Recently, I had a wonderful visit to Forest Hills, Queens when I performed a Cool Japan Guide reading at their local Barnes & Noble. What a great shop! It’s also very close to the excellent bakery, Martha’s Country Bakery. Martha’s has an insane selection of cakes, pies, and all kinds of baked goods. They also have a wide variety of coffee drinks and a nice large seating area with table service. This is a picture of their blue velvet cake, which was incredibly fluffy!
On Saturday August 29th I’ll be presenting “Discovering Cool Japan”, a talk on traveling in Japan, at Waku Waku NYC, which is a new Japanese pop culture festival. The festival will be held on August 29th and August 30th and will bring together the worlds of anime, manga, music, food, film, and fashion inside Brooklyn’s Greenpoint and Williamsburg neighborhoods. My talk will take place at 10AM at the Wythe Hotel – 80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY. Hope to see you there!
This is your reminder to watch Cake Wars! These are Simpsons-inspired doughnuts from a Cake Wars preview party I got to attend. The Simpsons-themed episode was a lot of fun, and looks like they’ll be doing several other pop culture-themed cake competitions, including Nintendo and Hello Kitty!
Big news! I’ll be doing a talk and signing at Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills, Queens this Sunday, July 19th at 3pm! It’s part of their Get Pop-Cultured: Manga Mania event. I’ll do a talk on comics and manga drawing, and afterward I’ll be signing Cool Japan Guide, Dolltopia, and Powerpuff Girls Classics collections! I’ll have some ramen cat posters to give away (with purchase of Cool Japan Guide) and the store will be running promotions including a “buy 2 get one free” manga sale all day.
This week, the folks at O’Live A Little sent me a selection of their oils and vinegars to sample. O’Live A Little is a CT-based company that specializes in unique varieties and flavors of gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegars. It’s good timing too, since I’ve been cooking at home more this month. I tried out the Ginger Root olive oil for a stir-fry and it worked out perfectly with the soy sauce and yuzu juice combination that I normally stir-fry with. The Basil olive oil would be great for stir-frying too! I’m looking forward to making some interesting vinaigrettes with these as well. For sweets fans, the balsamic vinegars would be most interesting. I don’t use balsamic a lot, but I was pleasantly surprised by how sweet and syrupy these were. My favorites were the Summertime Blend (which has an intense berry flavor) and the Black Fig. I tried them both out over strawberry ice cream and they accented the ice cream really well. They also have interesting white varieties of balsamic vinegar. These sweet vinegars would also work great over Greek Yogurt.
O’Live A Little
The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk
85 Evergreen Way
South Windsor, CT 06074
Cool Japan Guide was officially released on March 10th and I have some fun events coming up! Here’s the line-up so far:
March 14th – 2pm Cool Japan Guide release party at Kinokuniya (1073 Avenue of the Americas, NYC). Facebook invite is here! (I’ll be doing a reading and a giveaway here too!)
March 18th – 6pm signing at JHU Comics (32 East 32nd St. NYC) with Tim Fish!
April 18 – 12-12:50 pm Los Angeles Times Festival of Books – signing at Kinokuniya booth #084 with MariNaomi
April 18th – 7pm – Reading at GR 2 Gallery (2062 Sawtelle Blvd, LA, CA) with MariNaomi
April 25 & 26 – Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
May 9 & 10 – TCAF (Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street)
June 13th (rain date June 14th) – Japan Summer Festival at Blue Back Square, 65 Memorial Rd. West Hartford, CT 06107
July 19th- 3:00 PM – Get Pop-Cultured: Manga Mania talk and signing Barnes & Noble -70-00 Austin St, Forest Hills, NY 11375
August 29th – 10:00 Am -Waku Waku NYC – talk and singing at Wythe Hotel – 80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY
September 19th -The Brooklyn Book Festival‘s Children’s Day at the China Institute Booth
November 15th – Tokyo – Kaigai Festa
There is a crepe and waffle station, a chocolate mousse bar, a branch of Financier Patisserie, and various lovely French pastries. Perhaps most exciting: French sweets chain La Cure Gourmande has opened a US location there!
