Farewell Dinner = Sushi Win for Me!

“It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches.”
Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

Tonight The Husband and I took The Girl out to get dinner at one of her favorite restaurants. She is leaving this week for college and is she filling up on In-N-Out? The best Mexican food this side of the border? Nope. She wanted to sit at Nakamura-san’s counter at Akai Hana, one of the best restaurants for sushi in the San Diego area.

Her farewell dinner = my win!

Tonight’s new-to-me masterpiece was salmon roe. Previously familiar to me only as bait that I once used to fish in our local lakes with my father, our Sushi Chef caught this fish on an Alaskan trip and prepared the roe with mirin (a sweet cooking wine) and other ingredients that he said way too fast for me to understand…

Salmon Roe Sushi
Salmon Roe Sushi

The flavors were so fresh and light, I could hardly believe how delicious the tender roe could be.

Adios, muchachita!
Adios, muchachita!

It was a great meal spent with wonderful people… just the three of us. “My sense of humor is packing up and leaving,” I joke about her inevitable departure. On to bigger and better things for her!

When Your Mom Eats As Much Sushi As You…

The directions we received were simple: “If you beat us to the restaurant, ask for Nakamura-san”

We were following the instructions of new friends that we are really enjoying. And what is more fabulous than new friends who know more about the Asian cuisines that you love, but have actually spent time in these countries? A bunch of time? You get great advice and pointers and promises all-around to hit more restaurants, too… oh yeah!

Last night we got to find out which restaurant is really close to little bit of Japan in our own city. This restaurant served sushi so lovely that my own 75 year old mother not only tried sea urchin with me, but wasn’t grossed out, and didn’t stop there.

We’ll be back. Oh yes.

Quail Eggs on some spectacular creation that The Husband got to eat.
Quail Eggs on some spectacular creation that The Husband got to eat.

The Upshot: Half the Family = Half the Bill

Plans for a nice family dinner at a favorite Japanese restaurant just didn’t materialize in the way I had hoped for.  I haven’t seen the teens much lately, which sometimes is NOT a bad thing- am I right, fellow moms of teens??? However, I do enjoy these people an overwhelming majority of the time. There are subjects to cover, jokes to hear, stories to catch up on that you can’t hear in the fifteen minutes you see them in the morning before they dash out the door, or pry out of them as they are poring over their studies.

We try really hard to sit down together at dinner every day of the week… by “we try,” it’s really “I try.” All this effort results in maybe three family dinners per week. With fencing, guitar, theater, church leadership, Academic Decathlon, and sneaky Netflix binging, (and this is just The Teens) I feel like I have to out-plan everyone in order to bring us together on a regular basis. That should be a college course for parents! “Family Togetherness 101: Stealthy and Inconspicuous Planning and Gathering- Techniques and Practices Explained.”

No le gusta el atún. Pobrecito.
No le gusta el atún. Pobrecito. Part of the the catch of the day last July. It was Poke City here. Click the pic for a recipe similar to ours
Further evidence of how deep his distaste for fish runs..
Further evidence of how deep his distaste for tuna runs…

It is probably a good thing that The Teens stayed home… one doesn’t like sushi or any fish for that matter, the other racks up quite a bill. We had half the usual bill by leaving half the family at home. Look at The Boy. He’s not kidding. This is the poster child for Mac N Cheese. And fillet mignon. His tastes run amok.

Hamachi (Yellowtail) Sashimi, caught that morning- click for a great poke recipe
Hamachi (Yellowtail) Sashimi, caught that morning

My favorite selections for sushi are always salmon and yellowtail nigiri. Tuna used to be a top choice, but we are extremely fortunate to catch our own on a friend’s boat or receive some of his haul and we have a freezer full of ahi. It. Is. HEAVEN!!

Tobiko and Scallop...
Tobiko and Scallop…

So, we lost the teens and instead were able to have a nice dinner date with just the two of us. Not a bad consolation prize, huh?! Where The Girl was going to have carte blanche with the sushi menu and do the choosing for me, in hindsight, maybe it is a good thing that she wasn’t there? Hmmm… hadn’t thought of that. Who knows what she would have tried to get me to eat? (*shudder*)

The Husband got to choose instead, and we ended up splitting orders of scallop nigiri and tobiko. Holy Yum. The scallops, especially, they were so sweet! I thought that shellfish would be on the tough side if prepared raw, since I’ve only had giant clam sushi… I don’t recommend it. Our favorite little neighborhood sushi joint prepares the scallops with a very light dressing, probably mayo based- I loved it, and so did the mayonnaise-hating husband. And I really did like the tobiko, too. Fresh and ocean-y tasting, lots of fun, salty popping going on, and very yummy.