Friday, December 10, 2010

Aji no Machidaya, (味のマチダヤ)

No great service is being visited on the world because I've visited Aji no Machidaya, but it was pleasant to walk there from Ochiai station, then backtrack and 'urban hike' over to Mejiro for dinner at Le Mont.  This little liquor shop has featured in various online writeups over the years, but I saw it on the web site of a sake brewer (aw, for the luvva pete, I plumb forgot that until right now. I went all the way out there and totally forgot to look for Furosen?! Geez, I frustrate myself sometimes.)

This is deep in a neighborhood; I mean, at least 10 minutes from Ochiai station (Tozai line; you could also try Seibu Shinjuku's Araiyakushimae). Perhaps to be convenient to the neighborhood, or perhaps just because they like it, there's a neat little selection of food and ingredients. I assume these are high-quality products; it was honestly pretty tempting to buy some soy sauce. Years ago I went to some places out in the country where there were little brewers selling soy sauce, and I didn't buy any. Now that I think it would be really awesome to buy 地醤油, all I see is people selling their own miso. And I have several kilos of that in the fridge already...

I didn't buy any, because I hope to get an onsen trip in soon and will be looking for soy sauce at such time.

While they have a full set of liquor varieties (regular sake, shochu, awamori, wine) in addition to the foodstuffs, the real attraction as far as I'm concerned is the cup sake. I'm not aware of any other store with this almost-100 varieties (although I hear Buri does a good line in them for a bar, and you could also try Uossu! near my office, 30 lower-end cups on offer plus good fish). The cups at AnM are serious quality - you can't see most of the labels here, but trust me when I say they have things like Minami, Joukigen, Ishitsuchi, Nanbubijin, Laifuku, etc., and generally junmai or jungin. An over-under at Y300 would pay half the time. [They also sell 300ml bottles in a surprising number of varieties, as Melinda noted in one of the earlier links.]

My thought here was to pick up half a dozen cups of the painted rather than labeled variety, and keep them around the house for festivities (like drinking from jelly jars, or Bell jars, or what have you). It's also convenient for picking up gifts for friends.

Other than the off-size stuff, I didn't see where their selection of sake was outstanding (they claim to stock Juyondai, but it was out. Shock.). No, I take that back, it would be a tremendous selection, but I live so close to Echizenya. There's just something about seeing a whole shelf full of different varieties from one brewer...especially when that brewer is one of the best, and there's another shelf next to it, and another, and then fridges full of bottles that they've individually wrapped in newspaper and hand-written the names on.

Aji no Machidaya opens at 10 and closes at 6:30. Seriously though, that's a problem. I left work early, rushed to get there, and they were packing up by the time I got in. They were still nice about it.

I refused a point card; too dangerous.

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