Umami Mart Registry

More and more these days, I'm starting to feel like a grown-up. I don't know if it's the fact that I am a business owner, or if it's the hipster kids who walk around without a care in the world (who I can't connect with at all), or if it's the pop culture references that I don't get (although when have I ever been hip to pop culture references??), or if it's cause I just turned 33 -- the age Jesus was when he died for all of our sins. While I'm not ready to die, let alone for all the ills of humanity, I do sense a shift in my thinking these days that feels like I've entered another stage of my life.

I think back on 10 years ago -- I had just moved to NYC and was barely scraping by on a meager paycheck as an office assistant at an architecture firm. What's more, I was also interning at an art magazine, fantasizing about getting an "in" into the glamorous art world of New York. What would I say to that 23yo Kayoko? Never stop dreaming! I loved my time in NY and don't regret it one bit. But my 20s were definitely a time of indulgence, world travel, and not so much focus. But where would Umami Mart be without NYC?

Fast forward 10 years later, and while I'm overjoyed at the fact that Umami Mart is now a growing business (never stop dreaming!), I'm actually not making that much more money than when I was 23. While many of my friends are now home owners (Go Yoko!), mothers and fathers, corporate executives and successful career people with plush 401ks and full medical benefits -- I am just starting to grasp the reality of being a Financially Responsible Adult. This means it's not just about "making rent". I've always been okay at saving money, but I never really took retirement or home ownership very seriously. Or kids... I still don't know how people do that.

So I'm trying to take my finances more seriously now that I am Jesus' death age. The other week, I looked at my credit card statement which told me that I had spent over $600 total in restaurants. On my income, that's just crazy, and can basically never happen ever again.

Well, that's solved. So I'll cook more, ok! Another thing I cut? My American Express card. It was great when I was an avid traveler (I was stuck in Madrid once without an ATM card and the Amex office saved me), but I never used the points for anything, and all the while they charged $100 every year for "membership". Dumb. I hate any kind of "fee" with an undying passion.

I had 14,500 points to use before canceling the card. With it, I got an 8-inch All-Clad frying pan.


It was a New Year resolution of mine to start collecting good cookware. It is invaluable and I need to stop being a cheapass and start paying for nice equipment in the kitchen. This is a great start. All-Clad, All American!

The first thing I made in the pan was of course a fried egg.

It's a little on the small size, but it's a start. And the pan looks great next to my kettle!


I have to say that it is SO NICE to have a pan that distributes heat evenly. And it was pretty non-stick which was a relief. However, I have a question for you All-Clad fanatics: How do you clean the oil from the pan once it cools? The sides get all gummy and gross.

As one chapter closes, another begins. Here's to balancing budgets, saving for the future, and cooking at home with the first All-Clad addition to Kayo's Kitchen!
Column: Kayo's Kitchen


  • Happy belated birthday! To be honest I’m a couple of years older than you and still don’t understand how people manage to juggle everything these days. I wanted to say that I recently started following your blog and really enjoy it (^_^). As for the pan, maybe you can heat it up a little bit and wipe the oil with a paper towel? I’m not sure since I usually have pans with black anti-stick coatings.

    Natasja on

  • I’m right there with you, sister. I’m also 33 this year, a small business owner, and looking around wondering when all my friends grew up, got a mortgage and started replicating?? Bewildering. I totally get it. I dislike monotony and there are way too many things that I want to experience before life is over. I accept that I’m going to take my sweet time. Thank you antibiotics and thank you modern hygiene for letting humans live longer than in Jesus’ time so we can do that. Thank you women’s lib for letting me max out my child-bearing years focusing on my selfish self :) Our two All-Clad pans have gone through everything, including daily use in our commercial dishwasher, and they’re still awesome. The more worn they look, the better – it says that you’re actually using them!

    Aki on

  • Kayo’s growing up! Am I bad that I don’t really mind grease stains on my All-Clad? I was like you at first, wanting them to look pristine and new but then at some point (after the second time using them, maybe?) kind of stopped caring about that. As long as they do the job and the gunk (there’s never much) doesn’t interfere with cooking, I’m a happy clam! I’m really not much help here…

    chungy on

  • Elbow grease is the only way to get that cooled-on grease off. Doing it after each use makes it not-so-bad. Wait till after the 10th use, and you’ll curse yourself for not doing it sooner! Have fun with your new pan- it’s our most-used pan in our house :)

    Emily on

  • Bar Keepers Friend keeps my All-Clads shiny and new. I buy the powdered form. It’s great for cleaning my stainless steel sink, too.

    Stacy on

  • Never stop dreaming, Kayoko!

    Johnny on

  • Love this post I can totally relate!

    tomo on

  • Hi Kayoko,
    I just want to say hi and that I think you’re rad.

    Dawn on

  • As mentioned before, Barkeepers Friend is the factory recommended cleaner. Never, never use a chlorinated cleanser such as Comet or Ajax. Like you, I love all of my All Clad pieces. I don’t exert much time on the exterior but every once in a while I use some fine steel wool to clean up the exterior. Putting you pans in the dishwasher will ruin the finish of the exterior if you have the any of the pans that don’t have the stainless steel finish. As with my kitchen knives, I never put my pans in the dishwasher. It took an enormous amount of effort and elbow grease to restore the original finish to a couple of pans that have the LTD finish. Good luck! And love your blog!!

    Kiyoshi k on

  • Kayoko, I can’t believe it took me so long to read this. So i’m a few months late, but really. I feel you so much girl. Way to go for cutting that card up. I can’t look at my statement for fear of what I spend at restaurants. One day. I’ll get there. And that pan looks rad. xo

    Sequoia on

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