Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Both Royce' and Sumo wrestlers are not what you think..

Several treats from Japan via a recently arrived colleague were served up today. Surprisingly these were not what we expected.  We are used to differing types of Japanese sweets that are served with tea and feature a lot of bean paste or bean gel or something like that.  Today however we had some more western like products albeit all via Japan.  Some of them even had Western names and Latin script featured on the box.  Perhaps this is to give them some caché for the Japanese consumer or they are primarily intended for Western tourists and were picked up at the airport.  We don't really know but whatever!
Royce' of Hokkaido!
Two boxes - chocolate and cookies!
Proud to introduce us to the goods!
 Things came in a bag with the logo Royce' on it and it said "Chocolate and Cookies."  Apparently Royce' is a well known Japanese Chocolatier based in Sapporo, Japan. We found a description of their products as being "Souvenirs of Hokkaido." Inside the bag were two boxes - one with chocolates and one with cookies! Surprise! The chocolates were wrapped with paper bearing the name/logo "Mary Chocolate: Selection of Fine Sweets" and once unwrapped we saw the title of the package "Fancy" and the logo "Mary's".  (Note the possessive was not used on the outside wrapper.) Further description was "Fancy Chocolate" and "Assorted Gourmet Chocolates."  This bodes well don't you think? I'm not sure fancy had to be used twice on the same box cover, though.  This turned out to be a very nice selection of truffles and other creative chocolate candies.  They tasted great and it was fund searching through the various kinds.  A road map in several languages let us know what to expect.  if you end up needing to by a present in a Japanese airport Mary('s) Chocolate would not be a bad
Mary Chocolate!

An attractive selection!
Now they are Mary's!
Don't they all look good!
Just in case you missed it they are fancy!
The other box in the bag was a box of "Baton Cookies". We liked the description "A long and thin cookie with fine chocolate on one side. A perfect match of unique thin cookie with crunchy texture and smooth chocolate makes it irresistible."  How can you not like that! There were two types one called Coconuts and the other described as Hazelnut with Cacaonibs. We think that means little pieces of chocolate and hazelnuts.  Only the coconut one had the milk chocolate on one side.  In good Japanese fashion these cookies were all individually wrapped.  Both of them were very good and proved to be quite popular as they are in Japan.  Overall we were impressed with Royce' products and know what to get should we need a souvenir of Hokkaido.

Baton Cookies...another Royce' specialty!

The box inside matches the paper!
Individually wrapped for freshness and elegance!
This one is coconuts!
This one has cacoanibs - whatever that is!
Typical Cookie one one side....
Milk chocolate on the other...good stuff!
The theme being Japan today we ended up talking about Sumo wrestlers.  Although they may appear merely morbidly obese we were assured in fact a lot of the weight was muscle mass making them very strong.  They are major celebrities in Japane and widely admired. Despite there size and less than Adonis-like appearance they are apparently quite popular with the ladies. Several of them apparently have very beautiful and also famous wives. One might think the difference in body mass might be a limiting factor to any relationship but love knows no boundaries when it comes to Sumo.  Why as the picture shows everyone wants to be seen with a Sumo.
Did Hanna Montana marry a Sumo?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fatty Cheesecake and Defecography

We had no takers for cake hour today although we have been doing pretty good for the month of May. So we took out our Cheesecake Factory Gift cards and proceeded to get another one of their frozen though not bad Dulce de Leche cheesecakes.  We've had it before and are not above repeating something that we like.  Since it's frozen and we never defrost them in time we did our usual quick defrost in the microwave to soften it up enough to cut it.  It actually makes the cake taste a little like ice cream so we have come to prefer them a little frozen anyway.
It's the Cheesecake factory again!
Looks like something we've seen before!
Dulce de Leche - it gets a little malformed from the microwave!
This is a good cake and we were glad to try it again until we read the nutrition label.  This is a small cake but the intention is for there to be eight slices judging by the  eight whipped cream florets on the top. It turns out that one of the eight slices is 670 calories and 41g of fat! That info was enough to drive some of the weight conscious right out of the room.  Since none of us were going to eat an eighth of the cake anyway we indulged without worry. Besides, it's impossible to eat anything from the Cheesecake Factory if it is the actual recommended size.

