Umami Cafe

My husband and I went on a day trip to the land of port. Portland, that is. We visited the Portland Japanese Museum and had a snack at the Umami Cafe.

Umami Cafe is kind of a stupid name, but whatev's, we wanted to experience all that the garden had to offer. I ordered an iced mecha tea, which was a type of iced matcha tea, and a yuzu tart. My husband ordered a hojicha and yakitori-style fried rice.

My iced mecha arrived, and it looked delicious. Green, frothy at the top, inviting, delicate. I admired it and took a sip. Mmmmm. I smiled as I sipped it. My husband asks, "What?"

"It tastes like delicious ice water." I offer it to him. "Please try this."

He samples it and immediately laughs. "This tastes like nothing."

He drinks a little more and decides that it does have the smallest hint of matcha flavoring at the very end. Like you really have to focus on the matcha for it to manifest itself. Otherwise it'd be like, "Nah. I ain't coming out for you."

It tasted like someone in the bamboo grove of the Japanese garden whispered the word "matcha" to themselves, and the word floated softly through the rustling leaves and into my water glass. Or if someone took a cup of green pond water in the Japanese garden, and the hue of the pond water reminded them of matcha, and then they took that cup of green pond water, poured it over ice and served it to me at the Umami Cafe.

That's so Japanese. So poetic. Such care and thoughtfulness behind the craft. That'll be $5 please. Thanks for coming in to Umami Cafe. Arrigat-toe gohzaymass.

We went to a Japanese restaurant afterwards, relieved to see a Japanese chef in the kitchen, and gorged ourselves on fried oysters, bacon-wrapped quail eggs, ebi mayo, and menchi katsu omu-rice. Iced mecha was nowhere to be seen on the menu.

-j

thank you, love you, xoxo ✨

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