Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cavalock and The Coffee Cultural Appropriation

Having recently discovered The Coffee Academics' "globally inspired coffees" on their menu, we have been spending quite a few lazy afternoons hanging out there. So far I have tried and absolutely enjoyed the Okinawa and Manuka. The former is coffee with dark brown sugar from the Japanese island of the same name and the latter is nicely doused with pure honey from New Zealand. If you like them sweet, this is something worth checking out.

So I been reading bout "cultural appropriation" for awhile now and although there's a lot about it that I don't agree with, it got me thinking. And from thinking comes questions.

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or theft of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards, and behavior from one culture or subculture by another. It generally is applied when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate in social, political, economic, or military status to the appropriating culture.

So is a local Asian guy with dreadlocks and Samoan tattoos guilty of cultural appropriation? Cos gawd knows, I seen a lot of them lately. How bout all them white hosts wearing local native costumes on them travel documentaries? Local kids, from one-room HDB flats, rapping like black inner city kids from Chicago? Then is our very own Matthew and the Mandarins guilty of cultural appropriation too? Is Racial Harmony Day in our schools politically correct? Are my Hawaiian shirts screaming cultural appropriation?

Perhaps the most important question of all, am I guilty here of cultural appropriation?!?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cavalock and The Poignant Potato Prognosis

If you have heard about the potato chip crisis in Japan, and maybe wondering how's it like here. Well, I dropped by Medi-ya yesterday and saw this. Doesn't look that bad. I mean there are still a couple dozen bags out there, all still at retail price. Hah! Seriously I'm guessing by the end of this week the shelves would likely be empty although I doubt if we'll see anyone hawking a pack at carousell. And then again I could be wrong but if anyone out there is willing to pay more than double its retail price, well, what can I say except there's really one born every minute. ;)

In other more upbeat news, we got new seasonal spring beer from Kirin!

This has been a pretty good gaming month and we are just like halfway through only April. New games I got and played include Conan Boardgame from Amazon. Great scenario-based miniature game. It made millions of dollars on Kickstarter and I kinda regret not getting then. The retail box I bought is only half what Kickstarter was offering. So many more cool miniatures that I'm missing.


Other amazing games I played in April were Wind The Film, Wine Rating, Cthulhu Wars, Gloomhaven, Unfair and The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game. Really enjoyed all of them. Wind The Film is a charming little Japanese card game that's a real brain burner. The below Castles of Burgundy card game is fun too and more of a resource management game if you are into that.

Wine Rating is another small Japanese card game where you are playing a wine critic and vineyard investor trying to score the most points. Simple and fun! So if anyone wants to de-stress with a game or two, let me know. I also had a blast playing the other bigger boardgames like Gloomhaven (bottom last pix) as well as Unfair but they are definitely not recommended for newbies and can even be kinda stressful cos there is a fair amount backstabbing involved.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cavalock and The Crocodile on A Rock.

The waitress opened the door, looked at us and proclaimed politely, "No English menu, menu no pictures." Another foreign couple would probably turn back but with the Baker-At-Home's limited but confident proficiency with the native tongue, we smiled and continued with our request for a table for two at this tiny inzkaya. So that's how it began for our first dinner in Shinjuku this year. It was nice eating at Uoshin again as we were at their other Tokyo outlet a couple years ago. That one was however a lot more spacious and it came with English menus.

We managed to decipher their above house specialty which was a certified crowd pleaser the last time we had it. Maki topped with tuna, sea urchin, roe and crab meat. We kinda went with almost anything that had 'fish' in the title. Hah! Luckily everything we ordered turned out great.

So what was my 83-year-old Dad doing while I was in Tokyo? Chasing crocodiles by himself in Sungei Buloh. And that's why I worry.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Cavalock and The Balmuda Toaster Acquisition

It all started a year ago when we saw this strange little toaster in Osaka. It looked almost like any other toaster on sale except a wee bit sleeker and there's something about adding water into it. And also that it costed a bomb which naturally made it all that more intriguing. We did a little research and the more we read about it, the more tempted we were to get it. Well, needless to say, that's exactly what we did this Tokyo trip! We got ourselves an award-winning Balmuda toaster!

Basically in a regular toaster, the heat dehydrates your bread, drying it up and turning it into toast but this here fancy toaster, the water turns the machine into a kinda steam oven. It keeps the toast from totally drying up while retaining much of its original texture. As it toasts, you can see alternating bursts of steam and the oven's heating elements pulsating away. You can read more about it here and here

Weekend breakfasts have now become a toasty affair home in Singapore. The toasts we had so far have been phenomenal. There are different settings for normal toasts, cheesy ones, baguettes and croissants. We'll probably try heating some croissants for breakfast next once we get our hands on some the day before.

Oh, so how we got the toaster was pretty interesting too. We hit the main stores like Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera the day after we landed but they were all sold out. Disappointed we carried on with getting other stuff on our shopping list. A couple days later we were at our favourite Tokyu Hands Shinjuku. I was checking out the gazillion kinds of different stationery there when I received a Whatspp from the Baker-At-Home who was on a lower floor kitchen section of Tokyu Hands. She had spotted a Balmuda toaster! Bought it in a heart beat and carried it back to our hotel which fortunately was just a short walk away.

