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The Most Full-fledged Seminar for Sake Brewers in the U.S.: Part I

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By Kosuke Kuji

I felt for a long time that for Japanese sake to become fully established worldwide, sake must be further refined at the product level by both sake breweries overseas and at the brewery level as well. When I voiced my thought to President Iida of the Rice Polishing Machine Manufacturer Iida Co, Inc., a parent company to Shinnakano Industry Co., Ltd., Mr. Iida agreed and even held the world’s first full-fledged sake brewing technology seminar targeting sake brewers overseas in Sacramento, Calif.

I gathered the latest information on cutting-edge technology currently used in sake production targeting sake brewers in the U.S.

Nearly thirty sake brewers in the U.S. with some gearing up to start sake production soon gathered at the seminar, heated with great passion!
Excluding myself, attendees included Philip Harper, the first foreign national to be certified as a brew master representing “Tamagawa Brewery,” producer of “Nanbu Toji” in Kyoto prefecture; and Junpei Komatsu, Owner of Komatsu Syuzou Co., Ltd., producer of “Hojun” in Oita prefecture.

Those concerned that discussing such topics could leak Japan’s latest brewing technology to the world can be rest assured that different sake breweries using the same production method still cannot produce the same sake flavor.

Furthermore, manuals on Japanese sake technology are often outdated with no information on recent developments, thus we’ve thought of ways to fill in the gap. To be continued in the next issue…



アメリカで世界初の本格的な醸造セミナー その1

日本酒が世界に広がるためには、海外の醸造場と醸造家のお酒のレベルが上がらなければいけないと、ずっと思っていました。そんな考えを精米機の会社で新中野工業を傘下に持つ(株)飯田の飯田社長と話した時に、飯田社長が賛同してくれて今回アメリカのカリフォルニア州サクラメントで世界初となる、海外醸造家の皆さんを対象とした本格的な醸造技術セミナーを開催してくれました。

そこで、今現在の日本酒の最新の技術情報をアメリカの醸造家の皆さんに伝えるためにお話をしてきました。

集まった30名近いアメリカで今日本酒を醸している方々、そしてこれから醸そうとしている方々が集まり、まさに熱の塊のようなセミナーになりました。

私以外には、外国人として初の認定杜氏である南部杜氏の京都「玉川」のフィリップハーパーさん、大分県の「豊潤」を醸す小松酒造のオーナー杜氏の小松潤平さんが話をしました。

そんなことを話したら日本の醸造技術の流出になるのでは、と心配する方も多いですが、日本酒の世界には「酒屋万流」という言葉がある通り、同じような造り方をしても、蔵が違えば絶対に同じ酒は造れません。さらに、日本酒の製造の教科書はかなり古い情報が多く、最新の話はなかなか書いていないのでその差を埋める事も考えました。
#alljapannews #sake #Japanese #seminar #brewers

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A long-awaited house-milled flour and hand-crafted soba specialty store opens!

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A long-awaited house-milled fl... A long-awaited house-milled fl... A long-awaited house-milled fl... A long-awaited house-milled fl... A long-awaited house-milled fl... A long-awaited house-milled fl...
By Elli Sekine

In June of this year, the very first long-awaited teuchi (handmade) soba specialty store has opened in Oakland, which is located across the bay from San Francisco. “Soba Ichi” is a full-fledged soba specialty restaurant where fresh soba noodles are handmade every day with their house-milled flour. It took no time for the news to spread through SNS and local papers, and they have been doing so well. A long line of people forms everyday since the opening. They really had a smooth sailing start.

In the San Francisco/Bay Area, the food industry people and Japanese food fans anticipate what would be the next boom after ramen, and “Soba” is slowly surfacing to the top. With the background where the popularity of Asian noodles has stabilized in the past 4 to 5 years, Japanese udon and soba are also gaining more popularity. In the Bay Area where there are many people who have traveled to Japan, there are many soba noodle fans. One reason is that soba seems relatively healthier and light compared to ramen, and also dashi flavor is well received. “Soba Ichi” does not really have ideal conditions. It is located outside of the city center, and they are open only for lunch (as of October 1). Nevertheless, customers come from eveywhere, and the daily limit of 100 servings always sells out before closing.

“Soba Ichi” is located in a corner of a property where container storage places of West Oakland gather, but its classy appearance separates it from the surrounding industrial atmosphere. The reason why you feel relaxed once you step in the entrance, may be because the building was designed by Paul Discoe, who is a Zen monk/shrine carpenter, who also owns the area property. Presence of a chozuya (Shinto ritual hand cleansing place) on the terrace, simple tables that give the warm feeling of wood, and contrast of greenery, etc., provide a Japan-like ambience, and makes you feel the Zen mood. A lot of outdoor light comes in to create a bright interior space, and you see a bar, and a room for making noodles, too. The bowls and plates for the food, and cloth napkins are also hand-crafted, which provides the dining area with a feel full of artisanship.

Who are the people responsible for the “Soba Ichi” project? They are Koichi Ishii, a soba artisan, and his partner, Shinichi Washino. This restaurant was originated from a popular Japanese restaurant, “Ippuku”, in Berkeley. “Ippuku”, which is run by Christian Geideman, is also designed by Paul Discoe. It is a stylish Japanese style izakaya equipped with a private horigotatu room, and they serve highquality yakitori. This place took over the Japanese restaurant scene by storm. Mr. Ishii, who worked for Ippuku, trained in the Yamagata Prefecture, brought back the knowledge and technique to the US, and became the soba artisan. From 2012, hand-made soba was added to Ippuku’s menu on a twice a week basis, but it became difficult to continue due to its time-consuming process and lack of artisans. “So, we’d better do it at a separate place.” The idea of an independent place was brought up, and more than 2 years later, this place finally opened.

“Soba Ichi” is a spin-off place with the high hopes of the “Ippuku” team.

The selling point of “Soba Ichi” must be the process of making the completely made-in-USA soba. What made it possible should be the passion of the project team for soba making. The buckwheat is from Washington State, and is milled in house, and hand-made into soba noodles. There are two kinds of soba on the menu; Jyuwari soba, 100% buckwheat ($16), and Nihachi Soba (80% buckwheat + 20% wheat flour) ($14). You can order both either as a cold or hot dish. When it is fresh, even Jyuwari is smooth, not rough, and easy to swallow. Both Jyuwari and Nihachi are made slightly wide, and excellent in flavor. The soup is made in the Yamagata style, and a kind of which you can taste the artisanship in it. It is mild and also flavorful. Besides those, they also serve Nameko soba ($17), duck, or tempura soba, ($20), and Tenseiro (100% buckwheat soba with tempura) ($20~). Their popular a-la-carte menu contains Tendon ($15), Duck salad, Tofu, Tsukemono pickles, and Dashimaki eggs. I recommend the home-made Sobacha Mousse ($6) for dessert. Hand-crafted soba keeps obtaining more and more of a wide variety of fans among not only regular soba fans, but also Americans who don’t even know much about soba, and people on a gluten-free diet.

The opening of this long-awaited, very first soba specialty restaurant in the Bay Area is slowly changing the scene of the town by drawing many people in. What’s innovative is that the whole process, from cultivating to crafting the final noodle product, gets completed within the US. “I think, in the future, there should exist some American soba artisans. I would like to spread Japanese traditional food culture further in the US,” says Mr. Ishii. Reflecting his words, “Soba Ichi” has started to present the signs of the beginning of a new boom.


待望の自家製粉、手打ち蕎麦専門店がオープン!

