Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cafe Pedlar

Saturday now means Saturday School, children arriving in their uniforms but with the Saturday addition of sneakers, some with tea in their hands, some still with sleep in their eyes even though we start more than two hours later than a regular school day.

Saturday meant brunch with another principal to compare notes, a plate of jalapeno cheese grits with eggs and tortillas and black tea to cut the chill of the suddenly-fall day. We went separate ways and I remembered a foodie email about Cafe Pedlar.

I looked at my phone. I searched on my map. I realized I was standing right next to it.

Because I had no camera on me, just a bag with a computer, calendar and another full of reading assessments, I took the picture from the foodie email. Olive oil cake soaked in such grassy sweetness. A decaf cappuccino with milk rendered so artistically on top I felt twice as badly adding a dollop of turbinado sugar.

I left with a pretzel roll placed across the reading tests. Highly recommended in aforementioned email I was curious - my choices were sesame or poppy (I chose the former) and the whole thing was so slender I wondered about paying 2.50.

I bit into it last night and loved the absence of salt that takes over your mouth with an actual pretzel, although I yearned for a touch of it with the sweet roll and sweet cream butter, I almost wished I ate it with the smoky roasted cappuccino. It was taking the place of a lazy Saturday dinner though, so I ate it up and just drank water instead.

So good I'm almost tempted to hop back on the F train today to try it again, lest my weekends become a bit too predictable.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Starting a school has meant much less cooking and blogging. Last week I managed to make corn soup with pimenton and cilantro with some roasted cauliflower (and failed popovers) on the side.

I haven't stopped reading food news though, and read about Kajitsu enough to know I wanted to eat eight courses of Shojin cuisine where I could enjoy each vegan course.

Before we left I said to Liam, "I think some courses will be amazing and a few will be just OK."

I should be a food writer.

The array of foods we had were new, and exciting, to me. Dumpling made of Japanese potato with fresh wasabi on the side. Hand-made (and cut) soba with a seven spice imported from Kyoto. Yuzu fresh in the salad (see picture above) along with kabocha mixed with cous cous, tomato aspic, and a south american fruit that was more seed than pulp. I adored the seitan-like chunks in broth that were more matzo ball than fried tofu, crispy with rice crackers and some other encrustment.

The spaghetti squash with late summer vegetables tasted like sweet and sour veggie stir fry at any Chinese restaurant - the best part being two slim, slightly spicy peppers tempura-d on the side.

The final dish of rice with ginger and house made pickles saved my savory tastes before we embarked into mochi and matcha so frothy I wish I could have had a demo.

Escaping to a mountain stream in Kyoto with a bowl of burdock root is at least a year away, so if I get the craving again in a different season, we might go back, but the service was also a tad too zen for us (we could only get 9pm reservation and this, post-second-week-of-school, still had me exhausted) - the first 3 courses took about 35 minutes to serve. The service sped up for the final five.

For now we'll have some soba and spices as a Wednesday night meal - I can handle that in 30 minutes or less.