A Five-Dollar Tomato?

The first floor of our condo has space for two shops. One has not yet been occupied, but the other has a small French cafe, Au Temps Perdu, which, according to the sign, is a “tratieur pâtissier” -- a pastry delicatessen. They've only recently opened, of course, and as of yet have only a small takeout selection in a display case. The stuff they have seems very authentically French in that I have no interest in it (most seem to involve pâté or gelatinous meats of dubious animal parts).

However, they do have one delightfully refreshing item: a tomato. It's a cooked and skinned tomato served chilled, stuffed with cucumber and a scallop-based paste of some sort.

Now, when I first heard it described, the whole thought of “scallop-based paste” made my stomach a tad uneasy. I don't dislike scallops -- they're okay -- but not my favorite. It just seems to me that some things shouldn't be made into a paste, and at first thought scallops fall into that category. However, the chef said that the scallop taste is quite light, and that it's refreshing. The yummy thought of a chilled tomato overtook the queasiness of “scallop-based paste”, so I got one. They cost 500 yen (about US$4.50).

It was exquisitely tasty. Indeed, the scallop taste was very light, and I would have been hard pressed to identify it if I hadn't know ahead of time. The combination of the paste, cucumber, tomato, and whatever else was in there (such as a bit of mint on top) was absolutely delightful.

I think Au Temps Perdu is a small chain with several shops in Kyoto, and if so, perhaps they all have the same items. In any case, one at our condo is at Kyoto, Sakyouku, Okazaki Enshojicho 64, and their phone number is 075-762-1299.

Highly recommended.

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