My Experience at San Diego Comic-Con International 2015

I apologize for the extreme delay in relaying my experience as an exhibitor at San Diego Comic-Con International 2015! I promise this post will have been worth your wait! There are plenty of things to talk about, so here is the break- down: I updated my display, I fabricated several new pieces for my Adorable Mayhem line, saw many new and familiar faces, and I bought several new graphic novels from independent publishers. I can never leave the convention without purchasing a few incredible, beautifully illustrated books.

My booth set up at Comic-Con

My booth set up at Comic-Con

Let’s start with display. Every year I have exhibited at Comic-Con, I always assess my space and continually make enhancements to my set-up. I further embellished my circus turret by adding additional painted gold details throughout. In addition, I lined the edge of the turret with white floral lights.

I finally created a wooden base for my tree branch necklace display. Last year, because of lack of time, I merely taped the tree branch to a table leg. This did not display very well as the branch would project out at an odd angle away from the table. I finally carved a base where the branch could sit stably and stand upright, allowing the necklaces to be viewed much more easily.   Frankly, the fully completed tree stand looks far more finished and professional.

My necklace tree stand with hand carved base.

My necklace tree stand with hand carved base.

In the display, you can see several new felt mini sculptures I made for the show. Several people were very interested in my little felt animals and ended up selling out of most of the pieces I made! I try to combine felting with some metal work to make the felt sculptures more unique and detailed.

My felt menagerie on display.

My felt menagerie on display.

This year,  I also started to invest more time into my physical appearance at the booth. In previous years, I found the idea of dressing up to be too tedious because I must be there at the convention very early in the morning to set up each day. I have to admit, it does take a little more time to get ready in the mornings before the show, however, I figured Comic-Con is one of the few opportunities to dress up in playful costumes. Why not have fun and take advantage of it? I don’t attempt to dress up as any specific character. I mainly dress in such a way that is light and colorful and matches the pastel color theme of the booth. My matching costume seems to pull the aesthetic of the booth together as a whole. Below, I have several images of myself at my booth and the various wigs and outfits I wore throughout the five day event.

First day at Comic-Con! Don't worry! My more fun costumes come later. ;-)

First day at Comic-Con! Don’t worry! My more fun costumes come later. 😉

The fun has just begun! I love this lavender and pink wig I purchased from Gothic Lolita!

The fun has just begun! I love this lavender and pink wig I purchased from Gothic Lolita!

I made my felted pink cat ear headband. I'm wearing another Gothic Lolita wig in a pastel peach color.

I made my felted pink cat ear headband. I’m wearing another Gothic Lolita wig in a pastel peach color.

This is a very playful sea foam blue wig with double ponytails that I purchased at Comic-Con last year from Epic Cosplay. It definitely is reminiscent of the vocaloid singer, Hatsune Miku. Here, I'm displaying my ultimate prize finding from Comic-Con: Hello Kitty Donuts!

This is a very playful sea foam blue wig with double ponytails that I purchased at Comic-Con last year from Epic Cosplay. It definitely bears some resemblance to the vocaloid singer, Hatsune Miku. Here, I’m displaying my ultimate prize finding from Comic-Con: Hello Kitty Donuts!

This last picture was taken at my booth from Cosplay Connect. Check out the link below to read my short interview with them!

This last picture was taken at my booth while I was being interviewed by Cos Connect. You can read my little interview in the Press section of my website. Click on the link below to read!

https://magboocandyandjewelry.com/press-2/

Onto the main event! The featured body of work in my Adorable Mayhem line is my jewelry. One of the new pieces I added at this year’s Comic–Con is my sheepicorn or uni-sheep, whichever you prefer. 😉 I was inspired by my best friend, Keyanna, who is a lover of all things sheep-like. Since I have known her, Keyanna has always loved drawing sheep and renders them in her own characteristic way with rounded bodies and tiny heads. Her sheep sketches were both cute and endearing and I wanted to maintain those qualities while I was carving the wax for my own sheep. Since this necklace is a part of the Adorable Mayhem collection, of course, I had to add some additional quirkiness to this character. The little horn I added to transform my sheep into a sheepicorn gave him that much needed extra sprinkling of magic!

