Free Daiei Sake Tasting at Matsuri

Event Organizer’s Description:
Due to popular demand, we are excited to announce we’re hosting a FREE SAKE TASTING NIGHT at Matsuri in partnership with the Daiei Trading Company. Try different types of Sakes from all over Japan, learn sake terminology, origins, food pairings, and discover your inner Japanese palette! Guests will have a chance to win a dinner for two at Matsuri based off a “Daiei Sake Score Card” in their tastings. A small lecture will kick off the event for a fine evening of sake and tastings with the brewers. Bring a friend or two for an evening of sake — beginners, connoisseurs and enthusiasts welcome. Kanpai!

RSVP Required.

Matsuri
The Maritime Hotel
369 West 16th Street (at 9th Ave)
New York, NY
Thursday, November 5th
6 – 8 pm

Priority RSVP info@matsurinyc.com
List open until capacity. 21+.

www.matsurinyc.com
Follow us at @matsurinyc

artisanal.gif
Sake & Artisanal Cheese: East Meets West

Sake & Artisanal Cheese: East Meets West
When Saturday, Nov 14, 2009
Where Artisanal Premium Cheese Center
Description Deluxe Sakes and Artisanal Cheeses East meets West Fine Sakes comprise a world unto themselves, just like Artisanal Cheeses, each of them distinct, delightful and delicious. Join Akiko Katayama, America’s foremost Japanese Food & Beverage Ambassador, Sake Expert Monica Samuels, and our Dean of Curriculum Max McCalman in this thoroughly enjoyable tasting of the finest of Sakes paired brilliantly with some great cheese partners.

http://www.artisanalcheese.com/prodinfo.asp?number=17DSACE

The Artisanal Premium Cheese Center,
500 W. 37th Street, New York, NY 10018
http://www.artisanalcheese.com

Sake App!

Sake App!

Our friend Michael over at LosAngelesSake.com has done what SO many tech savvy sake fans have been clamoring for! A sake Iphone app! This is the kind of thing that I always said, I wish I knew how to do that! Luck for us, Michael does and he has coded a pretty super sake Iphone app.

Click Here (will open Itunes) to view and download the app! The first version of the sake app has been released and features some pretty cool features:

  • Notes: record detailed tasting notes on the sakes you are tasting.
  • Photos: Take a snap shot of the sake labels or choose one from your existing photo library
  • Social: Share your favorite sakes with the world with twitter integration.
  • Ratings: rate each sake and compare them with your friends!
  • Favorites: Keep a list of your favorite sakes for easy reference.
  • Email: Email sake notes, including the label photo

If you’re a a sake-drinkin’ Iphone owner, check it out and give it a try! It’s a must have for sake fans!

Murai Family Sake Tasting at Landmark
Tasting of Murai Family Sakes at Landmark.
5-8:30pm

Landmark Wine and Sake
167 West 23rd street
New York NY 10011
212-242-2323

FALL SAKE TASTING EVENT #2
October, 29th, 2009 (Thur) 6-11pm
$48 (5 courses of fine food & sake)

Please make a reservation
Kappa Sake House
388 5th Ave. Park Slope, NY 11215 / 718-832-2970
kappasakehouse@gmail.com

Appetizer
1) MISO TOFU Warm organic tofu served with sweet miso sauce

2) SALMON SKIN SALAD
Crunchy broiled salmon skin & mixed green with Soy mustard dressing

3) HOME STYLE CHA-SHU Simmered pork butt with soy , sake & ginger
or
UNAGI NIGIRI SUSHI Grilled eel sushi (*for not meat eater)

4)OKOWA Steamed sticky rice with shiitake mushroom & Vegetables

5) ANNIN TOFU Almond Jell-O & pear fruits.

Sake
1) KAMOIZUMI Summer Snow Nigori Ginjyo (Unfiltered) from Hiroshima
Rich,creamy & brimming with exuberant natural flavor. Its a GENSHU alcohol percentage 17-18%

2) HOYO GENJI Shinning Prince Junmai / Ginjyo from Miyagi
An new style sake that trim, relaxed & expressive.

3) KITANO NISHIKI Glory of the North Hizo Junmai from Hokkaido
Dry & rich sake that produced from an aged master brew stored in ice-cooled vats before being diluted with pure water.

4) TEDORIGAWA YAMAHAI Silver Mountain Junmai from Ishikawa
This Junmai sake has dry, sharp & smooth all in one. Using the old YAMAHAI method.

5) DESSERT SAKE

*Menu can be change at that time.

