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Sake Fest PDX


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#21 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 07:24 PM

The super nice folks from Dragonfish Asian Cafe (seriously, I love these guys) had a very tasty caramel ginger chicken (with bell peppers and peanuts), the sweetness was nice and not too cloying and the chicken was juicy and moist:

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And a Thai Devil roll with seared albacore, shrimp, onion, basil and covered in green and orange tobiko:

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But one of the really neat things was how they put out their wasabi and pickled ginger - so pretty and nice they went the extra mile to do it:

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So nice I took a pic of 'em:

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Joto Sake features two of my favorite sakes Watari Bune "55" (junmai ginjo), and Yuki No Bosha (junmai daiginjo). The Yuki No Bosha sakes are undiluted, or genshu sakes, and are also "jukusei" meaning they are aged for 12-36 months. Watari Bune is named for the rice used to make it, and the brewery brought it back after it had been virtually extinct for about 60 years...it took 3 years to grow enough rice for their first batch. It goes particularly well with rich and fatty foods and is my favorite junmai ginjo:

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Joto was also featuring, from left to right, Kasumi Tsuru (kimoto extra dry), Yuho (junmai), and Shichi Hin Yari (junmai):

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#22 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 07:53 PM

Winebow brought some very good sake to this party. In fact, they introduced me to my new favorite sake, Chokaisan (junmai daiginjo). They also had many others:

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They also had the most photogenic woman in the room with them:

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But this stuff, this was my revelation of the evening - Chokaisan - yeast from flowers gives it a floral nose, it tastes of pears and has herby notes, and it is both crisp and creamy in ways I can't describe to you - you HAVE to taste it for yourself.

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All through the event, there was great jazz music provided by The Dennis Caiazza Trio. These guys were really good, a shame most folks weren't actively listening, but I made a point to do so and I was well rewarded. Thanks guys! (if you need a jazz trio: dennis@nwjazz.com):

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Marcus Pakiser has changed sake consumption here in Portland in amazing ways - we have access to some stellar sake, and most of it is because of him and his efforts with P&S Wine Company/Young's Columbia. Here is Sarah Graves, VP of P&S Wine and Marcus Pakiser:

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And here is a final shot of Marcus, closing up the event.

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And what a fabulous event it was. The folks from Event Navigators did a great job making this event a success. There is already talk about next year and moving up to the Governor's Grand Ballroom for the event...I am already looking forward to it!!
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#23 loofahgirl

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 08:52 AM

Great recap! I can't add much to what has already been said, but we had a wonderful time and I am so excited for them to do this again. Good stuff. Jill, you and I have the same tastes, I think: Watare Bune and Yuki no Bosha are two of my favorites, as well. I also really liked the "Dawn" sake (the big green bottle pictured above). Sake rules!

#24 Jill-O

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 09:50 AM

Great recap! I can't add much to what has already been said, but we had a wonderful time and I am so excited for them to do this again. Good stuff. Jill, you and I have the same tastes, I think: Watare Bune and Yuki no Bosha are two of my favorites, as well. I also really liked the "Dawn" sake (the big green bottle pictured above). Sake rules!


Thanks loof!

Yeah, and those tastes would be...expensive. ;o)

You pay for the junmai daiginjos...but they're worth it, IMO.

I think that Chokaisan I fell in love with is around $45-50, which is around what the Yuki No Bosha retails at. Divine Droplets is more expensive - over the $60 mark usually. And since the Watari Bune 55 is a junmai ginjo, it is a bit cheaper - around the $35-40 mark. Of course you can buy the 300ml bottles for about half that.

Uwajimaya is having an anniversary sale, but FYI the 10% off storewide does not apply to alcohol...

And I think I need a new "U" key for my laptop...this set of posts was quite the workout for it (and the K and J keys, might I add ;o).
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#25 Jill-O

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:43 PM

Get ready!!

This year's Sake Fest is going to be Thursday, April 12th!!

I'll start a new thread, or update the dates in the title of this one, when I get more info. Right now, that's all I got, a date.

