Tag Archives: Sweets

Toraya – Tokyo, Japan


Toraya at Tokyo Midtown

Toraya  Tokyo Midtown

(81)  35.413.3541
Tokyo Midtown Galleria B1, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku; Tokyo 107-0052, Japan


Open Hours:
11:00 – 21:00    Daily

Toraya  is the oldest existing wagashi (Japanese  confections) store.  Dating back to the mid sixteenth century in Kyoto, where it became a purveyor to the imperial court under the reign of Emperor Go-Yōzei (1571-1617).  Towards the end of the Edo period Toraya moved their center of operations to Tokyo, leaving  behind the orginal store in Kyoto.

Currently, The flagship store  is in Akasaka, and  other locations in the main luxury department stores around Tokyo.

The Toraya store in the lower lever of Tokyo midtown,  a commercial, business and residential complex in Roppongi, is a great example of the modern life of this 400+ year old business.  It is an excellent location to go for delicious Japanese sweets.  This Toraya location also serves as an art gallery and a cafe as well as an amazing  wagashi  related souvenir shop

Wagashi  are Japanese  confections) in which main element is azuki bean paste.  This is made by cooking the beans with sugar, mashing them and finally straining the mix through a fine sieve to produce a smooth paste called gozen an (koshi an).  When  the paste is not strained it is called ogura an (tsubu an).

In addition to bean pastes,  other wagashi ingredients can be  agar-agar, rice flour, Kanten (a fiber rich gelatin  made from seaweed) and oldest domestic sugar which is made with rare kind of sugar cane from Tokushima prefecture, commonly made into molded dried sweets (higashi)

Wagashi confections are based on the principle to appeal the five senses; appearance, taste, texture, scent and sound

In Kyoto there are two locations:

The principal store, combined with decent sized tea house, is on a street west of the Kyoto Imperial Palace and garden.  The teahouse holds a lovely small library and some of the tables have a picteresque  garden view.
Address: Karasuma-Nishi-iru, Ichijo-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto

The other is next to the Fujii Daimaru department store on Shijo-dori – the road that connects the Gion district with  wetern Kyoto.
Address: Gokomachi-Nishi-iru, Shijo-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

There are many wonderful Wagashi shops in all of Japan and trying the different styles and specially Toraya!

photo © Toraya

Kyotofu – New York, NY

(above Photo © Kyotofu )


Japanese Restaurant & Dessert Bar
(1) 212 974 6012
705 9th Ave, New York NY 10019
(Btw 48th – 49th St)


Unfortunately closed

Japanese restaurants are always such a wonderful experience.  The otaku culture finds  a wonderful outlet in creative cuisine.  The plating alone makes one anticipate and salivate for each dish, casting an eye towards the kitchen door.

Since 2006, one can find the small restaurant Kyotofu just a few blocks off time square.  A savior when venturing in the theatre district, with its endless rows of xeroxed fare, the exquisitely designed eatery specializes in small plates and variety of uhmm-inducing desserts.  The sweets are guilt -free, being delicious and light at the same time!  They also create perfect macaroons and others sweets to take home.  The chocolate cupcakes can create a serious addiction,while the heart shaped ones can make lovely gift a in their elegant packaging.

Kyotofu - NY


Kyotofu - NYGreen Tea Soba Noodles served chilled with a soy-sake broth, daikon & wasabi
Kyotofu - NYRoasted Kabocha And Chestnut Soup japanese pumpkin, kombu & daikon
Kyotofu - NY
Black Sesame Sweet Tofu hoji-cha roasted green tea syrup, black sesame tuile & goji berry

Caffe Luxxe – Santa Monica, CA

Caffe Luxxe
Caffe Shakerato

Caffe Luxxe

Coffee shop
(1) 310 – 394. 2222
925 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, California 90403


6:00 am –  8:00 pm   Monday   – Friday
6:30 am –  8:00 pm   Saturday – Sunday

Caffe Luxxe was by far the best coffeehouse we visited whilst in LA.  Their glittering Italian coffee machine creates wonderful cups of cafe bliss under the hands of their knowledgeable baristas.  Los Angeles, as compared to NY or SF, seems a bit behind the café curve.  A theory could be do to the lack of pedestrian neighborhoods where these types of specialty shops thrive, rather then the palate of the citizenry.  One of the few neighborhood type places is Santa Monica- and that is where we found Caffe Luxxe.  (There is a second location in Brentwood which we did not visit).

Caffe Luxxe

Tall ceilings top white walls which are covered with beautiful, framed coffee photography by Tom Benedek.  A few tables with silver chairs seat about 20.  The main L shaped counter is home to a display of pastries, chocolate bars and croissants.

The cappuccino was quite smooth, while the Caffe Shakerato (hand shaken espresso with milk and ice) was extremely yummy on a hot day!  The Caffe Nico (espresso, candied orange and steamed half&half) was quite strong and made a great dip for the light, airy macaroon.    I sampled an excellent drip coffee as well to complete the test trifecta.

Caffe Luxxe  -  Santa Monica, CAThe Caffe Nico
Caffe LuxxeCaffe Shakerato

Caffe Luxxe  -  Santa Monica, CACappuccino

Caffe Luxxe  -  Santa Monica, CACappuccino

Caffe Luxxe

Caffe LuxxeMacaroons

Caffe Luxxe

Caffe Luxxe

Caffe Luxxe

Caffe Luxxe  -  Santa Monica, CA