今年6月、サンフランシスコの対岸にある街、オークランドにベイエリア初となる待望の手打ち蕎麦専門店が誕生した。「Soba Ichi」は、毎日自家製粉したフレッシュな蕎麦を手打ちをする本格的な蕎麦店。あっという間にSNSや地元紙から話題が拡散し、オープン当初から長蛇の列が出来る盛況ぶり。順風満帆のスタートを切っている。

サンフランシスコ・ベイエリアではラーメンブームから業界と日本食ファンが次のブームを予測する中、「蕎麦」の頭角が少しずつ現れている。アジアンヌードル人気がこの4、5年定着していることを背景に、日本のうどんやそばも人気を伸ばしている。日本への旅行経験者が多いベイエリアでは蕎麦好きなアメリカ人が増えている。ラーメンに比べ比較的ヘルシーでライトなイメージに加え「出汁」味が受け入れられているのも要素の一つ。「Soba Ichi」は、街外れの立地条件や営業時間(10月1日時点で昼のみの営業)など考慮すれば、決して理想的ではないが、すでに方々から客が訪れ、一日限定100 食の蕎麦は閉店前に完売する。

ウェストオークランドのコンテナ倉庫が集まる敷地の一角にある「Soba Ichi」は、周囲のインダストリアルな雰囲気から一線を画する品格がある。エントランスに足を踏み入れると落ち着いた気持ちになるのは、この一帯を所有する禅の僧侶で宮大工のポール・ディスコー氏が手がけた建物だからなのだろう。テラスに手水舎があったり、木の温もりを感じるシンプルなテーブルと緑のコントラストが和テイストで「禅」を感じる。採光をふんだんに取り入れた店内は明るくバー
や手打ちルームもある。食事を盛る器や布ナプキンも手作りで、クラフト感溢れるダイニングだ。

 「Soba Ichi」プロジェクトを担うのは蕎麦職人の石井こういち氏とマネージャーの鷲野しんいち氏。元々同店は前身であるバークレーの人気和食店、「Ippuku」から始まった。クリスチャン・ゲイドマン氏が経営する「Ippuku」もまたポール氏の設計による掘りごたつの個室を備えたお洒落な和テイストの内装。高品質の焼き鳥居酒屋で、それまでの和食店を一斉を風靡した。「Ippuku」の従業員であった石井氏は、山形県で修行を積み、その知識と技術を米国に持ち帰り蕎麦職人となった。2012 年から手打ち蕎麦は週2回のペースで「Ippuku」のメニューに加わったが、あまりに手がかかるのと職人が足りないことから継続が難しくなった。「それならば独立店舗を」と同店の構想が持ち上がり、それから2 年以上の歳月を経て今回のオープンに至った。「Soba Ichi」は“「Ippuku」チーム” による待望のスピンオフ店だ。

 「Soba Ichi」の魅力は何と言っても完全メイドインUSA の蕎麦プロセスだろう。それを可能にしたのは、このプロジェクトチームの蕎麦に対する熱意に他ならない。蕎麦の実はワシントン州で栽培したキセワセ種。毎日石臼で自家製粉し蕎麦打ちをしている。メニューは十割($16) と二八($14)。せいろと暖かい蕎麦を選べる。フレッシュな蕎麦は10割でも滑らかで粗さがないので食べやすい。二八供にやや太めの麺で風味が際立つ絶品だ。つゆも職人のこだわりが伺える山形風でマイルドで味わい。他になめこ蕎麦($17)、カモや天ぷらそば($20)、せいろとのセットメニュー($20 〜)を揃える。一品メニューでは、天丼($15)、鴨サラダ、豆腐、漬物、出汁巻などが人気。デザートのそば茶ムース($6)も自家製でオススメ品。手打ち蕎麦は、蕎麦ファンはもちろんのこと、あまり蕎麦を知らないアメリカ人からグルテンフリーダイエット者まで多様性に富んだファンが続出している。

待ちに待ったベイエリア初の蕎麦店の登場は、多くの人を呼び込むことで、街の様相も少しづつ変わりつつある。革新的なのは栽培から製麺まで米国内で完結していること。「将来アメリカ人の蕎麦職人がいても良いと思う。日本の伝統食文化をもっとアメリカに広げたい」と語る石井氏の言葉に反映する様に、「SobaIchi」は新しいブームの兆しをみせている。



Soba Ichi
2311A Magnolia St.
Oakland, CA 94607
https://sobaichioakland.com
Tue.-Sat. 11:00am-3:00pm
#alljapannews #soba #SobaIchi #Oakland #CA #Japanese

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Take in the big picture

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By Yuji Matsumoto

In the past twenty years, Japanese beer, sake and shochu sales have expanded according to the increasing number of Japanese restaurants opening. There is plenty of growth potential for the Japanese restaurant industry in the U.S., which constitutes only two percent of the scale of the U.S. restaurant industry, yet the market share is marginal. From a national perspective however, U.S. supermarkets and liquor shops carrying sake is equal to none.

From the beginning, the successful foreign alcoholic beverage in the U.S. is of course wine. Not limited to French or Italian restaurants, wine selections are also offered in Japanese, Chinese and Mexican restaurants as well. Moreover, supermarkets carry hundreds of wine selections, while there are no stores that don’t carry wine. While it’s difficult to compare sake to wine without considering cultural background and history, it’s important to reference both if the goal is to become the world’s next alcoholic beverage to be consumed with meals. There is still much to learn in setting the profitability, sales & distribution routes and marketing methods. Also, another hard liquor that is not originally found in the U.S. and has proven successful in the market is tequila. Tequila is also a product that’s sure to be found almost 100 percent in any restaurant that serves distilled liquor.

Here is another area that leaves much to be learned for the shochu and sake industries. This is only in reference to California (where restaurants offer Soju and Shochu), where some places debate whether to import Soju or not: it’s best to develop a larger market. Also, it’s important to ask why tequila gained such a huge market share. The development of representative cocktails like margaritas and advertisements along with efforts by both the industry and nation has proven effective.

Also, the trademark for tequila is held impressively by Mexico, which means tequila produced outside of Mexico cannot be called tequila. It’s obvious at first glance that considering the nation’s tax revenue and acquisition of foreign currency, the economic benefits are significant.

Since the Japanese sake and shochu industry cannot complete a simple task like the standardization of labels, proposing global strategies is surely a goal for the distant future.


大きな視野でみる

過去20年間、日本食レストラン店舗の増加に伴い日本のビール、日本酒、焼酎の販売も拡大した。米国の飲食市場の規模から見るとまだ2%にもない日本の飲食市場は伸びる可能性は非常にあるが、如何せんパイが小さい。また、日本酒を扱ってる米国スーパーやリカーショップも全米からみると無いに等しいと言える。

もともと他国のアルコールで米国で成功しているのはもちろんワイン。何もフランス料理店やイタリア料理店に限らず、日本食店、中華料理やメキシカン料理店でもワインは必ず置いてある。ましてはスーパーには何百という品ぞろいがあり、ワインを置いてないところは無い。もちろん、日本酒をワインと比較することには文化的背景や歴史を考慮すると無理があるが、世界の食中酒を目指すなら参考にするべきだ。利益率の設定、販売流通網、マーケティング方法などは見習うべきだ。また、もともと米国になく成功しているハードリカーにテキーラがある。このテキーラも蒸留酒を扱えるレストランなら100%と言っても過言ではなく置いてある商品だ。ここにも焼酎や日本酒の業界が勉強する点がある。加州のみの話(Soju とShochuuの取り扱える店)ではあるが、業界はSojuとして輸入する、しない等、意味のない議論をしているところもあるが、もっと大きな市場開拓に目を向けるべきである。そして、テキーラがなぜこれだけ増えたかを考えるべきだ。マルガリータを代表としたカクテルの開発と宣伝など、業界と国の努力がここに来て功を奏している。また、すごいことにテキーラはメキシコ国が登録商標をもっており、メキシコ以外でテキーラを製造してもテキーラと呼べないのだ。自国の税収、外貨確保を考えると非常に大きな経済効果をもたらしていることは一目瞭然である。

日本酒、焼酎業界はラベルの統一化など簡単なこともできないのでいるのだから世界戦略を考えることはまだまだ遙か彼方のことであろう。
#alljapannews #sake #sommelier

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A desire for spreading Japanese street foods to the US

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A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane...
By Aya Ota

“DokoDemo”, a restaurant which develops and serves everyday casual dishes that are so familiar to Japanese people such as yakisoba, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, etc., opened in NY, and is attracting a lot of attention.

