Posts Tagged 'Sweets'


I had my heart set on Bubbie’s mochi ice cream after dinner at Alan Wong’s. This quirky little ice cream parlor is tucked away behind University Ave. in Moiliili and is a popular after-dinner stop for families, couples on dates, and of course students from nearby UH.


The case of always changing handmade ice cream flavors:



There are also a variety of ice cream cakes and pies by the slice in the display case.


And of course what they’re most famous for: mochi ice cream. Flavors are listed on the chalkboard:


D enjoying his amaretto & chocolate chip ice cream cone.


And my decaf coffee and 3pc mochi ice cream: chocolate mint, azuki bean, sakura (cherry blossom) flavors. What does sakura taste like? A hint of cherry and almond liqueurs.


They have a small eat-in area in the back, still exactly the same from when I was a UH student.


What I’ve come to love about the ice cream at Bubbie’s is that it’s colder, denser, and harder than any other ice cream shop. At first I didn’t care for ice cream so dense that it broke my plastic spoon, but over the years I’ve come to love it. You’re forced to slow down and savor each bite and the taste changes as it warms up. Plus it’s not whipped with air so it’s that much creamier, more satisfying. The mochi ice cream is hard at first, but by the third or fourth bite the mochi begins to stick to your fingers… I think every local girl (and guy) experiences the occasional mochi ice cream craving. Such a treat!

Bubbie’s University
1010 University Ave. (visible and accessible from Coyne St.)
Honolulu, HI 96826

Mon-Thu 12p-12a
Fri-Sat 12p-1a
Sun 12p-11:30p


Homemade “Nama Chocolate” 生チョコレート

Mom and Dad (aka Baba and Jiji じじばば) were here from Japan to visit their granddaughters for a few days. My sister also has a baby girl born 6 weeks before my baby, so Jijibaba now have a total of two granddaughters in Australia and two in Hawaii.

I’ve come to expect Mom to arrive with something homemade and delicious each time. Sometimes it’s a batch of her original recipe miso, or from their farm, young soybeans or fresh pesto sauce. This time nestled in ice packs between layers of clothing in her suitcase, was a box of handmade creamy soft chocolates known as “nama choco” in Japan.

“Nama” means raw or fresh, and nama chocolate is usually made by mixing chocolate with fresh cream, similar to ganache. It’s characterized by a soft consistency even when refrigerated. It can be easily sliced with a knife and eaten with a fork and melts away in the mouth. Because It’s more perishable than regular chocolate, it should always be refrigerated. I like to take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to soften it up before popping them in my mouth. If you’re like me and like to dig out the ganache filling from truffles, you’ll love nama chocolate!

Perhaps Japan’s most famous brand of nama chocolate is Royce from Sapporo, and they can be purchased in most major airports in Japan as well as at their first US store in NYC.

Mom says “it’s super easy to make, just melt 2 parts chocolate with 1 part cream. That’s it!”

Nama Chocolate

2 parts chocolate
1 part fresh cream
Cocoa powder

Heat chocolate and cream until melted together. Once it’s mixed, pour into a pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Let harden in the refrigerator. Once hardened, cut into bite sized squares and dust with cocoa powder all around. Keep refrigerated.


Anna Miller’s

Today I was overcome with a sudden craving for strawberry pie so I asked hubby to take me to Anna Miller’s. Last time I went there was maybe in college, but I was so happy with my meal today I vowed to go back more often. Once in a while, a nice old-fashioned American meal really hits the spot.

I always assumed Anna Miller’s was a huge US chain since it’s so famous in Japan, but it turns out it started in Hawaii and expanded only to Japan (source: Wikipedia). Their menu features 24 hour breakfast, burgers, spaghetti and diner favorites like club sandwiches and chili. And of course, every kind of pie for dessert!

Imagine my delight to see this sign upon entering:

Hubby’s entrée came with warm cornbread and choice of salad or soup (corn chowder here).

His Chicken Katsu ($12.99) with choice of sides mashed potatoes and mac salad. You could also choose from rice, fries, vegetables, cole slaw, potato salad.

