Gotta Get – Kokuto Black Sugar 沖縄黒糖

Do you know about kokutō? Black sugar that is harvested on the islands south of Kagoshima in Okinawa. It is a dark sugar that is rich in minerals and is 100% natural sugar cane. We often keep a jar of kokutō on the counter. It makes a nice little snack. Kokutō can be cooked with water to make a syrup…

Mandarin Oriental Pizza Bar on 38th

Tomato Salad at Pizza Bar on 38th The specialty of the Pizza Bar on 38th. Marscapone, black olives, and truffle essence. This is so rich in umami and impressive. The first time I had this I woke up the next day thinking of it. Even a week later it haunts you, in a good way….

Kanda Glitch

Staying on top of the food scene at Tokyo has become much easier with social media. Ten years ago when I started research for my book, Food Sake Tokyo, I relied heavily on Japanese food magazines and tips from food writers, chefs, sommeliers, and other industry insiders. I still rely on these same sources, but…

Okina Soba in Azumino, Nagano 安曇野翁 そば

Nagano is famous for soba, among many other things. But where to go, especially in the countryside? We asked around to friends about their recommendations, and a restaurateur told us about this lovely soba restaurant in Azumino called Okina. Azumino is a pastoral part of Nagano that has the impressive Kita Alps, Northern Japanese Alps, guarding…

Suntory Master’s Dream

A recent trend with Japanese beer companies is to produce a high-end brew for their portfolio. Suntory’s newest product to this category is Master’s Dream. This is a rich, aromatic beer with a nice balance of bitter and sweet notes. It is made with a traditional “diamond” malt, European hops, and spring water. I also…

camp Curry at Otemachi

camp (small letter c) has been on my Go List for a long time. The signature curry at camp serves up a day’s recommended portion of vegetables. Most of us could probably do better at eating vegetables, so to get my daily requirement in one delicious meal makes me happy. The curry is quite smoky….

Chef Nicolas Boujéma of Signature at Mandarin Oriental

There is a new French chef in town, Nicolas Boujéma, at Signature in the Mandarin Oriental. I was very curious to try his food as he has a very impressive resumé, most recently coming from Pierre Gagnaire in Hong Kong. I had the chance to interview him for Metropolis magazine for a Tastemaker piece. It’s…

July Seasonal Japanese Seafood

Simmered ma-anago Seared katsuo July sashimi   Some of our personal favorites include ayu (salted and grilled), shitabirame (meuniere), shijimi (miso soup), benisake (salted and grilled), and for sashimi – surumeika, kinmedai, takabe, and isaki. Ainame 鮎並 fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii) Akashita birame 赤舌鮃  red-tongued sole (Cynoglossus joyneri) Awabi 鮑 abalone (Haliotis sorenseni) Ayu 鮎…