Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sake seminar at moto-i

Get a load of this: 8 hours with 2 sake experts, a 20-page manual, over 20 different sakes to taste, a tour of the brewery and lunch and snacks for $150. Amazing!

Become a Sake Expert - Monthly Sake Seminar at moto-i

On the first Saturday of every month, moto-i is offering a full day seminar for anyone interested in learning more about sake. Comprehensive, informative, and fun, participants are promised an education on sake unparalleled in Minneapolis! We aim to have the most knowledgeable, savvy sake aficionados here than any other city in North America. The 8-hour seminar will focus on various topics like sake history, sake grades and styles, the brewery process from start to finish. The class, conducted by Blake Richardson, moto-i head brewer, and Elise Gee, assistant brewer, includes a 20-page manual for you to keep, tastings of over 20 different sake, brewery tour, lunch and snacks. Cost is $150.

The next class is Saturday, December 6, 2008 from 9am to 5pm.

In order to fully understand sake, tastings are needed in order to hone one's palate. The 20 sake students shall taste will provide a good understanding of grades, styles and flavor profiles. We have scoured far and wide to obtain the best selection of sake for our seminar-- some are even hard-to-find rarities, unavailable for purchase in Minnesota.

Here is a list of the sake students will try:
Akitabare Honjozo "Spring Snow"
Dewazakura Dewasansan Junmai Ginjo
Gekkeikan Futsuu
Gekkeikan Horin Junmai Daiginjo
Houhoushu Sparkling
Kasumi Tsuru Junmai Kimoto
Kasumi Tsuru Junmai Yamahai
Masumi Junmai "Mirror of Truth"
Murai Family Nebuta Honjozo
Murai Family Tokubetsu Honjozo
Murai Family Junmai Ginjo
Murai Family Daiginjo
Momokawa Junmai Ginjo Nigori Genshu
Momokawa Junmai
Nambu Bijin Jnmai Ginjo Nama
Nambu Bijin Junmai Ginjo
Sake One G Junmai Ginjo Genshu
Sato No Homare Junmai Ginjo
Watari Bune Ginjo 55 Muroka
Yuki No Bosha Junmai Ginjo Nigori

The lunch offered with be a choice of either a rice or a noodle dish from moto-i's menu.
Snacks include a choice of two small plates under $10 each from our menu with a sampler of moto-i's own sake.

Email us at to sign up for a seminar.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sake and cheese class in Edina

Cooks of Crocus Hill is offering a Sake and Cheese in February.

February 27th 6:00 PM-8:00 PM, $55 Ken Liss, Mark Hamer

You may know about wine with cheese or beer with cheese....but what about Sake and cheese? Really? Yes really! Without the tannins of wine, you can focus purely on the textures, flavors and sensations that come with pairing this rice beverage with cheese. The result is a completely new experience! Join Mark Hamer from Vino Source and Ken Liss from Premier Cheese Market as they pair 5 sakes with a variety of cheeses and share all the ways to serve and taste both.

Sign up here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Japanese Hand Craft

I found a link to this blog on Melinda Joe's blog and fell in love with it immediately. It's full of Japanese culture and beautiful photographs along with some great recipes. When you've finished reading the blog, check out the store for some truly exquisite sake ware among other things.

Japanese Hand Craft Blog

Japanese Hand Craft Online Shop

Monday, October 20, 2008

Looking forward to Moto-I!

From their website (

What is moto-i
moto-i is the first sake brewery restaurant outside of Japan. Located in Uptown, Minneapolis, moto-i is a full service restaurant with liquor, beer, wine and, of course, sake! moto-i makes draft sake or namazake. Nama is unpasteurized, and needs plenty of care as it can never get warm.
Our menu is reminiscent of an Izakaya, a Japanese Pub. With small plates as well as noodles and rice dishes, we incorporate many Asian ethnicities and keep the focus on street food of the best Asian Hawkers.

This is obviously very exciting news!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More Tokyo

There was nothing sake-related to report on Monday, although I did win $10.00 from Rob on a bet about a book and that's very newsworthy, although maybe not because I nearly always win my bets with Rob.

