All posts filed under: Favorites

Carma’s Cafe: sesame noodles, paninis, and more

Carma’s Cafe is a magical little hideout in Baltimore. The cafe’s menu is constantly updated with seasonal specials but nothing beats their staples: the best sesame noodles around, Pink Dalmatian cookies (cranberry white chocolate chip magicalness), and an array of freshly grilled paninis. On gloomy days, there’s nothing more comforting than an order of Carma’s grilled cheese with tomato soup. On days when all your stomach craves is savory carbs, Carma’s TCB (turkey cranberry brie panini) with a side order of sesame noodles is on point My friend Marc, whose palate matches his deeply fabulous style, recently introduced me to the Xander–a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with granny smith apples, light cream cheese, and honey drizzled over. I don’t know how I went so long without trying it! Carma’s Cafe is also famous for its Icelandic Yogurt (with berry compote!) and baked cookies. If you’re really lucky, you’ll manage to catch a fresh batch of Carma’s blueberry muffins in the morning! Plus, since it’s located right next to University campus, you’ll always find students grabbing coffees to go, or studying outside the cafe when the weather is nice–a perfect people watching spot. It’s crazy how Baltimore’s …

The Beauty of Artifact Coffee

Coffee shops are best on Sunday afternoons when you need a space to relax in before the beginning of another week. Artifact Coffee, a spinoff of Baltimore’s widely acclaimed Woodberry Kitchen, is a lovely place to do just that. I visited Artifact Coffee for a late lunch with my friend Sarika and absolutely loved the hipster decorations. With a spacious interior, Artifact Coffee offers freshly baked goods, an interesting mix of coffee drinks (lavender latte anyone?), and a great all day menu. Plus, if you don’t want to sit, they also have island bar tables you can stand and chat at–a reminder of my favorite coffee bars in Italy.

Sushi Dai 寿司大 at Tsukiji Fish Market

Sukiyabashi Jiro might be the ultimate sushi master, but if you can wake up amazingly early in Tokyo and make your way to Tsukiji Fish Market, you’ll find yourself lost in the buzzing excitement of the world’s largest seafood market. I’ve had such amazing sushi in Tokyo but Sushi Dai, located in the busy lanes of Tsukiji Fish Market, is one of a kind (and yes, this is where Jiro and other renowned sushi chefs come to select their fresh fish!) Lines can stretch up to 5 hours, so bring some entertainment or simply come to enjoy the good company you’ll meet–I’ve truly met the most interesting and international people in line before. After all, as Julia Child so wisely reminds us, “people who love to eat are always the best people.”

A love affair between Croissant and Taiyaki at 銀のあん

Croissant Taiyaki Croissant meets Taiyaki, and a love affair later, I think I’m in love too! 銀のあん, following Dominique Ansel’s wildly popular inventions (cronuts, milk and cookie shots, etc.), adds its own twist to a traditional Japanese dessert. Taiyaki たい焼き is a Japanese fish-shaped pastry, stuffed with sweet Azuki Red Bean paste. Traditional Taiyaki dough has a pancake-like consistency. After grilling it, it’s nice and fluffy, with a golden finish. However, Croissant Taiyaki has more of a croissant-like consistency, meaning layers of flakey goodness and a crispy almond-brown color! The original flavor Croissant Taiyaki is with the sweet Azuki Bean paste, but they happened to have a summer special when I went today–a Green Tea Croissant Taiyaki! Filled with green tea custard, the Green Tea Croissant Taiyaki is extra lovely with its candied red beans on the outside and green-tea flavored layers. Don’t miss this fantastic twist on a delicious Japanese dessert, because I was in a solid 5-minutes of food heaven before it was all gone. *Directions: To get to Croissant Taiyaki, take the East Exit when you get out …

A glimpse of Ginza’s dining glamor at Kakiyasu 柿安

Ginza is the glitzy face of Tokyo with gorgeous buildings like the Ginza Mitsukoshi and Wako Department Store’s Hattori clock tower built by the founder of Seiko. Iconic upscale shopping is one reason why Ginza attracts such an large crowd, but after dining at Kakiyasu this week, I’m convinced Ginza also has phenomenal food hidden in its many glamorous buildings. Kakiyasu 柿安 is a 140 years old traditional Japanese restaurant, renowned for its sukiyaki (すき焼き). If you love sweet and savory together, sukiyaki is the ultimate hot pot of comfort food–especially since Kakiyasu uses the highest grade of Matsusaka Beef (black haired Japanese wagyu). With my cousin Joseph in town this weekend, I thought a traditional Japanese meal in an iconic Tokyo area should not be missed. Although Joseph could easily enjoy a ramen burger and an ice cold ginger ale for lunch, when in Tokyo do as classy Tokyoites do right?

A Walking Guide to Kagurazaka: the Charming Cobblestone Streets of Tokyo’s Old Geisha Quarters

Kagurazaka’s quiet charm is reminiscent of Kyoto’s Gion District. Once Tokyo’s Hanamachi (Japanese courtesan and geisha quarters), Kagurazaka still has an elegant air of traditional Japanese culture to it. Interestingly, the large nearby French expatriate influences can be easily spotted by the many French brasseries in the area too! Deciding we needed a change of scenery from Tokyo’s posh Omotesando area, my good friend Mizuha and I decided to take a day exploring the little alleyways of Kagurazaka this past weekend. Attending the same university as me, Mizuha has been my Tokyo partner in crime for many food adventures–doesn’t queuing at 4am for sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market sound like a beautiful friendship? I made a gallery for our explorations in Kagurazaka so check out the various captions for recommendations. Here are some highlights: Sakura Roll Cake at the famous Canal Cafe (Tokyo’s oldest boat house, the century-old Suijyo Club, turned waterside cafe), Manju at the Spirited Away-esque Mugimaru2 hidden in a back alleyway, famous French bakeries like Cafe-Creperie Le Bretagne, and many more! There are many ways to wander around Kagurazaka, …