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Spicy lentil-potato patty on flatbread

jason

I like piadina, the lard-enhanced soft, cracker-like flatbread of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. But I don’t use a lot of pork lard in my vegetarian kitchen. On the other hand, the toasted ghee I made last week stands in just fine; in German clarified butter is actually known as Butterschmalz, and other kinds of rendered fats are known as (Animal-)schmalz. So I always thought it would work as a fair alternative if I decided to make a piadina- or crespelle-like flatbread at home. The ingredients are functionally equivalent, though the flavors are certainly not the same. It's definitely a respectable fat.

Lentilflat 019-640w

I wasn’t really trying to make something particularly Italian, though; I just wanted a nice thin crispy-soft flatbread. Given my tendency to cook vaguely Indian food over the last few days, I actually thought something with the nuttiness of chapati would actually be nice, but I wanted something closer to the texture of piadina to hold up to my filling. So I balanced the two concepts by using a 50–50 ratio of whole wheat to white flour, as would be fairly typical for chapati, I blended in my toasted ghee, then added some water until I had a stiff dough.

My lentil cravings haven’t quite disappeared, but I didn’t want something as dense as my koftas, so this time I made a big lentil-potato pancake. I incorporated parboiled potatoes into a spiced ground lentil mixture. I made patties and cooked them in a substantial amount of oil. I browned it on both sides. The patty took a fair amount of time to cook, along the lines of a Rösti, but had a nice texture, flavor and color. Even with the lengthy cooking time, I’d definitely recommend finely grinding lentils for this kind of application rather than using cooked lentils.

I placed this lentil-potato “patty” between two layers of the flatbread with some sliced tomatoes, sweet onions, and raclette cheese.

Lentilflat 002-640w

I served this with a signature salad of mine, mixed greens with a yuzu-honey vinaigrette.

In the morning I made buttermilk waffles with some Hawaiian coconut syrup I got at the Beaverton Uwajimaya. It’s full of saturated and trans fats and has a very nice coconut flavor. It doesn’t look like it would photograph well when plated, so I didn’t try.

I got a late start doing business-like things. I should have worked harder today, but Monday seems to be the one day I give myself the luxury of working a little slowly… But I didn’t come home to make dinner until about 8pm, so I ate fairly late. But I sent off oustanding orders.

My car’s brakes have been making disturbing noises recently, so I am afraid I’ll have to get them checked… another irritating expenditure.

Paneer two ways

jason

I thought it would be fun to do something else for Is My Blog Burning again, but this weekend I think today is my last chance. I am planning to drive to Portland tomorrow and will probably be a bit exhausted upon my return.

Yesterday I bought a big brick of paneer cheese. I never got around to cooking a real dinner last night, so except for nibbling a bit and eating the paneer with a little harissa, and eating some snacks, I never got the energy to do anything more substantial with my ingredients.

Today I came home relatively early because today’s promo event was an outside thing at Uwajimaya Bellevue, and everything shut down around 4pm. I brought the luggables from that event back to my office and went home and relaxed a bit. I’m afraid I’m a bit pink… I didn’t remember to bring sunscreen today.

This month’s theme was “Let’s Get Frying,” and although I was inclined to do another matcha fritter recipe, I’ve eaten a lot of sweet stuff in the last few days, so I decided against it.

I remembered that I have a couple of peaches still, so I made quick peach chutney, seasoned with a bit of lime juice, ginger, and various spices. I thought the bittersweetness of toasted fenugreek and the aroma of a little clove would work well, so those were the dominant accents. I did add a bit of sugar after tasting to balance the acid and spices.

I cubed paneer and coated it with some seasoned katakuriko; I had mixed in a bit of salt and garam masala, plus a bit of cayenne pepper. After coating, I let the cubes rest a bit in the freezer, atop the remaining katakuriko to prevent anything from sticking.

It might seem strange to use katakuriko when chickpea flour would be far more typical for such a dish, but I love using katakuriko for frying tofu and I just wanted to see how it would turn out. It was quite nice because the coating was very light and crispy, whereas chickpea flour tends to produce a dense and not all that crispy result. I might have used a thicker coating than would really be required, though… my fried tofu is not usually this well-covered. The most interesting thing about this little experiment is that the cheese seems to have browned inside, but the katakuriko remained mostly translucent.

