Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Frugal luxury--iced coffee milk, Mister Donuts, and my love of kitsch
The only two places I knew of where you could get bottomless, American-style coffee in Japan was Mister Donut and the Hard Rock Cafe*.
There was a Mister Donut next door to the school I taught at (it was one of several chain ESL schools). Teachers and students often stopped in there to get coffee, or muffins, donuts, Chinese dumplings, etc. Mister Donuts also had a points system, where you'd get a card of points for every 300 yen you spent (or something like that). Accumulate enough points, and you could get their giveaway.
By the end of my time there, I had three date books/calendars (those were featured in December/January and I planned on getting them); two pillows; a plate, cup, and saucer; and a couple of towels. All with the cutesy cartoon characters featured in Mister Donuts in Japan and in the case of the calendar, with little sayings each month ("Spring is here! It's raining a lot. But the snails are happy.") I had an unbridled thing for kitsch and we all went a little bonkers getting the latest stuff. They apparently still do it but the prizes have changed a bit since I was there (which isn't surprising since I came home 15 years ago. Gulp.)
Okay. Wow. That was quite a derail.
Anyway, one of the things Mister Donuts offered during the summer was a coffee ice milk drink. Basically, fill one glass with iced coffee cubes and pour milk over it. The cubes melt as you drink the milk You start out with mild milk and end up with a nice, strong iced coffee. It's perfect on a hot and humid day, which were plentiful in Osaka in the summer.
So of course, I realized that I could do this myself.
I'm not a big coffee drinker at home. I'm more of a fan of tea. However, I do make it, especially if I have people over. I had my parents over for dinner on Sunday and I made coffee for us all after. Later, I took the leftover coffee, poured it into ice cube trays, and froze it. I filled a travel mug with some of the cubes this morning, and poured almond milk over them.
You can use regular milk, almond milk, soy milk. . .whichever you like and whichever agrees with you. It's good. It uses up all the coffee. And it's quite refreshing.
*I did go to the Hard Rock Cafe with a Japanese coworker who was in a heavy-metal band. We'd go for the brownie sundaes and bottomless coffee. She got transferred to the main office and often stayed late because her boss was still in the office--it was bad form to leave before your boss. However, if we had plans, she'd leave earlier. She'd tell her boss, and her boss would say, "Are you meeting Pamela at the Hard Rock Cafe for brownie sundaes again?"