Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Melon-pan Ice Cream Sandwiches in Shibuya

Do you love ice cream sandwiches? Have you ever thought to yourself that the only thing that could make an ice cream sandwich better was if it were served on a freshly-baked still-warm sweet bun? If so, then have I got the answer for you: The Second Most Delicious Melon Bread Ice Cream in the World.

I first ran across this concept when trying to find ice cream with a friend one evening in Shibuya. Most of the google results were for this place, and while we were specifically on the hunt for soft serve the idea of a melon-pan ice cream sandwich stayed with me. Last week I finally checked it out, and it was fantastic!

So, what is melon-pan? If you haven't had it before you might be imagining that this is melon flavored bread, but instead it is bread that looks like a melon. The Japanese word for bread, pan, come from Portuguese by the way. A sugary paste (some people describe it more as a cookie dough) is spread over sweet buns, and then grid marks are cut into the surface before it's baked. The crumbly, crunchy texture with the grid pattern ends up looking a little like the outside of a cantaloupe. On occasion I have seen melon-pan tinted green or filled with melon flavored cream, but these are less typical interpretations.

Someone had the genius idea of splitting one open while it was still warm and filling it with ice cream. The reason this store is named the second most delicious, is to pay tribute to the master from whom the owner first learned to make melon-pan. The chain seems to have locations across Japan so hopefully you can try one too!

I went to the Shibuya location on a drizzly weekday and didn't have to wait in line but I've read reports of long lines sometimes. The guy who made mine was very friendly and chatty, making sure I new to eat quickly before the warm bread melted all the ice cream. The ice cream sandwich starts out a wonderful mixture of warm crunchy bread and cold ice cream. By the end the ice cream had melted into the bread making it soggy, but only in the best way possible. Luckily it comes wrapped in waxed paper so you won't make a mess.

You could probably make one at home with supplies from a convenience store, but if you're that interested in a melon-pan ice cream sandwich you should just go straight to the source.

Such a tiny shop front for something so delicious

The Ice Cream Sandwich Master

He made it look like Stitch (from Lilo & Stitch)!

Second Most Delicious Melon Bread Ice Cream in the World (Sekai de Nibanme ni Oishii Yakitate Melon Pan Aisu)
Shibuya Hours: 11:00 - 10:00
Shibuya Location: 1-15-9 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Friday, September 18, 2015

Home Again

It was an amazing month back in the US, but I'm finally home in Tokyo. I have to admit it feels good to be back. When we came back after Christmas I was pretty sad, but not this time. Being reunited with my wonderful husband (and my favorite pillow and my electric toothbrush) probably didn't hurt.

When I last posted I was just about to leave on my touristy part of the trip - visiting Chicago and Boston. I encountered a fair amount of rain but still managed to get in a good amount of sight seeing, and more importantly reunions with friends. Oh, and let's not forget about the food! Chicago style pizza, tacos, brunch, delicious coffee and blueberry scones, clam chowder, lobster rolls, cannolis! Yeah, it was all amazing.

In Chicago I stayed with a wonderful friend and was able to catch up with a couple other friends from undergrad. They all lived in the same neighborhood, Wicker Park, which was fun to explore. In between the rain I was also able to walk around Millennium Park, see the bean, and walk along the edge of Lake Michigan.

In Boston I went to the wedding of another great friend and was able to catch up with tons of people. I also managed to squeeze in several walks around the Public Garden, the Isabella Gardener Museum, walking the freedom trail which is a path of many of the historic sights of Boston, and lunch in the North End - the historic Italian neighborhood.

I think that living in Japan has really taught be how to be a better tourist. I used to visit places I was interested in, thinking that I would figure it all out once I got there and just see what happened, but without knowing what the highlights I shouldn't miss were. Now I've gotten used to looking up what the historical significance of places are, what foods they are known for, and what sights I will be disappointed if I miss.  I felt so much more relaxed having an idea of what I want to do before arriving, and even though I wish I had seen more, I had an amazing time in each place.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Sister Time Is The Best Time

This is my first trip back to the US where I've gotten to act like a tourist instead of just visiting my family. Tomorrow I'm flying up to Chicago to visit a friend and then we'll be heading to Boston together for another friend's wedding. By this time next week I'll be on a plane back to Tokyo. It's hard to believe my trip is coming to an end since there is still so much planned, but I will be glad to be back.

As much as I've missed John, and our apartment, and Tokyo I've been having such a great time with my sister. We've eaten way too much delicious food, gone on picnics, boat rides, and spent time at the beach. There's also been plenty of time just sitting around laughing and playing card games and hanging around the house.

We stopped at a roadside farm stand
And tried pumpkin spice lattes for the first time 
Beaufort is adorable
And boating is the best
Seriously, the best
The beach is pretty great too

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Gone to Carolina

It's hard to believe I've been back in the US for more than two weeks. By now John is already back in Tokyo, and my trip is more than halfway over. I've really been enjoying my time in North Carolina. I didn't appreciate it at all when I was a kid. But wow, what a beautiful place to grow up. At the height of summer it is just so green and wonderful.

After some time with John's family and a lovely wedding I went out east to my mom's and now I'm hanging out with my sister. Over the weekend we went down to the beach and we'll be going again this weekend. Man am I lucky!

We're not in Tokyo anymore

That's right, NC has mountains and beaches

Wild horses on Carrot Island

My beautiful family

Ellie teaching me how to be cool