Fried Paneer with Peach Chutney

Paneer Age with Homemade Peach Chutney

The chutney was better than I expected, and was a very suitable accent for the mild paneer. Unlike European cheeses, where the compliment to the cheese would tend to be either mild, such as quince paste, or salty, like olives or almonds, the paneer benefits from something a little more aggressive; in this case, sweet, acidic, fruity, and moderately spicy.

I don’t know what’s possessed me to be doing so many spicy cream sauces lately. Actually, this is only the second one this week, but I can count the times I’ve otherwise made anything resembling a spicy tomato cream sauce in the last year on one hand. This one I cut a bit with some milk, but it was still quite rich.

This second dish isn’t meant for the “frying” event, but I was actually looking forward to making this ever since the idea to pick up some paneer popped into my head on Friday.

Paneer in a spicy tomato cream sauce

Paneer with a spicy tomato cream sauce

The dish also proved a fair way of highlighting the paneer’s texture while allowing flavors from the sauce to coat each little piece.

I was surprised at how durable the paneer was. Although it softened, it didn’t show the slightest hint of melting, either in the fryer or simmering in my sauce.

Of course I ate leftover rasam and grilled eggplant from a couple of days ago. I couldn’t finish everything today by myself, and my roommate is not around, so leftovers will likely languish in the refrigerator until Monday.

Soba waffle with sweetened ricotta and peaches

jason

Peaches were looking nice this week, so for breakfast this morning, I diced some peaches and added them to some sweetened ricotta with a few drops of vanilla, surrounded them with sliced peaches, and placed them atop a buckwheat buttermilk waffle.

Soba waffle with peach ricotta

It’s a very simple set of flavors… refreshing, and a bit nutty from the buckwheat. The peaches were sweet and fairly flavorful, though I’ve had some far more incredible peaches in previous summers.

Craving soup and lentils

jason

Tonight I was craving some soup, and something hearty involving lentils… I think I have recently mentioned this strangely unseasonal craving. I decided I wanted something rich, something refreshing, and something comforting.

I’m far from expert on Indian cooking, but I’ve got a surplus of garam masala around right now, so I thought I’d go for something slightly Indian. I don’t have any ghee in the house, and Ballard Market didn’t seem to have any clarified butter where I looked, but I had an extra pound of butter from baking cookies on Saturday, so I decided to clarify some butter.

I made a little tomato soup, roughly inspired by the South Indian “rasam”, without really bothering to remind myself what goes in a rasam. This tomato has some amchur (mango) powder and lime juice, some good fresh tomatoes, and some onions. I cooked some mustard seeds in oil and drizzled on the soup upon serving.

A rough approximation of rassam

I had a bit of a lentil craving, and a stash of urid daal. I didn’t feel like boiling a lot of lentils, so I ground them up and mixed them with water, salt, and some spices, then hydrated a bit. I added some onions and cilantro. These were then deep-fried, as I prepared a tomato cream sauce; this time, I cooked mustard seeds and garam masala in ghee, and incorporated this into the cream. After the lentil croquettes, or, more loosely, koftas, were finished, I cooked them briefly in the cream sauce to coat.

Koftanasu 010-640w

I wanted something refreshing, too, so I grilled some eggplant on my All-Clad grill pan. I let them soak in some lime juice and chilies. On the plate I added some cilantro and Hermiston sweet onions.

Grilled eggplant marinated in lime juice, with chilies, cilantro and sweet onion

I served more rice than necessary; it was a way to abuse some saffron. I steeped some saffron in hot water before cooking the rice in it.

Koftanasu 030-640w

Dinner is served…

Maybe I can catch up

jason

My internet orders seem to be quieter the last few days so I hope I can finally make a dent on some long-neglected wholesale work and bookkeeping… but now I am a little frustrated at the sudden calm…

It looks like the weather is slowly turning into September-ish weather. Today it was pleasantly clear but not very warm.

I drank a lot of coffee today.