My silver sheepicorn or unisheep necklaces.

My silver sheepicorn or unisheep necklaces.

Some of you may remember, my smokin’ fox necklace. Last year, I made him entirely in silver. I wanted to visually create a greater separation between the fox and the cigarette, so I decided to make them in different metals. I cast the fox head in bronze and then fabricated the cigarette in silver. This helps differentiate the two parts and makes the pendant more visually eye-catching with the added color contrast. Whether you’re a man or a woman, everyone deserves to feel like a smokin’ fox!

My smokin' fox necklace in ancient bronze and silver.

My smokin’ fox necklace in ancient bronze and silver. The photography is by Sara Rey.

I added more color to my new bronze and silver necklaces. Colored donuts, pandas, tigers, and tiny birds are just a few of the many new pieces I added to the Adorable Mayhem collection.

I cannot deny that I was channeling Homer Simpson when I made this pink donut necklace with rainbow sprinkles!

I cannot deny that I was channeling Homer Simpson when I made this pink donut necklace with rainbow sprinkles!

My Hungry Panda Necklace

My Hungry Panda Necklace

My tiny tiger necklace

My tiny tiger necklace

My silver baby bird necklace.

My silver baby bird necklace.

Those of you who were not able to attend Comic-Con or didn’t have the chance to stop by my booth, you can check out my Etsy site and see if there are any goodies you might be interested in!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdorableMayhem

Now that I have been coming to Comic-Con for six years now, I have had the opportunity to get to know my fellow exhibitors and make new friends! It is always a treat to see familiar faces each year I return to Comic-Con! Below is long-time exhibitor, Sandra Adair. She is an amazingly talented illustrator and is currently working on a children’s book version of the Three Musketeers. She very generously gave me a beautiful print of a scene she illustrated from Alice and Wonderland as well as her latest self-published book of her work. Definitely click on the link below to see her work!

Sandra and I are sporting our colorful wigs! Check out her website at: http://sandrachang.net

Sandra and I are sporting our colorful wigs!

Sandra’s website is: http://sandrachang.net

Once upon a time I was an avid YouTube content creator. One day, I will dip back into the pool of video editing, once I redirect the focus of my channel to more inspiring content. I met fellow YouTuber, Montel Thompson, at Comic-Con last year and  he kindly stopped by my booth again this year. Montel creates very thoughtful videos revolving around the topics of relationships, comics, gaming and movies. Check out his videos on Youtube!

https://www.youtube.com/user/navymontel/videos

Montel and I being silly at my booth!

Montel and I being silly at my booth!

I cannot leave Comic-Con without purchasing some graphic novels. I focus on buying comics from independent publishers because I primarily look for more unique work. Often times, when you purchase books on the last day of the show, many exhibitors will discount their prices and you can often find good deals.

Those of you who may not know, I was originally an illustration major in undergraduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design. I can’t believe that was fifteen years ago! It is certainly evident that a lot of the work that I make, be it jewelry of felting, is heavily influenced by illustration and tends to be representational.  I find graphic novels inspirational because they often spark new ideas for my own work. I look for great content and unique drawing styles.

My favorite booth is Drawn and Quarterly which is a graphic novel publishing company based in Quebec.  This year, I picked up several comics from Anders Nilsen. I purchased a wonderful book last year called, Big Questions, which contains highly detailed pen drawings and its story poses deeper philosophical questions about existence. Anders manages to scatter bits of humor along with the heavier content to lighten the story. Big Questions still remains his piece de resistance but this would be hard to top since this book took the author 15 years to create and is almost 600 pages long! I purchased three books from Anders this year and I was lucky enough to meet him in person. He signed and drew several small sketches in each one.

