Umeshu: Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery

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Shizuoka not only produces some of the best sake in Japan and absolutely extravagant shochu, but also come up with the cream of Umeshu found in this country adding local Japanese plums to their sake or shochu for the plesaure of all.

Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery in Hamamatsu City has the particularity to brew sake, shochu, beer and umeshu (when are they going to make wine?).

This Umeshu called Kuramoto no Umeshu (Umeshu from our Brewery) is certainly a beauty:
Alcool: 15 degrees
Ingredients: Kome/rice shochu, Japanese plums extract, sugar.
No colouring or artificial state added.
Bottled in June 2007.

Best appreciated on the rocks or straight and chilled at all times.
Very elegant and satisfying. Will please both ladies and gentlemen.
The perfect aperitif!

Hamamatsu Brewery
Hamamatsu City, Tenjin machi, 3-57
Tel.: 053-461-6145
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Bryan Baird’s Newsletter

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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2007 #31
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Topic: Taproom Christmas Celebration (Monday, December 24)

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The Taproom’s annual Christmas celebration will be held on Monday, December 24 (Christmas-eve day and Japan national holiday). The Taproom doors will open at noon and the celebration will last all day and into the evening.

The celebration will feature a very special Christmas food menu, 500 yen pints of our Jubilation Ale, and the full line-up of year-round as well as strong seasonal Baird Beers. As Christmas is a family affair, please don’t hesitate to bring the kids along. We will be playing Christmas music and showing Christmas videos throughout the day to keep the young ones fully entertained. Small gifts from Sanata Claus for the little ones have been deposited underneath The Taproom Christmas tree where they await a new and enthusiastic owner. Reservations are not required.

Also, please mark the calendar for The Taproom Countdown Party on Monday, December 31. Event details will be forthcoming shortly.

Cheers!
Bryan Baird
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Sushi Restaurant: Suehiro-Hamanako no Megumi Aji

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I had wanted to visit a certain Sushi Restaurant in Hamamatsu City since I discovered “Sushiya No Neesan” Blog (Japanese).
My wish was finally granted last Friday, December 14th when I managed to get an evening free after University in Fukuroi City.
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Suehiro-Hamanako no Megumii Aji (Suehiro-Tastes from Hamana Lake) is conveniently located at short distance from Hamamatsu JR Station South exit (only two tarffic lights away).
It is a very traditional Sushi Restaurant. It was converted into the present establishment from a Japanese Restaurant 28 years ago by the second-generation owner, Mr. Katsuhisa Yokota presently ably helped by his daughter, Chisako, who literally grew in the restaurant, learning her trade by daily observing her father’s skills.
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Since this was my first visit I opted to try my favourites and gradually order recommended tidbits.
I started with some succulent “shirako” (male cod sperm sacs. This is the real translation, not whiting as some people prudely call them…) with ponzu vinegar and momiji oroshi/grated fresh daikon with chili pepper.
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I then asked for the inevitable akami/lean tuna. Chisako San proposed raw kuruma ebi/prawns just caught in Hamana Lake. Succulent!
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This particular Sushi Restaurant for its “fugu”/globefish. I chose to have it deep-fried/karaage. No need for chopsticks. Just eat with your fingers and lick them. I was offered chopped boiled globefish skin with it and I had to use chopsticks, then (LOL). Certainly better than your fish and chips!
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Back to raw fish, I asked for hirame sashimi/sole-flounder. That disappeared quickly, I can assure you!
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keeping an eye on what was on the counter, I noticed a large dish full of unagi kimo/eel liver simmered Japanese-style by Mr. Yokota. Absolutely perfect with Japanese sake!
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I was going to switch onto the traditional kampyo maki/dried gourd shavings and negi toro maki/finely chopped leeks with tuna, when I was offered a dish perticular to Hamana Lake District: Haze tenpura. “Haze”, or goby is a small fish caught in Hamana Lake at low tide. It is best eaten as tenpura (with your fingers) with a little salt and pepper.

All right, I fanlly had to call it a day, what with the local sake from Hana no mai Brewery (Hamamatsu City). I had a train to take back to Shizuoka City. But it will be a short time before I visit the place again to try the other morsels!