There was a wonderful tasting this week held at Matsuri Restaurant in Chelsea featuring the delicious sakes of Joto Sake. What made this event especially exciting was the presence of four of Joto sake brewers!

Joto Sake Tasting

Joto Sake Tasting

When people ask me what they should do to learn more about sake, I always respond “meet the brewers!”. Talking one-on-one with the people who actually make sake is a fantastic way to learn, experience and taste this magical drink. We’re so lucky in New York City to have many tasting and sake events with sake Brewers in attendance.

This Joto event is a prime example. There were four brewers on hand to introduce sake from their respective breweries. Also, at this event, the brewers brought along food specialties from their area of Japan.

Fukumoto-san from Kasumitsuru Brewery brought his sakes along with his fall nama known as a “hiyaoroshi”. As a matter of fact, all brewers had their special fall nama with them. Delicious! Fukumoto-san also had dried squid, a specialty from Hyogo prefecture.

Fukumoto-san Introduces Kasumi tsuru sake.

Fukumoto-san Introduces Kasumi tsuru sake.

Next, I met up with Tomita-san from Shichihonyari brewery. I was lucky enough to visit Tomita-san’s beautiful brewery in 2008. Tomita-san is one cool dude and he had his famous Shizuku drip sake and also the renouned Shichihonyari Junami on hand to try. They also offered their Hiyaoroshi which was only milled to 80% and a rough and ready taste of pure autumnal sake goodness.

Tomita-san with his Hiyaoroshi Fall Nama

Tomita-san with his Hiyaoroshi Fall Nama

The sakes of Akita are well known and one star from that region is the Yukinobosha brand made by Saito Brewery. Saito-san was also in attendance and pouring several of his über-delicious brews. Their enchanting Akita Komachi Daiginjo caught my attention yet again – what a wonderful sake! Elegant, smooth and silky. Of course, the lone nigori of the night was the fantastic Yukinobosha nigori. yum

Saito-san pours Yukinobosha sake!

Saito-san pours Yukinobosha sake!

Last but not least, the brewers from Eiko Fuji presented some fantastic stuff. I had a sip of their delicious fall nama, as well as a unique Ume-shu or plum sake. It was lightly sweet, full of elegant plum flavor and not too overpowering – a real surprise! I also enjoyed one of my favorite Namas of all time – the Eiko Fuji nama! Just delicious and produced year round.

This tasting was a home run in so many ways! great sake, great education and great location. And with an admission price of $20, you cannot beat the price. If you want to be alerted to future events, please subscribe to the UrbanSake.com Events RSS feed! I list all sake events I hear of and I hope to see you at the next sake tasting!

Joto Sake tasting Details

Joto Sake tasting Details

Yes, the Japan Times!

Yes, the Japan Times!

Sake Day comes once a year on Oct 1st. This year, I was a little distracted with a certain boat trip, but in my soul, every day is Sake Day.

For Sake Day 2009, I was honored to be asked by the Japan Times for an interview about all things sake. Take a look at the interview! Download PDF

Japan times

Japan times

thanks to Jon at Seoul-man blog for the scan!

sakenomi.gifSake 101: Sake Made Simple

Event Organizer’s Description:

Saké 101:
Saké Made Simple

Here at Saké Nomi, we believe the more we learn about saké, the more we can enjoy it!

Our semi-regularly scheduled Saké 101: “The Basics,” or “Why Does This Stuff Taste So Good?” is a big part of our ongoing effort to demystify and spread the word about the wonderful libation we love so much.

Saké 101 begins at, well, the beginning, and covers all the essential information you need to enhance your saké drinking experience. From how premium saké is graded, to the brewing process and beyond, this fun, casual evening will put you “in the know” regarding this mystical, magical beverage and, quite possibly, change your life!

Our next session of Saké 101 will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 27, @ 7:00 p.m. Cost for the approx. 90-minute course is $70/person and includes all saké, food, and course materials.

During the class, we’ll cover all the basics during the lecture/video portion (while drinking, of course), and then we’ll let the saké do the talking, paired with a variety of foods.

Class size is limited, and spaces are held in the order we receive the reservations, so if you’re interested in joining us, please reserve your spot as soon as possible, and no later than Saturday, Oct. 24.

To reserve your spot(s), please contact us at (206) 467-SAKE or info@sakenomi.us.

Sake Nomi
76 South Washington Street,
Seattle, Washington 98104
Tel: 206-467-SAKE
http://www.sakenomi.us/

sakenomi.gifSake Nomi Manga Event

Event Organizer’s Description:

Saké Nomi in the Funny Papers
Kurodo Publication
Anime & Manga Event

A couple months back, we got quite a shock (and, a bit of a thrill) when friends in Japan informed us we were featured in the manga magazine (great potential band name?), Big Comic Original.

