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

Sunday, May 29, 2005

writing at a cafe, a favorite pastime Posted by Hello

the perfect office

One of my favorite things to do on days off is go to cafes and there are many many cafes in Tokyo so I get lots of opportunities. I think that the best office in the world, is an outside table at a cute café with loads of character. I enjoy writing there, working, thinking, people watching or all of the above at the same time. Even better if the café is wi-fi and I can break out the laptop and surf.

So this past week on my day off I spent an hour or so chilling out a non-descript but nice café in daikanyama. I had a writing assignment to do for my creative writing class, and the café, and the tea certainly helped me complete it. The café was only so-so But I did have fun people watching and writing.

I bought a local book recently highlighting interesting cafes around the city. Lots of great pictures. I can’t read the Japanese so one of the women that works with me translated the addresses for me. My new adventure will be to work my way through the book and check out the many cute cafes that are featured. They break them down in sections like, cafes for friends, cafés for lovers, night life cafes…. Etc. should be a fun task.

In the meantime I did some café researching on the internet.
You can start to read all kinds of café info from around the world at

Some great café history at

If you’ve had a dream of starting your own café, (this is still one possibility I am considering in my quest for my own restaurant) check out… Start and Run a Coffee Bar

And there is some great online advice for running your café at
How to Run a Frugal, Interesting, and Successful Cafe

finally there is some pretty interesting stuff, history and café culture not to mention haiku over at

more on my list of favorite cafes later.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Oreo Cookie Mousse Posted by Hello

Oreo Memories

It has been to busy to go out much these days, So all my food adventures have been from the restaurant I work in! today’s feature is our new dessert, the Frozen Oreo Cookie Mousse. This delicious concoction is more like a nougatine than a mousse, but so delicious nonetheless. The Japanese traditionally do not like desserts as sweet as a lot of folks in America, preferring a more European tradition of richness without the sweetness being the main component. This dessert is sinfully rich but the sweetness is subtle and balanced.

I love the plating on this one. I hear there are whole courses just on presentation in many cooking and pastry schools. This Book on plated desserts is one I have been eyeing for a while on I think the colors and shapes on our oreo dessert above, are very appealing. I shared this one with my best friend and it was more than enough to share. The raspberry sauce and crumble cookie dust on the plate were so nice that if you were at home instead of in a restaurant you would surely be tempted to lick the plate. Which according to this site is a great way to get out of a date you are not enjoying.

Oreo cookies have been used in lots of dessert recipes in recent years. offer lots of reader submitted examples.

And on the Oreo cookie web site you can send cookie e-cards, and even compete in a jingle contest. And of course the Oreo Cookie Personality Quiz.
Oreo Memories

one of my favorite uses of the Oreo was in Politics. At true the oreo is used to explain the national budget!

Some Oreo Trivia!
Oreo’s debuted in 1912
Nabisco stands for The National Biscuit Company and started in 1898 as several baking companies merged
The oreo of today is very similar to the original cookie of 1912
Over 362 billion Oreos have been sold since the cookie was first made

Time to go get some milk and cookies!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

chiang mai thai  Posted by Hello

Fancy Glass Friday 5.20.05 / Chiang Mai-tai

This gorgeous fancy glass drink is based on the classic Mai Tai.

The original Mai Tai was created by Victor J. Bergeron in 1944 by combining 2 ounces of 17-year-old J. Wray Nephew rum with juice from one fresh lime, 1/2 ounce each of Holland DeKuyper Orange Curacao and French Garnier Orgeat, and 1/4 ounce Rock Candy Syrup. The mixture is hand shaken and poured over shaved ice with a fresh mint garnish and 1/2 the lime rind.

Bergeron used the recipe in his Trader Vic's starting in 1948, and later introduced the Mai Tai to Hawaii in 1953 in the Royal Hawaiian, Moana and Surfrider Hotels.

*this info from OAC UCI EDU

Since the restaurant I work in is Asian fusion, we made ours the “Chiang Mai Thai.”
A cute nod to that famous northern city in Thailand. I visited Chiang Mai in the year 2000 a great trip. Even took my mom on an elephant ride in the jungle at a conservation center. Saw glorious pottery, ate amazing food. My husband went to a thai cooking class and market tour, something I want to do on the next trip. Chiang Mai is far from the tourism and sex trade of Bangkok and the beaches of Phuket. It has a very rich arts culture and a slower pace of life. The Chiang Mai Night market is also not to be missed.

