Thursday, April 30, 2009

Glorious Butter

I have a thing for cake, and have a real thing for olive oil cake. So when I came across Gina DePalma's almond cake with olive oil my interest was piqued. The woman is the pastry chef at Babbo after all, so I figured if anyone knew olive oil it was her.

And it turns out she does. The cake was lovely. Light, tasty and not a hint of grease. As you can see, it was so delectable that I couldn't keep away from it long enough to take a picture of it in its full, uneaten glory.

But that said, I can't say that the cake itself necessarily blew my mind. It was excellent, but not a new culinary experience. But if you are interested in a competent, palatable cake, the recipe is here.

However, the brown butter glaze on top of the the cake most definitely did blow my mind. There are few things in life I like better than brown butter, but it would never have occurred to me to put it in a sugar glaze. Gnocchi, ravioli, savory sauces, most definitely. But sweet things? How novel! I now count brown butter and sugar as one of life's great pleasures.

I would go so far as to say that it would be good on just about any(dessert)thing. Peaches I think would be particularly sublime with it, especially with the toasted sliced almonds Ms. DePalma recommends be mixed in before pouring the concoction over her cake. So go forth, brown some butter, add some sugar and tell me that the resultant ecstasy hasn't turned your world upsidedown.

Brown Butter Glaze

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
a few drops of lemon juice

Melt butter over medium heat in a small, heavy saucepan. When the bubbles subside, lower the heat and watch the butter carefully, swirling the pan occasionally to distribute the heat. When the butter begins to turn a light tan color and smells slightly nutty, turn off the heat and let the butter sit. It will continue to darken as it sits.

While the butter cools, sift the confectioner's sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk until completely smooth but thick, then slowly whisk in the butter. Taste the glaze and add a few drops of lemon juice to balance the sweetness.

If you'd like, stir in some toasted slivered almonds for a little crunch.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

La Belle Elle

Not to be one of those annoying self-loathing Francophile Americans, but why is their Elle Decor so far and away better than ours?  I like the American edition of course, I can happily flip through it and remain entertained for a good five minutes, but the French one?  I'm there for at least twenty, usually more.  I actively covet most every trinket listed, I'm thrilled over and over by truly new ideas for rooms, and I never look at a photo and think "hmmm, looks like Restoration!"

Case in point, from December's issue  

How fabulously brave is this?  How totally punk (in the most beautiful, refined way possible)?

And would it ever have occurred to you to paint your dining room wall plaid?

Probably not, but how awesome does it look?!

Possibly my favorite bathtub ever, I have been thinking about it for months:

Definitely my favorite lamp ever:

One of the better kitchen storage options I've seen:

I think a shallow armoire like this is genius...deep shelves are useless unless you are actively trying to stow food away for years on end, never to see the light of day.

And let us just take a moment to celebrate...color, glorious color:

Are you listening Margaret Russell?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Food For Steamy Weather

90 degrees yesterday?  Seriously, Mother Nature?  This is how you address my pleas for warm weather?  Be careful what you wish for, I suppose.

But when steamy weather hits, I always turn to Asian cuisine, and this time was no different.  I pulled my trusty Hot Sour Salty Sweet off the shelf and started to flip through, trying to cobble together a dish based on what I had in the apartment:  gorgeous oyster mushrooms from the farmers market, cellophane noodles, cilantro, half a napa cabbage and a ton of limes.  

There was of course no one recipe that fit the contents of my pantry, so I ended up merging two different recipes for Thai noodle salad, and I must say the result fit the bill perfectly.  Light, refreshing, and it required few heat-producing activities.

Thai Noodle Salad
Adapted from Hot Sour Salty Sweet, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

Yields 4 servings

1 pound oyster mushrooms
3 ounces cellophane noodles (these are sometimes called mung bean noodles)
bottom half of 1 napa cabbage (you may use the top half, but I prefer the crunchier texture of the bottom here)
2 scallions, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, chopped
dried, fresh or pickled chile peppers to taste
2 tablespoons peanut, safflower or other tasteless oil
4 tablespoons fish sauce
5 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Put on a large pot of water to boil.  

Brush any dirt or grime off of the mushrooms, and separate the individual caps.  Heat a cash iron skillet over high heat.  Toss mushrooms lightly in oil, and when pan is hot put mushrooms on to cook.  Turn them occasionally as they cook, and remove from heat when they are lightly browned, tender and moist in the middle.

