I always get nervous before an event because I want it to be the best that it can be. Last week's 2nd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino restaurant was no exception. I tossed and turned all night, imagining how the whole dinner would progress.
As soon as we started setting up Thursday afternoon, my mind quickly eased up as we reunited with the Camino crew and all the friendly faces started flowing into restaurant. It made me think about how silly I was to be so nervous the night before. With a group like this, the only outcome would be a night of laughing and conversations about sake – my two favorite past times.
We set up our sandwich board outside of Camino.
Welcome to Camino!
Mini Umami Mart! We had a little retail booth for Sake Gumi signups and pick-ups, as well as a display of our most popular sake wares.
As with all special events at Camino, everyone gets a name card at their seat.
Pork magic was happening in the kitchen as we were setting up.
And more magic...
Grilled little gems!
The barrel this year was filled with Ichinokura Junmai. This crisp, clean, chilled sake was a refreshing aperitif.
Close up of the barrel (photo by Katherine McKinley).
Thank you to Russ who crafted a perfectly paired meal around the sakes.
Camino's infamous Herb Jam Toast was among the passed snacks during cocktail hour. There were fried anchovies too (which I sadly didn't get on camera)!
This was the 2nd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino, so we saw a lot of guests from last year's dinner, and of course many Sake Gumi members. Guests started filing in right at 6pm.
John and Moi were at the bar helm, serving up two creative cocktails incorporating one of Umami Mart's most popular sake: Funagushi Nama Genshu.
The space filled up immediately.
It got wild and rowdy, quickly. In a good way, of course.
One of the most talked about pairing was the citrus salad with the Shinsei Daiginjo, a sake that was a part of April's Sake Gumi offerings.
The citrus looked like rubies on a plate.
The sake for the main course was the Naraman Muroka Junmai, served at room temperature. This funky, full sake was a great pairing with the oven-roasted pork loin and shoulder. (Photo by Kayoko Akabori)
Camino pork! (Photo by Katherine McKinley)
And before I knew it, we were onto Mary Kate's dessert: Toasted rice ice cream, strawberries, and a black sesame cookie.
Thank you to Shiho (right) of Toyo-Sasaki Glass Co. who flew all the way from Tokyo to join us, along with her colleague Fumiya. They donated the Sori Yanagi sake glasses that guests could take home!
It was Tracy's last night at Camino! Please visit her at The Kebabery. Congratulations Tracy!
This event reminded me of how meaningful collaborations and familiar faces are the joys of Sake Gumi and Umami Mart. Thank you to Allison, Russ, Brian, and Sean of Camino. And of course, all of the guests, who bring this event to life every year.
See you in 2018 for the 3rd Annual Sake Dinner!
Photos by Yoko Kumano, unless otherwise noted.