food and fiber frenzy

The past two days were very fun and filled with activity! The Hedster and I took off Thursday morning and headed straight for San Jose and Kooki Sushi, a small, family-run business that makes cookies and chocolates that look exactly like sushi. The place is run by two sisters and their mother! The craftsmanship that goes into the confections is really incredible.
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See the plates in the left-hand photo? They are CHOCOLATE. No kidding. If you ever need a nice gift for someone, you might consider these! Thanks goes to Carolyn for telling me about this place!
After Kooki Sushi we headed to San Jose Japantown to Shuei-Do, the manju shop. Manju are Japanese sweets that consist of a ball of sweet bean paste encased in pounded sweet rice. They are kind of hard to describe. They are little pillows of soft gooey goodness!
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We headed to Berkeley and hit Stone Mountain and Daughter, an incredible fabric store. I mean, where else but in Berkeley can you buy dingleballs then have the clerk tell you about the time she sold some dingleballs to a homeless guy who wished to make himself earrings with them? Here is just a small portion of their cotton room:
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Next we visited a couple of old friends and their new babies, ate some super yummy lemon poundcake and tasty homemade salsa, then met cancer-fighting Megan for dinner at Le Cheval, a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Oakland. Megan just finished her course of chemo and will meet with the surgeon next month to decide what goes and what stays. She is hanging in there, but she is understandably tired and not thrilled about the prospect of surgery.
Okay, I know most of you don’t care about sushi cookies or manju; you want to know about Stitches West and other knitbloggers! I have to say it was really fun meeting all the knitbloggers in person and learning about their lives beyond their blogs. We started out with breakfast at Jack’s Bistro in Jack London Square, right on the water.
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From left to right is the amazing Rachael in her ribbie cardie, Elizabeth wearing a gorgeous Crystal Palace Labrador sweater, me (wearing a readymade sweater. Oops), the Hedster in her first ever handknit sweater (she got SO many compliments on this sweater at Stitches!!), and Yvette, who was signed up for FOUR classes at Stitches. Marie joined us right after we took this photo.
Then on to Stitches West, where there was a disturbingly long line to get into the market (this is just one section of the line. It continued for another 75 yards or so down the hallway):
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Once in (we were in line for about an hour), the Hedster and I went straight to the Habu booth. We had heard it had been impossible to get within spitting distance of it last year. It was very crowded, but we wormed our way in, and it was worth it. They have very unusual and intriguing yarns and kits. They use a lot of interesting materials, such as bamboo and paper and even stainless steel! Those wacky Japanese!Here’s a glimpse:
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We wandered around for a while in a daze (there was a lot of yarn. There were also a lot of novelty scarf-clad women). We ran into Dee Dee, Sharlene and her mother, then the lovely Silvia, who is just as witty as I thought she’d be. Seven of us headed to lunch at Le Cheval (because you can never have too much claypot rice):
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From left to right: Rachael, Silvia, Hedi, me, Joanna in her drop-dead gorgeous Adrienne Vittadini sweater made with a silk blend from Tess’ Designer Yarns, Elizabeth, and Marie with her fun and funky loopy scarf. Sadly missing in action altogether were Gabrielle and Stella. We had a lot of laughs and good food and were fortified enough to head back to Stitches (except for poor Rachael, who had to go home and pack) for more fiber fun.
Heard enough? We got home after 9pm, and though I didn’t think I was tired, I fell asleep on the couch. It was a great experience, and here are a few of the goodies I brought home:
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The gorgeous water bottle cozy is from Rachael from one of the swaps in which I participated. The little stitch marker, if you can see it, is from Elizabeth, and the soap was made by Yvette’s sister (it has chocolate in it!). The yarn was my only purchase at Stitches. Doesn’t it look like peppermint candy? Hedi and I tried to convince Silvia that she needed some, too, but oh that Silvia is a rock and would not budge.
All right, my throat hurts from talking too much, so I’m signing off for the evening. Stitches West 2005 will be at the Santa Clara Convention Center. See y’all there!

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19 Responses to food and fiber frenzy

  1. alison says:

    Yay, you went to Kooki Sushi! My mind is still blown by their stuff. Thanks for all the photos. I’m glad you had a good time at Stitches, and lucky you for meeting so many bloggers! Now I’m hungry. I want to go to Le Cheval.