So on fancy glass Friday I raise a Chiang Mai Thai and remember a great trip to Thailand and wonder when I will get back there? We are hoping for a trip sometime in the next year. It will be great material for more fancy glass writing I am sure!

A classic Mai Tai Recipe
1 oz. Light Rum
1 oz. Demerara Rum (Lemon Hart 86)
1 oz. Orange Curacao (Bols)
Dash French Orgeat Syrup
Dash Rock Candy Syrup
Juice of half a Lime
1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
Orange Juice

Fill large glass with ingredients, then add crushed ice and orange juice. Garnish with mint leaves and perhaps fruit on a skewer.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

a lunch special ready for construction... Posted by Hello

Make your own wraps

We have a great lunch special this week at Fujimamas! A kind of Greek-Make-your-own wrap sandwich. Fujimamas really does wonderful lunch specials. And always something new and fun. This week you get a plate of tortillas, grilled lamb, yoghurt and spinach sauce, and some rainbow coleslaw, plus a couple of juicy slices of tomato. Then all you do is stuff and roll and you have yourself a great greek homemade wrap.

The hard thing about the lunch specials here is they only run for a week and they repeat rarely, so I end up wanting to eat them more than once, and still wanting something different for lunch at the same time. This one is pretty tasty. I had it twice since last week. (our specials run from thurs. to wed.) Our lunch ranges from 1000-1500 yen (10-15$) and includes soup, salad and a drink. We also have daily lunch curry sets. And at least twice a month we have vegetarian specials too. It is a pretty great lunch at affordable prices- for Tokyo anyway.

6-3-2 Jingumae
Shibuya Tokyo

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A dumpling dinner! RR below Posted by Hello

Fancy Glass RR for CHA CA POO

Restaurant Review;

We finally tried an adorable little dumpling place near our apartment that opened late last year. Modern warm design, with a lovely Japanese maple tree out front, and a great menu of steamed and fried Chinese dumplings, as well as steamed buns, salads, and a good drinks menu. We did not go to this one for a long time because we were not sure about figuring out the menu… I can read Japanese menus ok, but sometimes if they are done in calligraphy font it is quite hard. The menu on display outside of this Nakameguro restaurant was in that kind of script font, but finally today, we decided to give it a try anyway.

After we sat down at the large communal table, Much to my surprise the server came and asked us if we wanted to see the English menu! That of course made things much, much easier. I can speak fairly decent Japanese, but the writing and reading is pretty daunting. Anyway with the English menu in front of us we decided to try a nice sample. We had steamed shrimp dumplings, steamed tomato dumplings, fried Chinese meat dumplings, a char sui pork omelet, and a steamed Chinese bun filled with wonderful simmered pork meat.

We washed it all down with Japan’s King of Beers, KIRIN, and a Lemon Chu Hi, which is a drink made of Sho chu, and lemon.

I am thrilled that we finally tried Cha Ca Poo and I can’t wait to go back and try more things. Since it is less than 5 mins. From my place, I am sure it will go on the frequent list.

About the picture above. From the top left, clockwise. Fried Dumplings, Steamed Chinese bun with pork, steamed shrimp dumplings, and an exterior photo.

Cha Ca Poo
Meguro Ku 1-15-8
Tokyo 153-0051

Atmosphere 4.5 excellent, warm and friendly but with clean design, not clutter!

Food 5 These are just perfect dumplings and steamed buns. I can think of no need for improvement.

Service 2.5 it was fine, they were nice, but the staff spent more time talking to each other than the guests… I know it was a Monday night and slow, but that is a good time to get to know your customers and try to work to make sure they become regular guests! Definitely could improve on the staff front.

Dessert- NA had cookies and tea again at home.

I will definitely go back and hope to take some friends as well!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

crispy spicy fried egg, onions, chilis and chang beer Posted by Hello

Fancy Glass RR Kaffir Lime, Tokyo Japan

RR (restaurant review) Last night, we went out to one of our local small places near to the restaurant I work in. Kaffir Lime is a very good, small, busy thai restaurant. About 25-30 seats. Almost everyone on staff, here at this friendly place, is from Thailand originally. Certainly all of the kitchen staff are Thai. The dishes are small, well seasoned and wonderful. Really makes you feel like you are in traveling in south-east Asia. One of my favorite things about thai food is that, though often quite spicy it is not the kind of dominating spice that you find in Hot chili sauce etc. It is spicy without killing the other flavors in the dish.

