Chapter 15:

Taste test

Spice of life [Remake]

"I never want to go back there again," Masaru groaned.

"Me neither," Itsuki concurred.

"Seriously, did that place put sleeping pills in our drinks?" Matcha complained.

"I bet you all were just wiped. You were workin pretty hard," Waki chimed.

"Perhaps, though that fog that suddenly appeared made even me feel sleepy," Benihime sighed.

"The whole thing was weird," Zuina mumbled.

"I heard they had a crazy customer causing trouble and setting up pranks," Mimi stated.

"Yeah, luckily they threw the jerk out. Well, guess maybe we'll have to bring the karaoke here next time," Rika smiled.

"Please don't," Masaru pleaded.

"I mean, this restaurant was renovated from only a small portion of an abandoned mall, and since we own the whole building and land thanks to the freebie awarded to the top graduate of Tabemono, we could renovate the whole mall and make it a mega restaurant."

"I thought Masaru was the top graduate. Why did you get to pick the location?" Itsuki asked.

"No, I consider Rika the top graduate. I only placed higher than her because she botched a written test," Masaru stated.

"Hey, I'm not great with paperwork," Rika pouted.

"Since we were to open a restaurant together, I opted to allow Rika to choose the location. It also served as a birthday gift to her."

"Yeah, we were able to get it renovated just in time to open on our birthdays, April 12th."

"You two were born on the same day?" Itsuki asked.

"That's right. As for my present to him, I promised that the restaurant we've built up will be his big present next year. Oh, guess we'll also be celebrating the restaurant’s one year anniversary then too."

Suddenly, a deliveryman arrived with some packages. "Oh good, they're here. Now let's continue that discussion about the drink menu from last night," Rika smiled as she signed for the packages.

The contents of the packages were revealed to be blenders and a juice dispenser. "Why did you order these?" Masaru sighed.

"Cause I wanna expand the drink menu. We should offer some of the more standard fountain drinks to start, but I also thought we could use some smoothies," Rika replied.


"Yes, we can have a range from basic, to complex super fruit."


"For more variety, plus they can be made relatively quickly and easily."

"Come to think of it, we never really dabbled much with smoothies at Tabemono Gakuin, don't even think there was even a specific course on it," Matcha replied.

"All you gotta do is put the right measurements in the blender. We can even set up an ingredient chart to make things easier. Now let's get some samples done before we open up."


"And why is an elite establishment serving something as asinine as a smoothie?" Makihara glared as he entered the restaurant alongside Helga and Sundae.

"Really? You're gonna diss smoothies? Bad idea. Many people drink some kind of smoothie whether it be a fruit based, veggie based, or protein-based drink. And to counter your point, some smoothies use some pretty exotic and expensive ingredients," Rika glared.

"I'm surprised you're even showing your face here," Itsuki glared.

"I had to see how my daughter and protégé were surviving the heathen's tyranny," Makihara glared back.

"In that case, I suggest you try our turmeric kale açaí blend with fruit," Rika smirked as she handed Makihara a sample.

"Any barbarian can easily place food into a blender. It is not gourmet."

After taking a sip, Makihara glared back in frustration as he clenched the cup and finished the sample.

"Seems like our gourmet smoothie was hit. Wanna order one? We have small, medium, and large sizes for your convenience," Rika smirked.

Makihara responded with a glare as he went to his table along with Helga and Sundae. "I ain't thirsty," Helga glared as she refused to have a sample.

"I wouldn't drink your slop, I'm only here to see Makihara-sama destroy your place in his evaluation," Sundae sneered.

"Welcome to Ryokoma. I'm Mimi and I'll be your server," Mimi smiled as she approached the three.

Helga gazed at Mimi and immediately began to feel sadness. She still could not get that image of Mimi's somber smile out of her head from their first meeting. "I'll try one of your new drinks, which one do you recommend," Helga sighed.

"You want a recommendation!? Don't worry! I'll give you the one I think would best suit you," Mimi smiled.


Helga sipped the smoothie Mimi brought to her. "What is this?" she growled.

"It's a hyldeblomstsaft smoothie. I was the one who suggested we make it," Mimi sheepishly laughed.

"Why the hell would you give me this?"

"Because you look similar to Hylda, whose codename was Hyldeblomstsaft."

