My friend Hiromi made me a list of cafes to visit on my first trip to Tokyo in 2010. Two doors past the Calico Cafe (a cat cafe, I was to find out) is Ejinbara Coffee. The menu was in Japanese, so I just pointed to the first item. I wasn’t disappointed.
Every cup that isn’t an espresso-based drink is prepared in a siphon. The result is an exceptionally “clean” taste, and a mouthfeel I can only describe as light-as-air. I wish I knew enough Japanese to tell you where these beans originated from, but the cup was worth the $10 price tag.
It is hot here, and full of expats. For the second breakfast of the day, The Cargo Club offers a balcony to hide in. The paint is left to peel on purpose. To sweeten the coffee a girl leaves a saucer of condensed milk. The croissant is crab-shaped. At noon I visit a seamstress named Trinh, who measured me the day before for an ao dai in teal silk.
After consulting my trusty guide to beanhunting I had to Phone A Friend when I got lost trying to find this alluring little spot.
I wound up in a found, cafe-slash-vintage clothing store and settled down with some required reading.
Day 110: A flat white in Taipei. Eslite is more museum than bookshop, with categories filling halls of cavernous proportions. One gallery was devoted entirely - entirely - to cultural studies and literary theory, many titles translated into Mandarin. It’s surprising what one city’s bookshop can reveal about its people and their aspirations.