Cake & Akkun

So back to my Japan trip … where were we?

My brother really loves Kyoto. The last time he went, he strolled around his hotel one morning until he found a cute hole-in-the-wall type cafe for breakfast. Wishing to revisit that quaint little restaurant, he decided to go look for it again when we went to Kyoto with him last year. Of course, he had no idea what the address was, or the name of the place. We ended up walking aimlessly for many many blocks until we finally stumbled into a smallish cafe called “Cake & Akkun,” hungry and exhausted. It wasn’t quite the place he was looking for, but it was close enough, and I frankly didn’t care.

Thick pieces of toast and a side of egg seems to be a common breakfast ‘set’ all over Japan, and this place was no different. The “morning service” set consisted of butter toast, egg (boiled only: you cannot choose), and ‘etc.’ The etc. turned out to be coffee jello (mmm!) and potato salad. The set also came with your choice of drink:

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Jun Coffee

Day 2 in Kyoto started with breakfast in some coffee shop inside Kyoto Station called “Jun.” It was a tiny little shop and one of the only ones open so early in the morning. The service there was utter crap. I’m sorry they don’t have a Yelp page so I can properly rant at the incompetence of its staff and how slow and excruciating the service was. I suppose this blog will have to do.

At least the food was okay. The salad dressing was especially yummy. That being said, why is it that a western style breakfast set is always the same wherever you go in Japan? Buttered Texas toast. Egg (usually boiled, sometimes sunny side up). Side of salad. Coffee. Not much imagination at work. Good thing I usually skip breakfast…

Pictured above is their toast with egg and bacon set. It came with a small cup of coffee.

And some places have the Japanese style breakfast sets. Fish, rice and miso soup usually make an entrance… Healthier than bacon and eggs, at least! :)

27 Apr 2013, 11:24am
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Kyosendo

The first day in Kyoto was a busy one with tons of walking. After we stashed our stuff at the hotel and had a bite (or several) of tempura for lunch, we hopped on a bus to Yonjo street. I had a bit of an incident on the bus… I dunno about most buses in Japan, but in Kyoto, you have to pay upon exiting. The fare is 220 yen, and you pay exact change. If you don’t have exact change, you can convert your money at a machine on the bus. Now, the conversion machine is the same machine as the one where you pay. I inadvertently threw a 100 yen piece into the conversion machine, and it immediately spit out a bunch of 10 yen coins, much to the dismay of the driver lady. Hahaha…. But hey, it was confusing! The slot was right there, next to the payment bit! But now I know, I guess…

We got off the stop and walked across a river, past the kabuki-za theater and onward towards the sites. We hit Yasaka Shrine before ambling toward Koudai Temple. (By the way, it’s either Koudai Temple or Koudaiji. It’s a bit redundant to call it Koudaiji Temple). Everything was beautiful. There were a ton people there, including quite a few school groups… Maybe it’s that season of the year. We attempted to see Kiyomizu Temple but it was already evening and closing up for the day. Instead, we stopped in at a dessert shop called Kyosendo for a much needed respite. My feet were killing me at this point.

Kyosendo had a shop in the front to buy dessert gift packages and a cafe in the back for dining in. The colorful menu had all kinds of Japanese desserts listed, mostly in “sets.” A set basically meant it came with a drink. You could also order something “tanpin” or “individually” if you wanted an item by itself. There was some confusion when my brother ordered one set and one other thing individually, because the second thing wasn’t “individual” at all. It took a moment to realize that even the solo items come with a complimentary tea.

Pictured above is the sakura-mochi set, which came with a bowl of matcha – very thick green tea. It was just near the end of cherry blossom season, so a lot of places still had their sakura specials on the menu. :)

All of these pictures were taken on my brother’s Fuji X100, which means he probably took most of them.. I might’ve taken a few as well, but I don’t remember exactly which.

The rest:

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Starbucks: Shinagawa Station

I feel like there were a lot more Starbucks in Japan than the last time I was here. The menu is pretty much the same except pricier. I got a tall cappuccino for 380 yen, or about $3.82. But unlike the cappuccinos I’ve been getting at the Starbucks in DC, it actually tasted more espresso-like. In the US, don’t usually get Starbucks espresso drinks without ordering an extra shot because it otherwise tastes like milk, not coffee.