Whipped cream on top - but it's all air anyway!
Lots of calories in this baby!
We learned something new today. We learned about defecography. It sounds made up doesn't it?  If you noticed that it has some similarity to defecate that's no coincidence.  Apparently defecographys is an imaging process whereby they take and record what is happening to associated body parts during the process of defecating.  More scientifically the defecating proctogram or defecography is an imaging study performed by a radiologist in which the mechanics of a patient's defecation are visualized in real time using a fluoroscope. In other words they are recording what is happening to you while you are taking a dump.  Who knew this existed?  And how did it come up while we were eating cake?  I suppose if you should be having trouble with the process it would help to have your doctor be able to visualize what is going on. Ah, the things we learn working in a GI Division. 

I'm ready for my defecography!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This probably looks familiar!

 Thanks to yesterday's delivery of two serious coffee cakes,m we had to stretch out the consumption to two days. We like cake and treats but there is no way we were going to finish off the goods in one day.  Yesterday it was the Mega Walnut Cake and today it is the Marble Coffee cake.  Coffee cake is intended to be drier and not as sweet as as frosted dessert cake.  You're supposed to eat it with a cup of coffee, after all! 
You DID see this yesterday!  
You've go to have some nuts!
Looks like a good part of it is chocolate!

Like its sister cake from yesterday this was good, moist and dense. The perfect treat to go with some java.  The surprise with this cake is that from the outside it looks like there is a lot of chocolate in the cake but once you cut it, the chocolate is a lot sparser on the inside than you might expect.  That certainly didn't stop us and we enjoyed this very much.  Thanks to our friend for giving us two days of treats!
Maybe there is not so much chocolate after all!
A 50:50 ratio it is not!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We're in trouble now..there's a bakery that delivers!!

One of our newer colleagues signed up to bring in the cake for today.  We were expecting something good and associated with his Korean heritage. Imagine our surprise when not one but two cakes were delivered from the Scialo Brothers Bakery on Federal Hill in Providence.  The bakery DELIVERED the cakes!  We are in trouble now. 
Not one but two cakes and they were delivered!
And they both look awesome!

Especially the aerial view!

Holy cow - they were delivered!

These were two very good looking coffee cakes.  The first one we could appropriately call a Mega-walnut Coffee Cake.  Take a look at it. That is a lot of walnuts on the top. As a matter of fact there is more than two inches worth all bound together with a cinnamony sugar syrup. It is an impressive look for sure!  These were also not crushed walnuts either but walnut halves.  Whoever conceived this was very creative and it is one of the best looking coffee cakes we have come across. 

We call it a Mega Walnut Coffee Cake!
There's some serious nut action on top!

And it goes down for about two inches!

It also was great tasting.  Good and moist, as it should be, with the taste of ample walnuts and cinnamon finishing it off.  Yum!
This is what coffee cake is all about!

It didn't last very long!

The second cake was no slouch either.  Perhaps not as impressive looking but still quite remarkable.  It was a marble coffee cake - vanilla or yellow - with a huge swirl of chocolate undulating through the batter.  There was a also a selection of walnuts embedded on the top that made for a good look. 
Also an impressive confection!
Chocolate swirled thorough the cake and again a walnut top!

Nicely embedded in the cake!

The only problem is that there was no way were going to eat the two of these. So we set aside the marble cake and focused on that topped with the mega-layer of walnuts.  It was a hit and went pretty quickly.  Our colleague did good and now that we know there is a place that delivers, we can rest assured that in an emergency situation we have a great option out there.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Leftover Carrot Cake, Turo Rudi finally and a something very Pinteresting!

Since nobody took the carrot cake $1000 challenge yesterday we had plenty left for cake hour today.  It;s surprising that it didn't disappear overnight because so much stuff does. We never know who eats it.

