Italian Cuisine: Via Del Borgo has re-opened! (1)

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Via Del Burgo has finally re-opened in a different locality!
This time it is conveniently situated along Tokiwa Park away from the bustle of Shizuoka City central area.

Although the food will be of the same quality concocted by Mr. Takahiko Kato, the concept is vastly different.
First of all, the place is vastly larger and can sit a total of over 40 with a cafe seating along the bay window, a large dining room with a cozy fire-place and two private party rooms. One of them can be reserved for its large cable T.V. to watch sports in a private party around a good bottle!

It will serve not only lunch and dinner, but will serve also as a caffetaria in the afternoon.
As for lunch, guests will be able to choose among three set menus (1,300~2,800 yen).
Dinner courses (3,800~7,000) have to be reserved but one can order from the carte (alla carta) without any restrictions: 10 antipasti, 6 primo Piatti, 5 secondo piatti and 3 desserts.

Now the big news is that they have vastly improved their cellar presently including 60 to 80 vintages. As they are not all featured on the menu, do not hesitate to ask about them, or even better check them yourself!
Of course wine can be ordered by the bottle, half bottle or glass. Beer and soft drinks are also available as usual.

Well, this posting being only an announcement, wait until the report on the food which should come very soon!

420-0034, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 3-2-7
Tel/fax: 054-221-7666
Business hours: Lunch (11:30~14:30), Cafe (15:00~), Dinner (18:00~22::00)
Closed on Tuesdays
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Shizuoka Izakaya: Ukidono

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Ukidono is difficult to classify: in all honesty, it does not qualify as an Izakaya or Kaiseki (Japanese traditional) Restaurant. This is the kind of establishment that would deserve a visit from such Gastronomes as Chuckeats, Very Good Food, Luxeat and Dominique Corby.

The entrance to the actual restaurant bears nothing special about it, although it is part of the whole Fugetsuro Complex including the abode of the last Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu.

One of the annexes was transformed seven years ago to accomodate a better-class izakaya, but still cheaper than the unaffordable Fugetsuro Restaurant, a renown, if somewhat old-fashioned, kaiseki restaurant across from Shizuoka JR Station.

One may opt for a cozy, almost private room

or even better (in my own view), the outside “corridor” along the inside of the building where you sit on high stools against a high wooden counter admiring

the inner view on the famed Japnese Garden! If you are lucky, you will be offered the intimate view of guests and kimono-clad ladies walking on the narrow bridge on their way to one of the private guest houses.

Although the food is of very high quality, the main attraction is the Shizuoka Sake List.
Apparently, they store more than a full thousand kinds of sake in their basement, featuring most of the Shizuoka Breweries.
Last week they ahd the following on offer:
Aoitenka (Yamanaka Brewery, Kakegawa City), Eikun (Yui Cho), Kikuyoi (Aoshima Brewery, Fujieda City), Kaiun (Doi Brewery, Kakegawa City), Fuji-Takasago (Fujinomiya City), Shidaizumi (Fujieda City), Isojiman (Yaizu City), Chuumasa (Yoshiya Brewery, Shizuoka City), Shosetsu (Kansawagawa Brewery, Yui Cho), Kokkou (Fukuroi City), Oomuraya (Shimada City), Hakuin Masamune (Takashima Brewery, Numazu City) and Haginishiki (Shizuoka City)!
You can order the sake by the “ichi go” flagon (180ml. from 924 yen), as a tasting set of three diferent brews (from 1,386 yen) or by the bottle.

One can choose the easy way by ordering one of the four courses (3,465~9,471 yen), although the card would be far more fun and would probably come out cheaper if you are two or more.

For raw fish amateurs one may fancy it in salads, such as the hirame konbujime/sole marinated in seaweed as above,

or even better as a full sashimi set as above:
From top left clockwise:
Thin slices of Isaki/a variety of grouper typical of Suruga Bay intersped with thin slices of lemon, Akami/Lean tuna, Suzuki/Seabass, Hirame/Sole, Chutoro/semi-fat tuna and Hirame Konbu Jime/Sole marinated in seaweed (different method from above).

Frankly speaking, I will need to visit the place a few more times before I can do it justice!
Incidentally, Ukido includes a very reasonable hotel with full amenities I will try to report on later!

Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Koyamachi, 11-1, Fugetsuro
Tel.: 054-2520131
Business hours: 11:30~15:00; 17:00~22:00 (until 21:00 on Sundays)
Closed on Mondays
Credit Cards OK

Today’s Bento/ Lunch Box (20)

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Tuesday! After yesterday’s spaghetti Lunch Box, it was back to rice and Japanese-style today!

It certainly was a copious one!
Apart of the “salad side dish” to ensure I got enough greens to go with it, the Missus ventured into small meat rolls this time:

Two types: pork slices rolled around in shiso/perilla leaves and pork sices again rolled around softened home-made fresh ginger pickles. She had dipped them in a mixture of water, cornstarch and spice mix before coating them with breadcrumbs and “shallow-fried” them.
She included lettuce to rol them into before eating.

She is a specialist when it comes to soft-boiled eggs that she cooks at low temperature for quite a while (another secret?). The yolk stays liquid and does taste beautiful with a little soy sauce and black sesame seeds.

The “nigiri/rice balls” had been steamed mixed with home-made “umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums” and topped with home-made (again!) sansho/Japanese peppers seeds.

I can assure I was full (and satisfied)!