Now remember Freshness Burger? The Japanese burger chain used to have a couple of outlets here before they moved out a few years ago. I miss their spamburgers! Anyway I couldn't resist dropping by one in Tokyo just for old times' sake. Damn! They sure take their lemon drinks seriously!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Cavalock and The Double Obligatory Food Collages

So much good food in Tokyo this trip that we had to do not one but two freakin' obligatory food collages. Yah, I know we do this every trip. Enjoy!

Arragh!!! Apparently the ANA Lounge at Narita Airport had the Star Wars Arcade Simulator last year but not this year. Last year we were at Osaka but I did play with the Simulator in Singapore a couple years ago so I guess I shouldn't complain that much. Instead I saw this at the ANA Lounge last month. An ANA model plane with autographs from the main cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Cavalock and The Fruit Flight Connection

Seeing how obscenely expensive Japanese fruits are in our local supermarkets, it's no wonder that we always hand carry at least a couple of crates of whatever's in season back with us. We had some amazing peaches last year and this year early March, it was strawberry season. We usually buy them from major departmental stores like either Isetan or Takashimaya the day before we leave Japan. Once the sales staff know we are tourists, they'll just pack the fruits in sturdy boxes, ready for the flight home.

There's just soooo much amazing booze to choose from and it's soooo cheap too compared to back home in Singapore. It's a no brainer that I end every dinner with either a glass of whiskey high ball or beer. I tried different flavoured beers and high balls, some better than others but always memorable.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Cavalock and The Curry Bread Bun Crossing

The best curry bun in Tokyo? Maybe, I didn't try it cos I was already obscenely stuffed with a heavy breakfast earlier but the Baker-At-Home wolfed it down and she certainly enjoyed it. It's the Temma Curry joint at Jiyugaoka Meguro Tokyo. It was too early for lunch so she just had the chicken curry bun with the onsen egg in it. Like I said, she absolutely loved it and I was eager to try it unfortunately we weren't anywhere near another Temma Curry outlet later that afternoon. Another excuse to visit Tokyo again I guess.

Rainy day in Tokyo, sunny day in Tokyo. But the weather or temperature was kept at a constant chilly single digit. Of cos the rain in Tokyo, like in almost any other country outside south-east Asia, falls as a light breezy shower. Nothing like the heavy and loud pitter patter drops we have here in Singapore. Still we gleefully ducked into more than a couple of shops and malls afternoons whenever it started to drizzle. Zipping into shops is always a good way to discover something new or old, like how we found another Marufuku coffee joint or the special Tokyu Hands spinoff, Hands Expo.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cavalock and The 24-Hour Beef Run

This here is our little memorable 24-hour Tokyo all-beef run where we had beef, glorious beefy beef for dinner, breakfast and lunch, in that order. We started off with some grilled beef or yaki niku. Just a ten-minute walk from our hotel is Futago Yakiniku Yoyogi, a rather popular yakiniku chain that we heard was usually packed so we made reservations for Sunday night dinner. It's not a very big place and we got ourselves a nice corner table. Absolutely enjoyed everything from grilled beef tongue to wagyu whazzits to my favourite vinegar high ball drink. Plus we got a pair of complimentary after dinner cultured drinks.

Yes Imp, unlike the dessert post, the Baker-At-Home and I did hit all these joints in a day or at least 24 hours! ;)

After dinner, the next morning we braved the notorious rush hour train ride to head out to Tsukiji Market for a familiar breakfast rendezvous of beef don. Just like two years ago, it was a hearty roadside breakfast for champions. Just as crowded as before and needless to say, we did a lot of walking after that.

Five hours later, Shake Shack right in the heart of Tokyo! We had planned to visit the Shake Shack at Ebisu later in the week but chanced upon this outlet that wet afternoon in Marunouchi, just in time for lunch. It's the Baker-At-Home's first outing at a Shake Shack unlike yours truly who was fortunate enough to drop by their JFK Airport outlet more than a couple of times already.

Above you got the familiar SmokeShake cheeseburger. While below you got the exclusive Yurakucho Edition Concrete and that's "chocolate custard, black sesame puree, peanut butter, Minimal Shake Shack dark chocolate blend and chocolate toffee". After that is the seasonal Black Sesame Shake. Now one thing I found out during my research of Tokyo Shake Shacks is that all three outlets serve different Concrete desserts!!! As if I need another reason to visit them again! Well, seems like every Shake Shacks has their own signature Concrete dessert! Bloody hell! Even Mother Russia has three Shake Shacks but not us! But then again, I got a feeling if they ever do open one here, it'll just lose that certain "exclusivity" tag that folks here associate the joint with, know what I mean? I remember buying t-shirts from GAP in New York and Uniqlo in Tokyo before they opened shop here but after they did, it was like "meh". Don't really need them no more. All right, maybe it'll be different with food. :)