You can supposedly get free Wifi service at Starbucks stores in Japan, but I wasn’t about to connect to it, myself. The Starbucks in Shinagawa also had some food items like this quiche – which I didn’t try – and a baum cake, which is pretty ubiquitous in Japan.

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29 May 2011, 6:28pm
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Pacific Place Tea Garden

After shopping around the numerous shops at the Ala Moana Shopping Center in Honolulu, my friend and I stopped at the Pacific Place Tea Garden kiosk for a drink.

I got the matcha (green tea) latte, pictured above. I’m not sure why I got the hot version – it was pretty warm that day, and Ala Moana is an outdoor mall. Still, it was tasty enough, and I always enjoy the calming flavor of matcha. It wasn’t overly sweetened, which was nice.

My friend got something called a pink bamboo float:

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Panya

After dinner, we headed into Waikiki to meet up with my friend B, who – quite coincidentally – happened to be vacationing in Honolulu at the same time as myself! o(^__^)o We met up at the Panya in the Royal Hawaiian Center. This Panya is a relatively new branch and is small – it’s just bakery items and coffee. The Panya branch in Ala Moana is more like a restaurant. (I had lunch there on my last day, which I’ll be posting about later).

[I have to say, it makes me LOL a little that some websites are even worse than I am re: updating. The Panya website’s monthly feature is catering for Thanksgiving! Ahahaha. XD]

I got the bread pudding (pictured above). It wasn’t so bad, but it was a bit dense and a little cold to boot, which made it difficult to enjoy. It came with a lovely creamy sauce, which I made the mistake of pouring all over the pudding. The sauce flooded over the tiny container and onto the table, making a big mess of things. I ended up taking most of it home. I warmed it up the next day, and it was much, much better. Bread pudding should always be served warm, in my view! It had soaked up all the sweet sauce from the night before, and the heating managed to soften up the pudding and bring out its flavors.

There was also tiramisu:

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Bogart’s Café

Aloha!! You’ll have to excuse my long absence, as I’ve been living it up on the beaches of Hawaii for the last week and a half! I reluctantly left the sunny shores behind a few days ago, and I’m back at my computer ready to report on my foodie adventures in Oahu and Kauai. I tried quite a range of things during my trip, from local fare and classic Hawaiian comfort food to sushi and high tea. There were a few unfortunate low lights, but for the most part the food was excellent, and a delicious time was had by all.

I begin with Bogart’s Café, a cute little coffee shop not far from my friend’s apartment. We stopped in here on the morning after my arrival to get a pick-me-up before hitting the road to tour around Oahu.

My friends got a breakfast quesadilla to share, pictured above. You could pick the ingredients for the quesadilla, and I think my friends chose wisely with the mushroom and spinach combo. I had a bite, and it was quite tasty! A side of toast came with it.

I just got a coffee:

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19 Oct 2010, 8:00am
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Point Chaud

I dropped in to Point Chaud Café & Crêpes (website under construction) on 14th Street a few weeks ago. Places like this make me wonder why there aren’t more crêperies in this area! The crêpe is the perfect café food. It’s fast, it’s sweet, it’s savory…and it can be eaten on the go or savored slowly over a hot cup of your favorite beverage.

The menu at Point Chaud is just a long list of suggested combinations. Customers are welcome to pick and choose whatever ingredients they want. I would take forever if left to my devices, so on my visit here, I went ahead and picked something straight off the menu – the honey and almond powder crêpe.

It was absolutely lovely. The crêpe was airy and light, the honey was just sweet enough, and bits of crushed almonds added a nice bite. I had a frothy cup of cappuccino with it. My only wish is that there was more, but the “to stay” portion of cappuccino only came in one size.

Le Pain Quotidien

My first encounter with Le Pain Quotidien was in Bryant Park, New York, a couple years ago. I loved it! Even the pesto sauce in my sandwich, which was unusual for me, since I had an inexplicable aversion to pesto. I was pretty excited when the chain finally made its way to the D.C. area, and I believe the first of their local branches was the Bethesda store. I’ve popped over there several times since it opened, but this would be my first time blogging them. (^__^)v This post combines a couple visits that I made there in the last few weeks.

