Shave ice from Coconut Cafe

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Hawaii is paradise if you are: 1. into constant heat and 90% humidity. In Hawaii, the world outside your air-conditioned box (e.g., your house, car, or office) is a sauna. 2. in the shave ice, juice, lemonade, or ice cream business. The owner of Coconut Cafe is in *full* control of her life, her shop, and her customers. Her main sale is undoubtedly shaved ice, although her menu also has other dessert drinks (such as bubble teas), sandwiches and burgers. Coconut Cafe has no fixed hours of operation. She opens and closes when she wants to, and even if you walk into the door when she has already decided to close, she will tell you firmly so and there is no changing it. We know this fact, because we experienced it not just once, but 4 times. The first day, we got there at 9:30 pm, after dinner, doors were shut tight, understandably, although we were somewhat surprised by how early stores and restaurants close in Hawaii compared to Berkeley. There was no sign anywhere saying what hours they’re open. […]

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One Shot: Chocolate Donut from Dunkin’ Donuts

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I am obsessed with these doughnuts (or is it spelled donuts?). I have a mild obsession with doughnuts…as in, once in a while, I will crave them but it’s usually pretty rare. However, after having a bite of this doughnut during a conference at Korea University this summer, I instantly became obsessed and have been craving them ever since. These doughnuts are “mochi doughnuts” and have the same chewy consistency as mochi but a little doughier. It’s like eating super fluffy, chewy, light-as-air dough. The texture kills me. And the chocolate frosting…yum! I did try a coffee flavored doughnut but it wasn’t as tasty and there is another flavor that is labeled as “olive,” which I have yet to try.

Flavor Japan: Summer eating in Tokyo

Unaju at Oodawa (~ $20 per set)

When I saw GaijinPot published 2 pieces on summer food and summer festival food in Japan, I wanted to write a piece on the same topic, but I got skewered like a dango stick in work. Now that summer is on its way out, here’s an account of what we can (and should) eat in summer in Tokyo – for next year, that is 😉 . THE SAVORY: Unaju at Oodawa (~ $20 per set) […]

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one shot: Profiteroles at Cafe Rabelais

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Even if you don’t like anything at Cafe Rabelais (I didn’t), this mini-mountain of profiteroles loaded with ice cream is still as resistible as a pool in the summer, and worth every second you spend with it too. To top, it’s HUGE. THREE orange-size puffs, for only $6.50! We thought it was going to be just one cream puff, you know, like how desserts are usually portioned… but no, the pastry chef has a heart of gold. Next time I’m at Rive Village, I’ll swing by for a profiterole recharge. 😉 Sidney and the cream puffs. See how big this dessert is? […]

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Judy and Loving Live Treats

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The cookies are wrapped in packages of three – one can surprisingly satiate your hunger, and there are two more to share with friends. It’s all about sharing. […]

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one shot: Revival’s desserts

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Technically four shots total, not one, but it’s not a meal, and it’s just a quick shout-out to what Kristen called “the best dessert she’s had” (“in a while”, I think?). We first went to Revival a year and a half ago. Just like that time, we re-confirm this time that Revival excels at food jellies/sorbet/basically anything fruit and sweet. The best dessert in Kristen’s opinion – Baked Alaska. (My heart died the day I knew Ippuku stopped serving black sesame ice cream, and I refuse to get attached to any other dessert.) The baked alaska is a layered ice cream and sponge cake (or whatever you can layer) in a meringue shell. In Revival’s case, from top down, it’s huckleberry sorbet, lemon-thyme ice cream and almond shortbread. If this is not Refreshing, nothing is. (Well, Ippuku’s black sesame ice cream was.) […]

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Non-baked avocado pie with nut crust

Avocado pie with gyokuro.

Avocado pie with gyokuro. Thanksgiving. Gatherings. I was asked, “can you make dessert?” “Sure, I can make dessert.” Yeah right. Five seconds later, “OH EM GEE. WhatcanImake!” It’s a Western party with Western people. I had never made a Western dessert before, not even chocolate chip cookies from dough that comes out of a tub (and then you just shape it into cookies and bake them, or not – one of the weirdest things about American people is that they love eating raw cookie dough like the Vietnamese like noodle soups. I don’t get it). So of course I did the same thing I do everyday at work – and also what I tell my students to do when they ask me homework questions: I googled. […]

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Eating in Seoul: The Hello Kitty Cafe

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While figuring out where exactly I was staying in Hongdae, I printed out the map on how to get to my hostel from the limousine bus stop. The map was marked with restaurants and cafes to use as landmarks while navigating through the backstreets of Hongdae. To my surprise, on this map a location was marked as “Hello Kitty Cafe.” I’m not the biggest fan of Hello Kitty, but there is something about themed cafes that really excites me, so I knew then that I had to go. (Or okay maybe I am a LOT excited about Hello Kitty…) It is PINK in here. It was a little blinding, but I felt so happy once I stepped inside! The music consisted of club dance music too so that definitely contributed to the upbeat atmosphere. I couldn’t decide what to order at first since all the cakes and drinks looked super cute and yummy, but I decided to go with the prettiest treats because how often is it that I get to go to a Hello Kitty-themed cafe? […]

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Eating in Seoul: My Favorite Cafe

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As a graduate student, I find that I need to always be constantly reading and writing. However, I am not someone who can study easily in a library – it’s a little too quiet and after a while, I start to freak out. I need a little bit of noise to keep me motivated, which is why I prefer to study at cafes all the time. Seeing that I was in Seoul to present at a conference, I needed to get on top of my studying too and took a few days to relax a little bit and read. For the first half of my trip I stayed in Hongdae, which is a super cute neighborhood outside of Hongik University, an art and design university. There were so many cute shops and vendors open during the day and clubbing at night; I can definitely see why this is such a popular place for young people! My favorite part of Hongdae though are the cafes – each cafe is unique and has its own charms. I obviously did not get a chance to hang out at every single cafe, but I did have a favorite while I was staying in […]

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Eating in Seoul: Street Foods

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This past June, I spent 10 days in Seoul to do some research and to present my paper at a conference. But of course, I didn’t stop with my food exploration while abroad. I’ll be writing several posts over the next few weeks to document the food adventures that I had in Seoul! For this first Seoul post, I’ll cover the street foods that I ate! I regretted not trying as much street food as I could but I’ll profile the foods that I did try! Any suggestions for next time as well are welcome! The first street food that I had in Seoul were these delicious chestnuts right outside of the Anguk Station (I think it was Exit #3). I love roasted chestnuts and these were flavorful and meaty – they have a texture similar to that of a baked potato and are deceptively filling. […]

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