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May 27, 2004

a brief escape

Thursday, May 27

It's been a while since my last post and I know it's cheating that I post for all the missing days at one time... but I kept taking pictures to upload, so I might as well write, too.

This afternoon I went for a small walk. First I took a short train ride to go to a patisserie called Au Bon Vieux Temps. This place is one of the first traditional French patisserie-viennoiserie style shops in Japan where they carry a complete range of shop-made confectionaries from fancy entremets and baked-to-perfection gateaux to tiny truffes au chocolat and shinyconfitures. It was my first time going there for the past eight or nine years, but the shop was there just as before. I studied what they had in the showcase, took my time to make a choice, and finally picked up three small entremets; Fruits rouges, a tartlet loaded with red (and black and blue) berries; Beau temps, caramel-mousse chiboust with raspberry sauce; and …oops! I forgot the name, pistachio creme brulee and raspberry mousse coated with white chocolate cream. I wish I could buy more, but there are currently only three of us at home and those small beauties would be so rich and powerful we won't need to eat a large amount, even if there hadn't been a budget issue. I also bought myself few caramels – orange-, fleur de sel-, and tea-flavored ones. And a small box of petits gateaux for later.

With a bag of sweet delights in my hand, I walked to a nearby park called Todoroki Valley park. It is a small quite park with a stream running through it, an amazingly nice spot for somewhere so close to downtown Tokyo which is known to have scarce green in town. I didn’t walk all the way along the river, but it was truly refreshing to have a bit of walk around in a calm, peaceful place like this. This park is also a place where I would come when I was a college student and when I lived in this area before moving to Hawaii, so this short walk did make me a bit nostalgic, looking back all those days….

I bought fresh, shelled fava beans on the way back. As I don't see fava beans much in my neighborhood in Hawaii, this is another one of food that I can't miss while I am here. I was thinking about grilling them, but as my sister said she would cook pasta with salmon, we decided to throw the beans in the pasta. It was meant to be cream-sauce pasta, but somehow we made too little sauce so the resultant dish wasn't quite creamy. I topped off the pasta with some freeze-dried zest of yuzu, a kind of citrus fruit that is widely used in some part of Asia including Japan - I like using lemon zest in salmon cream pasta as it gives a nice tangy accent to a thick cream and a bit fishy salmon. Yuzu is not quite like lemon – more bitter than sour, and a bit orangey – but it did a great job on our pasta dish nevertheless.

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