Rabbits and Coffee!

Rabbit cafeI just read about this newish trend in Tokyo that puts a twist on quirky. They serve the traditional coffee house fare, but then they have little bunny rabbits available for the patrons to interact and play with before or after, and in some cases, during dining.  Kind of like a pet store with food! In fact some of them actually do sell their little residents as long as you promise to take good care of them.

Rabbit cafe2

From the many articles I’ve found online about this new phenom, this chance to cuddle with a fury friend while noshing has packed the cafes and made them a popular place to unwind and destress on the weekends. Wonderland, Cafe Rabbi, and Ra.a.g.f (rabbit and grow fat) are some of their names, and for an hourly fee, and the cost of a meal, anyone can commune with a cottontail.

rabbit cafe sign

Rabbitcafe3As the video I’ve included below points out, with most Tokyo residents living in apartments with a ban on pet ownership this is one way to get their animal ‘fix’.

http://japangasm.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-animal-cafes/

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2014/01/a-visit-to-japans-bunny-cafes/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2104137/Bunny-caf–Rabbits-mingle-diners-Tokyo-coffee-house.html

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Madeleines!

The other day I went to the Home Store to poke around and see if they had anything I wanted but didn’t need, and low and behold they did! I was rooting through the clearance baking pans, when this very classy woman with a French accent pointed out this interesting looking pan:

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She told me it was a “madeleine” pan, and that she bakes madeleines for her friends who simply adore them. I had to admit to her that I had never heard of a madeleine or it’s seashell style pan, but her commentary intrigued me so I forked over the five-spot and set to baking.

I easily found this recipe http://allrecipes.com/recipe/madeleines-ii/  online and VIOLÁ,

Madeleines!!

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They are crunchy on the outside and soft and cake-like on the inside and simply divine.
How fortutious that a chance encounter, taught me a new skill with such a delicious result.
Merci Mademoiselle!

A cooking blog this ain’t!

So I decided to get all creative today and make myself an ice cream cake, I just love a good ice cream cake! I always feel the cake to ice cream ratio is not to my liking so I figured if I made it myself it would be just pourfect!

I also thought it would be an especially escially wonderful idea if I took pictures along the way (like the cooking blogs do) and make a post to show everyone how to make an ice cream cake. That was a DUMB idea 🙂

Here I try to be artsy fartsy displaying what it takes to make this treat….

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…then a shock of color, as I try to be like The Pioneer Woman showing my bowl full of ingredients.

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Required baking shot (or even a goofball like me can get a cake to look good in the oven!)

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scrumptious ice cream being smushed in a cake pan

and finally the piece de resistance…..the picture you’ve all been waiting for….the start of a whole new career path….the finished product…

drum roll please….

the disaster** that is my ice cream cake…Cake Wrecks eat your hearts out!!

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The flowers and wine are to distract your attention away from the cake, but even though it looks ugly as sin, it’s going to be sinfully delicious! 🙂

**And like all great failures I have something to blame for this mess of an ice cream cake, it’s the freezer, it really was all the freezers fault! Honest!

 

Hail to the Chef

Hail to the ChefI am a horrible cook. Well not horrible, just a lackluster cook. I don’t like planning meals, shopping for groceries or preparing food, which makes it absolutely nutty that I’m addicted to cooking and food shows! I love Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, MasterChef, and the Great Food Truck Race. And then there is Come Dine with Me, The Next Food Network Star and Restaurant Impossible. I could list probably a half a dozen more but I figure that you’ve already gotten the idea 🙂

What’s even crazier about these shows is that most of the things they prepare aren’t really things I usually dine on when I go out to eat. It’s kind of foo foo, fancy schmancy, small portions that are made with ingredients that my local grocery probably doesn’t even carry. Yet I’m glued to the TV, watching the chefs chop veggies with wild abandon, cooking with new techniques, like liquid nitrogen, and touching all the food while plating (yuck!).

I continue to be mesmerized while the “expert” panel of judges, taste, analyze and dissect each morsel, with a proliferation of flowery adjectives, and decide whether the bite of food was seasoned and flavorful enough for their discerning palates. Of course, we the viewer, have to take their taste buds word for it because we can neither taste nor smell the plates, obviously it’s a visual experience only!

