Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Sanwa Brewery: Garyubai Ginjyou Hamare Fuji

Although Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City, has never used and probably never will use the Shizuoka-made yeasts, they nonetheless use many home-grown varieties of rice, especially Homare Fuji with which they come up with brews as high as junmai ginjyo!

The “Homare Fuji” banner.

This brew being a junmai (no alcohol blended in) genshu (no water added), it gives a fair indication of what to expect!

Rice: Homare Fuji
Rice milled down to 55%
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Dryness:+3
Acidity: 1.4
Bottled in July 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Fruity, very dry: pineapple, banana. Alcohol and junmai characteristics
Body: Fluid
Taste: Strong junmai attack backed with strong and pleasant alcohol.
Complex and fruity. Custard, Macadamia nuts, almonds, oranges, dry plums.
Lingers for a while with very dry lychees and plums.
Apricots appear with the second and third sips.
Junmai petillant coming back strongly with food.
Marries welll with any food.

Overall: Brewers in Shizuoka Prefecture seem to have mastered the still new brand of Homare Fuji sake rice. They easily porduce as high as a level as Junmai Ginjyou with happy results.
This very brew, in spite of its strength, is particularly suited to food.
A sake for lovers of strong sake with a character!

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Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Tomato Tempura at Uzu!

Service: Excellent and very friendly. Very Japanese atmosphere.
Facilities: Excellent washroom facilities. Great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable.
Strong Points: Great sake from Shizuoka and Japan Great Shochu. Home-made umeshu. Mainly local products, especially organic vegetables.
Non-smoking on Sundays and National Holidays

Tempura must be one of the most known facets of Japanese cuisine!
It looks simple enough but good tempura does need a lot of experience and great skills!
And when it comes to serve water-filled vegetables as tempura it becomes a true challenge!

As mentioned before, instead of venturing into long-winded reports about full meals I take at my “regular spots”, I will concentrate on their seasonal dishes!
Now, Mr. Kenya Yoshimura/吉村健也さん is a master of vegetables.
I just can’t imagine the timing and the temperature but when the tomatoes came on my table last night I was once again nonplussed by the sheer simplicity of the dish in its presentation!

This is actually a regular dish at Uzu although the tomatoes will change with the seasons!
In winter I remember having had the same with green tomatoes! The heat had enhanced their hidden “umami” to the point one forgets they were actually unripe!
But the present red tomatoes (organic by the way!) were ripe. I just don’t know how they didn’t explode in the hot oil!
They come with home-made yuzukoshio seasoning. The perfect “marriage” of flavors!

That was how I “presented” it to myself!
All these flavors breaking inside the palate…

To be continued…

UZU
Shizuoka City, Otowa-cho, 3-18
Tel.: 054-249-6262
Business hours: 17:00=23:00
Closed on Mondays and first Tuesday
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Nashi-Japanese Pears at Ichikawa Garden in Iwata City!

Two generations of Japanese Pear growers: Takeshi and his parents, Toshiyuki and Kumiko Ichikawa/市川、利行、久美子さん!

Nashi/梨/called Japanese Pears, Nashi Pears or Sand Pears and many other names are the fruit of hot summers par excellence!
One has to bite into one of these crunchy and extremely juicy, and absolutely delicious, fruits once to understand why Nashi Pears are also venerated as the true fruits of life!

It was another blinding hot day again yesterday and I was certainly grateful for Takeshi San to come all the way to Toyoda Cho Station and then to take me all the way again to their fields and house!
The same fields are heavily protected by nets for all kinds of obvious natural reasons!

Housui Pears/豊水梨!

The Ichikawas mainly grow two varieties of nashi pear, Housui/豊水 and Kosui/辛水, the former ripening in August and September and the latter in full production right now.
Both are extremely juicy and tasty!

Hosui Pear, still comparatively small.

Kosui Pears/辛水梨!

The Kosui Pears are lighter in color wth a different skin pattern.

Growing nashi pears organically at sea level is practically impossible but all that grass proves that the Ichikiwas use only the strict minimum of pesticides! Actually, they have cut all ties with official “Agriculture Associations” so as to conduct the agriculture they think is right!

A lot of pears fall naturally and they will be included with other natural fertilizer to be mixed with the soil when they till the ground between the trees in winter.

