for him.

We next had a Karage Chicken dish, which is kind of a marinated and fried chicken. It was served with leafy lettuce and fresh tomatoes. Very tasty.
We had a fantastic Sushi roll. With cucumber, okinawan fish, avocado… an inside out roll with tobiko (roe) on the outside. This was one of my favorite parts of the meal.

We were drinking some terrific icy cold sake, and I had a spicy dry gingerale as well.

We also enjoyed a wonderful rice/soup dish--- which I forgot to photograph. And Finally ended up with the highlight of the night. Tempura Banana with cinnamon and ice cream. It was delicious.

The only downside of the evening is that the restaurant was very bar like, and as we were sitting at the counter, and this is Japan where all bars are still very much smoking environments… we were subjected to WAY TOO MUCH smoke. It is what finally drove us away. I would have loved to stay and try some of the other drinks from Okinawa, but the smoke was really burning my eyes…

FANCY GLASS RR on a scale of 1-5 (one being low)

Atmosphere 3 – stylish and very nice though a bit dark.

Food- 4.5 excellent I really wanted to try more things, but got too full.

Service- 2 - really so-so, we were being waited on by two bartenders, and it felt really impersonal. Not really fun. The woman bartender was a bit better but the guy was kind of a jerk.

Dessert 5- I LOVE banana tempura. I used to make it at home, even when we lived back in philly years ago. This restaurant served their’s with chocolate. I preferred to prepare mine with honey drizzeled on top. But this was a great dessert.

Would I go back? I think so, but there are other places I want to explore in our neighborhood first. The smoke was a real detraction actually.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"Never doubt that small groups of thoughtful, commited citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

OCTOBER 5th 2005- the above image is from the same organization different date.
Well, I have been away from my food blog for far too long... first was out having fun, gathering content, and trying out new restaurants. then- Katrina hit the gulf coast in the USA. The thing is, I had a hard time seeing how writing about food was not a bit decadent at a time when so many americans were suffering. Even though I am living overseas I am quite active in ngo, npo and political work. After katrina, I started a new project SENDING SMILES We also had a fundraiser/ concert for Katrina Survivors. And so I have not been over here to the fancy glass much at all.

I am happy to report, however, That the restaurant I work with Fujimamas is participating in a great food industry related fundraiser Dine For America! On Oct. 5th we are joining hundreds of Restaurants who are donating some or all of their profits for the day to Katria Relief efforts. I think this is a great effort to give to communities that are suffering. Especially in the new orleans area where so many people were employed in the food and beverage industry before this terrible tragedy struck.

You can go to this page, and see if there are restaurants in your area, and please tell your favorite restaurant about this program and tell them that you would be proud to help get the word out if they chose to participate. as of this post there are almost 7,000 restaurants signed up to participate! and growing.

As a member of the food loving community I hope you will try to make sure to get out and support this effort on 10/5. I will let you all know how our event worked out.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Friday, August 26, 2005

with gratitude for a lovely birthday  Posted by Picasa

happy birthday to me!

I've had a few fun food adventures since I last wrote on 8/18... working on content now. butin the meantime I have to say a big birthday thanks. Lots of folks sent me happy wishes, and "becoming a foodie" and "hubrissonic" helped me have a wonderful birthday yesterday including a fantastic outing to a tea house with over 350 kinds of tea and unbelieveable desserts. And they helped me finish off my evening with some nice comfortable chinese food during yesterday's typhoon here in Tokyo.

"becoming a foodie" gave me a fantastic pen. and Hubris took care of wonderful art supplies for my visual journal class. Plus I got 5000 yen in gift certs to go office and art supply shopping which ranks right up there with food as one of my obsessions... strange, I know. but there you have it!

in addition in the mail I got a great restaruant journal to write in from Mom which will certainly help me record good notes for the blog. Thanks everyone!
It was a lovely birthday.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

mise en place is everything Posted by Picasa

the finished product! Posted by Picasa

home is where the wok is...

On my day off last week we had a fun but home-oriented plan. Lots of laundry and things like that. Our washer works great, but our dryer puts out lots of hot air into our little tokyo apartment. This is fine in the winter, but not ok at all in the high humidity hot temperature august days that we are now in. So we do the wash at home and walk down the street to a little coin laundry to dry our clothes. So we spent the day off largely walking back and forth from the apartment to the coin laundry, chatting, discussing politics, etc. and then reading and blogging in between treks.

As the day wore on the inevitable question of what to have for dinner came up, this in time for the start of grumbling stomachs. It was before payday, so thrift was necessary. We decided to break out the wok under the sink, that has been woefully underused this year- and go foraging for the elements of tasty homemade fried rice.

A walk to the local grocery and we chose on Pork, with sprouts, and tofu for even more protein. The requisite eggs, and green onion. My husband is great at making fried rice and so he set to work with the mise en place which is key to high heat wok cooking. You need everything ready to throw into your wok as you go along. No time for extra chopping and prep in the proverbial heat of the moment.

So you can see the photos of our purchases, prepped food, and the final result above. A great outcome besides the tasty dinner… is that He is going to come into the restaurant I work at, Fujimamas and work a little on the wok station to learn even more about high heat wok cooking. So I look forward to the wok coming out of the under the sink retirement for good!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Baja Tacos ...coming soon... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The waiting game.

When you live overseas, in a very different culture, you get kind of funny about food- which is the only way I can explain our overly enthusiastic anticipation of a certain taco stand that will be opening in our neighborhood, Nakameguro Tokyo next week. We miss some kinds of food that were easy to get in Philadelphia or elsewhere that we traveled when lived in the USA. One thing we longed for was a good taco. There are a few decent Mexican restaurants in Tokyo but nothing close to our apartment.

The story goes like this...

About a month ago, I noticed a cute little new store-front on one of the side streets we walk down to get to the train station. It had no signage, no info, but I saw them brining in a front case that could only be used for selling food. Hmmm? I thought- I wonder what this is going to be?

Another week after that, late one evening, my husband I were walking down that same street. At the little white fronted unfinished shop there were two Japanese guys working. We walked by and as we got just past the front door, one of the guys came up behind us and said in English- "Hello, We are opening a taco shop here" he was trying to say please come when we are open but our rampant enthusiasm to just those first few words made the follow up un-hearble. After we settled down he told us about his plan. When, we asked??? Hmmmm? Sometime in August (which was still some 3 weeks away...)

So as the days went past we would walk by the shop looking for signs of signage, (and tacos.) There was just a small paper sign in the window declaring that they would someday be a taco stand... Sometimes we would be walking by when they were working, so we would stop and pretend to order 2 tacos. Which would make everyone laugh(at least the first few times) and they would say in Japanese. "chotto matte kudasai" which means, please wait a little- and so it went on.

On the first of august we thought GREAT tacos!!!! But alas, only a plain white fronted store- no signs of life yet- and no tacos.

Tonight (august 13th) we finally have some good TACO news. No it wasn't opened yet, but this time, there were signs, and activity, and our Taco friend told us that there will be a mini opening party Monday (they asked us to stop by) and they will be fully opened on wed. 8/18!!!! Which I hear is a good day for tacos (course I hear everyday can be a good day for tacos)

The name of our new neighborhood taco place will be BAJA Tacos. And he is going to be selling tacos, burritos, and lots of other yummy sounding stuff. Hopefully it will be good, maybe even greatÂ… fingers are crossed. I hope I can stop by on Monday maybe bring over a nice bottle of tequila to give as a store opening gift.

We will report on our taco exploits next week. Only a few more days to go.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Breakfast- Asian Style Posted by Picasa

what a way to start a day!

Nasi Goreng is a great fried-rice breakfast dish served in Indonesia and through-out South East Asia. There are thousands of ways to prepare this dish and the only constant thing about it is Rice… after that the variations are endless. It is often served with a fried egg, grilled or fried chicken, peanut sauce and chips. The photo above is the Nasi Goreng we serve for Lunch and Weekend brunch at the Asian Fusion restaurant I help run in Tokyo. Fujimamas. This has quickly become one of our most popular dishes!

There is a pretty good basic recipe for Nasi Goreng over at Bali Vacation Villa's Website.

If you ever want to try a totally new way at looking at breakfast this is a great one- filling and fun with a unique and rich blend of flavors and textures. And if you are in Tokyo come by any day for our version of Nasi Goreng.

