11th May 2019 (part 2): Japanese coffee, Korean dinner

Once we arrived back from Narai, we walked towards one of the potential coffee house candidates I had bookmarked, to continue our “kaffee und kuchen” tradition whenever we’re on holidays (and even more so when jetlagged!).

It is always a bit of a challenge to actually find bookmarked places, as maybe the map pin is on the other side of the street, or maybe the place is not at street level and also not clearly visible, or maybe the name of the place is in a different type of script we don’t understand.

But we eventually found this café, which I’m still not sure how to refer to: some websites called it “Abe’s coffee house”, but its sign said “Coffee ABE” (or should it be “ABE coffee?”), and yet the menu and Foursquare call it 珈琲美学 アベ, which Google seems to translate as “Coffee aesthetics” (?)

I think it’s about embracing the nondeterminism and openness of the language. Let it be whatever it wants to be!

Coffee ABE’s doorstep

It is somewhat themed like “continental Europe”, which made me start to develop a theory that just as Western coffee shops are lately themed on a “we run out of money and all we could do is rip out the old plaster, here are the bare bricks and repurposed pallets for you to sit on, ah, and here’s a couple of sacks in lieu of pillows, yes, you’re welcome”, Japanese coffee shops rather prefer go for the “let’s be cosy and confess secrets to each other” theme.

Looking at the menu, I was really pleased to see how many options there were. But we were also lost for choice; we spend a long time trying to decide what to have!

Japanese menu (there was also a translation to English, but it has way less character)

Finally we decided that instead of having a coffee and a cake, we’d have both at once, by having desserts made of coffee!!

And what desserts…!

This was the Mocha parfait:

Mocha parfait

I don’t normally feel jealous of other people’s food selections at restaurants, but this was an exception; possibly the exception. I had to work hard to peel my eyes off that majestic shell-shaped ice sculpture, and to avoid trying to convince Devvers that this was the dessert I had ordered 😂

It’s not that mine wasn’t nice, I mean, look at my coffee jelly, shrouded in mysterious mists and steams (and topped with cream and silver balls):

Coffee jelly

Not impressed? Look at the video:

We really enjoyed these, although we also had a “normal” coffee each, but I did not take any picture, for some mysterious reason (maybe the mists distracted me).

The place was quiet and decidedly cosy, and I suppose we would have stayed for a bit longer. But smoking indoors is allowed in Japan, and it was starting to be way more than we could cope with… 😬

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring various shopping centers and shops (the 100 yen shops are such a source of surprise and delight), and wandering until tired, and then… we didn’t know what to have for dinner!

It’s the problem when there are many good looking options. We tried recalling interesting restaurants that we might have seen while exploring, but failed… so we just walked back to the street with most restaurants and bars, and ended up in Norito (炭火焼 ノリト), a Korean BBQ restaurant.

Lager goes well with BBQ; we had already drank this Suntory the day before:

The tofu was very nice,

Fresh tofu with seaweed and sweet/spicy sauce

… the chicken was crispy and tender and beautifully cooked…

Fried chicken

… and the pancake-omelette loaded with cheese was both the most unusual thing that I didn’t expect to eat, and also the most satisfying dish!

Cheese grated chives pancake with sesame sauce

We slowly walked back to our hotel, enjoying the quiet and peace of our last night in Matsumoto. What an interesting town!

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