Monday downtime

jason

I did make a delivery and take care of some orders today, but I worked at a relatively slow pace today.

One of my wholesale customers called and dramatically increased their reorder size, so that makes me happy. They used to take a cautious 2 cases per order, but they bumped that up to 5 cases this time. It shows a lot of confidence in our ability to sell, and indicates they are more worried about running out of items than having too much of it.

I started building out my community site, MoriAwase.com, which I’m hoping will be a attractive forum to discuss contemporary Asian food, craft and lifestyles. Alas, it’s pretty skeletal now.

Dinner was very late… I had an egg sandwich on a soft Essential Bakery dinner roll, a little lettuce and provolone. It was already 11 pm.

Raspberry Lassi, Moon Viewing

jason

I struggled to figure out the quirks of the high-powered convection oven at Floating Leaves Tea in Ballard yesterday, but after the second test batch I figured things out and started to get a rhythm. The oven fits about 5 baking sheets at a time, so I baked about 60 cookies at a time. I stopped counting how many batches I made.

When I finished, I know I had baked somewhere between 300–400 cookies…. If I recall correctly, it involved about 5 pounds of butter, about 8 pounds of flour, about 4 or 5 pounds of white chocolate, and a fair supply of pine nuts, not to mention a lot of matcha. Anyway, after baking an absurd amount of cookies, and cleaning up after myself, I rushed to Cash & Carry for some disposable cups, ice, and milk, then I made a brief stop at home to pick up my cooler and some ice. I managed to encounter some traffic on the freeway heading over to the arboretum, but I arrived just about 5 minutes before people started to line up at the Japanese Garden.

A few people were a bit confused about where I was supposed to set up refreshments, as is the nature of volunteer things, but I met my contact and got myself a little table to offer refreshments to guests of the moon-viewing festival. I stayed until about 10pm, since a fairly constant flow of visitors moved in and out of the garden. The sunset came a little late for moon-viewing, but I think the reason for staging the event so early in the year has something to do with the unpredictability of September weather.

I served iced tea donated by Floating Leaves, including a Jasmine, a Chinese Green, and something herbal, and of course I sampled matcha latte. I managed to use up absolutely everything I came with… It turns out that at least 500 people came for the festival.

I passed around a lot of business cards, and close to closing time I spoke a bit with Elizabeth Falconer, who is a well-known Seattle-based Koto player, and her family.

With some leftover raspberries, a bit of sugar, and some buttermilk, I made a kind of raspberry lassi today… No mangoes around, but raspberry works quite well.

Raspberry Lassi

Today, I finally made a dent in an upgrade from DotText to Community Server v1.1, although it did not go completely smoothly. My photo gallery is missing as of yet, and I haven’t had time to migrate my previous skin design, or tweak any of the new ones.

 

Milchreis mit Himbeeren

jason

In Germany, I remember buying a short-grain rice called Milchreis as an awful substitute for japonica. It was the cheapest possible rice we could buy and available in mainstream supermarkets. It tasted adequate and the price was right for a starving student’s budget, so I frequently used it even when I cooked Chinese-style or Japanese-style dishes. On rare occasions I was able to get some decent basmati or Jasmine rice for a slight premium from Asian markets, but Japanese-style rice required a bit more difficult a journey from our little university town, Marburg.

The typical German way of making use of this rice involved cooking it with milk, sugar, and maybe a bit of vanilla, sometimes with a knob of butter. It was always cooked with substantially more liquid than if you meant to cook rice for eating with savory foods, so it is almost the texture of okayu. Essentially, it’s a rice pudding. It works best simmered at a low temperature with about 4 milk to 1 rice, by volume.

I think I can count the times I ate Milchreis in this manner in Germany on one or two fingers, but somehow I craved the idea last night, and I prepared some in anticipation of this morning’s breakfast.

It turns out that I have more ready access to California-grown Japanese-style rice than “Milchreis,” so I just used that. I made a quick raspberry sauce with a medium-heavy syrup and raspberries, and topped my molded milchreis with some more fresh raspberries.

Milchreis mit Himbeeren

Raspberries were incredibly cheap yesterday…

Taco salad

jason

Somehow I’ve been in a salad kind of mode at dinner lately.

