May 16, 2017

Celebrating Women Producers: Miho Imada of Imada Sake Brewery

by Yoko Kumano

The first time I tried an Imada Shuzo (brewery) sake was in 2014 when we opened our bottle shop in Oakland. The savory acidity of the Fukucho Forgotton Fortune junmai made my mouth water, and I have been a convert ever since. I love having Forgotton Fortune with oysters and manila clams, both abundant in […]

November 22, 2016

A Visit to Kitaya Brewery in Kyushu

by Kayoko Akabori

As we celebrate Scorpios this month in Sake Gumi, our sake club selections are centered around yamahai and kimoto-style sakes. One Sake Gumi offering is by Kitaya Brewery called Souden, an earthy, yogurty brew that is a current staff favorite. Yoko and I (along with Johnny, Anders, and TB) were fortunate to visit Kitaya on […]

September 7, 2016

No Reservations and No-Frills Dining at STAND in Kyoto

by Kayoko Akabori

Kyoto is a bit stuffy for my taste. Literally, it gets SO HOT in the summer, I can’t deal. Plus, it’s a bit dainty compared to the gruff streets of Tokyo and Osaka, which is more my style. Kyoto is where to go if you want a slice of old world Japan – with all its temples […]

June 13, 2016

Exquisite Gems from the Sea at Ginpachi Sushi (Niigata)

by Kayoko Akabori

One of the great joys of importing barware from Japan is that we not only make annual visits to the factories in Niigata but we also get to stop into Ginpachi, a local sushi-ya in Sanjo City. Yoko and I now know that Ginpachi is closed on Mondays – one year we visited Niigata on a Monday […]

May 16, 2016

Itani Ramen’s Gyoza Machine (and Recipe!)

by Kayoko Akabori

Kyle Itani used to have midnight ramen pop-ups at his Oakland restaurant, Hopscotch, a few years ago and Yoko and I would sneak in and snag a table. It was way past our bedtime but it was such a rare occasion for a restaurant in Oakland to be open past midnight, and, serve ramen! Now, […]

May 9, 2016

Code Name Mixology Laboratory (Tokyo)

by Kayoko Akabori

Mr. Shuzo Nagumo is a mad scientist behind the bar. With a twinkle in his eye and a firm stance when shaking, he has started a cocktail revolution in Tokyo that is a great departure from the cocktail bars we’ve become used to in Japan. That is: bartenders in tuxedos, gentle yet silent, each movement exacting and no detail missed. […]

March 28, 2016

Yona Yona Beer Works in Tokyo

by Kayoko Akabori

Yoko and I were so excited to find that one of Yoho Brewery’s tap rooms in Tokyo was right in our hotel! We waited until our very last night in the city to go in for a beer, and looking back, I wish we wouldn’t have. Yona Yona Beer Works was so great — we […]

January 25, 2016

Sneak Peek: The Pot Still at Hitachino Brewery

by Kayoko Akabori

First there was sake, brewed since 1823 at Kiuchi Brewery in Ibaraki prefecture in Japan. Then, Nest beer in 1996 — catapulting the Hitachino brand around the world. We then learned during our visit that the owner, Mr. Toshiyuki Kiuchi has been dabbling in making shochu, sherry and wine. And now, we unveil their copper […]

January 22, 2016

Nest is Best: Visiting the Hitachino Beer Brewery in Japan

by Kayoko Akabori

Photos by Yoko Kumano Yoko and I have the best job. We own our own business, love our staff, have rad customers, and get to travel frequently for Umami Mart. It’s not always glamorous — like when I spent half the day earlier this week schlepping around boxes at our warehouse in the rain, receiving […]

January 15, 2016

Dream of Sushi with Jiro Gastronomy

by Umami Mart Staff

A video posted by Umami Mart (@umamimart) on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:38pm PST  You’ve probably seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi and are dreaming of the day you’ll eat at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo. Getting a reservation at this 10-seat, 3-Michelin star restaurant run by 90-year old Jiro Ono, who some consider the world’s greatest […]