I can assure you it is tough work to keep these orchards clean in their three locations for a total of 40 acres, what with typhoons and other unpredictable weather conditions!

For all the hard work harvesting lettuces in winter, corn in spring, pears in summer and rice in autumn, they never stop smiling!

The crop of the day!

A lot of manual and mechanical work involved!

Takeshi’s father started his orchards 30 years ago and gradually replacing all these trees takes time and care.
The above have a difference of more than 25 years! The old one is actually about to collapse!

The orchards have to be protected not only with nets against birds but also with electric wires against civets!

Takeshi san took me to another field where new trees had been planted 5 years ago and bore their first commercial crop!
A lot of investment is involved there!

These new branches will be bent down into a canopy at head level for better reach and control!

These are actually a new variety called nikkori/にっこり that matures as late as October!

You will not find the Ichikawas’ pears in any shop as they sell them only directly at their orchards or from personal order!
Even so they have a hard time satisfying all the demand. A proof of the extravagant quality!

Already all packed and ready to go!
Don’t worry, I managed to get mine!
Actually I can help you get them personally!

As any farmers worth their salt, the Ichikawas grow all kinds of vegetables for their own use and extra earnings!
I took a big batch of those beautiful okra back home!

To be continued…

ICHIKAWA GARDEN
Takeshi Ichikawa/Chouchou Farm
438-0804 Shizuoka Ken, Iwata Shi, Kamo, 200
静岡県磐田市加茂200
Tel/Fax: 0538-34-0629
Mobile: 080-1614-2271

Lettuce: October~April
Corn: June~July (May for greenhouse)
Japanese pears/nashi: August~September
Rice: Middle of September
Other vegetables (please call for more information!)
Private orders welcome!

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Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Sake tasting: Takashima Brewery-Hakuin Zen Junmai

I just had the opportunity to obtain a limited edition (only 180 bottles) of a Junmai sake brewed by Takashima Brewery in Numazu City!

At +8 it is certainly very dry and furthermore it was made with sake rice exclusively grown in Shizuoka Prefecture!

To cap it all (not the sake! LOL) it was adorned with those great words of hope!

Takashima Brewery-Hakuin -Zen Junmai

Rice: all grown in Shizuoka Prefecture
Rice milled down to 65%
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Dryness: +8
Production: 180 Bottles (1.8 l)
Bottled in June 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Very faint golden hue
Aroma: Very discreet, fleeting. Fruity. Pineapple. Hints of coffee beans.
Body: Fluid
Taste: Softer attack than expected. Elegant and fleeting.
Fruity. Very complex. Custard, oranges, pineapple.
Lingers for a while with very dry notes of oranges and coffee beans.
Ends with long dry coffee beans notes backed by Junmai petillant.
Marries perfectly with food with little change.

Overall: A sake for all seasons!
Definitely at its best on its own, but marries so well with food.
I brought it to a BBQ and Japanese and expats kept coming back to it in spite of all the beer and wine available!
Even ladies appreciated it!
Another discovery!

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Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Ekiben/Railway Station Bento: Hama No Kama Meshi at Kakegawa City JR Station

Although both seem to have their own, the JR Stations of Kakegawa City and Hamamatsu City share quite a few ekiben/railway lunch boxes!

Although I bought this particular one at Kakegawa JR Station, it is a Hamamatsu product as the name states:

Hamamatsu Meibutsu/浜松名物/Hamamatsu Famous Product, Hama no Kama Meshi/浜の窯めし/Hama stands for Hamamatsu, Kama for a kind of cauldron and Meshi for Rice/Lunch.

Jishotei Co. clearly announces the ingredients!

Interestingly enough, they provide a spoon instead of chopsticks. You’ll see why later!

Now, what do we have?

The rice is of the takikomi gohan type, meaning that it was steamed with the juices of some ingredients placed on top of the rice as well as containing soy sauce and bits of shiitake mushroom. carrot, burdock root and chicken.
Th lower right quarter was covered with chicken soboro, or “powdered chicken, while the left quarter was covered with Japanese cucumber pickles mixed with bits of shiso.
In the center was placed a small simmered shiitake.
In the middle from right to left, red pickled ginger, boiled carrot and chestnut cooked in syrup.

There was also broiled eel in the middle!

The upper half was covered with tamago soboro, sweet powdered oemelette, with green peas.
A half slice of boiled lotus root was also included for taste and design!