The Rage of Poseidon by Anders Nilson. This is a hard bound accordion-fold book with a graphic silhouette style of illustration. This I have yet to read!

The Rage of Poseidon by Anders Nilson. This is a hard bound accordion-fold book with a graphic silhouette style of illustration. This I have yet to read!

Anders signed and made a small pen sketch on the table of contents page o f the book. Here you see his comic dog sketch leaping through the contents box.

Anders signed and made a small pen sketch on the table of contents page o f the book. Here you see his comic dog sketch leaping through the contents box.

God and the Devil at War in the Garden by Anders Nilsen. One can simply lose themselves in the richness of his detailed renderings.

God and the Devil at War in the Garden by Anders Nilsen. One can simply lose themselves in the richness of his detailed renderings.

Anders made a little crane sketch and signed this book as well.

Anders made a little crane sketch and signed this book as well.

The third book by Anders Nilsen, Poetry is Useless, has escaped me. It is lost in my shamefully monstrous collection of books. When I do find it, I will write a future blog post review of this comic.

Melody is an autobiographical book about a woman’s experience working as a stripper in downtown Montreal in the 1980s. She does have a primitive drawing style because she took on this project without extensive drawing experience. Somehow her simple drawings make sense as it coincides with her naivete’ as she enters the forbidden world of stripping. Melody is a fascinating autobiography and I definitely recommend this as a good read! This was another purchase from Drawn and Quarterly.

Melody by Silvie Rancourt: The Story of a Nude Dancer.

Melody by Silvie Rancourt: The Story of a Nude Dancer.

Excerpt from Melody

Excerpt from Melody

If you are interested in any of the above comics, you can check out Drawn and Quarterly’s website: https://www.drawnandquarterly.com/

From  First Second publishing, I purchased the New York Times bestseller, This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki. One Fine Summer is a fictional story about two young girls, Rose and Windy who spend the summer together as they enter that awkward stage between adolescence and puberty. The novel’s refined sketchy drawing style and candid content was definitely reminiscent of Craig Thompson who authored Blankets.

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki.

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki.

Excerpt from This One Summer.

Excerpt from This One Summer.

From Top Shelf publishing, I purchased a book called God is Disappointed in You. The book was written by Mark Russell and illustrated by Shannon Wheeler. Do not read this if you are a deeply Christian person! Some of the content may be interpreted as irreverent, perhaps even sacrilegious! Russell summarized each book of the Bible in just 2-3 pages which ended up being quite an undertaking and took him 3 years to complete! If you can read this with an open mind, I cannot recommend it enough because it is absolutely hilarious! My stomach was hurting so bad from busting out laughing. Let’s face it, the Old Testament in particular is fraught with violence, plagues and sexy times and can make for an exciting read especially when composed in Russell’s pointed and comical writing style. Keep in mind that Russell had no ill intention in composing this graphic novel. His was simply to write a candid overview of the Bible without glossing over the vulgar bits.

God is Disappointed in You by Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler.

God is Disappointed in You by Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler. I love how the book was constructed to look similar to an actual Bible. It has a black hard cover, red ribbon marker, and even has that characteristic metallic page edging that all Bibles have!

Excerpt from God is Disappointed in You. This is the story of Samson and Delilah in the book of Judges.

Excerpt from God is Disappointed in You. This is the story of Samson and Delilah in the book of Judges.

I had the opportunity to meet the Illustrator, Shannon Wheeler. He signed my book and made a little sketch portrait of me in it!

I had the opportunity to meet the Illustrator, Shannon Wheeler. He signed my book and made a little sketch portrait of me in it!

Another book I purchased was a self-published version of The Wizard of OZ by Evan Dahm. Evan illustrated the original story by L. Frank Baum with his own unique visual interpretation of the characters. Evan’s charming illustration is so well done that I look forward to re-reading this classic.

The Wizard of OZ by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by Evan Daum.