When water has come to a boil, drop in cellophane noodles and allow to cook until tender, approximately 2 minutes.  When they are ready, drain them in a fine mesh colander and run them under cold water to cool.

Julienne napa cabbage and add to the noodles, along with sliced scallions, cooked mushrooms and chopped cilantro.

In a bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, whisk together fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.

Heat oil over medium-high heat, then add chiles and garlic.  I took this opportunity to use the pickled peppers that I canned last summer, and used three half-inch pieces.  I would use about a half of a dried chile or one fresh chile if those were my options.  

Tilt the pan such that the contents collect at the low point and are essentially deep frying.  Continue to cook until garlic becomes golden.  When cooked, pour oil and contents into the lime juice and fish sauce mixture.  Whisk, and adjust to taste.  Depending on the limes and fish sauce that you are using, you may need to adjust the balance of acid and sweet.

Pour the dressing over the noodle mixture and toss with your hands.  Allow to marinate for about twenty minutes, then serve.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring Bounty

At 80+ degrees in New York today, it is a postcard perfect weekend.  The full bounty of spring hasn't quite hit the farmers market yet, although the ramps are larger and more lush than they were last week, and spinach seems to be making its annual debut, along with some of the other greens like mustard greens and watercress.  But oh the flowers!

The legendary James Durr, a wholesale florist who makes an appearance at Union Square each Saturday, has a welcome new additions to his fleet of flowering branches.  Dogwood!

I find those raised green centers so charming:

But the scale of my apartment isn't appropriate for the statuesque nature of these boughs, so I chose to take home one of the other welcome additions, lilacs.

I find lilacs so genteel and romantic.  They have quite a relaxed, soft feeling to me, I think because the stems are flexible and the clusters of flowers are a bit loose.

I took the blousy bouquet home and arranged it:

And it ended guessed it...

...on my bathroom sink!

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Random Roundup

To commemorate Earth Day this past week, Oprah dedicated a show to trash.  Or rather, how to reduce it.  On her table full of reusable lunch packaging options, this little jewel of a lunch box jumped out at me. 

In a variety of colors.
Way more chic than my takeout containers that I use to bring my lunch to work currently.

Drew Barrymore showed us once and for all that she possesses the acting chops that her family is famous for with her fabulous performance in Grey Gardens on HBO.  And Jessica Lange shows us yet again why she is one of the great actresses working today.  I watched it on Monday and it is still on my mind.  I highly recommend it.

The Amateur Gourmet inspired me to make another trip out to Red Hook this weekend on the Ikea ferry in search of baked goods with his mouthwatering post about Baked.

I've fallen in love with a new food blog, 64 sq ft kitchen.

Nom de Plume inspires me to go forward with summer desserts regardless of whether or not the weather is cooperating.

And the calves at St. Brigid's Farm are doing splendidly!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Be Kind To Your Feet

A few years ago I was browsing in Global Table and ran into one of those extraordinarily, effortlessly stylish women.  She was tall, tan, bohemian...everything I'm looking to be during the summer but never quite seem to achieve.  But what I recall about her most was her sandals.  They were unusual, a little edgy and struck me as quite innovative.  When I inquired as to where she found them, she told me they were made by Matt Bernson.  And because I have occasional stalker tendencies, I went home and tracked the shoes down online, and for your viewing pleasure have posted them here:

I never ended up buying them, mostly because at the time Mr. Bernson wasn't selling them on his website.  They were only available through various boutiques, the names of which I could never remember when I was out shopping, so I remained Bernson-less.

So imagine my joy when I was browsing on Piperlime the other day and discovered that the site carries virtually his entire line now!  AND he is also finally selling them on his own site, for a couple of bucks cheaper.

Love this one for a little color:

If I'm pretending to be a starlet a la Gwyneth I think these gladiators would do nicely:
But even so, I think these Barracudas are my current favorite...or obsession really.  I have them bookmarked.