We started out with one of our favorite dishes, pictured above. It is a crispy-spicy fried egg, in a great sauce, with chilis and nan pla. We enjoyed this with Thai sticky rice. We also had a tasty garlic and pork dish as well as a steamed fish with a fantastic lemongrass and mushroom sauce. We washed it all down with Chang Beer from Thailand with the white elephant label. (chang means elephant in Thai)

Go here for a great page of Thai food recipes including how to make sticky rice!

REVIEW (1-5 points 1 being lousy 5 being great!)

Atmosphere- 4.5 This place is practically perfect. Fun Thai movie posters on the walls, warm rich wood interior. Tin cups, baskets and silverware imported from Thailand. The only thing that stops this from being a 10 is that I wish it were not quite so cramped. I also love the bright orange t-shirt uniforms that brighten up the whole space.

Food 4.5 We have always loved the food here! So yummy. The steamed fish was the only new thing we tried this time. And it certainly did not disappoint. Loved the fried egg dish, as always.

Service 4.5 warm, friendly, and fast. Couldn’t ask for much more. The only thing I would change is that the check on the table while eating always seems an imposition to me.

Dessert NA Had dessert back home, cookies and tea… next time maybe we will try the restaurant dessert.

Kaffir Lime
Jingumae 6-1-5.
Open noon-3, 5:30- 10pm (LO). Closed Sun. lunch, Mondays.

Friday, May 13, 2005

fancy glass friday cosmopolitan fun- great cosmo from my bartender Nathan! Posted by Hello

Fancy glass Friday 05.13.05

The Ubiquitous Cosmopolitan…
Ok, ok, I know cosmopolitans are everywhere, they are as common as the Singapore sling was in the 30’s and the martini in the 50’s … but just cause something hits it big, does not mean you should disregard it outright. I refuse to kick the cosmo to the curb just because of the over popularity induced by those broads on "Sex in the City." Which, according to some sources, was the start of the recent cosmo-craze.

Cosmopolitans are fun, and they taste good. Ours, from Fujimamas, pictured above is quite festive. It is a great way to kick back, the taste is sweet and sour in just the right ratio. And very refreshing. Best point is, they ALWAYS come in a fancy glass!

Cosmopolitans are so popular now that I even found cosmopolitan jelly beans in this new line of sweets called “cool beans.” And believe it or not-, this product is already available in Tokyo! Saw them last week at the foreign import supermarket called National Azabu. I Will have to give them a try sometime soon, and the mojito ones maybe too!

Cosmo history - (From the cool beans site) this to sum up…

“cosmopolitan history ~ The story of the Cosmopolitan’s origin is a mystery, however, it was probably NOT first concocted at a biker bar in rural Nebraska. The rest is left to your imagination, and to your favorite cocktail shaker..”

1 1/2 oz. vodka (the better the vodka the better!)
1/2 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
Splash of lime juice & cranberry juice
Shake with ice,
Serve up in a chilled Cocktail glass, Garnish with lime.
(in our case a twist!)

those special little places that stay in your heart forever... Posted by Hello

Restaurant: Carman's Country Kitchen

Well, my idea was to reminisce and think about great food in Philadelphia - the place I last called home in the USA. One of my favorite places for breakfast, was Carman's - I told some friends that I wanted to write about it and my best friend back home sent me a link of a story that low and behold just came out about this terrific, unique, place.

Restaurant: Carman's Country Kitchen
you do need to sign up to get an account on the Philly page but the story is good and really sums up Carmen's style.
great little view of Carman's

Actually there is a place that is similar here in Tokyo... though it is a dinner place not breakfast. Bourbon street in Roppongi.
a good link about Bouron street and it's eccentric owner Sohan!
Bourbon Street Review
Bourbon Street homepage

What makes both these places special to me, is they are the dreams become reality of professional food people who love their place, love food and love what they do, and you can feel it in everything they serve! I highly recommend if any of you world travelers are in Philly Or Tokyo to make these two spots, Must visits... They are small places, special gems that you will never forget.