The Wizard of OZ by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by Evan Daum.

Excerpt from The Wizard of OZ. This is Evan's illustration of the great yellow Wildcat chasing a field mouse.

Excerpt from The Wizard of OZ. This is Evan’s illustration of the great yellow Wildcat chasing a field mouse.

My last stop was at the Fantagraphics booth where I purchased Bright-Eyed at Midnight by Leslie Stein. The author recounts her experiences working as a bartender. Late at night was when inspiration would strike her and Leslie would spend hours drawing a comic page a day. This book is a compilation of her best content from her 365 days of comic creation in 2014. Her beautiful watercolor and pen drawings are simply breathtaking! I have to admit the illustration is what really drew me in to purchase the book.

Bright-Eyed at Midnight by Leslie Stein.

Bright-Eyed at Midnight by Leslie Stein.

Excerpt from Bright-Eyed at Midnight.

Excerpt from Bright-Eyed at Midnight.

I only took a few pictures of costumes while I was at Comic-Con. Below, are a couple of my favorites that I took while at my booth.

This man looked just like Obi-Wan Kenobi! Even his beard was real!

This man looked just like Obi-Wan Kenobi! Even his beard was real!

This woman made her own Steampunk costume! Impressive!

This woman made her own Steampunk costume! Impressive!

I know this was a long recounting of my Comic-Con experience! This was my sixth year exhibiting at Comic-Con and it never ceases to be an exciting time! It has become something of a phenomenon here in San Diego with this year drawing in over 135 million in revenue for the city and over 130,000 in attendees from across the country and around the globe. I certainly hope that the convention continues to stay here in San Diego and I look forward to my seventh year exhibiting at Comic Con 2017! If you are one of the lucky people that manages to obtain Comic-Con tickets, stop by my booth at E-04.

Designer Con 2014

This will be my second year exhibiting at Designer Con at the Pasadena Convention Center.  November 8 and 9 is fast approaching and many preparations need to be made! I just need to squeeze this in along with my teaching, custom jewelry work, and design work for Virgil James. Can’t we all have minions?!? I could use some right now. 😉 I just finished the graphics for my ad in the brochure for the convention. I had to make some minor tweeks to swtich the ad to a vertical orientation but I’m satisfied with how it turned out.

Dcon ad final

The colors are a bit off here because the color model is CMYK which is commonly used for printing. Just imagine that the image isn’t quite so purple and green. 😉

I definitely have some new cast dessert-themed jewelry pieces that I am currently working on that will be debuting at Designer Con. We all love sweets, don’t we?  However, since this is Adorable Mayhem there will be a little dark twist on these sweet numbers. I will be posting images when I finally finish casting them.

I always have new felt animal sculptures at every show. I sold out of virtually everything at Comic-Con and have to build up my inventory. My jewelry inventory is pretty well depleted as well. I have some new ideas I plan on testing out with my felt sculptures by incorporating more metal components. I think this will really enhance the look of the sculptures and make them a little more detailed.

Lastly, I’ve been having a wonderful time going back to my illustration roots! There is something so satisfying about the immediacy of painting which offers a much needed break from the tedious nature of jewelry making. I have been creating tiny art on small birch plywood canvases. These illustrations are 4 by 4 inches and I’ve been painting with my favorite medium: gouache. I love the matte finish of gouache and I enjoy the limitation of painting in blocks of color.  I plan on offering both original artwork and small giclee prints on cotton rag paper.

skunk family1

Save the date! If you happen to be in the city of Pasadena on November 8 and 9, definitely stop by my booth at Designer Con! Here is a link to the show: http://www.designercon.com/

Japan Crate Japanese Snack Subscription Review and Giveaway!

Oh my goodness! I know It has been a very long while since I have written a blog post! 😦 Work has been busy, which is a very good thing, however, being a team of one means some things get pushed to the back burner. Unfortunately, one of those things is the blog. Many wonderful events have happened since I have last posted here, so I have much to catch up on!

