True Original – Certain Sections That Have Vanished Over The Years
If you peruse through the history of the True Sake Newsletter in our archives you will see that many sections remain and many have disappeared over the years. When we say disappeared it means that they are not in the current issues, but they populated previous years.
There is some genius stuff in those issues if you ask me! Things that really jumped the shark or way ahead of their time. One such section was called “The Sake Challenge,” which was really fun for a few reasons. Basically, it was all about pairing sake with western foods in restaurants around the Bay Area. The point was simple – to show that sake didn’t need to exist in sushi restaurants only!
Each month, I would invite a sake sleuth, sake VIP, sake rep, or sake celebrity to a western cuisine restaurant with two bottles of sake at two different price points and two different grades of brew. Many had a hard time visualizing bringing a bottle of sake to an Italian restaurant for corkage and pairing, but it was fun shattering many misconceptions. In the process we created a way to determine if the pairings were on point with a system that was all about “working.” The criteria was as follows:
- Works (W) – this means that the pairing worked and wasn’t a negative and generally enjoyable.
- Works Well (WW) – this means that the particular pairing went very well together and was very tasty to the point of surprisingly good.
- Works World Class (WWC) – this means that the pairing was so good, so spot on that it was better than wine or other pairings making sake the best option for that food type.
- Did Not Work (DNW) – this means that the pairing was a bust and the sake conflicted with the food in a detrimental way.
The Sake Challenge was so popular that the SF Chronicle actually did a front page article on a Challenge that I did at a Mexican restaurant on Valencia street in the Mission. These reviews are as good as they get, and we covered so many international cuisine types that they truly were remarkable. And of course we used these tried and true pairings in our food recommendations for further sake reviews.
Also missing in current issues is a section that we called “Sake Spotlight” which I loved, because I didn’t have to write it. Each month we’d invite a sake soul to write about a particular sake that they liked in our portfolio from their perspective and knowledge base. It was great, and in fact we had a hint of it in the March ’21 Newsletter by Gordon Heady writing about Noguchi in last month’s issue. It was literally one of my favorite sections, because I learned about sake that we carried from a different perspective.
And lastly, one of the more popular sections that faded away was the classic “Ask Beau” where I would respond to specific questions from the readers.
Each of these sections contain serious and valuable sake content, and if you’re into all things sake then it would behoove you to take a walk or two in our archives to learn a different and unique side of sake. I’ve been called a sake savant, a sake monk, a sake mad scientist, and these back issues of the True Sake Newsletter will show you why!