Friday, August 1, 2008


Day eleven: Kakigōri / 欠き 氷 
Kyoto Sanjo Ohashi at the Aoyama Oval, ¥880-¥1100

One of the great joys of revisiting old haunts is reconnecting with old friends. My friend Trey and I went to middle school together but didn’t meet again until I moved to Tokyo, where Trey had been living for several years. For the first few months I was as helpless as an infant, and I’m not sure how I would have managed without Trey’s very patient help.

Good sport that he is, Trey agreed to meet me a stylish Aoyama café that specializes in posh updates of old-fashioned Japanese treats. When suggesting coolness just isn’t enough, the category of sweets known as kakigōri steps in. Basically heaps of shaved ice topped with syrup or stewed fruit, they can be as simple as a snow-cone or as elaborate the multi-tiered beauties shown here.

Trey’s was a variety of sundae, while mine, I think, was a 氷クリーム字治金時—in the excitement of the moment I forgot to ask for a translation. The mound of shaved ice is drizzled with condensed milk and topped with green tea ice cream, and rests on a baselayer of chunky sweet beans and chewy rice dumplings.

My apologies to Trey for making him look smaller than his dessert. They were in fact the same size.

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