Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Post 54: Sushi for the Soul (SD: Pacific Beach)

It's been a while since I've had a nice meal.

I've come to realize that I need a nice meal every so often just to rejuvenate my soul.  It doesn't necessarily have to be an expensive meal or have extravagant presentation, and it doesn't require swift customer service.  It's just got to feel healthy.  And by healthy I don't mean five fruits and vegetables or whole grains... I mean emotionally and mentally healthy... something that's just good for your soul.

So after a brisk run on the sands of Ocean Beach, Allie and I chased our workout with a nice breakfast at To The Point CafĂ©.  The replenishment was a chicken apple sausage egg sandwich held together by a buttery croissant with pesto cream cheese.  And the reward came in the form of mimosas... a traditional one for me and a lavender lemonade mimosa for Allie.  Thumbs up for Sunday mornings.

But that wasn't our nice meal.  Our nice meal was spent at Sushi Ota in Pacific Beach.  We sipped hot green tea, eavesdropped on the conversations from neighboring tables, and watched the quick movements of the Japanese restaurant.  And we did this while enjoying a platter of fresh yellowtail (hamachi) sashimi, a deluxe chirashi, and the fisherman's roll.  That was definitely some sushi for the soul.

The hamachi, a favorite for both me and Allie, was fresh enough to melt in your mouth.  Five beautifully carved, diamond-shaped pieces fanned out across the porcelain white plate, each piece that stood behind the first increased in size on a mound of shredded daikon and shiso.  And a drop of wasabi adorned the corner of the plate like the mole just above Niki Taylor's lip.  Simply beautiful.  And who cares if the yellowtail was from the radiated waters of Japan? I'm ready for my superhuman power, preferably the power to move things with my mind.

Our deluxe chirashi included that same yellowtail, sweet shrimp (ebi), salmon (sake), whitefish, octopus (tako), sea urchin roe (uni), squid (ika) stuffed with fresh crab meat, tuna (maguro), freshwater eel (unagi), fatty tuna (toro), and egg (tamago) that was stamped with the Ota authentic seal of approval.  Staring at this stunning box of rice and fish I completely forgot about the pickles (tsukemono) and the salmon croquette off to the side.

The fisherman's roll is what sealed the deal for us.  Whitefish and avocado hide within the rice and nori, and two kinds of onion sit atop of the roll.  Onions that were fried to a crisp provided the foundation for the topping of expertly sliced, raw green onions.  More yellowtail? Yes, please.  Slices of the beautiful sakana hung over each piece of sushi... like the smiling cheese from an In-N-Out Double Double... like the tongue of a hungry dog waiting for a juicy steak... or more like my tongue hanging out of my own mouth.  Man, just look at that sushi.  I'd hang a picture of this on my wall any day.

If that's not sushi for the soul, I don't know what is.  Replenished, stuffed to the brim, and happy as a clam, I declared, "I don't want to go to work tomorrow!" 

But I knew I was ready for Monday morning.  Until the next nice meal, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

ML - 20110522

Monday, June 6, 2011

Post 53: National Doughnut Day 2011

Last Friday was National Doughnut Day.  I wrote a post on National Doughnut Day last year after opening my eyes to some simply amazing doughnuts in Seattle.  Okay, scratch that.  I wrote two posts.  Counts on fingers.  Yes, that's right... two posts.  So to celebrate the big culinary holiday this year, I thought about heading to a local donut shop to purchase a dozen for the office... but I was running late, so no donuts.  But I walked into the office with a resounding chorus of, "Where are the donuts man?"

I have a habit of wanting to feed people until they balloon to human-sized chubby marshmallows, so I think everyone expects me to bring food in.  But lucky for me, I walked into our kitchen and found two boxes of Krispy Kreme, courtesy of colleagues on the other side of my cube wall.  So, "hey, uhhh... there are donuts in the kitchen!"

So happy National Doughnut Day to everyone.  No special doughnuts to celebrate with this year.  But I have found a few places in the Orange County area that require a visit.  In the meantime, check out my So Cal Krispy Kremes and my NYC Dunkin' Donuts.

And kick up your feet while bumming around to Bruno Mars', "The Lazy Song."  That's what I have on repeat lately.  Until the next culinary holiday, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

ML - 20110603