On Tuesday (March 11th) we went to Mr. Nitta's (of Yushodo) "friendship" dinner for about 25 booksellers. The dinner was at Kagurazaka, a fish restaurant at the Umi Hotel. As Nitta-san hosted the dinner, we didn't actually see menus, so I'm not sure what sake I had, but the restaurant's web site assures me that it was "the best-selected sake that goes best with the fish." Nitta-san and his wife, Mrs. Nitta-san, are two of my favorite hosts, always gracious and always generous, and, most importantly, always fun! Mr. Nitta, Rob and Robert Frew (who has a way with profanity that I very much appreciate) were drinking shochu with a nice, big ume dropped in, and that really got the party started.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were book fair days, so we were very busy. Happily, we got to have a nice dinner Friday night with our friends, "Masa and the other Masa" (they gamely let us refer to them this way), and they are fun Japanese academic party animals. They seem to be very amused by me as I'm interested in antiquarian books, cats and the Japanese cat cafes (here's one), and sake. One of the reasons it's fun to hang out with these guys is that they're both brilliant English professors and they alway bring a bunch of questions for us. They want me and Rob to explain the meaning of things like "riding shotgun." Sometimes they ask us the same questions year after year and I wonder if they are looking to catch us explaining things which we know nothing about.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tokyo! and flea market sake

Rulon-Miller Books exhibited at the Tokyo International Antiquarian book fair in March, so I made my sixth trip to Japan and Rob made his twenty-somethingth, probably close to thirtieth, trip. We arrived in Tokyo on the 8th and checked into the Hilltop Hotel, known as "the hotel with personality" and "the hotel to maintain health, probably the only hotel, which circulates oxygen and negative ions into the rooms for the guests to appreciate the refreshing atmosphere as of Karuizawa while in Tokyo." It was a nice change from our usual place, the New Otani, which I still get lost in after spending a total of about three months of my life there. The Hilltop was the tiniest bit threadbare, but it made up for that with an abundance of charm and it is near bookseller street as well.

We ignored jetlag and headed out early on the 9th to check out some flea markets. The first, at the International Forum, was disappointing. There were very few sellers and it seemed that many of them were selling new items. Still, the venture turned out not to be a complete failure because there was a section of food stalls and I found one selling what one of the salespeople called "farmer's sake." The lady in charge of the booth (pictured on the left) was able to speak a bit of English and explained to me that I shouldn't store the bottle on its side. She was right...there was a hole in the cap (which seemed to be there on the bottle didn't explode??) with only a piece of paper under it, so I had a mini disaster in the mini bar. Unfortunately, I think I waited too long to drink this. It was a really thick, chunky sake and whenever I see something like that, I expect it to taste like a pina colada. This was very bitter, so much so that I think it had gone bad. Very fizzy too, which I thought was probably not unusual for fresh, farmer's sake.

The second flea market was bigger, but just as unsuccessful. There were quite a few kimono stalls, but the competition (mainly foreigners) was fierce so I stayed away.

Dinner the first night was at Yamano-ue, the famous tempura restaurant at the hotel. It turned out to be quite a treat. I had 2 fresh prawns ($15.00 each), asparagus, kiso (white fish) and sweet potato, which was served last because of the time it took to prepare the fist-sized vegetable. It was served with brandy and very tasty. The server was very sweet...Rob asked her a question and she said "yup," and Rob asked if she had been educated in Britain. She was very embarassed at having been caught being so informal with a customer, but I really liked her. She suggested the sake that I had with my meal, Tateyama (Toyama Prefecture) according to the notes she made for me. It was a very fine sake...light floral aroma with a taste almost like lightly flavored water. Rob tried it and said "smooth, easy, cherry."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What's hot and what's not

A new list of what's hot and what's not was just published by the American Restaurant Association. Scroll down to page six to see alcoholic beverages and cocktails. It's a bit sad to see that sake ranks below energy drink cocktails and mojitos, but interesting that it's ahead of red, white and sparkling wine, vodka, tequila and rum. I found this link on Andrew Zimmern's food blog. He also posted this link to a youtube video of Kobayashi going up against a bear in a hotdog eating contest. It looks like it was an unfair competition!