Monday, June 7, 2010

Cirque de la Lune, You can go back

I'm running low on new maid cafes to visit. Most of the remaining places are bars, and at least one of them (Queen Heart) seems to have gone out of business before I could get to it (I wrote in a previous blog entry that I'd gone to Queen Heart a while back only to find out that they wouldn't open until 7 PM, and I had to be at work at 7:20, so I hadn't actually entered the place then). I've been trying to get to Pure Heart, which is a conversation lounge (4000-6000 yen to sit and talk to a maid for a while) that seems to have a cafe attached to it. But, every time I visited the area it's supposed to be in (just around the corner from Yodobashi Camera on Showa Dori) I couldn't find signs for it. I was about to write it off as having gone out of business when I saw a chalkboard for it on the sidewalk one Sunday afternoon. So, the following Tuesday I went back with the intent of reviewing it as a cafe, and it happened again - no signs anywhere. I'm thinking it's only open specific hours on the weekends, so I'll try again later.

Anyway, with only 45 minutes remaining before having to go to work, I decided to try returning to Circe de la Lune for something off their African special menu. For the month of May, Circe de la Luna had two entree items that were African inspired - the dry curry and the meatloaf. Normal Japanese curries have a consistency close to gravy, so a "dry" curry is something similar to cooked hamburger mixed in with a thick sauce. If you've ever been to an Ethiopian restaurant, then you've probably tasted berbere, a spicy powder mixed in water, cooked with meats or vegetables. The Cirque dry curry has a little bit of that flavor. It's not that spicy-hot, but it does taste good and the serving is fairly large for the price. The dish has a few pieces of lettuce on the bottom of the bowl, with a pile of rice, the curry, shaved almonds and a couple slices of hard boiled egg on top.

I accompanied the meal with "mizu dashi" coffee. In the U.S., this is Toddy coffee. You take a pound of coarse ground coffee and let it soak in a bucket of water over night. There's a filter at the bottom of the bucket and you let the coffee flow out into a carafe underneath. This makes a quart of coffee concentrate that you can then mix with water, milk or syrups to get the taste you want. I used to make this all the time when I was living in the U.S. Great stuff. Cirque's version is a little more mild than what I made, but it is tasty. 900 yen for the curry, 500 for the coffee ($15 USD total). Not bad for a Tokyo restaurant.

Again, Cirque was playing some vaguely disturbing music in the background. I asked what it was this time, and the maid brought out the CD - Takako Tate's "Ikimono-tachi" (VAP, 2007). Turns out that I'd just seen her on TV recently, and she'd delivered an amazing performance. Ikimono-tachi isn't available on youtube, but you can get a feel for her songs with "houseki", which I also like. Support her - buy her CDs from jpopasia or whatever importer you prefer.

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