Bryan Baird’s Newsletter

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi


Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2008 #4

Topic: Baird Big Beer Winter Week (Wednesday-Monday, February 13-18)

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The Fishmarket Taproom is set to play host to its 3rd annual strong ale festival known as Baird Big Beer Winter Week. Beginning Wednesday, February 13 and running through Monday, February 18, The Taproom will be focusing the spotlight on the wonderful world of strong ales and the affinity they share with good cuisine.

The Baird strong ales to be featured during this year’s Big Beer Winter Week are:

1) Ganko Oyaji Barley Wine 2008
2) West Coast Wheat Wine 2007
3) Hatsujozo 2008 Double IPA
4) Yabai-Yabai Strong Scotch Ale 2007
5) Dark Sky Imperial Stout 2008
6) Snow Storm Strong Dark Ale 2007
7) Taproom 7-year Ale (Belgian-style Strong Golden Ale)

Glass-size servings of each ale will be available throughout the week for the special price of 600 yen (taster samples for 300 yen). Of course, the full year-round lineup of Baird Beer also will be available as will other select winter seasonal brews (notably, Yamanashi Sumomo Ale and Braumeister Bock). The food menu will feature an a la carte offering of seven specialty dishes, one designed specifically to match with each individual strong ale. On Saturday, February 16 we will be tapping the final keg (5-liter) of Ganko Oyaji Barley Wine 2007, thus offering the chance of a direct taste comparison between this year’s version and last.

Reservations are not required. Taproom doors will open at 5:00 PM on each weekday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. Please plan on joining us for a wonderful week of hearty food, warming ales and friendly camaraderie.

Bryan Baird


Sashimi set at Bu-Ichi (2)

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi



Last night, the missus and I took advantage of the National Holiday to visit our old favourite, Bu-Ichi.
Bu-Ichi is one of the very best when it comes to sashimi as the owner makes a point to include as many varieties from Shizuoka Prefecture as possible.
I’m sure Allison will be especially interested!
The picture above features From to bottom, left to right:

Tennen madai/”true seabream” caught off Yaizu City shore.
Hokkigai (surf clam) & mirugai (“gaper” shellfish)
Konbujime Hirame/Sole marinated in seaweed caught off Yui shore.

“Mizutako”/A variety of octopus

Aji/Saurel & maguro/tuna

Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 1-6-10, Dai Ni Matsunaga Bldg., 2F
Tel.: 054-2521166
Business hours: 17:30~23:00
Closed on Wednesdays

Sushi Tetsu Ooshio Restaurant

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi



Every sushi restaurant worthy of its name will come up with a specialty or two making it worth visiting and introducuing to friends.
Well, in the case of Sushi Tetsu Ohshio Restaurant in Shizuoka City, almost next to the large Sengen Shrine (you could combine the two, actually), I was lucky as it was not one but two morsels out of the ordinary which will entice me to come again.
I have in my mind that Chuck and Foodhoe would be definitely interested!
As the third generation, Kazuhiro Ohshio, is also a blog and fishing devotee, I went as far as ordering the following dish by e-mail!
“Shirako Yuzu Kamayaki”/shirako/Cod Sperm Sacs cooked with Clams and mushrooms in a white miso-based bechamel inside a large yuzu/lime!
While I was waiying for it to be ready, I first oredered a plate of sashimi:
Hirame/Sole, Maguro/Tuna, Kuro Ika, Kuro Squid, and Aji/Saurel. Fine little morsels, I can assure you!
I could not resist ordering the Ankimo/Frogfish Liver when I saw it under the show window glass!
Simply served with ponzu, chopped leeks and momiji oroshi/grated daikon with chili pepper. Pefect!
I ordered the private brand sake, a junmai nama by Hana No Mai Brewery in Hamamatsu City, and exchanged a few words with Mr. Kazuhiko Ohshio, the second generation whose father first opened their restaurant about 56 years ago.
I actually noticed later they were also serving a kome/rice shochu from Shizuoka Prefecture from the same Brewery. I have rarely seen any Sushi Restaurant both serving a sake and shochu made in our Prefecture!
My “treat” finally came, and I slowly savoured it with the utmost concentration! What could I call it? A Japanese-style “vol-au-vent”? I simply will have to try and make it at home! Luckily the chef was kind enough to give me the recipe.
I did not have much time for that first visit, so I asked for my bill.
But I was asked to stay a few minutes to enjoy the “dessert” offered on the house to all customers at the end of their meal.
Now, I’m sure that even Chuck will feel he has to sample it!
You will not find this “nothing to get excited about” morsel in the chef’s words outside Shizuoka Prefecture: a mousse (according to the chef, although I would call it a blanc-mange) made with sake-kasu/sake, white lees collected after the sake is pressed, topped with Shizuoka wasabi pickled in sake-kasu and a sweet sauce again made with sake-kasu!
Problem is, as it is a seasonal recipe, it will not be served very long and I might have to wait until next year to savour it again!