‘Seems our artist friend Akira Oze slipped us into his most recent saké-related series, Kurodo.

Kurodo focuses on the fictional (mis-)adventures of Seattle native Claude Buttermaker, in his quest to become a master saké brewer in Japan’s Shimane prefecture.

In the 10th and final volume of the series, Claude heads back to Seattle to visit his ailing, estranged father, and when he’s in town, he stops by his favorite saké shop for some drinks with his old nomidachi.

We just received an autographed copy from Ozei-sensei, and we’d like to share the surreal experience with our friends.

Please join us Sunday, Oct. 25 from 2 to 6 p.m. to sample some Shimane brews and browse through Kurodo and Ozei-sensei’s other famous series, Natsuko’s Saké.

We’ll have some anime on in the background, and we could easily be convinced to replay The Simpsons and South Park Japan-related episodes, if you’re that way inclined.

76 South Washington Street,
Seattle, Washington 98104
Tel: 206-467-SAKE
http://www.sakenomi.us/

New Yorkers: Taste The Record Setting Nanbu Toji Gold Medal Saké & Gain Personal Insight Into America’s Fascination With The Wine of Japan

Nanbu Toji Gold Medal & Murai Family Saké Tasting Date: November 9 Time: 6:30 (approximately 2 hours) Cost: $45
Trade and Press Inquiries: Contact Monica Samuels (562) 331-0128 Limited Seating: 35 people Location: New York Vintners, 21 Warren Street, New York, NY, 10007 Reservations: 212-812-3999
Web: www.newyorkvintners.com

New York Vintners (21 Warrant Street, Tribeca) hosts Kyota Murai, the President of Momokawa Brewing Japan (sold in the U.S. under the Murai Family label). Kyota will pour the family’s 60th gold medal winner from the exclusive Nanbu Toji Saké Competition, among other selections from the Murai Family brand, and share his insights into the American saké trend. The evening is set to begin at 6:30 PM on Monday, November 9.

Kyota’s family saké brewery holds the Japan national record for the number of years in a row to receive a Nanbu Toji gold medal. “It is a great honor to have achieved this recognition for so many years. It is the hard work of our Master Toji (brewer) and his entire team,” noted Mr. Murai. “To share it with our friends in NY will be a special experience since there is so little bottled each year.” Few bottles of each year’s contest entry make it to market and even fewer cross the Pacific to be found in the U.S. “We’ve seen a few bottles here in New York the past few years but usually in very exclusive locations,” noted Chris Johnson, Japanese certified saké sommelier and New York saké expert. “The Nanbu Toji is an exclusive association of saké brewers, currently Japan’s most regarded, and the gold medal winner is always a very special saké. One you have to sip to fully understand.”

In addition to saké tasting, Japanese style Tapas and general saké information, Kyota Murai provides a unique perspective on America’s growing fascination with saké. Having grown up in the family saké brewery, he spent fifteen years in America where he finished his education while assisting in family interests in SakéOne, the American saké brewery and importer of the Murai Family saké. Kyota’s involvement with saké in America predates most of today’s importers and growing legions of “experts.” He will present is insight into the changing saké landscape of America and be joined by Monica Samuels, Saké Ambassador with Southern Wine & Spirits. Chris Johnson will also be on hand to answer questions and discuss the saké presented.

The Nanbu Toji Association is the leading collective of saké brewers in Japan. The annual competition holds its members to the quality criteria as defined by the association and only those that adhere to this strict standard are recognized. The 60 years of gold medals achieved by Momokawa Brewing Japan is unsurpassed.
Kyota Murai is the 6th generation Murai to guide the family saké kura (brewery). Kyota lived in America for sixteen years where he attained his degree from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon and operated a custom motorcycle business where he won awards for his design work. During his time in Oregon, Kyota stayed connected to saké as a member of the board of directors at SakéOne, the American saké kura that his family helped develop. Kyota returned home to Aomori Prefecture in the Spring of 2007 when he accepted the reigns of the family kura. Today, Kyota continues his director role with SakéOne while he focuses increasing energy on the success and direction of his family’s brewery.

Come for the rare Nanbu Toji gold medal winner, explore Murai Family Saké, and gain a personal insight into saké evolution in America.

