Author: mariko

Moving!

Thank you all for your support all these years!!! I’m going to be leaving WordPress and moving to Squarespace and a new blog! I hope you all will come and visit! My new blog is called My Little Tamago. Here’s the address: http://mylittletamago.com

Tea and Scones

In a world of commercial coffee and tea chains, Teja was an original. This one-of-a-kind tea house was located where the Himalayan Kitchen is now in Kaimuki. To this day, I still miss it. The first time I went there, it was with my mother. When we arrived at that second floor dwelling, rich in dark wood, the owner greeted us. She was a Japanese woman in her mid-thirties. She was well-traveled and had learned about tea all over the world.  She was also an amazing collector of cups and saucers and teapots, that would make even the grumpiest person smile. Her tea house wasn’t Asian, nor was it the frilly stuff that only appeal to women. For lack of a better word, it was more artsy. The owner invited us to smell a variety of teas. There were spicier teas from India and more herbal ones from Japan and China. I chose one called Wedding Chai. You never know. Tea could bring a man into your life. You should try for luck anywhere you can …

Konbu Maki: Tied, Sealed, Simmered–I’m Yours

I love New Years! Unlike other holidays, New Years is about possibility. Everything is fresh on January 1. You can have big dreams again and believe that yes, this year they will surely come true. In Japan, it’s the day you go to the shrine and get your fortune and pray for good luck in the coming year. But for me, the big draw has always been the food. When I was young, we would spend New Years Day at my aunt’s mother-in-law’s house. By the time we got there, the Red and White Song Festival was on and a multitude of traditional Japanese New Years dishes patiently awaited us. Sadly, I don’t remember what we ate. There was too much food! But to this day, I can never forget her ozoni or mochi soup. Ozoni is often times the first meal of the New Year and it differs by region in Japan. Some prefectures like Kyoto may use white miso, others may include lots and lots of seafood. But my aunt’s mother-in-law’s version was simple. It …

Persimmons and the Morning Fog

Note: I wanted to publish this in November, but alas, there was no time. It’s an older post but I just love it because that memory of being at the Ferry Building with all that fruit is still vivid in my mind, even years later. So please, enjoy! Ah, it’s November. And sadly, I’m in Hawaii. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for the blue skies, the tradewinds and the daily sunshine. But nothing says autumn to me like the morning fog rolling in over San Francisco Bay and lovely, orange persimmons! November makes me nostalgic for my first trip to the Ferry Building’s Saturday Farmer’s Market. That year, San Francisco was experiencing a record heat wave for November and the days were a balmy 75 degrees and sunny. The skies were so clear and blue, it made me wonder, “Where am I?” Yes, everyone gets all worked up about summer and its berries and ripe sensual fruits, but frankly, I prefer fall. When I wandered around the stalls of fruits and vegetables, it was …

When You Least Expect It

As a forty-something-year-old woman, I hear it all the time. “You’ll find him when you least expect it.” Married people love singing this refrain often. While I don’t know if I can apply it to my love life, I can certainly connect it to waiters I have met in my lifetime. Some of them have even saved my life. I think you can relate if you’ve ever dated. It’s hard to meet a guy for the first time. You’re basically having a meal with a stranger. And you don’t know if he’s going to be THE ONE or the one who only talks about himself for an hour and half or the one who keeps wiping the condensation off his glass and fixing his fork to a perfect right angle. Perhaps the worst date I have ever been on is the one where the guy left five minutes after he arrived. “I have an emergency,” he said. He didn’t look anxious or stressed out, but he was out the door faster than I could say …

Twenty-first Century Good Luck

If it weren’t for the orange door, it would be easy to miss Shop Toast in Kaimuki. The favors showroom is hidden away in a corner of a small shopping center on Waialae Avenue. But for those who love designer Jeremy Shoda’s unique favors, “kawaii” creations, and reinventions of traditional Japanese goods, Shop Toast is easy to find. Some customers even make special trips from the mainland to see him and his creations. Although Shoda’s store is about the size of a walk-in closet, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in merchandise. Lining the many shelves are favors for every holiday and event imaginable. Think carrot gift containers with small wooden rabbits for Easter, Frankenstein and his bride for Halloween, and the traditional nutcracker for Christmas. Then there’s apples, pineapples, lucky cats, dogs, reindeer, ninjas, sumo wrestlers, and even the frog prince. But perhaps what Shoda and his former partner Michelle Kaneko are best known for is their unique take on Japanese good luck items. “Both Michelle and I had worked for …

Food Is Love

Hi! I’m Mariko and welcome to my blog. I’m so glad you stopped by! Momochan Conquers the World is a monthly blog dedicated to food. But truth be told, I come from a family who doesn’t really savor food. Let’s face it, they’re two steps away from slurping ramen, standing up at the train station in Tokyo. To them, food is fuel, nothing more. This is what makes me think I’m adopted. I’m the only one in my family who loves the sensuality of food, the journey a good meal takes to unfold. But I wouldn’t say that I’m a foodie. Foodies seem to love EVERYTHING! I don’t. For example, I know that cilantro is the basis of several world cuisines, but take me to a Thai restaurant and I’ll pluck each leaf from my Tom Yum soup when they forget to take it out beforehand. I also have mixed feelings about avocado. I know it’s a super food and all, but I just can’t get past the texture. The only way I’ll eat it …