Chez Lui: Classic Cake (1)


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Here is a cake that will definitely tempt Memory Taste Girl’s appetite!
It has the added particularity that its name features my birthplace!
Chez Lui is a large “chain company” based in Tokyo and represented at Parco in Shizuoka City.
Their cakes have the merit to be made on site and some do deserve a mention!

Its name?
Bourgogne Noir Dijon.
Definitely a Japanese way of naming a cake!
It contains a lot of Cassis Liqueur which explains the mention of the Bourgogne Region and its capital, Dijon ( a bit of an oxymoron, I’m afraid). It just happens that I was born in the “City of the Dukes”!
It is mainly made up of Cassis Mousse coated with Cassis Coulis and decorated outside with white chocolate. It is furthermore topped with blueberry, blackberry, mint and chocolate.

The inside is pretty complex with a double base of almond biscuit and chocolate short cake.
A small chocolate short cake disc about two thirds of the cake in diameter has been “inserted” inside the mousse with some Creme Chantilly.

Quite sophisticated and delicious. To appreciate with coffee or liqueur!

CHEZ LUI
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Koyamachi, 6-7, Parco, B1
Tel.: 054-9038600
Business hours: 10:00~20:00

Cricketers are Gastronomes!


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It is true that that cricketers, and sportsmen in general, have earned this widespread freputation for being just plain uneducated boozers who spend their time watering down mountains of junk food and with gallons of cheap beer. Fortunately enough, some friends and I who all play cricket beg to differ!
Last Saturday, I joined some members of the Predators Cricket Club, all from Tokyo, on their night out in Shizuoka City.
As our merry band were pretty thirsty and hungry after a hot day, we all first repaired to Caffetteria Il Cuore where we confirmed that reputation of ours with plenty of lager with pizzas, pasta and what else.
It was that a few of us opted for an early bed (incidentally, two of our original company had been missing from the very beginning as their chihuahua pet had forced them to spend the night in a local hotsprings. Lucky ones?), the seven of us thought it was about high time we enjoyed the real local food and drinks!

The seven of us included no less than five nationalities: Andrew and Jeff, red-blooded Australians, ever-joking South African Francois and his Japanese Missus, Katsura, smiling Sri Lankan Asanka and Chanaka and myself from Bourgogne (sorry, France!).
We first tried a favourite of mine, Odakkui, but it was already overflowing. We were in a bit of a fix until Odakkui’s Master persuaded Yasatei to stay open for our lot!
In the end it proved the prefect choice as our Sri Lankan friends were not too keen on red meat.
While the rest faithfully kept to the draft beer except for Francois who opted for a superlative local rice shochu called Doman by Hamamatsu Brewery, Andrew and Jeff asked me to introduce them to the local sake. They certainly showed a lot of pleasure tasting Shosetsu (Kansagawa Brewery, Yui Cho), Isojiman (Isojiman Brewery, Yaizu City) and Hana no Mai (Hana no Mai Brewery, hamamatsu City)!
They also proved they also knew their food when they ordered “age-dofu”, “kara-age” (twice!), “edamame” and appreciated the first snack consisting of tofu, yuba and jellyfish!

Some pictures had to be taken for posterity (and the Predators’ Homepage!). I suspect that Andrew in particular did this to convince the Missus to join him the next time they come to play cricket in Shizuoka City (great place for shopping, by the way!). V-signs everywhere and a slightly happy old geezer! It was past midnight by then! Sorry, ladies!

Andrew and Jeff, in true Ozzie spirit, did not seem to have enough yet and the three of us moved to local expat bar to justify once again our reputation with Abbot beer on the tap!

Yasaitei
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Business hours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended

Simple Recipe: Seafood Pasta Salad


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Last Friday, which should have been “my” weekly night out, saw a sudden change of schedule forced by the venue of cricket friends over the week-end asking me to “guide” them around Shizuoka City the next night.
To appease the Missus I offered to cook dinner as I would be back home from work before her.
She gracefully agreed provided I prepared pasta…
Like many women in Japan my (?) half is a pasta addict. I love it, but there is a limit as to how often I’m willing to repast on them.
I could have done it the easy way and prepare a “sauce” to be spread over it all, but keeping aware of the tastes of my partner in life, I opted for a dish more adapted to the increasingly hot season: Cold Seafood Pasta Salad.
You ladies ought to note the recipe below if you want to convince your men that pasta is great, or encourage them into some originality! This particularly concerns Rowena, Jesse, Melinda, Etsuko, The Leftover Queen and Taste memory Girl (take a break from those cakes, LOL).

