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3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Earlier this week, we held our 3rd Annual Sake Dinner with Camino. With two dinner under our belts, Camino's Allison and Russ, Kayoko, and I consider this dinner a tradition. The thing that stood out for me the most this year was the amount of familiar faces that attended the dinner.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast who had an art show with us way back in 2012!

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Yoko Lewis, who designed Bee House tea pots, butter dishes and salt boxes that we carry at Umami Mart.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Michael Tsai flew in from Seattle to cook especially for the Sake Dinner (among other things).

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

More familiar faces!

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Tamiko, me, and Allison.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

It's like a big dinner party with all the people I'd like to invite to my house - except it wouldn't work at my house since there would definitely be no room for everyone there.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

And with any good tradition, we mark the occasion with a ritual of breaking the sake cask! It never gets old. 

(video by Keisuke Akabori)

That night, the cask was filled with the tropical but dry Taiheikai that has hints of pineapple and bananas, with a effervescent pop at the end.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

We set up a table next to the cask for a Sake Gumi display. Chris, in a pensive moment.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

There were two cocktails served that night, a Suntory Toki cocktail with Bordiga sweet and dry vermouths and a Kuro Kirishima shochu cocktail with Leopold's Brother's gin, Cocchi Americano and yuzu bitters.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Kitchen shot!

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Pile of savory beets.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

And the meal begins...

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

With a little bit more time for planning this year, we scrutinized the sakes and went through rounds of tastings with Allison and Russ to settle on the finalists. We featured, three sakes - the Taiheikai Tokubetsu Junmai, Yamasake4 Junmai Ginjo and Tatsumigura Junmai Ginjo. The latter two were Sake Gumi picks this month!

Passed snacks.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

For the menu, Russ started us out with salted herring roe and sorrel toast with smoky beet and radish salad and preserved lemon.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

A plate of glistening grilled asparagus with black trumpet mushrooms and wild fennel followed.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

The above dishes were paired with the acid-forward, juicy Yamasake4.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Russ proceeded to "wow" us with a show-stopping main dish – wood oven roasted local rockfish with farro, cardoons, grilled rutabaga, and herb salad.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Farro, cardoons, grilled rutabaga, and herb salad.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

This course was paired with the earthy, butterscotch-like Tastumigura Junmai Ginjo.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino(photo by Keisuke Akabori)

Toyo-Sasaki Glass generously donated glassware for each of our guests to take home. It's a bulb-shaped sake glass that has markings at 60ml (2oz), 90ml (3oz) and 120ml (4oz). 

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

A standard sake pour is 90ml. How convenient!

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

We celebrated further with a blazing dessert for the birthday boy, Kuni (Kayoko's dad)! 

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Allison brought out the sparklers from Chinatown.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Happy birthday Kuni!

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

The crowd went WILD!

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Sesame meringue with blood orange sorbet, citrus, and sake by Mary Kate McGoldrick.

3rd Annual Sake Dinner at Camino

Thanks to everyone at Camino for being the best collaborators anyone could ask for. And a big thank you to all of the new and returning faces who really make this event come to life. Kanpai into the future!

Photos by Yoko Kumano and Johnny Lopes, unless otherwise noted

Column: Event Recap
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1 comment

  • 日本酒のイベント、熱気が伝わってきます。
    日本では、櫻が咲き、これから一気に山菜の季節になります。
    次回も興味深いイベントを楽しみにしています。

    Kenji Miura on

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