I would love it if any readers here would post about similar spots they have been to so I can add them to my must visit list. You know, tiny 10 seater joints that are all about the owner's passion for life. And their skill at making meals you will never forget.

I wish I could go to carmen's this weekend for breakfast... hope all the "varying relevancy" folks out there will go for me and comment here about it... in the meantime, I think after payday I will make a reservation to go see Sohan and relax over some great Cajun food.

taste and see for yourself at;

Carmen's Country Kitchen
1301 South 11th (at Wharton)
Bourbon Street
7-8-16 Roppongi, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 106-0032
Tel: (03) 3478-8473

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

French Style Macaroons From Peltier Posted by Hello

Curious about Macaroons.

I had always seen French Macaroons in high end Francophile shops here in Tokyo… and wondered about them. They looked so cute and delicate. But a little fancy for me. I had only ever seen the clunkier coconut variety back in the states. There is really no comparison. After reading the post about lily of the valley macaroons in Paris on May Day over at the excellent and famous Moveable Feast chef/food blog - though I could resist no longer.

It just so happened that around the corner from the restaurant I work at is a Peltier, a chocolate and dessert cafe and low and behold the other day I noticed that their new gorgeous window display was featuring Macaroons. Someday maybe I will get to go to the original Peltier in Paris
But for now I decided to buy a sample box of macaroons and see for my self (or rather – taste for myself) This was also a means of making me feel better about my lost fancy chocolate from my post at the end of last month. I had eaten two of my six pieces of fantastic chocolate- leaving the rest in the 2nd floor bar refrigerator- and they gotten eaten by other folks from my staff! Gasp!

So tonight, The Madeline Café vendor was by my house so I bought a cappuccino and I broke out my cute little box of macaroons to give them a try. I decided to start with the pale yellow one, which turned out to be, predictably, Citrus. It was delightful. Quite sweet, so even though it is small. Eating these one by one will be fine over the next few days, as long as there is no freshness issue. The cake/cookie outside was kind of like a tea-cake and inside there was a delicious sweet-sour citrus cream filling. Very nice.

I think I will try one of the two brown-ish ones next. I believe one is coffee flavored and one chocolate.

This is from a free foreign magazine in Japan "Metropolis"- on the re-opening of Peltier in my work neighborhood.

Peltier reopened this October with a snazzy yet oddly relaxing saffron, white and gold interior, and a new menu from Taste Director Philippe Conticine. Besides the assorted meringues, mousses and tarts, there are more than 20 varieties of bonbons, including the India, a blend of two chocolates with an Earl Gray aroma; the Rocher Coriande, with lemon and coriander; and the Sous Bois, with a strawberry and pistachio ganache. Two bonbons cost ¥500, four cost ¥1,000, and 12 cost ¥3,000. An Orria bag with chocolate-covered almond and orange peel goes for ¥900. Peltier, which also has a café, is tucked between the ASBEE shoe store and Kiddy Land on Omotesando. Peltier's main shop is in Paris.

Peltier Tokyo
6-2-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3499-4791. Open daily 11am-9pm. Nearest stn: Meijijingumae.

Wine Dinner Dessert!  Posted by Hello

wine dinner revisited

It’s all about dessert.
Cinnamon-Almond Panna Cotta with Tankan Sauce – this was the dessert lovingly prepared for our last wine dinner, at fujimamas- of oregon wineries that I wrote about two weeks ago. It was served with a luscious dessert wine from Elk Cove Vineyards called Ultima Riesling. Which is made in an ice wine style.

Notes on the wine from the winery say…
"The Riesling Ultima is a brilliant pale gold hue, only hinting at what is to come. It shows a lively and luscious mouthfeel with robust characteristics of apricot and honey. A slight presence of botrytis is distinguished on the persistent finish. While descriptors such as decadent and indulgent certainly apply, the Ultimas are always kept in balance with crisp acidity and freshness. Historically these wines only grow in beauty with age. Potential for this wine with cool cellaring is up to twenty years."

The Panacotta was a lovely dessert, and most importantly it was a perfect pairing with the wine. One of our pastry chef’s Michael, from Scotland was the creator of this one, and the other team of chefs made sure it got to the table in all it’s loveliness for our dinner. Ironically Michael did not get to work the dinner that night, so he did not get to see the guest reactions. But they really did all LOVE it. I know I did.

