April 24, 2008

i love sushi, yes i do

extra special temporary contest, while you wait for me to get around to the actual post: can you identify the beer? the rectangular sushi? the brace of sushi next to the beer?

Ha! You are awesome! Chris wins the prize for correctly identifying two out of three (see comments), and really, the photo is too small to get the beer. Yay, I love the internet!

Those photographs are from I Love Sushi on Lake Bellevue in Bellevue, WA, and show a Koshihikari Echigo rice beer next to some hamachi toro (allow me to assure you that it IS indeed all that), and also a plate of what they called saba battera, or pressed pickled-mackerel sushi, a treasure I have been trying to find since I came back from Japan in 1996. It's a regional preparation from Kyoto & Nara, inland places that needed to more thoroughly preserve their fish and rice, and so they pickled the fish, and pressed it tightly into rice blocks, and the two kept each other fresh on the trip inland. And tasted damn good when they got there, as pickley, fermented things tend to do.

I watched carefully at the sushi bar as these were made, as it's not just saba and rice. There is also a thin yellowish slice of kelp, apparently slightly sweetened in cooking, laid over the top, and mitsuba leaves underneath the fish. I was so happy eating these, and drinking my vat of mild, pale, faintly rice-tasting beer, idling my evening with pleasure looking out over the tiny lake and chatting with my new pal Joe the sushi chef who used to live in Vancouver when he first came to North America from Tokyo.

Posted by foodnerd at April 24, 2008 06:01 PM

The rectangular sushi looks to me like saba hakozushi, or pressed sushi. Next to the beer sure looks like hamachi to me. But the beer? No idea. Two out of three?

Posted by: Chris at April 24, 2008 01:55 AM

I used to get the hakozushi at Sushi Sho in Albany, CA. It was one of their specialties. The sushi there was, in general, amazing. The owner/chef was (and still is, I imagine) a kind of "Soup Nazi" type, however. You'd order one thing and he'd give you another; he'd abuse you for eating your sushi wrong or using the wrong sauce; you'd choose a seat and he'd make you sit somewhere else.

There are lots of stories. My favorite was one time when my friend and I both ordered the same kind of handroll--I can't remember what it was--and the chef made the roll for me, but decided my friend didn't deserve it and made him something else. I believe he was reacting to my friend's previous statement about liking scallops with spicy mayonnaise. Pretty amusing, though my friend was pretty pissed.

Posted by: Chris at April 25, 2008 07:08 PM
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