Bryan Baird’s Newletter


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Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2008 #23
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Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The chill in the autumn air is a very welcome sign to the craft beer enthusisast for it heralds the coming release of a brewery’s most prized beer gems — strong, rich and warming high-gravity ales and lagers of many styles. The Baird Brewery is inaugurating this year’s big beer season with the release of two extremely unique first-time brews: Big Berry Brown Ale & Baird Dubbel.

(1) Big Berry Brown Ale (ABV 8.3%):

This irreverently strong Brown Ale is brewed with six different types of malted grain, Japanese red sugar, and four varieties of hops. It also, thanks to the cooperation of our friends at Serizawa Saketen, is concocted with ample dosages of freshly picked Shizuoka strawberries which lend a wonderfully tart and piquant berry fruit character to the flavor. Glacier & Fuggle dry-hops in the conditioning tank along with krauesening at packaging add complexity of character that is compellingly sublime.

Big Berry Brown Ale is available on draught at both Taprooms as well as at other fine Baird Beer retailing pubs and restaurants in Japan. 633ml bottles also are for available for purchase through the family of Baird Beer retailing liquor shops in Japan as well as through our brewery estore.

(2) Baird Dubbel (ABV 7.7%):

Experimenting with various yeast strains (particularly Belgian ones) is one of the joys in the work of a small-scale craft brewer. In this Baird interpretation of a Belgian-style Dubbel we ferment with a yeast thought to be derived from the wonderful Trappist brewery Rochefort. Five malted grains and two types of sugar (Japanese rock sugar and black sugar) provide richness and depth of flavor without excessive heaviness or fullness. The hopping is light at only 22 IBUs and no aroma additions are made. One-year of maturation in the package contributes a round, almost vinous character. This monkish brew is meant for the contemplative drinker and is best enjoyed on a brisk autumn afternoon or evening.

Baird Dubbel is available on draught only and exclusively at our Fishmarket and Nakameguro Taprooms.

Cheers!

Bryan Baird
Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan
HOMEPAGE

Sashimi Sets: Tomii (Nov. ’08)


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Here is an example when sashimi is served not only for its taste, but also for its artistic presentation at Tomii Japanese Cusine Restrant in Shizuoka City:
The dish is of lacquered wood.

Top left: kanpachi/Amberjack on a bed of fine leafy vegetables and topped with shiso/perilla flowers (all edible).

Top centre: Uni/Sea Urchin (Murasaki/Violet variety).

Top right: Isaki/A snapper variety behing a fine slice of red radish.

Centre left: Hon Maguro/”Trie” tuna (it acyually melts inside the mouth!)

Bottom left: Aka Ika/”Red” cuttle-fish

Bottom centre: Hirame/Sole in front of a fine slice of red radish

Bottom right: beside freshly grated wasabi, Sakura Ebi/Cherry Blossom Shrimp (only caught in Yui, Shizuoka Prefecture. It will be very difficult to get them fresh in Tokyo!) on a shiso/perilla leaf

TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Japanese Cuisine: Zensai/Hors d’oeuvre at Tomii


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There is a fine line between cooking and art that the good Japanese Restaurants are happy to cross for the unending pleasure of their customers.
It does require a lot of attention and love for one’s craft.
Chefs at Tomii in Shizuoka City not only work hard to satisfy their clients, regular patrons or not, but will be more than happy to explain and introduce their creations.
Yesterday evening, being starved before the ned of a long working day I just popped in and asked for a “quick fix”.

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It came under the shape of two small dishes on an earthenware tray.
The round tray on the left contained “o-kahijiki no hitashi, a typical Japanese vegetable just lightly poached and cooled down served in its own juice with very little (secret) seasoning, and aburaage/fried tofu sheet.

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Japanese chefs make a great use of natural decoration to enhance their creations and Tomii is no exception.
We are in the Fall/Autumn when leaves are changing colour.
The momiji/Japanese maple leaves (front) had been picked along the Abe River the day before, while the large kaki/persimmon leaf (under the small dish) wa ordered to a farmer.

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The main plate contained what you might expect in the better restaurants in Kyoto:
Kuwai chips.
Kurumi (walnut) inakani and kuromame(cooked sweet black bean).
Kikukabura: a Kyoto-style preparation of a piece of daikon finely cut into the shape of a chrysanthemum and slightly pickled in sweet rice vinegar.
Aka konyaku no ageni: Kyoto-style red konyaku
Tori no matsukaze no yaki: a piece Japanese-style chicken terrine

I can have this every day!

TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Taky’s: Classic Cakes (1)/Apple & Blueberries Tart


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Taky’s opened last year in September and had always kept teasing my mind.
As it is located very near my workplace, I cannot afford making a mistake!
I could not resist any longer this evening. As I had to buy some cake for a student of mine, I had the right excuse!

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Taky’s has only a half dozen cakes on display, but they are extremely appetizing.
I was surprised at finding out that this cake shop doubles up as a tiny cafe cum restaurant cum bar in the fashionable Takajo District in Shizuoka City!
Which means that I will have to come again for another reason!

This apple and blueberries tart would please a lot of my American friends with a sweet tooth in spite of its French accent!
The tart itself has been baked beforehand to the exact crispiness and is thin enough so as not to overwhelm you but solid enough as a support.
The basic filling consists of very light marzipan with a touch of Calvados. The blueberries in the middle have soaked their area to perfection while the thin slices of apple lacquered with a fine jam add the perfect touch instead of taking the lead.

Great with coffee. My student let taste bits of it. Not a good idea as I will find myself wih another battle of the bulge!

TAKY’S
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-11-10
Tel.: 054-255-2829
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays

Indian Restaurant: Lunch at Laxami


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So many so-called Indian Restaurants in Japan are either completely walking beside their shoes or a pale copy of an extraordinary epicurean culture that I always warily walk in any such establishment.
Well, this time I needed not worry as I was enjoying the company of my new Indian Cricket friend Deepak who simply said, “just like home!”. The fact that the owner, Mr. Binay Kumar, hails from the same State in India certainly did help!
We had booked lunch as we would be coming between opening hours, which did not seem to trouble the owner, a single proof that pleasing his customers is a rule.
Mr. Kumar had worked for the first restaurant, Kumar in Act City in Hamamatsu cIty, before acquiring it five years ago. Two years later he opened Laxami in the same City, far away from the centre, proving his business acumen.
Lunches come at reasonable prices at 750, 980, 1,450 and 1,500 yen with a 680 yen special for kids. An array of single dishes are avalaible from 630 yen apiece.
Lunnch buffet is on offere on Saturdays and Sundays for 1,000 yen per person.
Not only soft drinks, but also wine, beer and even whiskies are on the menu.
As we were starving we chose the 1,450 yen menu.
I will let judge for yourselves:
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Tandoori Chicken and Mutton Kebab

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Vegetables Curry (probably a different name!).
Note that there is plenty on offer for vegetarians and vegans!

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Mutton curry.

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Enormous Naan!
Potato Parantha, Poori, Chapati and so on are also featured on the menu!

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Chicken Curry.

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Dal Soup. For Vegetarians and Vegans again! Actually Mr. Kumar had a lunch of Dal Soup and Rice later!

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Seasoned Rice.
“Don’t break my herat!”, the owner could not help joke!

Laxami Indian Restaurant
433-8122 Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, Kamijima, 2-1-1
Tel. & Fax: 053-474-0300

Kumar Indian Restaurant
430-7790 Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, Itaya Cho, Act Tower, 111-2, Act Plaza B1
Tel. & Fax: 053-451-0154

Business hours: 11:00~13:00, 17:30~22:00
Parties welcome.

Cheese Plate at Gentil (2)


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This is the second installment of a hopefully long series of cheese plates served at Gentil Restaurant in Shizuoka City.
The Cheese Sommelier, Ms. Keiko Kubota is the not only the sole Japanese holding the title of compagnon d’Honneur de Taste Fromage in Japan, but she was asked to choose, prepare and serve the cheeses offered to all these vey improtant people at the G8 Summit held last July in Hokkaido.

This time I was more careful with the picture, and I hope you will see it in a better light!

The cheese featured on the above picture are (from left to right)

-Sakura/from Hokkaido, cow’s milk from a cow breed called Brown Swiss.
-“Murasaki Imo”?viole yam chips
-Craquebitte/France, Loire, goat’s milk
-Crutin/Italy, Piemonte cow’s and ewe’s milk with Piemonte truffles
-Bleu d’Auvergne/France, Auvergne, cow’s milk with dry French muscat raisins.

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Rowena will be happy to see an Italian cheese, and a great one (it costs a fortune!) featured:
Crutin.

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As for wine, the cheese was beautifully paired with a 2001 Monthelie (France/Cote d’Or) by Gerard Doreau!

Restaurant Gentil
Address:420-0031 Shizuoka Shi, Gofuku-cho, 2-9-1, Gennan Kairaku building, 2F
Tel.: 054-2547655 (Reservations advisable)
Fax: 054-2210509
Opening hours: 12:00~14:00, 18:00~last orders for meals at 21:30. Bar time 18:00~23:30. Closed on Mondays.
Credit cards OK
Homepage (Japanese)

Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (37)


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Today’s lunch box is a bit of a repeat, considering it is more a combination of what I had before.
But I’m not one to complain!

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The nigiri/rice balls contain beans and hijiki seaweed.
The Missus put the beans and hijiki seaweed on top of the rice before closing the lid and steaming the whole lot. Once ready, she will stir all ingredients before shaping the balls.
Home-made light rice vinegar pickles can be seen in the middle of the nigiri.
On a bed of lettuce she laid some fried veg including soft pimentoes, bricolo and Eringe mushrooms. She added some mini steamed “syuumai” (not home-made!)

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The salad consisted of luccola and other light greens topped with plum tomatoes, yakitamago/Japanese omelette and presimmon wedges and mini-kiwi (with a red heart) slices for dessert!

Pretty full, I can assure you!