Somi Somi: A Marriage of East and West in an Ice Cream Cone
Somi Somi: 西洋と東洋が結婚したアイスクリームショップ
Somi Somi is aiming to go organic. Organic or not, Somi Somi is an ice cream shop not to be missed. (Unless you have serious food sensitivities.) Flavors familiar to the Japanese and Korean palate are swirled into a pancake cone! Specifically a taiyaki; a fish shaped shell. Traditionally, taiyaki is filled with red bean paste in both Japan and Korea.
Somi Somi offers the traditional take on taiyaki. Swooning for Somi Somi’s matcha, purple potato, sesame and milk ice cream, I didn’t miss the red bean paste. Plus, the ice cream topping choices include French macarons, American Fruity Pebble cereal and crushed Oreos. Somi Somi is located in Korea Town. The shop has been open less than a year. Word-of-mouth and magazines has already made the shop a crowd favorite. If you visit, I think you’ll see why.
“Teatime is more than a warming your hands with a mug of matcha.” So says my teatime aficionado friend, Marjorie. She’s right. It’s the heartfelt conversation which teatime seems to encourage. Whether the matcha is in a paper cup or bone China, the act of taking time to pour matcha (or substitute your favorite tea) allows beauty to appear. Even sorrows, when expressed are on their way to healing. Teatime also allows the space for telling the truth.
Hands clasped around mugs, my sister, my niece and I have gathered many times in the living room to celebrate and support each other. A higher quality matcha may have been served, but the dynamic remained the same when the three of us enjoyed afternoon tea at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. (Our outfits though were drastically different. Silk blouses and skirts replaced sweat pants.)
Adventures abroad are eye opening and exciting. Even if the desire to travel burns in your bones, don’t you appreciate a taste of home once in a while? Green tea ochazuke rice is what many Japanese turn to when missing home. Matcha ochazuke is the au courant rice bowl. The meal is simple. Thanks to the millions of Chinese restaurants around the world, Japanese travelers can easily make matcha ochazuke rice. All that is required is a bowl of sticky white Japanese (short-grain) rice, green tea or matcha and a packet of ochazuke.
What’s in an ochazuke packet? Seasoning tossed with dried seaweed and small rice crackers. The Japanese characters for ochazuke read as “steeped in green tea.” But refers to rice soaked in green tea and sprinkled with seasonings, seaweed and small rice crackers plus pickles.
Matcha ochazuke rice is a simple but splendid feast for the palette. Delicate crunchy crackers accent soft rice. The slightly bitter tea balances the mildly sweet nori seaweed. Japanese pickles add a salty, savory element. Some may argue that an authentic matcha ochazuke rice bowl requires Japanese pickles. Shopping for Japanese pickles at some American markets may prove challenging. Solution: Hot dogs! That’s right.
All-American Fourth of July hot dogs. If this is your first foray into matcha ochazuke rice, why not skip the Japanese pickles and add familiar and flavorful hot dogs? After all, in America, July is National Hot Dog Month.
Sushi is a revered art form in Japan. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (a fantastic documentary) reflects the strict standards adhered to by old-school sushi masters. Iron Chef Morimoto, in his latest cookbook, Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking, also speaks of the long training process. Before his knife could touch the fish, Chef Morimoto was required to perfect cooking Japanese rice. (Even amongst home cooks, there is a definite competitive edge when it comes to producing the perfect bowl of rice.)
Do you dream of eating sushi in Japan? If your bank account is brimming with dollars, by all means get in the queue for a seat at Jiro Ono’s sushi bar. If not consider Kyubey in Tokyo. (The link is in English.) DoJimaHamaShin is recommended if in Osaka. (This link is also in English.) You’ll get top-quality sushi at reasonable prices.
Fine dining doesn’t require Noritake plates and Lalique crystal. Nobody knows this better than Jane and Michael Stern, the husband and wife authors of Road Food. (Now in its 10th edition!The couple is celebrating their 40th anniversary of stalking scrumptiousness. ) Famous amongst fans of the Splendid Table podcast, the duo travels America’s byways scouting home-style deliciousness. The Sterns’ reports to Splendid Table’s host (Lynn Gasper) always conjure up images of comfort and classic Americana cuisine. The King and Queen of diners, donut shops, mom-and-pop ice cream parlors also detail their scrumptious encounters on...