Put it on your calendar - it was one of the best events I went to last year, and if you love sake you so do NOT want to miss it!
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#26 HamSa

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 11:48 AM

Organizing a group to go in 2012 for discounted admission? In Advance Groups of 11 or More Guests only pay $44 instead of $49 or $59
http://eventnavigato.../sak-fest-pdx-/

#27 Jill-O

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:56 AM

Organizing a group to go in 2012 for discounted admission? In Advance Groups of 11 or More Guests only pay $44 instead of $49 or $59
http://eventnavigato.../sak-fest-pdx-/



Great deal - if you (or anyone else) wants to use this thread to do that, feel free!

It's a wonderful event, and a good bet for gluten-free folks.
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#28 polloelastico

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:58 AM


Organizing a group to go in 2012 for discounted admission? In Advance Groups of 11 or More Guests only pay $44 instead of $49 or $59
http://eventnavigato.../sak-fest-pdx-/



Great deal - if you (or anyone else) wants to use this thread to do that, feel free!

It's a wonderful event, and a good bet for gluten-free folks.

Will there be sushi on naked women? If so, can we all chip in an extra $10 or so to make sure this stupid-ass fucking thing does not happen?
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin

#29 Jill-O

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:22 AM

I hear ya on that one, pe. And I am hoping that the event promoters see that, too.

It was in the corner of of a busy, huge room last year, though, so it was easy to avoid...still, better to not have been there at all, I agree.
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#30 Jill-O

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:18 PM

From an e-mail they sent. If you want to purchase tickets, you can do that here: http://eventnavigato.../sak-fest-pdx-/ I suggest that you do, it was really great last year!


SAKÉ FEST PDX RETURNS

TO PORTLAND

THURSDAY 12 APRIL 2012

Join us
at
The Governor Hotel
6:30 to 9 pm

Every ticket purchase includes a stylish Momokawa Saké sampling glass!


Portland's Top Chefs Demonstrate How to Pair Their Culinary Creations with Saké

Adults 21 and Older Only

Proper ID Required for Admission

NEW FOR 2012 : Local sake experts Marcus Pakiser and Dewey Weddington provide the foundation for sake knowledge... taking you on an adventure from traditions to cocktails and beyond. Attend this exciting session and expand your sake expertise, enhance your Sake Fest PDX experience and jump-start your future sake exploration.

Take advantage of this valuable ticket upgrade now for an additional $25.

Space is limited and this seminar will sell out!


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#31 Jill-O

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:38 PM

Forgot to mention that the restaurant list is up: http://www.sakefestp...estaurants.html

Park Kitchen
Ping
Biwa
Yakuza
Bamboo Grove
Kale
Voicebox (the karaoke room rental place that feature's Tanuki's food)
Masu
Xocolatl de David
Departure
Miho Izakaya
Zilla Sake House
Wassabi Pan Asian Bistro
Departure
Tasting East (formerly Dragonfish Asian Cafe in the Paramount Hotel)
A Bit of Taste (hopefully without the naked women so pollo elastico will come ;o)
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#32 Jill-O

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 08:03 AM

This is coming up in a few weeks, and if you don't have tickets yet, you should...just sayin'...
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#33 Jill-O

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:49 AM

FYI, this was tweeted earlier:

Get your tix to #Sake Fest #PDX and save $10 by using SAKEONE code. Runs out 3/29 @ 6 PM

Go to http://eventnavigators.ticketleap.com/sak-fest-pdx-/
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#34 Jill-O

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:11 AM

OK, tickets are $10 off ($49 admission) until tonight, and then online ticketing ends and they are $59 at the door.

This event is definitely worth $59 if you like sake, but why pay the extra $10 if you don't have to?!

Links above for ticket purchase...

Personally, I am really excited about this event...it's one fo the few I will be covering for the site this year...hey, full time employment has put a damper on accepting a lot of media passes, I've gotten really picky! ;o)

Is anyone else from the site going to be there?
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#35 Jill-O

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:15 AM

OK, the big event is tonight. I urge you, if you love sake, this is a seriously awesome event you should attend. One small price gets you LIMITLESS sake sampling. If you are skeptical about what they will be pouring, go and look at this amazing line-up: http://www.sakefestp...aturedsake.html

The Joto, Vine Connections, and Gravel Road offerings are worth it alone.

I'll have my new camera and will be taking pics, but you should really go, because no matter how well I might be able to describe it, it's always better to taste it yourself!

Tickets at the door are a reasonable $59...and, you know you can easily spend this on one bottle of sake when you go out.
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#36 jennifer

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:30 PM

Saw Jill-O here, did anyone else go? What was your favorite bites?