Sushui Tetsu Ohshio
420-0862 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Sengen Cho, 1-36
Tel.: 054-245-1381
Credit Cards OK
Business hours: 11:00~22:00
Closed on Wednesdays

HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

French cuisine: Hana Hana (2)

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi



I am confident that my new friends at Chuck Eats.Com, Luxeat, Slippers in Italy, Very Good Food and Chrisoscope will agree that you do not always have to visit top-notch and terribly expensive restaurants to experience good, solid, enjoyable cuisine with a great value for the price paid. As I said before, we are lucky here in Shizuoka Prefecture where most ingredients are grown, raised or caught in situ.
As it is customary for my better (ok, I won’t “worse” any more!)half and I, we chose Hana Hana as our weekly outing. The last time we had visited the place was last summer, so we could expect a new menu.
“Shirako Meuniere” (see top picture) was served as a complimentary “snack” to accompany the wine while the food was prepared.
The Duck Terrine I ordered was perfect, light and tasty, but generous and served with a few slices of home-made smoked duck.
My wife had opted for “Saint-Jacques (Scallops) Provencale. Enormous morsels cooked just long enough (she let me eat one, thanks Bacchus!) with a light and succulent sauce with the right amount of olive oil (why do some restaurants have to splash everything with expensive olive oil?).
The stuffed quail my wife had jumped on when she opened the menu was the biggest I had even seen, the size of a small chicken (I had to help her eat it, of course) bursting with juicy fillings. We certainly did not bother with forks when we sucked the legs bare!
As for my main course, my partner simply imposed it on me: grilled “amadai”/seabream served with large oyster tempura. All vegetables incidentally were grown near Hamamatsu City, Western Shizuoka.

The Master of the House chose the moment when we had finished devouring our main course to bring some Shizuoka Sake as he wished to hear our judgement as whereas sake would suit French food.
He served us this great Isojiman Tokubetsu Honjozo, which goes so well with any food, and another brew from Ishikawa Prefecture, Noto Peninsula. I did encourage him to serve it from now on, even if it meant offering it as a complimentary aperitif. He enthusistically concurred. Next step will be to convince him to stock at least three kinds of Shizuoka Sake!
With all that sake, I can tell we did not any dessert!

I generally do not mention prices as this is not the purpose of this blog, but we paid less than 100 US$ for the whole meal (I mean for both of us), including a 35 US$ Louis Jadot Bourgogne Rouge. I wonder how much I would have to fork out in some other places. My wife, who is far from over-generous, declared the dinner “extremely reasonable!”.

Hana Hana
420-0037 Shizuoka City, Hitoyado-cho, 1-3-12
Tel. & Fax: 054-221-0087
Business hours: 11:30~15:00, 17:30~22:00
Closed on Wednesdays

KUE: Fish Stocks Replenishing Success Story

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

(Courtesy of Shizuoka Shinbun, Feb 7th, 2008)

For all the battering and criticism that Japan has to endure for being the largest consumer of fish in the World (which is not. Spain is the largest fish single-country consumer, and Europe eats 40% of the World total catch, and throws away more than 5 times the same amount of dead fish back into the sea.), it is way ahead of eveyone else when it comes to preserving and repleneshing fish stocks.


I’m proud to say that Shizuoka Prefecture happens to be the most active region in this country in that particular field. I’d certainly love to take some “people” to the Tokai Marine University Research Laboratories in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City! Did you know that Shizuoka Prefecture alone produces half of dried fish in Japan, including the most expensive such as “kinmeidai”, which can easily fetch over 50 US$ a piece, depending on the weight?

New Yorkers (Courtesy of and Gastronomes all over the world, rejoice!
For the first time ever in Japan, “Kue” (Kelp Bass, Kelp Grouper, Saladfish, Epinephelus bruneus Bloch), a fish costing more than 10,000 yen (100 US $) per kilog, has been successfully bred in Omaezaki, in Western Shizuoka Prefecture!

Yesterday Governor Ishikawa (lucky one!) was offered kue sashimi and nabe yesterday by the Kue Promotion Association in Omaezaki (see pic above). About time permanent expats were allowed to run for local offices!

Shizuoka Agricultural products: Shizuoka Utsurogi Fair

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi



On every first Wednesday of the month, a lsmall but very special fair is held in the basement of Isetan Store in Shizuoka City.
It is called “Shizuoka Utsurogi Ichiba” after a group of farmers residing and conducting business up Abe River in Shizuoka City, up to an altitude of 1,500 metres, around Utogi, the birthplace of wasabi, and still considered the best in the world.


Try to come as soon as Isetan opens as it can become quite a unashamed tussle with all these local grannies fighting for the best morsel!