Nanbu Toji Gold Medal & Murai Family Saké Tasting Date: November 9 Time: 6:30 (approximately 2 hours) Cost: $45
Trade and Press Inquiries: Contact Monica Samuels (562) 331-0128 Limited Seating: 35 people Location: New York Vintners, 21 Warren Street, New York, NY, 10007 Reservations: 212-812-3999
Web: www.newyorkvintners.com

sake_world_bannerHave you ever wanted to tour Japan and visit the places where sake is made? I just heard about an amazing opportunity to do just that!! Sake-World expert John Gaunter and TokyoFoodCast dynamo Etsuko Nakamura are undertaking something I had always wished existed – Sake Brewery Tours!

John and Etsuko have two sake brewery tours set up for early 2010. I’m telling you – these are not to be missed and they couldn’t be lead by more knowledgeable or nicer people. It’s a rare opportunity to peek inside the closed world of the Sake Brewer and see the delicious day to day live of making the world’s best beverage.

Here are the details:
Sake Brewery Tour of Japan’s Kansai Region

Kansai Region

Kansai Region

Feb. 23 – Feb. 27, 2010
>See Details
>Download PDF Brochure

February 23, 2010 (Tuesday) Kyoto
You will arrive at Karasuma Kyoto Hotel by individually arranged transportation.

February 24, 2010 (Wednesday) Fushimi, Kyoto
The day begins with a half-day lecture by John Gauntner to prepare you for our brewery visits. The collection of brewing tools and bottles spanning all eras of the industry at the Gekkeikan Sake Museum deepens your knowledge. We make our first brewery visit in the scenic and historic Fushimi Ward of Kyoto City, an area that continues to prosper as one of the two brewing capitals in Japan and as the home to more than twenty breweries.
sugidama

February 25, 2010 (Thursday) Kyoto Optional Tour
You may choose to spend the day leisurely exploring Kyoto on your own, or make an optional visit to Tenryuji Zen Monastery in Arashiyama. After wandering among the deep, tranquil bamboo groves, enjoy the stunning view from the impeccably manicured Japanese garden at the private estate of the late silent movie star, Ōkōchi Sansō. Then, we visit Matsuo Taisha, dedicated to the god of sake brewing, which is worshiped and visited by almost every brewer in the nation. A visit to the serene moss garden at Saihō-ji, also known as the Moss Temple, will leave you with peaceful memories of the ancient capital.

February 26, 2010 (Friday) Kobe and Osaka
In the morning, we will visit another brewery in Kobe, the largest brewing center in the country, and continue to Osaka for a castle visit. The final kura tour and dinner at an historic brewery will leave everyone with beautiful memories.

February 27, 2010 (Saturday) Kyoto
On the last day in Kyoto, the morning begins with a walk down the passageways of one of Kyoto’s main fish and vegetable markets, Nishiki Market. There is a wide selection of pickles, specialty local vegetables (Kyo-yasai), bean curd, and traditional Japanese cooking tools to delight any foodie. After an early lunch at the market, a visit to Nijo Castle is the feast for the eyes with sumptuous artwork from the Edo period at the Shogun’s residence and the strolling garden designed by Kobori Enshu.

Sake Brewery Tour of Japan’s Sanin Region

Sanin Region

Sanin Region

March 15 – March 19, 2010
>See Details
>Download PDF Brochure

March 15, 2010 (Monday) Yonago, Tottori
You will arrive at Yonago Airport or JR Yonago station in Tottori individually and transfer to the Hotel.

March 16, 2010 (Tuesday) Yonago and Sakaiminato, Tottori
A half-day lecture by John Gauntner prepares you for our journey. In Sakaiminato, enjoy the first brewery tour and tasting right in the heart of very popular Mizuki Shigeru Road where statues of spooky yet very comical characters welcome visitors. Then, stroll in the beautiful Japanese gardens of the Adachi Museum of Art and enjoy their collection of Japanese paintings by renowned artists, most notably, Yokoyama Taikan.

March 17, 2010 (Wednesday) Matsue, Shimane
Private car takes you to Matsue. This beautiful city surrounded by water is often called “ the Venice of Japan ”. Start the day by visiting a sake brewery. From the brewery, explore the beautiful historical city on foot and on by small boat through the canals surrounding the castle. Savory banquet-style dinner served with local sake at a Japanese-style inn.

March 18, 2010 (Thursday) Izumo and Yunotsu, Shimane
In the morning, visit one more sake brewery. Then, wander the Izumo Grand Shrine, one of Japan’s most ancient and important shrines. A visit to the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo to browse through the stunning collection of historical discoveries gives you insights into the pre-historic myth, religion, and history of this old crossroads. In the evening, stay at the quaint, tiny coastal onsen town of Yunotsu and enjoy a quiet, relaxing evening. Banquet style dinner and sake are served at the ryokan.