For 2 persons:
Ingredients:
Spaghetti (thickness to taste, but neither too thin, nor too thick): “Enough” for 2 persons
Scallops (raw): 4, each cut into 3 thin slices
Mini-tomato (as small as possible): 6, each cut into halves
Avocado: 1, cut into 12 slices lengthwise
Smoked salmon: 8 thick slices
Lemon juice ( for the salmon)
Capers: up to taste
Small leaves (luccola, etc.): one “pack”. This can be replaced by herbs or small lettuce
Boiled Crab: 1 tin. Squeeze all liquid out

For the dressing:
Fresh herbs: Basil, Italian parsley, dill. All chopped very fine. Quantity to taste.
Basil mustard (Maille, etc.): one very large tablespoon. If not available use soft mustard and increase basil amount above
White vinegar, taragon leaves flavoured if possible: one large tablespoon (can be easily rectified later). Any vinegar of your liking will actually do.
Walnut oil (very tasty, light and healthy! Hazelnut oil is great, too): as much as will be needed.
Black and green pitted olives cut in small slices: up to taste
Salt, white pepper and soft spices: to taste

Preparation:
Heat a large pan full of water with a large pinch of salt for the spaghetti.
While the water, and later the pasta are being taken care of, prepare the dressing.
In a large bowl drop a vey large tablespoon of basil mustard, a large tablespoon of taragon-flavoured vinegar, a little salt, pepper and soft spices (to be rectified later if needed).
Mix well with a whisker. Pour a little walnut oil and mix until smooth. Add more oil in small quantities and repeat the same operation until you have enough dressing. Drop in all the chopped herbs in and mix well. Check and rectify taste with vinegar, salt, pepper and soft spices if necessary. Keep aside.
Once the spaghetti are sufficiently cooked, drain them immediately in a sieve and run cold water over them until they have completely cooled down. Drain as much water as possible. Drop them into a large bowl with half of the dressing and the olives. Mix in well.

On two large flat plates arrange the sapghetti in the middle so as to form a “little mountain”.
Lightly dip the avocado slices into the dressing (use your fingers, it will be easier and faster!) and place them around the spaghetti so as to form a “hedge” to prevent them to spread all over the place.
Lightly dip sliced scallops in dressing and place around the avocado with one tomato half on each.
Mix in the small leaves (or greens) in dressing and place them on top of the spaghetti as to cover them.
Season the crab meat with wahtever dressing is left and place it on top of leaves.
Dip the smoked salmon slices into lemon juice, place them around so as to have their tips just under the crab. Place capers on each slice.
Serve at once and enjoy!

Tip: do everything at the last moment (when the Missus or the MOTH is having a shower back from work or enjoying aperitif). Otherwise, the dressing will “cook” the salad!

Theo: Classic Cake


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Theo Chocolatier is a major chocolate and cake company based in Tokyo. They have a couple of very upscale shops in Shizuoka City and for all their businesslike image, they do offer a couple of confections worth noticing.

One is Vostok, a cake christened (sic) after the USSR satellite (because of the shape or the colour?)

Now, this the kind of cakes more for guys like Foodhoe and Gaijin Tonic, although some hungry ladies will appreciate it (mind your figure!).

Made with lots of beaten egg whites/meringue and almond powder, it is very soft under the teeth but very fulfilling with hints of orange liqueur.
Coated with plenty of almond slices and icing sugar, it provides a crisp finish to the soft texture of the cake.
Perfect with a strong coffee!

Theo Chocolatier
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-7-13
Tel.: 054-2754700
Business hours: 10:00~20:00

Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Koyamachi, 6-7, Shizuoka Parco B1F
Tel.: 054-9038610
Business Hours: 10:00~20:00

Homepage (Japanese)

Vegetables Sashimi at Yasaitei


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As often happens on a long work day, I needed a quick fix around 7 p.m. keeping in mind that I would eat dinner at 9:30 back home.
I have taken the habit in such a dilemna to visit Yasaitei and eat vegetarian food there.
I have already introduced their specialty, “Vegetables Sashimi”. As it changes with the season I know I will eat something fresh and different every time!

Allison and maybe Rowena would jump on that, I’m sure!

From left to right:
Small red radish, freshly cut ginger root (still thin and just out of the garden with leaves and all), “myoga” leaves (another variety of ginger, thinly sliced daikon on shiso leaf, radish again and Japanese cucumbers (very crunchy and juicy at the same time!)

