The other day I stopped by Lolita Market on my way back from the herb doctor in Chinatown.
I really liked the way the market was set up as well as their interesting local products.
They served handcrafted pickles that are made in Brooklyn by a brand called Sour Puss Pickles. There were many different varieties of pickles including string beans, corn, carrots, and even cauliflower!
I also really liked how the liquid soaps are sold in bulk and you buy your own bottle and fill it up yourself. When you run out of soap you can come back to refill your bottle. This is a great way to avoid wasting plastic bottles.
They also had a variety of local jams that are pectin free and all natural.
They had some interesting products with Japanese influence as well like Genmai Rice Syrup (Brown Rice Syrup) and Organic Black bean spaghetti!
There was a great looking coffee bar at the front of the store but unfortunately I had already drank two cups that day…next time!
On January 25th, NY de Volunteer will be holding a Happy Hour Fundraiser to raise money for children to participate in Japanese cultural lessons.
The Happy Hour Fundraiser will be held at Legends Bar from 6:30-11pm
There will be a live performance by guitarist Yoshiki Miura as well as a raffle and much more!
My good friend is helping to organize this event so please check it out if you get a chance!
For more details please visit: NY de Volunteer Happy Hour Fundraiser
I have always like the hojicha pudding at samurai mama but when I went last I got to try the kabocha pudding. It was great!
What looks like a scoop of ice cream on top is actually frozen cream. It has a really interesting texture.
For those of you who are not familiar with kabocha, it is a Japanese pumpkin. Kabocha contains many vitamins and nutrients and tastes delicious as well. So if you’re in the area I strongly recommend you try samurai mama’s kabocha pudding!
This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the Japanese Food and Restaurant Expo (JFRE) at the Metropolitan Pavilion as a translator for demonstrations by Natsuko Yamawaki of Hakkoan and Junya Miura of Yopparai.
Natsuko Yamawaki of Hakkoan showed everyone how to make shio-koji, an all-natural healthy seasoning and flavor enhancer that is becoming increasingly popular in Japan. Natsuko-san also showed the audience how to use shio-koji along with seasonal ingredients to create a delicious baked salmon and mushroom dish.
The audience looked very surprised by how much flavor and umami the shio-koji added to the dish. You can check out there facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/Hakkoan
Chef Junya Miura from Yopparai restaurant shared his knowledge of the origins of oden as well as techniques and tricks on how to make delicious oden.
He showed the audience how to cut daikon using a knife technique known as “mentori” or rounding the edges. He also showed the audience how to score the konnyaku in order to allow the flavor of the soup to soak in properly. Many people who viewed the demonstration expressed that they had made oden before but did not know the proper techniques that Chef Miura demonstrated. Many people were also not familiar with the amount of time that it takes to simmer oden to get good results (at least 2 days!)
I also had the opportunity to visit Yopparai Restaurant before the Restaurant Show.
Yopparai opened about a half year ago and is located on the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
The oden was really good and the place had a wonderful atmosphere.
Check it out if you get a chance or are in the area! Website: http://yopparainyc.com/home.html
Yesterday I visited Cocoron’s second store in New York for the first time. There first store is located just down the street but the second store was much larger and spacious. I felt a lot more relaxed eating in their new restaurant because in the previous one it always felt too crowded and busy to enjoy a meal. While their cold soba is usually better, I think that there hot soba was better this time. I also tried their green tea parfait for dessert (it was great!). Their homemade mochi ice cream was really great as well!
Last week I purchase my very own Hario drip coffee kettle and drip cone. I had been wanting it for a while and after buying it I have no regrets! Just pouring the water over the coffee grinds makes me happy every morning (that’s probably strange but it’s really true).
This article talks about how popular coffee is in Japan. The New York Times: Coffee’s Slow Dance According to the article, Japan imports more coffee than France each year. Japanese drip coffee is better than regular coffee because the water is poured slowly over the coffee compared to other coffee machines. Some coffee shops in New York use the Japanese drip coffee technique like Blue Bottle Coffee who’s main store is in Brooklyn.
I bought my drip coffee supplies at Porto Rico Importing Co. at their Brooklyn location. This shop has a variety of coffees and teas as well as accessories. I highly recommend it!
I attended Kiyomi-san and Natsuko-san’s one day Macrobiotic cafe last Friday. I loved the way the room was set up with bright colors and items reminiscent of a tropical place. My favorite dish was the shio-koji ramen and of course the amazake dessert! The amazake was served frozen so it tasted like a sorbet. It was really delicious!