The decor: I like the interior quite a bit. There are high ceilings throughout and a shiny counter filled with delicious looking pastries in the front. And of course, there has to be the signature communal table, a colossal slab of reclaimed wood that dominates the center of the room. The Bethesda store has two dining areas, each one with its own communal table. I like sitting at the communal table, as it’s more spacious and comfortable.

And now for the food: Pictured above is the grilled chicken and smoked mozzarella tartine “with arugula and basil pesto.” I’m not sure that I got any arugula, and I would know because I love arugula. There was definitely some kind of green leaf, but it might have been something else. Very tasty indeed, even the pesto. XD Although, I do feel like it’s a bit pricey for what you get.

More after the jump:

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The Secret Garden

I know the Olympics are over, but I still wanted to finish out the last of my Vancouver posts! My friend and I really wanted to do an afternoon tea, so after hunting around for a suitable place, we finally settled on The Secret Garden Tea Company, a quaint and lovely little tea shop and cafe. I really loved this place. A tea doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive to be enjoyable, and this was certainly an affordable yet high quality option that I would go back for in a heartbeat.

They offer a number of different kinds of tea courses: high tea, sharing high tea, demi high tea, and mini high tea. I believe the full-on high tea was only served during certain hours, and since we came after those hours, we opted for the “demi” high tea. This course was like a scaled down version of the high tea, featuring all three of the traditional tea courses: scones, sandwiches, and dessert, in addition to a pot of tea per person.

Pictured above is one of the desserts, a flaky pastry of some kind. It’s been a while, so I don’t recall the specifics, but it was very good, whatever it was. XD;

A few more pics:

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Beard Papa’s

beard papa

Later in the afternoon on Sunday, I met up with another friend for tea and dessert at the Beard Papa. They specialize in chou à la crème…cream puffs! In Japanese, it’s pronounced “shoo cream,” which always puzzled me when I was growing up. (Shoe polish??)

Beard Papa has locations in Hawaii, California and New York (among others). I first visited the one New York a few years ago, upon the recommendation of a friend who grew up in Hawaii. I loved the green tea flavored one, so was hoping to have the same one in San Francisco…

Unfortunately, they weren’t offering that flavor on that Sunday, so I ended up getting the coffee flavor instead. I paired it with a piping hot cup of green tea. It was very light and creamy, not too sweet. ♥ I think it could be a little smaller, though I could fault my enormous brunch for my inability to finish my mid afternoon cream puff. =)

Tartine

tartine breakfast bun

The first of my San Francisco posts! Tartine is a lovely bakery/cafe that is every bit worth the 1.6 miles I plodded to get there. (Long story). After foolishly forgoing the bus and hauling myself a good distance on foot – something that I recommend for everyone to do first thing in the morning =D – I treated myself to yummy pastries and a hot cup of cappuccino.

It’s a lovely little shop, very quaint, though bustling. My only complaint is that that cappuccino was tiny!

Pictured above is the fabulous morning bun, sugary with a hint of citrus. I took one home, and it kept for a few days. X)

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14 Jun 2009, 9:48am
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Daibo Coffee

daibo

This will be the first of several posts on my Japan trip from May ’09. I was there for a week and a half, staying mostly in Tokyo, but with a brief side trip to the Hakone hotsprings. Japan’s got some of the best food to be had in the world, and this trip certainly did not disappoint on that front!

Today’s post is on Daibo Coffee shop, a place in Aoyama that my Tokyo Time Out guide highly recommended. My brother and I had been wandering around Harajuku/Aoyama that day and after a long day of walking, we desperately needed a place to sit down and cool off.

Daibo is located on the second floor of a rather nondescript building near Omotesando station. It’s a real hole in the wall, a tiny little space covered in wood and (on the day we went) smoke. I’ll never really get used to the public smoking in Japan, but I would say that this place is well worth sucking up that second hand smoke…and the price! I had the iced cafe au lait, pictured here with the handy syrup (sugar water) for easy sweetening. This bowl of icy goodness set me back a whopping 700 yen, but it was probably the best cafe au lait I’d ever had in my life.

This coffee shop also offers liquor…and desserts. An odd combination, but no complaints here! The menu was filled with funny Engrishy wording. Pics under the cut.

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