In Indonesian lezat = delicious, very tasty.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

crunch crunch crunch Posted by Picasa

The Cult of Pocky

Ok, first of all it is pronounced "po-key" Long O, not like hockey… etc. The name is "Pocky", after the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound Pocky makes when bit, "pokkin" (ポッキン). Pocky are a very famous snack candy from Japan. Made by Glico and sold everywhere in Japan. Often exported to other countries as well. The original Pocky arrived on the scene in 1965 and was a cookie stick dipped in chocolate… But never people to stay with just one version of anything- there are new and special flavors of Pocky showing up all the time. Pocky are extra popular with anime fans. (japanese animation fans)

Glico makes GIANT Pocky, Special Edition Pocky, and Men’s Pocky (which is a dark chocolate version of the classic original) There are cute Pocky goods, stationary, mobile phone straps, toys…

And this week, I tried two flavors of Pocky new to me… Lemon CheeseCake Flavor and Chocolate Banana. Both quite yummy. The Lemon Cheesecake really tasted like cheesecake, I was a bit surprised.

You can take two different Pocky Quizes at or
and find out what flavor you would be if you were a Pocky!
My results below! rebellious me!

You Are Reverse Pocky

Your attitude: rebellious and clever
Non-conformist, but curiously a trendsetter
With you, up is down... and it's a wild ride!

From Wikipedia
here is a list of some of the many Pocky Flavors in the world;

Chocolate (also in Giant and Little sizes) / Almond Crush (in single- and double-dipped, as well as Cafe au Lait and Anglaise) / Men's (dark chocolate) / Marble Royal Milk Tea / Giant Double Chocolate / Chocolat Orange / Pumpkin / Reverse / Caramel / Yogurt / Strawberry (also in Giant size with dried strawberry) / Almond / Coconut (Milk and Chocolate) / Mango / Banana / Choco Banana / Coconut Milk / Pudding / Milk / Cheese Cake / Pocky G (Chocolate and Berry) / Decorer - Mont Blanc Chocolate, / Strawberry Gateau, / Fraise au Chocolat / Chocolat de Caramel / Gateau Chocolat / Bananu Semi-Sucree / Mousse – (various) Chocolate, Whipped Chocolate, White Chocolate, Strawberry, Green Tea, Black Latte / Blueberry Yogurt / Extra Chocolate / Royal Milk Tea, Mild Chocolate / Azuki (a type of Japanese bean) / Special Occasion/Seasonal - 2001 (7 kinds of rainbow-colored Pocky in a box)/ Kuchidoke (pretzel sticks dipped in ganache, sold in winter) / Honey (spring) / Kiwi Mango (summer) / Regional - Grape (Nagano) / Yubari Melon (Hokkaido) / Giant Mikan (lemony, sold in Kyushu) / Powdered Tea Azuki Bean (Kyoto) / Kobe Wine (Kobe)

Order your own Giant Pocky And flavored Pocky and other japanese snacks are available at
Crunch Away!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Dinner on the way to Fujirock Festival Posted by Picasa

Bentos on the bullet train

This past weekend, me and my fella got out of the big city and headed off to the FUJIROCK FESTIVAL a three-day extravaganza of music, camping and fun. Friday we packed our new tent, our borrowed sleeping bags, and some gummy bears and headed off to the train.

For the last few years, the home of FUJIROCK has not been at mt. Fuji… but up in the mountains of Nagano, toward Niigata, at the Naeba Ski Resort. The way to get there is by the famous Japanese Shinkansen or Bullet train. We were in one of the double decker MAX version train--- Takes about 1 ½ hours.

What does all this have to do with food and the fancy glass…? Well, one of the most popular and traditional things to do when one is riding the shinkansen is to buy a delicious, popular and traditional Japanese Bento (meal in a box) from Tokyo Station- before boarding, and then eat dinner on the train. So pictured above you can see our meal that started off our great mini vacation weekend.

A note about other FUJIROCK related food… A friend of ours who went to the festival last year was bemoaning the bad and expensive food choices. He told us we should bring a lot of our own food, and I was quite worried about it BUT… Things must have changed a lot since last year cause we found the food at FUJIROCK to be quite good indeed. And Inexpensive.