"I'm not whoever you think I am, nor am I gonna be a replacement," Helga glared as she gulped down the drink.

"Just like her, even down to the tone," Mimi somberly smiled.

"Oi, don't smile like that! It makes me... miserable."

"I actually have a question, what is your culinary background?" Makihara asked.

"Um, not sure. I mean, I've worked as a waitress before," Mimi replied.

"So, you are merely a server, then I request some uni pasta."

"Bet you think you're a cute shit huh? Well, your little act won't work on me. I bet that heathen hired her just cause she's good at buttering people up. I'll have to smack some sense into Helga after this," Sundae thought as she glared at Mimi.

"So, what would you like?" Mimi asked Sundae.

"Tell the heathen I want a poached lobster with caviar mousse," Sundae sneered.


Rika smirked as she gazed at the orders before heading over to Masaru. "Seems like Makihara's getting bold. He wants a poached lobster with caviar mousse."

"Very well, I shall handle it," Masaru stated as he immediately got to work.

"I'll handle the uni pasta. That means you're left with Helga's meal, Matcha."

"ME!? But what about Itsuki?" Matcha protested.

"I think you can handle Helga. Especially since Mimi's softened her up. Itsuki can handle the other orders we've got piled up."

"I concur. Matcha, you should have a little more self confidence in yourself," Itsuki nodded.

"Ugh, fine. But don't tell that bitch I was the one that made the meal," Matcha groaned.


"Thanks for waiting," Mimi smiled as she returned with the food.

"It seems Masaru has done well. This uni pasta tastes exquisite," Makihara nodded as he ate his Uni pasta.

"Not bad, Itsuki seems to have done a good job," Helga grumbled as she ate her dish.

Sundae stared at her dish before taking a bite. "Better than I expected, but that stays with me," Sundae thought.

Is the food alright?" Masaru asked as he came to check on them.

"Mine was fine, though probably because Itsuki made it," Helga said.

"Mine was just barely edible, but I guess I couldn't expect much from that heathen," Sundae sneered.

"You did a fine job on my uni pasta, Masaru-kun," Makihara smiled.

"Huh? Makihara-sama, I thought you ordered the poached lobster with caviar mousse," Masaru trembled.

"No, I believe Sundae ordered that. I ordered uni pasta."

"T- Then, the dish..."

"Hmm? Why are you so nervous? I said your cooking was just fine."

"But Rika made that dish, I made the poached lobster with caviar mousse."

Everyone's eyes went wide with shock.

"No, I assumed this dish was made by you," Makihara trembled.

"Rika handled that one with care, even put some secret spice in it. Masaru worked diligently on the Poached lobster and caviar mousse while Matcha handled yours Hyld- Helga," Mimi smiled.

"Wait WHAT!? That bitch made my food!? Then it's- It's... It was good, dammit," Helga cried as her face went red with embarrassment.

"I thought that heathen made my dish. But since Ryono-kun made it, um, it was really good actually!" Sundae nervously smiled.

"That woman... There is no need to mince words Sundae. I must have slipped up. But, as long as Makihara-sama is satisfied with the food, that is fine. I must return to the kitchen," Masaru sighed.

"Nah, take a closer look. She cleaned the plate. She was just acting all snarky earlier cause she hates me. Though I guess I can even earn a smile from Makihara if he doesn't know I'm the one that makes his food," Rika smirked as she appeared.

Makihara responded with a defeated glare as he paid the bill and stormed out.

"You'll pay for this!" Sundae glared in embarrassment as she too huffed away.

Helga remained for a bit and stared at Mimi before getting up and leaving. "A blind taste test huh?" she mumbled to herself.

"Why did you swap the orders around?" Masaru glared at Rika.

"I wanted to test something. Those guys clearly hate me, but how would they react if they didn't know I was the one that cooked? Same could be said for you," Rika replied.

"So, this was a trial. I failed. Sundae hated my dish."

"Like I said-"

"It doesn't matter if she finished. The fact that it wasn't good enough to override her words speaks volumes. I must continue to strive for greater heights if I am to truly surpass you."

"Well then might as well start cooking out of your comfort zone. You can beat me in some areas, but you'll have to get far more creative if you truly want to surpass me," Rika smiled.

Mario Nakano 64
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