“I would like to spread Japanese street foods throughout the US,”says Shin Takagi, the owner of the restaurant. Mr. Takagi has a unique background of working vividly as an investment banker in Tokyo and NY. While working in New York, his dream of launching a restaurant business in the US grew big, and he retired from the investment bank in 2013. Having zero experience in the food and beverage industry, he traveled all over Japan for 3 years after resigning from his previous job, studying various local street foods. Moreover, he even worked for free at some teppan-yaki restaurants to gain experience. He started to visit NY every month after the latter half of 2016, looking for the location for the restaurant, and he finally moved to the US in 2017. For the next 6 months, he did nothing but developing recipes day after day.

Then, in August of 2017, he finally opened his long-awaited first restaurant. “I chose this genre for nation-wide development in mind. “No one has yet tried to take on franchising restaurants of Japanese street foods such as yakisoba, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, etc.,” said Mr. Takagi. After the opening, he had difficulty bringing in customers.

Although the popularity of Japanese foods is growing stronger, okonomiyaki and takoyaki are not yet well recognized. For 3 months after the opening, he was wondering around the neighborhood, and talked to people on the streets who appeared to be looking for a Japanese restaurant with a cell phone in hand. He would say, “I just opened a Japanese street foods restaurant. Would you come taste some for free?” He sincerely listened to the people who came to taste the foods. “How was it?” He asks, and often times, all he gets is a simple timid comment like, “It was good.” He then started to ask people who ordered more than one menu item,; “Which one did you like?”, and he gradually became able to get more detailed comments on their 2nd and 3rd favorite dishes. Sometimes, he even tasted customers’ leftover in the trash to find out what was wrong.

Only 6 different kinds of dishes are served; “Yakisoba/Stir-Fried Ramen ($8.95), “Ramen Rice (Stir-Fried Ramen & Rice) ($9.95)”, “Fried Rice ($8.95)”, “Japanese Pizza/Okonomi- Yaki ($8.95)”, “Takoyaki (10 balls for $8.95/6 balls for $6.45), and “Cabbage & Cucumber Salad ($7.95)”. The original recipes took him a long and hard 6 months to create prior to the opening, and were satisfactory to him; however, he has remained flexible, and kept making improvements and adjustments many times along the way. After some trial-and-error period, he came up with the “customization” idea. In general, Americans prefer sweeter taste, so he thought that the sauces for yakisoba, takoyaki, and okonomiyaki would be well suited to their tastes, but they didn’t always like them. According to Mr. Takagi, for yakisoba, for instance, adding an option of choosing the flavor besides regular sauce, the dish much better received. He also made everything except takoyaki and salad customizable for the ingredients and spiciness, etc. At this point, the word, “Okonomiyaki”, is not quite recognizable, so it is presented as “Japanese Pizza”. A notable item is the “Ramen Rice (Stir-Fried Ramen & Rice)”, which cannot be found almost anywhere else. You can easily get addicted to its spicy ginger flavor, and the unique combination of ramen and rice has gotten people’s attention, and the number of returning customers is growing.

“I’d like to open the second restaurant during the next year”, says Mr. Takagi. His ambition is to have 5 to 10 restaurants in Manhattan first as the base of the nationwide development, and then go to other states. In order to achieve that, he thinks that the operation has to become more efficient. Presently, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to serve after receiving orders. He has been going through many trial-anderror attempts to minimize the time to serve. He also aggressively gets into taking online orders for takeout, and deliveries.

The name, “DokoDemo”, implies his wish to make his restaurant’s street foods available everywhere in the US. I would like to look forward to the day I can see it everywhere in the US in the next few years.


日本のストリートフードを全米に広げたい

焼きそば、お好み焼き、たこ焼き…日本人にはおなじみの“ 粉もん” を専門に展開する店『DokoDemo』が登場し、注目されている。

 「日本のストリートフードを全米に広げたい」と語るのは同店オーナー、高木伸之輔氏。高木氏は、東京とニューヨークで、証券マンとして活躍したという異色のキャリアを持つ。ニューヨーク滞在中に「米国で飲食業を起業したい」という夢が膨らみ、2013 年に退社。飲食業界での経験が全くない高木氏は、退職後3 年間、日本全国を回り各地のストリートフードを研究した。さらに、いくつかの鉄板焼き店では、無給で働き経験を積んだ。2016 年後半からは、毎月ニューヨークに通い物件を探し、いよいよ2017 年に再渡米。その後半年間は、来る日も来る日もレシピ開発に没頭した。

そして2017年8月、待望の1号店を開店。「全米展開を考えて、このジャンルを選択した。日本のストリートフード、“ 粉もん” をチェーン店として手がけている人は誰もいなかった」と同氏。開店後、苦労したのは集客だ。日本食人気は伸びているとは言え、お好み焼きやたこ焼きの認知度は、まだ高いとは言えない。開店後3 カ月間、同氏は店の近隣を歩き回り、携帯を片手に日本食店を探しているような人に「日本のストリートフード店を開店したのだけど、無料でいいから食べに来てほしい」と直接声をかけた。そして、実際に食べてくれた顧客の声に真摯に耳を傾けた。「どうだった?」と聞いても、遠慮気味に「美味しかった」というフィードバックしかないことも多い。そこで、複数種類のメニューを注文したグループ顧客に「どれがよかった?」と聞くようにすると、2 番目・3 番目によかったメニューに対する具体的なコメントが得られるようになってきた。時には、ゴミ箱の残飯を食べ、何がよくなかったのか研究することもあった。

同店のメニューは6種類のみ、「焼きそば」($8.95)、「そばめし」($9.95)、「炒飯」($8.95)、「お好み焼き」($8.95)、「たこ焼き」(10 balls-$8.95/ 6 balls-$6.45)、「キャベツとキュウリのサラダ) 」($7.95)。開店前に半年の時間を費やし、自身が納得いくまで創り上げたレシピだったが、柔軟な姿勢で、幾度となく改良や調整を重ねている。試行錯誤の過程で生まれたのは“ カスタマイズ” というアイデア。

一般的に米国人は甘めの味付けを好むので、焼きそば・たこ焼き・お好み焼きに使われるソース味は誰もが好きだろう思われたがそうではなかった。焼きそばでは、ソース味以外にも醤油、柚、豚骨味のバリエーションを増やし、顧客が選べるようにした結果、好評を博しているという。たこ焼きとサラダ以外は、具材や辛さなどを選べるようにした。

 また「お好み焼き」という名称はまだ理解されにくいため、現時点では「Japanese Pizza」という名称を前面に打ち出している。特に注目は、他店ではほとんど見かけない「そばめし」だ。ピリッとしたショウガ味がやみつきになる味で、ラーメンとライスというユニークな組み合わせも興味を引き、リピーターも増えている。

 「来年中には2店舗目を開店したい」と語る高木氏。全米展開に向けて、まずはマンハッタンに5 〜10 店舗展開し、その後、他州へも拡大していきたいという野望がある。そのためには、オペレーションの効率化を図る必要があると考えている。注文を受けてから作るため、10 〜15 分程度の待ち時間が生じるが、極力短縮できるように試行錯誤を重ねている。ネット注文でのテイクアウトやデリバリーにも積極的に取り組んでいる。