They had food booths featuring dishes from all over the world, Africa, China, Thailand, America, Britain, France, Spain, --- and most of the best stuff was being offered in booths by independent Restaurant owners. There was the corporate food area, bad pizza and other rock concert fare… but there was also – no lie- a small homemade pizza co. booth where they had a real wood burning pizza oven, that they had brought up the mountain! And it was incredible pizza, some of the best I have had since coming to Japan 9 years ago. Everything was about 500 yen per person! Beer, food, sake, softdrinks, even our Sunday morning British Breakfast of fried eggs, sausages, bread, and bacon. 500 yen!

I didn’t take many pictures of the food as it was raining on us off and on through most of the three days- we had so much fun anyway but my camera stayed nice a dry in a plastic bag in my backpack most of the time. I do have a few shots of music etc. I may put these up on one of my other blogspot areas.

In the meantime, the Bento above featured a nice piece of salmon, steamed rice, tamago yaki, (sweet cooked egg) spinach, seaweed, potatoes, and tempura veggies. YUM! And all for about 8 dollars- which in Japan is good!

I credit our fun and tasty bento with getting our weekend off to such a good start.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

the snail- the emblem of "slow food" Posted by Picasa

political food

I am a big believer in Slow Food. Mostly my food writing is upbeat, but today I found a passage on the slow food usa website that reminded me how serious and important the politics of food and the environment really is...

A sober thought, and a reason why we should all be concerned about food and the environment, and recognize that they are intertwined-

From - Carlo Petrini
Speech at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Conference

This is how I was convinced to become an environmentalist: I went to eat in a small restaurant in my own native territory near Turin. I had grilled sweet red peppers with olive oil and garlic, a specialty o f the Piedmont region. I tasted it, and there was something wrong with it. They just weren't that good. I asked, "Where do these peppers come from?" They said "Oh, they're from Holland." They were grown hydroponically. They were all identical. There were 32 to a box, not 31, not 33. "And they cost less than ours," the cook was proud to say. "And they last longer than ours." But of course, there was no pleasure of taste. And so I asked the farmers around this restaurant, "Hey, where are those local peppers you used to have around here?" And they said, "Well we just don't grow them anymore because we can't make money on them." And I said, "Well, inside those hot houses where you used to have red peppers, what do you have now?" And they said, " Tulip bulbs!"

And you may laugh, but in your hometown this is happening everyday. Look what you've got on your plate, and you'll see your red peppers come f rom Holland too. And tourists come to Piedmont because they are told there are famous red peppers. And this is the great cheat. There is cheating every day on our plates. There is deceit. we must go back to local agriculture, and go back to giving pride to these farmers, having a human rapport with these farmers.

Full speech at Slow Food USA
Make sure you care, make sure you have a relationship with where and who your food comes from. If each one of us starts to make more deliberate choices then we can and will reverse the trend o f too fast- too impersonal- before it is too late…


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My friend Terri and author, Neil Gaiman Posted by Picasa

Visiting VIPs

Over the years at Fujimamas (the restaurant I work at)we have had some pretty cool folks stop in. And of course we believe that all our guests are VIPS… but a few days ago we had a great little visit from Sci-fi Fantasy Author Neil Gaiman… one of my best friends and political compatriot, Terri, is a big fan of Mr. Gaiman’s and when she found out he was going to be in Tokyo on a short stop over- she wrote to his assistant and offered to show him some sights in the city.

Sure enough, it all worked out, And Terri, being the terrific friend that she is, and being almost as proud of Fujimamas as I am, brought him over for an afternoon original ginger lemonade in our café area.

Neil wanted sushi for dinner, which is not our specialty so after chatting with them a bit I sent them off to see some of the famous cos-play kids at Harajuku station and then off to a popular sushi and Japanese traditional food spot that is fun for visitors. I think they enjoyed it, though over on Neil's blog he admits to being back to the hotel by 8:30! Not a late night for sure, but then this layover in Tokyo came at the end of a “round the world ticket” so he certainly deserved the rest.

The best vip’s I have met in the restaurant biz- are “real” people who have their heads screwed on right and who have not let fame or success get the better of them. Neil was like that. Easy going, easy to talk to and quite charming.

Thanks for coming by Neil. Next time you have bring the family and autograph something for us.

Thanks for bringing him by Terri- you know we love you!