This particular post is about another Japanese snack subscription service called Japan Crate. The company sent me a sample box from their service for me to review and, of course, I am not one to refuse free candy and snacks! One exciting piece of news is that I finally significantly upgraded my laptop! I have an upgraded video graphics card, bigger hard drive…the works! This also means one other fantastic thing…I can finally up my game on video editing and use far superior software! Yay! Oh my, oh my! I have been wanting to do this for quite a long time now. Learning the new software has been a fun challenge, so I look forward to making new and interesting changes to my candy video reviews!

I have reviewed quite a few snack subscription services so far. This is one of the largest, if not the largest box, I have received.  The service does cost significantly more than say, OishiiBox, at $25 a month. However, shipping is included and one receives far more product.  The majority of snacks in the box are full-sized snack items. Only the Grape Kasugai Gummies was a sample size.

Let’s see what’s in the box!

Popin' Cookin' Sushi by Kracie

Popin’ Cookin’ Sushi by Kracie

 

Nerunerune by Kracie

Nerunerune by Kracie

 

In each subscription box, Japan Crate incorporates at least one DIY Japanese candy kit. This box contained two DIY kits as you can see from the images above: Nerunerune and Popin’ Cookin’ Sushi.

Sardine Crackers

Sardine Crackers

 

The above three items are snacks that are in my giveaway! If you are interested in entering the giveaway, details about the giveway will be in the description box for my YouTube video review of Japan Crate. The video will be posted at the end of this blog post.

Hokkaido Potato Chips

Hokkaido Potato Chips

 

Sweet Potato Cough Drops

Sweet Potato Cough Drops

 

Strawberry Cake Candy by Hayakawa

Strawberry Cake Candy by Hayakawa

 

Grape Gummy Candy by Kasugai

Grape Gummy Candy by Kasugai

 

Pocky Matcha Green Tea

Pocky Matcha Green Tea

 

Pocky Matcha Green Tea, unfortunately, was a casualty from my camera fail! I was filming my review and didn’t realize that my memory card ran out of space. The beauty of having an accompanying blog post is that I can make up for any video failures! 🙂 I like many green tea flavored snacks, however, some are more successful than others. I am happy to say that his falls into the realm of successful green tea flavored delicacies! The cookie stick biscuit has a nice, crisp texture and the green tea flavored white chocolate coating is wonderfully creamy. In other words, Pocky Matcha Green Tea was delicious and I definitely recommend it!

 

Chocolate Cookie

Chocolate Cookie

 

Cookie Chocolate by Kasugai was another video failure. Fortunately, this is the last of my accidental video omissions. This was excellent! This chocolate is certainly in my top favorites from this box! The chocolate was rich and creamy with a subtle sprinkling of fine cookie pieces inside. The proportion of chocolate to cookie was well thought out. This almost reminded me of Nestle’s Crunch because the scale of the cookie pieces is similar to Crunch’s rice crispy bits, however this is far more sophisticated. Cookie Chocolate has a much more rich, darker milk chocolate than Crunch. This was excellent and I definitely recommend Cookie Chocolate!

 

Apollo Chocolate

Apollo Chocolate

 

Chococones by Meiji

Chococones by Meiji

 

This box contained eleven snacks, most of which were full-sized snacks! If you consider how much you would spend to purchase these from a Japanese Market in the U.S., you would easily spend far more than $25! My favorites from the box were: Chococones, Cookie Chocolate, Kasugai Grape Gummies, Hokkaido Potato Chips and Strawberry Cake Candy.

Now that I have reviewed quite a few Japanese snack subscription services, it seems that there are several that exist out there in the marketplace that can fit your budget or needs. Many of the services include shipping and can be canceled at any time. Some even include small toys in the package if that is of interest to you.

As I mentioned earlier, if you want a service where you receive a lot of Japanese snacks then Japan Crate is a good option. Their website is: www.japancrate.com

If you would like to check out my video review, watch it down below! 🙂

OishiiBox Asian Snack Subscription Review and Giveaway!

