Sushi Restaurant: Sushiya No Ichi


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Ken Ichikawa is a bit of character. As a youngster, he actually enjoyed prowling the roads of Shizuoka with other hot rodder friends! He even went as far as Australia for a work stint before coming back to Shizuoka City and open his restaurant.

In spite of this somewhat macho maverick reputation, his sushi are designed for everyone, but with a special thought for calories-conscious ladies who wish to cut on the rice. His offerings are definitely edomae-style sushi.

His sashimi are simply of first and foremost quality. In spite of the consequent prices, you cannot resist the maguro toro and akami (fat and lean parts)!

Shizuoka Katsuo/Bonito has to be perfect as this is THE specialty of Shizuoka Prefecture!

Do not hesitate to ask him about the fish and shellfish (and vegetables!) of the day. He will serve them raw as sashime or sushi, or cook them to perfect simplicity. Try the lightly cooked oysters and ikura/salmon roe mini-donburi!

As for myself, I never fail to ask for his ankimo/Japanese foie gras in season!

When you ask for sushi, Mr. Ichikawa will always propose diverse variations. For example, would you like your hirame/sole with lime and Okinawa snow salt instead of dipping it in the soy sauce?
Would you like the wasabi under or on top of your anago/conger eel? and so on…
Hint: just ask him to prepare two different “kan/piece” of the same fish!
There are so many morsels to try that a single article will not do him justice!
You can expect a few more postings in the near future!

Now, last but not least, Mr. Ichikawa has a great selection of Shizuoka sake, too!
Isojiman (Yaizu City), Kikuyoi (Aoshima Brewery, Fujieda City), Masu-Ichi (Shizuoka City), Shosetsu (Kasawagawa Brewery, Yui Cho) and Kokkou (Fukuroi City)!

What’s better that jizake for sushi, I’m asking you! LOL

Sushiya no Ichi
420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 2-7-1
tel.: 054-2558262
fax: 054-2522604
Mobile: 09040874578
Closed on Modays
Parties possible upstairs
Credit Cards OK
Japanese homepage

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LE-CAFE LABO: Traditional Cakes (2)


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Savarin must be one of the most celebrated cakes all over the world.
Named after the unavoidable Brillat-Savarin, the great gastronome, it has appeared under many guises over the years, but the basics are still the same.

Le-Cafe labo has come with a very Japanese interpretation:
Instead of a single tier, it is built upon two tiers spong cake/gateau de Savoie intesped with custard. Only the bottom tier has been soaked not with usual rum, but with hydromel.
The offering is certainly lighter than the ones back home in France, but nonetheless delicious.
Moreover the orange toppings, one a confit slice, the other one a brulee wedge, is a great find, ensuring a slow savouring of the cake from top to bottom.

Once again, a cake great with coffee (alright, tea is fine, too! LOL)
LE CAFE-LABO
424-0886 Shizuoka City, Shimizu Ku, Kusanagi, 46
Tel.: 054-3441661
Also available at Isetan Dept. Store, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-Cho

Japanese Foie gras: Ankimo and its preparation


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frogfish.jpg

“Ankimo” is the liver of the Frogfish (“anko”), a fish that can be found in most the Northern Hemisphere and elsewhere. Not a nicelooking fish, it is nonetheless appreciated almost everywhere.
The Japanese love it in “nabe” (Japanese-style fish pot au feu), while the French either introduce it in Bouillabaisse, or even better, baked rooled inside prime bacon.

The liver is much appreciated in some countries, especially France and Scandinavia.
In Japan they steam it in sake to make “ankimo”, which I usually introduce to neophytes as “Japanese fish foie gras”!

Pic taken at Yumeshin, Shizuoka City.
I asked for it served (it is a cold appetizer) as it is as “tsumami” (hors d’oeuvre) with “ponzu shoyu”, finely chopped thin leeks and a dash of “Momiji-oroshi” (grated daikon and chili pepper) on a shiso leaf.
It is also great in small pieces on a gunkan topped with the same as above!

As I have been asked again, here is the recipe for making “Ankimo”!
Note that sake can be replaced white wine.

Step 1:

Choose fresh ankimo. That is how it should look!

Step 2:

Take off blood vessels. Don’t worry about the nerves.

Step 3:

After taking blood vessels away it does not look pretty. Nothing to worry about actually!

Step 4:

Lightly salt all sides

Step 5:

Wrap it in cooking wrap and let rest for an hour.

Step 6:

That is how it will look after an hour.

Step 7:

Take off all water and salt with kitchen paper.
Get the teamer ready.

Step 8:

As in the picture place wrap on bamboo roll maker (use a soft plastic sheet if not available). Place the frogfish liver on third of the way as equally as possible.

Step 9:

Roll in carefully, making sure the wrap sheet does not accidentally penetrate the liver.

Step 10:

Twist both ends of the wrap sheet until there is no space left inside.

Step 11:

Cut extremities of the wrap making sure the roll does not unfold and wrap it inside another sheet.

Step 12:

Wrap inside cooking aluminum foil.

Step 13:

Twist ends to close.

Step 14-15-16:

-Put inside steamer and close.
-Cook for 30 minutes above strong heat
-Take off and let cool

Step 17:

For better consistency leave in refrigerator for a full day. Cut slices to your preferred thickness.

Step 18:

(For example) serve astride sliced cucumber, sprinkle it with a generous amount of ponzu shoyu and place half a spoon of “momiji oroshi” (grated daikon seasoned with chili pepper). Finely chopped thin leeks or shiso would make a nice finishing touch, too!

Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (16)


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Today’s bento was more suited for the solid appetites of Foodhoe and Gaijin Tonic, although a big man like Bill may be tempted to emulate to feed his family!

