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Feast and Famine

So one week I post almost every day, the next I don’t get a single word in.

Lots and lots to report though.

Starting with getting back from LA about a week ago. I was really happy to finally get home and back with my family. It was made all the better by the fact that Dani was into the cookbook that I picked up and wanted to get to work on it. That night we made two recipes out of the Tyler Florence cookbook, the Ultimate Guacamole and the Pineapple Mojitos.

Oh yeah! So good when it hits your lips.

Both were delicious. The guacamole is easily in the top three that I have ever had. The drink, well, it would have been awesome, but I miss poured with the rum. So they were really strong the first round and got better as the night went on. I don’t really know if that is from adding more juice or if I was getting drunker and drunker. Anyways I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either of them.

After plans to go camping and get out of town fell through the fam and I decided to head to San Fran to take lil Robby to the Zoo. It was incredible watching him. He was facsincated with all of the animals and especially all the kids that were running around. While in the city we stopped by another DDD for the list. This one was called Q and is in the Richmond district of SF.

Q Restaurant

I ordered the house specialty at the recommendation of the waiter which was Duck Confit. Dani ordered the Vegan Grill plate and we got Robby the Mac n’ Cheese. Dani got a huge plate of grilled veggies, but it was disappointing that there were none of the house made sauces included. We did request some of their jalapeno butter for her corn which she said was an improvement, but overall it was a very dry meal. Robby’s Mac n Cheese was incredible, but too rich and he really was more interested in the magnet letters that adorn the wall next to the table. I also thought that it was great that the table next to us had a tree growing out of the middle of it. A full tree, not a little table top bonsai or anything, but a full outdoor yard tree.

I know the pic isn't very good, but it was incredible.

My dish was amazing. The duck was cooked so tender that it was difficult to pick up with the fork and had this incredible red wine and dark cherry reduction over the top. All of this was sitting on top of a crispy square of fried polenta that was cooked perfectly. Just enough crust and creaminess in a great combination. I don’t know what else I can say about this one? It really is something that you need to go and try for yourself. I am a big fan of words, but they fall way short of doing some tastes justice and this is one of those tastes.

So I have this other trip planned and before I can leave I’m supposed to get a project done with The Cartman. Part of this project included dinner at a sushi restaurant in his town of Sebastapol.

The Cartman and I about to face my greatest culinary fear to date.

My first Maguro Nigiri heading down the hatch! Conquered Sushi!

So I finally come face to face with the last item on #50. I have been dreading putting this on the list, but it was such a big deal that so many people in my life know about that I knew it had to be done.

Here’s the story… I was a rookie firefighter still learning the ropes at the new department that I just got a job with. In order to keep this new job and continue with my chosen career I had to pass a test for my paramedic license call the National Registry. This test is the worst hurdle imaginable for all paramedic students. It has singlehandedly killed the careers of more paramedics than any other single cause. It’s kinda a big deal.

So my new friend and partner on the ambulance, Jeff, was responsible for preparing dinner the night before I left for Sacramento to take this test. His chosen meal…Sushi Rolls! It’s been a few years since this event and I have tried to burn the memory from my mind ever since so details are a little hazy, but I know rice, seaweed, some crab product and a few other ingredients were involved.

I never discovered what definitively caused the torturous 48 hours to follow. I don’t think I would really like to know. This much is true…They were the most horrible 48 hours of any persons existence. Fluids were flowing from every orfice on my body. Actually flowing is wrong it was a monsoon of NVD. That’s Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea if you didn’t know. I was a literal deluge of every single bodily fluid that we make. Tears, sweat, and pee pee included. I have since blamed this “illness” on the sushi meal from that night.

Ever since then I have been unable to be around sushi and even the thought of it has brought a wave of nausea. Several people including my firefighter JLo have made attempts to give this another chance. That is what possessed me to place it on the list.

The Cartman and my “project” is what brought us to Sushi Tozai. I was out to prove that I could conquer a fear and it had to be a culinary achievement. We started with a seaweed salad that was outstanding. Not at all what I imagined seaweed salad to taste like. It was sweet and nutty from the sesame and crisp and cold. Really good. But not raw fish. So the first bite of real, actual sushi was a Philadelphia Roll. Some cream cheese, salmon and seaweed wrapped in rice. I dove right in and threw it in and chewed attempting to not think about what I was doing. To my GREAT surprise I really really liked it. I think that it helped that the cream cheese buffered the sushi-ness. On deck was a roll of Tuna with a seaweed and rice wrap. I could easily tell that this was truly a sushi bite. No buffer, just the real deal. I liked it as well. I was surprising myself by going back for more than one of each of these.

Not done yet though. I had a cooked prawn over rice, nothing more than a big shrimp cocktail really. No problem with that one. The big one. The real test. Maguro Nigiri. A huge chuck of raw tuna on a bed of rice. I took it like a man though, and though it wasn’t as great as The Cartman thinks it is. It was good and worth getting over my fear. I really can’t tell you how proud of myself I was after leaving the restaurant that night. It was one of the best feelings of my life getting through this challenge. The other two items on this item were more about texture and taste dislikes. This one was about going into something that I thought could really make me seriously ill. Like peeking over the edge at death ill. At the end of the night I was full, content and feeling great.

Seems like as soon as I got home I was packing my bags again and taking off on a trip. This time was to Vegas for one of my best friends bachelor parties. This should have been a trip that I was looking forward to and excited about going on, but it was just too much too soon or something. I just wasn’t in the right place and the timing was bad to be leaving again. But on the plane I went and #70 was donezo.

The Watershow at the Bellagio

I learned a couple of things. First, Vegas isn’t a place to go without a lot of money. Second, she’ll take all of it. I wasn’t hit too bad, but that is because I used self restraint to keep my few measly dollars off the tables. It really is a Disneyland for adults. I was taken off guard by just how Adult that it really was. I thought that Vegas was trying to become more of a family attraction. It really is Sin City.

Anyway, at the direction of my buddy Matt a bunch of us entered into a Texas Hold ’em touney at the Planet Hollywood. #26 is in the bag. I was extremely nervous sitting down to a table to play cards, in Las Vegas of all places. Funny thing happened though. I got through the first couple hands and it started to make a lot more sense. I had a great time getting killed in my first poker tournament (I need to thank my brother in law for not taking my out of it way earlier than I did, he had the chance). We talked about starting a monthly poker game to start and learn the game so that we have a fighting chance next time.

Sorry that this is such a long post, but I did a lot in a short period with no chance to put it all down. I am trying to keep this up to date because I’m afraid of letting it go and not coming back to it. Thanks to everyone that takes the time to check this out. I do appreciate it.

The table that I learned I need to learn a lot more about Poker.

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  1. Mike Stewart
    April 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    We have a monthly game in SR. It’s with a bunch of SR cops, but still a good time.

  2. Alicia
    April 22, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I have a great, I mean amazing, sushi place down here for you to try! It really is ridiculously good! Come visit!!!

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