Le District is the new French market and food emporium at Brookfield Place (230 Vesey Street, NYC). The shopping center is a gleaming and beautiful space with lots of nice food options at their Hudson Eats food court. But I’m here to tell you about the chocolate mousse bar! Yes, the chocolate mousse bar, which is located in the Le District market salad bar area. Every day at 4pm the mousse bar replaces their salad bar. Now, that’s a plan I can get behind! The bar includes 8 kinds of chocolate mousse and ranges from white chocolate and Dulce de Lece to 72% cocoa. I sampled the 72% and it was awesome! You can also get toppings. The bar is open from 4pm-10pm daily, so bring your fave chocolate mousse fanatic over.
While in Toronto, we had an awesome brunch at Smith . I highly recommend the Scones and Coffee Cake (here plated with Rhubarb Jam and Lemon Curd) and the House Doughnuts. So good!
Smith – 553 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2E2, Canada
Here are some shots from the afternoon tea at The Windsor Arms Hotel I had with Yuuko Koyama when we were in Toronto for TCAF. It was very elegant and we had a lovely time! My favorites were the berry scones and the rolled cucumber sandwiches. Nothing will relax you like an nice afternoon tea!
Windsor Arms Hotel – 18 St. Thomas Street Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3E7
On Saturday June 13th (rain date June 14th) – I’ll be participating in the West Hartford Japan Summer Festival at Blue Back Square, 65 Memorial Rd. West Hartford, CT. I will be signing at the front of Barnes & Noble (60 Isham Rd. West Hartford, CT) at 7:30PM. I will have some of my cat & ramen posters with me too. See you there!
The main event features Shishimai Lion Dancing at 4:30 PM and 6:30 PM and two performances by an eight-member Japanese drumming group Arashi Daiko at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Hakata Dontaku dancing troop from Heart International of Fukuoka, Japan, is also a featured performance.
While on book tour, I made a stop in Dallas, TX and came across this awesome chocolate shop, Kate Weiser Chocolate. It’s in the very cool Trinity Groves food court / shopping area which I highly recommend visiting if you’re in Dallas. Kate’s chocolates are gorgeous and delicious. I especially enjoyed the Yuzu and Red Wine & Berries truffles. Her site has a fun build a box option too!
Kate Weiser Chocolate at Trinity Groves – 3011 Gulden Ln, Suite 115 Dallas, TX 75212
While on book tour I had some pretty amazing sweets! These ones at Milo and Olive seriously stood out. I tried the Flourless Chocolate Cake with meringue topping and the Vanilla Raspberry Kouign Amann Tart. If you’re in the LA area, go there. Thanks to Rie for the recommendation!
Milo and Olive – 2723 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90403
Next weekend I’ll be at TCAF May 9th and 10th with very special guest Yuuko Koyama at table #230! Yes, my friend Yuuko, who is a featured character in Cool Japan Guide is coming all the way from Japan for the event! She’ll have her awesome comics with her and we’ll be signing copies of Cool Japan Guide for you. We also will be participating in some of the programming, so please keep an eye on the TCAF programming schedule. See you soon Toronto!
TCAF – Saturday, May 9th, 9am-5pm & Sunday May 10th, 11am-5pm, at Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street. Admission is free.
I’ll be signing and selling Cool Japan Guide at Brooklyn’s Sakura Matsuri on April 25th and 26th – I’ll be there from 10-6. Look for me in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Osborne Garden. It’s a rain or shine event. Make sure to buy your tickets!
150 Eastern Parkway
990 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11225
I’m excited to be making two appearances in LA on Saturday April 18th with MariNaomi!
12-12:50 pm LA Times Festival of Books – signing at Kinokuniya booth #084
7pm - Reading at GR 2 Gallery ( 2062 Sawtelle Blvd, LA, CA). Here’s the FB invite.