I didn't take any pictures even though I had my camera with me. Lame, I know. Jill-O will have pics I think.

My favorite bites were the amberjack crudo with pickled plum from Masu. Picture here from Under-the-table-with-Jen's fb page:
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And this lovely salmon sashimi with a parsley sauce from DOC. My other favorite bite was oddly these green beans, almost raw, in a miso dressing & wrapped around a lettuce leaf from Biwa. And wasabi popcorn, of all things, from Behind the Museum Cafe. Where do you get wasabi powder to dust on popcorn? That stuff was fabulous!

My least favorite food of the night was a sampler plate from Dragonwell Bistro. Lotus root chips, fish fritter of some sort, egg roll, and a few other things.

Oh and Xocolatl de David had miso chocolate & kimchi chocolate. Went back for seconds on those!

The biggest surprise drink of the night for me was Choya Umeshu plum sake. I've seen this stuff in New Seasons but never paid attention to it. I certainly will now! They mixed it over ice with a splash of seltzer, wonderful!

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#37 Jill-O

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:31 AM

OMG, that was so much fun! Went to the afterparty at saucebox too...and now am here at work wishing I could take a nap. ;o)

I do have pics and will get to them tomorrow. That amberjack from Masu and the suckling pig plate from saucebox were my faves of the night...

The taiko drummers and the 3 piece jazz ensemble were just great too. Larger ballroom this year, it got crowded but it was never packed and that was nice. All in all, it was a great event!
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#38 jennifer

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 09:13 AM

We got there at the tail end of the taiko performance and holy crap, that blew my ears out. Then the mic on the emcee was screaming loud. So between those two things, my ears were blown out for the next hour and I was like, "WHAT, WHAT DID YOU SAY, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" I think that room amplified the loud acoustics x100.

Yes, that Saucebox dish was fantastic!! More people should go to this event!

#39 Jill-O

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 02:20 PM

OK, are ya ready?

I have a pic of Masu's amberjack w/pickled plum and sesame too - it was one of the best bites of the night:

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And, as I said above, Saucebox's Suckling Pig with Papaya Salad and Pickled Shitake Mushrooms & Pickled Ramp was my absolute #1 pick of the night. Tender and moist meat with some crunchy cubes of belly & lovely pickled things (the papaya had been marinated into a kind of slaw - in addition to the different pickled flavor of the mushrooms and the ramp) to cut through the richness of the pork:

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Visited one of my favorites, the folks at the Joto Sake table. I love and regularly drink Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo 55 and Yuki no Bosha Junmai Ginjo. They are easy to find around town, and are great staples of many a list Marcus Pakiser has put together at various restaurants around Portland. They drink like Daiginjos, for sure. Not inexpensive (relative to others in the same sake category) but usually worth the price. Below are pictured left to right: Yuki no Bosha "Cabin in the Snow" Junmai GInjo, Yuki no Bosha Nigori (a sweeter, unfiltered sake - one of the best nigoris I have had, btw) and two sparkling sakes - the Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Sake and Hana Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Sake (which is "flower infused"), Eiko Fuji Daiginjo (a bolder daiginjo than most), Shichi Hon Yari Junmai "Seven Samurai" (goes very nicely with food, think I have had some at Tanuki), Chikurin Organic Junmai GInjo "Organic Lightness" (this one in the mylar bag packaging is a winner - lovely delicate flavor, very smooth, can still stand up to food - it was Sue's favorite of the night, and it was a very nice pick), Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo "55". What is not pictured, because it was only in limited supply in back, was one of my top picks this year - the Yuki no Bosha Akita Komachi Daiginjo "Beauty of Akita". Whoa...it is exactly what you'd think a Yuki no Bosha Daiginjo would be - so absurdly smooth, lovely nose and balance, light and airy with some citrus - I just love it.

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Yakuza was cutting salmon sashimi - that's first run Columbia River salmon with oil and herbs. It was Sue's favorite (it might have been mine if it didn't have cilantro in it, but that's the way it goes ;o) and the fish was ridiculously fresh and delicious...there wasn't a lot of it, though, they ran out very early. Glad we got to try it, some folks didn't. They also had a nice kale salad with toasted sesame, edamame, shallot and turnip and kohlrabi pickles on the side:

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Gabe Rosen of Biwa was there with a crunchy and light Green Bean Salad with a Sesame Dressing. It was tangy and delicious, and it was nice to be able to just pick up the butter lettuce cup and munch it. Seriously, it is difficult to carry a camera and a glass of sake and a pad and paper and try and eat something! I appreciated true finger food that required no plate or utensils - thanx!