 『DokoDemo』という店名には、いずれ全米の“ どこでも” 同店のストリートフードが食べられるようになってほしい…という想いが込められている。数年後には全米で見られる日を期待したい。



DokoDemo
89 E 4th St.
NY 10003
(917) 261-5228
https://www.dokodemonyc.com/
Mon.-Sat. 11:30am-10:30 pm
Sun. 12:00 pm-9:30 pm
#alljapannews #DokoDemo #NY #Japanese #yakisoba #takoyaki #ramen

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A sushi restaurant which celebrated its 30th anniversary in spite of the odds going through changes in clientele over the years

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A sushi restaurant which cele... A sushi restaurant which cele... A sushi restaurant which cele... A sushi restaurant which cele... A sushi restaurant which cele...
By Keiko Fukuda

Palos Verdes is a residential area in the suburbs where you find many ethnic groups including Japanese. Compared to its west side which faces the Pacific Ocean, the east side, looking down the harbor of Los Angeles, has a lot of commercial buildings including a shopping mall. On Western Avenue, which runs through the middle of the area, there is a Japanese restaurant that has been running since its opening in 1988 at the same location. It is “Tashiro”.

The owner/chef, Yoshinori Tashiro, is from Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture. He obtained a Japanese cook license in 1975, and 4 years later, was head-hunted, and came to Los Angeles. He worked at a trademark restaurant in Little Tokyo called “Yagura Ichiban”. After working there for 8 years, he became independent and fully prepared, and decided to open his own restaurant in Palos Verdes. He said, “I picked the location because the view from the hill, looking down to the harbor, reminds me of Honmoku, Yokohama”. The view of San Pedro below at night also made him nostalgic.

“It was hard at the beginning. It was 2 and a half years later when the operation finally started to get going. One good thing about the location was the fact that many Italians and Croatians live nearby. They have the habit of eating a lot of seafood from the Adriatic Sea, and can easily accept octopuses, sea urchins, and blueback fish such as mackerels and sardines. They must have been eating that kind of seafood since their childhood.

Consequently, the Italians and Croatians who were working at the harbor area became the regular customers. In addition, Japanese business people who worked for Japanese American companies in the Torrance area, and their families started to account for a certain portion of their clientele. Except the first 2 and a half hard years, Tashiro had been running smoothly. However, Mr. Tashiro says, that the number of sales started to decline about a year and a half ago when Toyota North America, who used to have the headquarters in Torrance, moved to Texas.

“The families of those Japanese business people often came on Sunday nights.

Many of them definitely went away. Because of the changes in clientele, we are getting less of certain kinds of fish such as seabreams that used to sell a lot. The kind of fish we buy has changed. Even so, dinner time is still pretty busy now with mostly American customers. They have 3 rotations in both the dining space and the sushi counter.

I asked Mr. Tashiro, who has been continuously running the restaurant for the last 30 years, what his policy is as a sushi chef. He said, “When I first came to the States, I had a kind of a firm principle about how sushi should be like. However, seeing a customer putting sweet sauce for broiled eel on the highest-quality fatty tuna, looking quite satisfied and enjoying it right in front of me, made me think about the way of my thinking.

As time passed by, my thinking has changed. Now I think anything is all right as long as the customer truly enjoys the way of his/her own tasting. Despite all that, I am still very particular about the freshness of the sushi ingredients.”

He showed me a photograph, which shows sushi and sashimi in a wooden box. He explained, “This is the photo of a bento box ordered by a customer who was going to the Hollywood Bowl. The customer didn’t care how much it would cost, but wanted the best possible assortment of foods.” The Hollywood Bowl is a concert venue under the night sky during summer, like Central Park in New York.

The audience brings their own drinks and food to the venue, and enjoy music individually. The customer must have wanted to taste his best favorite foods at the Hollywood Bowl.

“Tashiro” has been loved by many people. It celebrated its 30th anniversary in June. “I intend to keep working at the restaurant as long as my health permits,” says Mr. Tashiro who will soon be turning 70 years old. “I am thinking about stopping to offer straws in the restaurant. I saw a video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nose. I felt so bad,” he said, showing another side of him as a surfer. I felt that the sweet side of him could be one of the reasons
that attract many customers to his restaurant.


客層を変えながらも30周年迎えた寿司屋

パロスバーデスは日本人も多く暮らす郊外の住宅地だ。太平洋に面した西側に比べ、ロサンゼルスの港を見下ろす東側のエリアにはショッピングモールなどの商業施設が多い。その中心街とも言えるウエスターン・アベニュー沿いに1988 年にオープンしてから、同じ場所で今も営業を続けているのが日本食の店、Tashiro。

 オーナーシェフの田代良則さんは神奈川県の出身。1975 年、日本の調理師免許を取得し、その4年後にヘッドハントされる形でロサンゼルスに渡った。店は、リトルトーキョーのランドマークになっている櫓近くにあった櫓一番というレストラン。そして8年間勤続した後に満を持して独立する際、ロケーションをパロスバーデスに決めたのは「この丘から港を見下ろす風景が横浜の本牧にとても似ていたから」だと言う。夜になると、眼下に広がるサンペドロの街の夜景にも郷愁を誘われたそうだ。

「最初はやはり大変でしたね。軌道に乗ったのは2年半後くらい。でも、良かったのはこの辺の住人はイタリア人やクロアチア人が多いということなんです。彼らはアドリア海で獲れる魚介を食べる習慣があるから、タコ、ウニ、それにサバ、アジ、イワシなどの青魚にも抵抗がありません。子どもの頃から食べ慣れているんですね」

 こうして、港湾で働くイタリア系やクロアチア系のアメリカ人が同店の常連客となっていった。さらにパロスバーデスの北にあるトーランスの日系企業に働く駐在員を中心とした日本人ビジネスマンやその家族も一定の層を占めるようになった。最初の2年半を除けば、順調に経営を続けていたTashiro だが、トーランスに本社を置いていた北米トヨタがテキサスに移転した1年前からは数字に変化が見られるようになったと田代さんは話す。

「かつては駐在員のお客さんは、日曜の夜に家族で来店されることが多かったんですよ。でも、確実にそのようなお客さんは減ってしまいました。顧客層の様変わりで、以前はよく出ていた金目鯛などの仕入れが減って魚の種類も変わりましたね」

 それでも、今もアメリカ人の顧客を中心にディナータイムには賑わいを見せる。ダイニングと寿司バーの顧客はそれぞれ3回転するそうだ。 30 年間、店を続けてきた寿司職人としてのポリシーを聞くと、田代さんは「アメリカに渡ってきた当初は、寿司はこうでなくちゃいけないっていう確固とした信念のようなものがありました。しかし、目の前で最高のトロにウナギのタレをつけて食べるお客さんを見ると、そのお客さんにとって美味しい食べ方ならいいのだというように、時間と共に考え方も変わりましたね。それでも、寿司ネタの新鮮さだけにはこだわります」と答えた。

そして、田代さんが見せてくれた写真には、お重に詰められた寿司と刺身が写っていた。「これは、お客さんがハリウッドボウルに行くので、値段はいくらでも構わないからとびきりの料理を作ってくれ、と注文されたお弁当なんです」と田代さん。ハリウッドボウルは夏の間に夜空の下でコンサートが開催される、ニューヨークで言うところのセントラルパークのような場所。オーディエンスは飲み物や料理を持参して思い思いに音楽を楽しむ。きっと、そのお客さんは自分
が一番好きな料理をハリウッドボウルで味わいたいと思ったに違いない。

 多くの客に愛されてきたTashiro。6月で30 周年を迎えたが、「これからも体力が続く限りは店に立つ」ともうすぐ70 歳になる田代さん。「今度からうちの店ではストローを出さないようにしようかと思っています。ウミガメの鼻に刺さったストローの映像を見たら、もう可哀想でね」と、サーファーとしての横顔も持つ。その心優しさも、顧客をこの店に惹きつけ続ける要因だと感じた。



Tashiro
29050 S.Western Ave.Ste 11
Rancho Palose Verdes, CA 90275
(310) 547-4597
Tue.-Fri. 11:30am-1:45pm
Tue.-Sun. 5:00pm-9:30pm
Monday Closed
#alljapannews #tashiro #CA #sushi #PaloseVerdes

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Governor notified of achieving No. 1 in Japan!