March 19, 2010 (Friday) Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, Shimane and Hiroshima
Explore the town of Yunotsu on foot and tramp along a rocky coastal beach or visit a pottery studio where you can see a traditional kiln. Then, visit the most recent World Heritage Site in Japan, Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, where you explore the old mining town accessible only on foot. A leisurely stroll along the winding creek with blooming spring flowers and the sound of birds creates a timeless moment.
A private car takes you to JR Hiroshima Station, where you can continue your travels or head back to Tokyo or Kansai. Participants will continue with any onward travel plans. Note that Michi Travel can make arrangements for you.

akita.gif“The Ninth Autumn Akita Sake Tasting Event”

ASC was established in June 2006 to introduce AKITA Prefecture’s sake, food, and goods to the people in the NYC area. This Autumn, ASC is proud to announce “The Akita Sake Tasting Event” on November 11, 2009.
Please join over 20 visiting sake brewers from Akita and different all across Japan to taste over 30 of finest sakes we have chosen for you to try.
You can also savour some of Akita’s delicacies such as Kiritanpo, mashed rice stick, broiled and boiled in soup, Akita miso flavor honey chicken, Iburi gakko (Smoked radish pickles), and many others. For our environment’s sake, please bring your sake glass ! Guest musicians will be performing Jazz for our guests.

Organizer:[ASC: Akita Sake Club] Sponsor:[Sun Pop International Corporation]
Date: November 11, 2009 (Wednesday) Time: 7:00pm to 9:00pm Location: The Japanese American Association of New York, Inc. 15 West 44th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10036

Space is limited and reservation is required. Please pay the admission fee by Cash (No change, please) at the reception desk on November 11, 2009. Admission Fee: $50 Reservation/Contact: Masatoshi Yamamoto
Sun Pop International Corporation 211 East 43rd Street, Suite 1702, New York, NY 10017 Tel: 212-682-4393 Fax: 212-682-4392 e-mail: sunpop@worldnet.att.net http://ascc.blog55.fc2.com

Joto Sake Seminar and Tasting at Matsuri

Tuesday, October 20th, at Matsuri in the Maritime Hotel: an advanced sake seminar for the trade and serious sake consumers from 5 to 6pm; we will transition to an open sake tasting from 6 to 8pm in Matsuri’s cocktail lounge. We will be pouring 20+ more sakes, including some fall seasonal. The seminar is free; the tasting is $20 per person; Matsuri is at 369 West 16th street at 9th avenue; reservations, 212-243-6400.

Joto Sake Dinner at L’Artusi

Monday, October 19th, 7 to 9 PM at L’Artusi: A four-course Sake and Italian food pairing dinner at L’Artusi in the West Village, 228 West 10th Street, between Hudson and Bleecker; $95 per person including gratuity and tax; reservations, 212-255-5757. Former chef at Babbo and Le Bernardin, Gabriel Thompson will prepare wonderful Italian food to pair with the sakes presented by our four brewers.

sakaya.gifNinkiichi Junmai Ginjo Tasting

Friday, October 16, 2009, 6-8pm

JFC Tasting

Ninkiichi Junmai Ginjo

SAKAYA
324 E. 9th Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.)
NYC 10003
212.505.7253 (SAKE)
www.sakayanyc.com

sakaya.gifJapan Prestige Sake Hiyaoroshi Tasting

Friday, October 24, 2009, 5-7pm

Japan Prestige Sake Hiyaoroshi Tasting

SAKAYA
324 E. 9th Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.)
NYC 10003
212.505.7253 (SAKE)
www.sakayanyc.com

sakaya.gifJapan Prestige Sake Hiyaoroshi Tasting

Friday, October 30, 2009, 6-8pm

Japan Prestige Sake Hiyaoroshi Tasting

SAKAYA
324 E. 9th Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.)
NYC 10003
212.505.7253 (SAKE)
www.sakayanyc.com

8 Dish Kaiten-Style Sushi Dinner with Sake Tasting

EVENT DETAILS:

Tonight, we invite you to an 8-course sake dinner at Wasabi served kaiten-style. Enjoy a fun evening tasting a variety of modern Japanese cuisine served to you on a conveyor belt!

Executive Chef Miguel Choy, who was born in Peru, combined Japanese and Latin American ingredients to create Wasabi’s fabulous signature dishes. Begin by sipping on green apple and plum saketinis, and Saki Cosmos, and then sit down and relax while chef’s delicious creations for the evening parade before you for your choosing.

