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Sake Fest PDX


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#1 Jill-O

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 06:39 PM

OK, I got another really good one for ya! ;o)

I promise, pics first, sake second. I know I can do it! Please, someone come and drink with me at this event! ;o) Good discount before Sept. 30th - it's only $47.50 (portion of net proceeds go to JASO)!

Portlanders will gather in the Grand Ballroom at The Governor Hotel (map it) on Wednesday 13 October 2010 - 6 pm to 8:30 pm - to experience the finest Japanese and US sake brands, as part of the inaugural Saké Fest PDX.

Your ticket purchase allows you access to all food and all saké sampling stations - including rare & premium saké varieties - while learning how to pair the traditional Japanese drink with a wide variety of food, including cheese, desserts, chocolate and a wide range of fusion, Asian and continental cuisines.

Your Saké Fest PDX ticket purchase also includes a souvenir tasting cup … a stylish, hand-blown, glass vessel donated by our friends at Momokawa Saké.

Tickets for the event are $47.50 per person - discounted until September 30th and regular priced at $65 after September 30th in advance online. (sorry, no phone orders) Participants must be 21 years or older to attend. Proper ID required.

Many premium and several rare sakés will be available to taste, as will regionally micro brewed "jizake", which means small, regional saké brewer. Prominent chefs from area restaurants and catering facilities will prepare and serve a selection of food samples that complement different types of saké.


A portion of the net proceeds from Saké Fest PDX benefit the Japan-America Society of Oregon

Featured Food includes:

biwa
Zilla Sake
Kale'
Park Kitchen
Masu
Xocai chocolate
Whole Foods

Featured sakes: http://www.sakefestp...aturedsake.html

More info and tickets: http://www.sakefestpdx.com/home.html

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#2 loofahgirl

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 07:29 PM

Oh wow. That looks cool.

#3 GlutenFreePDX

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 01:45 PM

This sounds like an awesome event. You get a sweet handblown glass and learn a lot about a drink us westerners still are mostly ignorant about. Will try to be there!

#4 Jill-O

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 11:05 AM

It really does look like a great event - hope to see some sake loving folks there from here!
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#5 loofahgirl

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:22 PM

Jill, is there an early entry for media?

#6 Jill-O

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 04:55 PM

Discounted tickets are available until 11pm tonight, they are $47.50. After 11pm, they will cost $65.

If you want to go (and trust me, you do), you can get your tickets here:

Sake Fest PDX
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#7 Quo Vadis

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 07:27 PM

Discounted tickets are available until 11pm tonight, they are $47.50. After 11pm, they will cost $65.

If you want to go (and trust me, you do), you can get your tickets here:

Sake Fest PDX


Not sure if any of you had heard but several restaurants are taking part in a Nihonshu No Hi promotion for the Sake Fest:
There are several prizes but first place is 4 free tickets to SakeFest
2nd place 2x Toji tasting at SakeOne for 6 people
3rd place 2x Kura tasting at SakeOne for 6 people
Between Oct1 and Oct3 get your card stamped by five different sake bars (cards available at the venues) on the list and mail it in, there will be a drawing.

Participants include Kale, Biwa, Ping, Tanuki, Yuzu, Miho, Zilla and more.
Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume

#8 Jill-O

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 09:19 PM

40 minutes and then it is full price, suckers! ;o)
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#9 Jill-O

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 11:41 AM

Even at full price (this is a fundraiser for JASO, remember), this seems like it is going to be a great event tomorrow!

I will be there taking pics and tasting and reporting on it for ya - but wouldn't you rather go and enjoy it yourself?? ;o)

Look for the report on Thurs/Fri...
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#10 loofahgirl

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 01:59 PM

Jill, we'll see you there!

#11 Jill-O

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 02:22 PM

Woohoo - someone to drink sake with, alright loofahgirl!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

And now that I think of it, it is a great event for gluten-free folks...most things, including the beverages will be rice-based.
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#12 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 11:20 AM

Wow, that was a really fun event. There were so many great sakes to taste and good food all over. The venue was really nice and the room was plenty large to hold the 200 or so folks that attended this event, really making it much more enjoyable. The music was really good (more on that later, you know I'll give props) and that also really added to the experience. Earth2O provided plenty of water, which was set up at various places around the room, and that was great - folks who plan events with a lot of alcohol need to remember that there needs to be lots of water for guests and they need to be able to find it easily. Not true at all the events I have been to this year, so if you are a planner, make a note, please.

