Bryan Baird’s Newsletter (2009/15)

Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin 2009 #14

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

Harajuku Taproom:

The craft beer rumor mill has been rife with whispers of a new Tokyo-area Taproom. The scuttlebutt, it turns out, is true. Baird Brewing will be opening its second Tokyo Taproom in a lovely area of Harajuku this coming August (Saturday, August 8 is the hoped-for grand opening date). The Harajuku Taproom will be a sort of kushi-yaki beer bar with great grilled skewers, 15 Baird Beer taps and two Baird Beer real ale handpumps. 35 to 40 seats will be mostly counter seats with the exception of a sofa area and one large table. Specific details regarding operating hours and other matters will be announced shortly.

Also, in conjunction with this business expansion, we are on the lookout for good personnel. It you are an individual who is passionate about a career in the craft beer-restaurant industry, speak Japanese at an adequate level and possess a Japan work visa, please send along a cover letter and resume to: We are hiring for both the Harajuku and Nakameguro Taprooms.

Fishmarket Taproom 9-Year Anniversary Celebration (July 18 – 20):

We will be celebrating the 9-year birthday of our Numazu Fishmarket Taproom on the three-day holiday weekend of Saturday, July 18 through Monday, July 20. Highlights of the weekend festivities include:

*Baird Fruit & Beer Festival
*1,500 yen all-you-can-eat beer-inspired buffet (our new chef, Michiru, has hit the ground running and this promises to be an extraordinary treat)
*Baird brewery tours twice a day (2:00 pm and 4:00 pm)
*Outdoor yaki-tori grilling below the Taproom (everyday, 3:00 – 7:00 pm)
*Saturday evening live music

Please mark your calendar and plan a festive summer trip to idyllic Numazu for what promises to be a great beer bonanza! More detailed beer and event information will be forthcoming in an upcoming bulletin.

Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan

The Japan Blog List

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi


Japanese Octopus Dumplings: Takoyaki


This particular posting is dedicated to Lou Ginocchio who had the occasion to sample this food served by Japanese residents in Paraguay!

Please note that this is a very basic recipe. Especially concerning the sauce, there are so many ways to prepare it that it becomes very well-guarded professional secrets in Japan!
As for the contents, octopus is always there, but as for other additions, it varies from region to region, and from home to home!
Its existence dates back to the 1930’s and it is most popular in Osaka City presently, although many people aver that it originated from the Toyo area.
There is a similarly named dish called ikayaki but it is a broiled whole squid and bears no resemblance

INGREDIENTS: for 35~40 dumplings
-Boiled Octopus: 1 tentacle
-Flour: 1 cup/200 ml=110g
-Baking powder: 1 quarter of a teaspoon
-Salt: 1 pinch
-Egg: 1
-Dashi Stock (seaweed or fish): 300 cc
-Dry seaweed powder, green laver (“aonon”) (to taste)
-Katsuo Bushi/Dry bonito shavings (to taste)
-Worcester sauce (to taste)
-Ketchup (to taste)
(or okonomiyaki sauce instead of two above)
-Tempura scraps (“tenkasu”) : 1 handful
-Red pickled ginger (“beni shoga”): (to taste)
-Chopped thin leeks (to taste)
-Mayonnaise (to taste)

Takoyaki Hot Plate (1 or up to 4)

Pick to turn (flip) takoyaki around. If unavailable, use a long toothpick.

Sauce Brush



Cut boiled octopus into 5~7 mm cubes/bits. If you prefer to have only one bigger bit in the middle of the dumplings, cut accordingly.


In a bowl break the egg, add dashi, chopped pickled red ginger (Omit if you serve to children), and salt. Mix well.


Add flour and baking powder. Mix wel a if to attain a pancake batter.


Heat the takoyaki hot plate and oil well.
Pour in takoyaki batter inside holes from center to outring (important).
Do not worry about spilling batter between holes as it will be folded inside the holes later!
Put octopus bits (2~3 small bits or 1 large bits) in the middle of each hole.


With the pick drag excess batter over each hole and flip every bowl around inside its hole.


Keep flipping dumplings over until they attain a beautiful uniform light brown colour.


Transfer to serving plate and brush an equal amount of Worcester sauce and ketchup (you may mix both beforehand or use an okonomiyaki sauce) over each dumpling.
Do not be afraid to brush plenty of it!


