omoide yokocho
Omoide Yokocho, or Piss Alley, in Shinjuku, Tokyo, is a narrow series of pedestrian streets full of tiny izakayas (taverns). Having stayed in Shinjuku on my first visit to Tokyo, I had no idea this place existed - and less than 5 minutes walk from my hotel. Few of the izakayas have tables with most content to have patrons sit on stools along the bar, which serves as both a bar and an open kitchen. Even fewer of these places have doors. Read More...
katakata shochu house
While this past summer's shochu tour was a deep education into the production and culture surrounding shochu in the Prefectures around Kyushu, this winter's trip to Tokyo was a crash course in the depth and breadth of izakaya culture in Japan's largest city. Read More...
decibel
Let's have a virtual party! Sign up for mobli on your iphone or android and post photos or video from New Years Eve in your city. Read More...
kurogodai
Kuro Godai, with the rich, dirty flavor so prevalent in black koji sweet potato shochus, adds a dimension to this richness by opting for an unfiltered approach. Nigori (unfiltered) sakes are cloudy, white, and sweet. Nigori shochus are still clear, but have a overtly rich, buttery mouthfeel not found in filtered shochus. The only telltale sign that this is a nigori are the droplets of spirit that cling to the walls of the bottle. Read More...
migaki
The first thing you notice about Window's Migaki and its sister shochu Window's Mugiichi is the "window" of the bottle with artwork by artist Ichiro Tsuruta. Our photo doesn't really do this artwork justice (her face isn't crooked). Don't let the pretty packaging fool you (with many wines the artistry of the label is directly inversely related to the quality of the product inside). Window's Migaki is a barrel aged barley shochu (Mugiichi is this same shochu unaged) of the highest quality. Read More...
chicken soba soup
Otafuku Noodle House is on a nondescript street in an average working class neighborhood in South Los Angeles. The only hint that it might be a good place to eat or drink comes from the smattering of other “authentic” Japanese landmarks in the area. There's another soba house on the corner, the Okinawa Association of America headquarters across the street (a grandiose title for a windowless single story building), and Marukai Pacific Market a few blocks away – a massive Japanese grocer. Read More...

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