June 27

It’s Coffee Jello Season!

The first time I encountered little cubes of coffee jello in an ice cream parfait I thought ewww, weird! But then I became acquainted with Japanese summer weather, which sort of feels like being in a room where the shower has been running full blast on ‘maximum hot’ for an hour. A nice big dish of sparkling cool jello with a shot of caffeine to lift those summer doldrums suddenly looked a lot more appealing!

Oddly enough, these coffee jelly treats are a riff on a traditional Japanese dessert called anmitsu, which features clear agar jelly cubes (sweet, but tasteless), topped with sweet red bean paste, ice cream, various fruits, and little balls of sticky pounded rice. Japanese food often mixes textures as well as flavors, and the rubbery slipperiness of jello is especially enjoyed when eaten with something creamy, something chewy, and something crunchy (hence its supporting role in ice cream parfaits, which can also mysteriously be layered with cornflakes, pudding, and cake…)

Read a novel set in Tokyo

The #1 hostboy at Club Nova makes a handsome living, whispering sweet nothings in the ears of women who pay him a fortune for the privilege. But the party’s over when Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura is assigned to investigate the death of…read more