As the “cauldron” was deep the whole ekiben was very satisfying and yummy!

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Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Izakaya: Waga!

Daikon Katsu!

Service: Very friendly and easy-going! Slow food!
Facilities: Very clean overall. Large and clean washroom.
Prices: reasonable
Strong points: Great list of sake and shochu. Typical izakaya gastronomy with a personal touch!

I’ve always been a great fan of Waga since it was open. Pity I cannot visit it often as it is just too near my workplace! LOL

The design is definitely modern and comfortable allowing you to choose between seats at tables, tatami (with dug space for your legs!) or at the counter.
Food here is definitely of the slow and attentive variety and generous!
On top of that the difference is made with some interesting specialties!

The o-toshi/snack coming with the first drink are worth a second look: salmon deep-fried in cornstarch served with fine ratatouille!

Small deep-fried renkon/lotus root sandwiches and mushrooms in sweet and sour sauce!

Like in any Shizuoka izakaya worth its salt the sashimi is first-class: madai/true seabream!

A Waga specialty: deep-fried nagaimo sticks!
The nagaimo being fried, it is not sticky at all, but tender and crispy! A discovery!

Another Waga specialty (you might do well to order it in advance!): Daikon katsu!

The daikon is first slowly simmered in dashi souip stock, then drained and cooled down before being covered with breadcrumbs/panko like for tonkatsu/pork cutlets, deep-fried and served cut seasoned with a personal dressing!

Another Waga’s classic: kabocha croquettes baked with tomato and cheese sauce!

Waga’s tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette is special! (at the back are three cups of different sake for comparison!)

For a better view!

The original arrangement will make you think you are eating two different kinds!
Incidentally I always have it for dessert!

Served with an original sweet seaweed sauce!

WAGA
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, takajyo, 2-1-20, Kuroyanagi Bldg. 1F
Tel.: 054-271-7121
Business hours: 17:30~23:30, 17:30~26:00 (on Fridays, Saturdays and National Holidays)
Closed on Mondays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Italian Gastronomy: Shizen No Chikara Garden Organic Vegetables and Mangenton Pork at Aquavite!

<a href="http://shizuokagourmet

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive. Top-class Italian wines. Private room for~8 people.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at counter!

On August 6th, Aquavite opened the second page of their “Shizen no Chikara Garden Presents” Series featuring organic vegetables from Shizuen no Chikara Garden in Shizuoka City and Mangenton Pork from Sanoman Co. in Fujinomiya City!

As this kind of report is both work and pleasure I always sit at the counter to be able to share a word with Chef Aoki!

And like this focaccia with organic mini tomatoes I can see everything coming out of the oven!

Little beauties, aren’t they?

A menu was provided for all to consult and take away!

This was service, semi-dried tomatoes and mushroom crostini.

First pasta dish: Cold Capellini with organic tomatoes and Italian water buffalo Mozzarella.

For another view!
Lke all the vegetables of the day, the basil is organic from Shizen no Chikara Garden.

My piece of focaccia!

The antipasti misto!

Grilled eggplant/aubergine rolled in raw ham.

Kabocha pumpkin marinated in balsamico.

Okra and their flowers!

Potato fritatta and goya/bitter melon fritatta!

Okra flower!

The second pasta dish!

Home-made stamp pasta corzetti with oba/large perilla leaf sauce and sauteed shrimps!
That soft sauce was a beauty indeed in perfect coupling with the home-made pasta!

Beautiful finish as usual. The care of a great chef!

The pasta stamp!
Which means that each piece of pasta has to be cut individually!

The main dish!
Mangenton pork belly confit and Shizen no Chikara Garden organic vegetables combination!

The Mangenton having been confit beforehand, the fat was crispy and combining so well with the leaner meat without any fat dripping away!

This is what I call a flying tomato!

For a better view of the vegetable design!

I know you were waiting for it: the dessert!

For a closer view at the tip of the “fork”!

Blueberries and raspberries tart!

Soft red tea panacotta!

To be continued… of course!

AQUAVITE
Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00 18:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Sake tasting: Suruga Brewery-Tenko Tokubetsu Junmai Homare Fuji

Tenko/天虹 in English means “Heaven Rainbow” and is the name of the main brand produced by Suruga Brewery in Shizuoka City!
Incidentally Suruga Brewery is the “youngest” brewery in Shizuoka City and Prefecture!

