April 26, 2019

Friday the 14th

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A few weeks ago Mrs. Birdiegolf pinged us to let us know that there was a dinner tonight featuring sake from Juyondai (十四代).  Since the dinner was held at the Hong Kong Country Club, I figured the pricing would be reasonable enough for me to stomach.  So we happily agreed to tag along.

We started with a few sakes from the Tatenokawa (楯野川) stable during the cocktail hour.  Unfortunately I didn't get to all of them.

Tatenokawa Three Peaks (楯野川 純米大吟醸 33) - made with Dewasansan (出羽燦々) rice from Shonai (庄内), at a seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 33%.  Really prominent notes of banana, honeydew melon, stone fruits.  Drier on the palate than expected, with a little bitterness on the finish.

Tatenokawa Eighteen (楯野川 純米大吟醸 18)seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 18%.  Also lots of banana, tropical fruits, and also drier than expected.

Time for the main event, and we sat down for the dinner portion...

Roasted pork belly and chicken liver (燒腩肉 金錢雞) - the roast pork was OK.

"Gold coin chicken (金錢雞)" - lots of fat here, with plenty of Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (玫瑰露酒) in the marinade.

Juyondai Nakadori Muroka Junmaishu (十四代 中取り 無濾過 純米酒), 29BY, from isshobin - made with Miyama Nishiki (美山錦) rice and a seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 55%. Nose of banana.  Sweet on the front palate, especially since it was served very cold.  Finish turned drier.

Stir-fried lobster with black truffle and mashed taro (黑松露炒龍蝦球伴荔茸棗) - the lobster was so-so.  The flavors were OK but could be better.  The truffle was totally unnecessary.  Stir-fried with kailan (芥蘭) stems and mushrooms, but unfortunately it was served tepid.  The taro ball on the side was very good.

Juyondai Sekibanomati Junmai Ginjo (十四代 中取り 赤磐雄町 純米吟醸), 29BY, from isshobin - made with 80% Omachi (雄町) rice from Sekiban (赤磐) and a seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 50%.  Still got those banana notes and sweet fruit,  a hint of honeydew melon.  Actually a little soft on the palate.  First sip was sweeter but paired with food, it was definitely drier.

Braised abalone in oyster sauce with fish maw and Chinese cabbage (鮑魚花膠伴菜膽) - OK lah.

Juyondai Tatsunootoshigo Daigokjo Nama Junmai Daiginjo (十四代 龍の落とし子 大極上生 純米大吟醸), 30BY, from isshobin - made with 80% Tatsunootoshiko (龍の落とし子) rice and a seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 35%.  More fermented notes on the nose, definitely more savory on the nose.  Sweet on the attack, very crisp, with a little banana.  More depth on the palate, drier, and with a longer finish.  More viscous on the palate.  Beautiful nose.

Deep-fried and braised giant grouper (古法紅燒龍躉) - with minced pork and diced mushrooms on top.

Juyondai Shichitare Nijikkan Junmai Daiginjo (十四代 七垂二十貫 純米大吟醸), 30BY, from isshobinseimaibuai (精米歩合) of 40%.  Much more depth on the palate, drier, not that sweet on the attack.  Later on it was sweet mid-palate with a very long plateau, but turns dry and spicy at the end.

Roasted marinated pigeon (紅燒琵琶鴿) - again this came tepid.  It was also overcooked and underseasoned.  FAIL.

Juyondai Choutokusen Junmai Daiginjo (十四代 超特撰 純米大吟醸), from isshobinseimaibuai (精米歩合) of 35%.  Nice depth on the palate, almost with some acidity.  A little sweet mid-palate with a long finish.  Nose was a little savory and fermented at the end.

Fried rice with angus beef, conpoy, preserved vegetables and egg white (安格斯牛崧瑤柱欖菜蛋白炒飯) - they do a better version at your neighborhood Tsui Wah (翠華).  This was tepid and bland.

Juyondai Gokujyo Morohaku Junmai Daiginjo (十四代 極上諸白 純米大吟醸), from isshobin - made with 80% Aiyama (愛山) rice and a seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 45%.  Alcoholic nose, a little paint thinner, and slightly fermented.  A bit sweet on the attack but turned spicy towards the finish.  Lots of depth on the palate.

Dragon eye fruit and red date tea (桂圓紅棗茶) - pretty nice.

Rabbit marshmallow and carrot puff (兔仔棉花糖 甘筍酥) - both pretty decent.

Tsuruume Yuzu Liqueur (鶴梅 柚子酒) - a little salty lemon on the nose.

Let's be frank.  The food tonight was nothing to write home about.  I don't think I've ever seen Mrs. Birdiegolf so dissatisfied at a meal, and she made sure the club staff got more than an earful.

Thankfully we had sake, and it's kinda difficult not to like Juyondai.  The people at Takagi Brewery (高木酒造) sure make some nice stuff, and I used to collect some of their bottlings until secondary market prices went crazy over the last few years thanks to people from the Greater China region.  Honestly, I like their stuff but at this price level, there are plenty to choose from... and I choose to drink other stuff.  That's why a dinner like this - hosted by a members only club - made sense economically.

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