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Miho Izakaya brought Sesame Pork Meatballs with Wasabi Watermelon and a Seasoned Rice Ball garnished with shiso leaf. The meatballs were very good - flavorful and tender. The watermelon was a nice juicy cube, but I really didn't taste any wasabi (and don't think that's a bad thing, necessarily) and didn't get it's relation, other than textural variety, to the meatball. The rice was a heavy starchy ball, and couldn't really be saved by it's neighbors on the plate. But really, the meatballs were so very good that I went back for a couple of them.

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#40 Jill-O

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 03:14 PM

Another great table of sake was to be found at the Vine Connections table. I really like their GInga Shizuku Divine Droplets Junmai Daiginjo. Not a cheap bottle, but a nice one at the higher end. I decided to do more exploring in their list line up. Pictured are Konteki Tears of Dawn Daiginjo, Fukucho Moon on the Water Junmai Ginjo and Konteki Pearls of Simplicity Junmai Daiginjo. First a sake primer for you, in case you don't know this: ginjo and daiginjo refer to how much the rice is polished at the beginning of the sake-making process - daiginjo means with rice is polished more (more of it is taken away, making these a bit more expensive as they are processed more and it takes more by weight to make sake with it - but it produces a smoother and more refined and pure sake), ginjo is the step down from there - it is polished a bit less. GInjos, to be labeled as such, must be polished to at least 40%, daiginjos to at least 50% - but you can polish more - there are plenty of delicious daiginjos polished to 35% (meaning 65% of the grains are polished away). The term "Junmai" means that no extra alcohol is added to the sake, all of the alcohol content in it is there from the natural fermentation process. If there is no "junmai" on the label, it means that distilled alcohol has been added. It makes a difference - and if you do a lot of tasting, especially at an event like this, you really start to see the differences flavor polishing or the addition of alcohol can bring.

OK, back to these sakes below. Tears of Dawn is a Daiginjo - alcohol has been added, but 50% of the rice grains used to make this sake were polished away. It's brighter and more acidic, partly due to the addition of distilled alcohol...but it is fruity and vibrant and plays well with food because of it too. And that is how I would enjoy it, were I to have a bottle of it. The Moon on the Water Junmai Ginjo has 45% of the rice polished away and no distilled alcohol added. It is unfiltered and fragrant, very smooth and full-bodied with a bit of melon in the mouth and kind of mineral finish. Konteki Pearls of Simplicity is a 50% Junmai Daiginjo and is lovely. It is bright and fruity and smooth and then you get a hint of licorice with a long finish. It's a nice sipper but it could probably be a nice companion to food.


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There was some seriously good taiko drumming as entertainment from Takohachi Taiko. These guys are really good. Taiko is a balletic/gymnastic display of drumming. Performers share drums and rotate around them, some keeping base beats while others do counterpoint, there is often leaping and somersaults. I have seen several taiko groups over the last 20 years or so, and I enjoy it every time. These performers are especially good.

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Returning from last year's Sakefest was The Dennis Caiazza Trio. They are always a pleasure to listen to and it is obvious that they have a great time when they play. Really nice instrumental jazz. It's one of the things about this event that just makes it a bit nicer than others around town...they don't have to hire live musicians, but they do - and I appreciate it. That's Dennis on bass, btw.

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Departure had chicken curry over rice topped with house-made pickles. The pickles on top of this were just delicious. And it was nice to see Greg Gourdet, winner of the hottest chef title awarded by EaterPDX.

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Behind the Museum Cafe (BtMC) had wasabi popcorn, matcha brownies, and meringue cookies flavored with matcha and kinako (soy bean flour):

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Who the hell isn't happy to see Xocolatl de David at an event? David's chocolate is delicious. At SakefestPDX he had Miso chocolates and Kimchi chocolates. I liked the Miso ones better, but I like that salty and sweet combo thing a lot. I actually wished the Kimchi ones were spicier (yeah, me...can you believe that? ;o) but good chocolate is delicious - and it was nice to have just a bit of something sweet among all the savory choices.

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