They are refreshingly eclectic in their approach as they both promote old brands they acquired when they bought the rights from the defunct Yoshiya Brewery last year, and also Shizuoka-grown sake rice, namely Homare Fuji/誉富士/”Proud Mount Fuji”!

Suruga Brewery-Tenko Tokubetsu Junmai Homare Fuji

Rice: Homare Fuji
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +4
Acidity: 1.7
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in May 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Very faint golden hue
Aroma: Strong and pleasant. Fruity: banana with hints of coffee beans and dark chocolate. Complex
Body: Fluid
Taste: Junmai petillant-dominated attack.
Very fruity and complex.
Starts liquorish in spite of its +4 dry status.
Lots of custard and almonds with notes of coffee beans, white chocolate and dark cherries.
Tends to turn drier with further sips.
Turns slightly drier with almonds and custard with food.
Smooth on the palate and easy to drink.

Overall: Unusual sake that, although dry, almost feels sirupy on the tongue.
Very complex and fruity.
Probably best drunk on its own at room temperature, but marries well with food.
Another sake you could drink as an “ice cram” if properly chilled!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Shochu tasting: Sugii Brewer-Saisuke Shizuoka Imo

Sugii Brewery/Distillery in Fujieda City has been noted for quite some time as producing not only top-class sake but alsoo shochu of a superlative level.
They also have the merit to use local ingredients whenever possible!

The imo, or satsuma imo/薩摩芋/sweet potatoes used in this shochu are exclusively grown in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Sweet potatoes (Shizuoka-grown)
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5
Kooji/麹: Yellow kooji
Distillation: Normal pressure type
Alcohol: 25.5 %
Bottled in March 2009

Clarity: very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Strong. Nutty. Complex. Hints of pineapple and dry bananas
Body: fluid
Taste: Strong but smooth attack.
Lingers for a while warming up back of the palate.
More complex than expected.
Sweet but dry on the tongue.
Pineapple, nuts, dry almonds, walnuts.
Marries well with food.
Drunk on its own or on plenty of ice mainly reveals a dry nutty, almost sweetish strong accent to rapidly grow into a very dry invasion of the palate.

Overall: A shochu more elegant than expected!
Its strong nutty taste is very pleasant and marries well with any food.
I personally appreciate it on its own poured over a lot of ice like I do for any higher quality shochu, although great with the addition of lemon or lime juice or mixed with Perrier water!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Ekiben/Railway Station Bento: Unagi Meshi/Eel Ekiben at Shizuoka City JR Station

Unagi/Eel/鰻 is one of the famous local products in Shizuoka Prefecture and they are particularly popular in Summer!
The eels are first grilled then repeatedly dipped into tare/sauce and broiled over a live fire.
There are many recipes for them and accordingly, tastes even vary from city district to city district!

Tokaiken Co Ltd. offers a single ekiben with eel simply called unagi meshi/うなぎめし/Eel Lunch.

The design is very simple and actually the eel represents the first character “u/う” of unagi/うなぎ in hiragana!

As usual all ingredients are clearly stated by Tokaiken Co. Ltd

A film of special paper prevents the eel to stick to the box cover!

Now, what do we have?

It all looks simple but this eel has been carefully broiled!

A small bottle of extra “tare/たれ” sauce is provided!

Pickled daikon and a sachet of Japanese pepper/sanshyou/山椒 for more seasoning.

That’s how it looks after having sprinkled the eel with the “tare” and the “sanshyou” powder!
One scoops it with chopsticks together with rice.
Simple, satisfying and delicious!

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With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

French Gastronomy: Shizuoka Komatsuna and French Summer White Truffles

Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to slightly expensive, good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products.
Entirely non-smoking!

I’ve decided it is about time that I ceased to describe the full dinners of some of my favorite restaurants for the simple reasons that so many dishes deserve an article of their own!
In the future you can expect a full dinner (not all, mind you, especially for the new establishments I’m bound to discover) to be fragmented into delicious episodes!

The other day Tooru Arima/有馬亨さん surprised me again with one of his typical creations: Shizuoka-grown komatsuna and French Summer White Truffles!
The komatsuna/小松菜/Japanese mustard spinach (they don’t taste like mustard!) were organic naturally, and from Hirokawa Organic Garden in Mishima City.
Komatsuna is usually stir-fried, pickled, boiled and added to soups or used fresh in salads. It is an excellent source of calcium.
It is very popular in Japan, Taiwan and Korea and Shizuoka is a big producer and exporter.