  2. Shirley says:

    Boy you sure are good at documenting everything. Sadly, even with a film camera I’m a poor documenter. One thing I do miss is all that Japanese sweets that I use to get free via my family’s visits to Los Angeles. So it was a feast for my eyes! Thanks! Sounds like Stitches West is very popular though I’ve heard good things I’ve never been to one. Looks like you’ve had a blast! Just one question, if you’re in the pic in Le Cheval (sound like a restaurant I’d like to visit!) who took the picture, the waiter/ress?

  3. claudia says:

    Thanks for the pictures! Some of us can only visit Habu booth vicariously through you….

  4. Jessica says:

    Boy, that looked like fun.
    I saw Kookie Sushi online a few weeks ago. Wild stuff. Wes thinks they should be on Oprah.

  5. Silvia says:

    Had a blast! Glad you got home safe and sound. It was great meeting everyone and seeing all the wares. Not to mention the delicious food…

  6. Rachael says:

    Yay, yay, yay! Excellent commentary! And it was so awesome hanging out with ya. Luckily, I’m sure I’ll see a lot more of ya. We’ll have to do the Central Coast yarn-shop runs when I’m home next (or explore the dearth of them, whatever….) xoxox

  7. Karen says:

    It sounds like you had a great trip to the Bay Area. I love sweets at Kookie Sushi. I had never heard of that place before and I’m from that area but now I’m in RI. I miss the manju in SJ Japantown. What great news that 2005 Stitches West is in Santa Clara. I’ll have to visit my family and sneak off to the market then. I love the yarn you got! So pepperminty. What was the stainless steel yarn like?

  8. Katherine says:

    What’s the name of that yarn? It looks really yummy!

  9. elizabeth says:

    I had a blast meeting everyone too. Your comentary is great. How funny that I oogled that yarn too! I can’t wait to see what wonderful creation you make out of it.

  10. megan says:

    It was great to see the 2 of you!! I’m glad that your trip was lots of fun. I don’t think that I’ve ever known you not to have fun??! Thanks again for my goodies, you’re too kind!!

  11. rae says:

    whew! i’m exhausted just reading your commentary! so-o-o, did you get your manju fix or still have a craving?! and kooki-sushi,yummy-looking, i’ll have to see if they’ll mail order to hawaii. what will power you have, only a few skeins of yarn?! or do you still have some hiding in the car? closet? suitcase? i do that sometimes, but don’t tell… : )

  12. Marie says:

    Hi Mariko, Yes I got home safe and sound. I ended up sharing a cab back to Jack London Square with another Stiches attendee. It sure was wonderful to meet you and Hedi.

  13. Yvette says:

    Gosh, you’re quick. All the photos and posting done already! I had blast meeting you guys for breakfast and it looks like that yarn is going to be pure fun. I ended up going to Chester Farms for a skein of their blackberry heather -it seems like an old-fashioned kind of yarn – great for Arans and it’ll be indestructible. Machine wash too – yaayy! I see how the skein works out.
    Next time I’m down in the South Bay I want to check out Kookie Sushi and the manju shop – looks delicious.

  14. Becky says:

    Ah! What a great virtual trip. Thanks so much for sharing. Love that chocolate sushi, and I wish I could have been there for the meetup. I miss California!

  15. Those are the most extraordinary chocolates! Must get some for Sister; she loves sushi AND chocolate and so this is too cool to pass up.
    Glad you are home safe and that Habu was everything you wanted it to be!

  16. Lisa says:

    Thanks for sharing all of your fun at Stitches, it looks like you had a great time!

  17. Susan says:

    How fun!!! Love that “peppermint candy” yarn you got! YUM!

  18. Kerstin says:

    Love the Kooki Sushi! (I think you should work for them.) The trip looks like a blast and kudos to you on excellent documentation. I’m really LOVING that peppermint candy Mondial you bought. Can’t wait to see you work it up!

  19. stef says:

    thanks for sharing all the wonderful places to visit in san jose. we’re heading to santa clara early april :D yay!!

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