Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tempura Tsunahachi - Tokyo

It Takes More Than Hot Oil...
As a boy, when we went out to eat, I refused to eat anything but burgers, fries and milkshakes.  How things change - I didn't even wait for her to finish saying "prawn head" before I'd popped it in and crunched happily.  I think she was as surprised by my lack of hesitation as I was.  It was nice, in a way that suggested a master's steady hand.  At Tsunahachi, every member of the staff looked to be in their sixties, including our chef.  I'd venture that experience is a positive when you're dunking things in hot oil.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Columbia 8 - Osaka

Burn You Twice Curry
It burned the buds and it's gonna burn the cheeks.  Not the cheeks on your face, the other ones.  The Columbia 8 curry is the hottest thing I've eaten in Asia, bar none.  That includes Thailand.  It didn't help that Dodo "gohan sukoshi'd"' (less rice) the order, forcing me to eat two spoonfuls of fire for each spoonful of rice.  This hidden ten seater is a nice place to eat curry in Osaka.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bakeshop - Jiyugaoka, Tokyo

Iced Coffee Relief
I imagined it was pool-sized.  I dived in, did a doggy-paddle past a stray ice cube and then back-stroked to the straw.  Back in the real world, a few sips of the Bakeshop iced latte were like slipping on a frozen raincoat.  My temples stopped pulsing and the moving lips of my girlfriend started to make words I recognized.  Be warned if you come to Tokyo in August, it's hot.  Stroke-inducing, lung-collapsing hot.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Moon Rabbit Onigiri - Jiyugaoka, Tokyo

Rice Ball Charmer
I'd forgotten that Tokyo is a steaming cement stew in August.  I made a quick first purchase - a dark black umbrella, under which we wandered the streets of Jiyugaoka in Meguro prefecture.  Happenstance or perhaps heat stroke led us to a four-seater serving onigiri with sides.  Onigiri are rice balls and the version at Moon Rabbit are pure - unlike my translation of their name.  Officially, the place is called "Tsukitate Onigiri Tsuki Usagi."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tonkatsu by Ma Maison - Singapore

Juicy Pork Loin Salvation
After a day with Dodo's girlfriends spent gossiping in the hair salon and loitering in the mall as they tested skin cream and shouldered pricey bags, I felt like I'd grown ovaries.  What saw me and my shrinking gonads through it all was the anticipation of a deep-fried pork loin dinner at Tonkatsu by Ma Maison.  They served me the juiciest, most succulent, mind-bending tonkatsu - I cannot imagine a better one - not even on my upcoming Japan vacation!  If I find a superior version, as improbable as that is, it will be purely by chance.  I feel about their tonkatsu as I do about the Dodo - no need to search any further.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cupcakes with Love - Singapore

The Coming Cupcake Craze Crash
Cupcakes have gone global, they're multiplying like a virus.  Cutesie-poo cupcake shops have been popping up in Paris and now I'm seeing them sprout in Singapore.  Kinda reminds me of real estate in '07.  You knew things were crazy and it was going to end badly, you just didn't know when.  I enjoyed my visit to Cupcakes with Love and I wish them well but I suspect they're like a Miami condo a few years back.  It's all about timing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cindy - Singapore

Settling into the East Coast
When in Singapore, I usually stay in Serangoon but this time around I'm staying in the East Coast.  Not a great location for trains, so I'm figuring out all the bus routes but what an amazingly good location for food!  One of Dodo's friends took me to the LC hawker on Tanjong Katong Rd and there I discovered my dinner soul mate: kung pao chicken from a stall called Cindy.  It was spicy, artery-clogging love at first bite!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Loysel's Toy Cafe - Singapore

Hi, I'm Lactose!
I have a buddy who never quite finishes his sentences.  If you ask him to have a latte he'll say "I can't, I'm lactose."  He's missing the all important "intolerant", which imparts a noticeably different spin.  I've been intolerant my whole life but have chosen to pretend otherwise.  However, with a nod to the power of milk sugars, I've been trying to warm up to soy.  Loysel's Toy Cafe makes a great soy latte and that's no easy feat.  Their strong espresso tastes as if it's mixed with milk.