The weather’s been a bit hot and I guess I’ve got only a summer appetite… I seem to be more interested in big lunches, or small lunches and little afternoon snacks.

Normally I don’t eat salads as a meal… I tend to make little, simple, refreshing salads as a contrast to something heavier, or to balance pasta.

But I was kind of in the mood for something a little more dramatic, and a little spicy. At the same time, I wanted some kind of crunch… so I made a kind of taco salad. I made a simple guacamole, with only some chopped tomatoes added to my usual basic crushed avocado with lime juice. I used a Trader Joe’s salsa only because I was a bit lazy tonight, and some pinto beans cooked with a bit of garlic. I grated a mild cheese that I had handy, and served with some more chopped tomatoes and some mixed greens—mostly romaine—which I mostly obscured with the toppings.

Taco saladTaco salad

I stopped at PFI and Trader Joes to get some supplies for some matcha cookies I will be baking tomorrow for an event at the Japanese garden. Now I have an insane amount of white chocolate, butter, and pine nuts. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much butter in my possession at one time.

Grilled tofu, umeboshi and tomato salad, and plotting a last minute contribution

jason

Standard operating procedure for Americans confronted with tofu is to cover it up as much as possible. People think it “absorbs” flavors of things around it. This isn’t really true, though because water in tofu keeps the flavor mostly at the surface, unless the tofu is freeze-dried or otherwise altered in texture.

I usually don’t do much to tofu… I love yudoufu (湯豆腐), which is simmered tofu with sometimes as little as a sliver of dried kelp, served with a dipping sauce; hiya-yakko (冷やっこ), which is really just some good tofu with some garnish, such as grated ginger and soy sauce, occasionally some oroshi-daikon, and for many, shaved katsuo, is also perfectly simple and wonderful. With suitably fresh tofu, the whole point is to make the custardy, or sometimes slightly chewy texture stand out, accented by the hint of bitterness that the soybean origin contributes.

Today, though, I was craving some grill marks. I had just a bit left of a medium-firm or momen-style tofu from a local Vietnamese tofu maker. Normally I’m happy to just grill some slices on my little grill pan and maybe use a dipping sauce. Today, I decided to grill until some nice marks were established, then I brushed a little bit of shouyu, grilled a bit more, and finally brushed a slight wash of mirin.

I had a bit of a yuzu-shouyu dressing that I made a while back, so I used that to dress my salad, and I sliced some nice tomatoes and sprinkled a bit of coarse gray salt atop.

Tofu-umeboshi-tomato-salad

Yesterday I noticed an email that was apparently trapped by a spam filter. It came from someone at Seattle’s Japanese Garden, located in the Washington Park arboretum. I got a return phone call tonight, and I signed up to bring some things for the reception of this weekend’s moon viewing event. I hope I can squeeze as much work as I need to into Saturday.

Focused/Distracted

jason

Whenever possible, I’m inclined to write about something I’ve been doing or eating outside of work, but there hasn’t been much of that this week. I’m a little overwhelmed.

I’m not getting much sleep. I’m eating awkwardly, although I had an excellent lunch at home on Tuesday. I’m behind schedule on everything, both related to work and social life. I felt it was a great victory to fix a leaky toilet today.

YuzuMura.com has kept me busy lately, and it seems like it’s increasingly being used by customers looking for business gifts, based on the nature of several recent orders. I hope I can keep a handle on the sometimes conflicting attention required between the small very hands-on approach of YuzuMura.com to the more volume-oriented, repeat business of Yuzu Trading Co.’s wholesale end of the business. It’s getting harder, but that’s because both ends are getting busier.

I ate a bagel sandwich for dinner… poppy seed bagel, cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, mozzarella, basil. It was a common theme this week. I had an insalata caprese for Tuesday’s lunch along with a bit of pasta. Dinner involved scrounging a bit. Lately I’ve been seriously craving some protein-heavy soups, which is awfully strange for the middle of summer. The weather has cooled down a bit, but I think I’ve just been eating too much cheese, egg and tofu and need something more fiber-heavy to satiate my unseasonal cravings.