So once it stops raining and I drag myself out to get a pedicure, perhaps I'll be in the mood to buy them.  And I'll be a mini-step closer to being that effortlessly stylish, bohemian woman that someone else admires in Global Table.  I think the tan and tall part is sort of a lost cause though.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How Lovely

My sister and I share a love of nice stationery. So when her birthday rolled around this year, I thought that some special note cards would be an appropriate gift. But it can be a bit difficult to find a compelling design. Obviously companies like Mrs. John L. Strong makes a fabulous product, but good lord, have you seen those prices?!! And a lot of the other options with high quality paper (an absolute must in my book) are totally devoid of any whimsy.

So I decided to look into making a set myself. I had heard wonderful things about a website called PaperSource, and my sources did not let me down. PaperSource not only sells their own stationery designs, but also sells notecards, folding cards and envelopes in every size and color under the sun. They sell decorative paper, gift wrap, crafting supplies and, my current obsession, embossers! Is it overly lame to emboss my initials on note cards by the way?

In the end, I purchased a cute little ladybug stamp, a red stamp pad, parchment colored note cards and envelopes, envelope liner templates and decorative paper with which to line said envelopes.

And I got to work stamping away:

And lining away:

Lining envelopes is stunningly easy, in addition to being immensely satisfying. All it requires is this template kit, some decorative paper that you find pleasing, scissors, a couple of paperclips and a glue stick, et voila!

A cute little stationery set.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Soap Me Up Soap Me Down

My morning shower is the most luxurious period of my day. At least, in the normal course of events. Therefore, I take my choice of soap very seriously. And, after a trip to my favorite Bay Area store during my last visit, I have finally found one worthy of the lofty position that soap holds in my life.

First of all, my favorite store? The Gardener. My mother claims that when this store first opened they did actually sell gardening supplies, but now it mostly sells various objets...the type of sleek, perfectly balanced, very tasteful household and outdoor accessories that affluent Berkleyites tend to favor. And that the odd Bay Area native now living in New York who is decidedly not affluent also loves.

Things like these Japanese flower shears, for instance:

Hinoki bathmats (and way cheaper than the ones from Viva Terra!).

And organic style tableware.

Sadly for all those non-Bay Area residents, the website does not represent the full breadth of the inventory in the stores, but if you do live out there in god's country and can visit the bricks and mortar store, you are among the lucky ones!

Anyway, back to my soap. As I was walking through the Ferry Building and was drawn into The Gardener store, I detected the fresh, invigorating scent of lemongrass. Where on earth is this coming from, I mused. From a basket of La Lavande soap, apparently. I couldn't resist picking up a few bars ($3.50 each) to take back to New York with me.

As it turns out, they not only smell phenomenal, but also create a silky, lush lather. It is all a very welcome experience first thing in the morning, from when I pull back the shower curtain and get a hint of the olfactory experience to come, to when the hot water hits the bar and I am swept away by the citrusy, astringent lather.

Even Paul, who is, despite being otherwise unconcerned with grooming products, quite picky about his soap, commented on the loveliness of the scent and lather. And let me tell you, there is no higher recommendation than the thumbs up of a big burly Englishman when it comes to genteel soaps.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Great Ramp

I broke down this weekend and bought a bunch of ramps.  I know that I've lambasted this diminutive cousin of the onion previously, implying, I suppose, that the emperor has no clothes.  But the balmy weather this past Saturday was so intoxicating that my cynicism was momentarily suspended when I saw these plucky little green shoots, and I felt compelled to shell out the $2.50 for a small bunch.

I was inspired by the Amateur Gourmet's post about Franny's spaghetti with ramps to try them in pasta, and was quite enamored with Franny's idea of cutting them lengthwise to mimic the shape of the pasta.  

However simply sauteing them in butter and oil seemed a bit boring, so I added some fresh mint, which brightened the taste up considerably, and a poached egg, which added a silky, luxurious element (and served as a healthy, cheap protein component if the nutritional aspects are at all important to you).

I can think of few indulgences more satisfying than preparing this dish for yourself (along with any friends/loved ones) for a weekend lunch.

Spring Pasta With Ramps

Yields 1 serving

3 ounces linguine, bucatini or spaghetti 
12 ramps, cleaned, trimmed of roots and cut lengthwise into several strips
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg, poached

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, and salt liberally.  Drop pasta in to cook.

Set water (there should be about an inch in the pan) on to boil in an egg poacher, or if not using an egg poacher, set a quart of water to simmer in a medium sized pot. 

