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Review: CasaBento Box

As Big Island residents now know, the Hilo Borders will be closing its doors for good at the end of the month. I’ve been getting emails and comments asking if my book signing is still on and unfortunately the answer is no. They called me on Sunday to inform me that they were canceling all of their events. She was very nice about it, telling me that they’d really wanted to meet me and told me that I should call and let them know where I schedule another signing so that they can go.

I had actually planned to do two book signings in Hilo, but just hadn’t gotten my lazy butt around to calling to schedule the second. My dad finally pushed me in the right direction and called from the Book Gallery store since he knows them and I’ve now got one set up for the 24th at 10 AM. I had to decide between Book Gallery and Basically Books, but when I heard that Book Gallery is right next door to Y’s Lunch Shop, my most favoritist, most onolicious, most mouth-waters-at-the-thought shop for food, well there was just no contest there. After this Borders closing thing, I think I’m back to just one signing after all because apparently Hilo folks aren’t all that into books. (or bookstores)

Tonkatsu Bento

Today I’m doing a review of a bento box from a new advertiser that I’ve had for a couple of months now called CasaBento. I’d previously gawked at their prices, but it was eventually explained to me that there are quite a few extra fees for bringing things in from outside Europe and they take care of those fees for their customers. So while it’s expensive for people like me in the US, it’s probably a much more convenient and cost efficient way to buy bento goods in Europe.

One thing is for sure, they have a ridiculous inventory of bento boxes. They currently have 342 different bento boxes in stock. This review is of their Meiji wooden bento box, which CasaBento sent to me.

The box packs a sizable lunch with its two tiers and combines both wood and plastic components. The outer parts of the box are in two pieces that come together to cover the inner plastic tier, which fits onto one half of the wooden pieces.

CasaBento Box

The plastic tray comes with an inner tray, which I used to store my pickles separately from my fruit. There’s a plastic cover for that tray and the top wooden piece goes over that.

The box is quite simply gorgeous and the inside is nice and functional with the separated cup and cover. I have no complaints about it except for the fact that their site says the box is made in Japan, while the sticker I peeled off the bottom said “Made in China”.

The size makes it a great box for men or women and maybe even teens, but I’m not sure I’d trust such an expensive box to a teenager. In summary, I think bento enthusiasts in Europe would be quite happy with this box for packing bento, provided they don’t mind that it’s made in China.

The food I packed in it was rice sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds with an ume in the middle. I cut slices of tonkatsu and laid it on the rice, then placed little pieces of broccoli on top of that. In the other tier, I have strawberries and raspberries in one half and takuan, eggplant pickles, and cucumber pickles in the other half.

Mr. Pikko's Tonkatsu Bento

I made a bento for Mr. Pikko as well, but I just packed broccoli and a tomato for him as a side. Both our sauces were in a separate sauce container.