Chez Momo

Have you ever gone into a shop or restaurant and thought, “this is the sort of place I would like to own”?  If you’re anything like me, these sorts of entrepreneurial whims probably pop into your head all the time. Indeed, anyone with a favorite neighborhood coffee shop or bakery can probably relate to this statement. However, it’s rare to find a business that truly resonates with one’s own tastes. That’s the great yet tricky thing about small businesses – they’re so intensely personal, so reflective of their individual owner’s like and dislikes that they can sometimes seem like an exclusive club, their audience limited to a few devoted patrons.

Enter Chez Momo, the product of one couple’s devotion to French jams, impeccable coffee, crafts, and an uncompromising eye for detail.

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A few photos of fall

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It’s been nearly a month since my last post. Truthfully, there hasn’t been much time for contemplation or writing. I’ve been rather busy at work in preparation for an upcoming (i.e.: leaving tomorrow!) trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. Cooking has also taken a backseat, hence the lack of recipe posts lately. Most nights, I resort to simple stir-fries, pastas, and rice bowls. Though delicious, they’re not very blog-worthy. (Nor very photogenic. The fluorescent lighting in my apartment certainly doesn’t help matters.)

But enough excuses. I’m here to write!

Despite the silence, I have been eating well lately. The cooler weather has thankfully brought back my appetite for ramen as well as Korean food. I enjoyed an excellent, extremely garlicky meal of the latter with my friend Saori in Shinokubo (Tokyo’s Koreatown). Matusmoto also has its fair share of Korean shops and eateries, one of which Steven and I tried on a particularly chilly, wet day in October. Two words: soondubu jjigae. With clams. Amazing.

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Summer Vacation(s)

I’m not even sure where to begin with this post, because I feel like there’s so much I want to tell you, fellow Shichimians. Suffice it to say that the summer was an absolute whirlwind of work, travel, exploration, and plenty of good eats. I can’t hope to write about all of it in detail, but what follows should give you a good idea of what I’ve been up to and what I’ve been thinking about as my favorite season comes to a close.

Japanese dragonfly

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Sansai Season

Japanese mountain vegetables

Japanese mountain vegetables

Why hello again!  Apologies for the silence ‘round here, but a combination of too much traveling, which in turn triggered a nasty flu, has left me without much time or energy to devote to blogging lately.  However, I thought I should at least post some photos of the wonderful spring produce available in Japan at this time of year.  What follows is a broad, though by no means exhaustive, selection of the sansai available around Matsumoto right now (for more on sansai, see this post from early March).

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Signs of Spring

Although I’m currently back in New York for a brief visit, I’ve been thinking a lot about spring in Japan, particularly what new foods will be available in the markets once I return in April.  Even in February, when it was most definitely still winter, it was clear that people’s minds were already turning toward spring.  Stores around Matsumoto began introducing sakura (cherry blossom)-flavored goods: a little street stand that sells taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes surrounding sweet red bean paste) featured a sakura and mochi-filled version, and the local Starbucks was advertising a sakura frappuccino!

Then, in early March, we had a full week of sunny weather, with temperatures reaching 15°C (~60°F) some days – perfect biking weather.  As I pedaled around town, I noticed that the mountains had taken on a reddish tinge, due to the appearance of buds on deciduous trees.  Many of the local rice paddies had turned a verdant, brilliant green, and some plum blossoms had even begun to peek out.

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