Cooking Party

Last weekend we went to a cooking party with some new friends.  We rented a large demonstration kitchen in a community center and all prepared the meal together.  Perhaps not the sort of thing to show up in a guidebook, but it was a perfect rainy season afternoon.

The theme was local and organic vegetables.

Both Dan and I were amazed by the burdock’s sticky-slimy demeanor.

On the menu: fish cooked with miso, makizushi (rolled sushi) with deep-fried vegetables, soup made with dashi (fish stock), cabbage with kombu (dried kelp), and steamed vegetables with avocado-mayo and sesame dipping sauces.

After the dishes were done we wandered across the street to a famous sweets cafe.

Oh kakigori season, how I love you so.

Kakigori is a summertime dessert made from finely shaved ice, topped with sweet syrup and occasionally, sweetened condensed milk.  This shop is famous because they get their ice from a glacier in the mountains (maybe?).  Don’t you dare call it a snow cone.

Clockwise from the top left, in varying degrees of meltyness: Fresh strawberry, very berry, honey milk, and fresh mango.  Please notice how this photo caught Dan in the act, stealing my mango ice.

If you’re near Kugenuma kaigan station be sure to stop by Kohori Noan kakigori shop. 3-5-11 Kugenuma kaigan, Fujisawa, Kanagawa




Food Porn

In preparation for the Azabu Juban Noryo festival happening in our neighborhood this weekend, where I plan to eat my way from street-to-street for 3 straight days, I thought I’d clear some space on my camera and share a few food pics I’ve had in the vault.  I’m not sure our hurry-and-take-the-photo-so-I-can-shove-this-in-my-mouth photography really deserves the label “food porn,” but in any case, I thought these few photos were worth sharing.  Itadakimasu! *

A few weeks back, I was wandering the streets of Kappabashi (the kitchenware district, this site does a great job of describing it) and it was sooo hot and I was sooo hungry.  I stepped into the only restaurant I could find, where, alas, there was no English to be had, so I ordered the daily special, which was a gigantic plate of tempura.  Luck be a fried shrimp! (Two actually, along with mushrooms, okra, eggplant, and shiso.  This meal was also served with rice, soup, pickles and tea.  Oofdah.)

Dan and I discovered this place while wandering the streets of Shimokitazawa, a hip neighborhood of Tokyo that has been compared to Williamsburg in NYC.  May I present a ball of rice wrapped in bacon (!), sort of like a meat version of onigiri.  I may have put mayonnaise on mine.

Last weekend we found the ramen shop Gogyo, where the ramen is served black!  I had the kogashi shoyu, Dan went for the kogashi miso.  Both were “burnt” ramen, and I’m not sure how they got it that way, but the open kitchen had big flames and the ramen had that delicious almost-burnt, grilled-meat flavor.  We’re definitely going back for the black (alliteration is irresistible!).

Tokyo summers — the bad part is that it’s hot, the good part is that there is kakigori, a shaved-ice mound of sweet deliciousness much like the slushie I wrote about a few weeks ago. Kakigori is seasonal, so I plan to eat as much as I can in the next month.

I went for red bean and green tea, and Dan had fresh strawberry with a sweetened condensed milk glaze. These poor guys really didn’t stand a chance.

There you have it.  Don’t get me wrong, we eat a lot of weird and perhaps not-so-good things too (including the random mystery vegetables I try to cook at home), but those aren’t as fun to share.  Or are they?

* Your language lesson for the day: Itadakimasu いただきます roughly means “I humbly receive,” and is a traditional greeting before a meal.