Pudding d'or in Isetan Shinjuku / プリン・ド・オール 新宿伊勢丹

Pudding d'or is a pudding shoppe located in Isetan Honkan's B2 floor.
*Honkan means main.
According to an insert came with a pudding, it says, "It selects and sells only puddings from pudding specialty shops, restaurants, and sweets shops from every region of the country. Approximately 20 kinds of puddings are available and they're categorized into more than 10 kinds (custard, milk, fruit, chocolat, surprises, etc.). Every week, they change the lineups in each category."

Isetan had a special dessert week for Halloween for about a week and it'll end today, October 31, 2012.
And I got this pumpkin pudding about a week before Halloween as a gift.
Jack O'lantern was printed on the orange china up.
A plastic lid was stuck with tapes so this shot looks a little bit awkward, but actual cup was really adorable.

Over the top, there's a tape shows the maker's name.
I searched for "Kitchen ena Handmade P" and the result came up was "Handmade Pudding Kitchen ena" and it's a pudding shoppe in Miyazaki pref.

Label on the back shows the address besides the full name of this pudding and ingredients.
Halloween Pumpkin Pudding
Generic name: fresh western confectionery
Ingredients: milk, pumpkin paste, pumpkin, fresh cream, egg, sugar, and rum.
Unlike Pucchin Purin http://chobiro47.blogspot.jp/2012/10/pucchin-purin-choco-mix.html , no gelatin or Japanese agar was used.
Obviously it was easy to imagine that this pumpkin pudding wouldn't have weird flabby-but-solid texture.

Surface of the pudding.
It looked like unbaked cheesecake, which we call rare cheesecake.
It had really good pumpkin flavor even before I dug in.

You can tell the pudding is really velvety.
I think they pureed and strained the real pumpkin to let it be silky but flavorful.

At the bottom, there's some liquid caramel sauce.
Those pumpkin pudding sold in supermarket or conbini, it tends to have a lot thicker and more caramel sauce.
But this contained sophisticated amount and had a hint of rum.

Since no coagulant was added, this pumpkin pudding was smooth, sleeky, and soft. 
Without artificial pumpkin flavor, it had a real pumpkin taste and fragrance. No wonder 2nd and 3rd most used ingredients are pumpkin paste and pumpkin.

I washed this pumpkin cup and thought of using to keep little things or a plant, but haven't used it yet and it's sitting with other plates and cups.

Another remarkable story is that when you go to department stores and buy these fresh cakes and confectioneries, the cashier always ask how long I'd carry it around before you put it in fridge and depending on the hours, they put blue ice for you.
And it's nicely packed with urethane package to keep it cold and from breaking.


Pucchin Purin Choco Mix / プッチンプリン チョコミックス

Pucchin Purin is one of the famous pudding produced by Glico, a sweet maker in Japan.
This pudding first came out to market back in 1972.
Now they're celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, 2012.
Pucchin is an onomatopoeia of breaking a little tip on the bottom of the case. (I will explain with photos later.)
Purin is a Japanese way to say pudding.
Choco is a short term of chocolate.

1970s, there're a lot of diary products, for example yogurt,  but there's almost no dessert in supermarkets or grocery shops.
At the same time, pudding was really popular and big in sweet stores and confectionery shops, so employees got a hint from the boom and started thinking it would be great if everyone could eat pudding at home as a regular snack.
If you go to Glico homepage, you could see some manga (but only in Japanese) how they had struggled, researched over and over, and finally could bring the pudding into the world.
Once you click the link above, a giant pudding would be shown and once the movie is done, on the bottom left, there's a pudding saying おしえて!プッチン with smaller font of English line TELL ME PUCCHIN! which would show the manga of history how they made Pucchin Purin.

What makes this pudding interesting and unique is the plastic cup.
Once you pinch a little tab on the bottom, this pudding would fall out easily with perfect shape.
Their focus was "sweet shop's dessert at home" so that they wanted to make the pudding look like the one served at those special eating places.
They place pudding upside down and decorate with whipped cream and fruits.

So, to celebrate 40th anniversary of Pucchin Purin, they launched a Pucchin Purin Choco Mix.
Regular Pucchin Purin has 2 colors; yellow and brown, which are egg and caramel.
However, this Choco Mix has another layer with the 2 colors, so it's actually a triple colored pudding.

It says "limited edition" and 20th anniversary.
The wavy shape of 40's "0" is same shape of the cup.
In the star-looking shape, there's プ, which is pronounced "pu," is a first letter of プリン /  pudding.
An image of the pudding on the lid is upside down, so when you open the cover, you'll see chocolate layer.
Looks like a jellied hot cocoa.

So, once you open the top, you need to prepare a plate and cover like this.

Ok, now it needs to be turned upside down.  
I'm not crazy, this is how we gotta do.

Please see the direction on the bottom: 
1. Please place the pudding upside down on a plate.
2. Push the tab towards the way an arrow shows.

Once you push the little tip, air goes into from the hole and pudding falls out quickly.

See? Now the pudding is separated from the case!
And the order of colors are same as the package image (except the shape and height).
Many Japanese puddings use gelatin to make the pudding firm and stable and Pucchin Pudding is also one of those, though the pudding is no longer in the case, it keeps the shape and won't collapse. 

Funny aspect appears when you shake the plate sideways. 
This pudding looks like dancing. 

As you can see, the caramel is really smooth and falls down from the top once you dig in.

Nutrition: 1 cup (170g)
234 kcal
3.4g of protein
13.2g of fat
25.3g of carbohydrate
123mg of natrium

Ingredients, there're gelatin and agar (Japanese agar), this is the reason why this pudding has jello-like texture.

As I grew up in Japan, I'm used to this a bit hard pudding but there're a lot of types of pudding, like strawberry sauce, chocolate, really smooth and custard type of pudding, and also this hard type.

Like I mentioned, it sounds weird to have strawberry sauce pudding but many companies or brands create seasonal flavor puddings every year thus we get to try pumpkin pudding during Halloween season. (I haven't written this pudding yet.)

Pucchin Purin can be eaten directly from the cup of course, but I enjoy seeing the pudding falling off from the cup, landing on a plate, shaking and dancing before eating it.


Zuien Bekkan Shinjuku / 隨園別館 新宿店

I wanted to try some Chinese food and had a chance to go there day after Halloween night out.

This place is called Zuien Bekkan (Shinjuku branch), and there're 2 other branches in Tachikawa, Shin-Marunouchi blgd., and Odawara.

I've learned this place offers super cheap lunch set and actually an authentic Chinese plates.
One of the menu is "one coin lunch," which we call for 500 JPY lunch as we have 500 yen coin.
And the set includes half-sized sour noodle (酸辣湯 / San ra-tan /  Hot and sour soup), half-sized fried rice, and almond jelly (杏仁豆腐 / An'nin-dofu).
Some other lunch sets are 750 ~ 1,500 JPY.

To see if they have tasty Chinese foods, I really wanted to give a shot at one coin lunch.
However, as we went there on Sunday, there's no menu hanging inside or outside :(

So we actually looked through a whole menu and found some plates we'd try.

We ordered the following.
合菜戴帽 (stir-fried vegetable and pork covered with fried egg) --- I have no idea how to put the pronunciation with alphabet but with Japanese character Katakana showed like this; ホーツァーダイマウ for reference.

牛肉の辛味タンメン (spicy Chinese noodles served with vegetable and beef)

蟹炒飯 (fried rice with crab meat)

And a bottle of coke.

We first ordered one plate each; egg and noodle (合菜戴帽 and 牛肉の辛味タンメン) but I kept looking at the menu and a manager came close to me.

From the first, fried rice with crab meat got my attention really bad yet I didn't wanna order a full size since I thought the dishes we ordered would fill us up.
I asked him if there's a half size fried rice and his answer was, "We can prepare half size when we're not that busy. And as we're not busy, we can make you one."

As soon as he took the extra and special order from me, he screamed at kitchen in Chinese,  "aoijqp984yt aegj!! jawpe8u iathufaoua@ty  CHA-HAN!!!" 
*Cha-han is the way Japanese people call fried rice and Chinese sounded pretty close.
So I hoped he asked cooks to make smaller fried rice for me.

First, a bottle of coke came and my egg was served right after.
Egg on the right side looks like annual ring of wood and I was really amazed by the way they cooked this. 
I still haven't figured out how they made the egg but am guessing they kept moving the pan in a circular motion while pouring beaten egg with ladle.

This egg dish (underneath the egg, there're stir fried mixed vegetables) came with fine strips of leek / naganegi onion, sweet miso (fermented soybean paste), and wraps (strong wheat based wrap).

Inside of the egg.
Sliced pork, bean sprout, cabbage, greens (leaves or spinach), and bean-starch vermicelli were inside.
The seasoning was soy sauce based and a little bit salty.
First I tried this without adding any miso paste or onion, and it was quite tasty.

This is a photo on the menu.
Clockwise from the left top, egg, miso paste, wrap, and onion.

This menu is the number 82, and in Japanese, it says that the wrap is not included.
When I ordered this dish, they didn't ask me if I wanted the wrap or not, so I thought they wouldn't serve me without asking. 
However, they brought me all of it anyway, so I tried another bite with this wrap.

The texture of the wrap was strong like mochi (sticky rice) or udon (a type of noodle).
And the wrap of this was exact the same as that of Peking duck.
Miso paste was sweet and thick, onion was fresh.

As I had to chew a lot the wrap, I became full besides the miso paste was really strong and fulfilling flavored.

To be honest, I prefer the egg itself without this wrap and miso. I'd love to have the onion though.

While eating, beef noodle was served.
The soup was brown and some sort of soy sauce based topped with chopped beef, spinach-ish leaves, and takana (a variety of brassica juncea).
Takana is a type of tsukemono ( Japanese pickle) and usually it's spicy hot.
The beef looked a little bit chewy though seemed it observed the soup well.
Noodle was slightly yellow, so I guess it's an egg noodle.
Soup had strong star anise fragrance. If you're fan of the spice, you'd enjoy it for sure.

And here comes my crab meat fried rice!!
I wasn't sure if I'd get this fried claw since this is half size.
Table next to us ordered a full size so that they had 2 claws.
This fried rice was really good and I personally highly recommend.
The rice was not sticky so that every single rice was separated and individually mixed well with other ingredients.
It wasn't too salty or too weak, just a right amount of seasoning.
(Usually it's said that to make this non-sticky fried rice is difficult and it requires strong fire to cook.)
I tried the fried claw. OOOOHHHHHH!!!!
The claw was solid and filled with crab meat!

To summarize;
Taste: Great. I'm really happy.
Variety: Sufficient. It could be hard to decide!
Portion: Pretty big. If you wanna try several plates, it'd be better to go there with a group of people.
Price: Lunch set is cheap (starting from 500 JPY), but it seems available only on weekdays.
Except weekdays lunch set, there're wide price range from inexpensive to not-reasonable dishes (like bird's-nest soup was 6,000 JPY).
Service: Ok. Even though it's not owned by a Japanese, the way they lead us to the table was as good as other restaurants, they spoke pretty good Japanese (they could even speak honorific and modest language).
Bill: UNCLEAR. I really need to stress this out. They didn't show us the bill so I couldn't tell if they deducted any price from the half size fried rice or couldn't see how much the wrap for the egg was.
Well, I'd rather pay full amount on the fried rice for half size than leaving tons of foods to be thrown away afterwards, but still it's my habit to check the list before paying the money.


Zuien Bekkan Shinjuku branch / 隨園別館 新宿店
2-7-4 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Monday - Thursday: 11:00AM - 3:00PM, 5:00PM - 11:00PM
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays: 11:00AM - 11:00PM
*open 7 days a week unless notice.

Credit card:
Only Visa and Master Card are accepted.


Gourmet Box: Gyoza
Gyoza (pork dumpling) with chili oil. 

The package warms it's spicy hot but I couldn't taste any chili oil ;(

About an year ago, they already launched same gyoza bun without spicy oil, but as this one wasn't spicy-hot at all, it was basically a same product with different package.
Lunch Pack Collection:
Nectar Mix Cream

Uses purée and fruit juice cream of Fujiya "Nectar Mix."

It's only fruit flavor cream and it'd have been nicer if it contained fruit chunks.
Lunch Pack Collection:
Ganache (limited edition)
Cocoa flavored bread contains smooth chocolate ganache inside.

Ganache is slightly bitter and matches really well with cocoa bread.


Lunch Pack Collection:
Choi Paku Rusk "Peanut"
Using the crust which is cut off when they prepare Lunch Pack, and this is peanut flavor. 

They cut the crust into pieces and soaked in peanut flavored chocolate. 

224 kcal

Lunch Pack Collection: 
Sweet Potato & Margarine
They use sweet potato from Kagoshima pref.

The paste was really smooth and I could taste the real flavor.

158kcal each sammie.


Karaage-kun Hatena Aji / からあげクン ?味(ハテナアジ)

Karaage-kun is one of the famous product line of Lawson.
"Karaage" means fried chicken (からあげ、唐揚げ) and luckily Lawson uses white meat. (weeeee!)

Here's Karaage-kun's brief explanation.
5 pieces in a paper package, which has a blunt chicken face on it and looking at you straight.
Also, it's designed to have a lid to cover when you want to leave some chickens and have a space to set a tooth pick so that consumers can eat right after they buy it. (genius!)

Routine flavors are Regular, Red (spicy), and Cheese and all are 210 JPY. 
Lately they create limited flavors with some local products of Japan like yuzu, soy sauce, sweet and spicy sauce with sesame seeds, etc.
More, they collaborated with Amazing Spider-Man and produced "Triple Pepper."
Once in a while they have a campaign and they put extra one piece for the same price.

Let's get back to Karaage-kun Hatena Aji here once again.
"Karaage" is fried chicken as mentioned above.

"-kun" is sort of "Mr." but used for kids or among friends, mainly for males.
"Hatena" = a question mark "?"
"Aji" is taste and flavor.
So, Lawson launched a limited unknown-flavored Karaage-kun on October 16, 2012.
Even on the package it says "limited quantity" on the left top.
Karaage-kun and other fried snacks are placed in a showcase by the cashier.
When I looked at the shelf of Karaage-kun, it just says "Hatena Aji."
(I asked if I could take a photo in advance.)

I was curious if the cashier would know anything about the flavor and actually I asked, 
"Do you know what flavor it is for real?"
He responded, "Well, we all tried so we know. But... I think... it's, well, mmmm, you'll find out easily!"
I believed him and left Lawson with Karaage-kun.

Inside of the pack, chickens looked normal.
They seemed exactly the same as regular flavor.

Had a bite, but all I could see was pepper and some little yellow dots.
Tasted like cheese but "pepper & cheese" wouldn't a name.

Right side of the package asks, "Can you tell what flavor it is?"
This question is insane because I can't tell.
It was obviously peppery taste and flavor in it but I couldn't figure it out better.

On the left side, there's a tab and I can open it to see a hint kept underneath.
The red star says, "Open to find a hint!" so I didn't hesitate and saw inside.

Hint 5: Word origin of this dish is carbon/coal/charcoal.
No, it's not helping...

I had to search on twitter and internet what others say.
Some said it's carbonara and I looked through Wikipedia to see if the etymology of carbonara is carbon.
I looked at English and Japanese, and both mentioned it (however stories are totally different).

Hilarious review was Rocket News 24.
They said, "Here we go, it is ..... we don't know!"
The phrase just spoke for my thought.

Editors and writers went to Lawson and said, "Can we get carbonara flavor Karaage-kun?" 
Needless to say, the cashier got confused and a little bit panicked what to do.
The cashier came back and said, "Carbonara.... oh well... you meant 'Hatena Aji,' correct?" according to their site.
On the back, there's a letter of challenge from Karaage-kun.
"Hi everyone, did you get what flavor this is?
There's a hit on the package.
We give you 10 hints respectively.
Please go to campaign site if you find the flavor.
You'll be eligible to win Karaage-kun goods!"

If I had all the 10 hints, I may not be able to guess the flavor.


Pepperidge Farm: Chesapeake Dark Chocolate Pecan

Pepperidge Farm has so many cookies and Goldfish I wanna try.

This Chesapeake Dark Chocolate Pecan is crispy cookie with chocolate chunks and crunchy pecan.
When I first looked at the package, I had to research what Chesapeake was.
Apparently it's name of a city in southeast side of Virginia, but I have no idea since pecan isn't its signature agricultural product.
However, there's a chocolate shop called "Chesapeake Chocolate" and also a apartment called "Pecan Point Court," too.

It's easy to find the information most of the time, but I couldn't find any reliable resources.
On the back side of the bag, 
"Our Chesapeake cookie is a popular destination. Come for the dark chocolate, stay for the pecans. The mounds of rich dark chocolate chunks and crunchy pecans are well worth the trip! And while you're visiting, enjoy our other fine ingredients, like real butter and natural vanilla flavor. You're going to love it here!"

Like the visual, each cookie contains dark chocolate chunks and pecan according to the ad lines.
As pecan is a little bit sweet, I guessed dark chocolate would go well with the nuts.

Each cookie has 130 calories. 
But one cookie only weighs 26g (0.9 oz)... I'd say the calories is from nuts and real butter...
It's not only I say this, but also others say that tasty foods are high calories anyway.
Besides if I had cared the calories in plates, I wouldn't have been writing this blog.
Ingredients' first line is pretty long as it has parentheses.

Unbleached enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic asid)

It's interesting that it first I saw "unbleached," I thought they're using close-to-natural ingredients but then "enriched" with various vitamins and other nutritious segments are in the flour.

4 cookies are in a plastic tray and there're 2 cups inside.
When I grabbed one, it was hard and not as heavy as soft chewy cookies.
The texture was crispy and really light.
The cookie broke easily and as I could see the chocolate and pecan all over the cookies, even a bite let me have all the different textures and flavors together.

The cookie dough didn't have much butter flavor or vanilla (maybe I wasn't paying much attention), but chocolate chunks was chewy and pecan was crispy and flavorful.
I wanted a glass of milk to dunk the cookie!


Pepperidge Farm Goldfish "Grahams S'mores"

I'd been longing for this Goldfish "Grahams S'mores" and finally got a chance to try.
Last time I had fudge brownie and it was quite good.

The difference would be the colors of the cookies.
Fudge brownie is also grahams series and both are creating chocolate flavored sweets.
Though, brownie is just dark brown (unless it's covered with frosting) so all the goldfishes were single color.
This S'mores resembles not only the flavor of the real S'more we know, but also the colors.
As you can see on the package, this one has 3 colors.
From the left, light brown (graham cookie), white (marshmallow), and dark brown (chocolate).
Besides the little fishes swimming, the image of the S'more looks really tasty...

I thought it was really neat and it'd be fun to find all the 3 colors to eat them all together.

When I saw inside of the bag, I found white fishes were smaller than the others.
If they're same size, it can't happen as white (pale color) looks bold and bigger than as it is because they're expansive color.
So, definitely they made the white fish tinier than other 2.
And as it's grahams, they have face on solely one side, which wasn't a surprise.

Before I ate them together, I didn't understand why the marshmallow white fish was smaller than others, but I think the marshmallow, which was like squeezed, dried, and hard, was much sweeter than the other 2 cookies (graham and chocolate).
So maybe they tested a whole bunch of varied sized white fishes to find the best balance to create S'mores flavor?
This S'mores was less sweet than actual ones but no need to use fire or skewer, and even no ingredients needed to enjoy quick S'mores.


Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Crisp

Another chocolate snack I tried last weekend is from Trader Joe's chocolate.

I've tried their chocolate bars but it was my first time to try this thin and curved chocolate.

When I first looked at the box, I thought it's a potato chips covered with chocolate since the shape just reminded me of Chip Star from Nabisco since some brands and makers have already produced chocolate covered potato chips, I didn't think it was a weird idea at all.

Also the visual made me think the slices are really light as they're floating in the air like ribbons or waves.
However, this Milk Chocolate Crisp is not potato chips.
It's a round and curved chocolate slice.

Inside of the paper box, there're 3 piles of chocolate and all the chocolate were heaped up straight.
I could see the itty-bitty white/beige dots in the flimsy chocolate which provides the crispness in smooth milk chocolate.
First I was thinking it was poppy seeds but on the back side of the package, there's no word of poppy or seed and instead, there's an ingredient "rice puff."

On the other side of the chocolate slice, there's checked pattern making a lot of diamond of cards.
When I looked at the pattern, I thought it's really cute and neat but I imagined it might prevent the chocolate from sticking to each other.
The pattern has slight pumps and asperities so that it'd be easier to remove in case it's clung.

Nutrition Facts didn't really surprised me as I knew this won't be low calories.
Thanks to this, I could tell each chocolate mountain had 12 slices.
12 pieces for 230 calories isn't that bad I think.
If it had contained other additional ingredients like nuts or caramel, it'd have jumped up much higher too.

"We've got a delectable sweet treat. Our Milk Chocolate Crisps are wisps of rich, Belgian chocolate, curved for visual interest, and infused with crunchy bits to add some texture. These Crisps are definitely in!"

The advertising lines didn't lie, I totally agree with it.

Maybe consumers' mission is to buy this chocolate, bring it to home and store it without melting them to enjoy the thin and curved chocolate.