Sake School

Sake is slowly growing on me. Initially I found the taste to be bitter and strange, but the more I try, the more I am able to find pleasure in it. Here is a run down on various types of sake and their flavor. The following text and images are courtesy of Time Out New York and the article can be seen here.

Sake school: Six sake types for wine drinkers, Scotch sluggers and more

Master sommelier Roger Dagorn (15 East) gives us a 101 on the fermented-rice hooch. From oenophile-baiting junmai to kimoto for Scotch sluggers, there’s a variety for every type of drinker.

By Christina IzzoTue Apr 23 2013

Sushi Of Seki

Sushi Of Seki – Photograph: Filip Wolak

You know if you’re a merlot fan or a champagne sipper, if you’re a sherry devotee or a Scotchaficionado. But do you know junmai from honjozoGinjo from nigori? Before you step into another sakebar, get schooled on six different types of the Japanese fermented-rice beverage and find out which variety will tickle your boozing fancy best.

If you like full-bodied cabs, try a junmai
Heavier and fuller than its delicate sake brethren, the concentrated, acidic junmai grade—pure sake made from rice, koji (starter enzyme) and water—boasts a bold, rich earthiness similar to a robust cabernet sauvignon.

If you like Scotch, try a kimoto or yamahai
Love the peaty malt of good Scotch? Brews crafted in the kimoto or yamahai technique—made without adding lactic acid to the yeast, resulting in more wild bacteria—have that smoky, savory funk that single-malt drinkers crave. This variety is sometimes aged in cedar barrels, which can imbue these labor-intensive sakes—the starter mash is hand-churned over a period of at least four weeks—with a Scotch-like peppery finish.

If you like dry sherry, try a ginjo
The difference between hearty junmai and the lighter ginjo grade is its polishing rate (in layman’s terms: the amount of rice remaining after the husk has been milled) and, with a 60 percent polishing rate, ginjo is leagues more refined than rustic junmai. The superpremium brew is dry, fruity and aromatic, à la Spanish sherry. Sip it chilled for optimum smoothness.

If you like champagne, try sparkling sake
A Japanese twist on bubbly, sparkling sake is distinctive due to its in-bottle secondary fermentation, which produces the fizz and soft sweetness that bottle-poppers look for. Bonus: Unlike the blinding champagne-induced hangover you get every New Year’s Day, carbonated sake’s alcohol content clocks in at under 8 percent, making for easy, breezy tippling.

If you like classic merlot, try honjozo
The medium-bodied cousin of bold junmai, the everyday honjozo-grade sake adds a touch of distilled alcohol to the mash, lending it a soft, easy-to-drink quality in line with a milder merlot. Like that grape varietal, honjozo commonly gives off a cherry flavor and touch of spicy clove.

If you like dessert wine, try nigori
The sweetest of the bunch, milky, creamy nigori caps many Japanese meals as a digestif. The cloudy sip (unfermented rice solids produce the brew’s signature murkiness) is unfiltered and low in alcohol, with light fruit notes. It’s best served cool to bring out its complex sweetness, so chill the brew in an ice bucket as you would dessert wine.

CHEAT SHEET

Warm or chilled?
Sake’s traditionally served warm, but the higher the quality of the sake, the more it should be chilled—warming sake can mask the subtle flavors of premium brews.

Wooden box or stemware?
Wood tampers with the nose of high-end sake (sip delicate ginjos in glassware), though it can actually help smooth out cheaper, harsher varieties.

To pour or not to pour?
Pour for your fellow boozers but not yourself—tejaku (pouring your own sake) is considered very rude in Japanese culture.

What to pair?
A common misconception is that sake should be paired with sushi. Avoid rice-on-rice overkill by soaking up your brew with soba noodles, braised pork belly, miso-glazed Chinese sausage or sashimi.

Sake bomb: yay or nay?
Just say no to sake bombs. They are an American invention and, if ordered at a real-deal sake den, will betray your rookie status.

What’s the difference between junmai and daiginjo?
There are four main grades of sake: junmai (pure rice sake, at least 30 percent polished), honjozo (a tad of distilled alcohol added, at least 30 percent polished), ginjo (highly milled rice—at least 40 percent polished—with or without added alcohol) and daiginjo (even more highly milled rice—at least 50 percent polished—with or without added alcohol).

Ten Erotic Books Sexier Than Fifty Shades of Grey

I have yet to read Fifty Shades of Grey, but it is on my list and I always enjoy a bit of raunchy reading now and then. For those of you who have read it, enjoyed it, and want more, please thank Time Out New York for posting this list of ten books that are even sexier than Fifty Shades of Grey. You can find the full article here.

Ten Erotic Books Sexier Than Fifty Shades of Grey

These erotic books are hotter and much better written than the E.L. James S&M trilogy—save Fifty Shades of Grey for your mother.

