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fig_naire-1 Kama Asa Shoten  -  Tokyo, Japan Japan Tokyo  Tokyo Shop Japan Cool

Kama Asa Shoten – Tokyo, Japan

Kamaassa1 Kama Asa Shoten  -  Tokyo, Japan Japan Tokyo  Tokyo Shop Japan Cool
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above photo © Kama Asa Shoten

 

Kama Asa Shoten Kitchen Supplies

(81)  33.841.9355
2-24-1 Matsugaya, Taito-ku; Tokyo  111-0036 , Japan

www.kama-asa.co.jp

Open Hours:
09:30 – 17:30    Monday – Friday
10:00 – 17:30    Saturday – Sunday

On the main street in Kappabashi’s (Kitchen Town), not far from the famous Asakusa, Kama Asa Shoten has two stores.  The one at the corner sells general kitchenware, while the other next door specializes in knives and specialty tools; such as sharkskin wasabi graters, Nambu Ironware, Kama and Kamado cauldrons, Kezuri-ki Dried Bonito Plane, Yuki-hira, Yattoko saucepans and Brick charcoal grills.

Being the latest ‘must have’ souvenir; a Japanese Kitchen knife is a joy to shop for and own.   Play with and sped an hour choosing the perfect kitchen tool(s) for yourself.  Each hand experiences each blade singularly. And when finished, they will engrave it for you; a true one of a kind purchase.

A short excerpt from the website explains the stores philosophy.  This is a highly recommended side trip for all professional chefs and anyone who loves the kitchen!

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“Unbranded” knives

“Founded in 1908,

The crafting of traditional Japanese single-edged knives involves various processes. Each stage is performed by a different artisan. Double-edged knives are produced in different locations. Each has its own character and culture. Our aim is to help you feel such variations with your own hands. You are welcome to handle our displays to choose the knife that suits your hand and needs.

To show respect for our craftspeople and pass on their values to our customers, Kama Asa does not re-brand the knives we carry. Each knife is supplied in its unadorned form, as finished by the artisan and with no additional markings. To view our comprehensive range of cooking knives please visit our store. We have many more knives in the shown categories.”

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h22-1 Mott 32  -  Hong Kong Hong Kong  Hong Kong Food Cool Cocktails
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You enter into the Chartered Bank building – either feeling at ease in a monolithic womb to cash or a sort of annoyance at how much extra money exists to build all this ugly marble 🙂  Then you go down, and down, and down past mirrors and columns and you feel yourself defending into the nether worlds where the real jewels are kept … Mott 32 is a true beauty.  With and extraordinary interior by Joice Wang (winner of the 2014 restaurant interior design award).

We sat at the bar and wandered around taking in the opulence.  Our bar tender  was skilled  and quite charming (we did come back for a 2nd cocktail and tried for the same young man).  Unfortuneatly the rest of the staff bordered on rude, to the extent that they would follow us to the restroom and trying to prevent one on looking around and actually enjoying the space.  It did not make any sense as the restaurant  is so beautiful; and a main reason why anyone was there.

The food menu for us was a bit too traditional with their signature peking duck and mountains of pork (a smell permitted the dining area); therefore, we concentrated on the liquid menu 🙂

Mott’s 32 cocktail menu is fantastic.  As we find in most cities we visit,  the menues seem to be born out of  NY, LA or London.  The menu here was created by an American, who used Asian twists. The flavours are truly local, extensively creative and with a perfect balance.   My Old Fashioned was quite new fashioned, and infinitely drinkable!

 

Hanami-cocktail-is-made-with-Buffalo-Trace-Whiskey-1-1 Mott 32  -  Hong Kong Hong Kong  Hong Kong Food Cool Cocktails
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Above Photos © Joice Wang
  1. Hanami cocktail is made with Buffalo Trace Whiskey, Tanqueray Gin, Umeshu, Yuzu, Shisho, Ginger Beer and Chrysanthemum.
  2. Plum wine poached Australian pear, candied ginger, cinnamon and Osmanthus flower.
  3. Soy Sauce Ice Cream
  4. Rose Garden – Rose, Rhubarb, Roselle and Ginger.
  5. Passion Cooler is a refreshing alternative for dinner, shaken with Shiso leaf, coconut water, coriander seed and passion fruit.
  6. The On Leong Tea Cocktail is mixed with Denizen Rum, Osmanthus & Oolong Tea, Passion Fruit and Guava
  7. Mott 32’s Milk Tram – a delicate shaken cocktail of Belvedere Vodka, Vanilla Syrup, Almond Milk, Matcha Tea and Cinnamon
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Mott 32 Bar and Restaurant

(852)  2.885.8688
Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Rd Central, Hong Kong
www.mott32.com
Open Hours:
12:00 – 15pm    Daily
18:00 – 23pm    Daily
loos3 Loos American Bar  -  Vienna, Austria Austria Vienna  Vienna Drinks Cool Bar Austria

Loos American Bar – Vienna, Austria

Tom-Bland-1024x673 Loos American Bar  -  Vienna, Austria Austria Vienna  Vienna Drinks Cool Bar Austria   Above Photo © Tom Bland

Loos American Bar 

(formerly the Kärntner Bar)
(34) 1 – 512 3283
Kärntner Durchgang 10
1010 Wien, Austria

www.loosbar.at

Open Hours:
12:00 – 5:00    Thursday to Saturday
12:00 – 4:00    Sunday to Wednesday

Miniscule but grand, intimate yet expansive, Loos Bar American plays on an optical trick of parallel mirrors endlessly reflecting  the onyx balustrades and reddish Skyros marble of the high ceiling. The actual bar is only 4.45m (14′) wide by 6.15 (20′) long

This dark, alluring, smoke filled bar, designed in 1908 by Adolf Loos,  is a must for architecture lovers and drinkers alike.