By the way, you can read about the tasty Ginger lemonade that they had, in my blog may 2005 archives about three quarters of the way down the page at….
Fancy Glass in May

Monday, July 25, 2005

Momo is Japanese for Peach Posted by Picasa

Peaches in the Summertime

One of my favorite things about summer in Japan is the peaches. These big pinkish fruits are not at all like the Georgia peaches and local North East Peaches I knew in America. The US Peaches are great for baking and eating, these Japanese peaches are not good for baking at all- but they are extremely delicious. White and pink flesh inside, much more delicate taste and so much juice. Eating one guarantees a lovely tasty mess… juice dripping down your arms, much more like the experience of eating really juicy watermelon.

Peaches are famous in Japan, from the legend of Momo-Taro the peach boy to the expensive individually wrapped peaches in the department store food boutiques, to Japanese peach tattoo icons… Our friend aaron even got obsessed with Peach juice from vending machines while he was over here visting us.

Peaches are available in Japan only from beginning/mid July to the end of August. So you have at best 6-8 weeks of peach enjoyment time. This makes me love them even more in a way as it makes them a bit more special. The photos above are of a fairly small whole peach, some can be bigger than large fuji apples… and a cut peach that we are enjoying today, on My husband’s birthday.

I would have to say, that Japanese peaches are hands down my favorite seasonal fruit in Japan.

Some interesting links
For any true science geeks…. Japanese Peach-genome mapping

A great blog post about peaches from “she who eats…"

A little info and photo on Peaches from Nagano

If you ever get a chance to try these wonderful summer treats, I highly reccommend them!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Harry and A Hogwarts favorite... Trifle Posted by Picasa

Harry Potter a celebration in Food

While suffering from this yucky summer cold, I bought and too quickly finished the latest Harry Potter Book #6 in the series. It was wonderful and ended too quickly for me, now the long wait begins for the final book.

One of the richest things about Harry Potter books is the real world sensory touches JK Rowling brings to her stories. This extra attention to detail is what really brings Harry's world to life. And one of my long time favorite parts of that sensory world she has created- is the food.

Rowling uses food for celebration in the many feasts at Hogwarts, to show family relationships (as we see at the Dursleys' where Harry is punished with no meals or cold tinned soup), passage of time and structure to the days that pass, and characters emotional states are often portrayed through food- Like Harry or Ron being too nervous to eat before a quidditch match. Or comfort food- like chocolate being a good remedy food after an encounter with a Dementor.

Rowling also gives her world richness by the sheer variety of foods and cultural texture by some of the very "British offerings" she presents.

A list of some of the foods that HP characters consume, or create;

Yorkshire pudding, beef casserole, sprouts, Pumpkin juice, Roast beef, roast chicken, fried sausages, stew, casserole, tripe, pork chops, shepherd's pie, steak, Cornish pasties, lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, steak and kidney pudding, steak and kidney pie, black pudding, sandwiches (chicken and ham),bread, marshmallows and crumpets (Harry and Ron roast them over the Common room fire during the Christmas holidays), baked pumpkin, roast potatoes, jacket potatoes, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, chips, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, custard tart, mint humbugs, ice cream, apple pies, treacle tart, spotted dick, chocolate eclairs, chocolate gateau, jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, jelly, and rice pudding.
Breakfast - Porridge, rolls, orange juice, kippers, eggs and bacon, toast, buttered toast with jam, corn flakes.

Christmas treats:
turkey, chipolatas, thick rich gravy, cranberry sauce, turkey, Christmas pudding, eggnogg, crumpets, more trifle, and Christmas cake. And when it gets really cold in the winter, the House Elves supply teachers and students with warming stews and savoury puddings.

In Diagon Alley/ Florian Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, with a wide range of differently flavoured ice creams and sundaes (among them peanut butter, coconut, strawberry with and without chopped nuts)

The lunch trolley on the train and Honeydukes' sweet shop offer the following, mouth-watering articles:
Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, chocolate frogs, pumpkin pasties, cauldron cakes, Liquorice Wands, Pepper Imps, chocolate balls full of strawberry mousse and clotted cream, Sugar Quills, tooth flossing string mints, Jelly Slugs, nougat, coconut ice, toffees, Fizzing Whizbees, ice mice, peppermint toads, blood flavoured lollipops, Cockroach Cluster, fudge flies, Acid Pops, sherbet balls, pumpkin tart and ice creams and sundaes of various flavours.