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By Kosuke Kuji

Hidetoshi Nakata, former professional Japanese soccer player representing Japan, is serving as executive member and judge for the contest “SAKE COMPETITION 2018” that judges the most delicious commercially available sake in the world. During this competition, Japan ranked No. 1 in the Junmai Daiginjo category, and also No. 1 in the Sparkling Sake category (leading the competition in two categories), along with garnering No. 1 in the Sparkling Sake category also in 2017, thus the we went to deliver the good news of our 2 consecutive titles to Takuya Tasso, Governor of Iwate Prefecture; and to Jun Fujiwara, Mayor of Ninohe City, Iwate Prefecture. The Governor stated many supportive comments!

To ensure a bright future for Iwate Prefecture and Ninohe City where depopulation continues, and for Nanbu Bijin will continue to thrive, we will continue striving to actively grow with ongoing efforts to producer higher quality of sake. We will continue our efforts to also help Iwate Prefecture and Ninohe City.

Also, we will continue our efforts to make the No. 1 most delicious commercially available sake widespread across Japan and worldwide to ensure they are enjoyed by all! Thank you for your continued support!


SAKE COMPETITION 日本一を知事に報告!

サッカー元日本代表の中田英寿選手が実行委員会や審査委員をしている、世界一おいしい市販酒を決めるコンテスト「SAKE COMPETITION 2018」において、純米大吟醸の部で日本一、スパークリングの部で日本一(2冠達成)、さらにはスパークリングの部は2017年も日本一でしたので、2連覇達成をした報告を岩手県の達増拓也知事に二戸市の藤原 淳市長と一緒にご報告に行ってきました。知事からもたくさんの応援コメントをいただきました。
過疎化していく岩手や二戸の明るい希望にこれからも南部美人がなれるように、自らを磨き、努力を惜しまず、高品質な酒造りにさらに磨きをかけて前に進んでいきます。
岩手のため、そして二戸のためこれからも頑張っていきたいと思います。そして世界一おいしい市販酒を日本中へ、そして世界中へ伝えて行き、愛飲していただけるようにさらに努力していきます。これからも応援をよろしくお願いします!!
#alljapannews #sake #SakeCompetition #sparkling

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Ramen Nagi Steady advance in “ramen restaurant operation”, which started out with mere 7 seating space, and being open only one day a week

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Ramen Nagi Stea... Ramen Nagi Stea... Ramen Nagi Stea... Ramen Nagi Stea... Ramen Nagi Stea... Ramen Nagi Stea... Ramen Nagi Stea...
By Elli Sekine

At last, “Nagi”, a ramen restaurant chain, which is growing very quickly in Japan and Asia, opened the first US location in Palo Alto in June. Since their name is very well-known in Japan, people started to wait in the line for over an hour immediately after its opening, filling up the street. Currently, there are 11 “Nagi”s in Japan alone, and 28 more in the rest of Asia. Nagi can be recognized as the management philosophy of the new era, which is an innovative management technique that “brings out the maximum profit from the minimum investment”.

Nagi has been raised to a very successful restaurant chain.

The founder, Tomoshi Ikuta, and his partner Sonoda, are both from the Fukuoka Prefecture.

They worked together in a wellknown ramen chain in Kokura when they were still in High school. Their success was not produced by a wellthought-out planning. Their actions taken out of necessity between chances and survivals happened to meet the needs of the time, and found its path to grow. Their ramen business was first started from the very bottom, and was running with mere 7-seating space, which was rented in a narrow bar in Shinjuku’s Golden Street, and they were only open once a week. Since there was no kitchen in the bar, the preparation was done in Mr. Ikuta’s small apartment. Despite all that, Ikuta’s keen sense in making ramen was already standing out. So, what is so innovative about their management style? First of all, it is their cutting-edge menu creation. They started out with tonkotsu base, but the final ingredient they settled on after going to ramen restaurants across the nation, trying, in search of the kind of ingredient they could bring to the narrow kitchen space, was “Niboshi” (small dried fish).

“Niboshi ramen”, which was not familiarized in Tokyo area at that time, was featured big in a magazine, and on top of it, the winning for the ramen contest ignited fire at the Shinjuku Golden Street location. The second of all, it is their magical skill to make themselves known through no advertisement. By participating in various festivals and events, they stands out with good taste, which creates a topic of conversation in the audience.

The third is how they manage the restaurant. In the Shibuya location, they ran it as a ramen restaurant in the day time, and as a ramen izakaya at night, and they even call themselves differently. It is so unique. Without realizing, their business advanced in high-speed. They eventually got an offer even from an overseas investor. The fourth reason is how quickly they developed overseas market. The first one was realized within 6 years, and since then, they managed to acquire a total of 28 overseas locations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Philippines, and Singapore within 10 years. And, then, this year, they achieved to open the first development in US with their partner, a Taiwanese company. The fifth reason is their revolutionary way of working. Unlike the typical image of the industry, which is rather tough, they are creating the kind of easy working environment for their staff, in which “Enjoy while you work” is encouraged.

The Palo Alto location has a spacious interior with 52 seats. All overseas locations have only tonkotsu-base soup. All except their signature ramen called “Original King” (tonkotsu-base, $13.50) is $14.50. Three other most innovative menu items are “Black King” flavored with squid ink and black garlic as an effective accent, “Red King” flavored with red pepper miso, and “Green King” flavored with refreshing basil with parmesan cheese to accentuate. Each colorful menu item is unique, and can accommodate diversified diet styles. All noodles are made in-house by their noodle making artisans using the famous machine in Japan called “Yamato Noodle Machine”, which was acquired from Japan, and installed there to make various noodles to match each different flavored soup. In addition to those menu items, they provide a “wagamama sheet”, with which you can choose by check-marking the strength of soup, amount of oil, garlic, toppings, and even the hardness of the noodles to suit to your taste. As far as the menu goes, those combinations are something I never even thought of until I saw them.

For instance, squid ink, and basil flavor, each of which has a good balance in taste, are surprisingly delectable. Ramen nowadays is evolving toward many different directions including Italian and Mediterranean.

The ramen boom in the US has been lasting for the last 10 years, and the industry was thinking that it would reach the peak soon. However, the landing of this innovative ramen chain is making me think that there is more room to go further. Following the Palo Alto location, opening of the second location in LA, and also in NY is already in the works. The “Nagi” sensation is about to begin here in the US as well with their new managing technique and unique menu creation.


