Sushifyte, Or my 1st dead fish feast
Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 11:16 PM

A repost I just had to share again because hey, it was great fun.
Monday, October 16, 2006, 7:19 PM

Practice safe eating - always use condiments

As soon as I walk into the place, I can smell the fish. Not breaded and fried, not buttered and broiled, but the old fashioned fishy kind. As in … recently alive and now naked, sans skills, gills and frills.

Where am I? Tokoro in Pasadena, California, which serves up sushi and rolls. And I’m ever the gamin dare devil, but I'm still going to need a cocktail, maybe two, to soften the ohmigod, I'm actually going to try sushi scream in my brain. I hope they have something other than sake because the one time I tried to drink sake, all the hair on my body stood on end. And I prefer a slow body burn, or a light my fire kind of drink.

My companions and I slide into a booth and the first thing T wants me to do is to read the bottle on the table. She has trouble reading without her glasses, so I pick the bottle up and give it the once-over. Everything's in Japanese. T giggles and does a forehead-to-the-table kiss.

“I knew you were going to do that,” she said.

Meanwhile, A is doing the mad dash back to the car because she forgot her fancy-schmancy wood engraved chopsticks. She’s a pro. Been here, ate most of it.

The menu is like trying to read a football play, it makes no damn sense to me. I have no idea whether I'll prefer squid over octopus, eel over albacore, or yellow fin over squid, but I know I want a glass of wine.

“You know, wine doesn’t go so well with sushi,” A tells me gleefully after my glass arrived and I sucked down a healthy portion of it.

I have a nagging suspicion that for me, dead fish isn’t going to go with diddlysquat, but will probably go much better with a buzz. Still, I decide to try her beer. And then T’s. Hot damn! Perfect. It must be because beer is made with wheat and hops and corn (veggies) and compliments the, er … fish.

(Yes, I know all fish we eat is dead, but raw fish is dead fish to me. Otherwise it’s broiled, baked or fried.)

You know how at some restaurants they bring you crackers, bread and olive oil, or chips and sauce while you linger over drinks and the menu? At Tokoro, they bring you a bowl of pea pods. My first thought was that those green things sure didn't look appetizing. Where were the breadsticks?

I tried to eat the outer casing that houses the sweet pea, but the skin is unusually thick and won't give. When I give up and take it away from my mouth, there's a neat outline of the vegetable’s spine. I'm still chewing on the rest of it like it's a piece of gum.

That’s when T tells me the correct way to eat this thing, which isn't a pea pod at all, but a soybean. I'm supposed to dip it in the low-sodium soy sauce then eh-scrrrrrape my teeth along the outside of the pod, forcing the beans inside out onto my tongue. The soybean isn't supposed to be ingested. Well, who'da thunk?

When the sushi arrives, I look for the noodles, the rice, the veggies. There's nothing on the plates but clean-looking, raw flesh in tones of pink, white and tan. Dead fish and sauce, but wow, they sure make it all look deceptively appetizing. But I'm in for a grin, in for a hee-fricking-haw. I’ve never tried dead fish before and tonight is the night I'm going to, for better or for worse.

My first bite is of albacore, something I'm familiar with. I prefer Star-Kist Albacore Tuna. Charlie, you know? The raw meat is cool and smooth in my mouth. Kind of like jell-o. And you can't really chew jell-o, you have to kind of bite once or twice and swallow it. So that's what I did. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't wonderful, either. I took another healthy drink of my wine.

Before the night was over, I tried yellow fin (my favorite), tuna tuna, albacore and something else that I can’t remember right now. Scallops. Lobster. Wasabi (I know it's not fish, it’s a nose-hair stinger).

My first dead fish feast was interesting and I’m glad I experienced it, but for me sushi is like entering Gag City and having to pay $200 as I pass Go. And since I live in LA, I need that $200 bucks, thank you.

After Tokoro’s, we went to McDonald’s and I inhaled an order of small French fries. Isn’t that what all sushifytes do?


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