Since truffles, be they French or Italian, black or white, are naturally organic, the whole dish can be considered as fully organic except for some sauce ingredients.

Tooru kept things simple by frying the komatsuna in olive oil with a minimum of salt and pepper.
As the komatsuna produce a lot of juices when fried, Tooru added lemon juice and fond de veau/veal stock to the juices for the perfectly balanced light sauce the vegetables deserved.
He then “simply” sliced plenty of those white truffles all over them!
Extravagant!

Note that he could have made the dish completely vegetarian or vegan (he would on request!) by replacing the fond de veau with Madeira wine for example!

To be continued…

PISSENLIT
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Organic Vegetables at Kitayama Organic Farm (2nd interview)

My purchase of the day!

As promised last Sunday I went all the way to Fujinomiya City yesterday to pay a visit to the Hirakakis’ Kitayama organic farm!
Masaaki Hirakaki/平垣正明さん (45) was kind enough to pick me up at the station in his small pick-up truck to drive me all the way to their home across his fields.

Masaaki Hirakaki/平垣正明さん!

Once again it was flaming hot and I certainly appreciated the slight drop in temperature as their fields lie at an altitude of 400 meters at the foot of Mount Fuji (which was lost in the clouds then). Mind you, it can be bitingly cold there in winter!

They grow all kinds of vegetables here and there on plots of land totaling 6,000 square meters!

When you discover all that natural grass (tough to keep in check!) between the rows of vegetables and among them you understand quickly that no insecticides, herbicides or agrichemicals are used there!

I just couldn’t catch all the names of the fancy vegetables, some of them in some kind of Italian. I just sweated too much and was too busy to take pics to jot down all the names! Next time I will take a secretary along…?
Anyway, these chili peppers are a sweet variety!

Common (?) green pepper.

Dwarf violet eggplant/aubergine.

Big and round violet eggplant/aubergine.

The same in its row.
Notice that the ground is protected with black vinyl to keep off insects.

Long and thin “thread eggplants/aubergines”!

Very crunchy and juicy Japanese cucumber!

Sweet potatoes/satsuma imo!
Again tough work to pull off that grass (used as compost later!)!

Beautiful pumpkin with an impossible Italian name!

The same and its flower!

I love all those healthy pumpkin flowers!

Instead of using insecticides or herbicides Masaaki “burns” the soil under vinyl sheets with the help of natural sun light and heat!

There is certainly no lack of pure water constantly flowing from the slopes of Mount Fuji!

Green okra!
Some plants are marked with a ribbon to indicate they are let grow freely to supply next year’s seeds!

Okra flowers are edible!

Big violet okra grown for their seeds!

Masaaki also grows his own rice, half for his own consumption, half for sale!

Have you ever seen rice flowers?

These tomatoes are not let to grow on stalks. They are for cooking, not to be eaten raw!

Sweet white corn field! It has to be protected with nets to fend off rampant civets!

Incredibly sweet and juicy eaten raw!

The Hirakakis (both 45 and so young!) in front of their home they built with their own hands!

Part of the day’s crop on sale!

Their home is such an intelligent jumble of bits and pieces, including some real antiques!

They do have many friends of all ages from all sorts of locations to help them organize regular parties!
Many of them are producers I will soon visit!

Organic shallots left to dry outside.

Rare organic chicken and quail eggs from a friend’s farm!

We actually went back to the fields to pick my favorite banana peppers! Incidentally these grow upwards!
The Hirakakis, professional photographers, moved here from Shizuoka City 6 years ago.
At the time Kiko had a pet rabbit she fed with organic carrot leaves grown by a friend.
They started to grow organic carrots for the pet, which developed into full-fledged organic agriculture!

Little beauties, aren’t they?

Tomatoes for cooking!

Kiko san fried the same tomatoes with olive oil, a little salt and pepper and cheese!
So sweet and delicious!

We ate them with these enormous organic sweet basil leaves!

I purchased all these for my friends in their izakaya!

Aki Suzuki/鈴木朋さん at Yasaitei/やさい亭 in Shizuoka City!
She does not look too happy, not because of the beautiful vegetables she holds, but because I caught her on a busy day! LOL

Can you guess which ones I brought?