週一営業、7席から始まった「ラーメン店経営」快進撃

日本とアジアで急成長中のラーメンチェーン店、「Nagi」がついにこの7 月、米国進出第一号店をパラアルトにオープンした。日本の有名店とあって開店まもなく1時間以上の列が歩道を埋め尽くした。現在「凪」は、日本に11 店舗だが、アジア圏には28 店舗を展開している。Nagiは、新時代の経営哲学と言える、「必要最低限の出資から最大利益を生み出す」革新的な経営法だ。トレンドを追う消費者とSNS情報が繁栄店に押し上げた。

創業者である生田智志氏とパートナーの園田氏は同じ福岡県出身。高校時代小倉の有名ラーメンチェーン店で働いていた同期である。彼らの成功は、綿密な計画から生まれたものではない。チャンスとサバイブの間で必然的にとった行動が時代に適合し成長路線を見出していった。裸一貫から始まったラーメン業は、新宿ゴールデン街の狭い7席のバーを借りての経営だった。それも週一回のみ。キッチンが無いので、生田氏の狭いアパートの一室で仕込みをしていたという。しかしその頃から同氏のラーメンセンスは長けていた。

 なにが革新的なのか? その1は斬新なメニュー作り。基本は豚骨ベースから始まったが、彼らは狭いキッチンに持ち込める範囲の食材を探し全国のラーメン店を試食して歩いた結果出会ったのが「煮干し」だった。東京ではまだ聞きなれない「煮干しラーメン」が雑誌にクローズアップされたり、コンテストでの優勝もあり、新宿ゴールデン街店に火がついた。革新その2は宣伝をせず有名になる術。フェスやイベントに出店し、とにかく目立つ、美味しいで常に話題を作る。 
 革新その3は店作り。初独立店舗となった渋谷店では、昼間はラーメン屋、夜はラーメン居酒屋とし昼と夜で屋号も変わるユニークさ。それからの快進撃はあっという間。ついに海外投資家からも声がかかる。革新その4は海外進出の速さだ。第1号は6 年以内、他香港、上海、フィリピン、シンガポールの海外28 店舗を10年以内で遂げている。そして今年、台湾企業のパートナーと米国進出を果たした。革新その5は、働き方改革である。今までにありがちの筋肉質なイメージから「楽しみながら働こう」という無理のない職場環境作りを打ち出している。

 パラアルト店は全52 席の広々とした内装。海外店舗は豚骨ベースのみ。代表格の「Original King」( 豚骨ベース$13.50)以外は全て$14.50。4つの斬新メニューは、ブラックガーリックが効いたイカスミ味の「Black King」と赤辛味噌の「Red King」、そしてバジル味が爽やかでパルメザンチーズでアクセントを付けた「Green King」。色とりどりのメニューはそれぞれに特徴があり、多様化するダイエットにもフィットする。麺は全て自家製麺。日本で有名な「大和製麺機」を導入し、職人たちがスープにあった麺を作り出す。メニューに加え“ わがまま表” には、スープの濃さ、オイルの量、ガーリックやトッピング麺の硬さまでチェック項目があり、自分好みの一杯が注文できる。このメニューを見る限り、今まで想像がつかなかった組み合わせなのだが、例えばイカスミやバジルもそれぞれに味のバランスが取れてて驚くほど「アリ」である。ラーメンは今やイタリアン風にも地中海風にも進化している。

 米国のラーメンブームはこの10 年続いており、業界ではそろそろ頭打ちと想像していたが、この革新的なラーメンチェーン店の上陸で、まだまだ伸び代がある事を思い知らされる。パラアルト店に続きすでに2号店, LA, NY のオープンも決まっている。米国でもすでに新しい経営術とユニークなメニューで「凪」旋風が巻き起ころうとしている。



Ramen Nagi
541 Bryant St.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
http://ramennagiusa.com/
Open everyday
11:00am-3:00pm
5:30pm-9:30pm
#alljapannews #ramen #RamenNagi #CA

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Let’s Toast with Sake & Shochu Cocktails!

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By Yuji Matsumoto

It would be a waste to enjoy distilled liquor, honkaku shochu and boutique sake as cocktails. While drinking them straight will not necessarily expand the flavors nor add body, sake with the distinct rice odor can be surprisingly delicious as cocktails when mixed with fruits and / or syrup. I of course highly recommend enjoying mellow and full-bodied distilled liquor such as honkaku shochu on-the-rocks, while continuously distilled shochu, known as white liquor (distilled alcohol used for plum wine, etc.) with no taste or smell, is most suitable as cocktails.
In this issue, we introduce sake and shochu cocktails you can easily make at home.

Nigori sake with peach juice
3 oz. Nigori sake
1 oz.  Peach Juice
0.5 oz.  Peach Syrup

Stir the above ingredients with ice and pour into a chilled martini glass.
This pink cocktail is visually appealing to ladies.

Sake pomegranate martini
2 oz. Sake
1 oz. Shochu
1 oz. Pomegranate Juice
0.5 oz. Pomegranate Syrup

Mix the above ingredients with ice into a shaker and shake well. Pour into a chilled martini glass. This distinctly acidic and bitter pomegranate cocktail is for grownups.

Shochu grapefruit mojito
2 oz. Shochu
1 oz. Sake
0.5 oz. Salt-Free Yuzu Juice
3 oz.  Grapefruit Juice
7~8   Mint Leaves
0.5 oz. 
Syrup (2 Sugar : 1 Hot Water. Mix until completely dissolved, then cool to room temperature)

Mix the above ingredients together and mash the mint leaves with a muddler. Mix in ice and pour into a glass with club soda.
This distinct citrus concoction of yuzu, grapefruit and mint leaves is refreshing. Beware for it’s easy to keep drinking.


日本酒・焼酎カクテルで乾杯!

単式蒸留(本格焼酎)や高級地酒をカクテルとして使うにはもったいないが、単独で飲んであまり味のふくらみやコクのないもの、または日本酒独特の米臭さのあるものは、フルーツやシロップを入れカクテルにすると意外な美味しさを演出してくれるものである。また、本格焼酎などの単式蒸留で造った芳醇で旨み、コクのあるものは、もちろんロックで楽しんでいただきたいが、無味無臭の、いわゆるホワイトリカー(梅酒などに使う蒸留酒)と呼ばれる連続式蒸留の焼酎は、カクテルとして適している。

今回は、家庭でも簡単にできる日本酒と焼酎のカクテルを紹介しよう。

にごり酒とピーチジュース
3oz. にごり酒 
1oz. ピーチジュース
0.5oz. ピーチシロップ

上記の材料と氷を混ぜ、良く冷やしたマティーニグラス注ぐ。
見た目もピンクで女性うけするカクテル。

日本酒のザクロマティーニ
2 oz. 日本酒 
1 oz. 焼酎
1 oz. ザクロジュース
0.5 oz. ザクロシロップ

上記の材料と氷を入れ、シェイカーで良く振る。良く冷やしたマティーニグラスに注ぐ。ザクロの独特の酸味と苦味がある大人向きのカクテル。

焼酎グレープフルーツモヒート
2oz. 焼酎
1 oz. 日本酒
0.6 oz. 無塩ユズジュース
3 oz. グレープフルーツジュース
7~8  ミント葉
0.5 oz. シロップ(砂糖2に対してお湯1の割合。完全に溶けるまで混ぜ、常温になるまで冷ますこと)

上記材料を入れ、マドラーでミントをすり潰す。氷を入れ、グラスに注ぎ、クラブソーダで割る。ユズとグレープフルーツ、ミントのさわやかな香りが特徴。ついつい飲みすぎてしまうので注意が必要。
#alljapannews #sake #shochu #cocktailst

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“Bonsai Kakigōri” Kakigōri, which was originated in Japan, and continues to evolve in New York

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“Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr...
By Aya Ota

A kakigōri specialty establishment, which was launched by a young American guy has become the topic of conversation. The name of the place is “Bonsai Kakigōri” – it is a kind of name that gets you interested, and makes you want to see and try.

“I wanted to replicate delicious kakigōri, which I tasted in Japan, here in New York,” says the Co-Founder & CEO, Gaston Becherano. Gaston traveled in Asia including Japan for 3 months after graduating college before joining the workforce. In Japan, he first climbed Mt. Fuji, and next visited Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture. He was shocked at how tasty the kakigōri, which he ate in the marketplace there, was. Since that day, the purpose of his travel in Japan for the rest of the next 2 and a half months became the seeking of delicious kakigōri all over Japan. Every day, he tried 4 to 5 different kinds of kakigōri.

