Most days at the office, I just have time to gulp down a (lukewarm) bento before heading back to work. However, one lucky day, I came to the realization that I was a tiny bit ahead of schedule, and I actually had time for a real lunch. Like one that involved non-disposable silverware. So my assistant and I decided to pop into Jane Doe’ Kitchen for a bite and chat. The interior of the cafe is simple, yet inviting. Make sure to check the blackboard for the specials of the day.
Doublé L pâtisserie is a small neighborhood shop located discretely near the glittering lights of Taipei 101. The shop front is almost hidden from view from the sidewalk by a bank of leafy green plants. Inside, is a warmly lit, simply decorated, and a perfect spot to spend a rainy afternoon in.
A few months ago, I had the chance to have lunch at a place I had only admired from afar; the Mandarin Oriental. This place looked special, and I had always reserved it in the back of my mind for a celebration. I was really looking forward to this meal, but it turned out I was sorely disappointed by the experience.
First, you will come upon this imposing door. Don’t try to enter through this door. It’s locked!
Instead, you have to go around to one of the side doors. Then be prepared to wander around aimlessly until you find an elevator that goes up to the correct floor. However, during my search, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the interiors of the Mandarin Oriental are stately and elegant.
After several weeks of travel posts, I feel like I’m ready to come back to reality and tell you more about desserts that can be found in Taipei. I keep mentioning this, but since I see no sign of improvement, I think I will have to keep going on about it–I am, probably the most directionally challenged person in the world. One day, I will learn how to use Google Maps, but until then, I mostly just rely on landmarks and wild guesses. This is a bit challenging in Taipei, which I’m sure has one of the most complicated alleyway systems in the world. Of course, this doesn’t stop me from going on wild goose chases whenever I have time. Especially if the end of the chase involves the promise of desserts. My latest chase was in search of QuelQues Patisseries (某某甜點) After about 15 minutes of aimlessly wandering the small side streets, I finally found it!
QuelQues is located in a residential neighborhood. The most straightforward way is to come out of Xinyi Anhe MRT station, Exit 2, walk across the street, towards the red brick building, and turn left when you see the sign for Mentor Hair.
During my visit on a weekday afternoon, QuelQues was filled to the brim. There was a wait to order takeaway pastries, there was a wait to eat in. (This photo was taken right before I left, around 4:30, and the both the crowd and pastry case had thinned considerably by then).
In the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to really road test everything that I brought back from my trip. For this post, I chose five of my favorite products: 1) a hairdryer by Panasonic, 2) Hand mixer by Muji, 3) Kanebo’s Suisai Beauty Clear Powder, 4) Coffee mugs by the Traveler’s Factory and Blue Bottle Coffee, and lastly, 5) assorted clothing items by Journal Standard. I Towards the end of the post, I’ll answer the question probably burning on everyone’s mind (ha!)… how did I get it all home?
One of the last things that I always do before leaving Tokyo is to buy omiyage (souvenirs) at the airport. In this post, I thought I would describe some of the omiyage at Haneda Airport, so you can have some more information about what is inside some of those pretty boxes. During my first trip to Tokyo, I had no idea what to buy at the airport. I saw people buying lots and lots of colorfully wrapped boxes, but I wasn’t sure what was in them. I think I ended up buying a box of Tokyo Bananas and some matcha flavored Kit-Kats before hopping on my flight.
During the following years after my first trip to Tokyo, I have been lucky to be on the receiving end of omiyage~ and now I have a much better idea of what to bring back for family, friends and colleagues. Here are the items I brought back this trip, from Haneda Airport:
In this post, I’ll go over the way that the box is wrapped, and some of the main ingredients, and of course, most importantly what the treats look like and taste like.
One of the new (to me) discoveries I made on this trip was the discovery of the Omotesandō (表参道) area. I never expected to love it so much, but I really do. The streets are dotted with lots of fun, quirky little shops, and it’s also an interesting place to people-watch. In addition to visiting the Nezu Museum during this trip, I also discovered two other gems that I would make repeat visits to next year: Number Sugar and the Spiral Market.
Number Sugar is a confectionery store that specializes in handmade caramels. They have 10 flavors that are made fresh, on site, daily. However, after exiting the Omotesando subway station, it was a bit of a wild goose chase. On paper (or on Google Maps) the streets of Tokyo are labeled by district (chōme), block (ban) and house numbers (gō). Theoretically, this seems clear enough, until you realize that there are hardly any visible street signs!
As I mentioned in my post a few weeks ago, one of the best parts about shopping at Tokyu Hands is the sheer variety of items that are available. Plus, everything is displayed in an accessible way, so you can look at them to your heart’s content. One of the appliances I was looking forward to seeing up and close and personal was the…. cue music and spotlight here… the Balmuda toaster oven. (It’s only recently become available in Taiwan, and on a very limited release). Sigh. I’ve been obsessing about this kitchen appliance since I saw this video. During this trip, I was seriously thinking about buying this and just taking it home in my suitcase. But my goodness, this oven is heavy! It would have been the height of impracticality to lug it back to the hotel, and then risk it going through the rough and tumble of the luggage carousel.