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Category: Discussion


The Japanese Pantry is finally available!

I cannot believe it’s really here!

I’ve been working on The Japanese Pantry for about a year and a half now, set many goals along the way that I never seemed to meet in time, and thought I was done months ago but kept running into little snags that would push back the release date further and further each time. Now, I can finally say with triumphant certainty, “It’s done!”

The Japanese Pantry

I think this book succeeds in presenting the message I was trying to convey with it – that you don’t need to know anything about Japanese cooking to enjoy delicious Japanese-inspired dishes at home. All it takes is the addition of a few Japanese ingredients, now widely available in most major grocery stores, to turn the dishes you already love into an exotic experience.

You probably already have soy sauce in your refrigerator, maybe even a bottle of pre-made teriyaki sauce. With the addition of just a few more simple ingredients like these, you can create real authentic Japanese flavors at home. This is what I do every day – use a special ingredient to make a familiar food more fun!

Most of the recipes in the book reflect this “hybrid Japanese” style, where a Japanese flavor is used to make a simple dish spectacular. Some recipes are traditional Japanese foods, but pared down and simplified so they can be enjoyed at home without much fuss. So even if you don’t think you like Japanese food, there’s bound to be something in this book that appeals to you. Here’s some of what you’ll find…

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Yum! If you would like to purchase a copy…

The Japanese Pantry in paperback format is sold through and is Amazon Prime eligible. You can also order it directly from the publisher, Create Space (owned by Amazon), which I confess will net me a higher royalty.  Whichever way you choose, know that I greatly appreciate your support.


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Welcome to the new Thyme Bombe!

Looks a little different around here, doesn’t it? Welcome to the new Thyme Bombe, everyone!

I know I’ve been gone for a while, but it’s because I’ve been working on some things behind the scenes for the last few months that are just now ready to come to light – the first of which you’re seeing now. This isn’t just a facelift though, there are some other changes happening to this site that I hope you’ll be just as excited about as I am.

Firstly, from here on I’ll be focusing mostly on recipe creation. Not every post will be a recipe, but all posts will be very focused on food and less focused on personal stories and day-to-day life. I want to continue sharing my personal goings-on with all of you, but from now on those things will be shared when they are relevant to the food I’m sharing too.

Next, I want to start providing you with more informative, quality content. No more pictures of some random dinner I threw together last night. I want to delve into the history of different foods, the origin of exotic ingredients, and how these things can fit into your life and your own style of cooking.

And finally, I want to present all of this to you with stunning photos of beautiful food. I have learned a lot about photography in the last year, and while I have a long way to go before I feel like I really have a grip on it, I am definitely a stronger photographer now than I was at this blog’s beginning. From now on, dimly lit photos snapped without much thought or care simply won’t make the cut.

Garlicky Shiitake Saute

I imagine it’ll take some time before I figure out exactly what belongs on this blog and what doesn’t, so I hope you’ll be patient with me as I work through it, but hopefully what you’ll see in the coming months is a movement toward a better blog with more interesting and beautiful content. I really think you’re gonna like it.

And stay tuned in the following days for another big announcement that has been over a year in the making! If you’ve been reading that long, you may be able to guess what it is…


Date night at The Spence

I know I’ve been absent for a while. Jeff and I both got the flu last month so we’ve both been generally tired and “off” for quite some time now. After an entire month spent indoors eating dry toast for dinner and never seeing the light of day, it was finally time we got out into the world again.

This past weekend we took a date night to The Spence, one of Richard Blais’s newish restaurants in Atlanta. We decided to do our usual thing and order a bajillion small plates in lieu of entrees so that we could try more of the menu, which sounded incredible.

Started off with buffalo sweetbreads garnished with both creamed and powdered bleu cheese and a few sprigs of celery leaf. These were extraordinarily spicy, but still really soft and delicious.

Buffalo sweetbreads

Next was the porcini mushroom and shortrib pasta. It was pretty good, with chewy pasta and a runny egg. There was very little shortrib though, and I think the mushrooms were added as a powder because the flavor was there but they were nowhere to be seen.

Porcini and shortrib pasta

Then harissa spiced beef tartare with fried quail eggs and tater tots. This one was so yummy! I loved the tater tots standing in for the requisite toast, but there really should have been a lot more of them. We ended up just eating several spoonfuls of raw beef towards the end there.

Harissa beef tartare with tater tots

Another delicious dish suffering from a lack of sufficient toast: foie gras with Japanese green peaches. There was other stuff on it too that wasn’t mentioned on the menu. Some shallot slices that tasted like they were marinated in the peach juice, something that looked like yuzu gel but tasted like nothing, possibly crushed hazelnuts, and a pickled olive that took me by surprise. It was really tasty, but again there wasn’t enough toast to pile it all on so we ended up eating almost half of it straight up, which was not my favorite thing ever. Those little green peaches were incredible though.

Foie with green peaches and brioche

Jeff was full so we opted to skip to dessert. I could’ve eaten one more dish but I just hadn’t been too impressed by anything so far so I chose to skip it. We got the yuzu semifreddo with peach sorbet and chili oil….

Yuzu semifreddo and peach sorbet with chili oil

It was gross.

The semifreddo had almost no discernable flavor and the chili oil was CRAZY overpowering. The menu also didn’t mention that there would be flavorless cracker crumbs and bitter cacao nibs, which is strange because chocolate is a common allergen and should always be mentioned up front. There was also one lone sprig of cilantro that completely freaked me out when I wasn’t expecting it. None of the flavors in this dessert went together at all, it was really bizarre and easily the worst dessert I’ve ever had.

All in all, I wasn’t too impressed with The Spence. It was incredibly noisy, so noisy that you kind of have to just give up on talking to each other until you leave. Our waiter kind of sucked too, he acted like he had just decided that we weren’t going to order much from the beginning and that we were wasting his time. Maybe he was just having a bad night but his mood really seemed targeted at us. And maybe this is a weird thing to critique, but I hated the off-center plating of most of the dishes. I know it was intentional, but it didn’t appear intentional. It always just looked like the food had slid to one side of the plate in between the kitchen and the table, made me feel like I was eating rejects.

So, not my favorite Atlanta restaurant. Sucks because there were so many yummy-sounding things on the menu that I wanted to come back and try, but now not so much.

Moving on…

We parked the car at home after dinner and walked into Decatur looking for a place to grab a nice cocktail or two and ended up at The Pinewood. We basically had the whole bar to ourselves, so we really were able to relax and talk and enjoy our drinks leisurely.

I started with the Pinewood cup. It’s white whiskey, mint, sugar, bitter lemon soda, rhubarb bitters, and seasonal fruit. It was fruity and delicious with just enough booze.

Pinewood cup

Jeff got a Brown Derby which includes bourbon, honey, and fresh grapefruit juice. He always orders well, I liked his better than mine!

Brown derby

We were there long enough to try two more cocktails. He had a Dark and Stormy and I had a Porch Punch. The punch had peach and anise flavors; I really enjoyed it. Jeff’s cocktail was extra gingery from its house made ginger beer.

We’ve actually been to The Pinewood once before with some friends, and I even took photos but never got around to blogging about it. The food we had on that occasion was all excellent. I remember some really stand-out fried green tomatoes and the creamiest broad bean hummus.

So if you’re ever in Decatur, definitely give The Pinewood a try. The Spence though, I’m not sure if I would recommend as much.

It was a really nice date night though. I’m glad we’re both feeling better and getting out and about again!

For my fellow Atlantans: What restaurant do you recommend we try next?

For Everyone: What’s the worst dessert you’ve ever had?