My Hot Turkey Sandwich ($9.99) smothered in gravy with my choice of potato salad and coleslaw on the side. I remember growing up in Connecticut, hot turkey sandwich was my absolute favorite school lunch menu. One slice of white bread, slice of  deli turkey breast, scoop of mashed potato, gravy on top. I had never seen anything constructed with bread like this until then, and to me it was an eye-opening, genius combination of all things good. I still get excited thinking about it. You rarely find this dish in restaurants these days, so I was so happy with my dinner tonight.

And of course, pie for dessert! Hubby’s cherry pie ($0.39 + $1.99 for à la mode) and my fresh strawberry pie ($0.39). Large whole glazed fresh strawberries on top of a shortbread like crust, with just a bit of pastry cream, and a generous squeeze of whipped topping. Ooooh yeah.

MENU: View the menu on their website

Anna Miller’s
Pearlridge Center, by Bed Bath & Beyond
98-115 Kaonohi Street
Aiea, HI 96701

24 Hours daily

Tiramisu Cake


My contribution for a dinner party this weekend was a cheese platter and Tiramisu Cake. I altered several tiramisu recipes I found online to make it easier, since I wasn’t in the mood to mix eggs over a double boiler, or search the island markets for lady fingers. So I used cake instead of lady fingers and a no-cook cream recipe.

1 cup Heavy cream, whipped with a little sugar to taste
1 lb Mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup Sugar
3 tbsp Brandy or rum
Yellow cake or any kind of sponge cake
1/2 cup strong coffee/espresso with a splash of Kahlua
Cocoa powder

Mix mascarpone cheese, sugar, and liquor in a bowl. Fold in whipped cream. In a container, put down a thin layer of cake, brush with coffee mixture. Spread half of the cream on top.  Cover with another layer of cake, and brush with coffee again. Top with rest of the cream and dust with cocoa powder.

Mascarpone cheese is similar to clotted cream, it basically tastes like solid heavy cream, my favoritest thing in the whole world. There’s NO way this thing can come out tasting bad…

Tea Time…

Beautiful little madeleines – a gift from Japan!

I used to bake these all the time when I was younger and give them away as gifts. These perfectly shaped seashells are as classic as you can get – the only ingredients: butter, egg, sugar, flour, baking powder and a little lemon zest.

Snow Factory

Hubby spent the day with our oldest nephew today and we all went to Snow Factory for a treat at the end of the day.

Snow Factory serves up a unique flavored shave ice (I think its origins are in Taiwan) that is different from Japanese kakigori. The blocks of ice are flavored with various flavors and dairy and shaved using a special machine that produces thin layers almost like chiffon fabric or cotton candy. The delicate layers of ice that look like billowing smoke melt away into sweet nothingness in my mouth, much like the snowflakes I caught on my tongue as a child…

Strawberry and blueberry flavors ($4.25 regular) – if you order the regular size, you can mix up to 2 flavors.

Milk flavor ($2.85 small) with toppings.

The free toppings (yup, free!) are all crushed into a powder so as not to weigh down the snow.

A fun, unique and strangely nostalgic experience.

Snow Factory
McCully Shopping Center, Suite 115
1960 Kapiolani Blvd. Ste 115
Honolulu, HI 96826

Mon-Thu, Sun 11:00a-10:00p
Fri & Sat 11:00a-11:00p

Strawberry Shortcake and Coffee Jello

Tonight hubby and I are invited over to a friend’s house. They’re cooking dinner for us, so I decided to make some dessert to bring over:

Mini Strawberry Shortcake Cups. I was too lazy to make sponge cake from scratch today, so I just baked a box of yellow cake mix and layered with fresh whipped cream and diced strawberries into small plastic cups.

Coffee Jello Cups. Is this only a Japanese thing? Because if it is, it’s a shame. It’s so easy to make and delicious it should be made famous all over the world.


20g gelatin
200ml water
800ml water
2tbsp instant coffee
100g sugar
Dash of coffee liqueur (optional)

1. Soak gelatin in 200ml water in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Bring 800ml water and sugar to a boil. Turn off heat and stir in instant coffee. Add gelatin and stir until fully dissolved. Add liqueur (optional). Let cool.
3. Ladle into glasses and let set in refrigerator.
4. Before serving, top with vanilla ice cream or simply pour on some heavy cream (if you go with this option, I recommend increasing the amount of sugar in the recipe). Even better, pour a little Kahlua or Baileys on top of the ice cream!

February 2019
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