Tag Archives: Japan

Happy Lunar New Year: Hot Pot and Old White Wine

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year my internet followers. We decided to celebrate the year of the cock with our fudge on a Japanese classic: hot pot.

I started by soaking dehydrated shiitake mushrooms. Then I caramelized garlic in a pot. Once golden, I added 3 bowls of water to boil. While waiting, I furiously rinsed and chopped bok choy, carrots, enoki mushrooms, firm tofu, and broccoli. I then dolloped miso syrup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, the shiitakes, and a whiff of sriracha into the boil until I could just taste them. Fresh udon noodles and tofu plopped in. After five minutes, I killed the heat and then layered in the veg: crunchy’s first: carrots, then broccoli, bok choy, topped by enoki mushrooms. The lid capped in the steam. Continue reading

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Thirsty Thursday: Uehara Brewery Forest Spirit Sake Junmai Ginjo

Sake. I love it but rarely do I splurge on it. Yet with summer’s heat, something chilled, refreshing, yet deceptively high in alcohol sounds perfect (next time Fino Sherry, I promise).

This Thirsty Thursday our glasses travel to Japan. Uehara Brewery began in 1862 amidst upheaval in Japan. Commodore Perry had shelled Japan into trade with the US eight years prior. Centuries of Shogunate and Samurai rule were crumbling. Smelly Westerners ran rampant in the streets. Famine, unemployment, riots, and hysteric movements raged throughout: good time to start a brewery. Continue reading

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Thirsty Thursday: Saké: Harushika Junmai Daiginjo, Nara, Japan

I know near to nothing about saké. I never review it. But secretly, this wine geek loves it. Every time I drink it, regardless of quality, it consistently fascinates.

Saké is not beer, but it is brewed grains. Saké is not wine, but alcohols also average in the tweens. Truly, any comparisons fall apart. For saké is uniquely Japanese: like Kimonos, matcha green tea, or Godzilla…taking a tea (?) break between destroying cities: Continue reading

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Japanese Beer: Baird Beer, Dark Sky Imperial Stout, Numazu, Japan

Today we visit Japan.

Beer may be your last thought, but the Japanese love it. Most drink mass-produced lager like the rest of us. Yet, by the mid-90s, regulations loosened and allowed for a craft beer boom. A license went from 2000 kl per year to 60 kl. In steps Baird Beer: not very Japanese-sounding. Heck, their website looks like any other American micro-brewery’s: nary a whiff of the land of the rising sun.

That’s because Bryan, a former Johns Hopkins grad, and Sayuri, a native of Okinawa, founded it. International studies sent Bryan to Japan. But he preferred beer. Then he met Sayuri. They moved to the US. Then he crammed in the American Brewers Guild 3-month intensive and apprenticed at Redhook Brewery in Seattle. They quit their jobs and home-brewed countless small batches. Continue reading

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