Thursday, October 30, 2008

10/25/08: Kampai! with Tohoku Girls

In a few days, I am off to Japan for two weeks. A significant portion of my trip will be based in the northern Tohoku area, and my journey will cover Akita, Iwate, and Yamagata.

I wanted to empty my fridge before my trip, so I invited 3 girls from Tohoku. Between 4 of us, we "tasted" 5 sakés, including some rare ones. Here's what transpired:

The first selection was the Gold Medal-winning Hakuro Suishu (Take No Tsuyu) Daiginjo Nama, a bottle given to me by Aisawa-san during MTC Restaurant Show. Made from local Dewa San San rice, Hakuro Suishu exhibited balanced fruitiness, and was very well received by the girls.

It paired very well with the garlic oil marinated cucumbers (pictured) as well as hiyayakko (cold tofu served with minced ginger, bonito flakes, and dashi-based soy sauce.)

Next, we opened a bottle brought by one of the girls (Y-san), who recently went to the tour of Gekkeikan in Kyoto. The bottle seems to be limited release at the brewery, and saké showed more hints of nuttiness on the flavor. It was paired with eggplant braised in miso (pictured) and moyashi (soy sprout) and shiitaké butter sautee.

Here are the Tohoku Girls with Gekkeikan Daiginjo. From left to right, R-san, M-san, Y-san.

Next on the deck was Kiku Masamuné Kimoto, a bottle I received for placing fourth in the October company golf outing. (I won in September, but it didn't come with a bottle of saké...). This happens to be a brewery that Y-san also visited, as Nada is not too far from Kyoto. This bottle, following the first two, was very grainy and deep following the first two choices. We paired this with fried dumpling prepared by R-san.

Thelast two sakés have been sitting in my fridge for one year. The first to be opened was Ama No To Junkara, a very dry style junmai. R-san was very fond of this bottle, as it tasted like what a traditional saké should taste like. We matched this with oden (Japanese stew) that R-san brought.

Lastly, I opened up the Sakura Masamuné Kinmaré that I received from visiting the brewery last year. Unlike my experience at the brewery or even earlier in the year, this version of Kinmaré tasted milder, but with just as much depth. Another selection that was very well received by the attenddees. We served the saké along side boiled dumplings, but since the saké was so good, it outlasted them.

This was the perfect way to enjoy the sakés I saved for "those special occasions," as I knew every single drop was savored.

Next entry will be from the land of the Risig Sun.


Tony Alexander said...

I love your Tohoku Girls, especially the one in the middle.

Unfortunately, it's very hard to find girls who drink nihonshu in Kanagawa. Most would rather drink cocktails, wine, and so on.

Good for you.

KCinNYC said...

They're tons of fun for sure! (Miyuki-san would be flattered, by the way.)

Those Kanagawa girls are missing out!

shinyraven said...

You have good taste, not only as far as sake is concerned!! I can spot a Grateful Dead sticker and a Welsh flag in the background ;-).

Thanks for your interesting blog, BTW!