The panacotta was creamy and the flavors alusive… pretty complex for a simple looking dish. The citrus topping and sauce brought out all the right fruit notes and sweet notes in the wine, also bringing out the acidity. It was a perfect spring dessert.

It looks like our next wine dinner might be in August, which is a very HOT month in japan, so I am not sure what the chef will come up with but I do know it will be good. Our visiting wine maker will probably be the "Kim" from Kim Crawford Winery in New Zealand.

Monday, May 09, 2005

stuffed chicken wings! at KUPU KUPU/ Yum.  Posted by Hello

Fancy Glass RR

restaurant Review- KUPU KUPU
Takadanobaba, 2-13-9 TEL&FAX 03‐3208-5290

Time for another restaurant review on the fancy glass… Chris and I went out to meet a new friend of his Sean. Sean’s mom MaryEllen is visiting him here in Japan and so he organized a little party for her at a restaurant in Takadanobaba Tokyo. (an interesting little student area near Waseda University) MaryEllen is the proprietor of a B&B in Vermont The Heatherstone and a real foodie from way back. It was a pleasure to meet her. Our thanks to Sean for setting up the event.

The restaurant was Kupu Kupu website is only in Japanese. sorry / Less than 20 seats. Cute little place. Interior was warm though a bit nondescript. The photos show my favorite dish of the night. It was Chicken Wings, stuffed with ground chicken, green onions and glass noodles. And served with a hot and sweet sauce. Very tasty. Sean told us that the lady who runs the place, She was an interesting artsy looking older Japanese woman, Used to have people over to her home all the time for parties, and finally decided to make a business of it. There was a charming mix of plates and serving dishes. The popcorn on the tables as bar snacks in the beginning seemed a bit incongruous, though I enjoyed eating the popcorn anyway.

Our fellow dinner companions were and interesting bunch. The eel guy, with a phd and a book to his credit all about pacific sea eels…A nice Japanese family with a child star daughter who was 6, and very precocious…. A ad sales guy…. And one of my old customers Kaori, from my former restaurant job as General Manager of Roti. I did not know she was going to be there or that she knew Sean… small world.

Dinner was a sesame salad, an interesting tuna, avocado and tomato dish that did not photograph well, bread and a chutney, and the forementioned chicken wings.

From 1-5
Atomosphere 2.5 – not unattractive but really nondescript. The owner is so interesting it would be great if she would let some of that show in the interior.

Food 3.5 very tasty. I would like to go back and try the rest of the menu ala carte, as thjs was preordered. It would be nice to try more of her food.

Dessert- We didn’t have any I am afraid.

Service 3.5 Very good, nice owner chef lady. Could have been a bit more interaction. But quite nice

Would I go again. yes, I don't know if I would make a special trip to that area of town to go, but when I am in Takadanobaba again, I would certainly go back. I would like to try their ala carte menu.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

deviled eggs for hubby Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 07, 2005

devil made me do it...

It’s Egg-citing,
I got a cute book for my hubby and I for Christmas this year. Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy You see we both love deviled eggs, him especially. And I love making them… it’s like making a little present and getting to eat it too. So I thought a book like this might give me some inspiration and I might learn some new tricks.

Yesterday, during spring cleaning… I took the last 5 eggs from my 10 egg pack, (In Japan eggs are Not in dozens as they are base 10 metric here) and made some deviled eggs. I didn’t yet try the recipes from the book yet, but did a classic variation on my own normal recipe. I did however read the beginning of the book that gives a tried and true way to hard boil. Everyone has their own way, I know. But according to the American egg board….

You need to;
Put your eggs in the saucepan/ pot
add in cold water till about 1 inch over the top of the eggs
bring the eggs/ water to a boil and just as they start to boil turn off the heat, and cover the pot and wait for 15 minutes.
Then drain, and cool
Peel and devil.
technique with pictures

This makes the yolks light and fluffy, and very yellow- without the sulfur green. Very easy and nice to devil. I tried it and it really did work!

My eggs were deviled this time with mayonnaise, mustard powder, and a very nice grainy brown mustard. Plus sea salt and ground red and black pepper corns that I brought back from my last trip to spain.