After the trip, he returned to New York, and started to work for a major IT company, but was never able to forget about the kakigōri he tasted in Japan. He tried every shaved ice he could get in New York; however, he never found the same Japanese kakigōri. Then he remembered one particular kakigōri he had at the end of his travel. It was in Tokyo, and he waited in line for 3 hours for it. It was different from any other kakigōri he tasted in Japan. The ice was so finely shaven, and had such delicate texture, and melted as soon as he put it in his mouth. He acquired the same old-fashioned manual ice shaving machine, which was used at the last place, from Japan by himself, and started to make kakigōri at home. While he was treating his friends to his kakigōri, he discovered how much fun it was to share kakigōri with many people. After only 4 months with the IT company, he quit, and launched “Bonsai Kakigōri”. Giving up a stable lifestyle he could have had with the company, he chose something more challenging.

The name, “Bonsai”, did not only come from its appearance. “Bonsai was originated in Japan, and spread to the world. I thought that its one-and-only beauty created by utmost care, and the required techniques to create it had something in common with what our business needs,” says Gaston. With a partnership with Theo Friedman, a professional chef, they have developed new flavors one after another. Theo is also someone who had traveled in Japan, and had become hooked on the magical charm of kakigōri. After working at various notable restaurants in New York, he dived into this new business.

Their versions of 3 classic flavors are “Matcha”, “Strawberries”, and “Coconut”. The Matcha they use is the authentic ceremony grade from Uji, Kyoto. They also offer flavors such as “Rhubarb”, and “Peanut butter & Jelly”, which represent the diverse culture of New York, where many different ethnic groups gather. “Peanut butter & Jelly” in particular, though it is an American favorite flavor, is a combination of totally different types of oil and water, and is certainly beyond the imagination of Japanese people, and yet, surprisingly harmonious. They also offer a new flavor once every 1 to 2 weeks to enhance the season and prevent repeaters from getting bored. Other than one particular flavor, none of the syrups, cream, and toppings are ready-made, and they are all made from the house recipes.

Fresh fruits are used, and no chemical-based ingredients are used. The “Omakase”, in which you can taste 7 different flavors of mini kakigōri at once, is a recent popular menu item.

This establishment opened not long ago, in January of this year, but they already gather as many as 400 customers on a busy day. “Everyone knows the word, Bonsai, but not kakigōri, so it is difficult to let it be known,” says Gaston. They mainly collect customers through Instagram, and the majority of the customers are in their teens and twenties. It must have been a good thing that they chose a new food court called “Canal Street Market” for its location. There are also establishments by Japanese vendors in this food court selling ramen and bento, and therefore, many people get interested in kakigōri, another Japan-originated food, and try it after lunch as a dessert. They also participated in “Smorgasburg”, the Brooklyn-originated food specialty outdoor market, on weekends, to stretch the chance of recognition further.

They are already thinking about opening the second “Bonsai Kakigōri” on another street. I cannot take my eyes away from their powerful prospect.


日本発祥で、ニューヨークで進化を遂げるかき氷

米国人青年が立ち上げたかき氷店が話題になっている。その名も『Bonsai Kakigōri(盆栽かき氷)』――ネーミングを聞くだけで、「見てみたい、食べてみたい」と興味をそそられる。
 
 「日本で食べたかき氷の美味しさをニューヨークでも実現したいと思った」と語るのは創業者のガストン・ベチェラーノ氏。ガストン氏は、大学卒業後から就職するまでの3カ月間、アジア各国と日本へ旅をした。まずは富士山登頂し、次に石川県金沢を訪問、そこの市場で食べたかき氷の美味しさに衝撃を受けた。そして、その日から残り2カ月半の日本滞在中は、“全国各地の美味しいかき氷を探す旅“となった。毎日のように4〜5種類のかき氷を食べ歩く日々だったという。

 旅を終え、ニューヨークに戻り、大手IT企業に就職してからも、ガストン氏は日本で食べたかき氷が忘れられなかった。ニューヨーク中のシェイブド・アイスを試したが、日本と同じかき氷には出会えなかった。その時、ガストン氏が思い出したのは、旅の最後に東京で、3時間行列に並んで食べたかき氷。それは、日本で食べたどのかき氷とも違う、口に入れた途端溶けてなくなるような、きめ細やかで繊細な食感の氷が特徴的だった。彼は、その店で使っていた、手動で氷を削るレトロな機械を、個人的に日本から購入し、自らかき氷を作り始めた。そして、友人たちにかき氷を振る舞う内に、多くの人にかき氷をシェアすることの楽しさに気づく。そして、就職後たった4カ月で退社、『Bonsai Kakigori』を立ち上げた。そのまま勤めていれば安定した暮らしができたはずだが、彼は挑戦を選んだのだ。

 “Bonsai“と名付けたのは、その見た目からだけではない。「盆栽は日本から世界へ広まったもの。丹精込めて創り上げる唯一無二の美しさや、それを創り上げる技術など、自分たちのビジネスに通じるものがあると考えた」とガストン氏。ガストン氏は、プロのシェフであるセオ・フリードマン氏とパートナーを組んで、次々と新しいフレーバーを開発。セオ氏も、かつては日本を旅し、かき氷の魅力にとりつかれた一人。ニューヨークの数々の有名店で活躍した後に新しいビジネスへ飛び込んだ。

彼らが‘クラシック”と呼ぶフレーバーは、「抹茶」「イチゴ」「ココナッツ」の3種類。抹茶は京都宇治産のセレモニーグレードを使う本格派だ。他には、「ルバーブ」や「ピーナッツバター&ジェリー」といった、さまざまな人種が集まるニューヨークらしい、多様性に飛んだフレーバーを用意している。特に「ピーナッツバター&ジェリー」は、は米国人好みの味とは言え、全く異質の油分と水分を組み合わせたもので、日本人の想像の範囲をはるかに超えているが、意外な調和に驚かされる。また、季節感を大事にし、1〜2週間に1つは新しいフレーバーを投入し、リピーター客を飽きさせない。シロップ、クリーム、トッピングは、既製品は使わず(トッピング1種類をのぞき)、全て独自開発したレシピだ。旬で新鮮な果物を使い、化学合成原料は一切使わない。最近では、7種類のミニかき氷を一度に楽しめる「Omakase」も提供し好評だ。
 
 同店は2018年1月に開店したばかりだが、多い日には400人もの集客があるという。「盆栽という名前は知られているが、かき氷は知られていないので、伝えるのが難しい」とガストン氏。主にインスタグラムを活用して集客し、客層も10〜20代が中心だという。『キャナル・ストリート・マーケット』という新しいフードコートに出店したのも功を奏しているだろう。ラーメンや弁当など日本人経営のベンダーも入るこのフードコートでは、日本発祥のかき氷に関心を持ち、ランチ後のデザートとして併せて購入する客も多い。また、週末には、ブルックリン発祥のフード専門野外市場『スモーガスバーグ』にも出展することで、認知度向上にも貢献している。

すでに路面店2店舗目も視野に入っているという『Bonsai Kakigōri』。その勢いから目が離せない。



Bonsai Kakigōri
Canal Street Market
265 Canal Street
New York, NY 10013
Email: hello@bonsaikakigori.com
https://www.bonsaikakigori.com/
#alljapannews #NY #BonsaiKakigori #dessert

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Saly Papa “Japanese-style Yoshoku (western cuisine)” lands in LA!

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Saly Papa “Japa... Saly Papa “Japa... Saly Papa “Japa... Saly Papa “Japa...
By Keiko Fukuda

Alhambra is a residential area in the eastern suburbs of Los Angeles. Many Chinese mericans live in this town, and shops and restaurants are concentrated around the traffic light where Main Street and Garfield Avenue merge across, and the area is getting eveloped in a high speed recently. In a corner location of a shopping mall called lhambra Place, which is located right in the middle of this very spot, is Saly Papa, which opened newly in June this year.

