JAPANESE ALICE IN WONDERLAND THEME RESTAURANT, COOLEST CAFE IN TOKYO JAPAN. CUTE DECORATED PIZZA, CHESHIRE CAT DESSERT.September 26, 2010 at 20:48 | Posted in Cute Food in the News, Cute Food Photos | 1 Comment
La Carmina and friends were recently hosting and fixing (scheduling) two TV shows in Tokyo! One is part of a campaign for Netherlands Pepsi, and the other is for a new Sony Australia travel show.
We took the film crews to our favorite Gothic / bizarre places in Japan — which of course includes wild Japanese theme restaurants with cute maids and cuter food.
As you know, I wrote a book about Tokyo’s Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants. So I took the Netherlands TV crew to the Alice in Wonderland cafe, where we were served by cute Alice waitresses.The cute food included tuna/avocado caterpillar sushi, eggplant/salmon Cheshire Cat pizza, and a cereal/fruit sundae.
After, we met up with the rest of the Addams Family at Pasela Karaoke (the parlor famous for the big toast dessert — remember this blog post?) When singing is involved, things turn scary. As you’ll see in the video, Mistress Maya freaked even US out!
We celebrated my birthday with wine and one of Pasela’s bizarre concoctions. Yes, it’s a loaf of white bread with cream, fruit, flowers, and zig-zag Pikachu tails sticking out of it. The Dutch TV crew kindly brought me gifts from Amsterdam (including a Miffy t-shirt!) and we all had a goofy time singing together.
Come watch the VIDEO of our Alice in Wonderland visit!
For the latest updates on La Carmina’s adventures in Japan, visit her blog – http://www.lacarmina.com/blog
PHILLY BOOK SIGNING: BUY CUTE YUMMY TIME, REVIEWS & SUMMARY OF CUTE YUMMY TIME, CUTE CHARACTERS JAPANESE BENTO COOKBOOK. KIDS COOKING, CHILDREN FOODS.November 14, 2009 at 01:11 | Posted in Cute Food in the News, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | Leave a comment
I had a grand time in Philly. In particular: Chapterhouse coffee house (they have an amazing green apple soy chai smoothie), vegetarian Chinese food, jazz at the Kimmel Center jazz (I snatched this witch’s hat from the store) and the Fabric Workshop and Museum. (Found a ring that, when pressed, shoots out purple light. And I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Ryan Trecartin’s campy cross-dressing drama-filled films, which remind me a little of my own… life…)
I wasn’t thrilled about the inclement weather, but did my best to keep warm. I put my h.NAOTO dress over a John Galliano sweater (a gift from someone awesome) and wore warm tights with Leche by Yosuke shoes.
Possibly my favorite part of the trip: Fante’s Kitchen Wares, the sprawling shoppe where my Cute Yummy Time book signing took place. The friendly staff warmed me up with rose tea and coo-ed over the photos of my Scottish Fold cat. (Tip: if you ever want to win me over, just start gushing about Basil Farrow.)
What a pleasure to see friends, old and new, and see their reaction to my third book. Many of them are IN the book, in the form of cute animal characters.
The Fantes staff was sweet beyond words; if you’re ever in Philly, you’ve got to stop by to sip home-brewed tea and browse the incredible selection of kitchen goods. Fantes even put a photo of me in the “some of our famous friends” section of their website — with Emeril Lagasse and Jacques Pepin.
Between the signings, I’ve been doing radio interviews (I’ll post the recordings, if I can find them). One of the neatest experiences was Kid’s Place Live on Sirius/XM. The target audience is 10 years old — so the host and I had to speak in slow, eager, high-pitched voices for the sake of the listeners! While I was on the air, children called in and asked for advice on how to “cute-ify” their school lunches. I gave them suggestions — cut cheese into eyes, add cucumber ears — and they couldn’t wait to get started. (Children and parents have been loving Cute Yummy Time; if you think you might too, check out the info here.)
CUTE YUMMY TIME REVIEW, KAWAII BENTO CHARABEN COOKBOOK BY LA CARMINA. WOMAN’S DAY & METRO NY BOOK REVIEWS, SUMMARY.November 6, 2009 at 07:38 | Posted in Cute Food in the News, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | Leave a comment
Metro NY and Metro Philadelphia recently printed an article about my cookbook Cute Yummy Time. It made it onto the cover…
… and my Scottish Fold cat Basil Farrow steals the show inside!