Heat butter and oil over medium heat.  Once butter has melted, add ramps, salt to taste, and saute until tender, adding mint approximately halfway through the cooking period.  

About two minutes before pasta is cooked, set egg into your preferred vessel to poach.  About one minute before pasta is cooked, drain (reserve a cup or so of the cooking water) and add to pan with ramps and mint.  Toss to coat with butter and oil, and let cook for a minute, adding pasta water if the pasta is not sufficiently loose.  Turn out onto plate and top with the poached egg.  Sprinkle Maldon salt over egg to taste and serve.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Worth Adding To Your DVR

Just watched the first two episodes of Southland today and am LOVING it.  So gritty.  Little Ryan Atwood is all grown up!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekly Bouquet

Oh what a glorious Saturday!  I not only shunned a coat this morning but also wore a summer skirt and was not a bit sorry.  The weather cooperated quite nicely and I was able to drink up the loads of sunlight as I wandered around Union Square.  A few more bits of green have shown up, so now in addition to ramps we've got spinach, watercress and dandelion greens.  And, joy of joys, my favorite purveyor of potted herbs, Binder Farms, has returned after their winter hiatus.  Hooray!

Although the potted flowers at the market have hit their stride with crocuses, orchids, flowering tree boughs, daffodils and hydrangeas, the cut flowers are still a bit one note with tulips dominating the scene.  So, as I've had my fill of tulips for the time being, I had to resort to Trader Joe's for my bouquet this week.

I picked up a bouquet of red and orange ranunculas ($5.99) and two bunches of daffodils ($1.29 each!) and combined them:

And now they sit happily on my bathroom counter, ready for the week ahead!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Soba Soba Everywhere

I am counting down the days until my CSA delivery begins (sadly, it is still two months away) and have been scouring the farmers markets for any glimpse of green.  Miniscule bunches of ramps seem to be the only thing going at the moment, and as much as the professional food community seems to rhapsodize over them, I really don't see what all the fuss is about.  Perhaps they are yearning for green even more than I?

So to quench my yearning for food reminiscent of warmth and sunshine, I turned to my loot from my trip to the fabulous Katagiri and was drawn instantly to my stash of soba noodles.  They struck me as clean and healthy, exactly what I am searching for this time of year.  And since it was marginally warm today I opted for cold noodles.  I even was able to scrounge up some green by cracking open my package of wakame seaweed.

And to offset the austerity of the noodles themselves I dressed them quite liberally with a soy and vinegar dressing.  If you are feeling fancy some sesame seeds strewn over the top would be lovely.

Cold Soba Noodles With Wakame
Serves 1

3 ounces soba noodles
1 tablespoon dried wakame seaweed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon mirin
1/4 teaspoon wasabi powder (optional)
1 teaspoon black vinegar (optional) 

Bring pot of water to boil.  Add soba noodles, cook until al dente, approximately 4-5 minutes.  A minute before noodles are cooked, add wakame seaweed to the pot to soften.  When noodles and seaweed are ready, drain and run cold water over noodles to stop cooking.

In the meantime, mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.  Toss with cold noodles and seaweed and commence eating.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Who Knew?

Frank Bruni has a sense of humor!

The Greening of the Home

I spent much of my youth in a house that was, for the majority of the 80s, a construction zone of sorts. My parents fell in love with the beautiful piece of land that the house sat on, the tall trees that surrounded the house, and the picturesque creek that ran through the front yard. They seemed to be so entranced by all of this in fact, that they didn't notice the house.

They didn't notice that one of our bathrooms (bright orange!) doubled as a hallway, they didn't notice that the master bedroom was on stilts in lieu of an actual foundation, that the rest of the house needed a new foundation and that birds would occasionally make their way inside through some passageway under the eaves. But they did notice that the place was a lovely 1920s craftsman bungalow and that it had the potential to be a beautiful home. Or rather, I suspect, they noticed everything and felt that the potential outweighed the immediate negatives (in the end, I this was most certainly true as their house is one of my favorite places to be).

So they went to work. There were periods of being overrun with contractors (when the house needed to be raised and a new foundation poured, for instance), and periods during which my dad spent every waking hour not spent at his office working on the house. My sister and I were occasionally enlisted to hang sheetrock and shingles, although I'm not sure how effectively we lightened the load as we were both under the age of 10 at the time.

