Tag Archives: wonderful things

Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman (Full List of Locations)

Sometimes you encounter a fictional character who speaks to your soul, who is you. For me, Kantaro Ametami is such a character. He is the hero of Netflix’s Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman, a weird-af but delightful show based on the manga Saboriman Ametani Kantarou.

Kantaro is a salesman at a publishing company, but his true passion and top priority is sweets (#relatable).

Same

He arranges his sales calls and maximizes his productivity in order to visit Tokyo’s best sweets destinations during the work week. He documents each visit on his blog, which he writes under the pseudonym “Sweets Knight.” His sweets obsession and workday-shirking is a dark secret that he must conceal from his colleagues. But one of them, Kanako, follows the blog (she comments on it as “Sweets Princess”) and suspects that Kantaro is the Sweets Knight.

When you’re surrounded by people who don’t properly respect dessert.

Each episode centers around a single dessert, with Kantaro visiting a real shop in Tokyo that serves it in its highest, purest form. The show breaks down the ingredients and techniques that go into the dessert with rapturous narration from Kantaro and surreal, gratuitous food-porn shots. This part is educational and sometimes oddly erotic.

“It’s magnificently creamy!”
Come for the wacky premise, stay for the shots of firm, glistening desserts.

Upon eating the first bite of the dessert, he enters “sweets paradise,” a vignette in which he interacts with the dessert or its ingredients.

For example, a love triangle where he must choose between a curvy and self-sacrificial caramel pudding, or a slender and vampish almond tofu.

Jiggling with anger.

Or where he beholds… an erupting peach.

Do not watch Episode 4: Parfait with your parents.

If you love dessert and the idiosyncrasy of Japanese manga, you’ll want to binge watch this sweets paradise.

True believer.

Here’s my foursquare list of all the shops featured on the show. Follow it to use as an itinerary while you visit Tokyo! I’ll update it if another season of Kantaro comes out. Many thanks to user danny_ds for posting the full list on Reddit:

  1. Episode 1: Anmitsu –  red bean paste with white syrup.
  2. Episode 2: Kakigori – shaved ice.
  3. Episode 3: Mamekan – kanten (agar agar cubes) with red bean paste, topped with brown sugar syrup.
  4. Episode 4: Parfait – fruits parfait.
  5. Episode 5: Hotcakes
  6. Episode 6: Bavarian Matcha Cream
  7. Episode 7: Savarin – aka rum baba; a brioche cake soaked in syrup with custard cream and rum-soaked raisins.
  8. Episode 8: Ohagi
  9. Episode 9: Eclair – choux pastry filled and topped with cream.
  10. Episode 10: Caramel Pudding
  11. Episode 11: Chocolate
  12. Episode 12: Mont Blanc – sweetened pureed chestnuts.

References
IMDB
Reddit

Toasted Milk Is the Secret Ingredient

In  my house growing up, milk was not something we drank. It was strictly a medium or complement for other food: cereal, cookies, chocolate syrup, cornbread. Milk-as-beverage was too much, like eating a stick of butter or a clove of garlic—things that are unappetizing on their own but become magnificent when combined with other ingredients.

So, even now I recoil at the thought of drinking a glass of milk straight, but I swoon over milky foodstuffs. Hokkaido milk bread, dulce de leche, Vietnamese iced coffee, tres leches cake, etc. What makes these foods milky? They contain milk, obviously, but what is the essence of milkiness?

Whole cow’s milk is about 87 percent water and 13 percent solids (3.7 percent fat, and 9 percent non-fat solids including proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals). The fat and other solids work together to create the smooth, round richness and flavor we know as milkiness. Concentrating the solids relative to the water intensifies milkiness and leaves us with milk products (think evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, powdered milk) that have diverse culinary applications.

In other words, getting rid of the liquid in milk lets us add milkiness anywhere! And this was relevant to one of my old ice cream quests: making milk-flavored ice cream.

You might be thinking, But isn’t all dairy-based ice cream milk-flavored, by virtue of it being mostly milk? Well, yeah, but as noted above, milk is mostly water. Ice cream is mostly milk. Therefore, ice cream is mostly water (and air).

Of the milk solids—the fat and the non-fat solids—in an ice cream, the fat portion contributes to a creamy smooth texture. The non-fat milk solids contribute a little to texture too, but they’re more of a flavor component. A weak one, because the sugar and eggs, not to mention the ice cream flavoring, overpower them. So if you’re looking for an ice cream that truly tastes like milk, you’re going to have to boost the the non-fat solids.

This is where nonfat milk powder comes in. Nonfat milk powder is non-fat milk solids. And it’s the secret ingredient to the best ice cream in the world. See Ample Hills’ ice cream base recipe which they revealed in their 2014 cookbook Ample Hills Creamery: Secrets and Stories from Brooklyn’s Favorite Ice Cream Shop:

  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup skim milk powder
  • 1 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks

The skim milk powder is Ample Hills’ differentiating ingredient. The average ice cream recipe that turns up in a Google search does not include it, and even trusted sources like Serious Eats and Alton Brown don’t mention it. But there’s a way to amplify milkiness even more: by toasting the milk powder. This is the technique (from Ideas in Food) I used when I made toasted milk ice cream with pineapple cakes and sesame candy. A microwave, a fork, and a lot of patience is all you need.

Toasted Milk

I’m not in a position to do a lot of kitchen experimenting anymore, but one day I hope to return to it and to the applications of milk solids specifically.

References
International Dairy Foods Association

Uber’s Most Effective Charm Offensive, #UberIceCream, Is Happening Friday 7/24

Another summer, another #UberIceCream promotion. Today, July 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Uber users all over the world will be able to order local ice cream through the UberEATS feature of the app. It’s a great day to be a New Yorker, because “local” ice cream for us means Ample Hills!

Push Button Tap Phone, Receive Bacon Ice Cream. (Next year I promise to try harder in Photoshop.)

 

Ample Hills is offering the “Black & Walt,” an ice cream sandwich comprised of a “baked cookie, vanilla malted ice cream slicked with malted fudge, and … rice krispies crunch” for $10. Melt Bakery is offering “The Classic” ice cream sandwich (chocolate chip walnut cookies with vanilla ice cream) at 2 for $10. Sprinkles is offering a cupcake sandwich Neapolitan—strawberry ice cream between a vanilla cupcake top and a chocolate cupcake top, 2 for $13.

Ample Hills' Black & Walt, Sprinkles' Cupcake Sandwich Neapolitan, Melt Bakery's The Classic. (via Uber)
Ample Hills’ Black & Walt, Sprinkles’ Cupcake Sandwich Neapolitan, Melt Bakery’s The Classic. (via Uber)

 

Delivery for any of the options is free. If you’re paying with a Capital One card, the ice cream is free too (up to $25 worth)! The promo code is: SWEETDEAL.

Sadly, the New York delivery area is only between 59th Street and 14th Street, so no Black & Walts will be showing up in front of my Harlem doorstep. I can only hope to live vicariously through those of you who are working in Midtown or Chelsea.

P.S. Hold on to your butts: the #UberIceCream promotion has created a shortage of Black & Walts.