Book tour coverage coming up soon, including my Today Show appearance. Stay tuned for more press and a LA book signing! Thanks for your interest in Cute Yummy Time; you can find out more about my cute cookbook here.)
KID’S VERSIONS OF CUTE FOOD. PANDA RICE & SEAWEED BENTO RECIPE FROM CUTE YUMMY TIME. CHILDREN COOKING FUN FOOD.September 23, 2009 at 01:30 | Posted in Cute Food in the News, Cute Food Photos, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | Leave a comment
Abby Glassenberg of the adorable blog, While She Naps, received an advance copy of my recipe book Cute Yummy Time and wrote a glowing review on her blog! Abby was inspired by my Panda seaweed/shrimp/brown rice recipe above…
… and put her own creative spin on it, using healthy bulgar and snap peas.
Her daughter Stella even got into the action! She customized her design with raisins and Teddy Graham crackers. Love it!
Cute cooking is a fun way for children to become interested in cooking… and express their creativity. If you find inspiration from the pages of Cute Yummy Time, please send me photos to share!
LA CARMINA NEW YORKER BOOK BENCH REVIEW OF CUTE YUMMY TIME, JAPANESE BENTO RECIPE DECORATION COOKBOOK.July 22, 2009 at 16:08 | Posted in Cute Food in the News, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | Leave a comment
Hooray for cute food! La Carmina’s upcoming book is mentioned in the New Yorker Book Bench Department (published July 13, by Andrea Walker), which you can read above and here. The earless cat is, of course, Basil Farrow! Cute Yummy Time is out this October and currently available from Amazon (get a copy now!).
† Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants comes out this July ($14.93 – a great deal for a hardcover with full-color photos). It’s a visual traipse into the wild world of maid cafes and theme eateries such as Wizard of the Opera.
I’ll be posting more adorable food photos on my Cute Yummy Time blog. Help me spread the word – Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants and Cute Yummy Time are now available for pre-order on Amazon. Be the first to get a copy!
Tama, the famous Japanese Stationmaster cat, is quite the kitty. He’s revived the Wakayama Railway and local economy, and even has a cute pastry modelled after him!
For cute kitty lunch boxes, containers and more bento accessories, visit my online store!
To submit photos of cute food you found or made, click here.
My upcoming recipe book Cute Yummy Time features adorable sushi such as the Obama one posted on Gawker! “Obama’s skin is made out of ami (little shrimp) boiled in soy sauce, his hair is made out of black sesame seeds, and his teeth are made from fish paste.” (Too cute to eat?)
La Carmina was featured on the front page of the Vancouver Sun’s Arts section.
As you can see, I wore a gigantic tower-of-flowers Gothic Rococo hat for your amusement. You can read the article online here; below are some quotes. The story is accompanied by a video, which you can view here. Intrigued about my work? Clickity click on lacarmina.com for more.
“I’m just so enthusiastic and passionate about these ideas. I guess that when publishers looked at it they could pick up on that, too. Ask me to write about the history of automobiles and I just couldn’t do it, even if you were paying me a million dollars.”
“I’m a creature of the night,” she says, “and I like to sleep in; ideally it would be 1 or 2pm but I don’t usually allow myself to sleep in that late.”
“I love the interplay between things that are frivolous and serious. For example, the Rococo era was considered very frivolous but I think there is a lot that can be learned from that. Now that kawaii is getting more popular in the west I think that it reveals a lot about Japanese culture and the reasons why it became popular here [the whole Hello Kitty phenomenon]. I think down the line we’ll be reading a scholarly text on kawaii.”
“People who knew me growing up knew me as the goth kid, always the one that loved underground culture into strange music from the 60s – it’s just me. I consider myself an esthete; there were those people like Oscar Wilde and those in the Victorian era such as the dandys who were very flamboyant and out there, but at the same time they are joking behind the façade – they know it’s a façade, they play around with it, and not taking themselves too serious.”