At the Three Broomsticks, Butterbeer, Red Currant Rum, Gillywater, cherry syrup and soda with ice and umbrella and mulled mead.
And then there is of course tea

Hagrid cooks making a strange assortment of food including treacle fudge, rock cakes and bath buns, stoat sandwiches or his alleged beef casserole (containing a large talon)

As an American I never really had much exposure to trifle and the name of it always catches my eye when I read Harry Potter- they seem to have trifle and treacle tart quite often.

Here is a recipe for a classic "Proper Trifle" originally from the Sundays at the moosewood cookbook.

A Proper Trifle

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar (superfine or granulated)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Cake/Fruit layer:
5 cups pound cake pieces
or sponge cake pieces
raspberry jam
1/8 to 1/4 cup sherry
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
OR blackberries
1 large banana

1/2 pint heavy cream -- whipped
1/2 cup slivered almonds -- lightly toasted

To make the custard, heat the cream in a small saucepan, taking care that it does not scorch. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. When the cream is hot, pour it into the bowl with the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Return the custard to the saucepan and stir constantly on low heat until thickened, but do not let it boil.
Remove it from the heat and cool.

To assemble the trifle, spread the pieces of cake with a very thin layer of jam. Put the pieces in a large bowl. (Clear glass or crystal is traditional.) Sprinkle the sherry and berries over the cake and stir.

Don't bother to thaw frozen berries; there's less mess if they're frozen. Peel and thinly slice the banana. Stir it in with the cake and berries. Drizzle the custard over the top. Don't expect to cover and completely encase the cake and fruit mix.
Spread the whipped cream over the trifle. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.

From: "Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant"
This recipe was originally posted in Diana's Kitchen

You can read a whole essay about use of food in the Harry Potter series and some thoughts on the unhealthy eating habits of wizards at HP Lexicon

You can also see some great ideas for having a Harry Potter inspired party or tea at
I Village UK or

and don't forget the Trifle

Thursday, July 21, 2005

my favorite food flick of all time...  Posted by Picasa

Favorite food movies…

I have a summer cold right now, so food adventures of late have consisted of mango juice, soup and toast. So since I’ve been resting at home watching videos- it looks like a good time to write something about food films.

I have four favorites, the first three are definitely food films, the last one has some great food elements but perhaps not everyone would classify it as a food flick.

The first and by far the best is the film Big Night, made in 1996 directed by Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci. This movie was amazing, and the last 10 minutes never fail to make me crave a simple omelet. This is a fantastic homage to the chef as artist. And it is funny, sad, and beautiful.

The second favorite on my list is considered the penultimate food film Babette’s Feast.
This is a small story, and one of the most gorgeous food movies ever made. Made in 1987 in denmark. It is simple, deep and rich.

Number 3 is another foreign film- Eat Drink Man Woman (Yin shi nan nu in Chinese) This is about romance, family and yes food. It cannot be described in simple terms but just the opening credit sequence is one of the best pieces of food film footage I have ever seen. This one is a must see if you have not yet seen it. Directed and written by Ang Lee.

And the fourth is a small Canadian film Double Happiness- starring Sandra Oh. This is not technically a food film, but the sweet buns for Dad Li are one of the most memorable parts of this film to me and comes to represent the relationship between father and daughter, between generations and across cultures.

This is the top four for me… And then tonight I watched Super Size Me – which is a food film that does NOT celebrate food- love of life- and happiness. It documents a man eating nothing but MacDonald’s for 30 days… everything that is not about a celebration of food… We need to come back from this kind of insanity… food should be a part of Life’s celebration and we are instead becoming a part/product of a culture of fast food that is killing us, and our kids.

The best thing about food films – good ones- is that it reminds us that food can feed our souls, bring us together, share love and kindness with our families and friends. And a socially conscious film like Super Size Me Can remind us that we have the power as consumers to make choices… food that brings us together, Slow Food that supports local communities and traditions and makes us happy and healthy or …. ????? I know what my choice is.

I would love to hear comments and reccomendations of other food films... share anyone?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Cherries- deep dark and lucious Posted by Picasa