Around Town: Chatei Hatou – Tokyo, Japan

Chatei Hatou 1

The coffee in Japan was surprisingly great. Whether the coffee was made in Tully’s or the popular Chatei Hatou, you could taste that the coffee was made with attention to detail and care. I first read about Chatei Hatou in an article from the Wall Street Journal called Coffee Beyond the Same Old Grind, and immediately jotted the name down so I could fit it into my Tokyo schedule. I figured if the founder of Blue Bottle Coffee liked this place, then it really must be good. Luckily, there was time during the trip to make a quick stop here. Quick might not be the right term since everyone in the café spent a good amount of time drinking, smoking, and chatting, but I stayed as long as I could last in the smoke-filled room.

Chatei Hatou is a bit tricky to actually locate, even with a GPS. Full disclosure: I even get lost in my own city with a GPS. Across from Shibuya station, you’ll pass a Lacoste store and walk towards a hill. Take a left up the hill and it will be on your left side after about 30 seconds of walking. The café itself looks like a cute little cottage tucked between other shops, so you shouldn’t miss it when you are in the general area. You’ll then walk into the dark room, where teacups and flowers line the walls. There is limited seating and no English on the menus, but you can pretty much just say what kind of coffee you want and the servers will understand. Not really a fan of hot coffee, I ordered an iced latte with orange and cinnamon chiffon cake. The cakes in Japan are the softest I’ve ever eaten, and these chiffon cakes did not disappoint. More importantly, I enjoyed the coffee, which was made in a pour-over style. For a unique afternoon and a quality pick-me-up in Tokyo, Chatei Hatou is a must-visit. And I have a random article in the WSJ to thank.

Address of Chatei Hatou: Higasiguti Futaba Bldg. 1F, 1-15-19 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

P.S. Tonkatsu in Tokyo.

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{Photos by Lauren}


99 Days…

…Until Halloween!

I know it seems a bit premature to start thinking about Halloween since it is 99 days away, but I felt that my early excitement is justified by Williams-Sonoma’s Halloween Shop, which is now up online! The spooky sour pumpkins look so good, and those cute cauldron cups look perfect for hot chocolate or tea. Fall is the best time of year, in my opinion, and I could not be more excited until all of the holiday festivities begin. For now, however, I’ll just have to stick with the heat and humidity and continue counting down.

{pictures via}

Flavor of the Month: Raspberry

{1} Raspberry Fruit Tart  {2} Homemade Raspberry Jam  {3} Raspberry Ice Cream  {4} Raspberry Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping  {5} Raspberry Limeade

Raspberries are an excellent fruit for breakfast dishes and dessert items, particularly because of their tart yet sweet flavor. Whether you want to use then to make jam for warm English muffins or as a fresh topping on frozen yogurt, raspberries have proven over and over that they are a versatile and simple fruit. The only tricky thing with raspberries is that they perish quickly, so you’ll want to use them right away. Raspberries are also very delicate, so use light water pressure when rinsing them and pat dry.

Not only are raspberries delicious, but they are a great source of vitamin c, manganese, riboflavin, and the antioxidant ellagic acid, which appears to have some anti-cancer properties. Raspberries are usually in-season around mid-summer, so eat up while they’re ripe!

The Food Group: Pastel

{1} Misty Minty Peppermint Patties | {2} Lemon, Raspberry, and Mint Cupcakes | {3} End of the Rainbow Cupcakes | {4} Orange Milk Sherbert | {5} Purple Sweet Potato Chiffon

As I noted last month, mint and pastels have been taking over the runway. I truthfully have never incorporated pastels into my closet until a couple of weeks ago when I purchased my first pair of mint-colored capris. I usually opted for dark jeans and a top that was either gray, white, or black. The same applied to my food choices. Until recently, except for fruit, my food would be brown or white (chocolate and pasta). However, besides colorful cupcake frosting and fruit, there are so many different ways to make food more colorful and fun. Staying true to the spring trends, these desserts prove that you can include color in your diet without disrupting your usual and comfortable routine.

Marble Cake

Just like chocolate and vanilla soft serve ice cream, I love eating desserts that are swirled. Marble cake gives you the best of both desserts – chocolate cake and vanilla cake. Marble cake never fails to remind me of my childhood, as I would drool while watching my mom swirl the chocolate and vanilla batter with a toothpick. I opted for a pan that made the cake more of a pound cake shape, but a 9 x 5 pan would have worked just as well. Next time, I would add more chocolate layers for a better swirl in the center of the cake, but regardless, there were enough chocolate and vanilla flavors in each bite.


1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a cake or loaf pan and set aside until the batter is ready to pour in.
  2. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside 1/3 of the batter.
  4. In a small bowl, mix cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the cake batter that you just set aside. Mix well.
  5. Spoon batters into the prepared pan in 2 layers, and alternate spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate. To create the marbling effect, run a table knife (or wooden skewer/toothpick) through the batters in a swirling motion.
  6. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Enjoy!


Sweet + Crunchy Munchies

When I get the munchies, I often crave something sweet with a little bit of crunch. While passing the cereal section in the grocery store this past week, I realized Rice Krispy Marshmallow Treats were the answers to my prayers. They are sweet, crunchy yet soft, and most importantly, delicious. They are fairly simple, yet messy, to make. I use my own recipe for this one because it leaves room for improvisation and minor changes.

You’ll Need: Butter, Rice Krispies, Marshmallows

1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and mix in 1-2 cups of marshmallows until soft and gooey
2. Transfer marshmallow/butter mix into greased square pan
3. Pour 1 1/2 cups of Rice Krispies cereal into the butter/marshmallow mix
4. Mix together with hands or utensils (make sure your hands are greasy before molding the treats or it’ll be a sticky mess!)

Instead of the usual squares that come wrapped in the shiny blue packaging, I wanted to form these treats into sweet spheres. These snacks paired with ice-cold milk are a match made in heaven.