経験豊かな食事評論家であるスターン夫妻 の書いたロードフードは何年もアメリカ全州を旅して研究した結果を記した本です。昔ながらのアメリカの料理と西部開拓者の具だくさんの料理を主に紹介していますが、健康的な料理も少し紹介しています。私が一番よく知っているレストランはロサンジェルスのDu-par's です。ここでは何時でも朝ごはんが食べられます。この本で紹介されているどのレストランもおいしそうですが、特に面白いレストランは下記に紹介しております。
The Japanese Style American Tea Room
Prada. Strolling around the town is like stepping into a movie set. Beverly Hills is a beautiful place. But after you’ve had your fill of shopping (window shopping for some of us) and taking photos, you’ll probably crave a pick-me-up. Saunter over to the American Tea Room. You’ll enter a space with a Japanese sense of design. No clutter. (Mari Kondo would be proud!) High-grade teas from around the world are on display. Including Hekisui matcha tea – which is served to the Emperor of Japan! Besides the extensive matcha menu, inventive takes on Earl Grey, espresso and other café classics are served. Desire a nibble with your beverage? American Tea Room’s fresh pastries are fabulous. Crowd favorites include English scones studded with cranberries, mini cream cake rolls and French croissant rolls.
Fireworks cascade in the night sky. Faces turned heavenward in awe. It must be the Fourth of July in America. And it must be summer! The time of year when I’d travel from Tokyo to visit Mom in Massachusetts. Mom passed several years ago.
One of the most vivid summertime memories with Mom involves blueberries. She loved the little gems. Blueberries were something I only ate in the States with her. Blueberries were usually sprinkled atop a Cool Whip heavy ice cream sundae.
Yes, I remember the educational trips to Plymouth Rock and Cape Cod, too. To tell the truth, Plymouth Rock, was somewhat disappointing. All right, the Mayflower with our brave English ancestors landed there. But it was a grey rock with some chicken wire around it! Maybe there is now a proper placard and encasement honoring the historical significance of the spot.
The 4th of July was also Mom’s birthday. So, in addition to our favorite blueberries...
One trip that got me to love traveling was when I went to the unique and amazing country of China. I wanted to go somewhere foreign and with the many different types of food to try, so since I loved Chinese food and wanted to explore more on the authentic flavors, I went to China! My trip taught me a lot of new things. I opened my eyes and had me meet the best people there!
I went there in October, when it was the PERFECT time to stay out without the blazing weather or the cold spring days. I visited Hong Kong and Beijing, where I was able to try a smorgasbord of Cantonese and Mongolian cuisine. I was also surprised with Macau, as they didn’t only have the amazing hotels and modern sights to see, but the markets where they sold tons of souvenirs and food at such affordable prices. Of course, their Portuguese-Chinese fusion dishes are a huge plus to my trip as well. Each area has a specific taste, but all with the same kick that makes me want to go back for more.
Japanese food and language were all I knew until age 5 (although I’m an American of European descent.) Tokyo was my hometown until age 18. Japan is famous for its Kobe beef. However, my first bite of beef was at my grandmother’s house in Colorado. I was sent there one summer to learn English. Good thing my Nona was patient…And had a large stash of nori. (Dried Japanese seaweed) I refused to eat meat if not wrapped in nori. Besides being the best grandmother ever, Nona was an excellent cook. So the beef (wrapped in nori) was swallowed without complaint.
On subsequent summer visits to Nona’s house, I was not quite as demanding. Also, I did learn English. Thanks to my grandmother and my cousins. Some of them managed corn and green bean farms. On drives to the farms - or even to the market - I saw grazing cattle. It was quite a contrast to my “regular” life in cosmopolitan Tokyo. But a welcome change. Colorado summers were opportunities to learn about family, horseback riding, S’Mores and how to enjoy American beef!