I like to start out with a room shot, and this is before 6pm, when the event officially started:
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On your way in, you pick up a beautiful Momokawa tasting glass, and they looked so cool all lined up:

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Although they are a bit tippy because of their shape, they really are nice:

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First table walking in was Ping. I have had this at another event, I think last at Counter Culture at Anne Amie, but I will gladly eat it every time they serve it - braised pork knuckle with mustard greens. Rich porky goodness with the bite of the greens piercing through, a bit of rice to soak up the deliciousness on the bottom (and a cilantro garnish which I requested not be there for my taste ;o).

Mustard Greens:

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Pork Knuckle:

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Porky synergy:

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I really like Ping. I've gone twice in the last few months, once for dinner, once for happy hour, and I have seriously enjoyed the food there. In fact, I like eating there more than I like eating at Pok Pok (Heresy! Eh, unlike many, it seems, I can take it. Everyone doesn't have to like or dislike what I do! ;o) - so there.
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#13 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 12:31 PM

Ty-Ku was there with their Junmai Ginjo and their Junmai Daiginjo. The bottles below are of a tropical fruit liqueur (not for tasting, pretty, though) and their Junmai Ginjo. The Junmai Daiginjo is in a white bottle that looks just like the others...but it was hidden in back, even though they were pouring tastes of it. I liked the Junmai Daiginjo better, but that is usually the case with me.

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In fact, I kind of concentrated on Junmai Daiginjos most of the night because there was so much to taste, and sake really catches up with you...and when it is really, really good, it is very hard to spit or pour out. ;o) I realize that there are lots of folks that don't really know a lot about sake so let me give you a VERY brief primer and some info.

The hot sake served in cheaper sushi joints is generally low quality stuff, the heat covers a multitude of sins, and it is the Ripple/Thunderbird/Boone'sFarm/add your favorite rotgut wine here - of the sake world. Good sake is served chilled.

Sake is made from rice and this rice is polished before anything else is done. How much it is polished is a factor in determining the grade of the resulting sake - more polishing removes more of the grain, more of the grain removed makes for a more refined and higher quality sake - the daiginjo sakes are made with rice that has been polished more than 50% - meaning more than half of the grain is polished off.

Sake is 80% water, and the quality of that water is of the utmost importance. Brewers pride themselves on the quality of the water used. FYI, Sake One also bottles the Oregon Rain brand of bottled water (those cobalt glass bottles are used for both Momokawa and Oregon Rain and it is bottled in the same place, in Forest Grove - go out there for a tour, it is really cool and free!).

When it comes to grades of sake, it's mostly about the rice. Both type of rice (certain strains make better sake, some are better eating) and how it is processed goes into this - but labels on bottles generally refer to how the rice was polished, specifically how much it was polished.

SAKE GRADES:

Futsu means regular, and is made with rice polished up to 70% of its size. The type of rice used for regular sake is not of high quality.

Honjozo uses rice that is polished so that no more than 70% of the grain remains. Also, a small amount of brewer's alcohol is added. If no brewer's alcohol is added, it is called Junmai (and is higher quality..though in this category, that doesn't mean as much).

Ginjo uses rice that is polished to 60%, and is brewed slowly, under low temperatures during the fermentation process. Again, for Junmai-ginjo, no alcohol is added, making it a better grade of sake.

Daiginjo ("dai" means big) uses only the white, opaque starchy middle of the rice, which occurs at 50% of its original size. This results in a refreshing and delicate flavor. Again, for Junmai-daiginjo, no alcohol is added.

Special Daiginjo uses rice that is polished to 40%, resulting in grains that are almost round. This type of sake is considered the crowning glory of the sake makers, and is sent to sake competitions.

The cloudy sake you will see is called nigori. It is cloudy because it's not filtered. Sake is also typically aged, but in the spring, namazake is released. It is unpasteurized and undiluted (but unlike nigori, it is filtered and clear).

OK, does that help? I hope so, because I want you all to follow along, and if you've wanted to try sake, I hope this inspires you to go out there and do so. We are really lucky to live in a place where it is produced, and thanks to Marcus Pakiser (with P&S Wine of Young's Columbia, and our local sake expert - or Sake God, as I have heard him called ;o) who has created many of the great sake lists for local restaurants, you can not only find great choices when you go out to eat, but also at places like Uwajimaya which probably has the best selection for purchase in our area (but check the dates - shipments often get held at customs, unpopular brands can linger on shelves, and heat and time are not friends of bottled sake).

OK, back to Sake Fest PDX...

Vine Connections distributes one of my favorite junmai daiginjo sakes, Ginja Shizuku Divine Droplets. But they also make several other very nice sakes. Here from left to right are Origins of Purity (junmai-ginjo genshu - genshu means it is undiluted), Moon on the Water (junmai ginjo), Hawk in the Heavens (junmai), and Tozai Living Jewel (junmai).



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Left to right: Voices in the Mist (nigori), Divine Droplets (junmai-daiginjo), Tears of Dawn (daiginjo). I tried the Tears of Dawn in addition to the Divine Droplets (OK, I 'tried' the Divine Droplets several times...it's good stuff!) and I liked them both. The Divine Droplets is made in the far north of Japan, so cold that no bacteria can grow during the process, and it is filtered using hanging canvas bags where the sake drips out, not a press (they think it is less bitter that way) - the goal is purity...and this stuff has an ethereal quality and a vague minerality to it that really pleases my palate. The Tears of Dawn has more fruity - almost vaguely tropical notes, full bodied with a strong finish. It's nice too.


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And if sake isn't your thing (We are at a sake fest, ya know!) there was also Asahi and Sapporo beer and plenty of Earth2O water:

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#14 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 12:57 PM

This is fresh sake the Sake One folks brought. It was ceremonially opened with those mallets and hand dipped out to guests. This is fresh, unaged, unbottled sake and it was still fairly smooth and very drinkable. Sake One bottles it and by the time it is in bottles, it is about 3 months old, and is their Momokawa Silver label.

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And this is Greg Lorenz, Sakemaster for Sake One:

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Sake One makes some very nice domestic sake including their Momokawa line (various grades and types) which also includes an Organic Ginjo and an Organic Nigori. They also make infused or flavored sakes which are their Moonstone line, and flavors include asian pear and plum. They have a tasting room in Forest Grove, and it is fun to taste there, but the free tour of the sakery is a reason to go there alone - even if you don't even drink sake. Very interesting process, beautiful koji room (fermentation room), and it is the only place you can see it without going to Japan:

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They also import some very nice sake from their partners the Murai Family and Yoshinogawa. I really enjoyed the Yoshinogawa daiginjo - it's a big sake with lush fruit and spice, aged for 3 years in stainless steel tanks at -3 Celsius. And yes, you can taste these as well as the Momokawa, G, and Moonstone lines at Sake One's tasting room:

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Bamboo Grove Hawaiian Grille was there from John's Landing with some very tasty kahlua pork and rice. It was a nice substantial plate and it was very welcome in the face of all the drinking we were all doing last night. The pork was tender and flavorful and not at all dry and stringy. The two guys helping Mama out were too funny and very accommodating when I asked for a shot of the pans:

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Here's an ono-licious plate serving:

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#15 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 01:14 PM

Kin (in the Pearl) did some very delicious pork belly buns:

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Hakutsuru Sake (distributed by Dreyfus Ashby & Co.) was there with sakes and plum wine (not a plum wine fan, sorry, I did not taste it). Hakutsuru means "crane" and it is one of the oldest sake producers in Japan, founded in 1743. Left to right are: Excellent (junmai), Organic sake, Superior junmai ginjo, Sho-Une Junmai Daiginjo.

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The first two below are the last two up above, and the last two on the right below are: Sayuri (nigori), and their Plum (or Ume) Wine:

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Kale was there with their "Ultimate Japanese Comfort Food" - aka Curry Rice. They had a vegetarian version and one with beef, and I had the beef one which was very comforting, indeed:

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#16 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 01:36 PM

Wassabi (Hillsboro) was there. In addition to the food they served, they had a display of dishes from their restaurant which was absolutely beautiful. Weird to have food out that is for display only, but smart of them to show their stuff in the best light...I bet if we were in Japan and they did events like this a lot, they would make those plastic versions of their dishes to take around with them. ;o):

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They served:

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Plate shot:

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Choya makes what is probably the most popular and recognized plum (ume) wine in the States. Their Umeshu comes with fruit in it in a wide bottle. They are also making a new ume wine, called Ume blanc, which I did taste, and found it interesting, though not what my palate seeks.

