Inspiration, Not Lost in Translation

Tokyo - September 2018 blog image

For me, in order to be my best creative self and develop desserts that my customers love, I need to allow myself the time to seek inspiration. More often than not, that inspiration comes through travel. Nothing reinvigorates me more than landing in another part of the world, near or far, to reset my creative process.

This summer was a busy one and in between work, prepping for my daughter to start high school, and just life, I was able to carve out 10 days to plan a mother-daughter trip to two of my favorite cities in the world – Tokyo and Kyoto – and they did not disappoint.

The juxtaposition of tradition and modern innovation – from architecture, to fashion, to food – stimulates the senses. Everywhere you go, there is something to explore, delight in, and discover.

Below were some of our favorite stops along the way. I’d love to hear some of your favorite spots in Japan, as I am already dreaming of my next trip and plan to return over and over again.

  1. Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto – This was our home base during our trip and I can honestly say that no detail is overlooked at this location when it comes to inspiring the body and mind. Set in a beautiful location, the hotel has top-notch amenities including a surreal breakfast buffet, sophisticated cocktail program, expansive indoor pool, and gold leaf facials at the spa.
  2. Yakumo Saryo Restaurant, Tokyo – Truly a temple of food. Each course was a combination of pure tradition and WOW factor. The space was stylish and serene, combining a gallery, restaurant, and tea salon.
  3. Pass the Baton, Kyoto – A modern second hand shop that connects the past and present, it was here – on a very hot day – that we found the Holy Grail of Matcha Shave Ice. The hour-long wait was worth it to enjoy this cool treat and explore this unique, Instagram-worthy spot.
  4. Janice Wong – A seven course culinary journey of dessert and drink pairings (cocktails for me!) that left us speechless. A true, next-level sugar feast experience.
  5. Taiyaki (matcha soft serve fish cones) – A traditional sweet street food that are widely available, Taiyaki are fish-shaped waffle cones that can be filled with a variety of different things – our favorite was matcha soft serve ice cream. The combination of the creamy, cool matcha flavor with the spongey sweetness of the Taiyaki was the perfect simple treat and tasted like having pancakes, waffles, and donuts in one perfectly shaped cone.
  6. Aoyama Flower Market Tea House – Designed to give the feeling of a greenhouse where flowers are in bloom and surround you, this magical hidden floral shop is located off of a busy main street and features a lovely menu of salads and drinks served with beautiful flowers. Our favorite was the Flower Parfait with Rose Jelly. Expect a long line to experience this gem.
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About Extraordinary Desserts

Over 20 years ago, Karen Krasne opened the first Extraordinary Desserts at 2929 5th Avenue near San Diego’s Balboa Park. Since then, Extraordinary Desserts has become one of San Diego’s most prominent dining establishments and has expanded to include a second location in San Diego’s Little Italy area at 1430 Union Street as well as a line of gourmet products and a robust online store. From the dazzling artistry and sublime taste of its award-winning sweets to the attentive customer service, Extraordinary Desserts has built a strong reputation for its decadent, gourmet dessert creations, elegant eats, and extraordinary experience. As a result, Extraordinary Desserts is consistently a top pick by critics and readers of both local and national publications. Owner and executive chef Karen Krasne studied at Paris’ best pastry schools. She uses only organic ingredients when possible, and adorns each luxurious dessert with locally-grown fresh flowers, her signature edible gold leaf, autumn leaves, and sinfully sweet sauces making her creations a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Extraordinary Desserts, Little Italy 1430 Union Street San Diego, CA 92101 Phone: (619) 294-7001 Extraordinary Desserts, Balboa Park 2929 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 Phone: (619) 294-2132
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