I have to say though that the few times I’ve been lucky enough to visit a television top chefs’ restaurant (Gordon Ramsey, Emeril Lagasse, Rick Bayless) never once did I say, “Man, that was the best meal I’ve ever eaten”…never!  I don’t know whether that means I’m not classy enough to appreciate fine dining or whether those that do love it feel they must because they just forked over a weeks’ salary for their dinner. Probably a little of both!

So I will continue to indulge my love for cooking and food television shows from the comfort of my couch with my PB&J sandwich on my plate, a bag of chips by my side and a beer in my hand. Just because I don’t like cooking, shopping or preparing food doesn’t mean I don’t love eating it!

An Anchorage Trifecta

I’m back residing in my other abode for a few weeks, and yesterday I decided to go out and explore three places on my ‘Alaska to-do list’.

Title Wave Books is a 30,000 square foot bookstore, almost completely stocked with used books. It’s huge and extremely well organized by category with a great Alaska section featuring non-fiction books, as well as local authors, and novels featuring Alaska. Unfortunately it doesn’t have very many old books of the smelly variety that I love, and I do think their used book prices are pretty darn high, but that being said I still ended up walking out of there with two titles!
Thanks to Simon at Savidge Reads for the recommendations,

Attached to the store was a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try for quite some time. My reason for wanting to try it? It’s name~ Yak and Yeti. You see I’ve already eaten at another restaurant by that name in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, which I really enjoyed, so seeing that name here in Anchorage intrigued me. I must say the Anchorage Yak and Yeti restaurant’s food was excellent.

I had the Pork Vindaloo because it was recommended to me by the clerk at the bookstore, and she didn’t steer me wrong. It was yummy, but I know I’m going to have to go back and try something else very soon, because just reading their menu online has me drooling!

My third stop of the afternoon was Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge. The name alone sounds delish doesn’t it? I’ve been on their email list for ages, but because of my M-O-B diet during my last few times in town, I avoided the temptation. But thankfully the kid is married now and I can indulge a little, ok a LOT, so to the chocolate lounge I went!

It’s a fairly small store, but painted in lovely brown chocolatey colors, with several small seating areas, and saleable artwork and jewelry around the perimeter. I wasn’t sure what to order, but I knew that they served drinking chocolate which is something that is often sipped by characters in some of my favorite Victorian novels. When I inquired about said chocolate I was offered a sample to try, either spicy or non-spicy. Hmm, decisions, decisions. I chose spicy!

It was so rich and thick that the sample handed to me was served in a small paper cup with a spoon~~creamy, rich with a kick…heavenly!  I ended up getting a mocha latte made with their spicy Mayan drinking chocolate and took my time enjoying it. Well, I had to take my time, because it was FIERY! I loved it, but it’s not for the faint of heart…or everyday consumption 🙂
Modern Dweller’s chocolate studio not only produces the drinking chocolate, but also truffles and candy bars.

I bought one truffle, Golden Goat, a mixture of goat cheese and dark chocolate ganache, but I have yet to let myself indulge, maybe tomorrow.

Anchorage is a great place to go exploring for unique shops, and restaurants. Yes, it has all the chain places you’d expect, but there are so many hidden gems. I can’t wait until my next adventure, and you know it’s going to have to include food!

One ingredient ice cream? Bananas!

My cousin posted a link on Facebook this morning that really grabbed my attention. It is entitled, “The Kitchn’s One-Ingredient Ice Cream”. I love ice cream and I love simple recipes so of course I had to check it out.

You can gather from this post’s title that the ONE ingredient is bananas! I guess if you cut up bananas, freeze them and then give them a whirl in a food processor, the result is an ice cream like dessert with intense banana flavor.

Cavendish bananas are the main commercial bana...

You can click here, on Food52’s website, to read the scientific reason why bananas have this magical ability to turn into ‘soft serve ice cream’ and also get the recipe.

one-ingredient ice cream