The seasoning plate contains miso, salt and sesame oil.
A repast for vegetarians and vegans alike! (I’m neither, sorry!)

Yasaitei
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Business hours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended

Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (15)


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Today’s (actually yesterday’s as I’m writing) bento would have pleased a big eater like Foodhoe!

The steamed rice was topped with freshly grated carrots before switching on the fire and mixed after cooking.
The meat, “ton/pork toro/soft part as of tuna katsu/Japanese for cutlets” was deep-fried and then dipped in tonkatsu sauce.

Half of the box being occupied with rice, the Missus layed half of the remaining space with finely chopped vegetables before topping them with boiled eggs sprinkled with black sesame and home-made ginger pickles (pink).
The rest was layed with Japanese lettuce leaves topped with home-made baby melon pickles and fresh Shizuoka tomatoes.
With the season fruits and the wasabi dressing I keep at the office, I certainly enjoyed the hearty meal!

Robert Yellin Pottery Gallery Newsletter


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From now on I will publish Robert Yellin’s (wit his approval) Pottery Gallery Newsletter because he lives in Numazu City and works in Mishima City, and also sells great pottery, which is great prerequisite to gastronomy!

Greetings from Mishima,

Now in Japan is a time called tsuyu–better known as the rainy season. The weather changes quite dramatically each day withdownpours and sunshine that keeps one in humble awe at the
beauty and life giving force that nature provides.

Something that is more of a constant to bank on though is theheat, something that will surely come when the rainy seasonpasses in a few weeks. Then it’s matsuri-festival time!

With that in mind, we are delighted to offer one ceramic artistwhose works will allow you to keep cool in spirit and mind simplyby gazing upon, or better yet using the vessels; many who followour gallery know him: Ono Kotaro.

These are new works by the very-talented Ono. First, a bit aboutOno(b.1953); winner of the 4th Mashiko Ceramics CompetitionHamada Shoji Prize, he creates sleek, sharp porcelain wares. Yet,what is unique about Ono is that his porcelain has two sides toits character: at first glance, his wares look crisp and cool, like fallen snowdrops. Yet at the same time, he has instilled in
his works a delicate, warm glow that is not often found in porcelain wares. This trait can be seen especially in his three trademark glazes of Seihakuji (Bluish White Porcelain), Hakuji
(Ivory White Porcelain) and Ouji (Creamy Yellow Porcelain). Ono uses shinogi–incised lines and ridges–that give his pieces a wave-like rhythm that is uncommon in “static” porcelain. He has a
keen sense of balance and design, and retains porcelain’s elegance while simultaneously being innovative in his “soft yet sharp warmth.” He teaches ceramics at Takikawa Ceramic Center and
his exhibitions and awards include: The Exhibition of Japanese Traditional Art Crafts in Eastern Japan, Mitsukoshi Award in ’80,’83 and Encouragement Prize, ・6; Japanese Traditional Art
Crafts in Japan, Hokkaido Modern Art Museum, Sapporo’84,’85,’86, Hokkaido Asahikawa Museum’90, Fletcher Challenge, Auckland, New Zealand’94, The Exhibition of Modern Ceramics for Tea-Ceremony, Toki, Gold Prize ’95, Toki Oribe Grand Prize in 2000, Asahi Modern Craft Exhibition, ’99, Creative Sake Cup Exhibition, Grand Prize, 2000, and the aforementioned Hamada Prize, among others.
Mention should be made that an Ono Seihakuji mizusashi (fresh water jar) was acquired by the famous Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation (one of the best Japanese Art collections overseas),
and what’s more, this piece was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum’s Japan Wing.

We are offering previews of the exhibition to all those who have signed our guest book. The links are to follow and will be placed on the gallery for public viewing later this week.
Additional photos of any works will gladly be sent upon request.
Prices are noted in yen and a good web currency exchange web site can be viewed at http://www.xe.com/ucc/

Here are the links:
http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782953/item782953.html
http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782952/item782952.html

http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782951/item782951.html

http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782949/item782949.html

http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782948/item782948.html

http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782947/item782947.html
http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782945/item782945.html
http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782944/item782944.html

http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782943/item782943.html
http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782942/item782942.html

http://www.trocadero.com/japanesepottery/items/782938/item782938.html

We hope you enjoy viewing, and acquiring, Ono’s work; a sure wayto beat the summer heat and add a touch of beauty to the day.

Namaste and kansha from Japan.

Cordially,

Robert Yellin
Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery