My apologies to everyone for dropping off the face of the earth lately — it’s been a weird time and I’ve been going through something of a crisis. (Arg.) Time to get back on the bento ball! Lots of updates today; with Ichiban Kan closing its online store and opening a new San Bruno retail location in the Tanforan Mall, a kiwifruit recipe contest that I’ll be judging with a US$2,500 grand prize, a recent Lunch 2.0 round table blogger discussion I moderated, a new bento cookbook that’s out, and more.
1. Ichiban Kan closes online store
First off, I’m sad to say that Ichiban Kan recently closed its online store, although its retail stores in the SF Bay Area remain open. They were a good US source of cheap bento gear (like US$1!), and I’m sad to see them go. Products seemed to fly off the shelves, so there’s hope that they’ll be back — check their blog for updates. Fingers crossed that they change their business model and reopen the online store, maybe at increased prices to remain viable. I mean, cheap is good and all, but not if it drives them out of business!
In any event, Ichiban Kan has opened a new retail store in the Tanforan Mall in San Bruno, CA, so if you’re nearby you might want to check that out (1150 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066, tel: 650-244-9920). For additional sources, check out my list of online stores for bento gear, as well as the Bento Store Locator with Google Maps and reader feedback for retail sources near you. (Read on for details of a recipe contest with $2,500 prize, a Lunch 2.0 round table that I moderated, a new bento cookbook, and the upcoming BlogHer ’09 panel on food blogging.)