Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Serious Sushi Addiction- Time for a 12 Step Program?

The need seemingly came out of nowhere. I had tried the stuff here and there before, enjoyed it, and been fine. Others claimed they couldn't live without it, but I never got what the big deal was about.

And then, on a wild weekend in California not too long ago, I thought I would just have a little taste, it had been months, and what was the harm. And then, poof, like that, it consumed me. I think about it all the time. I dream about it. I have spent every last dime of disposable income on it in the last month, and a bit on the credit cards. As soon as I get it, I think, 'whew, that's the last time', and then two days later there I am again, in dark street in Chinatown looking for it without even realizing it. Friends I have known for years, who I never knew had a problem, crawl out of the woodwork looking for company to score now they know I am one of them. It starts with thinking I'll just have one little roll, what could the harm in that be, and then, $150 and two hours later I am looking at the scattered remnants of 4 giant rolls that were overflowing with the good-stuff.

Yea, I have a sushi problem. I went years being fairly indifferent to the stuff, and woke up one day and can't get enough. I love tempura, teppanaki, udon, miso, all sorts of what should be gateway Japanese food. Somehow, they never sucked me in. And then, boom, a taste of sushi out West, nothing extraordinary about it, and I can't get enough.

The result? I have been trying sushi places all over town, and you, dear readers, will benefit from the reviews as I begin to post. I have even had a recent adventure with making it myself, which turned out better than I thought. Unlike most addictions that inspire this sort of craving, the home fix was delightfully explosion and felony free. More on that tomorrow.

So what am I comparing? Well, ask 10 sushi lovers what the ideal measure of the craft is, and you will have 10 different answers. As a fresh food advocate, and flavor purist (lets pretend I didn't just post about a love of Ikea meatballs), I am supposed to like the simple, fresh, perfect sashimi or nigiri best of all. I do like them. But they are not what creeps obsessively into my thoughts. In fact, its not even the simple elegant maki that get me. Its the big, expensive, ridiculous rolls with names out of a disaster preparation public announcement: volcano roll, dynamite roll, typhoon roll. Yea, I'm an American. No subtlety here.

Consistently my favorite? The Rainbow Roll. Like a california roll, with the added bonus of a wide variety of fresh sashimi toppings, it showcases a range of the core fishes in a sushi chef's arsenal, and leaves plenty of room for creativity. So at each place I review, you will see a little note about the rainbow roll. For better or worse, its the place the comparisons begin.

Enjoy! And if you hate sushi (and read this far anyway for some reason), hang in there. This addiction is not sustainable in the long term, and I will eventually have to find my way back into the light :-)

Until then, YATA!

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