February 12, 2015

Visit to the Nikka Distillery, Yoichi, Hokkaido

Allen @ 2:01 am   |  Comments Off on Visit to the Nikka Distillery, Yoichi, Hokkaido
Filed under: Japan,Travel,Whiskey


The grounds of the Nikka Yoichi distillery were smaller than I was expecting… But then again, I didn’t really know how big distilleries should be.

The place is idyllic and the museum was a high point (with lots of history about Taketsuru and his wife Rita — they are popular now because of a TV series called “Massan & Ellie”, a story based largely on their true life story), but you probably don’t need to spend more than 90 minutes there in total.

We didn’t get a chance to look at the shop because we had to run for the train back to Sapporo (or be stranded for two hours), but we did get free samples of 17 year Tsuru, and the Nikka 10. More about the sampling later…

Welcome to Yoichi

Allen @ 2:00 am   |  Comments Off on Welcome to Yoichi
Filed under: Japan,Travel,Whiskey

The town that whisky built. This display right on the train station platform makes it abundantly clear what butters their bread here.

On the way to Nikka Distillery

Mike @ 1:49 am   |  Comments Off on On the way to Nikka Distillery
Filed under: Japan,Travel,Uncategorized,Whiskey

Seafood Donburi at Sapporo’s Curb Market

Allen @ 12:14 am   |  Comments Off on Seafood Donburi at Sapporo’s Curb Market
Filed under: Food,Japan,Travel

One of Hokkaido’s tastiest dishes is also one of its simplest — raw seafood over rice, or the seafood donburi. We checked this one off the list at an upstairs restaurant in Sapporo’s Curb Market.

Curb Market is a couple city blocks of retail fish markets and restaurants that sit near the large, central wholesale seafood market.

The restaurant we picked had an entrance plastered with photos of donburi with various combinations of seafood:

I ordered a sake kani don, which had slices of salmon, a heaping scoop of salmon eggs, and a pile of snow crab (which is also a Hokkaido specialty).

The freshness was amazing. The salmon had a delicits taste to it, and the salmon eggs had an almost sweet taste to them, like butterscotch. It was delicious.

Mike had a salmon, shrimp, and tuna mini donburi:

And we shared a very tasty grilled kampachi kama (cheek):

February 11, 2015

The inevitable cheeseburger

Allen @ 2:49 pm   |  Comments Off on The inevitable cheeseburger
Filed under: Food,Japan,Travel

But at least we ate it in Susukino.

In Sapporo, whiskey finds you

Allen @ 2:24 pm   |  Comments Off on In Sapporo, whiskey finds you
Filed under: Japan,Travel,Whiskey

Ardbeg Arigh Nam Beist 1990 (glass ¥1,500)

Port Ellen 25 year 1979 (glass ¥3,200)

Bar Proof

Allen @ 2:21 pm   |  Comments Off on Bar Proof
Filed under: Japan,Travel,Whiskey

It’s nice having a fully stocked whiskey bar all to ourselves on a quiet Wednesday night.

The hidden bars of Japan

Allen @ 2:10 pm   |  Comments Off on The hidden bars of Japan
Filed under: Japan,Travel,Whiskey

Nice bars in Japan tend to be squirreled away in nondescript, generic office buildings for some reason. I would not have expected this:

…to be the entrance to a bar that perfectly hand cuts and bevels completely crystal-transparent ice like this:

…and serve delicious, fresh yuzu cocktails like this:

The bartender makes a mean yuzu-grapefruit-rum cocktail, and she even suggested a local sushi place for us to try. As we left, she came out of the bar to say goodbye and waved at us until the elevator doors closed.

(Bar Nano, 7th floor, 3 Chome-5 Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan)

Ramen tickets!

Mike @ 1:05 pm   |  Comments Off on Ramen tickets!
Filed under: Food,Japan,Travel

Once you get your tickets, the lady sits you down and your bowl of beautiful ramen appears about 2 minutes later. When you’re done, you simply get up and leave.

Getting Down in Pole Town

Allen @ 12:23 am   |  Comments Off on Getting Down in Pole Town
Filed under: Japan,Travel

Your correspondents risked all in exploring “Pole Town”, an underground labyrinth of clothing boutiques, cafes, pachinko parlors, and travel agencies one level beneath the Susukino district of Sapporo. Despite the sketchy, third-world typography of the lonely sign perched above a forlorn, dreary staircase that leads down from street level (see above photograph), Pole Town turned out not to be nearly as Mos Eisley-ish as we feared (or hoped). We attempted to sleaze it up in the pachinko parlor, but after 5 minutes of not being able to figure out how to put money in the machine, we gave up.

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A group effort by Allen, Ben and Mike