The venerable bar is not very easy to find in the warmer months as the sign is lost in a flock of giant parasols, and the outside tables are overlay branded with modern mundane logos; not deserving of this aesthetic jewel that is Loos Bar American.

The “American Bar” is an original nod to its original concept – being an American style cocktail bar in this city of Coffee Houses.  Keep an eye out to the back wall, where there is a portrate of writer Peter Altenberg; close friend of Adolf Loos.

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Coqui-Tulum-037 Coqui Coqui Hotel -  Tulum, Mexico Mexico Rivera Maya  Yucatan Hotel Cool

Coqui Coqui Hotel – Tulum, Mexico

Coqui-Tulum-017 Coqui Coqui Hotel -  Tulum, Mexico Mexico Rivera Maya  Yucatan Hotel Cool

Coqui Coqui Hotel

(52) 1 984 100 1400
Carretera Tulum Boca Paila Km 7.5  Tulum.
Quintana Roo. CP 77780, Mexico

 www.coquicoquiperfumes.com

Coqui Coqui Tulum is in our top five hotels.  So aesthetically beautiful and Bohemian on a perfect  white sand beach with crystalline Caribbean sea-front and an aroma of orange blossom.  It is just tough to top.

Many years ago Argentinian model Nico Millville found himself on the no-longer-a-secret Boca Paila Tulum road  – and fell in love with the area.  Here he planted roots and started the Coqui Coqui Hotels as a small enterprise and a place to promote his beautiful fragrance line (of the same name).  Rumor has it, the inspiration for the fragrance line came to Nico from a book dated to colonial times.  Within  Franciscan monks had documented the formulas of the perfumes, made from local flowers, that were sent back to the Queen of Spain.

Soon after Nico began, he was joined by Francesca Bonato, an Italian accessory designer, and the Coqui Coqui world bloomed.  Their combined design aesthetic found a wonderful place to grow in the hotels and and the chic products carried therein.

At check in, you are greeted with a gift bag containing the their  beautifully crafted amenities.  Including tobacco cologne, orange blossom bath oils, as well as our all-time favorite mosquito repellent  – that actually works and smells singularly wonderful.  (Hint: Even if you can’t make it to the hotel you can always buy via net-a-porter)

The hotel’s rooms, located in the back building, are larger and comfortable. Each with with partial ocean view and amazing interiors.  Large windows continually bringing in a refreshing Caribbean breeze.  Thankfully there is no AC, or need for any.

We stayed twice in the Jungle suite – once during a major storm.  Despite our desire for sun,  the storm, in that room, along with a few mescal margaritas created one of our most ambient and romantic afternoons.   On our last visit, we stayed at the new Mirador Suite,  located on the top floor, this used to be the Spa in our previous visits, and it also offered a lovely stay.

The local Mexican service is very good, especially Pepo and Mutsi (Hola!)  The reservation process can be a bit bumpy; but persevere – it is worth it!

Side note: We’re sure that by the time you read this the Belgian manager will have departed.  She is an adept and causing stress and does not seem cut out for the hotel business.  She was there for our 2nd and 3rd stays -but that was 2014;  if she is there, just avoid her.

Coqui Coqui is such a perfect blend of chic and  hippy and nature that you will just be thankful you are there!

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Coqui-Tulum-002 Coqui Coqui Hotel -  Tulum, Mexico Mexico Rivera Maya  Yucatan Hotel Cool   lobby area
Coqui-Tulum-041 Coqui Coqui Hotel -  Tulum, Mexico Mexico Rivera Maya  Yucatan Hotel Cool   spa
Coqui-Tulum-069 Coqui Coqui Hotel -  Tulum, Mexico Mexico Rivera Maya  Yucatan Hotel Cool     Courtyard
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Coba-035 Coba  -   Quintana Roo, Mexico Mexico Rivera Maya  Maya Cool Coba

Coba – Quintana Roo, Mexico

la iglesia

Coba Maya City

20°29′41″N 87°44′10″W
Quintana Roo, Mexico

Located between Tulum and Chichen Itza, Coba is a very large archeological complex that spans over 80 km².  Luckily, there are bicycle carriages easily hirable to scoot your around the vast area.

Built around two lagoons connect with series of elevated stone roads that reach up to 100 km (62 mi)!  Coba was a teaming city that was abandoned when the Spanish conquered the peninsula – around 1550.  Although some knowledge of the site remained, it was not until the 1920s that scholoraly exploration really began .  The ongoing investigation of several large temple pyramids is active and viewable.

While it was never really a ‘lost’ city , Coba carries that feeling as it rises and dips through the jungle mists.

one of two ballgame courts
ballgame court
view from the top of the Ixmoja pyramid. Ixmoja is the tallest pyramid on the Yucatán peninsula

Conjunto Las Pinturas
crossroads temple
crossroads temple