By Michele Filgate Tue Sep 4 2012

Erotic books by E.L. James: You, your friends, your mother and most strangers on the sidewalk or the subway know not only the name and reputation of the S&M trilogy which begins with Fifty Shades of Grey, but likely more than a few intimate details about the story. As happy as we are that people are reading, the truth is that this so-called mommy-porn tale is nothing more than a slightly naughty, poorly written melodrama. The following ten erotic books are alternatives we at TONY find riskier, sexier and simply better written than E.L. James’s feminist-baiting juvenilia.

Kafka Was the Rage by Anatole Broyard

In this slim volume, New York Times book critic Broyard details what it was to be an artist in Greenwich Village in the 1940s. Between opening a bookstore and attending the New School, Broyard discovers what sex can be with an artist named Sheri Martinelli, a protégée of Anaïs Nin: “She made love the way she talked—by breaking down the grammar and the rhythms of sex. Young men tend to make love monotonously, but Sheri took my monotony and developed variations on it, as if she were composing a fugue.” There’s also lots of rewarding talk about underpants.

  Buy Kafka Was the Rage on Amazon      Get Kafka Was the Rage on your Kindle

Vox by Nicholson Baker

This master of minutiae—he once wrote an entire novel set on an escalator—is also well known for his erotic tales. This is the book Monica Lewinsky famously gifted to Bill Clinton—and it’s no wonder she did. The entire book is a steamy conversation between two strangers, who talk about all of their sexual fantasies. In one memorable passage, Baker goes so far as to evoke the carnal noise pasta makes when you stir it with olive oil.

  Get Vox on your Kindle

Trouble by Kate Christensen

For an erotic novel that’s both entertaining and impressively crafted, pick up this book by award-winning novelist Kate Christensen, who paints vivid pictures of contemporary society. The two romantically unsuccessful friends in Trouble take a vacation to Mexico City—where they aim to escape their midlife crises and rediscover their youth. As with all of her titles, Christensen proves herself a poet of the senses by making her descriptions of food just as tantalizing as the sexy encounters.

  Buy Trouble on Amazon      Get Trouble on your Kindle

The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort, M.B., Ph.D.

Okay, so you don’t read this book as much as sneak a look at the scandalous pictures—especially when you’re 12 years old and staying at a friend’s house, and notice said friend’s parents’ copy on their bookshelf. If a picture is worth a thousand words, we’d say just one of this book’s evocative illustrations—e.g., the oral encounter Comfort identifies as “mouth music”—is definitely worth more than several thousand words from the James’s pen.

  Buy The Joy of Sex on Amazon

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

What’s sexier than a red-haired cross-dresser who can walk on water? In Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion, Villanelle loses her heart to a noblewoman with whom she is in love. Part historical fiction (set during the Napoleonic Wars) and part magical realism, this fairy-tale-infused novel is rich with beautiful sentences. Winterson locates passion somewhere in the nexus of fear and sex—what’s more of a turn-on than that?

  Buy The Passion on Amazon      Get The Passion on your Kindle

How Should a Person Be by Sheila Heti

When a friend of mine made a cross-stitch inspired by this book (with the words “I’ll be giving blow jobs in Heaven”), I knew I had to read it. In this “Novel from Life,” Heti records conversations with artistic friends, in an attempt to get at the essence of who she really is. But there are plenty of wonderfully racy scenes in which she describes sex with a total creep (who happens to be good in bed): “I don’t know why all of you are reading books when you could be getting reamed by Israel, spat on, beaten up against the headboard—with every jab, your head battered into the headboard. Why are you all reading? I don’t understand this reading business when there is so much fucking to be done.”

  Buy How Should a Person Be on Amazon      Get How Should a Person Be on your Kindle

The Poetry of Pablo Neruda edited by Ilan Stavans

Poetry is romantic, yes, but many verses composed by this Chilean master and Nobel Prize winner are also undeniably sexy. Feel the yearning in just one representative poem, “Love,” as translated by Ilan Stavans: “Woman, I would have been your child, to drink / The milk of your breasts as from a well.” Put that alongside the line about Christian Grey’s “oh-so-happy trail” and tell us which makes you weaker in the knees.

  Buy The Poetry of Pablo Neruda on Amazon

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

An ex–combat nurse named Claire reunites with her husband (a soldier) at the end of World War II, in the first sci-fi adventure-romance novel of the Outlander series. Soon after, she is transported back in time and falls in love with Jamie, a handsome Scottish warrior. There’s lots of sex on rudimentary mattresses—plus men wearing kilts! And good news: It was recently announced that Ronald D. Moore (of Battlestar Galactica) is adapting the series for television.

  Buy Outlander on Amazon      Get Outlander on your Kindle

Legs Get Led Astray by Chloe Caldwell

Essayist Chloe Caldwell’s collection of biting and honest essays can stand up to Fifty Shades for one essay alone, in which Caldwell talks about masturbating. Everyone does it, but Caldwell writes about it with an unparalleled humor and intelligence: “A great way to have an explosive orgasm is to turn the sound down on the porn video, and put on a song that gets you off. Blast it while you watch your porn of choice. BAM!”

