Holiday Gift Guide

How I Became A Shochu Adviser

Shochu is a drink that I have enjoyed immensely in the last decade, and to further my education about the spirit, I flew to Los Angeles last summer to take a certification course to become a Shochu Adviser. Put on by the Sake School of America near Little Tokyo,...

Happy Hour

Sakura Daikiri (A Hemingway Daiquiri Riff)

If we were in Japan right now, Yoko and I would shut down Umami Mart for a week and spend our days hanami-ing – picnicking under sakura (cherry blossom) trees with bentos and sake with friends, joyful that spring is here while blossoms flutter all around. Just look at...

Japanify

Japanify: Umeshu Highball

I've been really excited to see the umeshu (Japanese plum infused in shochu) popping up on cocktail menus in non-Japanese restaurants. My most recent experience of having an umeshu cocktail in an unexpected place was at Al's Place in San Francisco. Their approach was very...

Happy Hour

Happy Hour: White Ale Shiso Spinner

Since celebrating Solstice last week, we can finally say that summer is here. In the Bay Area, we've already experienced a heat wave that rivals those in New York or Tokyo - we could not handle it. I've created a cool, refreshing beer cocktail for just those days...

I Know What You Did in Paradise

Four friends find themselves in a secluded VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) on the North Shore of Oahu. They thought paradise was at arm's length, but they were wrong. One by one each thirty-something is lured by the mysterious, irresistible charms of the tropical...

Postcard

Postcard from Tokyo

We made it! After a restless 16 hours of travel -- I read this month's New Yorker (excellent expose on Amazon and its monopoly on the publishing industry) and Vanity Fair (The Hollywood Issue! Rupert Murdoch's marital betrayal!) cover to cover, whilst...

Carrot Shochu Pickles

By Steven Sharafian I spend a fair amount of time making tsukemono (pickles). I focus mostly on quick-pickles that only take a couple of minutes to prep and have a short curing period. This seemed to flow into the idea of pairing carrots with...