Our very own “samurai”, Drew Peterson, the Corporate Beverage Director of SUSHISAMBA. The picture was taken in a small mountain town in Japan, where he was taking his sake-smarts to the next level (II) as part of a Master’s degree in sake certification (that can only be accomplished in Japan.)
In addition to learning all about sake, Drew also discovered a lot about Japanese cuisine, especially in regards to the preparation of sashimi. Like Koji, Mere and I – he ventured through Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market – the largest fish market in the world. The Tsukiji fish market exports fish all over and always has a huge selection of fresh seafood.
We’ll be working with Drew a lot more on the culinary side – including some exciting pairings to go with NYC’s upcoming Restaurant Week.
Here’s The Telegraph’s coverage of the 342kg Bluefin Tuna that was recently sold at a record-breaking £250,000 at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan. So crazy…
At SUSHISAMBA we’ve created a NO BLUE campaign to protect Bluefin Tuna and help to raise awareness about the species’ endangered status – but it’s important that we continue understand the ecological and economical impact of the global seafood market.
I still have a bunch of other great videos and photos to share from our trip to Tsukiji this past November…. To start, here’s a shot of some of the fresh tuna for sale post morning auction:
Pass the Baton is a store we found in Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo filled with lots of random treasures – antiques, vintage clothes, stuff made from recycled goods. The concept/ mission statement is all about ‘personal culture,’ – and bringing new life into an object. Very cool.
Every morning in Tokyo and Kyoto, Koji, Mere and I took part in a canned kanji ritual in the lobby of our hotel. In Japan, ready-to-drink canned coffee is available in just about every lobby – and street corner:
The vending machines themselves are pretty high tech… hot and cold distribution; liquid into a cup distribution, etc. The hot canned coffee always came out at the perfect temperature.
According to some of our guide readings – and even Japanese Wikipedia – the big canned coffee fad kicked off in the early 1970s and was really booming by the early 80s. In addition to some names we hadn’t seen before (Pokka, Dydo) – a lot of the big Japanese beverage companies (Suntory, Kirin, Coca-Cola, Nescafe, Asahi) have their own brands/labels in the canned coffee market, too.
Just the other day Thrillist.com shared an awesome website – “The Japan Goods Finder.”
It’s an sick source for new products – culinary, design, etc. and it even auto-translates the sites so you don’t have to visit them individually through google’s translation. Among the list: Mitsukoshi Department Store where we found amazing food products.
Even in a country with one of the lowest rates of beef consumption – there is evidence of the burger craze. We dropped into pakutchi in Shibuya for a taste…
タワーバーガー Tower Burger
Here’s our pakutchibaga…
It’s not as often that taste demands your awareness of each component of the burger (beyond the beef). Here, I was surprised that even the lettuce – so fresh! – contributed so much to the flavor/texture. What’s great is that you could deconstruct a pakutchi burger and enjoy each ingredient separately. Not sure how many burgers stand up to that challenge back in the states…
Here’s a full ‘brand’ shot (including the Tower Burger) from GourNavi:
Many of the department stores here include whole floor ‘markets’ dedicated to specialty foods. At Mitsukoshi we discovered Sun Fruits, Atelier du Soliel – a company known for its prized fruits.
Cantaloupes like this (a cultivated variety of muskmelon -the fruit that flavors midori) range anywhere between $50-$100 because of the intensive care that goes into their growth – from temperature and light distribution to regulated trimming and watering. The result is a perfect shape, skin-texture, smell and, of course, taste.
I really like the concept of premium fruits as gifts… another way to pay tribute to seasonality and the value of a specific moment in time.
Koji, Mere and I have been walking the city on the search of menu layouts, cool design and inspiration – (not to mention to keep our appetites up). I filmed our own version of the Shibuya Crossing – but I think this YouTube video is a much better take. Total chaos – in sync:
The intersection – right in front of the Shibuya Station, Hachikō exit lets pedestrians cross in all directions. Here’s a shot of Koji and I taken from inside a surrounding building: