Cafe ZINC --- Coffee, Curry, Sweets and Wines

I don't know how many years I have been visiting this cafe & restaurant.

Mr. Ono is absolutely professional and has wide range of expertise in coffee and food. ZINC's specialty is... of course, coffee ( I like fukairi---deeply roasted coffee ) , curry rice ( minced lamb curry is recommendation ) , pan( bread ) plate ( bread, fish, meat, salad etc. ) ... They have cakes,which goes well with coffee. Also, I like orange beer, grape beer and wines. Photo books, story books, and other magazines.... you can read. ( some are English)

cafe ZINC:
1 minute from West Exit of Shimokitazawa station. ( Near Lawson )
Tel: 03-3414-8079
2-22-13 Kitazawa, Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo , Japan
Closed on Mondays

Plum Wine Making ( Umeshu Making )

Plum wine making:
If you found good plums, please prepare as explained previously.

Grass jar ( usually 1.8 litter size ), Rock candy suger ( 1 bag )
Japanese plum 1 bag ( 1 kg. usually )
White liquer or brandy or rum etc. as you like ( 1.5 - 1.8 litter )
1) Clean the inside of the bottle, remove the stem end of plum, wash and dry them.
2) Put rock candy sugar and plum alternately as shown in the photo.
3) Pour your prefered liquer over the layer.
4) Close the lid. Wait for 3 months. Plum wine will be ready to drink. Remove the plum.
( You can eat those plums or use them for cooking. If you can wait for a year, the wine will taste better. )
I now have about 5 jars from the past 3, 4 years. One is made of brandy. They all taste good.
I use the plum for cooking with pork, chiken etc.. I drink this for cocktail, dinner drink or sometimes as nightcap.

Plum Wine Season

June is the plum season. For about a month from now, you can find Japanese plums in the stores and super markets in Japan.

These are the ones I bought at Ota Market the other day.

Preparation for making plum wine:
Using tooth pick as shown in the photo, we remove the stem end.
Wash them and dry.

Pasta with Tomato ( simplest cooking )

I had this huge tomato ( souvenir from Ota Market ) and spinach fettechine. Then I saw " Tameshite-Gatten" ( NHK program, which explains one theme scientifically. ) The last program was about tomato.

I cooked as I learned from the program. They said that Japanese tomatoes were different from Italian ones. It is better not to take any of the center part although it seems watery. ( It has the most glutamic acid )
Salt, Olive oil, Tomato, Pasta ( I used the above--- the photographed tomato and pasta ).
1) Shred the tomato. Start boiling water for pasta and when water is ready, cook the pasta.
2) Put the pan over medium heat. Put the oil. ( about 1 table spoon )
3) Add tomato into the pan. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. (tomato becomes sweeter.)
4) Sprinkle some salt into the tomato pan. ( as you like ) 5) Put the pasta on the plate, pour
the tomato sauce over the pasta. This is it ! It takes about 20 min, but no additional ingredients. Believe me, you will enjoy the fresh , sweet tomato. To enjoy the tomato flavor,
I wouldn't put any cheese for this dish.


"Woman On Top" --- Brazilian Stew

Movies and TVs are not just my business, they are also my hobby. There are so many movies I adore ....Often I adore the landscapes, story lines, characters, historical culture....but
I always pay attention to the foods. So, I made the label for movie and TV.

I'd heard of this movie with Penelope Cruz' name. About a month ago, finally I saw it.
It's lovely, fairy tale like story with Brazilian chef ( Penelope Cruz ) who moves to San Francisco
and breaks through as a star there. The graphics are cutey and sweet, the Brazilian legend is mesmerizing. Penelope Cruz shows shining smile and slender figure in bright dresses. Her best friend's room decoration is bright, Brazilian and artistic. Fun to watch all the details. There is one food, which I have to try. The Brazilian spicy seafood stew ( soup ? ) . ( I haven't found the right place in Tokyo, I don't think " Sasi Perere" had this menu. )


Koyadofu ( Freeze Dried Tofu )

It is easy to find Koyadofu ( means freeze dried tofu ---but it's in dry food section. Packed in a plastic bag ) at super markets or Japanese food stores. Here, I cooked with carrots and string beans. Koyadofu is first frozen then dried tofu ( bean curd ).
" Koya " came from Koyasan ( known as sacred mountain for Buddhism. ) Nutritionwise, it has good protein, calcium, vitamine E...basically same as tofu,but more concentrated in this dried ones.
Carrot 1
String beans 10 stalks
Koyadofu ( freeze dried tofu ) 5 to 6 small pieces ( if they are big, 2 to 3 )
Dashi powder ( bouillon ) half packet
Soysauce 1 -2 table spoons ( please find out the best taste for you )
Mirin ( Japanese sweet rice wine ) 1 table spoon
Water 2 to 3 cups

1) Put water and dashi powder into the water, bring it to the boil.
2) Add saysauce and mirin.
3) Add cut carrot ( like the photo ) and string beans ( cut in halves ) in the pan.
4) Add Koyadofu into the pan. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or things are cooked enough.
Adjust the ingredients depending on your preference. No oil in this ! Feels healthy.

Fresh Mizunasu ( Egg Plant from Sakai, Osaka )

This Mizunasu ( watery big eggplant ) came from Sakai city , Osaka. It was advised by Ms. Kaneko's father to try it raw ( we usually cook eggplants ) and dip in wasabi soy sauce. Yes, I did try it for the first time with wasabi. I think Mizunasu is common in Western Japan ,but not in the area I grew up. ( I grew up in Tokyo.) Until a few years ago, I had never tried it.

Unconventional combination ! This eggplant tastes like a fruit.
Texture is spongy, light. It has slightly fresh fruit like flavor. Savory. Lately, I see Mizunasu at regular super markets. Try with soy sauce and wasabi ! New discovery is waiting for you !

Scrambled Eggs with tomatoes and green chilli peppers

Another recipe using Ms. Kaneko's green chillis and tomatoes.
It was a breakfast for one morning before work.
2 eggs, a handful green chilli peppers, a handful mini tomatoes. Butter and milk.
1) Put butter in to the heated pan. 2) Beat 2 eggs in to the bowl and add some milk. 3) Cook tomatoes and green chillis in the pan. Add salt and pepper. 4 ) Put beated eggs and milk into the pan. 5) Stir well. Ready to eat.

Hot Chocolate at WAKO Chocolate Salon

I had a meeting in Ginza on Tuesday this week.
My business associate took me to WAKO Chocolate Salon.
I had hot chocolate . ( shown in the photo )
Delicious !!! It tastes like Chocolata in Italy !!! Creamy chocolate taste including bit of bitterness.
It is bit pricy ( I think it was 950 yen. ) . However, if you have a chance, please try !

WAKO Chocolate Salon:
Located on the back street of WAKO main building. ( the one built at the central intersection in Ginza .)

Ota Market , Tokyo ---Extra

Ms. Kaneko and her friend selling organic veggies in the market. She is trying to pursue added value in her business and studying dietary education.

The intermediate wholesaler who are specilized in imported fruits. The difference is obvious. When you pass these wholesalers, the colorful boxes advise you that they are imported ones. ( Japanese boxes are usually plain and less colored. )

Green Chilli and Pork ( or Dried Baby Sardine )

I cooked this using the chilli Ms. Kaneko gave me at the market.
Sliced pork back ribs 0.2 lb
Chilli pepper 0.2 lb
Sliced onion 1/2
Mirin ( Japanese sweet rice wine for cooking ) 1 table spoon
Soysauce 2 table spoons
Sake ( or white wine) 1 table spoon, Sesame oil 1 table spoon

1) Put the pan over medium heat. Pour sesami oil into it. Wait for 30 seconds.
2) Put sliced onion and cook for about 3 minutes.
3) Put chilli pepper and sliced pork. Add mirin, soysauce, sake. Cook and mix them well.
4) Prepare steamed white rice in a bowl. Put the above over the rice. It feels healthy and tasty.

Data of Japanese Food

According to the brochure issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, the food self-sufficiency ratio of Japan is 40%, while other developed countries' ratio is much higher. U.K. is 74%, Germany is 91%, France is 130%, U.S. is 119% and Australia is 230%. (as of 2005 when the brochure was published. )

One of the reasons is because our diet has been changed and westernized. In 1960, the ratio of animal products ( meats ) was just 3.7%, but in 2003, it was 15.4%. The lipids ratio was 4.6% in 1960. In 2003, it became 14.6%. It is interesting to see the fact like this. I don't mean to come to any conclusion here. It just feels important to realize the fact and think about these issues for our health, environment, future etc...

Ota Market Souvenir --- Look What I got !

These are just half of the veggies I got from Ota Market. I bought Japanese Plum,but Ms. Kaneko and her family gave me other fresh veggies.

Thank you so much ! I have been eating them
since then. The recipes are found in the recipe sections. Please try some !
The eggplant hidden behind is Osaka Senshu special and you can eat without cooking it.
The green ones are chilli. Extremely hot.
I'm getting addicted to it !

Breakfast at Ota Market , Fujiken Shokudo

After seeing the market, Ms. Kaneko and I had breakfast, which is probably like lunch for Ms. Kaneko. ( since she gets up so early. )
Negitoro don ( tuna and green onion rice bowl ) plus miso soup.
It didn't just fill my empty stomach, made me very happy with its
taste and the conversation of the lady who works there cheerfully.
Fujiken Shokudo located in the market ( at D5 )

Ota Market, Tokyo 6/6

A household alter in the office. It's not only here. You will often see this kind of alter in the offices especially in the corporate executives' offices. You pray for your business success and happiness.
On the right, there is bamboo rake ( Kumade ) with ornaments.
Since bamboo rake can gather things, it is one of the bringers of good luck and supposed to bring money and happiness. You can buy them at the Cock Fair at shrines.

Ota Market, Tokyo 5/6

Ms. Kaneko's husband and employees. As you can see there are two storied booths are lined up. These are the offices and shops of

intermediate whole salers. Small shops come to the market and just buy what they need for themselves. Some bigger stores, shops , buyers come to these intermediate whole salers and ask them to handle their needs since they can save the time ( and the cost arrised from the time ) . Usually, the first floors are shops.
The upstairs are offices.

Ota Market, Tokyo 4/6

These are the photo of the organic veggies' producers with explanation about their products.

Organic Veggies at Organic Section.

According to Ms. Kaneko, lately organic veggies are becoming more popular and bigger. ( as we are seeing at the stores )

Ota Market, Tokyo 3/6

Apple Auction.

Bell peppers. Colorful, fresh veggies and fruits are lined up.

Ota Market, Tokyo 2/6

This photo is the auction of mango from Miyazaki prefecture.

Regarding Ota market, let me explain what I learned there.
This is like Tsukiji of Vegetable. You know what I mean ?

Yes, this is the biggest vegetable(and fruit) market. Their flower market is also the biggest in Japan. Ota market has some fish market also, but the scale is rather small. ( 3 veggie wings, 1 fish wing and 1 flower wing. Plus, there is a hotel, sports club, office building, fridges for products etc. on the premises. )

Basically the market is open for 24 hours. During night, the products arrive, from 2:00 a.m. the preparation begins , around 5:00 a.m. the auction starts, after the morning auction, he products will be shipped out, then cleaning and the comunication time with origins of the products. Next time when I shop at Ozeki, Peacock store , Daiei or local small shops, I will remember Ota market where the veggies and fruits were shipped from.

There are 11 wholesale markets in Tokyo including this Ota market and Tsukiji known for fish.
Others are Yodobashi, Tama New Town, Setagaya, Shokuniku ( in Konan, Minato-Ku), Itabashi, Toshima, Kita-Adachi, Adachi and Kasai.

Ota Market , Tokyo 1/6

Tuesday morning, I went to Ota market. Of course, I have to work, so got up 4:00 a.m. and got there around 6:30a.m. then came back to my office before 10:00. ( I felt so sleepy afterwards, but it was worthwhile to see the market ! )
If I didn't meet Ms. Kaneko at some business gathering, I couldn't have done it. Thanks to Ms. Kaneko , she guided me through the whole market and explained how they are working.


Mixture---Bakery & Cafe

This is one of my favorite bakery & cafe in Shimokitazawa.
You can either take out their breads, denish, pastries or
enjoy the " eat-in " menu such as coffee, pizza, sandwich etc.
You can relax in the cozy cafe and enjoy talking to the owner
and the staff who are both pleasant. ( Sometimes they are too busy, so please watch !)
Their breads are sort of East meets West style, so you can
find annpan(130yen), which is bun filled with sweet bean paste and also cinnamon roll (140 yen)
as well as B.L.T.C. sandwich. During weekdays, they open from 7:30. Good place to grab a breakfast also.
mixture :
3-31-5 Kitazawa, Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo, 155-0031


Salmon and Veggies with Mayonnaise Soy Sauce

One Pan Dish , Simple Cooking
( not traditional Japanese , sort of fusion)
Lemon juice 1 table spoon
Soy sauce 1 table spoon
Mayonnaise 1 table spoon
White wine or Sake kind of alcohol 2 tea spoons
Salmon 2 cuts
Veggies ( such as tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, green veggies, onions etc. )
Parsley or green lavor
1) Put alminum foil into the pan. Make a veggie bed for salmon like the photo shown here.
2) Put salmon on the veggies.
3) Sprinkle lemon juice, white wine or sake over the salmon.
4) squeeze mayonnaize on the salmon. 5) Cover the pan with the lid. Cook over low heat for
about 10 to 15 minutes untill the salmon is cooked enough. 6) Pour soy sauce .
7) Sprinkle green lavor or parsley. Light flavor. Goes well with both rice and bread.

Kikkoman Factory Tour ( Soy Sauce Factory ) 3/3

This is the soy sauce given by Kikkoman as souvenir at the end of the tour. They changed the cap color from red to this gold to
celebrate their 50th anniversary of their expanding business in to the states.
Soy Sauce Making Process:
( I tried to write as much as I remember and the details are skipped . Hope it helps you to know little more about soy sauce. )
The ingredients are soy beans, wheat and salt.
Nowadays, most of those ingredients are imports from overseas. Soy beans are from U.S., wheat grains are from U.S. and Canada, partly Japanese, and salt from Mexico and some from within Japan. Soy beans are steamed and wheat grains are roasted and crushed first.
Then the soy beans and wheat grains are mixed. Then aspergillus is added to those. They let them sit there for three days. This is called soy sauce koji. Then they add saline solution.
The next is farmentation and aging phase. It takes about 6 months. Final phase is squeezing the moromi ( the farmented soy sauce base ). Moromi is wrapped into fabrics and pressed by the machines. This soy sauce is still raw. This goes to the next " thermal sterilization ".
After that, soy sauce goes through pipe for bottling.
They said that the location of their factory was good for both collecting ingredients from nearby
and also good for distribution to Edo ( Current Tokyo ) using the rivers such as Edo River and Tone River. Well, now I feel I ' d like to learn more about it, but this is it for today.
Thanks to Kikkoman for giving me learning experience.

Kikkoman Factory Tour ( Soy Sauce Factory ) 2/3

In there , there is a shop you can buy their products including the ones made and sold only here. ( The special ones are made of local ingredients- soy beans, salt and wheat .)
I learned basics of soy sauce making today, which I didn't know really although there is no day that I don't use soy sauce.

Kikkoman Factory Tour ( Soy Sauce Factory ) 1/3

Today I visited Kikkoman ( soy sauce maker ) Factory in Noda-City in Chiba Prefecture.
This is the entrance of the factory. I took 10:00 a.m. tour
and enjoyed the guide. Immediately after I exited the station,
it smelled like steamed soy beans and soy sauce. The city of soy sauce, I arrived in !

Thai Cuisine Party at 148 Hiroo

There was a party at 148 hiroo tonight held by Bobby.

Thanks to Bobby and also my friend Nahoko, I met several new people.
Also, thanks to Miwako, I met more new people afterwards.

mmm, I hope I can get up early enough tomorrow morning to visit
Kikkoman Factory where I made a reservation for factory tour.