Monday, March 23, 2009

Sushi in the Hood

Being as there was no food in the house yesterday to speak of (no vegetables, fruits, or protein other than beans, that is), there were two logical options:

a) go grocery shopping

b) go out for dinner

While the more frugal option would doubtlessly have been (a), we chose the more enticing option of eating out. After buying a couple of beers at The Beer Authority, I was on a support-local-businesses roll, and as it had been years since we'd eaten at Toyoda Sushi, the choice seemed obvious.

Amy, Michael, and I took our seats at the bar, which afforded us entertainment along with our dinner, as we watched the chef prepare plate after plate of tempting sashimi, maki, and other sushi. Toyoda is a real neighborhood place, typically packed with locals, and the whole time I was there I kept wondering to myself, "Why has it been so long? What reason have we not gone here lately?"

I also sadly recalled the demise of Shian, the Chinese restaurant across that street that opened a few years ago but has since closed. Shian never managed to build the kind of following Toyoda has, despite stellar Chinese food. People were doubtlessly scared off by the "American Chinese" sign by the door (not what you want to advertise as a Chinese restaurant in Seattle) and the very un-Chinese faded pink and mauve Victoriana of the interior, a relic from the old Baker's restaurant and candy shop. Once Michael and I were bold enough to try it, we fell in love with the spicy dumpling soup and homemade noodles, and we showed our loyalty by eating there almost every time we chose to eat out in Lake City for at least a year. Sadly, our efforts were not enough, which is hardly surprising when we typically ate alone in a space that could easily seat 50 people or more.

Thankfully, Toyoda's popularity does not seem to be waning, and I'm happy to add it back into our (admittedly rather infrequent) rotation. I was also thrilled to discover that Michael will actually eat raw fish - and enjoy it! He has a newfound love for spicy tuna rolls, which is quite something coming from the man who will typically only eat three kinds of seafood: canned tuna mixed with mayonnaise on a sandwich, halibut or cod that has been battered and fried, or shrimp, preferably the small salad shrimp that don't "pop" when you bite into them (and preferably doused with plenty of cocktail sauce). He even branched out last night and tried the eel - and declared it to be "not too bad".

As for me, I pretty much love it all - there are few edibles from the sea that I won't eat, and sandwiching a course of sushi rolls between an appetizer of vegetable tempura and a dessert of tempura ice cream was just right. Now I long to go back again - and I don't intend to wait a few years between meals there this time!

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