Archive for April, 2008
Heads up that the new online store for Ichiban Kan, a Japanese-style discount store with cheap bento gear and household goods, has fixed their shopping cart and is now able to take orders. I wrote about the launch of Ichiban Kan’s online store last week, with a store review and links to their shipping policies (continental US only at the moment). Their bento selection is a bit limited for now, but evidently a shipping container of bento gear is on its way from Japan.
I went through their store and made a list highlighting some of the more interesting products for the bento maker (and a product warning). They’re still adding new products (i.e. food items are not up yet); stay up to date on new developments via Ichiban Kan’s blog. (Read on for Biggie’s product highlights…)
Published by Biggie on April 9th, 2008 tagged equipment, organize, review, shopping | 58 Comments »
Last week evidently this site and many other WordPress blogs were hacked in a subtle way, with hundreds of invisible links added to the site without my knowledge (more info on the attack here). This resulted in Lunch in a Box being deindexed from Google, Yahoo and other search databases, and explains why Google Ads for unrelated topics like bad credit fixes and Viagra started appearing on the site as of last week. I’ve cleaned up the code and am plugging the security holes, but wanted to let readers know that I may need to take the site down temporarily over the next day or two as I work to ensure that this won’t happen again. Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience this causes!
I’d also encourage any of you with WordPress blogs to view your page source code, and do a quick search on “credit” and “viagra” to ensure that you haven’t been hit as well. More info is in the link above.
UPDATE: Evidently upgrading to WordPress version 2.5 will close the security hole that let this happen. Unfortunately, I needed to restore the site from backups during the process, so have lost some comments that readers left over the weekend. D’oh!
Published by Admin on April 7th, 2008 tagged admin | 10 Comments »
Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Shrimp and scallop cakes (review here), roasted asparagus (simple recipe here), blueberries, Moro blood orange, and mini onigiri rice balls made of rice mixed with salmon-flavored furikake rice seasoning and julienned thin egg sheets (usuyaki tamago, speedy microwave recipe here). Cooking notes for the mini rice balls follow.
Morning prep time: 15 minutes, using leftover asparagus, frozen rice, frozen julienned thin egg sheets and frozen Jeremiah’s shrimp and scallop cakes from Costco. In the morning I pan-fried the seafood cakes and made the little onigiri. I got a bit distracted with the onigiri when frying, though, and the bottoms got a bit too brown (not that my three-year-old minded). Frying the shrimp & scallop cakes in more oil than I had done previously helped them develop a crust and stay together as finger food, but as you can see my attention span isn’t all that great first thing in the morning. (Read on for cooking notes, limited edition Guinness- and champagne-flavored Marmite yeast extract spreads, and an additional preschooler lunch.)
Published by Biggie on April 5th, 2008 tagged bento, fish or seafood, for kids, lactose free, onigiri or sushi, review, sandwich case, sandwich or wrap | 24 Comments »
Sounding the death knell of the eBay $9 egg mold, Japanese-style discount store Ichiban Kan finally debuted its online store yesterday in a soft launch. Their shopping cart is not working at the moment, though, so you cannot yet place orders. Ichiban Kan e-mailed me that they did a test run today with an unexpected error, but still anticipate being able to take online orders in a matter of days (not weeks). (UPDATE: They’re accepting orders now; see my list of good Ichiban Kan products for the lunch packer.) You can browse some of their inventory now at www.ichibankanusa.com, but be aware that all of their products are not yet up on the site. The store’s bento selection is a little slim, but they write on their blog that they have a shipping container full of bento gear on its way from Japan now, and will continue to “aggressively” add more products to the online store. Stay tuned. (Read on for my initial review of the online store.)
As I wrote in the San Francisco Bay Area bento gear shopping guide, Ichiban Kan is a good bargain store with an ever-changing selection of Japanese household goods, including matching bento boxes, insulated bento sets, bento accessories, collapsible sandwich cases, bento bags (kinchaku, insulated bags), egg molds for shaping hard-boiled eggs (2 for US$1.50, available in fish/car and rabbit/bear shapes), rice molds, character bento goods (Cinnamoroll, Hello Kitty, Shinkansen, Pokemon), cute food cups, food picks, sauce containers, chopsticks and utensils with cases, rectangular tamagoyaki omelet pans (see my tamagoyaki tutorial), etc.
Published by Biggie on April 2nd, 2008 tagged SF Bay Area local, equipment, review, shopping | 52 Comments »
On Sunday our family did a version of hanami, the Japanese spring tradition of having a party under sakura cherry trees during that brief moment that they’re in bloom. We went to Golden Gate Park, where we were able to enjoy our little picnic without the crowds of Japan. I remember quickly thrown-together hanami parties in the afternoon or evening with friends and colleagues in Japan, with all kinds of food from sparse sandwiches or pre-made bentos bought from convenience stores, to elaborate barbecues cooked on portable hibachi grills accompanied by beer and sake. Hanami parties in the evening usually wound up being unpredictable and fun, with the drunk salarymen next to you wanting to share their food and try out their English.
In my old residential neighborhood in Tokyo, people would reserve their spots at popular picnic locations by writing their names and desired times on a piece of paper by the cherry tree in question. There are even official blossom forecasts (sakurazensen) by the weather bureau reporting exactly where the trees are in bloom, and where they’ve peaked. My mini version of these cherry blossom reports for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park follows — this is the week for it! If you have tips on good hanami locations near you, please let us know in comments.
Contents of picnic bento for three (two adults, one preschooler): The top tier holds a variety of onigiri rice balls, some mixed with shrimp-flavored or vegetable-flavored furikake rice sprinkles, and filled with either Gohan Desu Yo! nori seaweed paste or leftover Chinese-steamed trout. The middle tier holds removable containers of shrimp salad, chicken salad and plum tomatoes. The bottom tier holds strawberries, blueberries, and little food cups of homemade blueberry-raspberry juice jiggler cups (how-to here).
Morning prep time: 25-30 minutes, using shrimp and chicken salad from Costco’s deli section, and homemade juice gelatin cups that I’d made earlier. What took the most time was making the variety of onigiri rice balls by hand. (Read on for cooking notes, my San Francisco blossom forecast, and an additional preschooler lunch.)