“I loved the training [of law] and I really think it made me really focus and work smart,” she opines, “but I’m not passionate about the law the way I’m passionate about fashion, about writing, about the creative world.”
“To quote a fellow bootstrapper, ‘I work for no man,’” she tells me. “Since both book deals came through, I’ll have enough to work on (and live on) for the next while. The creative and entrepreneurial paths are always perilous, but I thrive on the thrill and risk, the sense of self-determination… I certainly wouldn’t trade them for a comfy corporate office.”
World knocking on Vancouver blogger’s door Published: Saturday, August 30, 2008
Interview by Lucy Hyslop
Photos by Jenelle Schneider
Woo-hoo! La Carmina is interviewed in the National Post, Canada’s nation-wide daily newspaper. I discuss the Japanese cute bento decoration trend and my upcoming cookbook, Cute Yummy Time. (Coming out November 2009 from Perigee/Penguin Books.) Above is a scan, which includes a sneak peak of the images you’ll see in my book! Click to see the scan up close.
You can read the cute food article below or on The National Post’s website. Click here for more about my upcoming recipe book, and don’t forget to check out my latest how-to cooking videos. Can’t wait to share more from my upcoming books with you!
Aw, I just can’t wait to bite that itty-bitty head off!
Vanessa Farquharson, Weekend Post
Published: Saturday, February 07, 2009
If you thought smearing some peanut butter on a celery stick and throwing a few raisins on top to create “ants on a log” was endearing, think again.
The trend of cooking cute has officially taken off and some are taking it very seriously. Heart-shaped boiled eggs with smiley faces made from seaweed and carrots, walruses formed out of sticky rice and caterpillars crafted from avocado and tomato wedges are just some examples of the adorable edibles making their way into lunch boxes.
While mostly inspired by the labour-intensive craft of bento box assembly — which started in Japan but is now popular online, as shown on blogs such as E-Obento.com and the Bento Porn sets at Flickr.com –cute food preparation can be applied to any meal at any time of day.
“Your mind goes to very strange places,” says La Carmina, a Vancouver-based author who just landed a deal with Penguin and Perigee to write Cute Yummy Time, set to hit shelves this fall. In it, she explains the origins of this trend and provides recipes and instructions for easy-to-make dishes that are almost too adorable to consume.
“Instead of seeing strawberries as a sweet, nutritious addition to a dessert, you think to yourself, ‘Can this be an ear? Could this be an eye?’ ” she says.
La Carmina–a writer, blogger and fashion designer whose real name is Carmen Yuen — already has one book under her belt, The Cosmos in a Carrot, a Zen guide to nutrition that she wrote at the age of 19.
“I’m the kind of person who will write a script just to see what that process is like,” she says. Indeed, she’s taken a hands-on approach to Cute Yummy Time, not only conducting her own research but writing all the recipes, cooking the food, photographing it and even sketching illustrations for the margins.
Although inspired by the Japanese bento style, La Carmina’s recipes will be geared to North American audiences.
“For my dishes, the techniques will be typically bento, but instead of seaweed and rice there’ll be pita wraps, quiche and pizza. It’s important for me to create food that’s appetizing and edible because some of the more complicated designs you see are like art, but you don’t want to sink your teeth into them.”
She notes that while there are already about 10 or 12 titles in Japan focused entirely on making cute food — whether they be books or mooks (magazine-type books)– there aren’t many available in the West.
“I think the Japanese have generally been more interested in these things and now they just have a greater tolerance for cute,” La Carmina says. “If you go to Tokyo, you’ll see businessmen in suits carrying around little Pokemons on their briefcases.”
Aside from its East-meets-West appeal, though, Cute Yummy Time is poised to do well for a couple of other reasons: One, with the economy in such rough shape, more people will be looking to create meals from scratch as a way to cut back on spending; and two, making a sandwich look cuter means it’s more likely to be eaten by the pickiest kid.
“Also,” La Carmina adds, “I think younger adults are starting to have a greater awareness of nutrition, eating vegan or local food, and cooking cute lets you make your own stuff while making it more interesting.”
Photo caption: Courtesy Cute Yummy Time. Those eggs won’t be smiling once you’re done with them.