Holiday Gift Guide
Eating Out

Soba Ichi: From Grain to Noodle

The highly-anticipated moment has arrived: Soba Ichi is finally opening its doors next week – the Bay Area's first housemade soba restaurant. It is an opening that has taken years to create, a partnership between Shinichi Washino, Koichi Ishii, Christian Geideman, and Paul Discoe, who all met...

Rintaro: Our Favorite Lunch Spot in San Francisco

We go way back with Sylvan Mishima-Brackett, chef-owner of Rintaro. To this day, we still get phone calls and customers asking, "Do you still have those Peko Peko bentos?" Peko Peko was the name of Sylvan's catering company - providing special events with Japanese bites and drinks - and Yoko...

Hiroshima Eats at Chinchikurin (LA)

In honor of Hiroshima month here at Umami Mart, I visited Chinchikurin in LA a few weeks ago, where they specialize in its regional cuisine. Namely they serve Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. A popular chain in Hiroshima proper, this is Chinchikurin's first American outpost, that just opened in the...

Noraneko Ramen in PDX

We ate Noraneko, a ramen spot in Portland conceived by the same geniuses behind Biwa. The broth was deep and the noodles no-nonsense springy. Read more...

Craft Beer Market in Tokyo

People in Japan are cuckoo for beer. It remains the most popular alcoholic beverage in Japan, accounting for two thirds of all alcohol consumed overall (says Wikipedia). When going out with friends or coworkers after work, it is an ongoing tradition for the table...

Abura-ya: Izakaya for the People

Let me start off by saying that I think Abura-ya is the most exciting dining experience in the Bay Area in the last few years. By "exciting" I mean: doing something spectacularly new and genre-bending -- all deliciously, and not one bit bank-breaking. Abura-ya specializes...

Umami Map

Umami Map: Ode to Sacramento (And Mom)

On a game trip to Sacramento in 2001, Lakers coach Phil Jackson called Sacramento a cow town. He also said Kings fans were “semi-civilized” and “redneck in some form or fashion.” Later that season, when Sacramento was matched against the Lakers in...

Adventures in Nakano: Yakitori at Shimon-ya

One of the most memorable nights I had in Tokyo was an adventure in Nakano, a hip neighborhood in Tokyo. We met up with our friend and Umami Mart writer Will, aka The Ramen Shaman, along with Eri, who suggested a yakitori joint called...