It seems like I’m on an Asian snack subscription kick lately and I most certainly welcome it! The company Oishiibox box contacted me to review their snack subscription service. This is a new company that is actually based in San Diego county! What makes this monthly service different from others I have tried in the past is that they offer a variety of Asian snacks from Japan, Korea, China and more.

Exterior of OishiiBox

Exterior of OishiiBox

Interior of snack box

Interior of snack box

The subscription costs $12 a month including shipping which is a very good deal considering the large variety of snacks you get to taste test. You can check out their website at www.oishiibox.biz The company is offering to send two of my YouTube subscribers a chance to win an Oishiibox! Watch the video review at the end of this blog post for details. This contest is only available to residents of the USA.

Let’s see what’s inside this bad boy!

Lotte Koala's March, Chocolate Panda Biscuits, Baby Cookie Snacks

Lotte Koala’s March, Chocolate Panda Biscuits, Baby Cookie Snacks

Strawberry Pocky and Umaibou Vegetable Salad

Strawberry Pocky and Umaibou Vegetable Salad

Kameda Kakinotane Wasabi Snack and Ostumami 10 Sen Baked Rice Crackers

Kameda Kakinotane Wasabi Snack and Ostumami 10 Sen Baked Rice Crackers

Lotte Choco Pie

Lotte Choco Pie

Lotte European Waffle Cookies

Lotte European Waffle Cookies

Marukawa Fusen Melon Gum, Matcha Green Tea Crunch, White Rabbit Creamy Candy and Super Soda hard candy

Marukawa Fusen Melon Gum, Matcha Green Tea Crunch, White Rabbit Creamy Candy and Super Soda hard candy

Match Green Tea Kit Kat

Matcha Green Tea Kit Kat

Baby chick eraser

Baby chick eraser

Check out my video review below to see how I rated each of these Asian snacks!

 

 

Japanese Treats Snack Subscription Review

I recently traveled to Maine to complete an artist residency at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, which I will blog about in the near future.  Now I am back and ready to indulge in candy decadence!

Before I left for my trip, the company, Japanese Treats, contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing their snack subscription service. As I am in the business of reviewing Japanese candies, I was excited to give this a shot! They recently sent me a package of  eleven items consisting of Japanese candies, cookies and savory snacks.

jtreats1

Below are product shots of the snacks contained in the package.

Chokobi: chocolate flavored cereal stars by Tohato

Chokobi: chocolate flavored cereal stars by Tohato

Ju-C: grape flavored hard candy Kabaya

Ju-C: grape flavored hard candy Kabaya

Maze Maze Drink: soda flavored taffy by Meigum

Maze Maze Drink: soda flavored taffy by Meigum

Kino no Ko no Yama: mushroom-shaped biscuits with a chocolate cap by Meiji.

Kino no Ko no Yama: mushroom-shaped biscuits with a chocolate cap by Meiji.

Zoo Crackers: Animal-shaped butter cookies.

Zoo Crackers: Animal-shaped butter cookies.

Don Don Yaki: Japanese rice crackers flavored with Northern Japanese frying sauce.

Don Don Yaki: Japanese rice crackers flavored with Northern Japanese frying sauce.

Kyabetsu Taro: Octopus flavored corn puff snacks. Though I stopped eating meat, I taste-tested this for the sake of my viewers. :-)

Kyabetsu Taro: Octopus flavored corn puff snacks. Though I stopped eating meat, I taste-tested this for the sake of my viewers. 🙂

Fortune Telling Candy: A hard candy that can predict the future!

Fortune Telling Candy: A hard candy that can predict the future!

Pakuncho: Cookie biscuits filled with creamy chocolate.  Disney characters are imprinted on each cookie.

Pakuncho: Cookie biscuits filled with creamy chocolate. Disney characters are imprinted on each cookie.