The owner, Bo Davis, has carefully selected 3 excellent sakes and a plum wine to pair with your meal. Modern Japanese cuisine is all about flavor and fusion, texture and contrast, freshness and balance. Wasabibrings you food that is a welcome surprise: simple, brilliant and nourishing!

Menu:
Green Apple or Plum Saketini or Saki Cosmo
~ Miso Soup or Wasabi Miso Soup ~
~ Yellowtail or Salmon Soy Tiradito (Peruvian sauce) ~
~ Nigiri Sushi (Yellowtail, Seared Salmon, Grilled Eel, Tuna) ~
Hakushika Chokara
~ Grilled Salmon and Herbed Salad or Seared Tuna and Herb Salad ~
~ Prawn Tempura and Asparagus Roll or Salmon Avocado and Pepper Tempura Roll ~
~ Spicy Salmon with Sesame Seed Roll or Spicy Tuna and Scallions Roll ~
Kaguyahime Sake
~ Crispy Duck and Cucumber or Seared Beef with Spicy Soy Dressing ~
Osakaya Chobei Sake
~ Green Tea Mousse or Chocolate Mousse ~
Choya Plum Wine

When: Wednesday, October 21 from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

Where: Wasabi
908 17th Street, NW
(between I and K Street, NW)
*Farragut North (Red Line) is 2 blocks away

Price: $69.00 if purchased by 5 p.m. Friday, October 2

sakaya.gifNaraman Sake Tasting at SAKAYA

Naraman Brewery Tasting
When: Fri Nov 6, 2009 6pm to Fri Nov 6, 2009 8pm EST

Event Description: Naraman Junmai Sake (Fukushima)

SAKAYA
324 E. 9th Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.)
NYC 10003
212.505.7253 (SAKE)
www.sakayanyc.com

NYC: Sake & Cheese at NY Vintners

EVENT DETAILS:
We will taste five sakes paired with five artisanal cheeses. The sake will include a wide range of styles, including: cloudy, sweet and vintage.sake.

WEBSITE: http://newyorkvintners.com/p-4425-sake-and-cheese-g.aspx
Oct 25, 2009
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Location:
New York Vintners
21 Warren Street
New York, New York 10007
ph. 212.812.3999

COST: We will taste five sakes paired with five artisanal cheeses. The sake will include a wide range of styles, including: cloudy, sweet and vintage.

NYC: Sake & Cheese at NY Vintners

EVENT DETAILS:
We will taste five sakes paired with five cheeses from “East Village Cheese.” The sake will include a cloudy sake in addition to a sweeter sake.

WEBSITE: http://newyorkvintners.com/p-4424-sake-and-cheese-g.aspx
Oct 20, 2009 (Wed)
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Location:
New York Vintners
21 Warren Street
New York, New York 10007
ph. 212.812.3999

COST: 25

Kanpai-NY.com

Kanpai-NY.com

From the Event Sponsor:
Kanpai NY

Hi Everyone, It’s the Fall, and we’re excited to be back from our Summer vacation! Please join us for our next bar night at our favorite restaurant and bar: Soba Totto! As you know, Soba Totto has one of the best bars in the city. And more importantly, they have the best bartender in the city (Gen Yamamoto), who has created an awesome (and always changing) sake list! And if you needed more reasons to hang out with us, we’ve arranged a special price ($2 off) on glasses of Daishichi, Dassai, and Dewazakura! Yeah, we’re calling it “DDD” night! So, let’s drink some “DDD” together! Eamon

New York, NY 10017 – USA

Thursday, October 15 at 7:00 PM

Details: http://www.meetup.com/kanpai-ny/calendar/11579563/

Our Arrival in Osaka was rainy, but still exciting – they had a high school band playing and lots of kids were out to see the big boat pull into port. One thing that set Osaka apart from Sendai, Hakodate and even Tokyo was the development of the Pier area. Literally STEPS from the ship there was a huge ferris wheel, the best Aquarium in Japan and a shopping mall to boot.

Osaka Ferris Wheel at the Dock

Osaka Ferris Wheel at the Dock

On the first day in Osaka, I went to the Aquarium and at night went up on the huge Ferris Wheel where we got an amazing night time view of the Mariner.

Seven Seas Mariner From Above

Seven Seas Mariner From Above

While the Whale Shark is the star attraction at the Osaka Aquarium (“the biggest fish in captivity”), I was entranced by the school of silvery sardines that swim in a huge school in an endless loop around, around and around. It was mesmerizing to watch.