Next time I will branch out and try some of the more unusal “sassy” recipes- like-
Spring time herb delights (made with various fresh herbs)
Blue Devils (have bacon and blue cheese)
And Satan’s skins- (pickled jalapenos, cheddar and chives)

This will be a fun summer picnic cookbook adventure.
And yes, my hubby has been enjoying the eggs. Time to go get another 10-pack! I think for my next book purchase on the topic of eggs I will try, The Good Egg: More Than 200 Fresh Approaches from Soup to Dessert

If you haven’t had enough egg-citement… you can find out some fascinating egg facts here too!

Friday, May 06, 2005

yummy yummy ginger lemonade- it is as refreshing as it looks. Posted by Hello

Fancy Glass Friday

Homebrewed Ginger Lemonade

Fancy Glass Fridays. This week I am kicking off two regular features. One was Special-Tea Tuesday (first tues) of the month, to talk all about one of my great passions- TEA

And Every Friday I am going to do FANCY GLASS FRIDAY!

What is all this fancy glass stuff you say? Well, I believe that in our efforts to enjoy our lives, revel in pleasures and really enjoy food and drink we should through caution to the wind! I got this idea from my mother who has a gorgeous set of limoge china- Cute with these little pink flowers. She doesn’t pack it away in a special box in the attic or in the diningroom cupboard… she uses it. Everyday! Toast, soup, regular stuff all dressed up in Limoge. And why not?! Why save something pretty that you love for only a few rare occasions. Why not celebrate the everyday. So when I was in college I started to enjoy silly stuff like Pepsi in a wine glass… Milk in cut crystal with my cookies. And I swear far from making the special become mundane, it makes the everyday a little more special. And thus the fancy glass was born.

Now on fancy glass Fridays, I am going to talk about drinks! Wine, Fun Cocktails, and even some everyday stuff all dressed up for Fancy Glass.

And to launch FGF- Homebrewed Ginger Lemonade and some musings about ginger beer. After a long time of having the same Mocktails (or non-alcholol Cocktails) on our menu at fujimamas… my boss took the bull by the horns and gave the menu some brand new items! One of my new favorites is our Chef’s new recipe for Homebrewed Ginger Lemonade. This drink is spicy from a secret ginger syrup concocted back in our kitchen. And it is fresh and citrusy from a lemon juice base made in the bar. Add a little soda water and garnish with a lemon and you have something everyday- sassed up a bit and made special. The ginger really adds some zing! This reminds me, We also have a brand new ginger liquer in the bar… I will write about that and the shiso martini soon.

Now about ginger beer. I love it- but it is hard to find, and lots of folks think it is too strong a flavor to dry in the back of their throats. I am looking high and low for good ginger beer in Japan. But here are some good ginger beers listed on this one stop shop for soft drinks from everywhere. Soda Pop Stop

If you have never given ginger beer a spin- try it. Everything is worth trying once. And while you are at it, don’t forget to try it in a Fancy Glass.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Light lunch at home.
Working at home today. Doing some basic stuff on web menus for the catering company, as well as catching up on some other outstanding projects. Also took an hour break to clean up my bookshelves and get ready for a book sale fundraiser in June…

So while all that is going on, of course I got a bit hungry. Late last year, a cute little bakery called Naif opened up around the corner from me. So today instead of stressing over going out for food, or what to make or eat- I grabbed a wonderful mini loaf of olive and sweet roasted pepper bread. This with a jar of feta cheese and a dipping bowl of delicious olive oil hand carried from Greece and given to me by our Shinnyo-en Buddhist monk friend Tony- who's family grows olives and makes olive oil. I sprinkled the oil with a little coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and I had the makings of a great, little, light lunch.

The bread was a little softer crust than I normally like, but quite tasty. The sweet peppers were perfect. And the fantastic 'tony-olive-oil' brought out all of the flavors perfectly! I was going to save some for my hubby, but looks like I will need to go get more for him later.
 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

healthy lunch Posted by Hello

chicken, bok choy and spicy sesame noodles

Another favorite dish…
At the restaurant I work in, on the lunch menu, there is a fabulous dish. Spicy Sesame noodles with bok choy. This is under a special spa section of the menu. Our chef has done a lot of consulting and menu creation for Spa Cuisine, First back as the executive chef of the Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa in California. Now he is consulting with a weight loss consultancy group, and several spas in Japan, including one luxury spa and resort in Okinawa.