Short sweet demo before a politically significant birthday

jason

As customary I did another supermarket demo today, this time at Uwajimaya. No disasters on my part this time, but a young guy, roughly mid-to-late teens, managed to drop a matcha latte sample. His parents must have trained him well, because he not only used the cloth I handed him for the intended purpose of wiping his hands, he also cleaned up after the spill on the counter and floor. I would have done it myself, but I appreciated that I didn’t need to.

I took a rather short day, because I was invited to a birthday party for a local politician at a steel-and-glass house on Lake Washington. Clear, warm weather against wide open doors made for a beautiful afternoon… I didn’t know many people at the party, since my connection with the campaign is one or two low-commitment events. Since I’m fairly inexperienced at political schmoozing it was a bit awkward at first, but eventually I settled in and chatted a bit with quite a few interesting people.

I did nibble a bit at the party, and I brought some dragon beard candy to sample, but at home I made a simple insalata caprese. I had gotten some nice tomatoes yesterday at Central Market at a fairly decent price. But it turns out I’m now out of olive oil…

A bit of a klutz

jason

It’s no secret that I am sometimes prone to distracting mishaps.

Today I went to Central Market to do a matcha latte demo, and due to a slightly larger than normal number of vendors doing demos this weekend, I needed to bring my own small table. The most appropriate one I have for such an occasion is a small outdoor Ikea table designed to be semi-foldable, and therefore slightly more readily transported or stored away, save for the unwieldy feet.

Previous experience with this table had taught me that it snaps and locks into position when the table is set up to be the conventionally horizontal. So I didn’t think to verify that it had in fact snapped into place.

Twice today someone asked me something that led me to rest my hand on the table. The first time this happened, only one small cup of iced matcha latte was on the table and the only disaster was a bit of spilled ice and product in disarray. The next time, of course, I had a good five or six cups set out to be served, and my container of ice was fairly well melted, so I made a far bigger mess.

After the second more dramatic mishap, I remembered I could visually inspect the hinge lock and in fact manually close it, in case it were not cooperating, as indeed turned out to be the case. No more trouble occurred thereafter…

Matcha white chocolate enrobed fortune cookies

jason

If you’ve never tried it before, you probably don’t know this… photographing chocolate is hard. I almost always take photographs using extra-bright halogen lamps, and these generate a lot of heat.

They’re perfect for most of my products because they create a nice warm glow. Nearly every photo on YuzuMura.com is bathed in halogen light. In some cases, there’s some combination of ambient fluorescent or incandescent light, or else I’ll use available outdoor light plus my trusty halogen. Sometimes I white balance properly, using a white card, and sometimes I rely on the automatic mode, which casts everything a bit more yellow or red than it really is.

Well, my matcha chocolate fortune cookies arrived yesterday early in the evening, and so I thought I’d try to take photographs today. One session I got half-decent shots of the cookies by themselves, but there was something wrong with all of the box shots. Usually something was too dark, and something was too bright. Alas, my cookies didn’t like the lighting at all… they were crying. I came back about an hour later and their color had slightly shifted, so I had to start again with a different box of cookies.

I knew that matcha doesn’t like to be exposed to a lot of light, but I was a little surprised at how rapid my shift in color was… although I have seen this occur before in a matcha cake stored in a pastry display case on a very sunny day… In my case, the color shift wasn’t as dramatic, but it made me a little worried.

Anyway, I tried one more time, adding another source of fluorescent light, and this improved things somewhat on the product box shots. Most still had some overexposed spots though.

Someday I’m going to have to reshoot this, maybe with some soft fluorescent lighting. But it’ll work for now.

They tasted good, anyway, even when the heat from the light melted them a bit...

Matfor-240wMatfor-8p-plate-240

New stuff coming

jason

I just got a delivery of some nifty fortune cookies, dipped in matcha-flavored white chocolate, made by Chocolati of Seattle for YuzuMura.com.

I got them just before something I had planned for this evening, so I don’t have any decent photos… though Hiromi threatened to post some badly out-of-focus and imprecisely-hued photos on her blog.