To be continued…. I mean these trips to Fujinomiya City!

Kitayama Organic Farm
Masaaki and Kiko Hirakaki
418-0112 Fujinomiya Shi, Kitayama, 3102
Tel./Fax: 0544-25-2795
Mobile phone: 090-2261-8821
HOMEPAGE
Orders accepted according to personal priorities and seasonal availability!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

French Gastronomy: Shizuoka Dessert-Fig Compote and Dark Tea Jelly at Pissenlit

Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to slightly expensive, good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products.
Entirely non-smoking!

Shizuoka City and Prefecture are not only famous for their vegetables, but also for their fruits, and figs are certainly very popular here!
Shizuoka Prefecture also produces more than 45% of the total green tea crop in Japan, but did you know it was also the birthplace of dark tea (black or red) in Japan?

Chef Tooru Arima/有馬亨さん has this knack and talent to combine French and Japanese gastronomies in a constant search for originality and new tastes!
I wonder how much time he spends on them as the simple complete peeling of a fig before cooking it in compote is painstaking and sticky work!

Preparing food is one thing, but presenting it is certainly another!
No wonder Tooru’s desserts are so celebrated in this town!
Incidentally, this beautiful mint is organic from Hirokawa Garden in Mishima City!

The jelly is made from dark tea cultivated and processed in Shizuoka Prefecture and laid over a granite made with the juices of the fig compote!

Yes, not only a spoon but you also need a fork and knife to fully enjoy and appreciate this superb dessert!
I do not need to explain the pleasure I had cutting the fig and admiring the colors!

And it was absolutely succulent and again perfect in this hot weather!
To be continued…

PISSENLIT
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

French Gastronomy: Kakegawa Tomato Jelly and Gaspacho with Hokkaido Salmon at Pissenlit

Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to slightly expensive, good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products.
Entirely non-smoking!

Kakegawa City and its neighborhood are celebrated all over Japan for its superlative tomatoes.
Chef Tooru Arima/有馬亨さん, who is very particular about his vegetables, obtains his tomatoes from Mr. Ishitani/石谷さん and comes with some very interesting, and delicious, creations with a vegetable which has become so common!

The tomatoes come into two facets of this beautiful dish:
First the tomato jelly which “rides” a piece of marinated salmon called “tokishirazu”/時鮭, a variety from Hokkaido. This jelly is made from sieved tomato pulp, gelatin and the strict minimum of (secret?) spices, salt and pepper.
Second the soup, or gaspacho, made with the same sieved tomato pulp and first-class olive oil.

For a better view!

The bed of lettuce is organic from Hirokawa Garden in Mishima City!
Served chilled, it makes for the perfect appetizer in hot summer! I can assure I didn’t leave a drop of the gaspacho!
And it is so healthy!

A little pice of the same marinated salmon with coarse ground pepper!

To be continued…

PISSENLIT
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’11/43): Another Earthquake Bento

I’m getting used to earthquakes…
Just before midnight yesterday the shouts of the Missus woke me up. I had gone to bed early while she was still fiddling with the computer.
On the Japanese scale a 6.2 tremor struck from deep in the Suruga Bay just in front of Shizuoka City which was jolted up to 5.2 but only for a short time fortunately.
Having made sure the Missus had calmed down I just went back to bed…

This morning things were normal as no tsunami or damage had been announced.
The Missus was soon hard at work preparing my bento…

While the rice was being steamed she prepared one of her specialties, chicken breast fillets stir-fried with burdock root and black sesame seeds. She included sesame oil and spices at the last minute and mixed the whole with the rice and letting it cool before filling the first box with it!

I contributed to the side dish as she used some of the organic vegetables from Kitayama Farm in Fujinomiya City I had brought her last Sunday.

She stir-fried the above as well as using some of the tomatoes for the salad.

She stir-fried the small violet egg plants she had sliced beforehand with the roughly cut banana pimento in basically the same way as the chicken with plenty of yellow sesame seeds.
She cooked plain and slightly sweet tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette with a nice crispy outside.

As for the salad she placed three types of sliced tomatoes on a bed of lettuce: The orange tomatoes and the green heirloom tomatoes are organic.
She added a last touch with Shizuoka-grown (Shimizu Ku) blueberries.

Who said that an earthquake stimulates the appetite?

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento