My work-from-home days are spent in a typically, enjoyable manner. Why wouldn't they be? There is a tremendous amount of pleasure that arises from having handcrafted beverages and a slew of QC-ed baked goods readily available when the craving arises.
1) Oat Fudge Bar (Ver. 5)
The number of iterations of this Starbucks copycat/upgrade has escaped me. Beyond the tattered slip of paper persistently residing on my kitchen table, I have little recollection of the exact procedures past trials had entailed. The bottom line was that none of my previous attempts had left me perfectly satisfied.
For the first time since simplifying the recipe, I realized "oats" were omitted entirely from the ingredient list. A rough 75 grams were dumped into the bowl as I hoped for the best.
SK's guideline included cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves - reasonable, for these spices would pair exceptionally with dates. In the application of an Oat Fudge Bar, these spices can be eliminated in their entirety, for they neither contribute depth nor enhance enjoyment. Rather, even the mere dash of cinnamon introduces an unnerving, old-fashioned rift.
After learning that butter mochi was as effortless to compile as it was satisfying to devour, the sensible progression was to experiment with flavour variations. (Chocolate Butter Mochi is on the list, of course, but perhaps only once the Two-Bite Brownie is mastered.)
Matcha, Oolong, Earl Grey, and Houjicha were all viable options, and could be incorporated easily given their powdered nature. My heart yearned for black sesame instead, which would inform the addition of unsweetened paste into the batter. Nut butters/pastes tend to separate into distinct layers of oil and solids, therefore they are taken directly out of the jar for use. Swirling a spoon around the lip helped to ease out a few chunks, they were then mixed with the oil until relatively homogenous and added directly into the melted butter. As I had hoped, residual warmth from the butter helped to break up lumps.
While recapping my recipe swaps, it dawned upon me that 1/4 tsp of baking powder had been added instead of the specified one teaspoon - another error that originated from misreading the quantities. But the reduction in baking powder wasn't obvious unless stated: the mochi was arguably flatter, though just as decadent and elastic as I recalled. On the other hand, the dampness was undeniable.
Although the crackly surface was thinner than possible of deeming gratifying, it was nonetheless a signature feature of butter mochi, attained strictly through comprehensive aeration of eggs.
For future versions of black sesame, I'd likely reduce the amount of milk instead of adding more glutinous rice flour, as to preserve texture. The current batch is tasty, albeit difficult to portion and a tad tacky.
Coworkers had repeatedly referred to the communal dining space as "Chefs Hall", omitting the "Assembly" portion of the name. Frankly, I had assumed laziness to play a factor in this utterance, until I realized that property acquisitions had led to revision of the name, as well as removal of the signature red "A" at its Richmond Street entrance.
Still in its soft opening phase, Iwami had begun offering samples of their Spicy Salmon Roll to intrigued visitors. Their menu comprised of Aburi, yakisoba, and even umeboshi rice. A defining element from their predecessors was the Sapporo on tap (and sake/soju picks in the fridge).
Thus, instead of routing directly to my POIs, the duo was guided to Juicy Dumpling and Dragon City Centre.
The ever aromatic egg waffle cart had disappeared from the north entrance, though a retailer of traditional snacks was spotted. Beyond budget finds of Grass Jelly, Herbal Jelly, and Tea Eggs, the Coconut Layered Cake caught my attention. Unfortunately, the dessert would not be available until the arrival of the weekend.
Although the items were listed in traditional Chinese, the lady operating the cashier exhibited an inexplicable hesitancy to speaking in Cantonese, despite audible fluency.
Whilst equipped with ample seating, complimentary Wi-Fi, and even a shelf of board games, the overall atmosphere was dim and far less welcoming than the uptown location. The cashier wasn't particularly pleasant, seeming to impose that interactions should be minimal as possible. My order of a regular-sized ("Medium") Iced Vietnamese Condensed Milk Coffee rang in at $5.50 before tax. A cash/debit discount of 5% was posted on the Plexiglas barrier surrounding the counter; the promotion was taken advantage of with the assistance of a coworker, allowing my total to emerge as $5.90.
I continued to deplete the cup's contents as we strolled westbound along College, then south along University. By the point of our 2:30 PM return, the cup was ready for disposal.
"I could do it for you, but I'm not sure how to add it into the system." the bespectacled cashier expressed.
"Could you charge it as an espresso shot or topping?" I pointed towards the add-ons, which were all priced at seventy-five cents with the exception of milk substitutes.
"I could." responded the cashier. "Though I'm not sure how it would taste. Did you want to make the milk tea no sugar as the jam is sweet?"
Nodding, I silently applauded her insight and recommendation. Generally speaking, her aversion towards vouching for the off-the-menu compilation was reasonable. However, I assured her that all liability for gustatory integrity would fall upon me.
These comments were relayed to the cashier, just as she had requested. "I wasn't sure what you were going with this." she admitted. At hearing my breakdown - and comparison to using matcha/espresso shots to compensating for the relatively high proportion of milk - she expressed comprehension and intrigue.
The exchange made for a particularly memorable customer service experience, and livened my afternoon mood significantly. Unintentionally shoved out of the spotlight was the Chocolate Croffle, a delectable, buttery snack with a crisp, aptly-tempered chocolate coating.