More carrot cake!

Doesn't look any lighter than yesterday!
In addition we finally got our Turo Rudi that was supposed to be part of the Hungarian Treats yesterday.  Turo Rudi is apparently well known enough in Hungarian Culture to warrant its own Wikipedia entry. It's in English to boot! It says the chocolate is filled with curd but to us it takes more like yogurt.  We love Turo Rudi!
Bag o' Turo Rudi!

Brought to you by Pöttyös!

We assume this means over 5 million served!
 One of our researchers was quite thrilled!  Apparently she purchased a new gadget for her briefcase or whatever.  It's some kind of unique organizer that holds all your stuff.  It's composed of a board that is crisscrossed with interwoven elastic straps that holds things in place rather securely.  It is supposedly something new and in a certain way you are pinning your gadgets down to be carried along with you. In that regard it's like a three-D Pinterest board. I doubt you'll get any followers but the person involved knows why that reference was made!  Smile!!!
What can it be?

Pinned down nice and tight for schlepping your junk!

It's just a bunch of interwoven straps!

Why it holds everything!! I love my real world Pinterest Board!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mega-carrot cake challenge and treats direct from Hungary

Today we had someone who had signed up to bring in the good stuff.  She went with a mega carrot cake from Sam's club. The cakes at Sam's club are intended to feed an army.  They are always large and this one was no exception being probably a 15 inch cake.  Carrot cakes do tend to be dense and then you have the cream cheese frosting which is not exactly light either.  You can say they are satisfying for sure.  We hadn't seen a carrot cake in awhile so it was a nice idea.

Sam's Carrot Cake...$1000 if you can eat the whole thing!

It's bigger than it looks!
We've had the Sam's version before and enjoyed it and this was no exception.  It was moist and dense and of course does not taste anything like carrots. They are just shredded up and tossed into what is predominantly spice cake batter.  The cream cheese frosting was also as expected and the decorative carrots made of regular frosting was a colorful touch as was the crushed walnut border at the base of the cake.  All in all very satisfactory.  Although it may not seem so from the pictures this actually was a pretty big cake. The challenge that was made was $1000 would be paid if someone could eat the entire cake within a half hour.  The big surprise is that some people actually considered it.  We had our texting pediatrician and our vet-cum-PhD-to-be both claiming that they would be able to do it.  The rest of us considered it out of the question. Now the challenge is to come up with something equally ridiculous that they can actually try to accomplish. Stay tuned!

Frosting carrots for decoration...what did you expect?
Not a heck of a lot of carrots visible on the inside!
I could eat the whole thing...
Another one contemplating the gluttony!
As if the mega-carrot cake was not enough our Hungarian colleague returned from a sojourn to his home country and brought a bunch of homemade treats with him.  Although it might have been preferable to wait a day given the cake already consumed for freshness reasons it was dictated that we also try the Hungarian treats today.  It was a bad day if you were watching your caloric intake.

We had these desserts from Hungary:
1. Turos batyu - This is a delicious pastry filled with Hungarian cottage cheese and raisins - kind of like a cheese Danish. A cheese Hungarian maybe?
Turos Batyu...homemade by our colleague's aunt!  
Turos Batyu or Cheese Hungarian on the right!
2. Ozgerinc or deer spine (cocoa powder, lady fingers etc) - This was interesting especially the name!
Imagine this is a deer all chopped up along the spine!

The white things would be the nerve bundles!  Appetizing, no?
3. Pogacsa with cheese and sesame seed on top. These were not particularly sweet but more along the lines of a cheese puff. Something you might have as an appetizer at a beer party! They were very good!

Pogacsa fresh from Hungary!
Something you can easily pop into your mouth!
4. Turo rudi - the yogurt and chocolate candy bar that little kids in Hungary take to school!  We've had this before and it was lovely to have it again. Once more we are grateful to the relatives of our Hungarian colleague who are helping us to broaden our knowledge of Hungarian cuisine!

New found fans of Hungarian food!