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Terlato Wines distributes Shimizu No Mai Pure Sake. They have three types: Pure Dawn (junmai ginjo), Pure Dusk (junmai daiginjo), and Pure Night (junmai daiginjo premium - which they were NOT tasting). They are made from artisinal rice in Akita, Japan at a sakery founded in 1656. Very nice sakes - the Dawn is delicate with a floral nose and fruity apple-pear taste; the Dusk has a more minerally nose, and the taste is more melon with a vague citrusy note:

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#17 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 02:32 PM

Gekkeikan Sake was there with a beautiful display. They were giving out those neat fans, too! The sparkling sake is interesting, but I really prefer sparkling wine made from grapes, I have to say. I tried their fruity Horin (junmai daiginjo). They now have a brewery in Folsom, CA, but I believe they are only making 'regular' sake there.

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Park Kitchen was there with some very tasty things. Sake marinated roasted pork jowl with figs and black garlic:

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And a delicious chanterelle and apple cappuccino with sherry cream. The sherry cream on top of the cup in the front of the photo is obscuring the cappuccino, which you can see in the cups behind. Delicious, rich stuff:

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Gabe Rosen from biwa was there with some absolutely delicious tofu topped with crunchy tiny fishes and scallions. They use Ota Tofu which is locally made in SE nearby - it's really good stuff:

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Doug, the wine guy from Whole Foods Pearl was there to remind folks that they have a good sake selection. He even brought some cheese and chocolate along. I had a nice chat with Doug who knows his stuff and obviously has a similar palate to my own. If you need wine in the Pearl, go in and ask for him, I don't think he will steer you wrong.

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#18 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 06:50 PM

Silk Road Wine and Spirits featured several sakes from all over Japan, including a couple of junmai kimoto sakes. Kimoto sake is made with a variation on the brewing method - the yeast starter is made in a special way that allows more funky yeast and bacteria to be present - this often gives the resulting sake a gamier, wilder flavor. It's interesting, especially if you've been tasting a lot of sake that is not brewed this way. Their Kurosawa (full bodied from Nagano, rice is polished to 65%) is very interesting for this reason and has a doughy yeasty note to it not found in sake brewed differently. They also had a very interesting aged sake that was reminiscent of whisky rather than wine, Mizuho Kuromatsu Kenbishi, from Hyogo.

This is the Yaegaki (nigori, from Hyogo), and the MU (junmai daiginjo, from Hyogo):

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The Katana (Extra Dry junmai ginjo, from Shizuoka) and the Nikki-ichi (junmai ginjo, from Fukushima):

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The Mizbasho (ginjo, from Gunma) and Okunomatsu (tokubetsu junmai, from Fukushima - tokubestsu means special, as in special care was taken in the process, making a higher quality sake):

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The Hatsumago (junmai kimoto, from Yamagata) which is a very nice kimoto, and the Kurosawa (junmai kimoto, from Nagano) also very good:

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Sungari's DragonWell Asian Bistro was there with fried shrimp balls with lemon sauce (which were good and crispy, but did not need mozzarella in the center, IMO) and crispy wonton cups filled with tuna, tomato, jalapeno and ponzu:

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#19 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 07:00 PM

Masu were the overachievers of the evening, it seemed that every time I walked by, there was something different on their table! There was a delicious mackerel roll called saba battera:

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They also had albacore sashimi and spicy tuna rolls:

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And some absolutely delicious pork belly:

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Zilla Sake House was there with some lovely hamachi that they did not mess with:

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#20 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 07:13 PM

Also in the overachievers category (though they served family-style, not plated) was Yakuza. They had a few menu items for tasting. Such as the cucumber, avocado, and sesame salad which was delicious - light and crisp from the cukes, yet creamy from the avocado:

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They also had their Kobe Tartar with jalapeno lime oil:

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Their Spicy Tuna Rolls:

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And also a very nice Salmon Tataki with blood orange oil and scallions:

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Also there were the caterers from a bit of TASTE. They do that trendy sushi on a naked woman thing. I love sushi and naked women, and I love eating sushi with naked women, but I don't know that I want to eat sushi off of a naked woman I do not know...I guess there are worse gigs if you are a model. What is weird is that they were serving tuna tartar on wonton crisps on the table in front of the naked women...so no one got too close...

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