My woes infiltrated into the subconscious mind, finally prompting contact with a member of higher authority for assistance and guidance. Recapping the troubles experienced was tragically difficult, yet necessary. There had been more meltdowns in the span of two weeks than ever over the entire course of my working-hood.
It is customary to receive chocolate and floral bouquets on Valentine's Day, but rarely found are accounts of receiving Herbal Tea and consolation (and a tremendous amount of patience!).
But that's precisely what was needed: a no-frills transmission of care, not a lavish package to announcing the Hallmark holiday.
1) Plain Coconut Cupcakes
With the aim of ̶m̶o̶d̶i̶f̶y̶i̶n̶g̶ elevating iteration, Coconut Cupcakes were re-attempted. The cake base formula was kept consistent, though the topping was swapped for an egg-less dusting of fine, unsweetened shredded coconut and turbinado sugar granules.
The result was, regrettably, less formidable than the more adventurous (and unscaled) venture of the week past. The topping was loose and did not adhere despite the thick batter; fragments of toasted coconut would fall from each cupcake as they were removed from the pan. Further showers would occur throughout the consumption process.
Several small containers of Coconut Milk Jelly originated from the remnants of coconut milk, a simple syrup formed from rock sugar, and a heaping portion of leftover coconut flakes. They were barely deserving praise, adopting a rigid consistency and far too many flakes to chew comfortably.
Originally an attempt to recreate the seamless, plush layers of the slice from Tokyo Cheesecake Cake, I ran out of both time and heavy cream in its assembly. Too soon was the cake sliced, excess moisture resulting in cracking, and too rushed had been my attempts to assemble a smooth chocolate mousse-esque filling, forcing premature setting in the fridge as I ran off to yet another call.
The inclusion of water in its batter sparked dubiousness, yet yielded an airy, delicate crumb akin to the Cocoa Cupcakes crafted late last year. They were impossible to frost in the absence of simple syrup, though still remained susceptible to crumb showers if the task was approached too heavy-handedly.
Future attempts shall likely see a reduction in cake batter (how is one to trim one egg though?) and perhaps a greater quantity of egg whites for height.
An irrefutable observation is the manner by which the pandemic has altered the dining experience. The distinct shift to virtual platforms for customer interaction and reservation-only requirements have reduced the need for congregation in small spaces while waiting, and further improved efficiency by far. En route to the restaurant, I supplied my name and contact information for the online waitlist, which, essentially, adopts same format as Dynacare's "Check In Online" function.
Table readiness was communicated via text, conveniently coinciding with our time of arrival.
The umeshu arrived in record time, unsurprisingly, and was accompanied by a stemmed wine glass and container of ice. Club soda was not available, making on the rocks the sole option for enjoyment. Lighter in profile and less tacky than Choya, it served to provide a subtle sweetness to contrast against savoury dishes. My partner-in-crime grimaced in response to a sip, complaining of cough syrup-resembling properties. Though it wasn't immediately noticeable to me, I did admit to the alikeness with subsequent intake.