All products on sale are purely local and practically devoid of industrial fertilizers. It is actually a paradise for vegetarians as only vegetables are represented there. A multitude of succulent and extravagant wasabi pickles, pickled plums, onions, etc.
The names, addresses and even phone numbers of the farmers are clearly stated, making all purchases eminently traceable.

utsurogi1.jpg utsurogi2.jpg

But the pinnacle is some incredible fresh vegetables, including enormous fresh wasabi roots at ridiculously low prices. I grabbed a couple of fresh bouquets of wasabi stems, leaves and flowers for my better half (worse?) who loves them as tempura or home-made pickles! I wonder what people in Tokyo would have to pay for that!

If you read Japanese, do have a look at their HOMEPAGE

It is possible to travel up to Utogi and buy directly from the Farmers Cooperative at:
422–8031 Shizuoka City, Yumei Cho, 2-20
TEl.: 054-2869018
(75 minutes by bus, 55 minutes by car, or 2 hours by bicycle like I did last year!)

Shizuoka Beer 5/1: Amagi by Izu Kogen Brewery

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi



This particular beer brewed by Izu Kogen Brewery in Ito City, Izu Peninsula was brought back to me by Lojol.

Izu Koogen Brewery: Amagi
Draught/nama Beer
Ingredients: Barley Malt/Hops. Natural water collected on Amagi Plateau, Izu Peninsula
Alcohol: 5 degrees
Contents: 300 ml

Clarity: smoky
Colour: rich dark nutty brown
Foam: very short head
Aroma: Yeast, bread
Taste: Dry. Long dry tail. Sharpish. Caramel, yeast

Overall: A beer suited for food, especially meat, sausages and the like. Can be appreciated cold in summer on its own, though. Strong marked taste. English-type beer. Deserves to be experienced

Izu Kogen Brewery
413-0231 Ito City, Tomito, 1103-21
Tel.: 0120-513-540

Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (4)

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi



Tuesday is basically the day when my better half (I’d better say not my worse, or Rubber Slippers in Italy will clobber me!) is preparing me a solid rice-based bento. She tries to keep it both balanced and hearty as it is a long day until dinner.

So she concocted three “nigiri/rice balls” of steamed rice mixed with finely chopped Japanese green cucumber pickles topped with pitted “umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums” of the sweet variety, or I shall end with too much salt, as it was accompanied by French pickles/cornichons, home-made red turnip pickles and Kyoto-style “shibazuke/pickled cucumbers”. “Pickled Cucumbers” uber alles, as you can see!
The fare to accompany the rice consisted of “kara-age”/deep-fried chicken. This is one dish whose secret my wife has always steadfastly refused to reveal. The only thing I know is that it involves a two-step frying process… Lettuce and plum-tomato grown in Shizuoka Prefecture, a medium soft boiled egg and some potato and broad bean salad. I was given a few “mikan”/mandarines for dessert and needed vitamin C.

By the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce a lady from the States who lived quite a few years in Japan before going back home and devising a professional Bento Website called Lunch in a Box! You will find all you need to know there to prepare lunch for your own and loved ones!

Sushi Millefeuille

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi


(picture kindly provided by Mika who shared our dinner!)

As Chuck, Trine and Luxeat already know, you do not have to go to an expensive French restaurant to experience great gastronomic ideas.
One of the chefs at Sushi Ko Sushi Restaurant recently came up with his own interpretation of a famed French cake which has quickly gained popularity with all customers:
Sushi Millefeuille.
It consists of one layer of “shari/sushi rice”, one of “akami/lean tuna”, one of thin slices of cucmber, one of sliced avocado, one more layer of “shari”, the whole topped with “tobikko/flying fish roe”.
A couple stems of thin leeks for decoration.
The dressing consisted of mayonnaise mixed with wasabi on ponzu with a little “momijioroshi/grated daikon with chili pepper” on top for taste and effect.
Simple, tasty and reasonable!

Sushi Ko
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae Cho, 2-3-1 (Aoba Koen)
Tel.: 054-2512898
Business hours: 17:00~25:00. 17:00~23:00 on Sundays
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations advised
Credit Cards OK

Homepage (Japanese)

Whale Meat (2)

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi



When I visited Parche Food Market inside Shizuoka JR Station to buy ingredients for dinner (my better/worse half having “ordered” a seafood Gratin), I thought I might as well as take a couple of picks to prove that whale meat is ordinary fare down here.
The whale meat had already gone, but whale bacon was still available.
Reading the label, it said the whales wre caught in Northwestern Pacific. Bacon is very popular here and can be eaten at izakaya.
Plenty of dolphin meat was avalaible. This particularly came from Gunma Prefecture.
Dolphin meat is regularly served at Primary School lunches in Shizuoka Prefecture. The meat comes from dolphins who were accidentally caught in nets, or culled because of growing numbers (like hunters do with deer in the US)