first time with Mr. Yellowtail
January 30, 2009 | My first time was
in Virginia. Arlington to be exact. I was nervous. I'd
heard good things, but I'd also heard horror stories.
My parents had warned me. I'd talked with them about
it numerous times in the past, but they'd always quickly
just said, "No, just don't do it."
I didn't know what to expect. What
if I couldn't do it? What if I got sick afterward? My
roommate kept telling me it would be OK, that if I was
anything like her I would like it a lot and wouldn't
be able to get enough. She always wanted it, morning,
afternoon and evening.
It turns out she was right. My first
time trying sushi was amazing.
My parents don't understand. My dad
could probably be convinced to come try it sometime,
but my mom, who also doesn't understand my obsession
with Indian food, would rather run naked through Wal*mart
(her words, not mine) than try sushi.
That first time, the mix of fish,
from salmon to albacore, shrimp and crab to yellowtail
and squid amazed me. The brilliant combination of colors,
bright red, yellow and orange of the fish, the green
of the avocado, cucumber and seaweed, all mixed with
the white rice and brown tempura created a pallet of
colors that I felt was too beautiful to consider touching,
let alone eating.
Once I took that first bite though,
everything changed. The mix of salmon, rice, cream cheese
and avocado all doused in soy sauce slid off the chopsticks
and into my mouth like they belonged there. The following
meal was heaven. My roommate was right. I would never
stop eating sushi.
For me, eating sushi is not something
you do quickly. It's not a meal you run and grab on
your lunch break. Eating sushi is an event. The different
courses must each be enjoyed for what they are. Each
bite must be savored. Each roll must be appreciated
for its beauty and complexity. The ambiance is as important
as the meal. That is not to say that nicer places make
for a better meal. Rather, the better the place looks
from the outside typically indirectly correlates with
the quality of your experience.
I have found that there are certain
things to look for in a sushi joint. If the people behind
the counter speak English to each other rather than
Japanese turn around and walk away. That is not to say
that English speakers cannot make sushi, but that if
you want the real experience, the Japanese chatter in
the background is a must.
Another thing to consider is the
fact that sushi cannot be enjoyed with just anyone.
You must pick your company carefully, being sure you
can spend more than an hour with them. Because if you're
going to do it right, it will definitely be more than
an hour long event. Once you think you have found comrades
to enjoy sushi with however, you need to be sure their
level of appreciation is the same as your own. There
is nothing worse than planning a great evening out to
find out your partner can finish in 15 minutes.
If you're like my mom and have spent
your life steadfastly refusing to try one of God's greatest
gifts to men and women, you may want to rethink that
decision. If you've never had the nerve to try sushi,
give me a call and i'll introduce you to your "first
time". I'm not kidding I'll even do it with strangers.