One of the fun things that came out of this consulting work is that we have several of the dishes on our lunch menu at the restaurant. The Sesame Noodle dish is one of my favorites. (of course I have so many favorites that it gets silly to say that)

This Dish is around 320 calories, which for such a rich creamy pasta dish- Is quite low.
I love the zing of the shichimi togarashi, (japanese seven-spice seasoning) with the balance of the rich, nutty sesame taste.

The plating for this one is great as well. A nice big light blue bowl. It looks so fresh and healthy. This is one of those great diet dishes that don’t taste like you are eating diet food.

Here is a recipe to make your own seven spice mix to liven up simple rice, vegetable or noodle dishes. Hemp seed (which can be legally sold in the US if it is treated so it can't grow)
Grind together equal parts:
Dried hot chiles (japanese chile or cayenne)
Sansho (aka szechuan peppercorns)
Hemp seed
Sesame seed
Poppy seed
Dried orange peel
Roasted Nori

You can also buy Sansho at most asian food stores in europe and the states. I always have a shaker in my spice drawer.

Cafe Teany Robot Mascot Posted by Hello

Special-tea! Tuesday

Besides obviously being into food and fancy glass beverages… I am super passionate about TEA. Black, Green, Blends, even some herbal--- though I am not into flowery herbal teas.

I love the process of making tea. The boiling, steeping, pouring, sipping- all reach somewhere deep in my soul in a very satisfying way. If you want to know more about what I mean there are some great books, companies, and tea gurus out there. One place to start would be the zentrepreneurs over at the "Republic of Tea" where you can find out about the tea mind and how to do what you love for a living. A big company now, but one that started with small tea-dreams and built them into big tea realities.

“Special-Tea” will be a regular First Tuesday edition of the Fancy Glass.

So to kick things off… 5/3/05

Let’s talk about “teany.” At this time I can only speak to the book and the website as I have not been to NYC recently. But when I go there I will be sure to make it to the “teany café." What is “teany”? It is the vegetarian tea café and shop and beverage company of Moby, and his partner Kelly. A place on my go-to list the next time I make it from the big-sushi-roll to the big apple. For now it was fun to play around on their very well done website. Delicious looking menus too.

In the meantime I am enjoying vicariously because- they wrote a great book!
“Teany Book: Stories, Food, Romance, Cartoons and, of Course, Tea”

It has some yummy recipes, funny stories, and great info about tea, it’s health properties, it’s deliciousness, and a bit about the tea-life. I especially found the section about decaffeinating your own tea very interesting. (pg 32) Who would have thought it was that easy. Apparently caffinine is released from your tea leaves in the first couple seconds of contact with water. So instead of buying fancy decaffeinated teas- you can just

1. make tea as you normally would
2. let it steep for 45 seconds
3. dump out the liquid
4. add hot water to the leaves again and steep as you normally would.

What you are left with in your second cup/pot of tea is decafe!
According to moby and Kelly “Easy. Cheap. Fun. Decaffeinated!”

Some other fun highlights cover- tea as---
A puffy eye treatment
A chamomile and lemongrass hair rinse
Tea baths and more!

A fun read while you sit sipping tea at home or in your favorite teahouse or café. More on tea, Moby and other stuff in the future.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Signature Caesar Posted by Hello

Not the same old Caesar

Fujimamas Thai Caesar Salad.
The restaurant I work in, 170 seat asian fusion pioneer in Tokyo. Has just finished it’s 6th year in operation. In a city like this that is news. The credit largely goes to our Chef, Mark Vann
Fujimamas has lead the way on really innovative asian food, with a global influence.

One dish that has been around since the beginning and still is one of the favorites of regulars and new guests alike is our Thai Caesar Salad. (above) This Salad is so tasty and interesting that we get requests for the recipe all the time. The secret is in the Thai fish sauce, called nam pla added to the dressing recipe, and the other unique tasty addition… the crispy calamari we use instead of of the traditional croutons. I LOVE this dish. It is simple, still colorful, and delicious. One of my fall backs for lunch on a hot spring/summer day.
One note in praise of Fujimamas cuisine is that in spite of being a Fujimamas customer for many years, and now working there full time, I never get sick of the food. This is thanks go to our amazing kitchen team. I think after my run this morning, and in honor of a healthy spring, I will be having a Fujimamas Thai Caesar for Lunch today.

dinner at Ambrosia, Nakameguro Posted by Hello

Fancy Glass RR (restaurant review)

Ambrosia Nakameguro
4-4-4-202 Nakameguro Meguro-ku Tokyo 153-0061

Near our apartment in Nakameguro, A new café restaurant opened up last month. We decided to try it out on Fri. evening last week. After a nice stroll up the street we made it to Ambrosia. With outside seating, and it being a warm evening, we were quite happy to take a table for two outside.