Sprinkle plenty of dry seaweed and dry bonito shavings all over them.


For a final touch (and if you like it so!), add chopped thin leeks, tempura scraps and mayonnaise!

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


Oil Varieties

(The Manufacture of Oil drawn and engraved by J Amman in the Sixteenth Century/Wikipedia)

Once again, this morning during my bus ride to work (it’s pouring outside!), I was thinking of my vegan and vegetarian friends and also my omnivore (I’m one of them!) ones. As far as I can recollect, there is little written about oils and I thought I write up a useful posting for all to copy and borrow!

Have you ever wondered how many kinds of oil there are out there?

All right shall we start (and I’m sure to forget some along the way!):


Now, we all seem to know what olive oile is all about.
But there is only one good type of olive oil: Extra Vrigin Olive Oil! That is what comes out first caused by the natural pressure of all these olives piled upon each other.
The rest is sub-standard, whatever the name.
Back in France (and most probably in may other countries) we have olive oil sommeliers/tasters!
have you ever heard of the expressions: fruitiness, bitterness, pungency, and mouth feel.
And I’m not talking about the olives themselves!
I will not tell and hope I got you hooked!


Almond Oil was used as perfume in ancient times.
Light and very fragrant, it is particularly welcome in marinades (raw salmon seasoned with dill or basil) or drizzled over seafood, pasta or fish prior to serving.


Also called Moroccan Fennel Oil, Argan oil is an oil produced from the kernels of the endemic argan tree, that is valued for its nutritive, cosmetic and numerous medicinal properties. That tree is found only in North Africa.
Bold and wild in taste, it is a favourite of mine. Use it isparingly n salads, couscous and tagines. Works wonders on a beef carpaccio and on goat cheese.


Peanuts oil is very common, all right, but roasted peanut has a startling flavour. Perfect for salad and cheese dishes. Suited to all warm climate cuisines: Mexican, African, Indonesian.


The Japanese eat the unopened flowers and young shoots after boiling them.
They reveal a full-bodied in taste with a distinct cabbage flavor. Enhances potato or beet salads. Try it on fresh cottage cheese!


Another favourite of mine. I use it extensively in salad dressings.
Hazelnuts are rich in protein and unsaturated fat. Moreover, they contain significant amounts of thiamine and vitamin B6, as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins.
Suave and lightly aromatic. Great in all types of salads. Replaces butter (vegans, listen!) on all starches, vegetables, fish, pasta, pastries. Adds a festive touch when drizzled on a potato, green bean or carrot dish.


Another favourite of mine!
In France we make bread, pickles and liqueurs with them!
Walnuts are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and have been shown as helpful in lowering cholesterol.
They have a pronounced nutty flavour. Well suited for bitter greens (endives, chicory, dandelion); excellent drizzled on starches. This oil is a good companion to a lightly seasoned fresh cheese. This oil fears heat!


Pecans are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats. A diet rich in nuts can lower the risk of gallstones in women. The antioxidants and plant sterols found in pecans reduce high cholesterol by reducing the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
It reveals a pronounced nut taste, in between walnut and almond. Good on any type of rice, cold, hot or in a salad.


Grape seed oil is also a preferred cosmetic ingredient for damaged and stressed tissues!
Neutral taste (it is unscented). Perfect for mixing with other more pungent oils; ideal for deep frying. Grape seed contains potent antioxidants such as vitamin E alpha and procyandanians, which contribute to its numerous health benefits.


Pine nut oil has a relatively low smoke point, and is therefore not generally used during cooking. Rather, it is added to foods for “finishing”, to add flavor.
It reveals a very subtle and mild taste. Enhances the flavour of any dish on which it is drizzled. Added in the final moments of cooking, it does wonders with seafood stews, sauces (especially wine) and soups (particularly minestrone).


In July 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first qualified health claim specific to nuts lowering the risk of heart disease.
Its oil has a very distinct, long-lasting taste. It is not suited to all types of vinegars: balsamic and honey are the best. A vinaigrette composed of this oil, balsamic vinegar, chives and seasoning is superb on an endive and smoked trout (or salmon) salad.


In Japan, the best tempura is deep-fried in pure sesame oil only!
Used extensivley all over the World, it has a very strong roasted, nutty flavour. A few drops in a salad or stir fry gives the dish a definite oriental touch.
I use it extensively with tofu, natto and salads!