It was during these periods that I learned to love hardware stores. As my dad often made three or four trips to various shops on any given Saturday, I ended up spending a lot of time in them.

So I was quite excited when I began to hear about a new store that had opened on the Bowery devoted to green home improvement and household items called Green Depot. For several weeks, each and every time I was in the vicinity of the Bowery, I would scan the area for any sign of the place, but for some reason could never find it. Finally, after reading an article about it in the New York Times last week, I actually looked up the address and successfully navigated my way to the establishment's front door.

The location actually has quite an interesting history, as documented on a column towards the front of the store.

It was once a branch of the YMCA, then studio space for artists (Mark Rothko among them apparently), then a den of vice, then landmarked and now a LEED certified retail destination. Ah New York, such history, such dynamism!

Green Depot is part hardware store (finishes like environmentally conscious floor coverings and countertop materials are in the back, items like levels, paint and hammers are up front), part household supply store. Everything is non-toxic and otherwise green. They even stock an entire baby line of non-toxic furniture, clothes and toys. But surprisingly, the whole vibe is quite relaxed and welcoming. The staff is friendly, I detected no composting zealots, and the prices are pleasingly low.

The shop stocks all purpose spray cleaners, window cleaners, floor cleaners, dish soap and the like, all for $4.95 or less for 32 ounces. And you can refill empty bottles at the store's bar o' cleaners:

They stock green packing products, including more different types of twine than I can remember coming across in my whole life, varying sizes of boxes and a biodegradable alternative to bubble wrap.

And there is a whole section in the front carrying those wonderful little items that you never knew you needed but once you lay eyes on can't seem to live without. Mold testing kits (I have had mold paranoia ever since the great bedroom ceiling leak), drinking glasses made of recycled wine bottles, intriguing books (I may have to pick up Green Apple, a green guide to New York next time I'm there), more twine and these fantastic cloth buckets:

What would one use a cloth bucket for? Who knows? But don't you just love it?

There are loads of items like these, none of them are prohibitively priced and all of which are at least nominally practical, which I believe gives one absolute dispensation to purchase at will. So go ahead, green yourself silly.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sale Alert!

Remember One Kings Lane? Well go there immediately, John Robshaw's lovely bohemian pillows and table linens are on sale!

This Week's Bathroom Bouquet

I absolutely adore fresh flowers, and get a particular lift from them when they are positioned on my bathroom sink. Two weeks ago it was a brilliant bunch of tulips from the farmer's market. Sadly, they were a bit short lived, but that is par for the course for tulips I believe. Although I have heard that putting a pin through the stem just below the bloom extends the life a bit, so I will have to give that a try next time around.

Last week it was pale green roses from a bodega on Sixth Avenue, which were surprisingly long lived, and this week, it is a bunch of Green Bells of Ireland.

I picked them up at the Dean & Deluca on 85th and Madison on Saturday, and they are still going strong, drawing up a vase full of water each day.

They are perhaps odd, but I love that the bouquet is a bit unkempt looking. It reminds me of an English country garden, and the green is a little different, a nice break from the nearly saccarhine hues of tulips. It has inspired me to make a trip to the flower market to scavenge for unusual blooms and green matter.

Perhaps then I will at least have a shot at recreating the great arrangements of Cas Trap and Remco van Vliet (their company, Van Vliet & Trap, is the official florists for the Metropolitan Museum). I mean just look at this:

photo credit: Martha Stewart

Something to aspire to at least.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bloomin' Cheese

Although I will always love my Saturday mornings at the Greenmarket, my level of devotion waxes and wanes with the seasons.  It is infinitely less fun to wander among the stalls in the bluster and the rain (this past Saturday, for instance), than it is when the sun is brilliant and the city is sparkling.

However, I do drag myself to the market most weeks, even when the vegetables are predominantly root and the apples are months old, if for no other reason than the fact that Ronnybrook Farm shows up each and every week, and I am totally enamored with their utterly perfect milk.  And their rich, fat filled butter, and their exquisitely piquant yogurt.  It is perhaps pretentious of me to insist on drinking milk that comes in a glass bottle and that costs $2.25 per quart ($3.25 if you don't bring the bottle back for your $1 deposit), but I love it, and I put my dairy habit in the same category as my fresh flower habit:  frivolous yet absolutely necessary.