Osaka's Amazing Aquarium

Osaka's Amazing Aquarium

Visiting Daimon Brewery
One of the thrills of visiting Osaka was to finally Visit Daimon Sake Brewery. Daimon-san makes the world famous Mukune brand of sake and is also well known for sponsoring a sake brewing internship program starting in 2009. Daimon-san greeted us personally at the gate and beautiful entrance to his brewery. Lucky for us there was a local craft fair being hosted that day in the Brewery, so we got to see some beautiful crafts along with our tour.

Beautiful Mukune Brewery

Beautiful Mukune Brewery

Daimon-san walked us around the brewery and showed us where the rice was washed and steamed, where Koji was made using advanced technology and where the Brewing tanks and sake pressing were done. The overall feeling was of a true artisanal brewery.

Daimon-san with His Koji Computer

Daimon-san with His Koji Computer

After the Brewery tour, Daimon-san invited us to have lunch and sake at his restaurant located in the brewery called Mukune-tei. The Restaurant is small but wonderful with a wonderful course menu of simple, honest home cooked style meals. At this point we also sampled some Daimon Sake including a divine Shizuku, some fall nama and wonderful Junmai Ginjo sake, too.

Having Lunch at Daimon-san's Restaurant

Having Lunch at Daimon-san's Restaurant

As we finished up our meal and bid farewell to Daimon-san, I felt so lucky to be enjoying such wonderful food and sake in such beautiful surroundings. Getting out to the countryside on our own was quite an adventure and now we had to do it all in reverse. The Adventure never stops in Japan. Very special thanks to Daimon-san for such wonderful hospitality and for welcoming us so graciously. I hope I can return and visit again!

Takoyaki
In New York City we are super lucky to have a great and authentic Takoyaki stand on 9th street. I love it. Well, now I found myself in the home of takoyaki and I had to test how they tasted in Osaka. The final report? What we can get on 9th street is super realistic and just as good as the Osaka Street vendors… and it saves you the airfare.

On the hunt for True Osaka Tokoyaki

On the hunt for True Osaka Tokoyaki

Sake Party
I was lucky enough to be invited to a sake party at a wonderful Osaka restaurant. My host was Mr. Sano who runs a well known Sake retail website called Jizake.com. Now, Sano-san really hooked me up. He arranged for dinner at Takochaya, a well known restaurant that specializes in Octopus or “tako” in Japanese. The owner is also known as a sake fan.

Toasting with Sano-san

Toasting with Sano-san

The sake dinner at Takochaya was a wonderful treat and Sano-san gave me many wonderful sakes to try and everything I had was delicious and made me love sake more than ever. However there was one moment that I will never forget. Once course of our sake dinner involved getting served live Octopus tentacles that was still wiggling around and grabbing on to anything in sight. To see what I’m talking about Check out my video of our main course:

I actually really enjoyed the squirming octopus and everything I ate at Takochaya. Sano-san is a huge sake fan and a wonderful person, too. I was happy to meet him on this trip and some new sake friends too.

Goodbye Japan
Osaka was my last stop on this wonderful sake cruise so it’s the end of this trip to Japan and to Sake Cruise ’09. I had so many wonderful experiences! I will always think of this trip as my “Rainbow Tour” of Japan as the followed us where ever we went, just like this one on my first day on the ship:

The Rainbow Tour

The Rainbow Tour

Thanks to everyone who made our stay in Japan so wonderful and a special thank you to Scott for being such a constant support and steady guide through it all. ( Can you believe we found Yama-san together? )

I literally cannot wait to get back to Japan on another sake adventure! Until then – Kanpai one and all.

Taiko Welcome

Taiko Welcome

As we slowly docked in Tokyo Harbor, I heard this odd noise off in the distance. As we drew closer, I saw clearly that there were live Taiko Drummers stationed on the dock to greet us! It was a very memorable welcome ceremony and I couldn’t wait to get off the ship and start exploring Tokyo!

The cruise company provided a shuttle but that took us from the dock to the Ginza shopping area. When I heard they were dropping us in Ginza, I got all excited because I what was there – one of my favorite sake tasting bars!

Fukumitsuya Sake Shop
One of my first stops off the bus was to stop into Fukumitsuya Sake Shop and Tasting Bar. This place is amazing and I’ve loved it since my first visit here in 2008. The style of the shop is clean, elegant and modern. They have a shop that sells Fukumitsuya brand sakes such as Kagatobi and Kuro-obi along with artisan made sake carafes and cups. In addition to the retail side, the shop also features a tasting bar to sample sake and snacks.