SUEHIRO-HAMANAKO NO MEGUMII AJI
Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, suyama Cho, 360-6
Tel.: 053-452-6288
Business Hours: 11:30-13:30&17:00-22:00
Closed on every Wednesday and second Tuesday

Italian Cuisine: Lunch at Ciccio

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Was a bit in a hurry this Sunday, in-between shopping for dinner and writing at the office (no cricket today).
I decided to visit Caffe Ciccio to check what they had on their menu.
They had the perfect snack, not heavy but hearty enough before coming back to work:
Panini Set.
Look at the picture above and you will see a crunchy raw ham (there are others) cut to size with a piece of excellent quiche, a cup of vegetables soup and a side salad and a drink.
For 1,050 yen (about 9.$50), not bad at all, and very tasty!

CAFFE CICCIO
Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Shichikencho, 13-20
Tel. & Fax: 0542528767
Opening hours: 11:30~22:00
Clsed on Tuesdays

Shizuoka Izakaya: Hayase

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Izakayas have been “sprouting” all over Takajo Machi in Shizuoka City, an area recently referred to as the “Shizuoka Daikanyama”.
My better (worse?) half and I found this little place called Hayase along a fairly large street and decided to give a try.
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An unprepossing, almost discreet, izakaya, it was open in February this year. Apparently it is already quite popular and were lucky to enter it around 19:00 as it got full within half an hour.
The inside is extremely clean for an izakaya specialized in “yakitori”. It sits about 8 people at the counter, 6 more at tables and chairs and a dozen on tatami floor.
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We found ourselves in a little dilemna as Hayase also proposed some sashimi we just could not resist. The bonito was absolutely excellent.
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After that we started ordering yakitori in earnest, and I just did not have enough time to take all the pictures I wished to. Which will give me a good excuse to come back, especially considering the reasonable prices for such a place which could become quickly expensive at other establishments.
The service is attentive and generous and the sake (and other drinks) are great:
4 jizake from Shizuoka Prefecture:
Karakkaze (Hana no Mai Brewery/Hamamatsu City)
Kikuyoi Tokubetsu Honjozo (Fujieda City)
Takasago Homare Fuji Junmai (Fuji-Takasago Brewery/Fujinomiya City)
Garyuubai Junmai Muroka (Sanwa Brewery/Shimizu Ku)

Look forward to my next visit report!

Hayase
Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajyo, 3-22-7
Tel.: 054-221-9480
Business hours: 17:00~23:00 (Off on Sundays & National Holidays)

Shizuoka Music Cafe Bar: Lifetime

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On November 27th, 2007, Fugetsuro Hotel revamped their first floor completely to replace the simple cake-shop/cafe they previously had with a very much larger cafe bar in Kutsunoya Machi across Shizuoka JR Station.
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As far as the cafe itself, it is very probably the only decent Hotel Cafe Bar in town.
It is large, but not overwhelming, seating about 80 people. One can either choose a seat at the counter, inside the room or in one of the street-facing lodges. Excellent background jazz music and friendly staff.
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Do not be too harsh on the English written on the menu. The place does serve quite a few dishes apart of their cakes made on site that you can either savour inside or take home.
As for drinks, every taste is covered as they include very good coffees and a surprisingly long array of teas served in beautifull china.
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For the late drinkers (and their companions), malt whiskies, beer, wine, sake and even a kome/rice shochu by Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City called Saisuke!

Now the big plus is the regular Jazz Concert Programme every Thursday, but forthat you had better consult their homepage! (the list id simply too longand impressive for this posting!)

LIFETIME
Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Kutsunoya machi, 11-1
Tel.: 054-250-0131
Business Hours: Tuesdays: 13:00~25:00
Saturdays: 11:00~24:00
Sundays & National Holidays: 11:00~19:00
Mondays: Off (except on National Holidays)

Fish, Fish, Fish (and others…)!

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(Aka Yagara, Red Trumpet Fish)

Now is a great time to vist the marine products stands at Fresh Market inside Parche-Shizuoka JR Station!
Let’s look around and see if you recognize all those creatures!
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“Aka Yagara”: Red Trumpet Fish. Makes for great sashimi and meuniere. Also called “Karasu Uo/Crow Fish>
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“Mako Garei”, a local Halibut/Turbot variety. Popular in any part of the World!
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“Hata hata” or “Sailfin Sandfish”. Typical of Shizuoka Prefecture. Great served grilled!
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“Managatsuo”. Nothing to do with Bonito. Local white-flesh fish, great both as sasimi and grilled!
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“Tako” or Octopus. Can be enjoyed, raw, cooked, or pickled. Or in Italina cuisine!
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“Uchiwa Ebi”. Goes by the Latin name of “Ibacus ciliatus”. In Japanese means “Fan Prawn”. Very popular as sashimi or pickled!