We made arrangements to have a dinner and celebrate two fathers for Father’s Day weekend. We invited our one son and his family to have dinner with us, as we slowly get used to the new protocols of going out for dinner. For Mother’s Day we didn’t have such a luxury, because we were still under lockdown and I am still concerned that we could be penalized for the all of the peaceful protestors and their inciters that sent all the rules of social distancing out the window, but we shall see. Any ways, I was thinking about Father’s Day and both my Bride and I, no longer have our Fathers with us. I was thinking about my Father in the week or so, before the celebration and remembered some of his tales of his military career and I guess I am not the only raconteur and I did come by it honestly and genetically. He was a Canadian citizen who like thousands of others volunteered to fight in the United States Army and that is a story in itself. By the time he finished “Boot Camp” the war was over and my Father found himself as part of the First Occupation Forces in Japan. One of his favorite stories was that he once found himself having a bit to eat and a couple of cold ones in tavern with a buddy. He ended up totally enamored watching and listening to two Japanese men having a very colorful and rather animated conversation, and the more they talked, the more my Father was in awe and started laughing as he could no longer hide the fact that he was eavesdropping and they started to mention that they were watching some “dumb American” that was laughing at them and about their conversation. My Father was not a translator, in fact he probably only started learned English after he had learned how to speak Armenian, the part that got him fascinated was that he was watching and listening to two Japanese men who were speaking almost fluent Armenian, so that no one in the tavern could follow their conversation. My Father could no longer contain himself and had to speak to them in Armenian and they were in awe, as these two men had never met an Armenian, except for those in their circle and church and they had all started centuries back, during the days of Marco Polo and the Spice Routes. Needless to say, a new conversation began that was also quite animated and I am sure that more beverages were consumed. The two men, even invited my Father to one of the men’s home for an Armenian dinner that over the years had become Japanese. My Father was also surprised when a third man asked if he knew an Armenian that ended up in Canada, that the third man had wanted to adopt, It turns out that it was a shirt-tailed relative of my Father’s who used to tell the same story and because it happened when he was so young, that everyone thought he was making it up, because instead of the Red Cross sending him to the Middle East or to France after the Armenian Genocide he ended up in Japan and crossed by train from Armenia through Siberia and China. My Father also had many other tales about his time in Japan, but perhaps another time.
All of this brings me to our dinner date at a restaurant. I am starting to think that I am the only person in the world that does not eat Japanese or any Asian cuisine, except for traces of it, in Fusion restaurants. Since my Bride got cheated for Mother’s Day, I thought she and the others would appreciate, if I passed on a steakhouse and selected a Japanese restaurant. I knew of this restaurant when it was The White House and had gone there years ago with my dinner club, and the restaurant is a large antebellum house that was built by a man to give to his wife in 1929. Shiro can be translated to mean either “white” or “castle” and I guess both words are apt. We went in with our masks on and they took us to a side room where the group of us could dine separately and that was very nice, and masks were off. I couldn’t understand why they brought a little pencil, like you use for recording your golf score on a scorecard, but everyone else understood and they were ordering food left and right from the Sushi menu. My Bride ordered some Sushi dishes like the others as an appetizer and she also ordered an entrée of Sea Bass, so I knew she was happy. For an appetizer I ordered Lobster & Crabmeat Spring Rolls with a Tropical Pineapple Sauce and then as an entrée I ordered Scallops. I decided to play it safe, and I am glad that I chose a winning restaurant for the crowd, especially my Bride was happy.
My Bride and I were the only wine drinkers, so it was rather easy to select a wine for us and we had the Kunde Family Winery Chardonnay Sonoma County 2018. The Kunde Family began farming in the Sonoma Valley in 1904 when Louis Kunde emigrated from Germany and acquired the Wildwood Vineyards Ranch. The Wildwood Vineyard had been planted in 1879 using imported cuttings from Chateaus Margaux and Lafite-Rothschild. They survived Prohibition, only to close during the Second World War, because the sons were drafted. After the war, the sons expanded on the property and bought the Kinneybrook Ranch and that is where the winery is today, and the family is now into the fourth and fifth generations of family as stewards of the property. The Sonoma Valley with its red volcanic soils and ideal climate is perfect for Chardonnay. Seventy percent of the wine was aged for nine months in French Oak, of which twenty percent was new, and thirty percent of the wine was aged in Stainless Steel. After blending the wines, the wine delivered a nice crisp wine, with good acidity and a subtle oak finish. It worked extremely well with both the Sea Bass and with the Scallops. While everyone else was ordering desserts, I thought that I would treat myself and try a glass of Sake, and I had no idea what to order, so I allowed the waitress to make the selection for me. She brought me a glass of Sakeone Corporation Momokawa Diamond Junmai Ginjo Craft Sake NV and it turns out it was from Oregon. Sakeone Corporation is Momokawa’s American offshoot. Established in 1992 as a premium Japanese sake importer and in 1997 went to the Willamette Valley and the rice grown in Sacramento Valley and began brewing Sake in Forest Grove, Oregon. They are now the most successful Sake producer in America. The Sake is made with polished rice and no distilled alcohol added, pasteurized twice it was rather crisp and is served chilled. My Bride was already discussing the possibility of return visits to Shiro.