So, the day after the day after I call Carl Binder out for posting a pic of himself holding a copy of the second issue of my comic book series, Dark Matter, in a transparent attempt to get himself cast in a potential Dark Matter television series, which came the day after I called out Alex Levine for doing the same thing, which came a day after I called out Ivon Bartok for doing the same thing, I received the following photo from my old Toronto nemesis Tara Yelland:
She wastes to time in getting right to the point, offering up the following refreshingly honest/annoying message to accompany the pic: “I’ve got the first two issues of Dark Matter! I haven’t read either yet. As you know, I’m a terribly busy person with much to do, but I will get to it the instant my hectic schedule lets up! But, more importantly, I would also like to throw one of my many floppy hats into the proverbial casting ring. I think I would be perfect for the role of the dark matter. Talk it over with ol’ blue eyes…”
‘Ol blue eyes? The dark matter? Hectic schedule?! Last time I checked, she was furiously uploading pictures of her recent nail work to the internet.
If you don’t already make it a habit, I urge you to check out Tara’s blog (here: tarayelland), partly as an opportunity to pry into her personal life but mostly for the occasional funny remark I leave in the comment section.
Having been back about a week now, I’ve finally taken the opportunity to sit down and review my recent 11+ day culinary pilgrimage to Tokyo. There was a lot to like this year (quite frankly, there always is a lot to like, which is why I keep going back) with many favorites coming through and some new places impressing as well. There were also plenty of surprises, good and bad. Today, I’d like to review by presenting a list of my Top 10 Disappointments from my last Tokyo trip (we’ll cover the pleasant surprises as part of tomorrow’s entry). In no particular order…
10) Chocolate-covered macarons
It combines two of my favorite things. How could this not work? Well, for starters, in all cases sampled, the chocolate thoroughly overwhelmed the macaron. From a textural standpoint, it was a bit of a mess, lacking both the chocolate snap and macaron airiness you’d expect from the components individually. Two great tastes that DO NOT go well together.
9) The beds at the Imperial Hotel
The Imperial Hotel offers fantastic service, great restaurants, and an unbeatable location – but the beds! The mattress I slept on fell somewhere between firm and REALLY FIRM, resulting in a less-than-restful night’s sleep. Some morning’s, I woke up so sore I suspected Akemi had been walking on my back while I was sleeping.
I wasn’t expecting to like horse, but I was surprised by the extent to which I didn’t like it. Chewy, hard to swallow – an all-around unpleasant experience.
7) Doughnut Plant doughnuts
Damn. After salivating over them on the Food Network and having Akemi talk them up incessantly in Vancouver, I finally had the opportunity to try Doughnut Plant doughnuts. The verdict? Meh.
6) Aloha Table
One of the great things about Tokyo is that you don’t have to go out to a high-end restaurant to enjoy a great meal. You can eat well at everywhere from family-run hole-in-the-wall restaurants to burger joints to ramen-yas to chain eateries. Well, almost everywhere. Scratch Aloha Table off your list quite possibly the very, very worst of what the normally dependable Tokyo food scene has to offer.
I’m including this on the list because, even though I finished watching the first season here in Vancouver, I discovered and started watching the series back in Japan. This one really annoys me because the series had sooooo much promise. The premise of a bunch of high school students struggling against the zombie horde has so much potential. The anime is visually appealing, chock full of action, suspense, interesting characters and, unfortunately, heaps of fan service – gratuitous panty shots, enormous jiggling breasts in low cut outfits, ridiculous over-the-top girl on girl slap and tickle scenes – that singlehandedly undermine all of High School of the Dead’s stronger elements. Every time it gets going in terms of character or suspense or action, the producers feel the need to introduce some silly, juvenile sex romp humor, thoroughly undermining everything they’ve accomplished to that point. What kills me is that this series could have been so much better minus the T&A. What a disappointment.
The service was disinterested and the dessert I had, the Mont Blanc, uninspired. Worse still, the macarons were unimpressive, significantly paling in comparison to the macarons offered by other confectionary heavyweights like Pierre Herme and Jean-Paul Hevin.
3) Toshi Yoroizuka
I realize this might be considered sacrilege on the part of certain Japanese dessert aficionados, but I’m putting revered Toshi Yoroizuka on this list. The three desserts I tried on my visit, while admittedly beautiful, weren’t that remarkable in terms of flavor. Chalk it up to the day or the time or the fact that none of their feature desserts were available. I’m certainly willing to go back and give this place another try.
2) 49 – Black Pepper chocolate bar from the 100% Chocolate Cafe
I love the idea of offering 56 flavors of chocolate bars ranging from classic single origins to wilder creations like wasabi and maple, so I was all sorts of intrigued to try their Black Pepper chocolate. Alas, it proved overwhelmingly cloying with no discernible black pepper kick.
1) The chicken sashimi at Sato Yosuke
I was feeling adventurous so I decided to take Akemi’s friend, Nanako, up on her suggestion and ordered the chicken sashimi. It was a little tough and a little chewy, a fair cry from the near-ethereal consistency Nanako had trumpeted. She blamed the fact that it wasn’t actually sashimi but served tataki style. Still, given that we were eating at a place supposedly known for its chicken, I was expecting better.
So, there you go. Sometimes, Tokyo aint all sunshine and Sawada sushi.
Tomorrow, I offer up a list of my Top 10 Pleasant Surprises from my last Tokyo trip!
Today’s entry is dedicated to kathode and her awesome/spot-on/hilarious Hero At Large review. Check the February 13th comment section!