Bryan Baird’s Newsletter

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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2008 #16

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The Fishmarket Taproom opened its doors for business on Saturday July 20, 2000. In the ensuing eight years many pints have been poured to an extraordinarily diverse and interesting group of patrons, many of whom have become intimate friends and all of whom we are proud to have an association. We will be celebrating the Fishmarket Taproom’s 8-year anniversary during this upcoming three-day holiday weekend (Saturday, July 19 – Monday, July 21). Event highlights are listed below.

Fishmarket Taproom 8-Year Anniversary Celebration (Saturday, July 19 – Monday, July 21) (Noon to Midnight each day):

*Fruit Beer Festival:
The use of fresh, whole fruit as an integral beer ingredient has become one of the hallmarks of Baird seasonal brewing. We have reserved kegs of fourteen styles of recently crafted fruit beer just for this special event. The fruit ales that will be poured during the festival weekend are:

(1) Fishmarket Taproom 8-Year Ale (Citrus IPA made with natsumikans)
(2) The Carpenter’s Mikan Ale (including the tapping at noon on Saturday of the first-ever wood cask-conditioned version)
(3) Mikan Wheat Stout
(4) Shizuoka Summer Mikan Ale
(5) Sweet Citrus Stout
(6) Temple Garden Yuzu Ale
(7) Daidai Dark Wheat Ale
(8) Yamanashi Budo Ale
(9) Yamanashi Apple Ale
(10) Japan Tale Ale 2007 (brewed with ume)
(11) Country Girl Kabocha Ale 2007
(12) Strawberry Milk Stout 2007
(13) Snow Storm Strong Dark Ale (brewed with strawberries and Belgian yeast)
(14) Saison Sayuri (brewed with kinkan and natsumikan peels)

All Baird Beer during the festival (including these fruit ales) will be available by the pint for 700 yen, the glass for 500 yen and tasters at 250 yen.

*1000-Yen Buffet:
We will be serving a hedonistic buffet of wonderful beer fare each and every day of the festival (noon until 10:00 pm). Best yet, it is 1000 yen per person, eat until you can’t see!

*Special Fruit Beer Cuisine:
Our crack team of chefs (Takanaka Tencho, Shoko-san and Sayuri) are busy as I write concocting a phenomenal menu board of fruit beer inspired cuisine. Each of these special a la carte items will be designed to pair with one of our festival fruit ales.

*Sidewalk Barbecue:
We will be grilling some wonderful Numazu specialties downstairs on the sidewalk each festival day from 3:00 to 7:00 pm. Order you beer upstairs in a plastic “bura-bura” cup and enjoy it outside in the glorious seaside summer weather while feasting on sumptuous sticks of seafood barbecue.

*Brewery Tours:
We will be conducting tours of our Fishmarket Brewery each festival day. On Saturday and Sunday, tours will commence at 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. On Monday, one tour will be conducted at 3:00 pm. The tours will leave from the Fishmarket Taproom at the appointed times (you may, of course, bring your beers with you as the brewery is only a short 3 minute walk). Reservations are not required. Anyone is welcome.

Please plan on joining us for what promises to be one hell of a celebration!

Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan

Iruka Ham Co.: Basil and Tomato Sausage

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In the heat of summer, a snack is always welcome with a cool (cold) beer!
The more welcome if it is locally made with local products!

Made with chicken and pork from animals raised in Shizuoka Prefecture, it makes for good traceability. I found it in Kakegawa JR Station Supermarket as it is made in neighbouring Mori Machi.
The introduction of basil and tomato is certainly a good idea, giving an extra light taste to an already very light snack.
Taken out of its protective skin it cuts very easily into any shape you can imagine.
Great with salads with the beer after a long hot work day!

Iruka Ham Co.
Shizuoka Ken, Shuchi Gun, Mori Machi, Kazumiya, 1221-2
Tel.: 0538-84-2645

Chez Lui: Classic Cake (2)

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Chez Lui, although part of a Tokyo-based chain does offer some creations of their own worth trying now and then.
This particular one is called “Conversation”
Why conversation?

Obviously it was prepared in two steps:
-Cherries were mixed with marzipan inside a thin tart and baked and coled down.
-It was then topped with patterned meringue and baked again.
The end result offers good balance. It is a fulfilling cake in spite of its limited size.
Great with afternoon coffee or tea!

Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Koyamachi, 6-7, Parco, B1
Tel.: 054-9038600
Business hours: 10:00~20:00

Shizuoka Cheese: Gigio Smoked Cheese

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The other day, as I was looking around the supermarket in Kakegawa JR Station, my eyes fell on some cheeses displayed in the refigerated area. As I know that this particular establishment sells solely Shizuoka products I decided to investigate.
I thus discovered a company called Gigio in Hamamatsu City. Upon investigation it turned out to be an Italian Restaurant whose chef makes his own cheese!

Out of its airtght packaging their smoked cheese comes with a nice dark nut colour and an appetizing aroma typical of a smoked cheese.

It also has the merit not to be encased in one of those obnoxious wax casing you have to fight your way through.
It cuts easily in spite of its tenderness, and can be served with salads or other cheese and pickles for example.
It makes for a great morsel with beer as its taste marries really well with the tangy flavour of hops.
I did not try, but next time I shall experiment with pizza or toast or even gratineed vegetables!

Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, Takaoka Kita, 1-48-18
Tel.: 053-4383994
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)