The impetus for our Brooklyn trip was this: a brewery tour and tasting at Brooklyn Kura, a featured sake maker in our ABS (American Born Sake) Sake Gumi theme in April. Both Yoko and I had visited the brewery over the last few years (it only opened in 2015), and we wanted any excuse to get the hell out of Oakland and have a coast-to-coast meetup with all our pals at this all-around fantastic, community-driven brewery leading the renaissance of USA-made sake.
Located in a newer development in Brooklyn's Sunset Park called Industry City, Brooklyn Kura occupies a large warehouse space in the complex next to Japan Village. You can't miss their iconic blue door.
The event would be a casual affair and there were lots of ticket holders! Many were our friends from Oakland (our Sake Gumi club members!) but also people we never met from NYC. Wow meeting new people and socializing?!? What a concept.
We showed up, helped set up, and were ready to party.
It was a real east coast-meets-west coast event, as our worlds collided with old friends, Sake Gumi members past and present, people we emailed with all the time from different time zones, and even my brother showed up!
Founders Brandon Doughan and Brian Polan are always such incredible hosts – knowledgable, down to earth, friendly.
Wow, what a crowd! There were so many people that Brandon had to take three different groups to accommodate the tour. We put on our booties and he showed us around and answered all our nerdy questions!
While I was on tour, the biggest surprise awaited me...
A birthday cake!! It was a surprise birthday party for me! Yoko planned this without me knowing (which seemed impossible as we were together 24/7) and I was the luckiest recipient of this amazing kamaboko cake and matcha castella.
We cut it up into little pieces and gave a little to everyone – the kamaboko was a big hit! I haven't had a kamaboko that good since New Year's, it was delicious. Thank you Yoko, my life wife! She still knows how to surprise me, all these years.
Big thank you to Brian and Brandon (and Paulie) for hosting our little Cali crew. We can't wait to see what's in store next for you – kanpai!
PS - a lot of people have asked me about where else we went in Brooklyn so here's a few tips!
Gage + Tollner: an awesome revival steak house with a fantastic, pared down cocktail list
Bar Goto Niban: How lucky is Park Slope to have such a special, intimate cocktail bar right down the street from Barclay Stadium? We went there twice! If you're lucky, Matt will be tending bar and don't leave without getting the celery.
Kato Sake Works: read about it here.
We stayed at Ace Hotel Brooklyn which was convenient from all the subways and a short walk from my favorite tourist to-do, walking the Brooklyn Bridge!