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Monday, August 01, 2005

Sushi at Origami

Scooter says it's my job to blog the weekend so he can simply point to it. I suppose...he'd just say glowing things about Origami, whereas I have good things to say and a viewpoint from someone who doesn't do well with raw fish.

First, we learned that being at Origami at 5:15 means the sushi arrives quickly. (Bonus!) We started with what I have been referring to as "Octopus Balls," (actually, it was deep-fried octopus). On first glance, they looked like Rocky Mountain Oysters. Scooter bit one in half and felt compelled to show me the inside. The exterior is this totally innocuous deep fried batter, so the swirls of tentacles (and was that a head, bitten in half?) were a bit of a surprise. I tried one - popped the entire thing into my mouth so I didn't have to examine the contents, and worked through it. I can't say it tasted like chicken, because it didn't. I can't liken it to anything else, either, because it tasted like octopus - and not like that clam-like, chopped and deep fried calamari. If you don't know what octopus tastes like, I can't help you. It wasn't the flavor that gave me trouble, anyway, nor was it the texture. It was the relatively large tentacle flopping across my tongue. Not flavor, not texture. Flopping. Shudder. Sorry there's no picture; Scooter said we should have had the camera along to document his half-eaten octopus ball before he finished it, but I didn't bring it. You're welcome.

But then came the sashimi Ono (Wahoo) in ponzu sauce. Yum. Seriously. It was a special, so there's also no photo of that on the website. Essentially, it tasted like swordfish barely seared on one side. "Ponzu," I can only assume, is Japanese for "makes nearly raw swordfish-like fish taste extra yummy." Major points to Kyle for deciding to try it.

Everything else showed up together. The sampler of five flavors of Tobiko (flying fish roe): plain, soy (too salty), wasabi (quite hot), citrus, and cranberry. We also had two other wasabi tobiko, so I had one of those and the soy tobiko. Good stuff, though you're finding the little eggs in your teeth for some time afterward, and they're not as yummy after an hour in your mouth. Still pop, though. Scooter said the wasabi version blew his sinuses at Sushi Tango, but I didn't have that experience at Origami. We also had the Dynamite Maki (traditional seaweed and rice roll, with yellowtail, cucumber, garlic chili paste, and leaf lettuce); Sake Maki (roll, with salmon); Maguro (white tuna over rice); Hon Maguro (bluefin tuna over rice, seasonally available...this is apparently the back portion of the fish, and less "fishy" and oily than the front portion); Hokki (northern shell clam over rice); Lobster (essentially lobster salad on rice and wrapped in seaweed; Kyle and I agreed it would have been better had they left out the mayo and just put a chunk of lobster on top of the rice); and my favorite, the Unagi (freshwater eel, over rice, cooked). If you think that picture is unappetizing, you won't like the photo below, of the living critter:. Yeah, I ate that. What?

Having been to Midori's Floating World Cafe for my first sushi experience, I knew I had trouble with nigiri sushi (sushi incorporating raw fish), but was intrigued enough to want to try again. I tended toward the cooked, or sort of cooked items: the ono, the eel, the octopus balls, the lobster; but I also ate the Dynamite Maki (it was my selection), the fish roe, and some sake maki. This time, I did have a gag reflex - which I fought back, thank you) the second time in the evening that a piece of raw yellowtail got stuck between my teeth and cheek. Flavor = good. Texture = not my thing. Okay, so now I know. This is why I liked the ono so much - the light searing on one side left the flavor but spared me most of the texture that gives me the shudders.

It's too late to finish the weekend, but I'll try tomorrow for the ACME comedy show, the iPod, and the exposed mannequin. Oh, and menopause. You're welcome.


Anonymous kyle said...

I noticed that you linked to FishBase for your Wahoo reference. It totally rocks, if you are really into fish related info. Or maybe this just reveals my (perhaps irrational) enjoyment of huge, subject specific, compendiums of information on the internet :)

August 02, 2005 9:41 PM  

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