The most carefully done meal of the day was breakfast… I used up the very last of my leftover seeded baguette to make french toast with five spice powder. I think I’m out of ordinary cinnamon…

When I was younger my father used to mix up the egg and milk and cinnamon in the same bowl and soak supermarket mushy sliced bread in the batter. I grew up loving that stuff, but now I pretty much make french toast exclusively to use up dry bread. Accordingly, I first place thick slices of dry bread into a bowl with milk to soak briefly, then I flip, coat with beaten egg, and start “toasting” in a buttered pan. I add some cinnamon or, well, aged pantry five spice powder.

Around 4pm I ate veggie pho at the Thanh Bros. neighboring Chocolati. By that time I definitely needed something. I never got around to eating anything more dinner-like.

I launched an updated home page for YuzuMura.com today… this has kept me up late a few nights, even though it wasn’t always the home page itself I was working on. I’m always skittish about sending out marketing-ish email, but I haven’t sent a thing in two months and so much was changed that it would probably be irresponsible not to say anything.

Transforming ingredients, again

jason

I’m afraid, after a late night updating my online store, my body was not in great form today… I got through most of the daytime hours, but I couldn’t even convince myself to go jogging this evening. Fortunately, I instead eventually worked up the energy for a brief walk around Greenlake.

By the time I was making dinner tonight, I was too sleepy to take a photograph, and yesterday I was perhaps too distracted, but my feta/cucumber/tomato sandwich type lunch was revisited in the form of a salad… some romaine, a lemon-mustard-vinaigrette, parmesan, feta, olives, cucumbers, tomato. I buttered some thin slices of yesterday’s seeded baguette, and grilled them on my nifty All-Clad grill pan, and wiped a bit of garlic on them. Maybe not quite in that order. I was not in perfect form.

These ingredients were combined into a tasty but unimpressively-presented salad. I definitely think grilled bread belongs on more salads, though.

If I was willing to wait frustrated for a long time, I might have used my shichirin, but I am incredibly bad at getting my Japanese charcoal to burn. Sumibi-grilled bread… mmm…

Lazy Sundays, I remember them

jason

Most weekends I find myself in supermarkets doing demos of the candy and matcha latte stuff, but I never scheduled anything for this Sunday, so I took most of the day at leisure. I did show up to my office after whiling away most of the morning, nibbling on five-spice seasoned fritters for breakfast and drinking an iced latte.

After checking on some email and some other trivial tasks, I made my way back home, fixed myself a feta, olive, cucumber and tomato sandwich on some Essential seeded baguette.

I spent about an hour and a half catching up on photos of Akutsu Masato work… I’ve been neglecting this for way too long. I sold some of Akutsu’s work at wholesale, and the majority of my other artists I’ve sold out with a combination of wholesale and internet sales. But I bought a relatively huge amount of inventory from him at his show last year, and due to various struggles with working out an internet store solution and so on, I kept putting off taking proper photos. It made it rather challenging to sell, since nobody could see much of it.

Later I met up with friends around Westlake center, watched people swing dancing/Lindy hopping, and ate an inexpensive snack of salad rolls and fried bananas in coconut between the three of us at Green Papaya.

Akutsu Pasta PlateAkutsu SakazukiAkutsu Coffee MugAkutsu Kataguchi

Another Portland demo trip

jason

I went to the Beaverton Uwajimaya today, but somehow I didn’t arrive until about 12:15 and I spent about 10 minutes wandering around trying to figure out where my demo table might be, then I found the staff member who runs the event, and settled in as quickly as possible. I think I didn’t do any sampling until about 12:45.

Actually I try to arrive by 11:30 to these events but somehow something goes wrong each time, and I get there later. This time the issue was fairly bland… I remembered the need to get cups for serving cold matcha samples, and had to stop at a Cash & Carry on the way out of town. I would have done this yesterday, but I had a long list of things to accomplish and it just fell off.

The weather was very warm today. I think I might have a bit of open-window sunburn.

Alas, I ate rather unimpressively on the way. The day started off well, because I had two halves of two nice muffins from Fresh Flours, and a yuzu marmalade window cookie (made with Korean yuja-cha, which I myself have been intending to import since February but faced a few unrelated inventory and payment obstacles that made me skittish). Along the way I stopped at a Mrs. Beesley’s for a fresh strawberry shake, so that beat my sugar quota. I had a slice of mushroom pizza at Pizzicato. These last two are, alas, frequent stops for me when I’m playing traveling supermarket product demo guy.

