Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Inoda Coffee

Inoda brand coffee run a popular chain of cafes in Kyoto town.  They  have done since 1940. If you can deal with the smoke you will have a decent, old school, coffee experience.  
At the back of this particular shop on Sanjo street ( a few blocks west from the Western end of the Sanjo arcade) there is a large circular bar with  barristas stationed in the middle. It looks directly onto a serene Japanese garden and had it not been for the ashtrays sending up smoke signals I would have jumped at the chance of a prime position seat.  I mean the smoking section is find if there are no smokers right?  
Had it not been a stinking hot day (when the smoke seems even more putrid to me - maybe it's an Aussie bushfire memory association thing...) I might have spent the time it takes to watch my coffee drip through the filter into the pouring chamber then drink it - just for the opportunity to gaze at the garden. 

I have enjoyed a cup of Joe (and sampled a couple of their expectantly decent cakes) at several Inoda coffee shops around town and all are consistent -  but only recently visited the Sanjo store and its garden as they were recommended to me by friend (and smoker) Ricky.  (Apologies Ricky...  you know I'd definitely sit there with you even if you were puffing away - just because your company is so delightful... and sense of humour so wicked!). 

Kyoto summer essentials below. OK so the phone is a constant.  

***Heads up Australian cafes - this is coffee, iced. When I ask for coffee with ice in it - this is all I want. I don't need it to have a tonne of ice or ice cream frapeed through it - just ice, some milk and syrup on the side. And do note the sugar syrup because granular sugar doesn't melt in iced coffee. Why can't we get this right here? We are a bloody hot little island - iced coffee is essential for summer!! That is all.

PS - if you like Inoda coffee they have a range of varieties available in take home packs. I'd take a guess you can buy the syrup too!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

HARBS Cafe Kyoto

My last trip to Kyoto involved some very important research. 

Above is the result of a full blown investigation into Kyoto cafes. Ooops - slight exagerration - one cafe. I was specifically looking for a "back up" venue for a cafe I plan to include in the itineraries for my Kyoto Winter Cuisine and Culture  (Zenbu Ryori and Zenbu Zen) tours 

On this trip I discovered that my first choice cafe for one particular day of the itinerary is now closed on that particular day of the week (blah!) - so the additional research was an absolute necessity. I therefore sacrificed my arteries to the god of cream and chocolate... 

All the cakes and tarts in the glass cabinet of Harbs ( in the Daimaru Department Store) - looked fantastic. Perfect. Too perfect... I was sure they would be the opposite. All style, no substance. A pretty tease.... I've been tricked before ( although long ago) in Japan. 

Turns out I'd been too quick to judge. I found the German chocolate and walnut number (above) to be quite, quite stunning.  And only wish I could have asked for a tiny slice of each offering, just a wee tastette... you know like people apparently do when planning their weddings.... Clearly I'm a very committed tour guide. And not just greedy!

So lookout Harbs - I'll be back soon, with a few friends. 

And if you bloody well end up being closed we might have to resort to this nearby vending machine for an ice cream!! 
Coolish anyone?? (They are actually not bad - for an squeezable ice cream you suck out of a bag..)

If you like the look of these you might like to hop over to my KYOTO WINTER TOURS PAGE.