Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cafe Normale, Shimo Kitazawa (カフェ ノルマーレ)

I am hungry, and yes, yes, it is called love. It is called love in the world.
Continuing on with amusing uses of foreign language, we have Cafe Normale. Amusing in this case because cafe should be masculine and get a manly adjective form, but I'm not hung up on that, because the two women who may be running this place are doing an ace job. In a weird twist of what appeals to me at lunchtime, this is family friendly, stroller-sensitive, and they offer baby mugs, utensils, and toys without being asked. And the food and prices were both reasonable. Win! Obviously Eating Out in Tokyo with Jon is different these days; Someone is often along for support, and the aforementioned stroller-sensitivity came in handy because Peanut was riding shotgun - making his first appearance here, I believe.

Cheerful interior, check. Some retro-y cloth benches in the front, a bunch of tables in the back. And beyond the glass-paneled back wall, a garden (not theirs) that I'll show you later. Doubles as a bar at night, or at least offers a bunch of wine and beer, often in sets with the food.
The lunch comes in sets too. Someone and I both opted for the beef stew set. She got the french toast pictured here, which was really tasty, and should have been served later for optimal effect (like, for dessert).
I got the panini side. These are a cornerstone of the menu, and nice. The margherita panini was so good we ordered a second one. Partly because Peanut thought it was good, and what he likes, he gets, and then he's quiet for a while.
Beef stew in individual ramekins, so cuuuuute! I feel like a little girl again. The portions make me feel like a little girl too.
The stew was too thin, and didn't have enough beef for me, but you cant expect too much stick-to-your-ribs-ness in a girls' cafe in Shimokita, can you?
OK, I'm all messed up now. Remember the retro benches and nice tables? This place is owned by a furniture company. And it's nice furniture and affordable too. If you've ever shopped for furnishings in Japan, you'll be shaking your head in agreement about how rare that is.

Oh, here's that garden. They don't seem to own it, but at least they had the sense to make their wall glass so they could benefit from proximity.

Geez, is it a chain store? Was I suckered? Should I keep worrying about authenticity in this way?

Especially while pushing a stroller?
03-5452-4636



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