Soy bean oil is mainly used as a bulk cooking oil especially in South Asia and in the Middle East.
The most important point regarding the use of soybeans for human nutrition is the absolute necessity to cook the soybean with “wet” heat in order to destroy the trypsin inhibitors; serine protease inhibitors.
Soybeans are considered by many agencies, including the US Food and Drug Administration, to be a source of complete protein.

1001 HUILES (Engish & French)

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


Tofu Recipe: Tips for Easy Snacks


I was thinking of the “Tofu Tribe” (Terecita, Elin, Jenn and Jennifer) when riding the bu to work this morning. No bicycle these days as we are in the midlle of the rainy season!

The day before the Missus had served a quick snack (see pic above) consisting of tofu on which she poured extra virgin olive oil, coarsely ground black pepper and a little salt.
Very simple. Not very artistic, I admit, but the idea was there.

Now, many vegans and vegetarians like their tofu, but are running out of ideas…

How about, for example, creating a plate (use a large one with “compartments” for better effect!) with an assortment of tofu pieces seasoned with different varieties of oils, ground peppers and other spices, finely chopped vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers for good colouring. I love my tofu mounted with chopped shiso/perilla leaves, umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums meat and a dash of ponzu!
And what about natto/fermented beans with chopped shiso leaves and grated fresh ginger?

You could do the same thing with fried tofu, deep-fried tofu and aburaage.
How about a piece of fsh tofu mounted with freshly cut and fried aburaage, wasabi, grated fresh ginger and ponzu?

Endless bliss!

Will be introducing oils in my next posting!

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


Tofu Recipe: Tofu Manju with Ankake Sauce/Tofu Dumplings in Sweet and Sour Sauce

(Courtesy: Blue Island)

Here is another simple tofu recipe dedicated to Elin, all tofu lovers, vegans and vegetarians:
Tofu Manju with Ankake Sauce/Tofu Dumplings in Sweet and Sour Sauce!

-Tofu (momen tofu style9: 1 “Cho”/200 g
-Carrot: one fifth
-String beans: 2~3
cornstarch: 1 large tablespoon
-salt: a pinch

For sweet and sour sauce:
-Dashi (Konbu dashi/seaweeed stock): half a cup/100 ml
-Soy sauce: half a large tablespoon
-Sugar:2 large tablespoons
-Rice vinegar: 1 large tablespoon
-Cornstarch dissolved in water: to one’s personal liking

RECIPE: For 2 people


Press water out of tofu. Sift it completely. Boil finely cut carrots and string beans until soft enough. Drain all water.


drop tofu and vegetables in a mixing bowl. Mix in cornstarch and salt. Divisde in 4 and make balls. Wrap each individually in cellophane paper. Twist cellophane warap and secure with rubber band or string.
Steam for at least 4 minutes.

Sweet and sour sauce:
Heat dashi stock, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar, stirring all the time. Mix in cornstarch dissolved in water.
The sauce is ready.

Serve dumplings on plate and cover them with the sauce!

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


Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/44)


Apparently as far as the Tuesday’s bentoes are concerned, the Missus has turned into “Sandwich mode”!


Now, for the greens, she had come with the interesting notion of a veg sticks dip with celery, boiled asparaguses, cucumber and red radishes (and their leaves). One half-boiled egg for the balance and mayonnaise/mustard dip.


The sandwich, once again, was a big affair.


As for the filling, she first fried duck confit, then potato sticks in the remaining fat and inserted them in the French bread (soft type) with lettuce, cassis mustard and French conichons.

This time she didn’t forget the dessert: Japanese cherries!

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


Sashimi Plate at Tomii (’09/06/22)


Just came from a “quick fix” at Tomii as I was too hungry to continue work! (I’m back at the office right now!)

Just ordered “o-tsukuri/Sashimi plate” as the calories are non-existent (the Missus is preparing dinner!).

From top clockwise:
-Madai/Japanese Snapper species
-Aburi Tachiuo/lightly grilled Scabbard Fish
Note the shiso/perilla flowers in between!
-Murasaki Uni/Violet Sea Urchin from Aomori Prefecture
-Hamo/Pike Conger Eel, lightly boiled
-Aka Ika-Kensaki Ika/Red cuttlefish-Squid
In the middle:
-Mebachi-maguro/big-eyed Tuna Akami/lean part

I honestly wish you were all here!

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