The parent organization of this restaurant is Toridoll California Dining, The Toridoll Inc.’s US affiliation, which has developed many restaurants in Japan. This is the company which made Marugame Seimen of Japan very popular in Hawaii, and is currently running the first US mainland location in Sawtell in West Los Angeles. This same company is also successfully running a Japanese fusion restaurant, Tokyo Table, in Irvine in Orange County.

I attended the food trial event of this restaurant held at the end of June. I was very curious about the concept of this restaurant that is “Japanese Yoshoku Dining”.

When you step into the restaurant situated in the best location of the mall where a wide variety of international restaurants stand next to each other, such as a Chinese bakery, an American hamburger shop, etc., a showcase that stretches out high to the ceiling catches your eyes. It is overwhelming to see all the samples displayed inside that includes a hamburger steak, spaghetti, omelet rice, doria, a lunch set for children, many kinds of parfait dishes etc. Without thinking, the sight instantly made me reminisces my childhood memory, in which I was unable to decide on the dish I wanted to order, standing in front of the showcase of a restaurant in a department store.

After I was guided to a table, Hayashi Beef Fries ($7) and Sukiyaki Beef & Kale Salad ($12.29) were served. As its name indicates, the French fries that look like chili fries were topped with Hayashi Beef sauce. It was a new combination to me. I loved the kale salad. Plentiful of kale with thin-sliced sukiyaki beef, fried onions, and mushrooms, is seasoned with kale and sesame dressing. The sweet tasting dressing suited the vegetables well.

Next, their signature dish, Yoshoku Mixed Plate ($19.95), was served. On the plate, you get omelet rice, Hamburg steak, fried shrimp, seafood croquet, salad, plus even Napolitan spaghetti. Everything has a distinctive taste, and should be well received by children. However, the quantity is quite large, and way too much for a child. It is more like a plate looking like a child’s lunch, which is geared to please adults.

As for desserts, you were to choose one of their wide variety of parfait dishes, which were presented together on the table. I picked Chocolate/Banana kind, but there were about 20 different kinds all together including Mango, Sweet Red Bean, Matcha, and Annin Tofu. Additionally, they presented the Mega Parfait, which consists of ingredients that generally go with parfait well; fruits, ice cream, frozen yogurt, waffles, jelly, corn flakes, Pocky, corns, etc., in a transparent bucket-like container. It is huge, and enough for ten people, and priced at $55, which is rather high for a dessert, but reasonable if shared by 10 people. It should be a popular item for party-like occasions.

This restaurant’s concept, which is the re-importation of Yoshoku that has been uniquely evolved in Japan, back to the Western world, is quite interesting. But, why is the name “Saly Papa”? I discovered that it was taken from a Swiss chef, Saly Weil. Weil went to Japan to work as the first head chef of Hotel New Grand, Yokohama in 1927, and contributed highly to the development of Western style cuisine culture in Yokohama area. He developed doria (rice gratin), Hamburg steak, Napolitan spaghetti, etc., as original dishes, and satisfied gourmet Japanese people with surprises. They say that he also made great efforts in educating Japanese chefs who continued to support Japanese Yoshoku culture after him.

I look forward to seeing the result of how this restaurant does in the efforts of making the Yoshoku culture flourish in the US market.


「日本の洋食」がLA上陸

ロサンゼルス東郊の住宅街、アルハンブラ。中国系移民が多く暮らすこの街には、メイン・ストリートとガーフィールド・アベニューの交差点を中心にショップやレストランが集中し、近年の発展がめざましい。

まさにその通りの交差点に位置するアルハンブラ・プレイスというショッピングモールの角地にこの6月、新しく店を開けたのがレストラン、Saly Papa(サリー・パパ)だ。

この店の経営母体は、日本で飲食店を多数展開しているトリドールの米国法人であるトリドールカリフォルニアダイニング。日本の丸亀製麺をハワイで流行らせ、さらにウエストロサンゼルスのソーテルに米国本土1号店を運営しているのも同社であり、他にもオレンジ郡アーバインにあるジャパニーズフュージョンレストラン、TOKYO TABLEも盛業中。

さて、同店のコンセプトが「Japanese Yoshoku Dining」と聞き、興味津々で6月末に開催された試食会に参加した。中国系のベイカリーやアメリカのハンバーガーショップなど、まさに多国籍な飲食店が軒を連ねるモールの一等地を占める同店の店内に入ると、まず天井まで高く伸びたショーケースに目を奪われる。ハンバーグステーキ、スパゲティ、オムライス、ドリア、お子様ランチに種類も豊富なパフェが並ぶ様は圧巻。思わず、デパートの食堂のショーケースの前でどれにしようかと思案した子どもの頃の記憶がよみがえってきた。

テーブルに通されると、ハヤシビーフフライズ($7)とすき焼きビーフ&ケールのサラダ($12.29)が運ばれてきた。その名の通り、見た目がチリフライズに見えるフレンチフライには、ハヤシビーフのソースがトッピングされている。新しい組み合わせだ。気に入ったのが、ケールのサラダ。薄切りのすき焼きビーフと揚げたタマネギ、マッシュルームが、たっぷりのケールとゴマのドレッシングで和えられた一品。甘めのドレッシングが野菜によく馴染んでいる。

続いて登場したのが、同店のシグニチャーディッシュであるミックス洋食プレート($19.95)。1皿にオムライス、ハンバーグ、エビフライ、シーフードコロッケ、サラダ、 ナポリタンスパゲティまで付いてくる。比較的濃いめの分かりやすい味で、子どもは大喜びするだろう。しかし、量はどう考えても子ども向けではない。大人のお子様ランチといったところか?

さらにデザートは、この日、種類も豊富なパフェが並び、一人1種類ずつ選ぶことができた。私はチョコレートバナナパフェにしたが、他にもパフェは、マンゴーパフェ、スウィートレッドビーンパフェ、抹茶パフェ、杏仁豆腐パフェと20種類ものラインアップ。さらに、メガパフェも披露された。透明のバケツのような容器にフルーツ、アイスクリーム、フローズンヨーグルト、ワッフル、ジェロ、コーンフレーク、ポッキー、コーンなど、パフェに合う食材が全て投入され、サイズも10人用と巨大なら、価格も55ドルとデザートにしては贅沢。しかし、10人でシェアして食べるとすれば逆にリーズナブルなので、パーティーの目玉にもなりそうだ。

このように、日本で独自の進化を遂げた洋食を、西洋に逆輸入するという同店のコンセプトは興味深い。ではなぜ、店名が「Saly Papa」なのかと言えば、スイス出身の料理人、サリー・ワイル(Saly Weil)にちなんでいるのだそうだ。ワイルは、横浜、ホテルニューグランドの初代総料理長として1927年に日本に渡り、同地の洋食文化の発展に寄与した。彼はドリア(ライスグラタン)、ハンバーグステーキ、ナポリタンスパゲティをオリジナル料理として開発し、グルメな日本人たちに驚きをもって迎えられた。その後、日本の洋食を支え続けたシェフの育成にも力を注いだとされている。

このように「洋食のレジェンド」とも言える人物の名前を冠した同店が、アメリカ市場で洋食文化を新たに花開かせることができるか、その結果を楽しみに待ちたい。



Saly Papa
100 E. Main St. #100,
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 656-2222

Sun.-Thu.t.11:00am-10:00pm
Fri.&-Sat.11:00am-11:00pm
7days Open
http://salypaparestaurant.com/
#alljapannews #Yoshoku #LA #SalyPapa #spaghetti

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