Tokyo Food and Drink

So far the LinLyn and I are three for three in Japanese meals… After we checked in to our hotel Thursday night I successfully re-traced my steps to my favourite Shibuya sushi bar. The next morning I treated her to the hotel’s decadent western-style breakfast buffet.

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Last night we decided on some kind of cooked Japanese food, and ended up at the CoCo Curry House. This was the special of the day, deep-fried pork on a bed of rice, perched on the shores of a large pool of curry. The photo doesn’t do it justice—it was delicious!

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I got my after-dinner coffee here, at the Excelsior Caffé. LinLyn remembered that this coffee chain was written up in the TimeOut guide back in our hotel room. Apparently it’s a direct knock-off of Starbucks and they had to change their logo slightly to avoid a lawsuit, which only made it taste better in retrospect…

😎

All I want for Christmas

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… Is some Senseo coffee!

It’s my own damn fault, importing a coffee maker from the States, knowing full well that I’d be at the mercy of both the mail and Canada Customs for the fuel to put in it. In the month and a half since I brought my Senseo home from Buffalo I’ve plowed through almost 400 pods, and now I’ve run out.

At the moment I’ve got Pods on order from Florida, Germany and Holland, but nothing’s come through yet, and the Christmas delivery rush won’t exactly help things.

I’m trying to make due with Home Café pods by Folgers; you can get them at The Bay or Zellers, but they’re absolutely wretched, tasting like the coffee you’d get in the janitor’s office at a bus terminal.

I’ve got my brother is on a mission of mercy, airlifting some Senseo with him in from New York; we’ll see how long that lasts.

I guess this is how a heroin addict must feel. 😯

Coffee Madness, Part II

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When it comes to single serve coffee, Philips proves that it’s all about the crema!

In my last post on this subject, I praised the convenience of the Melitta One:One coffeemaker, but noted that the coffee Melitta made for it was mediocre, at best. I ordered some gourmet pods from PODhead; their dark roast approached the minimum taste requirement of my regular drip coffee, but still wasn’t worth the hassle and expense of mail-ordering it from the States.

Not so with the Philips Senseo, I’m happy to report. I picked one up across the border last week, and have been hooked on it ever since!

It isn’t fair to compare Senseo with espresso or french press coffee — what comes out of the Senseo is really a new kind of coffee beverage. The frothy layer of crema on top is as thick as the head on a pint of Guinness, and the black stuff underneath is silky-smooth in flavour, rather than bitter.

So far I’ve tried the dark and mild roasts; the only difference I can see is in their strength, making the dark perfect for a morning wake-me-up, and the mild a nice after-dinner treat.

Some Senseo users have complained that one pod yields only half a cup of coffee. I’m actually okay with this, as I can get through a serving at my own leisurely pace, without using a mug warmer or being left with a tepid pool of sludge at the bottom of my cup. And who cares if I go through six pods of coffee per day — it’s only about three doses of caffeine proper!

I’m so enamoured with Senseo coffee that I find myself pooh-poohing regular java in restaurants where I can get Americano or something with froth on it instead. And for now, I’m more than willing to import pods for my Senseo from the States; I’ve even found a site that offers European-only brands and flavours!

According to this Toronto Star article, Philips will start selling the Senseo in Canada sometime in 2005. Be warned: Once you try it, you may never go back to drip coffee again!

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Coffee Madness

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Senseo coffee makers on display at Saturn in downtown Frankfurt… More on that in a sec; first, some background:

One of my favourite breakfast spots in Toronto, The Swan, serves coffee from some kind of fancy machine, yielding a deep, rich cup of the black stuff with a thin layer of light brown froth on top. Little did I know that this froth actually has a name — crema — and that Philips sells a crema coffeemaker for the home — the Senseo — that has apparently ignited a coffee revolution not seen since Mr. Coffee introduced the first automatic drip machine in 1972!

What I didn’t know (and still don’t) is whether or not Philips has any plans to market the Senseo in Canada. The closest thing I could find was the Melitta One:One, available at the The Bay.

Now, anybody who knows me well also knows that I obsess over silly little distractions like this, and as far as obsessions go, this one was good for many hours wasted on the internet. I found one proper newspaper comparison of the different machines, and a usenet post by a coffee lover who seemed to know what he was talking about.

For me it basically came down to this: I wanted the Senseo, but felt weird about having to import my regular supply of coffee from the US. I was also weirded out a bit by this photo of Senseo crema — to me, the froth looks way too thick to be real; I think that Philips adds either chemicals or maybe even some instant coffee to their pods for the crema effect, not unlike the Taster’s Choice my dad used to suffer through.

In the Melitta’s favour, The Bay promised to let me return it within a year, so there was no real reason not to at least give it a try; and with that slim justification I purchased a One:One in white and joined the pod revolution.

This morning I’ve had my first two cups of coffee, both with Melitta pods. The first was labeled “buzzworthy”, and managed to give me the shakes with delivering any real flavour. The second, “love at first sip”, was a little more mild; neither of the two, however, can compare with the Kick Ass that usually goes into my drip machine when I start my day.

What I did like, though, was not having to make more than one cup at a time. These machines are quick, convenient and super easy to clean, so instead of being burdened with the responsibility of finishing off a pot of stale, baked goop before the burner on the machine shuts off, I can enjoy a fresh cup of the black stuff whenever I feel like it. Melitta makes tea pods for their One:One too!

This morning I ordered some gourmet pods from the States, which kind of defeats the purpose of not getting the Senseo in the first place. Chemicals or not, I’m still interested in tasting that Senseo crema, so if you’re going south of the border and wouldn’t mind bringing one back with ya please let me know… I’ll take mine in Senseo blue…

cheese

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