Pudding Flavored Kit Kat: White chocolate coated cookie wafers.  This is a bake-able food item!

Pudding Flavored Kit Kat: White chocolate coated cookie wafers. This is a bake-able food item!

Nigi Nigi Osushiyasan: Diy gummy candy set.  The gummy rice can be paired with different seafood-shaped gummies.

Nigi Nigi Osushiyasan: Diy gummy candy set. The gummy rice can be paired with different seafood-shaped gummies.

Of all the subscription services I have tried thus far, this has been the best!  Every snack contained in the package was excellent in my opinion, which is a very rare occurrence. If you are interested you can check out the Japanese Treat website at:   www.japanesetreats.com

If you would like to watch my video review of this snack subscription, you can watch it below.

Mochi Cream Review

Shane discovered Mochi Cream from reading Kirby’s Cravings food blog.  When he showed me the beautiful images of this dessert, I told him that we absolutely must find this! Fortunately, we found out that a store is available in Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa, not too far away from San Diego.

Mochi Cream is a dessert store that carries mochi with fillings that go beyond sweet beans. They can be filled with a variety of fruit, chocolate ganache, whipped cream, coffee and much, much more!

mochicream5

Off we went on a quest to find this new twitst on mochi. When we entered the store, I immediately fell in love with this Mitsuwa location! I have been to the San Diego store many times to purchase Japanese treats for video reviews, but the Costa Mesa location is much larger! They have a giant food court with multiple eateries and, of course, they have Mochi Cream! Their colorful display was to die for! It took all my willpower not to purchase every possible flavor option.

mochicream1

The colorful mochi are all neatly arranged. So beautiful!

The colorful mochi are all neatly arranged. So beautiful!

Mochi shaped like donuts?! How adorable is that?

Mochi shaped like donuts?! How adorable is that?

These are plastic desserts. The real Mochido are kept behind the counter. The Japanese win first prize for their realistic looking plastic food displays!

These are plastic desserts. The real Mochido are kept behind the counter. The Japanese win first prize for their realistic looking plastic food displays!

mochicream9

We eventually finalized our purchase and picked up these flavors of the donut-shaped Mochido: Cafe au lait, Double Mango, Strawberry Shortcake, and Chocolate Banana.

We started off tasting the fruit flavored Mochido: Strawberry Shortcake and Double Mango.

Strawberry Shortcake and Double Mango Mochido

Strawberry Shortcake and Double Mango Mochido

These fruit-flavored mochi, slightly melted in our two hour drive back home. 😦 Fortunately, this didn’t seem to affect the flavor much. They just weren’t as aesthetically pleasing as when we first purchased them.

The Double Mango was filled with whipped cream and flecks of mango. The rice mochi exterior had a nice, soft , almost melt-in-your-mouth texture and was also mango flavored. This was delicious and ended up being the favorite of all the Mochido flavors we tried!

Next up was Strawberry Shortcake.  The rice exterior had a strawberry flavor and the interior was also filled with light whipped cream.  This was also very tasty, however, the addition of fruit like the Double Mango, would have made this mochi taste even better.

We enjoyed these fruit -flavored Mochido a little more than the upcoming flavors.

The last two Mochido we tasted were Cafe au lait and Chocolate Banana.  We noticed that these were firmer in texture than the previous fruit flavored Mochido.

Cafe au lait and Chocolate banana Mochido

Cafe au lait and Chocolate banana Mochido

mochicream8

The Cafe au lait’ flavored Mochido had a very strong coffee flavor.  The interior was a coffee-flavored sweet bean paste.  The top of the exterior was topped with an additional coffee glaze and small cubes of white chocolate.  Shane and I both felt that the coffee flavor was a little strong for our taste. We both have never been coffee drinkers, however, if you enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning this might just be the perfect thing for you!

