Archive for May, 2010

Dirt Candy Sake Dinner

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Dirt Candy menu

Dirt CandyWe had the privilege of collaborating with our friends at neighboring vegetarian restaurant Dirt Candy on a special sake dinner on Thursday,  May 20.  It was the first time that we’ve worked with a restaurant and we’re happy to report that the dinner (which sold out within hours after it’s announcement) andRick at Dirt Candy sake dinner sake pairings with each dish were enjoyed by both seatings of enthusiastic diners.  After starting off with a “snack” of jalapeno hush puppies paired with the dry style  Dewazakura Tobiroku sparkling sake, guests selected an Appetizer,  Entree, and Dessert each of which was accompanied by a complementing sake pre-selected by SAKAYA.

At each seating, Rick gave a brief introduction to premium sake and highlighted the general idea behind the selection of the evening’s  food friendly sake.   Diners’ questions and comments were then sought and answered throughout the evening as they arose.

Rick, Amanda, HirokoWe would like to express our profound appreciation to Chef Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy for inviting us to work with her and her staff.  It was a wonderful experience for us and we hope that it has created some new excitement about premium sake.  We also highly recommend that you visit the restaurant to enjoy Amanda’s amazing food!

Dirt Candy Appetizers

Dirt Candy Entrees

Dirt Candy Dessert

Sake Dinner with Dirt Candy

Monday, May 10th, 2010

If you think vegetarian restaurants are boring,  you’re in store for a delightful surprise when you visit one of our favorite restaurants, Dirt Candy.  The immensely talented chef owner Amanda Cohen defies convention and skeptics with her delicious, soul satisfying food created entirely from fresh seasonal ingredients that will entice food lovers both vegetarian and otherwise.

As fans of the restaurant we were delighted when Amanda invited us to collaborate on a sake dinner pairing her spring menu with matching premium sake from SAKAYA.  We are happy to announce Dirt Candy’s  sake dinner on May 20.

Click here for details.  We’ll be there to share some sake basics and discuss the pairings so please join us for some great food, fun, and sake!

Dirt Candy
430 E. 9th Street
New York, NY 10009

Japanese Artisanal Beer

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo are well-known Japanese beers familiar to drinkers in the U.S.  Lately, however, we’ve begun to see more artisanal beers such as Hitachino Nest, Echigo, and Coedo. In 1994, the Japanese government eased the regulation on the production minimum to legally produce and sell beer from 2,000 kl (about 17,000 US barrels or 528,000 US gallons) to 60 kl (about 500 US barrels or 16,000 US gallons).  Since then, there have been a number of small brewers popping up which produce high quality artisanal beer.  Many are small companies dedicated to producing good quality beer but some are sake brewers who have begun to also brew beer such as Kiuchi Shuzo (founded in 1823) which produces Hitachino Nest.  The first such sake brewery to make beer following deregulation was Uehara Shuzo, the producer of Echigo beer (and Echigo Tsurukame sake).

umenishiki beerOn  Hiroko’s recent visit to Japan, she discovered beer made by Umenishiki, the sake brewery in Ehime prefecture.  Umenishiki brewery was established in 1872. Their Junmai, Junmai Ginjo and Junmai Daiginjo are available in NYC through the importer, Japanese Prestige Sake Import.  Since 1995, they have also been making artisanal beer which have won medals in Japan’s International Beer Competition. Among the five types that they make, their Bock, Weizen, and Blanse have won Gold, Silver, and Silver medals respectively.

Hiroko picked up one bottle each of the Pilsner and Aromatic Ale to bring home to Brooklyn. Shaken and tossed by luggage handlers, the preservation and condition of the beer might not have been the best, but nonetheless we decided to open and taste them.

umenishiki beer in cupWe usually drink pilsners from Pennsylvania and ales from California where the style is very hoppy and aromatic. Umenishiki Pilsner was golden in color, very light and tasty with a light fruit flavor and peppery finish. Yet, there was something missing in the flavor. It’s better than Sapporo or Kirin that we drink at Japanese restaurants, but we tend to prefer a more hoppy flavor.

We opened the Aromatic Ale next.  With an alcohol level of 8.5%, it was deep and rich, with a hint of caramel flavor on the back end.

Perhaps had we drunk them in Japan, they would have tasted better. On our next trip, we hope to try their other beers.  Still we enjoyed tasting something that is not available in the U.S.and, hopefully, more artisanal beer will be available in the US.

May 2010 Sake Tastings

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

This month will be busy for sake lovers with an abundance of  sake tasting events in NYC.  In addition to the nine tastings at SAKAYA, there is the Nishimoto Trading “The Best 100 Sake!” at EN Brasserie on Saturday, May 15, and the annual Japan Society sake lecture by sake expert extraordinaire John Gauntner and accompanying tasting on Wednesday, May 19.

Our lineup of tastings at SAKAYA kicks off with the latest of the exciting new spring seasonal namazake followed by a series of brewers visiting from Japan who will introduce you to their sake.   After all the opportunities to explore so many this month,  you’ll be sure to celebrate Memorial day with sake!

Saturday, May 8, 2010, 4-6pm

Japan Prestige Sake Association Namazake Tasting

Otokoyama Kasumi Junmai Namazake (Hokkaido), Gokyo Junmai Nama (Yamaguchi), & Urakasumi Tokubetsu Junmai Nama (Miyagi)

Thursday, May 13, 2010, 6 to 8pm

Fukumitsuya Brewery Tasting

Kagatobi Junmai Nama, Kagatobi Ai Junmai Daiginjo Nama, & Kuro Obi Doudou Yamahai Junmai (Ishikawa)

Friday, May 14, 2010, 6-8pm

Yumegokoro Brewery Sake Tasting

Naraman Junmai (Fukushima)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 6-8pm

Imada Brewery Company Tasting

Fukucho “Moon on the Water” Junmai Ginjo (Hiroshima)

Friday, May 21, 2010, 6-8pm

Jokigen Sake Brewery Sake Tasting

Jokigen Junmai Ginjo (Yamagata)

Saturday, May 22, 2010, 4-6pm

Akita Seishu Brewery Sake Tasting

Dewatsuru Kimoto Junmai & Dewatsuru Hihaku Junmai Daiginjo (Akita)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 6-8pm

Shindo Brewery Sake Tasting

Gasanryu Honjozo (Yamagata)