A Fishy Kind of Heaven

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I’ll write all about the wacky and wonderful adventures of our Las Vegas trip in my next post.

Right now, I am in love, and I must tell the world!

Sushi, how did I live without you for so long?

Up until Thursday, I had never set eyes on a plate of sushi except in a magazine, where its pretty colors and ornamental presentation made good eye candy for restaurant reviews. I always figured I’d try it one day, but I wasn’t really in a hurry to sample this seafood turned art form. I had no previous gustatory experience to which I could compare it.

In short, I didn’t know what I was missing. Egad, the wasted years!

The very first night of our Vegas vacation, Tracy suggested we try out Ra, a sushi bar situated handily right next door to our hotel. I placed myself in the experienced hands of my friends, and they ordered three of Ra’s signature sushi rolls: “Gojira”, a crab and shrimp mix with spicy tuna, cream cheese, and cucumber, rolled in spinach tempura; “Viva Las Vegas”, a rich combination of kani kama, crab, spicy tuna, and lotus root; and “Tootsy Maki”, crab, shrimp, and cucumber drizzled with a delicate sweet eel sauce and topped with crunchy tempura. That was my favorite. I’m thinking of naming our next child Tootsy Maki, actually.

After a brief lesson on soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi, I was ready to go. I fumbled a little with the chopsticks, but finally got a round and precious slice of Gojira up to my lips.

How can I describe the vivid and perfect union of sweet and tangy flavors in that first amazing bite? The richness of the crab meat, the crisp freshness of the cucumber, the zing of the tuna, all in harmony together, the flavors playing an unfamiliar but resplendent chord across my taste buds. I think I may have left my body for a brief moment. More bites followed, in different combinations, each a savory experience all its own.

And do you know we went back there every single day while we were in Vegas? Five times in all, and each time we ordered something new. California roll, Rainbow roll, sashimi, even something called Crazy Monkey that mingled smoked salmon with mango and cashews in a fruity sauce. We worked our way across nearly the entire menu, and there was nothing that I didn’t like.

On the fifth day, before we caught a taxi back to the airport, we ate at Ra for the last time. As we sat over our empty square plates with satisfied grins on our faces, I thanked Tracy and Regina for introducing me to sushi.

“Oh, you’re thanking us now,” Tracy said, “but wait until you go home and find yourself sitting up in bed at two in the morning with a sushi craving and nowhere to get a fix.” We laughed a little at that, finished our cokes and got up to leave.

I’m not laughing now. Coeur d’Alene, while delightful and full of natural beauty, is not exactly the culinary center of the universe. What if I never have good sushi again?

Fortunately, Paul has some sushi-loving coworkers. When he told them of my dilemma, they had one word to say: Takara. I haven’t tried it yet, but reviews are promising. Now I just have to figure out how to order Tootsy Maki from a new chef.

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14 responses »

  1. How have you lived your whole life without sushi??? This is a bit of a travesty. I am glad you and sushi have been introduced and will be able to remain good friends.

  2. Although the wonders of sushi have eluded me (me! who lived nearly four years in Japan!), I must compliment you on your effusive praise for what was clearly a gastronomic delight.

  3. If you like avocado, you’ll love Dragon Rolls – a combination of California Rolls sans fish (usually has crab though), with extra avocado covering the outer layer of rice. It’s wonderful!! Another favorite is a Philly Roll – this is a California Roll sans the cucumber (yukk!), substituted with what else? Philly Cream Cheese 🙂 You must try it!!!

  4. I haven’t had sushi for years. We used to eat it all the time!(Since we’ve had kids the only “restaurant” we get to go to is McDonalds!)

  5. Love, love, LOVE me some sushi!!! I’m glad for you, it definately is something I couldn’t live without! And healthy! Bonus!

  6. So, I guess I shouldn’t admit that Melody and I went out for sushi last night, huh? It was good, but I think I like RA better. I was shocked that I couldn’t eat more though. Poor Mel, she had to finish what we had ordered and gave herself a belly ache. 😦

    RA rules and I am so glad that your first sushi was with us. **HUGS** I love you my friend!

  7. mmmm, sushi and tempura and wasabi and stuff and, well, i don’t think i eat it near enough. congratulations on your first tuna zing and precious slices of this and that. may Crazy Monkey minglings kiss you on the lips when least you expect it!

  8. amen, sister! i love the ritual of sushi as much as the taste. i MIGHT be happy just preparing my food in tiny wrapped portions on plates of unconventional shape.

  9. Sushi is awesome! My husband learned how to make it himself because he loves it so much. Welcome to the club sistah!

  10. Totaly.. welcome its nice here! We are embarking on learning to make it at home too ( with the help of Alton Brown and tivo)
    We were introduced to the world of Sushi by another Idahoan while living in Portland, My fav was the vegas roll. It was a hand roll, so larger, with salmon and cream cheese deep fried in tempura.
    yum! plus the edamame! cant forget that!

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