Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fat Witch Brownies

3 words for you   - BEST BROWNIES EVER!
OK - so you have to go to NYC for em but hey...  
I transported this neat pack home to Kyoto with me and froze the little critters. I shared some with my mate Tad who is known to be a brownie aficionado - and he gave them the big thumbs up. I saved the best one for myself (of course) - the caramel witch.. I heated her up in the microwave  (reluctant as I was to place a poor witch into any oven...) and OMG... soooo warm, gooey and mmmmmm.  If I had easier access to these beauties I would never bake again. 
Find the witch at Chelsea Markets!  If you are in NYC - do yourself a favour and go grab a baker's dozen!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kyoto Design Awards exhibition 2011 and a long day's wandering and pondering...

I really am jumping backwards a bit with my posts. Gomenasai! There is quite a backlog of uploads and I'd like to add them as there are certain things that simply need to be shared....  

Perhaps you might like to visit the Kyoto Design awards next year and are seeking a little insight into what to expect? This was my first time to this annual event and it was great to see what the local designers get up to - this is Japan after all -design skill is almost inherent.  I had high expectations I must admit. 

Local design expert Eric Luong was one of the judges and it was a nice surprise to be greeted with a friendly face at the door! I know Eric from his work with EDK (Eat Drink Kyoto and the Kyoto arm of Pecha Kucha) and he spent a little time showing me around the event and introducing me to some of the contributors. The display was much smaller than I had expected but had some rather lovely work. Some of the pieces were existing product design and others were either in production or at concept stage. 

Although the shoes above could be describe as a little, ahem, camel-toe-ish I thought they were pretty cool - clearly inspired by the design of traditional tabi - or split toed "socks". Modern versions of tabi are readily available in Kyoto today and I love wearing them - they seem to stay on your feet better - anchored by your big toe - but I digress...

So the exhibition was held in this rather grand building  - looking more like something from Versailles than downtown Kyoto
Once out of the main entrance area things started to look a little more familiar...
The winning design was awarded to this obentoo style packaging for a local sushi take out - fancy eh?
Incense tweezer and holder in one - I like!
beautifully wrapped cakes
Gorgeous packaging for some tiny fish!
 seasonal postcards

 fox decorated sweets with torii inspired packaging in ode to Kyoto's Fushimi Inari (fox) shrine
Glamourous fu? (wheat gluten)
terribly stylish Kyo-inspired barcodes...
Stunning modern architecture
On a high...I took my leave. It was a beautiful Kyoto day (when are they not beautiful?) so I took a long stroll and stopped in for lunch in a grill restaurant downtown - here - walk with me....
At a small shrine opposite the west gate of the gardens at the Gosho (Imperial Palace) I found this helpful new sign on how to pray at the alter...
signs of peace - crane origami
-write a message/wish/prayer to the gods - how beautiful is this set up - just out in the open, no fear of some idiot ruining or stealing the placards, pens, beautiful fabric or stunning stones... (my handbag wasn't big enough to grab that rock - but I wanted it!)
A tale of two religions... curious...
Around the corner from the shrine ( just a little to the south once you exit then first or second street to the west and a couple of buildings from the corner) is this fabulous pocket sized bakery - Pandayori - 'pan' as in bread and dayori as in news or tidings... conveniently PANDAyori (see the sign below)...tres cute. 
However they very concerned about being featured in a "blog or website" so I only managed to snap a couple of pics before they stopped me - not completely sure why ( I know someone will fill me in some day) but they want to keep their bread a secret apparently.. god knows why because it is sooo bloody yummy. Actually I guess I may have just answered my own question  - they are a fairly small outfit - maybe they simply can't keep up with demand..? Anyway - it was quality stuff so if you are up for a picnic in the grounds of the Gosho - I highly recommend picking up some sandwiches, calzones , filled breads and sweet scrolls or chocolate croissants.
A bag of bread and pastries to go and I was back striding my way through the streets of downtown Kyoto
Someone had dropped their gloves and a kind soul had placed them on top of a shrub in case the person came back to find them. I LOVE this about Japan. Lose something.. and half the time you will find it again. I know of a couple of people who have left a handbag and a laptop on a train - the computer filled with important images by a photographer friend - both turned in to the station master and shortly back in the owner's hands.  
Conveniently at lunch time I stumbled upon grill restaurant Kazu. 
not bad for 1500 yen.. I had a little glass local organic peach wine too...
then back into the afternoon...
And after some time... OK, not that long... I needed further sustenance by way of coffee and walnut cake... so stopped off at the downtown Sarasa cafe

Not a bad day at all.... Its nearing the end of February now and I haven't had too many free days on my own to do freely wander since... I must rectify that... Things have been super busy and my book has been at the stage of last minute editorial and photographic tweaking before heading to the printer so time has run away from me.  All will be back on track soon. Life is good.  More from me soon...ish.... x