Sake Ice Cream with Koshu

Sake Ice Cream with Koshu


Since it was before noon, I sat down at the bar and looked at the snacks they offered. Turns out they offer a Sake infused ice cream served with a shot of rich, aged koshu on the side. I was skeptical, but the pull of ice cream was too much to endure so I went for it. Turns out the ice cream was delicious, but the Koshu on top was utterly fantastic and turned this little treat into the breakfast of champions.

After a little Sake Ice cream powered shopping spree, I headed off on a a little urban safari hunting for the elusive tokyo cup sake.

Ajinomachidaya Sake Shop
Anyone who knows me well knows that I love sake, and that I really love cup sake. All my research indicated that there was a small but hard to find sake shop that specialized in cup sake… and come hell or high water, I was going to find it.

After a lot of help from a local resident and a little boost from Google maps, we arrived at Ajinomachidaya Sake Shop.

Ajinomachidaya Sake Shop

Ajinomachidaya Sake Shop


The shop is small with a real neighborhood feel and crowded to the brim with delicious sake. I introduced myself to the owner Mr. Kimura as a sake samurai on the hunt for cup sake and he showed me his wall of refrigerators dedicated to cup sake as he welcomed us very warmly indeed.

A kanpai with Kimura-san

A kanpai with Kimura-san


Kimura-san obviously has a true sake spirit and quickly broke out some samples for us to try as well as giving us a tour of his reserve sake refrigerator for his super premium brews and his large storage space for all the remaining sake, cup sake and shochu. I picked out about 12 sake cups to take with me. As I don’t do so well with the Kanji, i’m not 100% what I ended up buying but I stuck close to Kimura-san’s recommendations.

I loved this little sake shop and look forward to the day that I can return. As we bid Kimura-san goodbye, I was looking forward to one more big tokyo adventure!

Sawanoi Brewery Tour
Day 2 in Tokyo, we found ourselves meeting up with Etsuko-san of TokyoFoodcast fame to trek to the outskirts of Tokyo to visit that one of that prefecture’s most famous breweries: Sawanoi.

Kodama-san, Tim, Scott and Etsuko-san at Sawanoi

Kodama-san, Tim, Scott and Etsuko-san at Sawanoi


We were met at the Brewery by Mr. Masaaki Kodama, Director of Sales who gave us an extensive tour of their impressive facility. What strikes you first upon visiting Sawanoi is the extreme beauty of the setting. The Brewery is nestled on a hillside with a shop, famous tofu restaurant and picturesque view of the valley with a tranquil stream. Across the quaint bridge is a Shrine built on the opposite hillside. It’s idyllic, charming and very well worth a visit.
Quaint Bridge and Shrine at Sawanoi

Quaint Bridge and Shrine at Sawanoi

Kodama-san started our tour in the brewery area with a visit to the unique and state of the art rice steaming and cooling machine. It made it clear from the get go, that Sawanoi makes their sake on a larger scale than smaller breweries. Everything at Sawanoi was impressive and Kodama-san was an expert tour guide to the facility.

Etsuko-san Sampling freshly steamed sake rice

Etsuko-san Sampling freshly steamed sake rice

Kodama-san explains Pressing sake

Kodama-san explains Pressing sake

After our Brewery tour, we had a noon reservation at Mamagotoya Tofu Restaurant. The views from our dining room at Mamagotoya were breathtaking. We had a white heron hunting for fish in the stream below as we enjoyed course after course of delicious tofu based food. The setting, food and overall ambiance was a 10 out of 10. If you get to Tokyo, I would recommend you take the time to visit Sawanoi in any case. Charming doesn’t begin to describe…

The Beautiful Stream at Sawanoi

The Beautiful Stream at Sawanoi

Sawanoi Souten Nama

Sawanoi Souten Nama

Along with all our delicious food, we were gifted a bottle of Sawanoi Souten Junmai Ginjo Nama Sake. This sake was flowery and fresh with a delightful sweetness on the palate. It made a delicious match to the tofu dishes at Mamagotoya.

As we bid farewell to Kodama-san and headed back to the train and to the ship, I took a moment to look around and take it all in. I wanted to truly appreciate everything I had seen at Sawanoi. What a fantastical place. My special thanks to Kodoma-san and Sanwanoi for receiving us so kindly and for all their hospitality, which I won’t soon forget.

Next it’s back to the boat and on to Osaka! I’m looking forward to the sake adventures that await in that city.