UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL


As 2014 nearly comes to a close, I wanted to recap one of our favorite events of the year, our Jicca Pop-Up! Tori-chan is a good friend of Yoko's from Tokyo, who opened up her own restaurant called Jicca last year. We visited her at Jicca in February, and at that time we decided that we would find her a venue where she could 'pop-up' in the East Bay during the summer.

We took the idea to Bradford, owner of Ordinaire, and he thought it would be RAD. Add Cory of Selection Massale to the mix, and we had ourselves an all-star line-up for a spectacular evening.

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The evening would be a one-night only event with two seatings. It sold out almost instantly, and had a sizeable waiting list by the time the doors opened at 5:30pm.

This would be the menu for the evening:



Bradford writing the evening's wines on the board. All wines by Selection Massale.

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My brother Keisuke aka Casa de Kei acted as sous chef to Tori-chan for the evening. They were both hard at work for hours before the event in Ordinaire's kitchen:

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First course, an array of starters:

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Semi-sundried vegetable ratatouille (sundried in Yoko's back yard!); carrot salad with yogurt; mushroom + roasted nut kinpira; lentils in vinaigrette; marinated plum + jicama.

Cory and Wolfgang being gracious hosts and pouring their Selection Massale wines.

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Tori-chan coming out to meet her fans!

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Yoko and I thought this was the best idea ever, so we served it to guests waiting for their tables: crackers with blue cheese and dried squid.

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This seriously stunk up the entire restaurant. But everyone ate it up!

Second course: salt-yogurt marinated chicken with herb sauce:

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Our favorite dish from when we visited Jicca:

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Tori-chan's Kheema Curry.

Jay and Rie of Atelier Dion enjoying the scenic window views:

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A Tori-chan moment:

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Mai, Tori-chan's partner in crime:

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Sabering:

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Party starts now!

MC and me:

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Washi and Cabs:

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MellyG Cameo!

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Mara and Tori-chan:

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The crowd gettin' rowdy at the end of the night:

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Dancing?? Yes.

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All hail Queen Tori-chan!

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This was probably my favorite event of the year. Tori-chan is such a joy to work with, and so professional! The evening went without a single hitch; the dishes came out on time, and flawlessly. Bradford and Cory made sure the wine flowed the entire night, and we even ended it all with a fun dance party. The guests seemed to enjoy Tori-chan's meal, a very special interpretation of Bay Area ingredients. It was, dare I say it, the perfect evening.

Big THANK YOU to Bradford and Cory for always being supportive. And of course, Tori-chan, thanks for your energy and wonderful food! You make it look so easy.

Don't worry, we're doing this again next year. We'll see you then.

*Photos by CABS