Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A bit of Japan in New York

I had a nice trip to New York for the ABAA book fair that took place April 3-5 at the Park Armory and while I was pretty busy with books, I got to visit a few of my old and new favorite places.

At Takashiyama I had the East/West Afternoon Tea (see bad photo) which included 4 small sandwiches (spring roll, cucumber on rice, smoked salmon on rice and turkey and horseradish on white bread), vegetable chips, fruit (strawberries, melon, pineapple, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes), candied nuts, custard, chocolates, cookies and cake. Something was seriously wrong with the service - there were several servers and they must all have assumed that someone else was helping me. Don't go there if you are in a hurry. The tea and treats made up for it and I can't stay mad at them. Right outside the the cafe they sell tea, cups and pots, incense, cookies, etc. I bought a teacup, some incense and a few other things and the customer service in that department was outstanding.

I had only about 5 minutes to visit sake shop Sakaya, so I just ran in and asked if they had any nama sake. That is how I ended up with a bottle of Masumi Arabashiri "First Run." I can't wait to spend more time looking at all the sake and maybe attending one of Sakaya's many tastings on my next trip to New York.

Down the street was Cha-an Japanese Tea House where I had an order of green tea truffles on reserve. They were packaged in a lovely bamboo gift "bag," and were a beautiful pale green color. I shared them with some friends after I got home and the opinion that they were delicious was unanimous. While at Cha-an I ordered the 3 item dessert kaiseki which included mixed berry ice cream with a sesame crunch cookie, orange chocolate mousse and creme brulee, and a cookie and poundcake, along with several cups of genmaicha tea.

I also made a quick stop at Kyoto-fu where I had several boxes of sweets on reserve. While there I tried the ginger-infused soymilk rice okayu with apple-cranberry compote, seven spiced tuile, and shiso cream. They have a nice sake list with over 30 different kinds of junmai, junmai ginjo, daiginjo, nigori, aged, and sparkling sake and several sake flights if you want to experiment. Also, they currently have a great sake promotion, Sake Sundays with half off all bottles and glasses (check the website for more details).


rikkusumisu said...

Hey Valerie!
Thanks for coming to SAKAYA! Please say hello on your next visit.


Valerie said...

Thanks Rick, I will stop by and say hi this summer! My free time in NY was so short, I've made plans to attend John Gauntner's Sake Course there in July and I'm staying a few extra days so that I have time to do the important things, mainly shop for and drink sake! On my last visit, I was on my way to Cha-an and the taxi dropped me off several blocks from the place (!!!) and I just happened to walk by Sakaya. So, thanks to the bad taxi driver, I now have a bottle Masumi Arabashiri... I guess I will forgive him. And I should drink that this weekend!