  Buy Legs Get Led Astray on Amazon      Get Legs Get Led Astray on your Kindle

Inferno (a poet’s novel) by Eileen Myles

For fans of Patti Smith and raw, poetic writing, this iconic New York writer fills her Dante-influenced “poet’s novel” with her distinctive personality. It so happens that her personality is an incredibly sexual one: “There’s a moment in a woman’s life when she discovers she can have sex with as many people as she wants. Suddenly everyone is a potential partner. That’s when men get in the act which is why lesbianism isn’t really a thing it’s just this unbridled lust. It’s like god. If writers are the only people, I mean the last ones who have lives, lesbians are the only people who have sex.”

  Get Inferno (a poet’s novel) on your Kindle

Best Lobster Rolls in NYC

Being a huge fan of lobster rolls, when I saw this collection by Time Out New York it could not go ignored. The article can be seen below and here is a link to the full version. I will definitely be hitting up these locations in the near future. Please leave a comment if you’ve been to any of these or have a favorite stop of your own for lobster rolls! Enjoy!

Best lobster rolls in NYC: Five restaurants top our list

Littleneck, Red Hook Lobster Pound and more top our list for the finest lobster rolls in New York City.

By Time Out editors

Fifteen years after Rebecca Charles pushed the first lobster roll across the marble counter at Pearl Oyster Bar, the simple summertime sandwich has become a New York staple, with dozens of versions on menus all over town. We tried 17 lobster rolls—at no-frills upstarts, elegant midtown power players and new-wave clam shacks—weeding out tough meat and flabby buns to find the five best versions in NYC.

Maine lobster roll at Littleneck

At this refined clam shack near the Gowanus Canal, chef Joe Atonte poaches live lobsters in house, and nestles the picked meat in an airy, toasted split-top bun from Lepage Bakeries in Maine. Squirt the accompanying lemon wedge over the stunningly sweet meat—barely dressed with Hellmann’s mayonnaise, lemon juice and bits of diced celery—to add an extra hit of brightness. On the side: semi-sour and homemade bread-and-butter pickles. • (718-522-1921). $18.

288 Third Ave, (between Carroll and President Sts)

The Down East Maine lobster roll at the Standard Grill

High Line visitors can pop into chef Dan Silverman’s airy brasserie for his chefly update on the seaside classic. He tosses ocean-fresh lobster—plucked from 1.25-pound crustaceans after briefly boiling for six minutes—with homemade mayo, lemon juice, black pepper and finely chopped celery. A smoky grilled Pepperidge Farm roll cradles the bright seafood salad topped with fresh chives and microgreens, while a paper-lined copper cup of crispy french fries completes the meal. • (212-645-4100). $22.

848 Washington St, (at 13th St)

Lobster roll at Luke’s Lobster

Maine native Luke Holden—who trapped lobsters throughout his childhood summers in Kettle Cove, Maine—and partner Ben Conniff now operate five New York locations, plus a roving food truck, for their growing seafood empire. Holden’s story is now a part of New York lobster lore: The real-estate investment banker gave up a promising financial career to start a lobster-roll business, with his pops, Jeff, who sources the picked and cooked crustaceans directly from Maine fisherman. For his simple roll, Holden sprinkles the meat with a proprietary seasoning blend, flavored with celery salt and oregano, along with lemony butter. It’s stuffed with a smidgen of mayo in a golden-toasted New England–style bun from Country Kitchen in Lewiston, Maine. • Visit lukeslobster.com. $15.

Multiple locations

Maine-style lobster roll at Red Hook Lobster Pound

At the 2009 Brooklyn Flea, Susan Povich and her husband, Ralph Gorham, became the first to bring the lobster roll—already popular at full-service restaurants like Pearl Oyster Bar and Mary’s Fish Camp—to the streets of New York. Today the couple still operates that weekend market stand, plus a takeout shop in Red Hook and roving trucks in New York and Washington, D.C. Their unadulterated Maine lobster roll showcases improbably perfect claw and knuckle pieces. The tender meat is kissed with mayonnaise, zipped up with scallion and deposited on crisp shredded lettuce in a buttery bun. • Visit redhooklobsterpound.com. $16.

Multiple locations

Lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar

Inspired by childhood summers in Kennebunkport, Maine, Rebecca Charles opened her West Village restaurant in 1997, practically launching “New England seafood” as a restaurant category in New York. A decade and a half later, her lobster roll is still a knockout. She griddles the top-loading bun to give it a beautiful, browned crunch. It’s practically flattened under the weight of a heaping mound of home-cooked lobster salad: The huge chunks of the crustacean­—boosted with a slick of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, and enlivened with lemon juice and chive—taste of pure ocean. • (212-691-8211).

18 Cornelia St, (between Bleecker and W 4th Sts), 10014