It was very slow, only one or two other tables of guests and one noisy, obnoxious party of women inside it was a perfect spot for relaxing with chris after work. Funny for people watching though… as it is right down the street from a Sento, or Japanese public bathhouse. So as we sat out having our dinner we saw the parade of elderly Japanese and college students, carrying their toiletries bag and going to and from their nightly bath.

First course we shared a Caprese Salad. (easy recipe below) The tomatoes were pretty tasty, and the pesto was nice, but the mozzarella was a bit grainy and not that good. Still nice presentation and they brought us cute little bowls to share the main dish. The staff was very attentive. I had a real Wilkinson Ginger Ale (the dry kind, not sweet.)

Chris ordered the duck with orange sauce and I had a grilled lamb dish. Both had very similar sauces, not to fantastic, but the meat was cooked perfectly in both dishes. The Sauces were too much the same… but all in all a good meal.

We wanted to stay for dessert, but the obnoxious party inside was so loud that we decided to go buy some pastry at the grocery store and have decaf tea and a sweet something at home.

on a 1-5 (5 being top marks)
Atmosphere- 2.5 nothing to write home about, but clean, new and a bit chic. Will probably not age well, but looks good now. I think it will be a very nice atmosphere for café time. They seem to have a nice café menu.
Food = 3 / good for a neighborhood joint. Well prepared dishes, and very aesthetic as well.
Dessert = ? never had a chance to try because of the noisy party girls… I mean they were really really noisy. Hopefully next time
Service = 4 good attentive staff. Quick and efficient. The guy needed a hair cut. To me, long and shaggy does not work in a restaurant.
Will I go back? Probably, but there are other places in the neighborhood I would like to try first.

Insalata Caprese Salad
(Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Plate)
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons drained capers (optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a circular design around the side of a serving plate, alternate fresh mozzarella slices on a large platter (or on individual plates if you are doing individual portions) with sliced tomatoes, overlapping for effect. Tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle liberally over the slices. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle capers over the top.

Just before serving, drizzle on some excellent extra-virgin olive oil. NOTE: Insalata Caprese should never be allowed to sit in oil for any length of time and become soggy. And no vinegar of any kind goes on Insalata Caprese!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

when is a scone not a scone? answers below. Posted by Hello

when is a scone NOT a scone?

When is a scone not a scone…?

The thing is, a few months ago I went to a cute café not far from my apartment. It is called “Gazebo.” Cute and attached to a great interior design shop… Anyway I discovered that gazebo had great scones! Served with honey, and butter and whipped cream and jam, in cute little bowls. This with a pot of tea and their little cow creamers (while writing this post I found a strange story of a cow creamer collection as well… hmmm?) was a dream to treasure on one of my days off from the restaurant. I enjoyed this little scone haven several times. And then I made the mistake and decided to try to share this wonderful scone discovery. Ever since I decided to tell people about the great scones and try to take them to Gazebo to have one with me, they have been sold out...

The thing is, you go there, building all this scone-expectation… and there it is on the menu. But when you ask the cute little lady it is GONE, SOLD OUT, she gives you the “No go” sign in Japanese which is making a little a “x” sign with your fingers.

So anyway, yesterday on my day off, I took my friend Terri to try the scone for one last hopeful attempt. As you can see from the photo above there were no scones. argh!

I could have had the waffle, or cake or similar sweet thing. But I chose to go the other way. A 180 degree turn - in protest! A scone is not a scone when it turns into a Corona and Cheese Fries on a warm-almost-hot spring day. Having sufficiently drowned my sorrows in deep fried carbs- I think I will get a scone recipe and make them at home!

In spite of this trauma- Gazebo is quite nice, cute and friendly looking out on to a good people and dog-watching street. And they have some good café food. And at least they still have the cow milk pitchers… but I will have to keep looking around the city to find my new scone haven.

Shibuya Ku Ebisu West 1-33-15