So imagine my delight when, in the downpour that nearly killed my Saturday, I spied this little beauty:

Ronnybrook has dipped their toe into the cheese-making business!  

And, true to the claim, it is a soft, bloomy rind Camembert.

And it is quite something.  The texture can be described as nothing but unctuous.  Buttery seems to be the cliche descriptor when camembert is involved, but I must say that it does seem to be quite appropriate to this particular version.  I also hear mushroomy, which I don't taste much in this one...rather it seems tangy, perhaps a little tiny taste of ash?  But earthy, which I hear a lot as well, perhaps covers the taste more appealingly.  And it seems like one of those things that would make an intense (perhaps too intense) red wine transcendent when the two are paired. 

Regardless, how luxurious does this look:

And for $5.25, it is most certainly one of those wonderful "little luxuries" that we also can (and should) indulge in at the moment.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Blog Omnibus

After consuming the majority of Paul's Bourbon Creme cookies [English version of chocolate Vienna Fingers, in case you were wondering] while he was in Dubai, I made Deb from Smitten Kitchen's chocolate wafers as a replacement. They were twenty times better than what I was replacing!

Dorie Greenspan gives us a wonderful non-coffee warm morning [or all day] drink option.

Michael Ruhlman debuts his rather revolutionary book Ratio, and shows us how it works here.

Hollister Hovey slays me with a source for fabulous and well priced glasses (perfect timing, since I am in need of a new pair, and can't bring myself to pay $400 for the frames that my eye doctor carries). I'm leaning towards these in tortoise...thoughts?

Jen Bekman at 20 x 200 has found yet another piece of art that I am inexplicably obsessed with.

Ulla inspires us all to go to Iceland.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Sunday was the most beautiful day in recent memory (since those glorious days of October, oh so long ago) and I couldn't help but take the Sunday papers up to Central Park for some outside time and to enjoy the nascent buds on the flowering trees.  I apparently was not the only one with this idea.

Half the city was up in the park, making for a very jovial atmosphere.

But at a certain point I had to admit that it really wasn't as warm as I wanted it to be, and that my time outside reading in the sun had actually left me exceedingly cold.  So I opted for a stroll around the Upper East Side, which, despite my populist tendencies, I absolutely adore (west of Lexington, at least).

Everything is just so beautiful, so perfect, so luxe, so well kept, that it makes me feel as if all is well in the world.  Ironic I suppose, since I imagine there are quite a few banker/hedge funders behind those limestone facades these days who would disagree.  But then I suppose that is the beauty of being on the outside looking in...I can live in blissful ignorance without knowing any of the ugly back stories.

And thus I can enjoy, unencumbered, the fabulous collection of cut flowers at Dean & Deluca (the Madison Ave location does a better job of creating the illusion of perfection than the Soho location I think):

And look how stunning the multi-colored roses just outside the store are!

It only seemed right to finish off my afternoon with another place that makes everything look perfect--my favorite Japanese grocery store, Katagiri & Co.

This tiny store on 59th Street carries what seems like every Japanese item there is.  Of course, I have never been to Japan, nor do I know too much about the cuisine, so I'm sure that I am the wrong person to ask when it comes to understanding how extensive the inventory really is.  All I can tell you is that to me it all feels very exotic.

The miso section alone is rather impressive:

I counted twelve different types of miso.  And also spied some fertilized chicken eggs.  At $8 per dozen I took a pass, but I must say they've been on my mind all week, so I may have to splurge the next time that I'm there.  Does anyone have any experience with them?  Are they delicious, or is there no difference?

The noodle and tofu section is equally well stocked:

Sadly no handmade noodles or anything, but there are plenty of packaged fresh noodle options and clearly loads of different types of tofu.

But the piece de resistance?  The fish, oh the fish!

Sadly, they are imprisoned in styrofoam and plastic packaging, but the pieces are stunningly beautiful nonetheless.  A bit like a box of jewels I think.  I picked up a lovely piece of salmon (only $2.50!  I will admit it was rather small, but it certainly sufficed for my dinner), sauteed it in my grandmother's cast iron skillet and draped it over my soba noodle soup.  Lovely, and I felt oh so virtuous.

I came home with quite the bag of loot:

And everything was perfect.  
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