Surprisingly, the usual rule about sunny weather negatively impacting sales and store traffic at Beaverton didn’t seem to hold. I found I was sampling to a steady stream of customers most of the time, and the iced matcha latte in particular went over well… I think more people have recently tasted the (in my opinion scary) Starbucks green tea drinks that the idea seems less “foreign” when they try ours. Usually people who have tried both seem to prefer ours, which makes me happy, since we use better matcha and no melon flavoring.

Usually I’ve been at Beaverton on relatively cool days so I think today was the first time to do any iced matcha lattes there… it’s actually a little more convenient since the matcha flavor is more stable when served cold, so I can make more in advance and I never have to throw any away.

When I do hot matcha lattes, the samples get cool very quickly in small sample cups, and the exposure to air is not something that green tea appreciates; accordingly, to make sure everyone has the best possible experience, I usually make four samples at a time and discard any that remain after about 5 minutes. 5 minutes isn’t too much stress for a drink in a larger cup because it doesn’t cool as rapidly or have as much surface area exposed to air. I don’t want to drink a long-neglected cafe latte either, because coffee is about as temperamental when served hot as matcha is.

Anyway, iced is nice, because it seems more people have experience eating green tea ice cream than drinking matcha, and the taste is somehow familiar to them when we serve cold things. I didn’t track it very carefully, but I think we actually had a fairly high conversion rate today for Beaverton… in Seattle I do reasonably well whether doing hot drinks or cold. The smallest size ran out by the fourth hour.

Whenever I do demos at the Beaverton Uwajimaya I wish I had progressed further in studying Korean than I have so far… I have been using a little bit just to explain the name of the products in Korean, which some Koreans have heard of… yong su-yeom yeott saseyo! Nokcha late i-e-yo. But I can’t say anything else of interest.

Beaverton’s customer base has the heaviest percentage of Koreans of any store that I visit. So it seems like it would be a good think if I could say something more intelligent than “I’m selling dragon beard candy! This is a green tea latte.”

What am I doing right?

jason

Yesterday I was surprised by a larger than usual number of internet orders for almost every product category I cover. I spent a good portion of the day taking care of them, although I also had a few other wholesale things to work on and a quick meeting, and some banking errands.

Today I got a smaller number of orders but fairly substantial ones. In the last couple of weeks my average internet sales per day seems to have nearly doubled. The strange thing is I haven’t really changed much, although about 6 weeks ago I increased my promotional budget on Google and Overture nee Yahoo Search Marketing. It had a noticeable but not completely direct impact. Only some of those customers seemed to have come from those ads anyway.

Someone ordered a bamboo tea tray only a few days after I put them online… I was really surprised because I did no promotion or even mention of it except in private places until after one had sold.

I don’t really know what I’ve done differently… It’s bewildering. I hope it’s a trend and not a fluke… And I better not stop whatever it is that caused whatever’s happening to happen…

Coleman pool, simple picnic

jason

A couple of friends wanted to meet up at the Coleman Pool in West Seattle, but I got the call just about 10 minutes before the last session of the day would begin. At that very moment, I was in Ballard, talking with a client of mine. I don’t keep a spare swimsuit in my car, so I had to stop at home.

The plan seemed to evolve into going to an even farther away pool, so I had to stop to fuel up my car, because after an earlier trip to Bellevue today I was running low. This delayed my departure a bit and then I learned the original plan was still on. Of course, this meant that I was now quite late for the session.

Anyway, I got about 30–40 minutes in the pool but I haven’t been swimming for about 2 years, so my endurance for lap swimming is nonexistent. But I got more time in than my friends, who managed to arrive just 10 minutes before closing.

Coleman Pool is right on the water. It is filled with filtered seawater and seems to have a minimal level of chlorine. The setting is spectacular on a day with like today, which was cloudless and very warm.

Afterward we us nibbled on bread and cheese in the surrounding Lincoln Park.