We enjoyed the Chocolate Banana flavor much more that the Cafe au lait’. The interior filling was a real banana-flavored bean paste along with chocolate whipped cream. The exterior of the Mochido was covered in a chocolate glaze. This was delicious and definitely recommend this flavor! Having two flavors and textures commingling in the filling greatly enhanced the taste.

Overall, our Mochi Cream experience was superb! Even just writing this review, I want to head back and try more flavors of Mochi Cream! I highly recommend for anyone to visit the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa to experience this amazing dessert!

If you would like to watch our video review,  you can watch it here!

Japanese Tea Cakes at Hogetsu Bakery

I have traveled to the west side of Chula Vista many times because my best friend used to live there. In my many years of traipsing around Chula Vista with Keyanna, I never came across this bakery even though it was only about half a mile from her home! Shane and I only recently discovered this gem on a search for the infamous wagashi, Japanese tea cakes.

hogetsu1

Hogetsu is hidden away in a tiny shopping center, not visible from the street. The exterior of the building looks a little industrial, therefore not so much like a warm inviting bakery.  However, when you step inside, magic happens!

hogetsu2

I about died when I saw the colorful little tea cakes! Above, were our purchases from the bakery. Afterwards, we quickly resented placing such a small order.

hogetsu4

The bakery is owned by an old Japanese couple that make all the wagashi on the premises.  They certainly have a special talent for making beautiful, tasty objects out of rice! The brown tea cake on the right, was the first one we tasted. It had a very thin, light pancake wrapping the outside and was branded with cherry blossoms. Inside was a sweet mochi, rice dough, and this was one of the softest textured mochi I have ever eaten! It was like biting into a pillowy cloud. It became very clear that the pastries were just freshly made! Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what the names of these individual tea cakes are, however, teacake #1 was delicious!

We read a suggestion on Yelp that it was best to come to the bakery right when it opened to get first pick, otherwise the best selections would have already disappeared! We certainly didn’t want that to happen, so we showed up right at their opening time, 10am, which fortunately is not too terribly early.

The second tea cake we tried was the rainbow colored mochi. It looked like colorful toy sashimi because it was rectangular in shape and the bottom was white like a bed of rice. The rice was equally soft as the first, however, this was my least favorite. The top colorful portion was slightly salty in flavor making this mochi more savory.  Shane’s description of it’s flavor was very accurate, “like the finest play-doh”! He did find this play-doh quality odd but, strangely, he took a liking to it. Come, on! Admit it! We all tried to eat play-doh as kids and remember it’s distinctly salty taste. Although, I have to admit I was a little exceptional in that I tried to eat many non-food items as a child which included silica gel and my mother’s contact lenses!

I digress! At any rate, tea cake #2 received mixed reviews. Shane liked the rainbow mochi and I did not. Although, If you have a strange desire to reminisce about your play-doh eating days, definitely give this a try!

The third tea cake we reviewed was the purple, plum-shaped mochi. They certainly do not overlook details at this bakery because they made a little green stem coming out of the plum from agar-agar which is a seaweed derived gelatin. The plum mochi was my favorite! It had same soft rice dough on the outside, except it had this extraordinary melt-in-your-mouth quality! Inside, was a soft, sweet, smooth red bean filling.  Shane and I both loved this, so we definitely recommend tea cake #3!

The last tea cake we tried was the mochi shaped like a white peach. They even captured the beautiful color gradation on a real peach as the color transitions from pink to white. This too had a little agar-agar detail except this was a little green leaf. The peach mochi had the same incredibly soft rice dough on the outside. The inside had a sweet white/yellow bean paste that was more firm in texture than the plum-shaped mochi. This was also, tasty and we recommend this as well!

We came to Hogetsu with our friends, Chrissy and John.  They, very smartly, purchased many items which you can see below.

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I will definitely come back to Hogetsu and purchase more amazing tea cakes! I hope you have an opportunity to visit Hogetsu as well! 🙂

Shane, Chrissy, John and I made a video review of our purchases from Hogetsu.  If you want to watch some silliness, watch our video below!