The “main dish” consisted of nigiri/rice balls made with rice steamed with home-made umeboshi/Pickled Japanese Plums in shiso/perilla leaves, and Pork fillet slices shallow-fried with bredacumbs, each skewered on a toothpick to make it easier to dip in a mayonnaise and sweet miso I was provided with. The pickles are home-made cucumber and ginger pickles.

The “side dish” was a very simple assortment of raw vegetables (chopeed cabbage, plum tomato, stringbeans, carrots,…) and fruit. I used the wasabi dressing at the office to season it!

Plenty to last the whole day!

Sushi Restaurant: Ekimae Matsuno Sushi (revisited)


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It had been some time since I last visited this little favourite sushi restaurant of mine in Shizuoka City: Ekimae Matsuno Sushi.
Sunday 22nd was a bit of a horror weatherwise with downpours pelting the city the whole day, which meant all sport activities were out of question.
Sushi is is one rare cuisine you can really appreciate during the rainy season, and since this particular establishment opens for Sunday lunch, I just could not resist the opportunity.
I have many reasons to love this restaurant:

They serve Shizuoka sake. On this day I ordered Chumasa Junmai Ginjo by Yoshiya Brewery (Shizuoka City). Absolutely perfect with sushi!
Moreover, because they serve real sushi, not conveyor-belt or what else, only real sushi lovers patronize the place.

Their sashimi sets make use of seasonal fish only and most from Suruga Bay in Shizuoka Prefecture:
Left top, a triangle of 3 varieties: Madai Seabream (top angle), Suzuki/Seabass (left angle) and Onikasa/Scorpion Fish variety.
Right top: Aji/Saurel-Pike mackerel
Bottom left: Torigai/Surf Clam
Bottom right: Katsuo/Bonito

If you happen to be a regular, all kinds of tidbits come either free or at ridiculous prices:
-Konbujime Kisu/Sand borer marinated in seaeed
-Negima. Negima by definition is a piece of tuna (“maguro”) on a skewer with a piece of leek (“negi”), hence the combination of the two as negima (lee + tuna), and not the pork and leeks brochettes served at izakaya in spite of their borrowed name!
-Ni Iwashi. Sardines are season now and are very fat, making them pefect for a bit of simmering!
-Shoga Gari: Fresh ginger root pickled in umesu/plum vinegar.

Their “Tamagoyaki/Japanese Omelette is absolutely superb and I never miss an opportunity to savour it, however full I may be!

Allison and Rowena would cross the Ocean for it!

Vegetarians and even vegans would not be at a loss with gobo/burdock root and Kampyo/Gourd shavings Maki!

Can’t wait for the next visit!

Ekimae Matsuno Sushi
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Oyuki Cho, 9-3 (just across from Shizuoka JR Station North Exit after Matsuzakaya Dept)
Tel.: 054-2510123
Business hours: 11:00~21:00
Closed on Wednesdays
Credit Cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Bryan Baird’s Newsletter


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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2008 #14
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Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The Japan sky is everyday grey and heavy with rain, or so it seems, in this annual season of “Tsuyu.” Could there be a finer time to plant oneself on a comfortable stool in a friendly pub and contemplate life while enjoying a pint or two of flavorful ale? Rainy Season Black Ale and Saison Sayuri insist the answer is “no.”

(1) Rainy Season Black Ale (ABV 6.3%):

A torrential downpouring of hops define this otherwise roasty, toasty, espresso-like powerful black ale. 80 BUs of American lupulin as well as dry-hopped character from citrus-laden Anthanum, Cascade and Amarillo hops coat the tongue with a resinous stickiness that is pungently pleasurable. This is the Baird Beer antidote to the rainy season funk. We guarantee the results!

(2) Saison Sayuri (ABV 5.3%):

Saison means “season” and this family of beers is thought to have originated in Wallonia in southern Belgium. Saisons were brewed in the winter at farmhouse breweries for the summer consumption by thirsty farmhands. While there is no exact flavor profile or processing technique that define Saison stylistically, common traits exist (e.g. relatively pale in color, moderate in alcohol, refreshing in a dry or sour type of way, etc.). Often spices and ingredients uncommon to beer but
otherwise readily available on the farm are incorporated. Saisons are thus typically Belgian in their funkiness and individuality.

Saison Sayuri is like its namesake — a fascinating admixture of down-to-earth simplicity and understated complexity. This second annual version is brewed with pale base malts, unmalted wheat, a touch of chocolate wheat for color and Japanese sudakito sugar. Additions of Japanese kinkan fruit and natsumikan peels lend complexity and a sort of “je ne sais pas” character. Fermented this year with a yeast derived from the famous Saison Dupont brewery, Saison Sayuri is less phenolically sweet than last year. She remains, though, her charming and beguiling self.

Both ales are available on tap at the Fishmarket and Nakameguro Taprooms as well as other Baird Beer retailing pubs and restaurants. 633 ml bottles are available for purchase at Baird Beer retailing liquor stores as well as direct from the brewery. Get ’em while the gettin’ is good!

Cheers!
Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan
HOMEPAGE

Peaches Season!


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[Courtesy of Shizuoka Shinbun, June 21st, 2008]

The rainy season in Japan is called “Tsuyu”. The kanji characters 梅雨 mean “Plum Rain”, because it is the season when Japanese plums are harvested and preserved either as umeboshi/梅干-salted pickled plums, or in umeshu/梅酒-plums in sake.

But this is also the season for great peaches/桃(momo) being harvested in Shizuoka Prefecture, especially in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City, an area nationally famous for its greenhouse fruit growers.
This year promises a rich and very high quality crop!